About Larry

I live in Bandon on the southern Oregon coast and I've been riding for a long, long time, years, decades. We won't go there kiddies but believe me, it's been awhile. During that time I've done most of my riding on the road with occasional off-road forays, most of which were intentional. Some weren't. Until just a couple of years ago I'd never ridden a hack - that's sidecar to those who aren't familiar with the lingo. I figure riding a hack up Alaska's infamous Haul road all the way to Deadhorse should top off my torture tank for quite awhile.

About Mac

Mac hails from Robins, Iowa and has been riding bikes longer than most people have been around. He managed to torture his old BMW past the 100,000 mile mark and presently rides a Yamaha FJR. His newest ride, a 2008 Ural Patrol is waiting on the dealer's highest shelf until the flood waters recede after which they'll assemble it and turn it over to him. The fact that he's heading to Alaska for his first journey on a new rig should tell you all you need to know about him...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16th - On the road at last - Highway 99 to Lillooet

Off we went bright & early this morning, stopped at Ihop again and this time we all ate sensibly, even Mac. Joe left us at the exit leading to the Ural shop as they were going to install a new front tire on his BMW.
The border crossing went easy, just had to confess to possession of Counter Assault pepper spray and no, we're not carrying weapons or tobacco. What is it with these Canadians and tobacco anyway? I guess we looked harmless enough so they passed us through, Mac first and then me. I didn't watch to see which way he went and when it was my turn I erred slightly and ended up wandering around aimlessly in the parking lot from hell. I expect the border guards found this amusing but I finally found my way out via the construction corridor where I found Mac patiently waiting.

We'd decided earlier that Mac should lead as I'm still getting used to riding with someone and he seemed to know where he was going. For awhile that is, then he pulled over and asked if I had any idea where we were. That was just the beginning. We eventually became so totally lost wandering around in the megatropolis of Surrey that we had to gas up again. It was around that point we decided I should lead as my GPS provides more details. Not particularly more accurate, just more. On the third lap around the same industrial neighborhood we stopped to look at a real map. This attracted the attention of a Hindu gentleman sporting a cell phone in his ear which he held there continuously. Not once did he speak into it, just held it there. He and his assistant were very insistent that we accept their help in finding our way out and in between rapid-fire questions about Mac's new Ural they pointed us in the general direction we should go. We left with many thanks and rode for nearly a mile before becoming lost again. I asked Mac what his take was on the Hindu guy and the cell phone and his answer was clear and simple: "He probably doesn't want to miss any calls..."
Eventually we made it out of the maze and onto Highway 1 leading to Horseshoe Bay where we'd planned to be all the time. There was soon a minor mishap though, traffic was snarled and ugly and in the process of it all we got separated. After 20 miles or so of not seeing Mac I pulled off the road and waited for him to catch up. I have a slightly lower than average tolerance for waiting and after 10 agonizing minutes I figured he was not coming or had found an alternate route north, or maybe had headed back to Iowa. Moving on towards Horseshoe Bay I came upon one of those ominous signs that advise you to gas up as there are no more stations for the next umpty-ump kilometers. Not wanting to dig my spare can out standing next to the freeway I opted for the last-chance gas stop and paid the brutal highway robber rate. Once finished I rejoined the herd on 99 and bumped along through more of the on-going construction zone heading north. By this time I fully expected to never hear from Mac again as it had been well over an hour since I'd last saw him. To make matters worse he wasn't carrying a cell phone (frugal man, eh?) and there was no set plan for a place to meet if by chance we became separated. Smooth thinking guys. Imagine my surprise when I rounded a curve in the construction zone and there he was, parked on the shoulder patiently waiting for me. Dang, what luck.

We yakked it up for a few minutes, then got back on the road heading north past Whistler, up through the mountains stopping on occasion for photo ops and finally arriving at Lillooet. It had been hot as hell all the way and the further north we rode the hotter it got, which was our deciding factor for checking into the Gold Panner Hotel. I'd stayed there two years back and liked it a lot, the owner Jay and his wife operate a first class hotel plus it has air conditioning, free WIFI, and a nice continental breakfast. Jay lets bikers park right in front of the entrance which makes for a more secure feeling although Lillooet itself feels very safe so it probably doesn't matter where you park. To make things even better there's a great Greek restaurant and a liquor store within a couple of blocks. Always nice to have your priorities satisfied, eh? If you ever have occasion to visit Lillooet I'd highly recommend the Gold Panner.
We'll do better at keeping track of each other tomorrow.