Final Day & Reflections


May 17 2014 – June 15th 2014 (2014 X Country Solo Trip) if you make to the bottom you will see some stats or you can scroll down not read this wordy post and cut to the chase. ;-)

I got a big smooch from Sierra when I arrived home…

My good luck charm came with me the entire trip and I now wear it everyday too…nice people gave this to me…really nice!

IMG_3306 Continue reading

It’s Harder Than You Think Yet Easier


Day 8-635.4 KM’s
Day 9-739.6 Km’s

I have arrived on the east coast of the USA in North Carolina yesterday, May 25th. Took me 9 days to get here with a lot of boring pavement riding

yet I was not really bored. Continue reading

Day 4 – My Humbling Lesson (785.6 KM’s)


I woke up early this morning thinking I won’t wait for Cabelas to open and buy a new SPOT device, I will head southeast and get some mileage under my belt. Sun was shining, packed up quickly and headed towards what I thought was Casper, Wyoming.

THOUGHT! Now, I could just not admit this stupid mistake but I shall share because this trip is all about learning, making mistakes, seeing what works and doesn’t. Stuff like that.

785 KM’s for the day. Sounds pretty good eh? Well, it would have been a very productive day if all the KM’s were in the direction I should have been heading. Continue reading

Day 3 – X Winds, Hail & GHOST Rider (711.4 KM’s)


I need to start off by saying thank you to all the PM’s, emails and messages in general to the many out there that think I am “brave” for telling my story and going out on my own. It is what it is….I speak my mind and always have, perhaps too much. But in the end I am not alone going through a devastating and blind sided separation. Seems this happens all too often in my books.I listened to the audio version of “Ghost Rider”, by Neil Peart and narrated by BrianSutherlan. I am on Chapter 4. It was so cool to listen to his take not only on his losses but his trip up the Dempster. He kept a great journal one that I would never be able to do and the details, oh the details remind me of my own trip and feelings in 2011.I will listen to the rest tomorrow and have to say all those who recommended this book to me I thank you! Now on to today’s report.

It’s funny no one has asked how my ass is doing on the BMW OEM low seat? Well, it’s working out just fine actually. The sheep pad helps but I bet I could be doing this without it. For some reason I have grown accustomed to it.

In 2010 I rode the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National park. It took us over 4 hours to ride the 48-50 mile road. The traffic and construction in early July 2010 was insane. Well worth it. Was a nice day but 4 hours???

Today it was closed and closed until late June.

Today started out sunny and no wind until I got through the mountains. Again in 2010 I remember what it was like to ride through Montana and Wyoming. HOLY cross winds. But for the beginning of today I saw this…

It drizzled a bit but I have to be honest it was nothing compared to later in the day. The KLIM Altitude suit being Gore Tex is handling all this rain no problem. The only issue I have is the light colour. It’s showing up everything and something weird is happening to the leather on the pants. I took some pics but perhaps I will take better ones at another time. But here are the ones from today.

both pants legs have these marks or stains? Dunno. I will see what happens when I wash them eventually. Other than the dirt and I have always had an issue with the collar. hey need to make it about 2 cm wider for heated liners. I can not zip up the jacket with my liner in to make it really water tight.

My bike turned 15,000 today. I think yesterday it was 14,000?

it was still really nice out after I got through the park. Had to take this photo op shot with a back ground like that? It’s really beautiful here, even the plains did not bore me this time. In 2010 they seem to be annoying a bit, but this time around being with me?

I like the rolling hills and the surprise curve in the road. Soothing I guess as I listened to Ghost Rider.

Not sure if anyone out there who rides long distances have ever thought about audio books. If you haven’t highly recommend getting some on your phone, use the Audible App and you are good to go.

My SPOT has died by this point. I called SPOT and they said it must be defective using so many batteries. Doesn’t really matter I know it’s defective because now it won’t boot on. It DEAD.

I am going to go to Cabelas here in Billings tomorrow and see about getting a Gen 3 Spot. The next time I can set it up online and call SPOT to activate the new device when I get one, tracking will be back on. I like to have it for me and my family.

The Spring time weather out here is definitely not boring. One minute you have sun and warmth, the next it drops 10 degrees C and it’s thundering out, lightning and hailing with down pours.

Doesn’t look that bad but when I turned a bend in the road I hit a black wall of hail. About 2 hours outside Billings, MT.

I love cargo trains when riding. We have them back in Vancouver but while riding out in the middle of no where…these things are so cool.

So, I have to admit…riding solo can be scary at times. If you are reading this post to this point I will confess it is taking a little more time getting used to being on my own. Like parking. I have almost dumped the bike more times than I care to admit because I never judge parking surfaces well. Cheryl did. I find myself at times looking in the rear view mirrors only to see no one is back there. Scary to me since I always had a back.

I respect solo riders a whole lot more now. We are on our own for sure. But on the other hand I am liking my own pace and not even really having anyone to talk to but strangers.

I have to give kudos to Shoei helmets. I love this new RF1200 but I have always LOVED how easy it is to take the shield off these helmets to get a good cleaning of the mechanisms and the shield itself. Brilliant.

This 2013 Beemer is making a really decent touring bike. I like it!

Navigating for me is new. I never had a GPS on my bike until last year. Maybe that was a foreshadow because something prompted me to get one and learn how to use it. Coming in handy I have to say. I am using a Montana 600.

When I got to a road construction area that says wait until your pilot car arrives, this can mean minutes or hours. I waited an hour. So, listened to my book and watched cows graze. A little annoying because I lost an hour yesterday time wise due to Mountain time and today due to waiting.

Started out sunny and cool while waiting but look what happened.

It was kind of funny. I was loving the gravel and dirt and was cruising right along while the cars and trucks behind me seemed more tentative. it was slippery but I have done the Dempster and Dalton in the piss down rain and this was nothing but maybe 10 KM’s long?

There is where the cross winds almost blew me off my bike a few times. I trust my bike and trust me to relax in such powerful gusts. Felt like a football player leaning into the wind to keep myself low. My body actually aches from today. The wind for me acts like I am a punching bag. Truthfully? I rather ride in crappy rainy weather than HIGH cross winds. it made for a great work out.

The another storm came up. In Montana you can see for miles so you can also see your destiny. I watched the skies and pulled over at a gas station to get my heated gear on. The temperature was about 18 C then dropped to 6. I spoke to an army young man moving to Texas from Fairbanks who said he heard it’s really bad going the direction we were heading. Well? it was…huge hail, wind, thunder, lightning, pouring rain that bounced off the road up my pants leg. Also, it rained so hard that it was bouncing off my bike up my helmet until I put my chin down.

The hail hurt my hands through my gloves and to kicker was the wind challenge as well. This lasted for about an hour. KLIM gear kept me dry as a bone as well as my Gore Tex KLIM gloves.

Gas station where I changed.

Came out of it and again nothing but blue skies but windy.

I did not take pictures in the middle of the storm…I thought that would be just dumb if I did. I needed both hands on the handle bar. Wyoming is having funnel clouds and also bad storms. So, what lies ahead?

I decided to head to Billings, instead of Buffalo, WY due to time. After 711 KM’s and the cross winds I was done. So, stopped in Billings which is sort of good. I am going to go to Cabelas outdoor store tomorrow and see about getting that new Gen 3 SPOT. Maybe I can have tracking back up sooner than later if they have one in stock. They open at 0900 so my start time will be later than I want.

That is Billings down below and the weather was perfect. I got another KOA cabin for the price of a tent site. It pays to show up late and a little off-season.

As the diabetic that I am it’s important I check my sugars at times. Mine seems to be doing OK except yesterday I dropped to 3.6. Hypoglycemic which is not good but today I was better.

I am paying more attention to my diabetes than any other trip. I need to so I can stay alert. I have no one telling me I am acting weirdly.

And finally a nice sunset to end the day. Oh, and some really really ANNOYING loud young man who just went to bed, made for a great day. Which is actually what I had a great day. One thing I hope this distraction of a trip does some healing so when I go back I am not a complete disaster as I was before I left. I need to be able to be functioning again on a more consistent basis. That is my wish for this trip. Safety, enjoyment and finding myself somewhat whole again.

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Day 1 – Cold, rainy and full of ruminating



Let’s talk about my pet peeve from day one real quickly. My SPOT Connect is sucking up batteries like there is no tomorrow. I have emailed them about this because it’s not acceptable when you use lithium batteries to power a device that they last only a few hours. Went through 6 yesterday and had to replace them after I stopped for the day to start fresh. OK, rant done!My neighbours came over to my garage before I left in their PJ’s to say good bye and good luck. I thought that was sweet. One of their hubbies on his way of work caught this pic of me heading east right after I left my house.

The weather started out great. Perfect for me to ride. Cool, over cast and no rain until I hit the interior of BC. Changed to cold, rain and that lasted all the way to Castlegar, BC through the mountain passes. Was too lazy to get the heated gear out but today I am prepared for T Storms, rain and cold into Montana.

Today mark a big day for me. Not only heading out SOLO for the first time but again to protect some of my privacy I will reveal that while I left, there was a moving truck at my house and when I return there will be big holes inside my home missing “things” so Cheryl can have a something for her “new” start in life.

My day in my head was full of ruminating thoughts, questions, feelings and emotions. I played a lot of music to try and drown out any negatives and it partly worked. I just could not get completely away from that gnawing gut wrenching feeling. Even seeing an active Osprey nest with chicks did not allow me to escape my thoughts.

I knew this would be a difficult day on levels I can’t even explain….and it was. But for the sake of my personal saga I will not cloud this entire report using it as my therapist. Instead I will take all the PM messages, emails and posting of support as comfort and try to focus on the glass being half full. Not easy for a type A control freak like me.

My ride from Maple Ridge to Castlegar was uneventful in the sense that things went OK despite the weather of course.

I got a good view from Anarchist mountain outside Osoyoos, BC

This is a familiar route. Did it in 2010 going X Country as well. I decided to stay in Canada for the first day just because. My views like this would have been plenty if it wasn’t for the low cloud cover.

My selfie and the flash went off it was that gray out after I left this vista.

Oh, need to sneak in a pic of my beauty. Need to rethink some packing. Maybe relocate items etc. Will work on this day to day.

I ended up doing about 628 KM’s day 1, and was hoping to try to get in over 700 today. But we will see how the weather turns out. They are a warning of T storms, rain, and cold. I am prepared today with heated liner and gloves for anything. My new KLIM Altitude did as expected in the rain. I stayed dried but the light colour is getting really dirty fast. Not a big deal but I rather have the suit a little darker colour, not black but something that will not show every piece of crud that hits you.

Saw this cemetery along the road. It’s a Aboriginal cemetery. Just tons of simple crosses. Eery sort of.

Staying on the pavement for a while…not going to deviate too much on the way east but coming home I might explore some more. So, this was it…rain for the rest of my day. I don’t set up camp in the rain. I will if it starts out dry and rains…no biggie. But I ended up a motel in Castlegar for the night with bad WiFi. ;-)

I am off to Montana today via Creston. Will head South from there and try to find pockets of drier weather but I think I am out of luck until Tuesday who knows. Maybe there will be a break.

Solo day 2 will commence in a few hours. Need to shower and eat of course. If I miss comments my apologies. I just a many things on the go and if there is a question or something in particular you want to know…PM or email. Thanks. Here’s to a day with better thoughts, clearer mind and embracing my trip.

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Touring Tip: Risk of Winter Riding


Be Aware and be smart

Jan 10, 2014  by

Touring Tip: Risk of Winter Riding

We’ve recently been caught in the grip of a particularly cold blast of winter weather. So it bears repeating, from a previous Touring Tip, some of the additional risks of riding in cold weather. Here are seven worth keeping in mind: Continue reading

The DEMPSTER HIGHWAY


I found a great web site for anyone to peruse if you are traveling Canada on a bike.  I will be posting some of its content here but use this link, GRAVELTRAVEL.CA to read all about the many back country roads up here.  The site also include the TCAT-Tans Canada Adventure Trail.  Plus, like last year….anyone planning to ride to Alaska please feel free to post any comments or questions if you feel we might be of any assistance in your planning.

The DIRT

Name: The Dempster Highway
Duration: 2-5 days
Rating:  Class 2
Accomodations: Camping, motels
Distance: 734 km one way, 1468 km return trip
Location: Yukon and North West Territories

Photo by Russ, Dempster Highway, Yukon

Photo By Russel Higginson

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 6.25.58 AM

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60 insane cloud formations from around the world [PICs]


When traveling I always find myself taking time to look at the clouds all around us.  This batch of photos intrigues me hence the post.  Enjoy the 60 pics of some of the craziest cloud formations I have ever seen.
By On July 25, 2012 
Cloud varieties go way beyond the cumulus, stratus, and cirrus we learn about in elementary school. Check out these wild natural phenomena.

STANDING IN A CORNFIELD IN INDIANA, I once saw a fat roll cloud (like #4 below) float directly over my head. It’s a 12-year-old memory that remains fresh. There was a moment of mild panic just as the cloud reached me — Is this what a tornado looks like right before it hits? I thought. This is some freaky unnatural shit and I do not know how I’m supposed to react.

I imagine a lot of these photographers having similar hesitations as they set up for the shots below. While it was relatively easy to put together this collection due to the huge number of crazy cloud pictures available online (did you know there’s a Cloud Appreciation Society?), many of the phenomena shown here are pretty rare…and potentially panic-inducing.

1. Lenticular cloud, Mt. Fuji, Japan

Altocumulus lenticularis is one of the more obviously ‘bizarre’ cloud types — they don’t occur too frequently, so when you see one, you take notice. They often form above or near mountains, as moist air flows rapidly over a rise in elevation. Mt. Fuji makes a pretty sweet base for this one.

Source unknown

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Hurricane Sandy update


advgrrl:

Leslie’s family and friends are back east. Family in New York, Florida and North Carolina. Let’s hope they are all staying safe from this massive storm!

Originally posted on This Just In:

Editor’s Note:  The danger cannot be overstated. Hurricane Sandy has already claimed at least 67 lives — including 51 in Haiti. In the United States, schools are closed, businesses shuttered and mass transit suspended. Residents are being told to hunker down — and wait .  Here is the full story.

Here are the latest developments:

[Update 4:49 a.m. ET] Anna Kate Twitty, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, was just on CNN and said the organization has multiple shelters across seven states where evacuees can find “a safe place, a warm meal and emotional support.” To find a shelter, go to redcross.org, call 1-800-Red-Cross or download the free Red Cross hurricane app for iphone and android users.

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