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, August 6, 2008

August 6th - Onward into the inferno - Vanderhoof to Lillooet

I haven't a clue why some days I ride less than 200 miles and others I ride off the end of the earth. Or so it seems any time I crack the 400 mile barrier. This means nothing to those who belong to the iron butt league but I ain't one of them so it's a big deal to me, especially on a hack that's cantankerous. Today was one of them.

I started out with a great breakfast at the adjoining restaurant, then enhanced it even more by commenting to one of the Harley guys parked next to me as to how shiny his bike was. He liked the attention I think.

At the local gas station the lady attendant told me she thought there used to be a bike shop a couple of blocks away so off I went in search of help for my floppy chain. It turned out there actually was a guy who fixes bikes, seems he rents space from the guy who operates a repair shop for cars & trucks. Unfortunately the bike guy only shows up when the mood strikes him and that's not often. There were at least a dozen bikes in various stages of disassembly cluttering up the place and from the looks of the dust layers on them I doubt the bike guy has been in for quite awhile. The mechanic guy turned out to be a gem, he's in his mid-70's and runs the shop just to keep busy. He told me straight off he doesn't work on bikes but I whined around in my usual grating nasal style about not having a jack and how simple a job it was, etc. Being a mechanic he couldn't help get interested in it and before you knew it, we had the bugger up in the air and adjusted. This whole procedure took maybe 15 minutes, 10 of which to locate his metric allens as he didn't want to use mine. After the bike was done we stood around swapping stories about guns and hunting, all of which were better told by him as mine pale in comparison. Humble as that may sound I've never even seen a grizzly let alone shot a silver tip when it was coming at me in a pissy mood. Did I mention he's an Indian? I didn't get the name of his tribe but he can shoot as many bears, deer, buffalo (his favorite) and so on, all without permits. Seems fair to me. When it was time to leave he wouldn't accept anything for payment but finally agreed to five bucks just to get rid of me.

I rode on for a couple more hours, then stopped to gas up at the no-name-station on the outskirts of Hixon. What do you call folks from Hixon you ask? (Sorry, couldn't help myself) Just to demonstrate my dexterity I sprayed gas all over the front of my jacket in a large enough volume that it soaked through. I screamed the usual curse words most of which were directed at the idiots who passed laws allowing innocents like myself to pump their own gas. Inside the store where you pay the lady in line behind me commented to the cashier that she could smell gas and maybe there was a leak? Ha ha. I explained it was me and she did a hasty embarrassed stage-left.

After that I smoked on down the highway, stopping at Wal-Mart (sorry Hon) and picked up some more chain oil & food bits. Also a McDonald's Quarter Pounder which seemed more like an 8th-pounder but what do I know. Maybe it's the metric thing?

I decided fairly late in the afternoon I would keep riding as stopping in a park or hotel would be wasted time so I kept at it. A couple of miles outside of Clinton I noticed a bike parked on the shoulder with no one around and a mile or so up the road there came the owner, trudging back in million-degree heat looking like heat stroke might be on it's way. I found a spot to turn around and scooted on back and offered him a ride on the now empty spare tire rack. He'd ran out of fuel and was sporting a 1-litre bottle full of gas so I waited while he got his bike started, then we both rode into town and gassed up. Grateful guy from California. His bike was shiny too. Maybe I'm just jealous? He wanted to take my picture so I took his just to keep things in balance.

I made it into Lillooet just before 7:00pm, checked into the Gold Panner, said hi to the owner Jay and his wife, hosed off and went to dinner at the Greek restaurant. Jay was there with his family and invited me to share their table which I did. The dinner was great as was the company, after which it was time to expire, I'm all out of steam for the day. "Camping" is definitely fun I'd say. And yes, I know one of the pics is out of focus. So what?