June 19, 2011

Bears 0 - Charles 1
   Thought that would grab your attention.  Suffice to say Charles is ok, The Old Girl is only slightly damaged.  I'll let you hear it from Charles later in this post.  Just like the nightly news.  Makes you stay tuned.
    After a very noisy night we left the sumptuous Sealaska Inn (actually it is not really someplace anyone would normally want to stay.  But hey....this is Hyder....'nuff said.  We made sure that we were near a certain person's room when we started the bikes.  Hope he heard them, even though they aren't 1/10th as loud as his stupid radio. Nor his stupid pipes that saved several lives twice in the middle of the night.  For you folks that are not motorcyclists the life saving reference is the "Loud Pipes Save Lives" idiocy that is the excuse for loud exhaust pipes quoted by mouth breathers. Oh O -  I know this is going to generate some poison pen email - flame suit on!!  We left in light rain and clouds about 100 feet up.  No photos on the way out as too wet to use the camera.  Also we were on the look-out for bears.  This place bills itself as the bear capital of the world.  Last time Lynn and I were there I believe she counted about 20 on the short road in from the intersection. It is about 15 miles.  It was a magical trip through the drizzle and wispy clouds/mist.  This one was taken by Charles.
Glacier in the morning mist.
At one point I looked over and saw the flash of white of a large glacier I'd completely missed on the way in.  What a wonderful place.  I hope it never gets developed or "discovered".  We saw several bears on the way out but all ran off into the forest before I could get the camera out. Two had very cute cubs. Only one tense moment.  We were following a pickup truck and he stopped to let a little bear cub run across the road.  Good thing he stayed stopped as Mamma Bear shortly appeared but stayed on her side.  This is not a good situation.  Bears can be very unpredictable when something comes between them and their cubs. Charles & I waited about 50 yards back and the pickup truck didn't move and turned off his engine.  Mamma Bear looked not real happy but after a few minutes or so of hesitation she finally crossed to the other side and chased after the cub. D'oh! Did I get a photo of all this drama. Nope, too engrossed in seeing what would transpire.  About a mile or so later however I found a bear off to the side so I stopped and took this with a telephoto setting and got her/him before he/she wandered away.
My one and only actual photo of a bear. I do however have several of Bear Bums as they left before I could get the camera ready.  This one looks quite fierce but usually they have a somewhat bemused expression - as if to say "Oh look, Meals on Wheels, how thoughtful"
Shortly thereafter we came to the road junction where we were to turn off to head east.  I stopped to take photos of the signs and So did Charles.  He then waved me over......here....I'll let him tell it.

    Hi, this is Charles, telling you guys what had happened while Bob was leading the ride...About 20 mins into the ride from Hyder, this full size bear comes vaulting over the cement barrier from the left side of the road in a manor that seemed to indicate he was chasing Bob in a forward diagonal direction, quite oblivious to me following about 50 feet behind.......Of course he was too slow for Bob, but he was now in my line of sight. In a nano second, I could see this was going to be a hit, and by the sheer grace of God, the hit consisted of the bear hitting my bike in the left rear part of the saddlebag, not hard enough to throw me, but hard enough to damage the bag and alter my course on the road just slightly. I never felt like the end of the world was near....but I really do owe my Guardian Angel another one...We took pictures, had a moment of silence, and then carried on. The rest of the day was pretty well routine....for me anyway....
Cracked and broken saddlebag.  The cracking was more extensive than shows in the photo. No Bear Hair however.  
Bob again.  Once I came over to where Charles was stopped and he told me what happened and I examined the broken saddle bag I (casually) asked Charles if there would be extra laundry tonight.  He just stared then said - "no - it happened too fast for anything like that."  So off we went.  I had been completely oblivious of the incident as it all happened behind me.
   After that little incident the rest of the day was uneventful.  This part of BC is not particularly scenic and could pass for southern Ontario or parts of England. Not that it isn't beautiful, just not the spectacular scenery we've become accustomed to.  Our next gas stop we took the time to glue Charles' saddlebag back together and to adjust 99's headset bearing.  She had taken up the habit of violently shaking the front wheel if I wasn't extra careful when decelerating.  The first time it happened I thought I'd hit something on the road  or that 99 was being perverse about some slight or other, but it started happening more or less violently on a regular basis.  But later I realized that she needed a "neck adjustment" as the Chiropractors call it.  A headset bearing tightening.  I guess all that pounding over washboards on the Dalton took it's toll.  Fortunately an easy fix..........NOT. Nothing seems to be routine on this trip. Of course between us Charles and & have enough tools to practically rebuild both bikes.  But did we have a wrench large enough to loosen the headset lock nut? < Insert redundant answer here> so off to Canadian Tire Store (sort of a super hardware store and they are all over Canada) and bought the largest adjustable wrench I could find.  Problem solved quickly after that.  Now, however, 99 has to lug around another 5 pounds in the form of a wrench we probably will never need again.
  I just tried to upload another photo but this hotel's internet connection went from fast to very slow.  Nothing after 15 minutes so no more photos tonight.
   We spent the last little while trying to diagnose 99's current malady.  She has been running progressively worse all day. She seems to surge then lose power.  Exactly the symptoms of bad gas but not so severe.  Someone told me that BC gas could be problematic due to the ethanol content causing water to be ingested.  We tried for a new spark plug but settled on some fuel additive that claims to do all kinds of miraculous things.  If they aren't lying then she should run much better than new in the morning.  We'll see - I think they may have fudged the truth a bit.
   So here we are in Prince George, but I'm sure when he was here his quarters were somewhat more elegant.  Ours are not bad however, especially compared to the Sealaska Inn.  We even have indoor en-suite plumbing.  How modern is that!?
   I've got to go for now as it is 11:49 and I still have to spell check this load of drivel.  Not to mention that we have set the Screaming Meanie (super loud truckers alarm clock that will set off car alarms on it's high setting) for 5:00am.
Goodnight from metropolitan St. George

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