Killarney Provincial Park in November?

Yes, we went to Killarney Provincial Park in November. November 1st to be exact.
This trip was to be the sequel to our canoe trip two years ago. But, this one was a bit different. First of all, Mr. Gossamer Gear could not attend due to illness. We were sad. Second difference was that we were going to home base at a yurt. Then, possibly do an overnight in the back country.
We set out Nov 1 from Ottawa. On the road, on schedule at 7:30 a.m. (Yay us!). Mr. Rogaine was traveling down from Timmins so he got to sleep in. By the time we got to Pembroke, there was snow, but the roads were bare. Drive up was uneventful. I was in my truck with Mr. Clark, while Mr. Syrup was in his Jeep.
This is what it looked like on the road to the Park.

Arriving at Killarney

Arriving at Killarney

We arrived at around 2:30, checked in and unloaded to the yurt. I busily set up my hammock (Warbonnet Ridge Runner) while the other guys went for a hike (intending to get to Acid Lake).

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

Hammock setup

The first day saw heated debate about the agenda for the next few days. In the end we decided to do two distinct paddle / hike days. This turned out to be a good call.

November 2, 2014: The Crack
The overnight temp on the 1st was -5.7 C (See my gear list below). I was the only one that slept outside.

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

Frosty Tarp

My frozen iPhone said it needed to cool down.

My frozen iPhone said it needed to cool down.

We got up, had breakfast and got a later than expected start on the day’s adventure. By the time we left, it was above 0 C. It was an easy paddle across George Lake to the portage to Freeland Lake. There was an unpleasant surprise on Freeland Lake. ICE! It was pretty thin at the put in. Mr. Syrup and I were in his Kevlar canoe so we went around the ice while Mr. Rogaine and Mr. Clark plowed through as best they could in Mr. R.’s Royalite canoe.
At the end of Freeland we hoped to be able to paddle Kakakise Creek. But nope. Couldn’t get close to the portage as the ice was about an inch thick. We managed to make a path through the ice to shore, but nowhere near the portage. We set out through the bush from there. Note: I forgot my SPOT, so I don’t have a trace of the route. If you look at Jeff’s Map, we basically did the Freeland Lake to Kakakise Lake Portage and then the hike to The Crack with an extra chunk at the beginning.

We (at least Mr. Syrup and I) had agreed that our turnaround time was 2:00. Just before 2:00 my knees told me to stop climbing so I turned back to the gear drop site. Mr. Syrup was a few minutes behind me. He and I never made “The Crack”. Mr. Clark had my camera and took some pictures. Mr. Syrup and I arrive back at the canoes at ~3:30. We had agreed that the others would be back by 4:00 or we would head out. At around 3:45 we could hear Mr. Clark’s encouraging words through the woods so we loaded into the canoe and set course into the wind back to the George Lake. We completed the 5.5 km paddle with mini portage just before sunset. The other team arrived back at the beach a little later.

Evening Meal was some awesome Chili Mr. Syrup had made. Lovely night in my hammock with a low temp just above freezing.

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George Lake looking like glass

George Lake looking like glass

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Hiking along Kakakise Creek (frozen)

Approaching Sealey Lake

Approaching Sealey Lake

Sealey Lake

Sealey Lake

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Near the top of The Crack

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The Crack

The Crack

The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

View from The Crack

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Hiking back from The Crack

Mr. Clarke paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clark paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clarke paddling into the sunset

Mr. Clark paddling into the sunset

Paddling at sunset makes for pretty pictures.

Paddling at sunset makes for pretty pictures.

More sunset

More sunset

The ice was THIS thick

The ice was THIS thick

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This is where we left the boats on Freeland Lake

This is where we left the boats on Freeland Lake

Ice at the east end of Freeland Lake

Ice at the east end of Freeland Lake

George Lake

George Lake

Looking back at George Lake

Looking back at George Lake

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It doesn’t look warm back there

At the end of George Lake

At the east end of George Lake

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Paddling on George Lake

Breaking through the ice

Breaking through the ice

Ice on Freeland Lake

Ice on Freeland Lake. The portage is about mid frame (near the snow).

Beach at George Lake

Beach at George Lake

November 3, 2014: The unsanctioned portage to OSA Lake
Some of the guys at work had told me that OSA Lake is a must see. There was a problem. The traditional route would take us back through frozen Freeland Lake. Because we used Jeff’s Maps and even bought some, we knew of the unsanctioned portage from George Lake to OSA. Our mission became try that portage. It was a traditional tardy start after a big breakfast. The paddle across George Lake was beautiful and uneventful. We mixed up the canoe pairings. I was with Mr. Clark and Mr. Syrup and Mr. Rogaine were in the other boat. We found the portage. Someone had kindly left marking tape for most of the portage. We agreed that we would leave the canoes at George Lake and hike the portage first. If it was easy, and we felt so inclined (pun) we would head back and get the canoes. We never made it to OSA. At the summit of the portage there was a really neat rock fall. Mr. Clark and Mr. Rogaine scampered up the rock fall and beckoned us to join them. Glad they did. The GoPro video (unpublished) confirms that it took me less than 5 minutes to climb up the rock fall. It was an amazing view. We had a lovely picnic while some of us (not me) explored the higher elevations of the outcrop. Mr. Clark had a hammock and he set it up for a brief relax. Dang, I had a newly crafted gear hammock / hammock chair that I should have brought. After about 1.5 hours of R&R we started the return journey to the campsite. We switched canoe partners again and I was re-united with Mr. Syrup. It was a beautiful paddle into the wind followed by complete calm in the George Lake bay. I took this picture.

Because it was supposed to rain significantly and was not going straight home after the trip, I decided to pack up my hammock and move into the yurt. I missed my hammock that night.

Evening meal was incredible again. Pasta with Tomato sauce, onions, garlic and leftover steak. I must say, Mr. Syrup plans and executes an awesome meal plan!

On the first two nights all of the yurts were occupied. On the last night, it was just us. It’s pretty cool to be the only people in a provincial park.

We packed up all of the non-essential gear to make the departure easier the next morning.

Hiking the unsanctioned portage

Hiking the unsanctioned portage

Hiking the unsanctioned portage.  The rockfall is on the right.

Hiking the unsanctioned portage. The rockfall is on the right.

View of OSA from the rockfall

View of OSA from the rockfall

OSA from the rockfall

OSA from the rockfall

Selfie on the rockfall.  Because the world needs more selfies.

Selfie on the rockfall. Because the world needs more selfies.

Relax time on the rockfall

Relax time on the rockfall

Hammock on the rockfall

Hammock on the rockfall

My new hiking boots

My new hiking boots

Beach at George Lake as sunset approaches

Beach at George Lake as sunset approaches

Chikanishing River

Chikanishing River

I must go back to Killarney. Maybe not quite so late in the year ūüôā

Partial Gear List:

  • Hammock Related
    • Warbonnet RidgeRunner (no net)
    • Warbonnet SpinDrift hammock sock (always installed on this WBRR)
    • Warbonnet Lynx full length 3 season underquilt ¬†(brand new!)
    • HammockGear Burrow 20 Top Quilt
    • Warbonnet Cloudburst Tarp
      • home made Lash-it self tensioning lines
  • Sleeping Warm on the coldest night
    • IceBreaker 260 weight Merino wool LJ’s
    • Minus 33 Merino wool shirt
    • IceBreaker Merino wool socks (need heavier socks)
    • Chemical hand warmers in the socks
    • MEC 200 weight polar fleece
    • Fleece balaclava from Coscto
    • Home made down beanie
    • Down sleeves from a JC Penny puffer jacket
    • Thermalite Reactor +8
  • Other new / noteworthy gear
    • Solomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boots

Endorsements (not paid):

I use and love all things Warbonnet Outdoors, Dutchware Gear. ¬†I only have one item from Hammock Gear but it is perfect. ¬†Those Soloman Quest boots were totally awesome (note, I bought mine at Bushtakah as MEC did not have my size –¬†and it took 45 minutes to get assistance at MEC). ¬†Not a single blister nor hot spot. Jeff’s Map was wow. Just buy the maps! ¬†They are now carried by MEC now too.

Milddogs Ride Again!

Yup, it happened. But how did it happen? Where did they go? What did they ride?

Hasn’t been much of a riding year for me. I’ve only put about 2000 km on the Super Tenere. Mostly because I was commuting with another person to work for the summer. Weather didn’t help motivate us to plan any weekend adventures. I’ve seen Dendog a bunch this summer, but we usually travel with our families and that means: No motorcycle trips!

But that all changed Sept 19, 2014. The culminating weekend of the 2.5 year preparations and celebrations for my birthday. The preparations began in earnest when I purchased my Super Tenere with the goal of riding to Alaska.

A few weeks ago I read this post on the Super Tenere Forums: Wife buys dude a Grom. I thought, “hey, that’s really cool”. I had been watching Honda Grom Youtube videos during the rainy summer and thought, “hey, that’s really cool”. A little bike to fart around on. Cool. I had mentioned them to my son and wife and Dendog.

On Sept 18th, Dendog, Mrs. Dendog and our mommy arrived at my house in my dad’s truck. With a Honda Grom in the bed of the truck! It was for me! My wife had purchased a Grom for me! Dendog did the procuring at Hully Gully in London, ON.

Friday Morning, Dendog and I unloaded it, laughed at the tiny battery, put some gas in it and fired it up. We rode up and down the street a bit, adjusted the clutch and then suited up for the maiden ride. Dendog rode the Super Tenere for the first time and I rode the Grom. It was a blast. Had to stop for fuel and filled it up with $4.60 of gas. Dudes at the gas station were staring. I was in my full gear, riding this tiny bike and taking with Dendog on the intercoms while I fueled up. He was out of sight so it probably looked like I was talking to myself. A bit like the old days of Bluetooth headsets.

We did about 50 km around the back roads. Up hills it was a struggle to maintain speed. The little Grom isn’t broken in yet. Can’t see anything out of the mirrors. One of the neat features is that with a full face helmet, you can’t see the bike at all as you are riding.

I have to think about what mods I am going to do. Would be nice to get a few more km/h to make the commute to work viable (almost all 80 km/h roads). Most popular performance mods seem to be
-taking out the restricting tube in the air intake (I already did this)
-new exhaust
-Power Commander
-big bore kit (any size up to 181 CC)

I was joking with my wife that I could spend $400 and get an exhaust system that cuts the bikes weight by 5 lbs. Or, for free, I could lose 5 lbs ūüôā

Now that I have two bikes again, Dendog and I can ride when he is in town. Next summer we hope to do the east coast and finish the provinces. I’ll take the Tenere ūüôā

I think I need racing leathers to go with the Grom!

We went out for dinner Friday night. We went to Kelsey’s. It wasn’t great, but it was better than Smitty’s!

Peace out!

Some pictures:

Dave's Grom

Dave’s Grom

Blue and Red

Blue and Red

600lbs vs 225lbs

600lbs vs 225lbs

Big and Little

Big and Little

Big and Little

Big and Little

After a ride in the country, returned home with exactly 100km on the ODO

After a ride in the country, returned home with exactly 100km on the ODO

Dendog on the Grom

Dendog on the Grom

Otis and I, a riding went

Gorilla Pod selfie at Calebogie Lake

Gorilla Pod selfie at Calebogie Lake

Cousin Otis and I chose to ignore the world and go for a lovely ride May 31, 2014. Nope, we didn’t join the “Ride for Dad” (which is a great charity event), we went our own way. ¬†I’m not big on group rides.

Nature gave us an absolutely wonderful day.

Some background first

Otis an I last rode together in 1988 (or so). Despite the fact that we only live about 50km apart, we don’t get together very often. Between 1988 and a few years ago, we both took a hiatus from riding but are now both firmly back in the saddle. On one of our last rides together, Otis’s Harley had a malfunction so we rode two up on my Yamaha Maxim 400 with Otis on the seat usually reserved for the rider’s female companion. We were significantly over the weight limit of the Maxim and it could barely make it up any hills. We weren’t quite this bad. ¬†We gave up at the next significant town (Smith’s Falls, ON, for the record) and called our uncle Claude. ¬†He jumped in his van, drove the hour to meet us, picked up Otis, went back and got Otis’ bike and delivered them both safely home. ¬†I carried on with the rhythm of my Maxim’s engine going “thank you, thank you, thank you”.

Otis and I have very different bikes.  He has an wonderful classic BMW K100 circa 1988 (I might be off a year), while I have my Alaska proven Yamaha Super Tenere with all the mod cons.

Back to May 31, 2014

We didn’t have firm plans other than to ride the 511 from Perth, ON to Calebogie, ON, then re-plan once we got there. ¬†I had never ridden the 511. ¬†It was nice. ¬†Very little traffic (most of it bikes), lovely corners and hills.

The Spotwalla track isn’t super exciting, but here it is.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=9cca537bf388bfb25

The Sena SMH10 intercoms were awesome (again).  We left them open the entire trip and had some great laughs and conversations.

We saw many other motorcyclists heading in the other direction on the Ride for Dad tour. When I got home, I got a text from a dude I work with (Mr. Street Triple) stating that he saw us.  I now have to go through my GoPro video to try and find him! That sounds easier than it is.

We stopped fairly frequently because we weren’t really in a rush and because I have to pee every 8 minutes and 17 seconds.

At Calebogie, we decided the best choice for us was to just head back down the 511 to my place and catch some pool time.

Overall, a great ride.  We came home intact, had a swim and a cold beverage.  Our thoughts were with Dendog and his peeps. Hopefully we can ride with him soon for a short Milddogs 2014.

New Gear Reviews

I am no longer acquiring new farkles nor gear for riding.  I pretty well bought everything anyone would ever need leading up to the Alaska trip.  For this trip I only had two minor additions.

GoPro Mounting: ¬†I salvaged one of my broken Hero 3 cases and mounted it hard wired to the mounting bar on my Madstad bracket. ¬†This placed the camera behind the windscreen and allows me to record continuously for about 8 hours at 720p 60fps. ¬†To make this mount I affixed one of the sticky mounts to the back of the case. ¬†Drilled through the side to plug in a USB cable semi-sealing with a rubber gasket. I then had to make two short aluminum bars to perform the equivalent of a gender bender. ¬†I’ll post some video shot with this mount later.

Rescued GoPro case.

Rescued GoPro case.

Arai Pro Shade System: I just got this Friday when Mrs. Milddogs picked it up at the UPS Store in Ogdensburg. Not available yet in Canada – I tried, but available at Revzilla¬†at the time. ¬†This is an interesting way to get a sun shade / peak without compromising the integrity of helmet. ¬†Despite what the instructions say, I added a light smoke pinlock. ¬†At first I did not think much of this device. ¬†But, out on the road, I really liked the combo. ¬†No sunglasses needed. ¬†As Anthony¬†says in his review, it could provide more coverage. ¬†The only weakness I encountered was glare from my instrument panel coming up under the coverage provided by the pro shade in the down position. ¬†But, it doesn’t cost much more than a regular visor and seems to be worth the difference in price.

New Arai Pro Shade

New Arai Pro Shade

Some Pictures

Stick Selfie at Calabogie Lake

Stick Selfie at Calabogie Lake

Gorilla Pod shot at Clyde River dam near Lanark.

Gorilla Pod shot at Clyde River dam near Lanark.

Otis at the Dam

Otis at the Dam

Damn, we found a dam on the Clyde river. We did not get the whole dam tour.

Damn, we found a dam on the Clyde river. We did not get the whole dam tour.

Remember to love your people, call your cousin and thank your Uncle Claude (if you are lucky enough to have one).

Motorcycle Specific Gear for Alaska Trip

I’ve covered off the things that were more or less attached to the bike. This post covers the gear that was more or less attached to me. Mostly it covers the outer shell parts.
The inner layers consisted of various combinations of:

  • Under Armour T-shirts (just brought 2)
  • ExOfficio underware (3)
  • Columbia zip off pants (2)
  • 2 different weights of Merino wool base layer
  • Icebreaker wool socks (3)
  • MEC 200 weight fleece jacket

And now for the outer gear. ¬†The important point here is that my jacket and pants never let any water in. ¬†The boots did a bit during the driving rain from Tok to Whitehorse but in all fairness, the dirty roads had done a number on the leading edge of the toes of the boots. The Summit H20 gloves leaked. ¬†Rev’IT has offered replacement but I really like them and I figure the next set will likely leak too. ¬†Reviews seem to indicate that waterproof gloves are rarely waterproof for very long.

I would only change two things with the items listed below.

  • Klim did not have Hi-Viz colors in the Badlands Pro jacket when I bought mine. There were two choices; Black and Grey. ¬†Since grey was not available anywhere, I went with black. ¬†Black is not visible enough (hence the Hi-Viz CamelBak I got).
  • My Klim gloves are a bit too small for me. ¬†I should have bought a larger size. ¬†Even stretching attempts have not yielded comfort.

I am very much an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) person. ¬†I wear the same outer layer in all weather. ¬†It works well. ¬†On really hot days you don’t really want to be at a standstill even thought the Klim gear vents amazingly well.

To aid in cooling on the really hot days we had “Heat Busters” that we got at Mark’s Work Warehouse. ¬†They are a neckerchief that has water absorbing stuff in it. ¬†I also had a Frogg Togg’s Chilly Pad. ¬†We would put these in the cooler for a refresh when we stopped. The Chilly Pad gives up its cold water more readily but they tend to mold. ¬†The Heat Busters cool your neck for a bit.

I did not buy the bike shorts until the trip home. ¬†I wish I had watched this video before we left. You can fast forward to 3:36 or so. ¬†Or, just accept that Tracy says something like “Bicycle shorts, for any kind of long distance riding, they are gold. Trust me.”

Here is the list of gear with links. ¬†No money has changed hands. But hey, Klim, if you are reading this, I’d love to swap my jacket for the Hi-Viz version. ¬†I’d take that sponsorship.

Item Manufacturer Category Purchased At Link
Badlands Pro Jacket Klim Shell http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Traverse Pants Klim Shell http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Armor For Traverse Pants Klim Safety http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Suspenders Klim Comfort http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Rev’IT Alaksa Gloves Rev’IT Gloves http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.revit.eu/en/#/home
Rev’IT Summit H20 Gloves Rev’IT Gloves http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/ http://www.revit.eu/en/#/home
Adventure Gloves Klim Gloves http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.klim.com/
Adventure Gore-Tex Sidi Boots http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.sidisport.com/scheda.php?macro=2&id=14&lng_riv=
Arai Signet-Q Arai Helmet http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.araiamericas.com/#/home
Light Smoke Pinlock Visor Arai Helmet http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.araiamericas.com/#/home
Balaclava Klim Insulation http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.klim.com/
Buff Buff Many http://www.buyabuff.com/ http://www.buyabuff.com/
Camelbak Hi-Viz Camelbak Hydration / Safety http://www.copsplus.com/ http://shop.camelbak.com/hiviz/d/1135
Sena SMH-10 Intercom Sena Communication http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Lance Armstrong Bicycle Shorts Nike Comfort Sports Experts
Ear-Plugs (disposable on a string)

Super Tenere Farkles (accessories) for the Alaska Trip

During the heat of preparation for a big trip, you can lose track of what you have done and possibly how much you have spent. ¬†I’m glad to have lost track of how much I spent. ¬†This post contains a list of the accessories (farkles in cool internet terms) I added to the bike. Not all are permanently attached. ¬†Many deserve complete reviews. ¬†The internet has taught us that we are rarely original. ¬†My combination of farkles might be unique, but I’m not the only one to have any one of the items. ¬†Most of my research was done on motorcycle forums. ¬†Most notably,¬†http://www.yamahasupertenere.com/ and¬†http://advrider.com/forums/ ¬†and the wonderful links, trip reports, reviews that are shared on these sites. ¬†Note that I have never posted on the forums. ¬†I’m a lurker. ¬†The reviews on Revzilla and Anthony’s videos are pretty helpful too.

I had a great spreadsheet that listed everything I was bringing, why and where it was stored. ¬†I lost that spreadsheet in the great “iCloud is full so remove the account from one of my iDevices and all of my content disappeared” human error incident of 2013.

I have included links to some items and where I bought them. ¬†I try to buy locally (or at least in Canada) but sometimes can’t resist the huge savings that you can sometimes get shopping in the US of A. ¬†One exception is the tires. ¬†I bought those at Revzilla and got a good price. ¬†Price in Canada from certain online retailers would have been very close, however, the tires were not available in Canada when I needed them.

I also found that talking to some of the staff at local stores and most notably the guys at Dual Sport Plus was really beneficial. ¬†It’s really nice when you can get advice that results in spending ZERO dollars.

There are a few things that I would change:

  • The Wolfman dry duffel was great. ¬†But I didn’t need it. ¬†All of the contents were in dry bags so I could have gone with a durable cordura duffel for significantly less money.
  • I used a regular 1 gallon gas can for auxiliary fuel. ¬†I did not need it. ¬†I was going to go with a rotopak, but that was a lot of money for something I did not really need. ¬†The problem was that the gas can moved around on my pristine AltRider luggage rack marring the surface permanently. ¬†Not their fault. ¬†If I had a do-over, I’d buy the rotopax and mount, it would not have moved around.
  • Small hard top case. ¬†Dendog had a “KLR Style” hard case and it was really handy for just dropping things in. ¬†I wish I had a small one of those for gloves, snacks and other frequently accessed items.
  • Single versus dual duffel. ¬†We followed a guy through parts of Minnesota (I think) and he had a nice setup on his BWM K series. ¬†Side bags, a small top case and small duffel bags on the top of each top case. I assumed he knew what he was doing since he had a lot of state /province stickers on the back of his side bags. I liked that setup as it would allow me access to the side bags without removing the large duffel bag that straddled the side bags.
  • Protect the top of the Side bags. ¬†The duffel did move around on top of the side bags marring the surface of the side bags. ¬†If I did it again, I’d have added some kind of thin nylon to the top of the side bags to take the abrasion.
  • Get a fenda-extenda (I did not make up that name). ¬†Would help protect the front of the engine from crap thrown by the front wheel.

I didn’t mention it below, I bought my Super Tenere at Motor Sports World. ¬†Great people. Dendog’s Versys came from Ottawa Goodtime Centre. ¬†Also really great to deal with.

Remember, I’m not compensated by anyone for any of this content. ¬†Links are provided as a courtesy. ¬†I am happy to do business with all of these entities.

Oh, one last thing. ¬†It’s not really a farkle, but we used a Polar Bear cooler the entire way. It was awesome. ¬†It spent the entire trip strapped to something. ¬†I just wish they made an 8 pack model. ¬†We used the 6 pack (not for beer) and it was just a bit cramped some days.

I still don’t want to eat at Smitty’s.

Item Manufacturer Category Purchased At Link
Skid Plate AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-skid-plate-for-the-yamaha-super-tenere-xt-1200z/pid/690/cid/1
Engine Guards Alt Rider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-crash-bars-for-the-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/600/cid/1
Luggage Rack AltRider Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-rear-luggage-rack-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/625/cid/1
Side Stand Foot AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-side-stand-foot-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/1307/cid/1
Master Cylinder Guard AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-rear-brake-master-cylinder-guard-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/378/cid/1
Universal Joint Guard AltRider Bike Protection http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.altrider.com/altrider-universal-joint-guard-for-yamaha-super-tenere-xt1200z/pid/368/cid/1
Tank Protectors (side) TechSpec Bike Protection TechSpec http://techspec-usa.com/magento/
Tank Protector (back) Yamaha Bike Protection http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
ROX Pivoting 2″ Risers ROX Comfort http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Brake / Clutch Line Extenders RideOnAdv Comfort http://rideonadv.com/ http://rideonadv.com/shop/brakes/rideonadv-super-tenere-long-lines/
MadStad Windshield Bracket (with Cross Bar) MadStad Comfort http://www.madstad.com http://www.madstad.com/s.nl/it.A/id.887/.f
Madstad Stabilizer Bars Home made Comfort  
Touring Windshield Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Side Defelctors Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Heated Grips Yamaha Comfort http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Front Auxiliary Lights – Rigid 90611 Rigid Safety http://www.dualsportplus.com/
Rear Aux Lights Skene P3 Brake / Tail Lights Skene Safety http://www.motorcycleinnovations.ca/ http://www.motorcycleinnovations.ca/Skene_P3_Lights_p/p3.htm
Throttle Lock Excel Comfort http://www.excelthrottlecontrol.com/index.htm http://www.excelthrottlecontrol.com/index.htm
Jesse Odyssey II 10″ Side Bags Jesse Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.jesseluggage.com/
Tank Bag Yamaha Storage http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Dry Duffel Bag (Large, Expedition) Wolfman Storage http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=104
FuzeBlock FZ4 FuzeBlocks Electrical http://www.fuzeblocks.com/ http://www.fuzeblocks.com/
Optimate USB Port Optimate Electrical http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.dualsportplus.com/product_p/o100.htm
Optimate Flashlight Optimate Electrical http://www.dualsportplus.com/ http://www.dualsportplus.com/product_p/o120.htm
GPS (Garmin Car $100 GPS with Sandwich bag cover) Garmin Navigation Coscto
GPS Lock Home made Security
GPS Mount RAM Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
GPS Hard Wire Kit Garmin Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Spot Mount RAM Navigation GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Stop N Go Tire Repair Service Ottawa Goodtime Centre http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/
Spot Messenger (Gen 2) Spot Safety GPS City http://www.gpscity.ca/
Alaska Sheepskin Seat Cover Alaska Leather Comfort http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront
Bike Lock Kryptonite Security Ottawa Goodtime Centre http://www.ottawagoodtime.com/
Bike Cover (Half Cover) Nelson Rigg Security http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Shorai Battery Shorai Reliability  http://www.motorsportsworld.com/
Helmet Lock Home made Security
Duffle Bag Lock Home made Security
Rok Straps Rok Storage http://www.dualsportplus.com/
Michelin Anakee 3 Tires Tires Tires http://www.revzilla.com/adv-sport-touring-gear
Various Retroreflective Stickers Many Safety

I Made Some Stoves (and I liked it)

Back when I went on the Wednesday night hang, Mr. Gossamer Gear was showing off his rolled aluminum alcohol stoves (BIOS) made by¬†www.minibulldesign.com. ¬†They were pretty cool and I was fascinated by the rolled can. ¬†You can watch how they are made by looking at MBD’s YouTube channel.

I watched a bunch of videos and tried making some stoves.  I know look at aluminum cans in a completely different way.  Sadly, I am more interested in the can shape than the contents.

Here is what I made (no instructions provided, just look on YouTube:

1 “Ultimate Alcohol Stove”. ¬†These are made from a Coke can (or Pepsi, if you are so inclined.

Ultimate Alcohol Stove

Ultimate Alcohol Stove

Ultimate Alcohol Stove.  This one has 32 jets

Ultimate Alcohol Stove. This one has 32 jets

3 x “Bud Light” stoves. ¬†These are made from the Bud Light aluminum bottles.

Bud Light Stove #2: Relief holes only at the top

Bud Light Stove #2: Relief holes only at the top

Bud Light Stove #2:  This one has elevated supports at the top.

Bud Light Stove #2: This one has elevated supports at the top.

Bud Light Stove #3:  Notice the uneven roll.

Bud Light Stove #3: Notice the uneven roll.

Bud Light Stove #3:  Two relief holes drilled in the inner wall down low, and two near the top.

Bud Light Stove #3: Two relief holes drilled in the inner wall down low, and two near the top.

2 x Inverted Neck Stoves.  Not sure what to actually call these.  I made one from a sunscreen can and the other from a Coors Light aluminum bottle.

Sunscreen Stove

Sunscreen Stove

Sunscreen Stove:  Notice the inner wall is too short.

Sunscreen Stove: Notice the inner wall is too short.

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

All stoves (except the “Ultimate” one) have jets drilled approximately 1 cm apart and 3/4 of an inch from the top of the stove. The “Ultimate” stove has 32 jets. ¬†All jets are 1/16 of an inch in diameter. ¬†I did not use any JB Weld on the inverted stoves, but probably should have.

After building them, I decided to do a comparison.  The test went as follows.  Use 1/2 ounce of 99.99% Methyl Hydrate to heat tap water as much as possible.  Record times to prime and until the fuel had run out.  Measure beginning and end temperature of the water. Ambient temperature was approximately 12 (C).  Same pot was used.  It was cooled with tap water and re-filled with 2 cups of water.  Any water on the outside was dried off with a towel. I ran the video camera to capture each test.  There was no wind.  I used a normal household thick bottomed pot and not a fancy titanium camping / hiking pot.  I expect temperature increases would have been more significant with a thin titanium hiking pot.  I have not weighed any of the stoves.

Results:

Stove Starting Temp (C) Final Temp (C) Time to Prime (sec) Time to out of Fuel (sec) Temp Change Seconds/ Degree
Ultimate Stove 16 67 40 376 51 6.6
Bud Light #2 Stove 13 48 41 160 35 3.4
Coors Light Stove 12 65 39 264 54 6.0
Sunscreen Stove 15 75 29 289 60 4.3
Bud Light #2 Stove 14 65 36 249 51 5.9

Video Evidence:

Observations / Conclusions:

The Sunscreen stove produced the highest increase in temperature, and did it relatively quickly.  This was a bit surprising given that I built it wrong (the inner wall does not touch the bottom).  Perhaps this is due to the smaller diameter resulting in more heat directly on the bottom. I am not sure what happened to Bud Light #2.  It fizzled out pretty quickly and produced the lowest temperature increase.  I probably should have re-run the test of this stove.  Maybe the video will show what happened.

The Coors Light stove performed better than I expected.  It is still burning off the internal layer of stuff.  This stove is not as rugged as the Bud Light nor Sunscreen stoves.

During the test I could hear the Coors Light stove “gasping” for air. ¬†I likely need to file some groves in the rim to allow air in as the fuel vaporizes.

I am going to try and re-make the sunscreen stove as I think it is the best size and seems to hold promise. ¬†I also want to make one of the Andrew Skurka style “Fancy Feast” stoves and try it. ¬†I’ll compare it to one of the stoves from this test.

If you want a simple and relatively indestructible and inexpensive alcohol stove, just make one. ¬†If you want one done “right”, buy one from MBD. ¬†Or, if you really want an awesome stove, get a JetBoil. ¬†I have the Sol and it will boil 2 cups of water in well under 2 minutes. ¬†But, I can’t make one of those. ¬†Might post some video of the stoves burning.

A Wednesday Night Hammock Hang

There is nothing in this post about motorcycles (except that I didn’t ride mine on this adventure). ¬†The hammock guys had a plan: After work we drive up to a beautiful spot, hang the hammocks, tell some stories, enjoy the scenery, sleep and then head to work in the morning.

A brief note about product mentions: ¬†There aren’t any sponsors of this site. ¬†All of the gear mentioned has been purchased by us. ¬†We don’t owe anyone any favorable mentions.

There were four of us on this mini camping trip.  Since the names will be changed to protect the innocent, here are the intros with a brief gear list.

Mr. CF, Mr. C and Mr. GG

Mr. CF, Mr. C and Mr. GG

Mr. Cuben Fiber: ¬†Mr CF owns everything Z-Packs¬†produces. ¬†It was inspirational. ¬†The entire weight of his cuben fiber pack, tarp, jacket, ground sheet, various utility bags was actually -376 grams. ¬†That’s right. ¬†If you used his stuff, it reduced the weight of the contents! ¬†OK, seriously, Mr. CF had some beautiful gear. ¬†Given that no one makes a cuben fiber hammock, he was using a Hennessy hammock (bottom loader) suspended via home made whoopie slings and tree straps. ¬†Most of his hardware was titanium from Dutchware. ¬†Mr. CF had some great stories about bears. ¬†He was the only one of us that braved a swim in the lake. It was my first time hanging with Mr. CF.

Mr. Gossamer Gear: ¬†Mr GG has great taste in hammocks. ¬†He sports an awesome Warbonnet Blackbird (whoopie slings and tree straps) and Warbonnet Superfly tarp. That’s a great setup. ¬†He can’t be called Mr. Warbonnet as I also feature Warbonnet hammocks and tarp. ¬†Could be confusing. ¬†His pack is an awesome Gossamer Gear¬†unit. Versatile and light. ¬†Clearly not in the negatives like Mr. CF’s Arc Blast. ¬†Last year, Mr. GG inspired me on our canoe trip to take my gear to the next level. ¬†This year he upped the ante with his Tinny stoves. For the record, the stove is not on my must acquire list. ¬†Sorry, Mr. GG.

Mr. Clark:  Mr. C (not to be confused with Howard Cunningham) is my hammock inspiration.  He is the one that introduced me to the beauty of sleeping in the air.  Mr C was hanging in his Clark Jungle Hammock with Clark Tarp.  Mr. C was showing off his new eGear Splash Flash light.  It was awesome.  Unfortunately Mr. C did not acquire one of these lights for me.  He does deserve a shot a redemption so I will let this oversight slide for now.

Me: ¬†I’m a Warbonnet guy. ¬†I have the Blackbird and Superfly just like Mr. GG, but I also have the most awesome hammock ever created: ¬†The Warbonnet Ridge Runner. ¬†This hammock is a bridge hammock and takes just seconds to “dial in”. ¬†I have made plenty of whoopie slings but have reverted to the stock web suspension based on advice from Mr. C. ¬†The Warbonnet Web suspension is ultra easy to adjust. ¬†My hammock was setup and dialed in within a few minutes. ¬†I really like the Blackbird but find it takes much longer to get “just right” to have the structural ridge line perfect and to eliminate calf pressure. ¬†I was using my Hammock Gear Burrow 20 degree top quilt (over stuffed and 2″ wider than stock). Mr. GG has the same quilt. ¬†I ordered mine after seeing his on the canoe trip last year. ¬†My under quilt is a Warbonnet Yeti 3 Season. ¬†I’ve added extra bungie so it works on my Ridge Runner. ¬†I also brought my new Go-Lite Jam 50 pack. ¬†It did not get nearly as much attention as the Z-Packs pack that Mr. CF brought, but I like it. ¬†At about 1/4 the price of the Z-Pack and only twice the weight (still under 900 grams), I’ll stick with my Go-Lite. ¬†I also have the Go-Lite Shangri-La 3 tent for when I have to sleep on the ground.

We had fun and the trees were beautiful. ¬†Mr. GG mentioned how the sweet sound of Mr. C and I snoring helped him have a great night’s sleep. ¬†I forgot to give Mr. GG some ear plugs. ¬†Next time!

Special thanks to Mr. C for getting me into hammock camping and to the other guys for providing an endless shopping list for me.  Next virtual visit is to Dutchware.  Then I need some more Zing-It.

Here is some evidence.

Me taking down the gear at 7:16 a.m.

Me taking down the gear at 7:16 a.m.

Mr. Clark's place on the left.  Mine on the right.

Mr. Clark’s place on the left. Mine on the right.

5:58 p.m.

5:58 p.m.

5:58 p.m.

5:58 p.m.

5:58 p.m.

5:58 p.m.

Panorama at 7:20 a.m.

Panorama at 7:20 a.m.

Mr. Clark's setup on the left. Mine on the right.

Mr. Clark’s setup on the left. Mine on the right.

Ridge Runner and Superfly

Ridge Runner and Superfly

Ridge Runner and Superfly

Ridge Runner and Superfly

7:13 a.m.

7:13 a.m.

Ridge Runner with Superfly

Ridge Runner with Superfly

Ridge Runner uncovered.

Ridge Runner uncovered.

View from the campsite as the sun sets.

View from the campsite as the sun sets.

 

 

Epilogue: Part 1

I rode a 2013 FJR 1300 and I liked it!  But no purchase yet.  I love the Super Tenere.  The seating position, the awesome ABS and Traction Control, the fact that I have it completely farkled.  But, the FJR was really nice too!  The guys at www.motorsportsworld.com let me ride the FJR.

I have washed the Super Tenere 4 times now. ¬†I’ve swapped the tires back to the pre-trip tires. ¬†Changed the oil, but not the rear diff fluid yet. ¬†I really have to take the bike apart to finish cleaning it.

Since returning from the awesome Alaskan adventure, both Dendog and I have had a bunch of questions.  Here are some of them and some plausible answers.

Q:  Would you do it again?
A:  NO WAY!!!  Not the way we did it.  Too many miles in too short a period of time.  It was hard to stop and just take it in when we had so much distance to cover.

Q:  What would you have changed?
A: ¬†¬†It would have been great to have the time to stay in Dawson City for a few days waiting for some nice weather to do the Top of the World / Taylor higways. ¬†We didn’t have that luxury so we rode on one of the 4 rainy days that we had (5 for me). Bit of a drag to have the high point also be a low point.
The seat on the Super Tenere.  It just hated my thighs. I will have to go for a Russel Day Long custom seat this winter.
I would have liked to camp more.  A more relaxed schedule would have helped with this.

Q: What is the ideal size of a riding group
A:  Whatever works for you.  Dendog and I get along well.  With only two of us it made hotels & camping easy.  One room or one site.  Any larger a group and we may need more rooms or sites.  Also, with only two people you are dealing with fewer individual circadian rhythms.  Easier to get going and rest stops are faster.  I think there is also merit in doing a long trip solo.  That would be pretty cool, but not as cool as traveling with an awesome friend or friends or brother.

Q:  Wish you could have taken a different bike?
A:  Nope.  The Super Tenere was awesome (ignoring the seat this time).  I do wish I had spooned on some Heidenau K60 tires in Whitehorse and then swapped back after we did the dirt roads.

Q:  What happened with all of the failed equipment?
A: ¬†I’ve had pretty good luck. ¬†Klim came through with replacement knee and elbow armor (only one pad failed). ¬†GoPro sent we a new case for my HD Hero (since I had already purchase one for the Hero 3) and Rev’It! were very quick to offer warranty on the gloves.

Q:  What is the next trip?
A:  No plans yet.  We know it will be much shorter.  We know we would like to include a few other guys like Otis & Rob.

Q: What is my single favorite memory? (my aunt asked me this and it really made me think).
A: ¬†There isn’t a single one as there are too many. ¬†But here are some highlights.
Making it to Alaska.  That was the goal, we did it!
Riding through the herd of Bison.  Totally cool.
Seeing bears. ¬†Lot’s and lot’s of bears.
The intercom banter with Dendog.
The LAST grated metal bridge!!!!  -celebration time
Kluane Lake.
Muncho Lake.
Dawson City and the confluence of the Yukon & Klondike rivers.
Meeting other people and sharing briefly in their journeys.
Liard River Hotsprings (even with the mosquitos)
Arriving home!

Coming soon, equipment reviews. I promise. More videos too. When I get time to edit them.

Day 20: Home: 855 km

July 18, 2013

Dendog’s mileage was less at about 750 km.

We got up early so Dendog could make the ferry over to Tobermory, ON.  Dendog obsessed over watched the radar again and we made a break around 7:10 a.m.  Spotwalla knows the departure time more accurately.  It was cloudy and had been raining when we left.  We were trying to split the weather systems again and it worked. We had a few drops fall on us and the roads were wet.

We rode in a single shot from SSM to Espanola. ¬†We saw our last bear of the trip running along a side road near Serpent River, ON. ¬†That was Dendog’s first bear sighting in Ontario. Everyone in Espanola loves Tim Horton’s, and the entire town was there to greet us. ¬†They may not have known that was why they were there, but it seems they were all there. ¬†So we skipped the Tim’s and got gas at the neighboring station. Then we had to say goodbye.

IMG_0955

My ride was pretty uneventful. ¬†I did try to educate people on how to use passing lanes. ¬†I’m not sure they heard me, but I tried. ¬†The rules are simple: ¬†Accelerate before you pull out. Pass the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible so others can pass it too. ¬†If you are being passed, don’t speed up, it’s not a race.

I found myself hitting the intercom button a few times. Sharing all of the little moments with my brother was one of the coolest things about this trip.

I reminisced as I passed the turn off for Sportman’s Lodges east of Sudbury, ON where I went canoe camping with some friends last October. I stopped for gas in North Bay. Stopped a picnic spot between North Bay and Deep River for some food. ¬†The group self-portrait wasn’t the same.

Where's my brother?

Where’s my brother?

More gas in Deep River and then a straight run home.  I was lucky in that I was always just behind the rain.  Some of the roads were damp.  The temperature was never too high.  It got to 31 C for a brief time near Pembroke, ON but then cooled down to more comfortable temperatures.  The rain must have cooled things down for me.

I pulled over a few km from home and affixed the GoPro to my helmet to catch the return home event.

I ate a glorious meal of Noodles Don Don. ¬†As you can expect, it was way better than Smitty’s.

So this is what we did: ¬†13, 248 km. ¬†(total for Dave). ¬†We had only one day when we didn’t ride (Whitehorse). ¬†Dave’s total trip time was 21 days (20 for Dendog), which means an average of 631 km/ day, or 662 km/day only including the travel days.

Overview of the trip.

Overview of the trip.

Now it’s time for cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. ¬†Then maintenance and some small repairs.

In future posts we will review some of the equipment, we’ll add some video, maybe augment a few of the posts with more pictures.

Note that Spotwalla will no longer be reporting my position.

Love your people.  We missed ours.  Great to be home.  I feel a bit like Bobby Ewing.

Day 19: Sault Ste. Marie, ON: 728 km

July 17, 2013

Today was an awesome riding day! Weather, you were so good to us today. Our local meteorologist, Dendog, nailed our get away perfectly. He obsessed over watched the radar for 2.5 hours until he figured we could leave between the current band of showers and the next band. He then forecast that by the time we got to Nippigon the weather would have passed to the south. He was right on all fronts. We had a few drops on the way out but that was it.

Early in the ride we passed by the Terry Fox memorial and mile marker 3339. He was a real hero. I can’t begin to imagine what he went through in life, nor during the Marathon of Hope.

Like most of the journey, I had never been to this part of the country. The north shore of Superior is beautiful. The hills, the vistas, the lush greens, the enormity of the lake. Had me in awe.

We stopped for snacks and at a few other rest stops. Gas prices in this part of Ontario are similar to the prices in remote BC.

The temperature change was really interesting. Near the lake we got as low as 17 C up at the north part of the trip. We were as high as 30 C inland. Once we got near the lake again we would drop 6 or 7 degrees. That was really welcome as today was much more comfortable.

Some pictures:

The big lake they call Gitchigoomi.

The big lake they call Gitchigoomi.

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How we took the self portrait.

Superior

Superior

The bikes at Superior

The bikes at Superior

Superior

Superior

Dave taking pictures

Dave taking pictures

IMG_0947

Hanging at the picnic spot

Hanging at the picnic spot

Tonight is the last night we spend together. Tomorrow we break “camp” early to try and make the push home. We may ride together to Espanola, ON but Dendog has a ferry to catch so he may have to leave first. We will see. We both have options to stay at if the weather is crappy or if we are too tired. But we both look forward to seeing our people too.

Because it is our last night together we did a video summary that we can torment our families with later. So far, this has been an amazing trip. Plenty of miles, no major mishaps. We have seen a lot.

Tomorrow we will re-enact the scene from “Strange Brew” when Bob and Doug separate in the Elsinore Brewery. Not sure who will be Bob and who will be Doug.

For those following on Spotwalla, it stays with me. Dendog’s peeps know how to track him.

Neither of us will likely blog tomorrow. The summary of the last day will follow soon. We will even write some equipment reviews. I may write a restaurant review: OK, here it is: Eat anywhere but Smitty’s!

Tonight we had DQ for dessert. ¬†It’s important to get your dairy! ¬†For the first time on this trip, they got my Peanut Buster Parfait Blizzard right! ¬†The dietary consultant that took my order fully understood that it was just chocolate sauce and peanuts. ¬†That’s it! ¬†Thank you Sault Ste. Marie DQ!

We look forward to a safe return home.

Peace out.

 

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