Canuck Chicks Conga T-Shirts!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 17: Mon., June 29: Moncton to Halifax, NS

Oh, I tell yez, dat Rhonda is soooo fired as Chief Navigator ... which I'm sure she'll regret, as it was the best-paid volunteer job around LOL

She bravely decided she would meet me in a place called Elmsdale and proceeded this morning to give me instructions by phone before I left Moncton. "Before yah yet to Truro, take the exit for Elmsdale, dat's the best and if yah see signs for Halifax airport, well, then ye've gone too far, and turn left, then go through two sets o' lights and Timmie's is on the left ... do this, and turn there and yadda yadda yadda.

'Cept it twern't true, as I discovered as I was riding along. I took the last exit for 'Halifax and Truro', the sign said. OK, I'm good, that's the first step. Riding along, see signs for Truro, 'Next 5 exits for Truro', OK, counting off signs, one, two, three, four, five. ACK Wait a minute, none of those was for Elmsdale??? Where the frack did it go??? What to do? Well, keep riding, I guess - eventually I either come right into Halifax, or I have to stop for gas.

Hmm, see exit for Stewiacke (which I STILL think should be pronounced Stew-ee-ack-ee!), take it and gas up. Then haul out cellphone to call Rhonda and discover a message from her which she left almost immediately after we spoke this morning, this time with corrected directions. Elmsdale turns out to be a lot further down the road, AHA! Anyway, get her on the phone and give her the gears, "Lady", I sez, "your directions are SHIT!" LOL "That's OK", she sez, "I'm a great cook!" "OK, you're forgiven!" LOL "But yer still fired!"

So, I carry on and meet up with her at the Timmies in Elmsdale. Oops, I see I've gotten ahead of myself as I've neglected to say that it was absolutely pi$$ing down rain in Moncton and it didn't really let up until I got to Stewiacke. Luckily, only my feet and around the edges got a little damp as I have good rain gear, but it was hellishly windy and was not a fun ride -- had to slow down quite a bit for the first 60 or so km. Anyway, all's well that ends well.

So, after a coffee and some lunch at Timmie's, we headed off to Privateer, the local HD dealer for a much needed oil change and to have my front wheel dealt with (as it turned out). I haven't mentioned this before, but since Offroad Ed, Hotspot Annie and I had our rough-road detour on the trip to Sudbury, I've been experiencing a severe wobble when taking the bike up through 60 kmh. Thank goodness, the service guys at Privateer discovered that one of the wheel weights had fallen off so it was out of balance. They put a new chrome one (!) on for free (!), the little darlings, and I was good to go. What a great bunch - they looked after me just great.

Now, acourse, that took about an hour or so ... so what was a girl to do, but indulge in a little retail therapy??? A new helmet, visor and yellow glasses did the trick :-)

Now, in the meantime, in came Bob, Rhonda's hubby. My goodness, is this fella BIG -- I hadda stand on my absolute tippytoes to give him a big hug, while he hadda bend so much at the waist, he resembled an open jacknife LOL

So, we headed off to their place not too far away and right away I felt at home. Lucky me, I've got my own room - it's lovely. And what was waiting for me? A lovely birthday card and a whole raft of birthday prezzies -- wasn't that sweet? A guardian bell for the bike (which Big Bob has already installed), a little angel pin, a Nova Scotia Riders crest, a pair of blue glasses - how cool is that to get prezzies on your birthday when you least expect it. :-)

And not only that, I was plied with the CCC libation, totally awesome homemade pizza (BURP) and a birthday cake (more BURP). (I'm writing this in the wee small hours cuz I was woken with heartburn - piggy that I am, so decided to make use of the time LOL)

Then Rhonda's buddy Beth came over and showed us some 'biker retail' purchases she had just made, so it looks like we'll be adding retail therapy to our ride tomorrow PLUS Beth has offered to organized a lobster cookout - what a perfect introduction to Nova Scotia!

As well, the gals plied me with maps and guidebooks and a TON of good ride suggestions. It looks like my time here is gonna be jampacked with fun things to do!

Doin' the Happy Dance! Nighty-nite!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 16: Sun., June 28: Hanging in Moncton, NB

Paid a visit to the wrap-up breakfast and awards presentation of Atlanticade today, met Suzanne, one of the organizers and chatted to a few others. I took some video of the riders marshalling for the last run of the event, but unfortunately, can't get it to load right now -- will keep trying.

And, unfortunately I also didn't manage to hook up with daisymae, the local gal that I was hoping to ride with, so instead, I toodled around town a bit, seeing the sites and so forth.

Tomorrow, off to hook up with Rhonda in Halifax! Yahoo, I hear lobster BBQ is promised for Canada Day. YUM!

Sadly, rain is forecast for tomorrow and possibly, the next day :-( Oh, well, at least the temps should be fairly warm ... and what else is rain gear for, eh? ;-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 15: Sat., June 27: Edmundston to Moncton, NB

Well, here I am at last in Moncton -- looking forward to visiting Atlanticade tomorrow. Arrived here 'somewhat' damp around the edges. Had intermittent torrential rain from the go in Edmundston, right up until I got to Fredericton (which was a little over half-way through the 404 km I rode today) :-( I then cleverly insured sunshine on the rest of the journey by finally putting on all my raingear in Fredericton -- never saw another drop after that! LOL

The bad news is that the weather forecast is calling for rain, part of tomorrow and all day Monday (great -- that's the day I head to Halifax :-( )

Funny thing happened this morning. After I checked out from the hotel in Edmundston and was getting my helmet and gloves on, a mum with her two little kids came out. The little guy, about 3, had a million questions about the bike and wanted to sit on the bike. I was about to say yes and lift him up when Mum said a very definite NO. I didn't like to contradict her, but that put him into a tantrum and he started yelling, "I wannna ride, I wanna ride" over and over.

While that was going on, his older sister, about 7, started asking me questions, beginning with "Is it hard to ride?" I thought that was pretty intelligent, for such a young kid. Anyway, we chatted awhile about riding, all the while little brother was shrieking for a ride and Mum was giving me dagger looks.

Yep, I'm pretty sure that little girl will come over to 'our' side one of these days. Just doing my bit to ensure future generations of 'girl' riders ;-)

Hasta la vista, gang!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 14: Fri, June 26: Cowansville to Edmundston, NB

WHOOSH, it's been a looooong day of riding. I hit the road from Cowansville before 9:00 a.m. and arrived here at the Best Western in Edmundston a couple of hours ago. The only stops I made were for gas, so man, did I have a numb bum and right leg when I parked the bike to get off -- could hardly hold it up for a second!

I wended my way through the Eastern Townships northward to get onto QC Route 2, which is also the TransCanada and rode all the way along it to my destination. My only deviation was when I didn't get over to the right when I should've and wound up crossing the Pierre Laporte Bridge into Quebec City (!) Luckily, after I entered the City, I spotted a tourist information place (on the right side of the road: BONUS) and as I was circling the block towards it, I spotted the sign for the access to the bridge to get back on my correct path, so lucky me, didn't even have to stop for help, just went around one block and hey, presto, back on the correct route back over the bridge to the TransCanada. Hurrah!

Wikipedia sez: "The Pierre Laporte Bridge (French: Pont Pierre-Laporte) is the longest main span suspension bridge in Canada.[1] It crosses the Saint Lawrence River approximately 200 metres (660 ft) west of the famous Quebec Bridge between historic Quebec City and Levis, Quebec."

Other than that wee bit of excitement, the day was pretty hum-drum - a very long, very boring highway; some intermittent road work but otherwise OK. Very definitely glad to be here and will be hitting the hay early to get back on the road to Moncton and Atlanticade tomorrow.

I only realized a few minutes ago that I had neglected to book accomodations in Moncton (ACK!) but managed to get space at the Best Western there -- too bad, poor me had to take a suite LOL What a tough life, eh?

So, tomorrow, off to Moncton (404 km) and Atlanticade! Nighty-night All!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 13: Thurs., June 25: Hanging out in the Eastern Townships

Storm video 1

Storm video 2

Well, I slept in until 8:00 a.m. this morning! Imagine that!

After some coffee and a nice continental breakie here at the Inn, I set off about 9:30 to visit the local cemeteries in (faint) hopes of finding some of the resting places of my Dad's relations -- no such luck. After visiting two, it was sooo hot and humid, that I was soaked and had to hit the local McDo's for un cafe glace before I could carry on with the next part of the program, which was to visit the local Historical Society and Museum in Stanbridge East.

I was hoping to meet up with the archivist, with whom I have exchanged emails on various subjects, but sadly she was off today. (Note to self: Let people know you are coming!)
I had a great time in the Museum (I know, I know, I'm reverting to my library/archive type persona -- but I just cain't help myself -- must be in the genes or something!).

After that, I stopped in to the Mill Bar & Grill next door (which the sign said opened at 11:00 a.m.), at 1:30 p.m. and the 4 staff members were very surprised to see me. They said, 'nobody comes in here till evening!' and I said, 'then why the heck are you all here???' They laffed merrily and invited me to sit down for a drink (I think they'd all had at least one or two themselves by then!). When I ordered a diet Pepsi, they all fell about laffing, 'What a tough biker woman ... eh?'

I laughed along and we had a good old discussion about cross-country riding -- they were fascinated with the idea of the Conga and said they would all follow along on the blog ... punctuated by the local barfly asking for a ride on my bike, to which I politely said no. In fact, every time there was a lull in the conversation, he asked for a ride on my bike ... and I politely said no ... several times LOL Eventually, he went home to his 'afternoon nap', he said. Too funny.

I've encountered a least 15 lady bikers in the immediate area in the last two days. There are tons of bikes on the roads and obviously, lots of women riding, which is nice to see. They don't do the biker wave here, though ... it's more a gracious-type head nod -- much more practical, in my humble opinion, especially ripping around a sharp curve LOL

I'm not posting a link to photos for today, as I don't want to bore you all to death with a ton of architectural pics -- I've just inserted one I like at the beginning of the post -- hope you all enjoy it - it is the Stanbridge Mill (now the Museum and Archives) and weir.

BTW, that Brahma beer is a perfectly fine substitute for Corona!

On a more sober note, I've heard from Big Daddy that his brother-in-law is currently in Royal Columbian Hospital, in New Westminster, having just had a (semi-emergency, I think) triple bypass. So, everyone, please spare a positive thought for Terry's quick recovery. Sending much love to Jill, Terry, Natalie and Sandra at this difficult time. Wish I was there to give everyone big hugs XXX

Well, tomorrow I am setting off for New Brunswick. I will be splitting my journey there over two nights -- hoping to get as far as Montagny, possibly farther. With any luck, I'll at least get to one day of Atlanticade ... and then on to Nova Scotia and wild times with my buddy, Rhonda :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 12: Wed, June 24: Spencerville to Cowansville, QC

I left Dottie's place this morning around 10:00 a.m. and arrived here in Cowansville about 2:30 p.m., having deviated (unintentionally!) somewhat from my planned route. I was going to take Route 2, which runs along the St. Lawrence from Prescott for about 66 km and then deke over onto the 401 freeway, but somehow I wound up on the 401 right away, so that took care of the scenic part of the morning LOL

I continued up the 401, stopping at Lancaster for a brief comfort stop and gas-up and then headed north into Quebec on Route 20. Eventually, this took me to the outskirts of Montreal and following my Google Map instructions, I successfully navigated through that labyrinth, over the Pont Champlain and eastward bound away from Montreal.

I was just feeling rather smug at not having had any troubles traffic-wise, when it all came to a dead stop -- and we then crawled along for about 13 km, stopping and starting in the HOT HOT HOT sun (and me with full gear on!) It turned out there had been a traffic accident (which looked pretty minor to me when we passed it) in a roadworks zone. What a gong show - in the middle of it, the attending gendarme did this wild U-Turn to chase after a couple of squids on a sportbike, who were trying to bypass all the congestion on the shoulder. He chased them -- ON THE SHOULDER -- and then stopped and ticketed them, all the while holding up thousands of drivers. Talk about NUTZ!

Once I got through all that, I headed south towards the Eastern Townships and wended my merry way through all these little villages along some great twisties and sweeping turns (90 kmh limit) -- just the thing to cool off. :-) I filled up the bike at a 'libre service' with 'un tank de gaz' and was off again on the road to Cowansville.

Once I got to Cowansville, I cooled off with un Coke and some frites in MacDo's and then went for a little toodle around town. Absolutely charming! Lots of stonebuilt 1800s houses and several mansions (now museums and a bureau touristique) on Rue Principale. (And Dottie -- how exciting -- a gorgeous little old cemetery -- I feel a genealogical itch coming on!)

I was riding along when I came across a huge place called Auberge Yamaska, so I rode up the big circular drive, but there was a (badly) handwritten sign on the door 'Arriere Porte, S'il vous Plait' (Back Door, Please). That shoulda been an omen to me that this might not be a Four-Star establishment, but what the hay, I went around back, where there turned out to be a little bistro with no customers, but all two of the staff were sitting around drinking beers (think they'd had a few by then!).

They said the hotel was closed, until some unspecified future date, but hey, isn't your bike fabulous and why not sit down and have a couple of beers to cool off and chat -- too funny! I said thanks, but no thanks and did they know of another place to stay in town? So they directed me to the Auberge Days Inn. And here I am, having had a terrific veal dinner in the Restaurant. I was sad that they had no Corona, but when I explained the 'tradition' to Nathalie, my serveuse, she found me a bottle of Brahma beer and added a wedge of lime to it and I must say, it made a perfectly satisfactory substitution :-)

So, all is right with my little world; I've finished uploading all my pics now (except for the diskful held captive in my computer drive) and soon will be off to beddies.

Bonne Nuit!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 11: Tues., June 23: Pembroke to Spencerville, ON

Hello All,

Sorry for the late (and short) post tonight -- it is late, I'm bushed and heading off to bed pronto. Just wanted to say that after a beautiful ride down the rest of Hwy 17, Dottie and I met up on Hwy 416 near Ottawa and we rode off to her home near beautiful historic Spencerville this afternoon.

She immediately plied me with the CCC drink of choice, stuffed me with a late lunch, then stuffed me with dinner and then she and hubby John took me off on a two-hour drive around the surrounding area. Got lots of pics and will post them tomorrow night after I get to Cowansville in La Belle Province (where I promise to do a much more newsy post!)

Night All!

Edited to add photo link: Day 11 Pembroke to Spencerville

PS: Any pics I have uploaded are linked to the appropriate post. So, if you want to see the pics for Day 1, go back to that post on the blog and find the link in pink at the end of it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 10: Mon, June 22: Sudbury to Pembroke, ON

Halleluah, on my way to Pembroke this morning, I stopped in North Bay for a cool drink and spotted a Staples store where I was able to buy a drive adaptor for memory cards so I am now able to upload pics from my camera! So you will see that the T-shirt slideshow above has been added to and I am currently working on uploading and organizing my other pics.

***IMPORTANT: those who have purchased shirts, please take a pic of yourself wearing it and send it to ASAP, please and thank you.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that this stretch of the trip was gorgeous! Hwy 17 was a little bit hilly, and a little bit curvy and I have never seen so many lakes in one day! Big ones, small ones, lakes on the left side of the road, lakes on the right side of the road, lakes straight ahead, lakes behind - it was a smorgasbord of a combination of beauty and ruggedness with at least one lake to satisfy anybody, I bet. Gawjus!

Links will follow soon for pics. (Sadly, my other disk of pics is still stuck in one of the drives - hopefully, I can find a computer guru along the way to liberate it -- in the meantime, its pics remained imprisoned and inaccessible.) Will blog more tonight once I get the pics uploaded.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 9: Sun., June 21: Wawa to Sudbury, ON

Holy Mazoley, what a long, long day we had today -- arrived in Sudbury about 8:45 p.m. local time. Went off for IMMEDIATE infusions of official Canuck Chicks Conga libation (Corona and lime, to the uninitiated) and a much-desired meal. Now back at our hotel and ready to blog a bit.

Well, well, where shall we start? ... the beginning perhaps ... well, maybe back a bit from that LOL How about last evening? There we were, settled into our motel in Wawa, having very tasty steak dinners (+ official CCC libations, of course). I looked out the window of the restaurant and commented that it was raining heavily. 'No, no', chorused my companions, 'that is merely low cloud'. 'Do these two think I was born yesterday?', I thought. 'I'm from BC, and I know RAIN when I see it -- clouds indeed!' Exercising my usual discretion (ahem), I let that go (more on THAT later!)

Anyway, it was still pouring when we awoke this a.m. and so everyone got geared up for the weather while we were packing up the bikes. Then what happened? We realized we were working up a sweat doing that because the weather was clearing and it was warming up, so divested ourselves of the rain gear at least (I still had on my long underwear - remember this too, it's important later in the story!)

I went to check out before breakfast, requesting to keep charge of my key (as Ed and Anneke had done), but the receptionist must have felt I looked a bit shifty indeed (or perhaps she just didn't take to's) because she would let me (although she let them) - SHEESH.

Then, we had a great breaky (FINALLY a Willi-sized portion - half-sized to the rest of the world) and headed off to fill up the bikes and head out of town.

Our departure was somewhat delayed because we had to take pictures of ourselves with the resident moose at the local trading post (autographed copies will no doubt be for sale shortly -- the charity of choice will be me -- I will need it, the way I've been spending like a drunken sailor LOL). (The moose has achieved provincial fame, it seems, as he has been there for many, many years until some activist, lobbyist types lobbied the government to have him removed, which was done. But he is back at the old Post now because of public outrage that their beloved moose was ripped from their bossoom -- they apparently protested and got him back, the motheaten ole thing!)

OK, off we got on the road, Hwy 17 again and it was another fabulous ride, plenty of twisties and turnies through rock cuts and beautiful scenery. Sadly, every time there was a viewpoint to stop at, the mist and fog obscured the view, so very few good pictures taken on the way.

Our rest stop on the way to Sudbury was at Pancake Lake where there was a trading post type of emporium where Anneke had almost to be physically restrained from purchasing various stuffed critters ... BIG stuffed critters! She finally decided that yes, a stuffed bear, would probably NOT fit well on the back of her Virago LOL

We carried on, on our journey into Sault Ste Marie to meet up with Lianne (she who put together our Conga webpage and has been tireless in promoting this ride!), who was waiting with a sign, 'WILLI' by the side of the road. (Apparently more than one guy stopped and volunteered to be Willi -- but she sent 'em packing!)

Lianne took us on a great ride of the beautiful Soo waterfront, pointing out local sites and the International Bridge. By this time, I should add, it was hot, hot, hot, so we three were slowly divesting ourselves of layers of clothing along the way. She took us for a very pleasant lunch and we all had a great gab, finding lots of things in common with all of us.

We then headed out for Sudbury, with Lianne leading us as far as Blind River (about 184 km), a quick cool drink at the local Timmie's, some picture-taking, hugs and Li heading back to the Soo and we three on our way.

Along the route, we stopped again, this time at Espanola for another cold drink (am getting addicted to those iced coffees) and a 'kindly, helpful' woman told us there had been a serious mc vs auto accident up the highway and gave us directions for a 'shortcut'. We thanked her profusely for her advice and set off to follow it ... let's just say that this dear lady's advice took us an extra 24 km ... through terrible stretches of broken pavement, gravelled sections, four crossings of the same railway line and sundry and other impediments, only to bring us out right at the exact intersection where the fatal accident occurred and which had not been cleared yet. It was a horrible unneeded detour in the heat and most upsetting to come upon that terrible scene. Note to self: ALWAYS ask for extensive detail before accepting someone's idea of a good shortcut!

OK, there we were, back on the highway, a little hotter and a little more impatient, when what to my wandering eyes, this huge bright pink cylinder starts emerging from under the sheepskin on 'Offroad Ed's' bike. I'm sure my eyes looked like saucers as I watched this seemingly obscene pink 'thing' ooze and wiggle its way out of its furry cocoon and finally fly through the air past Anneke and straight at my windshield.

Of course, I did what any sensible rider would -- ducked behind my windshield, squeezed my eyes shut for a second and prayed! LOL Then the silly thing bounced off my windshield, sailed over my head and I saw it bounce around on the windshield of the car behind me - I'm pretty sure the poor sucker driving nearly had a heart attack. Oh yes, and at the same time, there was a car careening off onto the gravel shoulder ahead of us and an ambulance with lights flashing coming towards us -- all in a day's riding LOL

I honked and waved repeatedly until I got Ed and Anneke's attention to pull over and tell them what happened. She had already seen it go past, she said and I wanted to know WHAT THE HECK it was. Turns out it was a pool noodle, being used to prop up a bag on the bike. So, there you have it folks, I have now been noodled!

We carried on into Sudbury, checked into a hotel, changed out of our hot, hot clothes (me still sporting long underwear, long soggy underwear by this time :-( ) and into a wet libation and food. Just another day in Canuck Chicks Conga!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 8: Sat, June 20: Thunder Bay to Wawa, ON

YEE-HAW!!! What a great day of riding -- plenty of twisties, GAWJUS views of Lake Superior and close encounters of the moose kind! 'Off Road Ed' has taken lots of photos on the road and will be uploading them soon to photobucket, so I will add the link here when he does. *** Here is the link: *** (You'll just have to copy and past the link cuz I can't get Blogger to do a hyperlink today for some reason!)

Our day started with very hot and humid weather -- after we breakfasted at Timmies and met up with Ross, of the local H.O.G.s (they were busy with a Ride for Dad so couldn't spare much time), while we were getting ready to head out on the road, a lady asked me if I wouldn't be too hot in my leather pants -- acourse, I told her that it would cool down once we got riding and I wouldn't be too hot ...

What an understatement! What crazy weather we had the whole day - it would be blazing down sun for a half hour or so, then very cold rain, then some cold mist and wind, then back to the warm sun - we kept putting on and taking off layers so much, it musta looked like a strip show out on the road LOL

Seriously, though, it was REALLY cold on the last 20 or so kms into Wawa, everyone's hands were freezing and lotsa shivering going on -- we were delighted to get into the lobby of the Wawa Motor Inn to get registered -- it got us warmed up at last. Over steak dinner here in the Inn, the rain started and it has been lashing down for a good hour or so -- not sure what the weather channel sez is in store for us tomorrow, but we will be geared up for anything for sure! (A Newfie rider on his way home from Edmonton had told us this morning to expect 'brutal' storms, but this is the first we've seen of the really horrible weather, so fingers X'd for tomorrow.)

We've had some good laffs together today -- Anneke has now got the nickname 'Hot Stop Annie' due to her new-found abilities to 'spot and stop' for moose ... and that's moose in the plural, BTW! She and Ed and a (really) close encounter of the moose kind on the ride up to meet me in Kenora and we had two less close ones today. Who knew Bullwinkle had so many relatives in Northern Ontario??? Not me, for sure!

'Off Road Ed' has his new nick because he decided to lead us down a country lane to a 'picnic' site, turned out not to have a site, never mind a picnic, just a big square of asphalt. No more lanes, please, Mr. Ed, speshully if I have to do a U-EE to get out! LOL

Our dinner here was scrumptious and of course we had our Corona's with lime to top things off. Life is good indeed!!!

Onward to Sudbury tomorrow.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 7: Fri, June 19: Kenora to Thunder Bay ON

What a great day of riding! Not much traffic, plenty of passing lanes when there was and enough twisties to make it fun for all of us :-) Ed led and set a perfect pace for all of us - Happy, happy, happy. :-)

Lots of lovely forest and pretty little lakes and ponds along the way; Ed and Anneke spotted a few deer along the way too. I was disappointed not to spot 'em - I'd like to see how they differ from our western deer.

We left Kenora about 8:30 a.m., the weather was humid and a fella told us there was a storm brewing in the east (the direction we were going of course). It seemed so nice I wasn't too concerned, but eventually the rain did catch up with us -- but intermittently and luckily, not for long on any given occasion. So that was all good. It just got a bit cold and misty as we were on the home stretch into Thunder Bay.

We made a few stops along the way, mostly just for fuel for the bikes or fuel for us (!) We had our breaky at Vermilion Lake and a light lunch at Uppsala. Anneke has turned out to be our good luck charm -- just as we were dismounting at Vermilion, a dirty ol' bird pooped on her head! Which of course, as I told her, means you will be blessed with good luck! (I don't think she believed me though -- imagine that!)

Arrived here about 6:30 p.m.; never did hook up with the Ladies of Harley, but hopefully will cross paths with them tomorrow before we head off for Wawa. Dinner at Montana's preceded of course, by our ritual Corona and lime (we have decided this is now the official Canuck Chicks Conga libation ;-), so bewarned Conga'ers! LOL

Pleasantly tired tonight -- ready to hit the hay pronto. Night All!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 6: Thurs., June 18: Carberry MB to Kenora ON

OK -- here I am, safe and sound in absotively posilutely gorgeous Kenora! Have met up with Anneke and her hubby, Ed and we are staying at the Best Western Lakeside, which is one honking huge circular tower with fabulous views of the lake -- a big splurge moneywise, but well worth it.

Met up with Anneke and Ed here about 4 pm; they had arrived earlier in the day. I had more chunks of road construction to contend with just west of town; long delays in the hot sun - not too great but at least there was a breeze of sorts. Hwy #1 is just a two-laned road after the Manitoba/Ontario border, which I hadn't really realized with few and far between passing lanes. More ICK.

However, the scenery is breathtaking, lots of little lakes and streams along the way ... and blackflies and horseflies! (Note to self: do not try to swat at flies while riding bike -- bad for your continued good health!)

Anneke and I had a great 'reunion'; we've been corresponding for sometime but this is our first in-person meet and it's as if we had known each other for years! How cool is that? And Ed is a peach (I sense in him the makings of a great Cabana Boy; he quite ably took charge of ferrying the bike luggage up to the seventh floor for me (acourse he had a trolley ... and there is an elevator, but it's the thought that counts, eh, Ed?? ;-) )

We slaked our thirst with a couple of Corona and lime in the hotel lounge (this is getting to be a habit! My treat tomorrow you two!) followed by quite a posh dinner in the hotel restaurant -- great food but the portions were huge. BURP

Have been checking the Conga email and we have a very nice offer from the Ladies of Harley in Thunder Bay to come out tomorrow to escort us into Thunder Bay when we get there, so we will be trying to hook up with them at some point to make that happen and hopefully we will have some pics at some point -- maybe Anneke and Ed can post pics.

As well, we had an email from Lise Charron who recommended we visit the Harley shop in Thunder Bay; if time permits, we certainly will - thanks, Lise!

Thanks for all your comments, friends -- much appreciated and it is SO great to know you are all following along -- as DD would say, BIG SQUISHIES to everyone!


Day 5: Wed., June 17: Regina to Carberry, MB

Well, ain't we got fun? Most of you will have noticed that this posting is a day late, due to the fact that I curtailed my ride at Carberry instead of pressing on to Winnipeg, due to the fact I was being overtaken rapidly by horrendous thunder and lightening storms.

I left Regina and was making very good time across Saskatchewan and into Manitoba, passing through Brandon well ahead of schedule and feeling very pleased with my progress. Should never have let that complacent thought cross my mind because immediately road construction reared its ugly head and I was confronted with 31 km of that horrible ridged pavement which had to be negotiated about 45-50 kmh, because the grooves were curving all over the place and it was near impossible to stay in one groove, without being pulled all over the place -- the guy who dragged that scraper musta bin stoned or bored or both LOL. The worst part is having semi-trailers backed up behind yah with no where to pull over - ACKK!!!

After getting through that, it became apparent that the storm, which looked like it was about a mile wide and I don't know how high, was rapidly bearing down; so I bailed out quickly and registered for the night at Carberry's version of the Bates Motel -- at least that's what it looked like on the outside and some of the clientele in the 'restaurant' gave me pause -- they definitely looked like they could've been related to Tony Perkins allright . Luckily, they all drifted off and I had a nice chat with an elderly lady called Margaret who turned out to be from an area in Northern Ireland I know well whose daughter used to be engaged to a fellow I'm acquainted with in Mission, my home town. How funny is that???

The food was good but the internet reception non-existent, so I texted Draggie and she kindly posted on Facebook that I was alive and kicking in Carberry. (The funny thing is after all that, the storm suddenly made a violent change in direction and passed in a different direction entirely - SHEESH!)

No pics for anyone yet, I'm afraid -- still haven't liberated that stuck disk from the computer drive SIGH.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 4: Tues., June 16: Medicine Hat to Regina

Well, I dunno why everyone sez driving across the Trans-Canada Hwy (#1) on the prairies in boring -- I thought it was fabulous! It wasn't totally flat, there were some rolling hills (well, 'bumps', really ;-) ), but it was nice to see all the fields. The sky and clouds were fabulous -- in fact, it inspired me so much I burst into 'Oklahoma' while roaring along at 110 km/hr (70 mph for our American friends). (I theenk the semi-driver I was passing at the time thought I looked a little bonkers, but hey, what the heck LOL)

Most of the pavement along the way was good, but there were some really broken up areas which I found a bit nerve-wracking; not sure which is worse -- the gigantic potholes or the tar snakes used to fill the cracks in the road ...

So far, the drivers seem amazingly courteous -- semi's actually slow and move a bit to the right when I pass them so they don't such me into oblivion -- not something we see on the west coast very often, I'd say.

I see there is a Future Shop across the hwy from my hotel here in Regina, so I will try to visit them tomorrow to see if I can get a drive adaptor so I can upload some pics soon (I have yet to deal with the memory card that is currently STUCK in the computer drive ... GRRR).

Anyway, safe and sound in Regina and off to Winnipeg area tomorrow. Cheers!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 3: Mon., June 15: Cranbrook to Medicine Hat

(Don't you love that title? Where else but Canada would have places like Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Buffalo Head Smashed In??? LOL)

First -- the really bad news: the port on my computer which should accept my camera memory card is not functioning, so no pics will be posted - I'll try to find a Staples somewhere along the way and get an adaptor drive -- sorree folks!

Anyway, I set off this morning from Cranbrook in a bit of a tizz because some careless soul had apparent knocked my helmet off the bike while I was back-and-forth to my room bringing stuff down and at first it appeared as if the visor was broken off -- however, luckily it had just come loose from its moorings and I was able to fix it -- although there are some terminal scratches on it now :-(

That fixed, I headed out of Cranbrook (sprinkled with a bit of rain) on Hwy #3; the scenery is fabulous along the way, particularly through the Crows Nest Pass and the Frank Slide area. Amazing. If you've never ridden it, try to get the opportunity - gawjus!

I made my merry way through Fernie (my favourite A & W was shut down - ACK!), Fort MacLeod, Pincher Creek and finally (very late and very hot due to road work everywhere) to Lethbridge, where I met up with Joan, the VP of the local WITW (Women in the Wind) chapter - just enough time to have a brief chat and blast off eastwards to meet up with Cindy (the Pres of the chapter), a brief hug and chat, a short ride, then she off to work and me heading for Medicine Hat about an hour down the road.

The sign for access to the Best Western from Hwy #3 in Medicine Hat led me to a cemetery (which had me worried for a sec LOL) until I spotted the familiar sign nearby. They have a H.O.G. washing station out front and I was really excited - I could wash all the gooey remains of all those huge Alberta bugs off Delilah - until I discovered yah had to be a card-carrying member of H.O.G to use it (bah, humbug I say!).

So, I cleaned up the bike with my trusty Pledge wipes, showered and tidied up and headed off to (1) slake my thirst(with a nice cold lager) and (2) feed my tummy, which I accomplished in style at a Grill and Wine Bar next to the hotel -- highly recommended :-)

And now, here I am blogging -- what an exciting life, you say! LOL As is becoming the norm, I'm bushed so I'll be doing a bit of email, doing some domestics and heading off for beddy-byes.

Till tomorrow ... somewhere around Regina ...

Edited to add photo link: Day 3 Cranbrook to Medicine Hat

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 2: Sun., June 14: Olalla to Cranbrook, BC

WHOOSH - what a great day! Woken to the smell of fresh, strong coffee at B & B's place in Olalla -- yum - followed by a fab breakie; then off to Keremeos to meet up with some of their friends - Greg and his good friends and next-door neighbours, Don and Gaylene (sp) -- very gracious and fun folks - longtime bikers. Signed their 'garage wall', as everyone does (does that make me famous??? LOL) Then, we all went off on a ride to Rock Creek -- picking up another friend of the Keremeos gang, Mitch, in Osoyoos. So, then we were two trikes and two bikes, with Don leading. Great stop at the viewpoint overlooking Osoyoos, meeting up with some other folks riding from points East. Gaylene met up with another Quebecois there, so they had a good ole chinwag.
We parted company in Rock Creek, after a fine cuisine lunch of dog of the hot variety, and I arrived here in Cranbrook about 7:00 pm PDT (now resetting my watch an hour later). Dined in my hotel and (hic) had a libation (or 2) and now getting ready for a well-earned snoozie :-)
Hopefully, will be able to post some of the great pics I've taken so far ...
Tomorrow, off to Lethbridge to meet up with the WITW gals ...

Edited to add photo link: Day 2 Olalla to Cranbrook

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 1: Sat., June 13: Mission to Olalla

Well, here I am in beautiful Olalla, at Bee & Bryan's, replete after a fabulous BBQ and a couple of ice-cold beers, followed by great dessert and vintage port. Pooped right out, but what a great day I had - some torrential rain in and around Manning Park, but lovely sunshine most of the way. Bee met me in Keremeos and led me back to the their place and the 'driveway from hell' (LOL).

Just got off Bry's webcam, chatting to Bear for awhile - he gave me strict orders to get Bloggin', so here I am!

It's off to Osoyoos tomorrow and points east on Hwy 3;Bee & Bry will Conga to Osoyoos too; hopefully will be posting pics tomorrow, so stay tuned.

WHOO-HOO -- we's on our way!

PS: Indie -- I got your phone msg last night but it was too late to call back -- thanks for your good wishes! It's great to know you are thinkin' 'bout ol' Willi

Edited to add photo link: Day 1 Mission to Olalla

Friday, June 12, 2009

One More Sleep!!!

OMG OMG - the ride starts tomorrow and I'm just flyin' around here tryin' to get organized. LOTS of last-minute changes (to the route, etc. - please see the calendar and there are now an eastbound map and a westbound map) plus domestic issues like company coming TONIGHT to stay unexpectedly and a friend hospitalized. Sheesh - never rains but it pours!

Anyway, I'm ready to go, and will be rolling in to Olalla sometime tomorrow afternoon to hook up with Bee and Bryan. I will hope to post from there later in the evening, if Telus cooperates, of course.

Ain't we got fun!

Those of you who have ordered CC Conga shirts, please take a photo and email it to me so I can add it to the slideshow.

Anyone who plans to ride and has not provided contact details, please email them to me for adding to our list, which will be distributed to all riders. Remember to add your cell #'s please!