Gear this time of year is important to me. Making sure I can get warm when needed, stay dry and comfortable on my bike are all part of making even a short trip safe.
I traded my AP Scouts for the new Toucan boots. Gore Tex and more of a MX boot in the end. Why? I wanted higher coverage for my shins, sturdier boot overall and I do have to admit I like the Gore guarantee. After playing around with the buckles I got these boots to fit really well.
They are size larger than what I usually wear in AP because they don’t come in 39′s. I will add some inserts to make the foot bed a little more snug but I really like these boots. Totally waterproof after this ride. Easy on/off, comfortable to walk in even though they squeak. Much stiffer than the Scout boot, better shin coverage and I feel more protected. Had to raise my gear shift a bit but I also just added pivot pegz. Overall first impression of the new Toucan boots I give them a thumbs up. One more thing…I rode with my Scouts 4 seasons and just changed up my socks. I will do the same and next summer I will see how they do in the heat.
When it gets really cold out we both use Hippo Hands. Not on this trip but it’s getting almost that time of year. Cold mornings nice afternoons. We added the Hippos last year to our gear and both Cheryl and I swear by them…they may not look that great but your hand even with heated gloves will LOVE you. I also even change out my buff to a full fleece like this when it get freezing out.
Believe it or not this set up fits comfortably under my helmet.
Now back to my short ride…After spending the night in the very quiet town of Osoyoos, I decided to head down to the States to go home via Winthrop and Rt. 20. I heard rumors about snow in the pass heading home but either way I had to ride over a mountain range whether it was in Canada or Washington.
I always find crossing over the border from Canada to the USA an interesting adventure in itself. Some border guards are like where are you going what are you bringing in etc…others practically make you disrobe just so see your face and then even make you open your top box and panniers.
This US border patrol dude made me do just that…I have no issues showing my face or that I have nothing on board but tools…but then they are like, move on! Barely getting my gear together so I could at least ride off and properly get my helmet on plus gloves and so on…I pull over only to be told I can’t “park” here.
So, I had to ride half-dressed to an area that was a “safe zone” and get geared up. ;-) Always a joy those border crossings.
Once I crossed over to Washington it was a cool .5 C and off in the distance I could see the pass…and freshly snow-capped mountains. I sort of was a little worried because I could the see the skies get darker as I got close to Winthrop. My gut was saying…”hmmm…I wonder if that snow is reaching the road?”
I am so used to taking pictures on the fly when traveling with Cheryl that I hardly stopped even riding by myself to take in the moment. Old habits are hard to break but I am taking note for the next solo ride to actually stop and soak in the views a little more.
I pretty had the road to myself. Again riding in the off-season especially in this area is worth it. I really don’t care about partying or even seeing too many people. I like the solitude.
Now, this was a sight.
I had to pull over and just listen…I could hear the flames. No cars to interfere with watching this balloon sore through the air. I seriously wanted to flag them down, literally and pick me up for a quick ride. Instead I just watched and made a mental note
I need to do this at some point in my life.
Very cool and look at their view….
Got into Winthrop, WA and by this time I was hungry. It was about 4 C there and this is where I met, well…met a guy that I think never gave me his name on a Husaberg.
He warned me that the day before they were plowing snow in the pass and that it could be slushy. At this point he never said anything about riding with me but said go to the Duck for breakfast. So, I did and low and behold, I see the Husa guy come in and sit at my table geared up. He said maybe we should ride together just to be safe through the pass. i figured what the hell..better to have 2 of us if we were going to be skiing on Rt. 20.
Cheryl and I have been to Winthrop a few times now. But each time we have been here it is at different times of the year. So, in the end no matter how many times you ride somewhere, it can look completely different depending on the season. I felt this way when we have gone up the glacier highway up to Jasper, AB. We have been up that route quite a few times but each and every ride has felt so new because of the weather and season. never feels like the same ride twice.
Pretty rustic way of traveling compared to my F800. You can barely see his signals making it “street” legal. From Vancouver himself, he was all tucked in on his bike to ride through the pass with me. With only heated grips and BMW gear as well as KLIM winter gloves he swore he was comfortable in 0 C.
So, off we headed into the snowy sky. I wasn’t really worried to be honest. I saw a truck that was obviously de-icing the road in town. But as we got closer to the pass, the temperature dropped from 4 to 0 C and I wasn’t really sure what we were riding on wasn’t black ice. We took is easy and I was sure to be careful. My traction control kicked in twice. I slowed down a bit and eventually my new riding partner did as well. He was in the lead all the way just scooting along.
Should have given him my camera so he could have taken some shots of me. ;-) At this point it started to rain a bit and then snow. Still you could see the pavement completely clear, but we were not through the highest point yet. I am still wondering is this ice we are riding on? I stopped for a second to rub my boot on the asphalt and it seemed fine.
At the peak this is what we see and now I can start to relax because it was still clear on the road and I saw 2 icing trucks pass us. They obviously take keeping this road safe for travelers even when it appears there is nothing to worry about. Well, except black ice. :-)
Just beautiful for October 1st! Got to the top, pulled over to check in with my buddy.
He said all was good just his hands we a little cold. I had my heated liner on pretty high as well as my grips and gloves. I felt snug as a bug and glad to see that it was going to be literally down hill from here with rain.
Of course another picture of my beauty…BTW..this bike with the low stock seat is actually pretty comfortable. No real issues to talk about when it comes to my ass. I am surprised to be honest. I think the low seat provides the rider with a pocket of air towards the back which relieves any pressure points. Obviously not a touring seat but I don’t recall feeling pain. I stood a few times to stretch but in the end very happy with the BMW seat, shocking I know.
I love the low clouds, fresh snow-capped mountains and the chill in the air. My FAVORITE time of year to ride. This view did the trick. Even though I was on my way home, I felt I got a million miles away which is the sole reason I wanted to ride for fun versus commuting.
Another view where we came from. Rt. 20 is a really nice easy road to ride. Smooth winding curves, great views and a real pleasure to ride when it comes to pavement.
Winding down the 30 hour trip, I hit rain of course. Back to the west of the mountain range it was pouring out. Weather we have been having for quite sometime. I can handle rain no matter how hard it comes down. WE have to be comfortable riding in this stuff living here. If we weren’t we could possibly never ride outside summer. As always I have to give credit to my KLIM Traverse.
100% dry and I still love this suit. In the future although we tried the 1st generation KLIM Latitude suit we will find one that provides a little more protection if we were to go down. The Traverse uses light weight material made more for dirt bike riding but I hear KLIM is coming out with gear that might fit we grrls better next March. In the mean time this will be our suit until we find something more suitable for the road.
Got to the Sumas border and there was a truck blocking the Nexus lane. Waited about 30 mins and then scooted by the line up. LOVE Nexus, worth every penny and no issues coming into Canada.
See the clouds? yeah the skies opened up before I pulled into my garage. In the end even if you can’t get away for a bulk amount of time, doing a short 900 KM trip can give you that refresh you need if you love riding like I do. I might just have to do this more often although I rather have Cheryl with me, if we can’t align our schedules I think both of us should practice solo riding. Great way to debrief from our jobs and just hit restart.
One last stop in Abbotsford for an apple. Cute organic store on the side of the road right by the ramp for Highway 1. They even have a green roof and let goats trim it everyday. Ate my apple, the rain came, geared up and rode straight to my house. Perfect end to a very enjoyable 30 hours away.
Until next time….Leslie