The Blog of Blues

blues2cruise
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The Blog of Blues

Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:41 pm

I have always liked motorcycles. Over the years, I have been a passenger on numerous occasions and always enjoyed the experience......well, almost always.....there were a few close calls because the person in control liked to take chances....thus scaring the heck out of me. ( I no longer ride with people like that).
Due to various circumstances over the years, I never got around to learning to ride my own motorcycle. I have put on plenty of miles on 2 wheels on my mountain bike though. :)

Last year, after a day out on the back of my friend's bike, he said to me, "You could do this, you know."
He said, " Go ahead, sit on the bike".
So, I sat on his bike with my feet planted on the ground (instead of pegs) and took the grips in my hands. I think that was the moment that finally sparked me into action to do what I've always wanted to do......ride a motorcycle. It was last year that I started thinking there was a lot of things I still wanted to do. I didn't want to be one of those old people who say to themselves, "I wish I had...."

So, I set the wheels in motion toward getting a Class 6 license and a bike.

I didn't tell anyone what I was doing (with the exception of my friend). I wanted to wait until after I knew I could master it.

I got the books from the motor vehicle office so I could study and write the test. As soon as I got my learner's permit, I signed up for some motorcycle lessons. During the waiting time I started bike shopping. What an eye opening, frustrating experience it was.

Here I was ready to spend a whole lot of cash to fulfill my lifetime dream and yet, most motorcycle salesmen wouldn't even give me the time of day......

After a lot of futile visits to motorcycle shops, I happened to go to Pacific Yamaha one day. (along with my trusty friend). From the moment I walked in the door, I felt I was in the right place. Patrick, the salesman, was very helpful...even though he knew I was not going to buy a bike that day. Patrick spent time answering my questions, explaining things, showing me bikes, getting me to sit on various bikes and never once was condescending or made me feel like I was wasting his time.

After I left the shop, I could not stop thinking about the beautiful blue 650 V-Star he had showed me. 2 days later I phoned Patrick at Pacific Yamaha ( he actually remembered me) and placed the order for the bike, subject to a test drive.

I was in the process of parking lot sessions and was due for 3 road riding sessions with the motorcycle school, so we planned a test drive for immediately following my classes.

I never got to take my test drive. I didn't get to finish the course. I cancelled the order on the bike because I had exactly 20 minutes of road riding on a little 250cc Honda.

One of the instructors in the course was an egotistical, arrogant, sexist, racist jerk who sucked the joy of riding and my confidence right out of me. Even though this course was for absolute beginners, his main focus was on racing. He seemed to have lost focus for beginners. I was the only woman in a class of 10 people. Half the guys showed up on their own bikes. Our instructor would cut the parking lot sessions short and we would go inside and watch race videos. He wanted us to see him in action at some race track. He kept talking about track days and advanced rider training.

Now, I ask, how the heck am I supposed to learn to ride a bike by sitting inside watching racing videos? I don't need to go into detail about things he said, or the horror stories he would tell, but suffice it to say, I was not a happy camper.
I went to class for what was supposed to be my first real road ride and was re-assigned a different bike. Well, I could not shift that thing. The Honda Nighthawk I had been riding was easy to ride, but the Suzuki Marauder I was assigned that night was impossible to shift. I almost dropped the bike a couple of times because I was so busy trying to get the shifter into gear, I never noticed I had come to an almost complete stop....until I started to tip over.... :roll:

I went for help. His solution was to ride by me....standing up....to show me that the bike was easy to ride. How is that supposed to help me?
He told me to try again while the rest of my class was assembling to get ready to go on the road. So, there I was riding around in circles in first gear, unable to shift, while the other class members were giving me sideways glances wondering what's wrong.

The instructor eventually called me over to see how it was going. I told him it would be a mistake for me to go on the road on that particular bike. So, his solution?...Take away the receiver and earphones and tell me to stay behind and practice. He should have assigned me a different bike and taken that Suzuki in for adjustment.

Do you have any idea how disheartening it is to watch everyone else get to go riding and I had to stay behind in the parking lot?

There was other classes going on, so I was able to go to another instructor, but lo and behold.....even he could not shift that Suzuki. I spent 2 hours in that parking lot trying desparately to shift that bike....trying until my hip and back hurt from exertion. I finally went home and had to line up an extra session in the parking lot. The extra session in the parking lot was with a different instructor and a different bike that actually worked.
The school postponed our two road rides :shock:. Wait a minute....we were supposed to be done by a certain date. I was supposed to have a test drive.....
Things went from bad to worse because of that particular instructor (who also, by the way, was part owner. The other owner/instructor did not know at this point what was happening because the jerky instructor had not bothered to share the letter I had written).

So, after all the problems with the school I was beginning to think I was not supposed to ride. I cancelled the order on my bike. I fully expected them to keep my $500. deposit, but, they gave it back to me. The manager at Pacific Yamaha knew how upset I was because I was crying. I wish I was not so emotional, but, after wanting something so much for so long and putting so much effort and money into the process, I was feeling somewhat devastated.
The manager at Pacific was very kind and suggested I phone a certain individual who does private lessons for motorcycle training. He gave me his name and number and told me this instructor has a 400cc bike he uses for training and if I was still wanting to ride, I should give this guy a call.
So, I called.
End of part one.
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blues2cruise
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From the blues to ebullience....thanks to Rally-Pro

Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:48 pm

I put off for a few days my phone call to the private instructor. My vivid imagination kept replaying some of the graphic stories that instructor had told. I kept thinking that "maybe the universe doesn't want me to ride".

But then something jogged my brain into remembering that 20 minute ride in the rain on that little 250cc Honda Nighthawk. I remembered the smile that I had and the mild feeling of euphoria of actually being on the road. I didn't care that it was dark or that I was soaking wet from the rain....I was riding on my own and changing gears and turning corners......I was hooked.......

After reliving my memory of that night, I phoned the private instructor. We chatted a few moments and made an appointment. He was going to come by my place with his truck and 2 bikes.....unless it rained. Well, he never showed up. It had been raining earlier, but it wasn't raining now...so where was he? I called the next day and left a message but he didn't call me back. So, now I'm back into thinking about the universe thing again....sigh.....
I was at the Yamaha dealer with my friend. They said it wasn't like that instructor to stand people up or to not return calls. They said I better call him again. Maybe my message got lost in cyberspace somewhere.

When I contacted him, he said he didn't come for the lesson because of our arrangement that if it was raining we were cancelled. Apparently it was raining over on the west side, but I did not know that. I just knew it was not raining where I live.
So, we made another appointment for Sunday afternoon....rain or shine....out in a big parking lot he uses for lessons. Well, it was raining...... He had cones all set up and his bike there at the ready for me. He had even brought a waterproof jacket for me to wear. After going through the preliminary of paperwork and payment, and a few questions we got started. He knew a little about the story because the Yamaha dealer had filled him in.
Before we got started, he asked me, "What is it you want me to do for you?"
I replied, " I need you to help me get my confidence back."
He seemed to like that answer.
He then introduced me to his Honda 400cc. Before we got started though, he had one very important statement to make.

He said, " Not everyone can ride a bike and not everyone should ride a bike."
My reply was," If after today, you tell me I should not do this, I will walk away from it." I could tell from the nod of his head that he was satisfied with my answer and thus was allowed to sit on the bike.

We went through the usual beginner stuff of getting used to walking speed, getting familiar with brakes and just riding around in the lot in first gear. Eventually I was riding around in second gear and going through cones and turns, turns and more turns.

He called me in and said to me, "I like what I see. You never once looked down at the bike." Of course, that put a smile on my face and gave me some encouragement that maybe my riding "career" was not doomed. We carried on in the parking lot for 2 hours. After I rode the bike back to his truck and got off the bike, he stood at attention in front of me and proclaimed, "blues2cruise can ride a bike and blues2cruise will ride a bike."

I'm sure my smile must have lightened up that rainy afternoon. Then he nudged me....and with a wink, wink, "I happen to know that the bike you wanted is still available". Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. "And, I happen to know that the financing is still in place if you want it." Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
He said, "Here's what I will do for you. If you still want that bike, I will pick it up for you and transport it here for a lesson and then I will transport it home for you. No extra charge".

My eyes must have looked like :shock: , because he told me to go home and think about it and if after I thought about it and still wanted it, to call him and we would make arrangements.
I went home with one thought on my mind. Well, many thoughts, actually. In 2 short hours this person had changed my life for me. He made me feel capable. He was so darn nice to me. Wow! I don't very often meet people who go above and beyond. So many people are so self centered, but this person obviously has a big heart.

I kept thinking about it...all night....in the morning I phoned him and asked if he was serious about picking up that motorcycle and transporting it for me. He said, "absolutely" I told him I was going to phone Pacific Yamaha on Tuesday (they are closed Monday) and that I would resurrect the order for the bike. He told me he would pick it up at the end of business day on Saturday and bring it to the parking lot for a lesson on Sunday. I thanked him profusely for his help.

The next day, I called Pacifc Yamaha and we arranged for me to go in on Saturday morning to take care of the paperwork. I was finally buying my bike.....not going to test drive it....
My friend came with me on Saturday morning. When we arrived at the dealer, there was my beautiful shiny blue bike sitting outside waiting for me. :) After I signed all the paperwork, Patrick, the salesman, went through the owner's manual page by page with me. He took the time to show me how things work before we said our goodbye's. The instructor would be by later to pick it up......

The next morning, shortly before I was leaving to go to the parking lot, the phone rang. It was the instructor asking for permission to ride my bike around the lot so he could "scrub" in the tires and brakes. I said "Go ahead and thanks".
"My bike....it still had an unreal sound to it. He was asking permission to ride my bike".
When I arrived at the lot he had the cones all set out and a couple of canopies set up to keep the bikes dry and us dry....yes, it was raining....again.....
He asked me if I wanted to do more practice on his bike or did I want to get familiar with my bike right away. I figured I may as well get used to my bike, so he started me off again with walking speed and first gear riding around the lot and then riding slalom through cones. Eventually I was turning right turns and left turns and riding around in circles and upshifting and downshifting.....finally I had enough. I was tired. Neither one of us had paid any attention to the time, but over 2 hours had gone by in a flash.
We arranged for him to transport my bike home a couple of evenings later and I then got in my car and went home with a :) on my face.

End of part 2.
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The arrival of my bike and out on the road

Unread post by blues2cruise » Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:18 pm

The following Tuesday after work, lets' see, that would be October 18, after my Sunday lesson, my instructor arrived with my bike in his truck. He unloaded it and put it down on the street. I was hoping he wasn't expecting me to take it into my underground parking myself. I had only ridden that thing on a flat parking lot. The driveway to the parking was steep and at an angle.
I asked him if he would park it for me and he was happy to oblige. We made arrangements for my first road ride lesson on Thursday night after work.
Thursday the 20th, he arrived right on time. He brought his bike down to the parking garage and went through some basic but very necessary steps to riding with another person. He guided me every step of the way including making sure I could get out of the underground without losing balance and perhaps falling over,

We spent the next couple of hours riding around my neighbourhood doing turns, turns, and more turns. Up hills, down hills, hill starts and more hill starts.......Eventually it was time to call it a night and we made our way back to my underground garage.
After a brief question and answer period, we set up an appoinment for the following week. Before he left, I asked him if he thought it would be ok for me to ride back and forth to work to get in a little practice.
He smiled and shook his head...."No, you're still like :shock: a deer in the headlights."
I had to admit, he was right. So, I waited. All good things eventually come to those who have patience.

The following lesson started off with some turns and hill starts and then we moved further afield this time. We went on to the freeway and up to Burnaby Mountain and back on the freeway before heading back home. we made an appoinment for Saturday at noon.

Saturday arrived with brilliant sunshine and bright blue skies.....and a lot of wind. When my instructor arrived he said today was the day we would go over the Queensborough Bridge. I had expressed concern about the complex situation to get onto this particular bridge. Even though I had no qualms going there in the car, going on the bike made me uneasy.
(You see the damage done to my psyche from the other school)

Today, though, I was feeling a bit more confident and I brought my bike outside by myself. I rode up and down the street and practiced some u-turns. I was waiting up on the street by the time the instructor got there. I think it pleased him to see that.

We set off through Burnaby and New Westminster to tackle the bridge. We went to Annacis Island and I practiced u-turns and crossing train tracks. We went back across the bridge only to cross it again from a different approach. Again we went to Annacis Island where we stopped to fuel up. Even though I didn't ask him, he went through the steps of the gas cap lock and fuelling and closing the gas cap.
After we came back across the bridge again, we headed into New Westminster where there are some killer hills. He must have made me stop and start on a hill 3 or 4 times every block.
I am very good at starting on a hill, now. :D

Soon, it was time to start making our way back to my place. When we got there, he basically said to me, "Go forth and ride."

Actually I think his actual words were, I think you should go out now on your own for an hour and ride. He told me to call if I had any problems and suggested if I wanted an evaluation ride before I took my road test, to give him a call.

My friend, dr_bar came by on his bike and rode with me to Coquitlam for coffee and back home again. I had to be in by dark though so we had to hurry back and say our good bye's.

When I looked out the window the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised by the sun shining.

"Hmmmm", I thought to myself, "I'm allowed to ride by myself now".

I phoned a friend who lives in Poco and suggested we meet for coffee. I think it was only about 8:30 at that point. There wouldn't be much traffic on a Sunday morning and would be perfect for my first time out alone.

I felt like I was in some sort of dreamland. Could this really be me? I'm actually riding a motorcycle.....by myself.....and with a smile on my face the whole way....

After I left my friend's place, I then headed over to my sister's place. Now, she knew I had been taking lessons, but, she did not know that I had bought a motorcycle.
So, I pulled up into their driveway behind the 2 vehicles parked there and shut off the engine.
I got out my cell phone and dialed their number. The roommate answered. I asked if my sister was there and asked her to tell her to come to the deck where their cars were parked.
A few seconds later, my sister with phone in hand takes a look out the window and of course sees me sitting there on my new bike. :shock: Ifmyou could add jaw dropping to :shock: that would describe the look on her face.
"Whose is that?" she exclaimed.
"Mine", I say, as I point to myself.
Well they came outside in their pyjamas to have a look. They were very excited for me. My sister used to ride a Honda Silverwing, but it has just sat in her garage for the last bunch of years.
After the requisite ooh's and aah's, I headed home.
But, wait, I was enjoying this too much. I didn't want to go home just yet. I pulled over and got my phone out again. I called my friend, dr_bar, and asked him if he wanted to meet. So he gave me directions to the local coffee shop near him and we met there. I am so glad I had all that hill practice, because to get to the coffee shop was all uphill with a couple of stop signs along the way.

It was soon time to go home though. I had things that needed to be done around the house and I did need to get stuff together for work the next day.

Monday, October 23. I decide to ride to work. It was a beautiful morning with the sun behind me as I rode along old Marine Drive. It was not very busy and the road is only a little bit curvy....perfect for a beginner.....
I had never told anyone that I was learning to ride a motorcycle....or that I bought a bike.....so when I arrived in the parking lot of my work....at first nobody knew who I was with my helmet and sunglasses on. Suddenly the recognition showed in their faces and they were very excited for me. Of course there's always going to be people who think you're nuts, but mostly they were happy for me.....with the exception of one guy....who happens to ride a sport bike.
I overheard him slagging my bike because it only has a drum brake at the back....that's no good....you should have 2 disc brakes.....oh, it's just a harley wannabe.....
I told him not to rain on my parade. I said my bike may not be right for him, but it's right for me.
He doesn't talk to me anymore. No great loss, but gee, I do something great for myself....I don't need his jealous comments.

It didn't take long for the word to spread....Did you see blues2cruise's bike? Wow! She got a motorcycle. Soon a lot of co-workers were stopping by to see what I had done.
I took a different route home. I felt like a tourist. Everything seemed so new being on the bike.
I had to go right home, though. Given that I had a learner's permit, I had to be in by dark.
I managed a couple of more commuter rides that week but it was getting close to when I would not be able to use the bike for work because it would be dark after work.
I was looking forward to the weekend.

It felt like an eternity before the weeknd came.
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blues2cruise
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Yippee! It's the weekend!

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:07 pm

I took the opportunity to ride to my brother's place and show him my bike. As with my sister, he knew I had been taking lessons, but he did not know I had bought the bike. My brother was so very pleased for me. Although he is still licensed, he hasn't ridden a motorcycle for a long time.
Given that he used to ride, he thought what I had done was very 8) .

At first I was just riding short jaunts to get used to riding and getting used to handling 500 pounds on 2 wheels. ( I was used to just 34 pounds on 2 wheels, after all. :wink: )
I rode over to Coquitlam to meet my pal for coffee before heading off for a little ride.

During the next week I only manged to get in a very small amount of riding due to the darkness after work. So, I was once again looking forward to the weekend just to get some daylight hours to go riding.

Unfortunately Saturday arrived under grey skies and lots of rain. I connected with my friend, and asked him, " Do you feel like going for a ride?"
He said, "Not really."
I asked, " How about if I ride over your way and meet you for coffee?"
"In the rain?!", he asked.
I said," Sure, why not? I've got raingear. And, I need to learn to ride in the rain, anyway. "
He was skeptical, but I reminded him that if the day of my road test was pouring rain, I'd better be able to deal with it. I told him it was important for me to know what it feels like to ride on wet roads.
He agreed, and after giving me a couple of pointers about the manhole covers, painted lines and soggy leaves we set a time to meet for coffee.

My friend is of the opinion "any excuse for a ride"...... :)

As I rode up Austin to meet I was stopped by a red light. As I am sitting at the red light, who do I see on his bike going through on the green..... :laughing: ....why, it's dr_bar. :P He just couldn't stand the thought of not going riding. :P :laughing:

We had a cup of coffee and then headed out in the rain.....I believe monsoon would more accurately describe the weather that day....It seemed the longer we were out the harder it rained..... :lol: I didn't care that my boots were were leaking. I didn't care that my gloves were not up to the task of keeping me dry.....I was having a blast. We didn't venture very far away so I wasn't worried about being wet and getting too cold because it was just a short ride to go home.

Like I keep telling people, if you want to live on the west coast, you better learn to like the rain. ( all you people from Toronto can quit griping or go home :wink: ).

The next day, when I went to work ( on the bus ) I was asked "What are you doing here?"
"Um, I work here?"
"We had you marked down for a vacation week and your shift today is already filled."
"WTF"
I told them I didn't have it marked down as vacation, so obviously some mistake had been made somewhere. I was given a choice of taking someone else's shift who happened to be away or I could take the one day vacation and work my regular shift for the rest of the week.

Well, it was only about 8am at this point and it was a wonderfully sunny fall day in Vancouver....and I have a motorcycle to ride....and a friend who loves to ride....who happens to not work dayshift....so...
"I'll go home", I replied.
"See you tomorrow."

I went out to the bus stop and while I was waiting for the bus to arrive, I dug my cellphone out of my pack. Yay! The bus came right away and after I got on board I called dr_bar.
His phone rang, but he didn't answer it so I had to leave a message. Darn it, I thought. On the off chance he just didn't hear the phone....like maybe he was in the shower or something....I rang his number a few minutes later.

Just as I was about to hang up, he answered..."Hello", in a somewhat growly sounding voice.
"It's a beautiful sunny day, dr_bar", I said brightly, "and I have a sudden unscheduled vacation day.....wanna ride?"
"You woke me up", he replied grumpily.
"I'm sorry", I say. "I didn't realize you would be asleep".
"Just a minute", he growled back.
A few seconds later, dr_bar came back to the phone and in a much happier sounding voice, said, "You're right! It is sunny!"
"When do you want to meet and where do you want to go?"

I told him I would be home in about 30 minutes and after changing into appropriate riding gear I could meet him on route to the freeway since we had decided to go to Horseshoe Bay.

An hour later, dr_bar and I met on Canada Way and Willingdon and headed through downtown and over the Lion's Gate Bridge. This was a whole new adventure for me. Although I had driven buses and cars over that bridge....and ridden my mountain bike over that bridge and even walked over it....this would be my first time riding it on a motorcycle.
We rode up Taylor Way to connect to the Upper Level's Highway and made our way to Horseshoe Bay for a short coffee stop. ( this particular place roasts their coffee on premises)
There were a few people sitting outside admiring my bike when we came back out. (It was brand new, after all, so it was so-o-o-o shiny. And such a nice colour :) )

We decided to head back via Marine Drive instead of the highway. We took a little diversion down into Whytecliff park before heading back and onto Marine Drive. For those that are not familiar with this area, Marine Drive is a very twisty road. But it has a speed limit of 50 kmh, so, for me, it was perfect for a first time. Just like a virgin.
It took a lot of focus and concentration on my part, given that I was so new to riding, but eventually we were back into the land of gridded streets and I felt very good about my achievement.
Even dr_bar was impressed with how I handled that road.

We went through North Vancouver and decided to carry on to Deep Cove. (There is a picture in BC chat or telesque's blog or you can go to photobucket if you wish to see the pic from that day. http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... esside.jpg
I was glad I had all that hill practice earlier on.

We left Deep Cove and crossed the Iron Worker's Memorial Bridge (2nd Narrows) and made our way to Burnaby. We rode up Burnaby Mountain to the top and came down the other side and started making our way back to get me home. It was now getting late in the day and we had not had any thing to eat all day so we carried on the The Hose and Hydrant for a late lunch.
While we were sitting there, we talked about the fact the I had woken him up. I asked him if he had said no to a ride and then found out later that he had missed such a glorious day, what would he have thought. He said he would have been choked to find out he missed such a fine day. He was glad I had called and woken him up.

Some days are just too good to end. But, alas, it was now getting late and I needed to get in before dark and dr_bar needed to get home to sleep so he escorted me home and saw me safe into my garage before heading home himself to recharge for his night shift.

This was undoubtedly a very fine day, indeed. The unexpected vacation day was one of the best days I had ever had.

More to come..........
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blues2cruise
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Taking care of business and making waves.......

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:53 pm

Now that I have had some top notch instruction from Rally-Pro with the private instructor, I realize I need to deal with the blankety-blank-blank owner/instructor from the other motorcycle school.
Near the beginning of the course, I wrote a letter to him because I needed to discuss the situation with him, We went into his office and he didn't even have the courtesy to open the envelope, so, I had to explain to him the problems I was having. I told him I didn't like his comments about pretending to make lo-o-o-ove to my motorcycle....Get up close and personal, he said......pretend your bike is a movie star you'd like to hump....Yes, those were his exact words.
This was only the tip of the iceberg....but you get the drift.....
I wasn't happy about the assistant smoking on the slalom course while I was trying to weave my way through the cones....It was very distracting ...cough, cough, hack, hack.....

Anyway, I decided to write a letter to ICBC to ask them to check out this driving school. In my letter I explained about the first letter I had written and I also described more incidents in the second letter. I told ICBC that I felt I was entitled to a refund because of not being able to finish the course. I enclosed a copy of the first letter I had written along with the new one and sent them to ICBC.

I also sent copies of both letters to the office of the motorcycle school.

ICBC followed up immediately with me and went out to discuss the situation with the school. ICBC arranged for me to get half my money back. Given that I had taken up space in the classroom with the instuctor with integrity, I agreed to half my money back.

Interestingly enough, the owner with integrity had never seen my first letter. The ******* instructor had never bothered to show him.
When my letters arrived in the mail, the office administrator called the owner with integrity to come and see the 2 letters.
He then phoned me. He was so very sorry about what had happened. It was unfortunate he did not know what had been going on.
He told me he was glad to have received these letters, because it confirmed what he thought and felt about the ******instructor's methods. They were in the planning stages of splitting up. He offered to help me if I needed any more help, but I told him I had been introduced to Rally-Pro and that I was doing fine. He, of course, knew who Rally-Pro was. He is very well known in the business and around the province. Lucky me to have got hooked up with him.

Interestingly enough, one day while I was over at Pacific Yamaha waiting for my bike to come out from its first service, Rally-Pro and a student arrived. I pushed open the door and said, "My hero" and went and put my arms around him. I owe much to this person.
Anyway, he pointed to the young man who was with him and said....."I got another one who had problems with***** Motorcycle School. Pacific had put this fellow onto Rally-pro. While my hero was inside, I chatted for a few minutes with the learner. He and his Dad had taken some lessons together and they were not impressed. We exchanged e-mail addresses and arranged to get together for some ICBC style riding.

He had a sport bike but as a new rider was not yet very skilled.
Oh, yeah.....this was his second new bike.....yup, that's right....he had a new bike and crashed it after the first week....so now here he was with a new bike and a different instructor and making some headway. He asked me if I wanted to ride because his friends weren't willing to take it easy for him to ride with them.

We got together a couple of times to go ICBC style riding in preparation for road tests. We were both going to test out of North Burnaby, so we met at the Burnaby testing station for our second ride. That was New year's Day. I set the pace and we rode all over Burnaby. I took him through school zones, playground zones, tight corners, stop signs at the top of steep hills.....I stopped at one point to ask if we wanted to do anything else and he commented that this had been a very challenging ride. :) I have to admit it was a bit, but hey, the practice was great.
He said he was a bit worried about u-turns, so we went to a quiet street and I helped him master u-turns before we set off again to a hill he had expressed some concern about.
I made him go around that block with the hill and right turn about three times before heading back to the testing station. He told me after we got back......after the third time around he was praying, please don't go again, please don't go again, please.......

We had spent almost three hours of intense riding...honing skills....getting used to being in traffic....we both felt it was a successful ride. We said our good-bye's and said we'd follow up after our road tests to see how each of us had done.

As for myself...I left there feeling quite a sense of satisfaction. From being so disheartened and demoralized to being out there and guiding someone else through some tribulations was quite an achievement.

But, I had to go home and park the bike. I was working a little overtime and had to get going or I would be late.
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Does your Mother know? She's about to...LOL

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 14, 2005 10:40 pm

During the whole time of learning to ride, practicing riding, and the shopping for a bike, I never told my Mom.
SHE HATES MOTORCYCLES. I think it's driven by fear more than anything.
My Mom knew that I had a friend with a bike. She knew that we went riding....on his bike....

I felt it was time to finally introduce her to my new lifestyle. She lives a ferry ride and an hour drive up the coast away. The first time for me for most things makes me nervous, so, I asked my friend, dr_bar if he'd go with me the first time I had to take my bike on the ferry. I offered to pay for the ferry on the way up and he could pay on the way back. ( It's free on the way back. LOL)
He said, sure, he would love to come along.

I phoned my Mom and asked if she was going to be home the next weekend and asked if I could bring my friend along. She has extra rooms in the house so it was not a problem. I said if the weather was nice, he would bring me on his bike.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I lied......but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do......

My Mom said even if it's not nice, bring him in your car....but of course we would have to go to the Saturday meat draw at the legion.....No problem, I said.....We can do that....

When I go, I like to catch the first ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay. It leaves at 7:20am. dr_bar and I arrange to meet at the gas station at Canada Way and Willingdon. He had offered to come by my place and escort me because it would be dark when we left (remember, I'm not supposed to be riding in the dark yet), but, it would have meant he would have to wake up even earlier to get to my place, so I said, no, I would be ok and I would meet him at the gas station at 6:30am.

On a Saturday morning at 6:30 there is no traffic to worry about and I have reflective stuff on my jacket and ankles and arms, so I figured I would be ok. All we needed to do was get to the ferry because by the time we got to Langdale, it would be light out.
Well....we're running out of time now....dr_bar had a problem with his bike....needed oil and something, so now we're going to be cutting it close for getting on the ferry. If you miss it, it's a two hour wait until the next one.
We made it with ten minutes to spare. We arrived at our designated spots and barely turned off the engines before we had to turn them on again to load onto the ferry. dr_bar showed me how to park the bike at an angle and how to put the wheel chock under the frame for support......Now we could go upstairs and get a coffee for our 40 minute ride.

After docking in Langdale, we made our way up the bypass route to Upper Gibson's. (North road is much more fun, but it was a wet morning and the bypass route would be safer.) The ride to my Mom's is an hour after you get off the ferry. The scenery is quite spectacular in places....I know because I've driven that route almost every 6 weeks for 10 years to visit the parents.....but I was always in my car or I took the bus so I had time to be able to look at the views.

Today would be different.

The Sunshine Coast Highway has a lot of very twisty bits. Some wide sweeping turns and others like tight hairpin turns you can't see around. In my car I have no problem. I know the road so well. Today was a whole new experience. I think knowing the road helped because I knew what to expect around the next bend. On the other hand, because the road is so twisty and sometimes narrow, you never know when a truck or a bus or some yahoo who doesn't know how to drive will cross over the line on those hidden curves.
Consequently, it is necessary to exercise some caution.....and the road was still wet......so, with me setting the pace and dr_bar riding staggered behind me, we made it to my Mom's without incident.....(unlike the day we went to Harrison Hot Springs....I will get to that story another time)

So, as I explained earlier, my Mom was expecting one bike with 2 people.....what she got was 2 bikes with 2 people rolling into her driveway.
The door opened and she stood as only a mother can with hands on hips and a scowl on her face.....pointed at my bike and asked "Whose is that?"

I smiled back and said "Mine".

She very wisely kept her counsel. I think she finally realized that I am over 50 and I can do what I want. It's about time, too, I might add. :wink:

I made introductions and we went in and unloaded our gear. My Mom said, "You should ride over and show Dan". (a family friend who has been biking for 40 years....yes, the same person in the twisty road thread)
We rode down the highway for about 5 minutes to get to the turnoff to his place and rolled on into his driveway. He sure was shocked and ecstatic to see me on a bike. Hugs all around and picture taking and more hugs...
We only stayed a few minutes because my Mom was getting breakfast ready. Having got up at 5:30, I was sure ready for something to eat.

We passed a pleasant day and a half ( a lot of convincing my Mom motorcycling really can be safe) before heading back to Langdale for the ferry home. For once I was able to leave early without her trying to delay my departure because I had to be home before dark.

All in all it was a successful first meeting between my bike and her.
The ride home was largely uneventful and I felt confidence in my new found skills.

"Yes", I said to myself, "I do believe I have what it takes to be a good rider".
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Holy Crap! I forgot my mantra...where you look is where....

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 14, 2005 11:33 pm

Some friends from work who had moved out to Maple Ridge and Mission kept asking when I was going to come out to see them and their new places.
Well, after the Deep Cove day but before the Sunshine Coast day, dr_bar and I went to visit both places.
We first stopped in Maple ridge for coffee and muffins and a short visit before heading out to Mission. We took the turnoff at Sylvester Road ( a popular biking road ) and made our way to my friend's place. They had just bought ten acres and had horses and wanted to show us around.
We found the turnoff and.....holy crap....gravel....my nemesis....so, I very carefully and with both feet hovering over the ground, I made my way into their driveway.
We were actually expecting lunch given that we had been invited to come out and it was noon when we got there.....alas, it was not to be.... They showed us around their place and we had a small glass of coke or something and we decided we better get going.....I had to be home by dark.....man, oh,man, that was getting tiresome....
We stopped to fuel up in Mission and while were there I asked dr_bar if after we got back home we could go get a bite to eat......We were both starving since we'd had only a muffin all day and it was now 3pm.
We made our way to my place and parked my bike.....before dark.....barely.....(Safe and sound...it won't be turning into a pumpkin today....)
We both went on dr_bar's bike and headed out for some supper. He dropped me off and said we'd message to make arrangements for another day.
As for the Harrison Hot springs day.....It wasn't actually our plan to go there.....we just sort of kept going.....We started off going to Pitt Meadows but by the time we got there both of us had frozen fingers. ( The weatherman lied again. :wink: ) It was supposed to be warmer today, darn it.

We stopped at the local Safeway because dr_bar had a brainstorm idea......We went and bought some of those 99 cent stretchy magic gloves or whatever they're called. We put them on under our leather gloves and they gave us a bit of insulation against the cold.
The next stop was Golden Ears Park but to get to it you must ride along Fern Crescent....another popular biking road because it's kinda twisty....It is, however, also residential, so if you go there, please respect the neighbourhood.
After we made a quick stop to look at the lake, we headed back out of the park and to Tim Horton's in Maple Ridge for some soup. After fuelling ourselves, and feeling somewhat warmer now, we decided to keep riding. It was still only early afternoon, so dr_bar suggested going to Harrison Hot Springs.

He said, "We should be able to make it back before dark".
(I should have taken that as a warning that we probably would NOT be back before dark, but, what the heck...)
"OK", I said. "Let's go".

We travelled the back roads through Maple Ridge, Ruskin, Whonnock, over the dam, and....oh, oh.....
"Where are we?"
"I don't know".
"What do you think?"
"Keep going this way?"
"Or turn over there?"
"Well, let's go this way and if we can't find what we're looking for, we can stop and get directions".
"OK"
So, we carrry on with me setting the pace (dr_bar would ride wa-a-a-a-a-ay too fast if he were in the lead, and he's happy to be cruising along at the speed limit riding staggered behind me....although every once in awhile he "stretches his legs" and then waits for me to catch up).....
but, I digress.....
Where was I....Oh, yeah, we were unsure of where we were, and I was riding in the lead when we came to a very complex situation. The road angled uphill around a bend.....upon which there was a car coming down....and there were people standing along side the road....and there were a couple of roads leading onto the bend......

I lost focus.....Holy Crap...( I remember in the classroom being told Where you look is where you go......where you look is where you go......If you don't look where you want to go, you will ride off the road and you will have a Holy Crap......It stuck in my head.....holy crap.....) sorry, back to the story.....

I lost focus.....my attention was diverted.....the road coming in, the car coming down....on a curve.....the car coming down.......the car coming toward me.....holy crap......actually it was me heading toward the car.......holy crap......I suddenly remembered my mantra


Where you look is where you go. I was able to wrestle my bike back into my lane and bring it back in line with the curve and make it to the top in one piece.....where you look is where you go.....I will never forget that again......
That scared the heck out of me, but I managed to keep going. But, wow, did I ever learn a huge lesson from that and I learned it quick.

Eventually we found the road we were looking for and made out way to Harrison Hot Springs. We were there long enough for a coffee and a bathroom break and we had to head back.....the dark thing.....

We decided Highway 1 would be quicker so after fuelling our bikes headed for the freeway. Well, wouldn't you know it....construction.....Don't they know I'm in a hurry. The sun will be setting soon.
It was quite a long delay on the highway, so now I felt compelled to quicken the pace. The speed limit out there was 100, so I moved the speedo up to 110. Traffic was still flying by us, so I opened the throttle a little more....120kmh....
Ok, I'm feeling a little anxious now.....120kmh is just a bit too much for me, so I kept the speed to 110 until we got closer to the city. It gets quite congested and the speed limit drops so we were hovering around the 90 mark.

By the time we got back to Burnaby it was dark, so dr_bar escorted me home to make sure I got in safe before he headed back to his own place.

One of these days, I will be ready for my road test and then if I do happen to be caught out a bit late, I don't have to panic to get home.

Never forget your mantra......where you look is where you go...or you, too, will have a "Holy Crap!" :shock:
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What happened to c.r.a.p? It became crumb.

Unread post by blues2cruise » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:25 am

I'm guessing that c.r.a.p. is a verbotten word here. I had just finished typing out my last story and went back to proof read it. I saw Holy "crumb".
I'm thinking I don't remember typing that out. Maybe I did and I just don't remember.
But then I read through the story and I see that everywhere I typed c.r.a.p. it had become a "crumb".

My question is why is the word a bad word?
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My first solo adventure-aka-always have your raingear

Unread post by blues2cruise » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:41 pm

I decided it was time for me to start doing a little solo riding. I couldn't rely on always having a friend available to go with me.....I have gotten used to having a security blanket ( a metaphor ) riding staggered behind me....
I called my Mom to make sure she was going to be home on the weekend. (This was still back in January) She is always glad when one of her kids comes for a visit.
I was planning on riding if the weather was ok....like if there was no frost or ice. The temperatures were still unseasonably warm so I was quite confident the roads would be good. I figured if it did have a sudden change while I was up the coast and it started to snow or get icy, I could leave the bike at my Mom's and take the bus home.

So, I set off in the dark on a Saturday morning ( yes, I am illegal again :frusty: ), but it was highly unlikely I would get stopped on my way to the ferry at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, especially dressed the way I was and with my bag cargo netted to the pillion seat.
Even though it wasn't raining, I dressed for rain anyway. You cannot trust the weatherman...if they say clouds with sunny periods, it usually means "it's sunny somewhere in the world, just not where you are today". :laughing:
Given my newness to riding and the wet roads and darkness of the morning, I must have been riding quite slow, because I got to the ferry with only a minute to spare. I paid for my passage and headed down to the designated bike area and waved directly on board. Apparently I was running late, because I was at the stern of the boat.
The ticket agent had radioed and said a motorcycle was on the way down so the ferry waited the minute until I got there. I was barely in the boat when it started moving.
Now, it is important to understand that the first ferry in the morning is also when the bigs trucks ( semi's and tractor trailers) are also making their runs for deliveries up the coast.

As I ride onto the deck at the stern of the boat, the deck worker points for me to go the front of the ship. :shock: It would have meant squeezing between the rows of trucks to make my way to the front.
So, I risked having a ferry worker yell at me and I just pulled in behind a row of trucks and stopped.

I took off my helmet and shook my hair free before I went to get a ferry guy.
Shameless, I know.....
I walked over to the ferry guy and smiled sweetly....
"Excuse me", I say, "this is the first time I've been on a ferry on a motorcycle."
"And I'm a new rider". :)
He smiled back at me. "How can I help you"? he asked.
I pointed to the long skinny aisle between the rows of big trucks and asked " He didn't really mean for me to squeeze between the trucks to make my way to the front, did he"? "I'm not too sure I could do that".
He took a look up between the trucks and replied, " I'm not sure I would want to do that, either".
He said my bike was fine where it was. " I will show you how to park it".
He came over to my bike and explained I should park it at an angle and to leave it in gear. ( I knew that already, but, when someone wants to go the extra distance and be helpful....given that I was a helpless woman after all... :wink: , I let them be helpful. :) )
He explained about the wheel chocks and even went and got one for me. (Keep in mind I had told this was my first time ).
He told me I could come and find him when we docked and he would take care of the wheel chock for me. I smiled brightly and said thanks.

When we were docking, a few individuals came over to chat with me. It's amazing how having a bike makes people chatty. The ferry guy came over and took away the wheel chock, reminded me to be careful on the exit ramp and wished me a good trip. Wow! What a nice guy.

When I left home that morning, it was with some trepidation about going on my own up this highway. I believe I mentioned somewhere earlier about being nervous "the first time" I do something. So far this morning, I had managed to cross a few bridges, so to speak. As I left the ferry and made my way across the exit ramp, I started to feel a little less nervous.

It was daylight now, the skies were clear and the roads were dry. Bonus!

I decided today to go the North road route because the road was dry this time. I made my way through Gibsons and although there were no problems, I was still feeling a little "anxious".

Something changed. Suddenly I'm smiling. I'm near Robert's Creek where the highway widens and it's a long sweeping curve and I'm here, in this moment....I'm really doing this....I'm riding this highway by myself and I'm enjoying being here. I'm excited about this journey. Wow! What a feeling.

It may be difficult for some people to understand why this moment was so special for me, so I will explain briefly. For most of my life, I have been told, "No, you cannot do that." Or, "No, you should not do that." Or, "No, that is not appropriate for a girl." Or, "No, a woman shouldn't do that."

No, no, no. When you hear that your whole life, you begin to believe you can do nothing. Well, darn it anyway, I was tired of trying to do what other people thought I should or should not do.......

So, here I was on "my very own motorcycle" riding up the Sunshine Coast Highway by myself and with a big smile on my face. It felt so-o-o-o-o good.

The good weather didn't last long. After Robert's Creek there were wet roads and fog patches. By the time I got to Sechelt where I pulled in to the gas station to fuel the bike, the fog was quite thick.
I made a comment to a fellow who was fuelling his big SUV," I'm sure glad I'm not driving what you're driving".
He asked why and I said because I could not afford the fuel. Those SUV's are very thirsty vehicles.
He replied I sure wouldn't want to be riding what you're riding on a day like today.....(he didn't like the cold temperature)
He had just come down the road I was about to go up, so I asked him about the fog. He said as soon as you get out of Sechelt, it was clear.
I was relieved to hear that.

After fuelling I made my way through Sechelt....very carefully.....I felt very vulnerable because of the fog. At least I had my bright yellow raincoat on and my extra flashing lights on my arm bands and an extra flashing light on the back of my bag.....this early on a Saturday in January there would be almost zero other traffic on the highway, so, I figured I would be ok.
The fog stayed with me for most of the ride. Good thing I was familiar with the road.
I had the luxury of being able to go slow.....there was nobody else on the road. Eventually someone else caught up to me, so, I pulled over and let them go by. With the wet road and fog, I didn't need the extra stress of someone behind me pressuring me to go faster.

Eventually I made it safe and sound to my Mom's where she had a pot of fresh coffee just starting to brew and breakfast on the go.

The next day, she was heading out early on a bus trip to Powell River and I was volunteering to help with a function at the legion. She went out on her bus trip with some worry in her head because the weather was so bad. It was raining again. I knew she would not enjoy her day if she was thinking about me riding my bike home in the rain, so, I created another "white lie".
I called the Powell River number where the bus trip was headed and I left a message for my Mom. "Can you please tell -----------that it stopped raining and I have made it home safe and sound". Even though at that point I hadn't even left her house yet, I knew it would ease her mind.

I left earlier than I normally would have to go to the ferry. It was raining, so I knew I would have to go slow on those tight turns. It seemd like the longer I was on the road, the harder it rained. I'm not sure when I have seen it rain that hard. :roll:
It's occasions like this why we pack raingear everywhere we go.

Just like, Visa....never leave home without it :wink:

I was glad I had treated my visor with Sea Drops ( got it from a dive shop). The rain was pelting so hard it was hurting my face and splattering my glasses so I could not see. I put the visor down to cover my face and the Sea Drops made the water sheet off the visor instead of making it impossible to see. I had to keep the visor open a crack, though, so it wouldn't fog up. ( I have since purchased a visor liner that prevents fogging up.....works great)
It was slow, uneventful ride to the ferry, but, eventually I got there. Unlike the ferry guy from the morning before, the ferry guy here was obviously in a crummy mood. I asked him a simple question and he responded very beligerently and rudely. Then he sent me down to where the big trucks were lined up for loading. WTF?
Ok, so I head down there and get at the front of the row he has told me. And I wait.
When it is time for boarding, he now lets on the trucks first. WTF?
This is not the way it's supposed to be done. Bikes always go on first, but, here I am sitting here waiting while all the big trucks make their way on first. I am finally allowed to go on....behind all the big trucks and getting to breath in all their lovely deisel fumes all the way.
I was directed along the side and told to make my way to the front. Well, when I got there I could not get to the front. The tucks were pulled up so far, I wasn't sure if I could squeeze through, so I stayed back a bit. I had to search for a wheel chock. There were none around and the ferry guys were not at all helpful.....unlike the previous day.....
"Hey, guys, you get well paid for your job....if you don't like the rain, then get an inside job......"

I went to the chief steward's office and made a polite enquiry about why I was directed the way I was. They gave me an official complaint form to fill out....so, I took 2.....the guy the day before should get kudos.....
The deck officer was in the steward's office and he was somewhat perplexed as to why the lot guy had done what he had done.....The deck officer said he would assess the situation when we docked.
When we docked, the deck officer came to find me and took a look at the situation. He figured if I could move my bike right to the curb, I should be able to clear the big truck...."I'll get you off first", he said.
Finally we docked and true to his word, the deck officer let me get off the boat first.
Darn! It was still raining cats and dogs. I made my way to a gas station on Lonsdale ( at this point I still don't know how far I can go on a tank, so, I stop to fuel at 200k).
I phoned my friend, dr_bar, because we had made a previous arrangement to meet at his local coffee shop when I came home.
"Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm in North Van".
"I guess all you want to do right now is go home to a hot shower, heh?"
"No", I replied, "What I would like is a bowl of soup and a cup of tea".
"You still want to come to Coquitlam?"
"Sure", I say, "I'm dressed for the rain and I'm not cold, so I may as well carry on to Coquitlam and have soup over there".
"OK, how long do you think it will take you te get here?"
"Oh, about another 30 minutes should get me there.....see you shortly."

When I arrived at the coffee shop, a lot of the usual customers were there.
"Are you nuts?" was the comment at my arrival.
"What can I say, the forecast when I left home was for dry weather."

I didn't stay long....just long enough to have some lunch....because all of a sudden I was starting to feel chilly. It was probably from the condensation that had been inside my raincoat and now that I was without all my outer layers, the dampness was making me cold.
When I went home, I took my bike directly to the carwash area inside the garage. I unloaded my gear from there and left the bike to cool down. It was going to need a good cleaning after the riding I did that weekend.

Somebody who lives in the building looked over and asked, "You're not going to park it there, are you?" (some people are so stupid)
"No", I replied, "My bike is covered with mud and it needs to be washed". (I have my own parking space....why would she think I'm parking it in the carwash area :roll: ).
I carried my gear in and dumped everything in the bath tub.....my official rain room....( hey, in a 1 bedroom condo, everything does double duty. LOL)
I collected my "washing" odds and ends and headed back out to the bike. After hosing it down, I sprayed it with the bike cleaner I had bought. It was a big job to get it cleaned this time. After I got it cleaned and dried, I sprayed and polished with some protectant....one must protect their investment.....and stood back to admire the gleaming vision before me. Wow! Just an hour ago it was covered in mud and road grime.....it looked showroom new now. OK, enough admiring my hard work....I was suddenly very tired, so I parked the bike, collected my wash stuff and went in to have my long awaited hot shower.

I had met the challenges of the weather and road conditions head on and passed with flying colours. It felt like such a huge accomplishment to me.
Aahhhhhhh, life is good sometimes. :)
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Practice makes perfect....well, competent anyway....

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:20 am

I am far from perfect. As are my riding skills. The day I think my riding skills are perfect is the day I will find my self in trouble. I can feel, however, that as I gain confidence, my riding skills get better.

I try to get out as much as I can but given that it is January, the conditions are not always condusive to 2 wheels...
I had a vacation week planned and thought I would get in a little practice....haha
I looked out the window and saw that it was a sunny morning so I got my gear on and took the bike out. Bad move....
It wasn't until I got out on the street that I realized some of the roads were icy. When I stopped for a red light and put my left foot down....WHOA!....my foot slipped out and I nearly lost all control. A couple of guys walking by ( I think they were from the nearby muffler shop...they also have bikes)exclaimed to me, "Are you crazy?"
"No, I am not crazy, I just didn't know it was icy out. I'm taking it back in".

OK, so no early morning rides in the winter.

I am finally feeling confident enough to take my road test so I booked the appointment....for noon.....late enough for the morning iciness to have gone and early enough before the afternoon iciness starts.
My Rally-Pro instructor had said if I wanted an evaluation ride before my test to give him a call. Even though I felt ready for my road test, I wanted to hear it from him, so I called him and we set up a time.
(the great thing about having a private instructor is that he will teach all year----except for the icy days of course----unlike the motorcycle schools who close down in the fall and winter)
Up until now I have been learning and riding and practicing all fall and winter....I wanted to be ready to go on rides with people when the "official" riding season began.

Sorry, getting off track again.

Anyway, the instructor and I met at the testing station to begin our ride. After some initial discussion about the route I should take, we set off, only this time it was with him behind me so as to evaluate my riding skills and my road sense.
After we arrived back at the testing station he gave me a couple of pointers....like the fact that I am still too pokey when I first leave a light or a stop sign.
"You need to be more "brisk" on the throttle. I was so used to having to be gentle on an accelerator because of my job, that it was a habit. Ok, I could be "brisk".
The other thing was that when I left the freeway and the speed went from 80 to 60 to 50, I slowed down to abrubtly with no indication to anyone behind me......This is when I learned to blink my brake lights so anyone behind me would know I was slowing down.....
We went around the route again with the couple of pointers he had given me in mind. This time it was good.
We left there to go to some side streets and practice u-turns and more u-turns and more u-turns.
Finally it was time to call it quits. He said I would have no problems passing a road test and asked me to give him a call the day of the test. He offered to just "show his face" so the examiner would know I had someone like him behind me.
After the evaluation ride, we rode together out to Coquitlam. He wanted to talk for a few mintues so we went into Coquitlam Centre mall....
"Follow me", he said.
"OK"
He led me through the parking lot for what seemed like an eternity. I'm thinking,"What is he looking for? Why not just find a place to park?"

Then it occured to me that he either knew of some secret parking space or he was giving me an impromptu parking lot lesson. When we stopped I asked him. "A little bit of both, actually."

Finally, it's road test day. Yahoo! It's a sunny day. Very cold, but sunny. Well, whaddya expect for February.
As I was getting ready to leave for my test, I whacked my right hand on a wall. :shock: OUCH! Great....now my throttle hand is hurting....more than usual....
It should be noted that throughout this whole process I have had a sore right hand. I am on the waiting list for surgery to hopefully repair the CMC joint at the base of the thumb near the wrist.
Ok, now my hand is hurting and it's cold out but I have put too much time, money and effort into this to cancel my test.
I put some warming packets in the toes of my boots so my feet wouldn't go numb from the cold. My toes needed to be able to feel the brake pedal and the shifter. I was wearing my ski gloves in the futile attempt to keep my fingers warm. ( I will be purchasing heated gloves for my next winter season)
I had spoken to the other learner I had taken out for a couple of rides. He had taken his road test a few days before mine and passed it. He told me about the route and I thought it sounded easy enough.
"You're going to ace it", he said. "After the riding we did, this will be a piece of cake for you."
After my conversation with him, I rode to the testing station feeling somewhat confident about what lay ahead. Rally-Pro met me there and we had a chat with the examiner before he headed out.
I think the examiner took me on the hardest route he could find. I think the examiner was one of those people who thinks women should not ride. This route had so many hill starts it was crazy. (Good thing I had so much practice early on). We went on the freeway and through parts of town I never, ever go. Aside from the unfamiliar territory, I also found it disconcerting to have someone talking through an earpiece in my helmet. I found myself not being able to concentrate on the road as much as I should have because I was always waiting expectantly, for the examiner's next instructions.
My hand was hurting and my fingers were frozen. I had a white knuckle death grip on the throttle which made me stall a couple of times. I figured that part out later. If my hand had been more relaxed my throttle control would have been better. Ah well, it's normal to be nervous when you are being tested.
Finally, it's over. He watched me like a hawk, every step of the way from the signalling to park and backing into the parking stall and getting off the bike....Must remember to "check the deck".....
I think he was hoping I would do something wrong.
Aside from my stalling a couple of times and not seeing a sign early enough I had a good test. "I'm going to give it you", he said relunctantly. "Just make sure you work on your throttle control".
I smiled my brightest smile ( or was it a grimace ) and said thank you.

Wahoo! I got my licence. February 7, 2005.

to be continued......
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Backtracking a bit...doesn't anyone want to sell me a bike?

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:40 pm

I mentioned earlier about the frutrating experiences of bike shopping. After I got my learner's permit, I started the process of looking at motorcycles. I had no preconceived ideas of what I would buy....except that I knew I did not want a sport bike.
My first stop was to Carter Honda by Granville Island. I was on my lunch break there and it seemed like a fine idea to go look in there. I wandered all through the new and used bikes outside......nobody came out to help me....I eventually went inside and spent considerable time looking at all the bikes......nobody would come and help me.....they were not busy.
The manager saw me about to walk out the door and made a quick beeline to me. Now, don't get me wrong.....I don't expect to be treated like the queen.....but I have worked in retail and ignoring people is not the way to make a sale. I explained that I was in the looking stage and that I would be buying a bike in the very near future.
The manager then made an effort to show me some bikes.

****Note to all bike shops****A person with a learner's permit is a potential good customer.

What's a good thing to do on a rainy day in the fall?.....Go bike shopping!

I went to a Suzuki dealer in Surrey and although it was a nice friendly family run business, they had almost no stock in the store. There was nothing for me to sit on and try on for size.

From there we headed down to Daytona because I had seen some ads for some used bikes they had.
Here is the impression I got from the salesguy there....I have a nice Triumph Rocket III that would be perfect for you. :roll: I think he would have sold me anything regardless of how unsuitable it would have been.

My friend and I then headed out to Coquitlam to the Carter Honda out there. We were looking at the bikes out in the lot..... in the rain......when eventually a salesguy....with a smoke in his hand.....came out to see if we would like some help.
My friend (who happens to be male) did the talking at first, but as soon as the salesguy knew the bike was for me, he turned away and went to someone else.....
but...but.....I have some questions.....
OK, so they don't want my cash.....there are plenty of bike shops in the lower mainland. I'll just have to keep looking.
I sure did like those Honda Shadows......

On to Richmond Motorsports....they have Hondas.....My friend and I must have spent close to half an hour in there sitting on different bikes....and guess what? Yes, you guessed it.....I was ignored.

I actually went to Richmond Motorsports twice and got met with the same "non interest".
I saw an ad a few weeks in a row for a demo model of a V-Star that was at Pacific Yamaha, so finally my friend and I made our way there.
:roll: It was sold about an hour before we got there. :roll:

The rest of the story has been told previously so I won't repeat it.

After I had my bike for a few weeks, and was getting in some riding time.....a lot of it in the rain.....I needed some cleaning supplies....so, off I go to Carter Honda at Granville Island ( because I was in the neighbourhood again and it was my lunch break).....
Can I get some help, please? Nada....nothing.....
Likewise when I was searching for a new helmet......You guessed it.....NOT ONE PERSON WOULD COME AND HELP ME.

I eventually ended up at Burnaby Kawasaki to buy my helmet. The staff in there are fairly helpful and although I go to Pacific Yamaha for bike stuff, the guys at Burnaby Kawasaki are helpful for accessories.

It has been an enlightening experience to realize some men are still in the dark ages when it comes to women and the fact that we make a large part of the buying public.

Ok, rant over.....back in the saddle......
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I've got my license....now what?

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jul 17, 2005 3:08 pm

I called Rally_Pro with the good news. Then I called my friend, dr_bar to tell him and he invited me for lunch to celebrate. I rode to Lougheed Mall to meet him where we spent some considerable time yakking about my road test. When I described the route I had been made to go, he said, "He sure put the screws to you. It sounds like he wanted you to fail."
(especially when you consider the easy route the other fellow had been taken on)
After I left dr_bar, I rode by my sister's work...Had to show off my interim class 6.
I didn't get a chance to ride the rest of the week due to work and the weather, but when the weekend came it was dry and clear again, so I headed out to my friend's in Poco. I was on my way home and I thought to myself, I wish I didn't have to end today and then I remembered.....
"I'm legal....I can stay out until after dark", so, I turned around and headed out the freeway to Langley. I was on a mission. I had a goal.

I needed for someone to see I didn't need him or his stupid control freak attitude. Childish? Maybe. Did it feel good? Yes.
After I dropped by his place to drop off something that he had left behind several months previous....( it gave me great pleasure to ring his intercom and have him come to the door and retrieve his belonging and see me in my riding gear, helmet and bike running at the road side....ok, immature, too, but, oh, so, satisfying :wink: )

I came home via #10 highway. Big mistake. I was used to coming that way in my car so it never occured to me that it would be unsuitable for a bike in the dark.....and it was dark.........v-e-r-y dark. Given that we had so much freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, a lot of roads were getting potholes and I was a little concerned I might hit one.
However, I was very careful and made it home ok. If I had a reason to go out that was again, I would head back to #1, where there is more light to see better.

My next foray into the dark was to the bowling alley on Lougheed. Once again, I went the way I would normally go in a car....along Douglas....it was so dark and bumpy....
Needless to say, I went home another way. I learned from those 2 experiences that I will have to give some thought into the routes I use for riding at night.

I'd rather ride in the rain

During the rest of February and March I got in as much riding as I could to gain experience because I knew that soon I would be having my hand fixed and would not be able to use my hand for 2 months. :cry: I wanted to have a skill set firmly in place so that when I could get back to riding I would be good to go.

March 30-May 30...out of commission.
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Is the hand up to the task? I'm about to find out.

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:39 pm

In the middle of May, I sat on my bike and attempted to lift it upright. My hand cannot even turn the key and straighten the handlebars. :cry:
So, I wait.
May 26, I attempt again. This time I can manage to get the bike upright and turn on the engine. I took the bike for a spin in the parking garage to see if my hand was up to the task of hanging on to the bike and controlling the throttle and brake. So far, so good. I will ask the hand therapist this afternoon what he thinks.
The therapist isn't too keen on the idea, but I say, what the heck. I got my gear on and took the bike out for a very short ride. I just went around the local area for 1/2 hour and came home. I felt quite good about the tiny excursion, but I will wait and see what the surgeon has to say.
The next week on June 7, it was a visit to the surgeon for a follow up. I asked him if it was ok to ride. I was concerned that if I was riding too soon my hand would have a set back or slow the healing process. He said I could ride...if I was safe.....and no, riding would not slow the healing process....BUT....I would probably be sore. He said the vibrations would probably cause some swelling and soreness but it would not be detrimental. He suggested ice and anti-inflammatories if needed.

Wahoo! :D I got clearance to ride.....as long as I felt safe....

I started going for very short rides just to start gaining some strength back into the hand. The doctor was right....my hand is swolllen and sore....so, I'm not overdoing it....just going for short rides and working up to some longer ones.
dr_bar and I went to Tsawassen and back one day. It turned out to be longer than expected and my hand was sure feeling it. But, it was better than the last time, so I feel encouraged.

I decided to go up the coast. This would be a good test for my hand. I managed quite well, all things considered. The packing, getting the gear strapped to the bike ( that part is still hard ) 1/2 hour ride to the ferry and then on the other side another hour ride.
The next day was the fateful day when the family friend up the coast decided to accompany me to the ferry. I don't need to go into detail here. The story is in the How Do You Handle Twisty Road thread in the Beginner Biker forums.
I continued to work on building stamina and then one day honda599, dr_bar and myself went for a ride. We met at the Mohawk station close to home ( sort of central for the 3 of us ) and honda599 made an executive decision as to where to ride. The ride was supposed to be just a couple of hours long......6 hours later I got home.....I guess time flies when you're having fun.
I outlined that day in the twisty road thread also.

On June 26, I rode out to Maple ridge for an annual "celebrate summer" barbecue. I knew there would be people there who would want to see my new bike, so I spent some considerable time washing, drying and polishing the bike before I left home. Have to keep up appearances, you know. :wink:

"What's this, now that you ride a motorcycle you wear all black?"
"No, I've always worn black clothes."
"I've never seen you in black." "I've seen you in colour."
"Bonehead.....that's because you have only ever seen me at work where we wear a blue uniform. :roll:
"Oh, right....yeah, I guess it is blue I see you in all the time."

"What's with the boots?"

sigh.....what is wrong with these people?
I left there early...I get tired of being given a hard time...who needs it. I told them I wanted to get home by dark, so I made my escape.
I was glad to be on the road again. It was such a lovely evening.

June 30, I decide to make another visit to my Mom. With the long weekend coming up I decided to go on Thursday...ahead of the major holiday traffic and come back Saturday...ahead of the major coming home traffic.
I packed my gear and got it cargo netted to the bike and headed out to the ferry. I left earlier than usual just in case there was extra volume. When I got to the ferry terminal was when I found out about the ferry crash. The ferry crashed at 10 that morning and I arrived at noon. It was soon evident that we would not be going anywhere anytime soon.
There were some other bikers there who were travelling from Alberta. They were having a slow tour around. We chatted for awhile and then some more bikers arrived .
I remembered a thread in the Ladies Lounge about "Evil looks from non-biking women", so I made an effort to be friendly to the 2 women who were riding pillion behind their men. The men were friendly and chatty to me and I didn't want their women getting upset with me. :wink:

I helped an old lady find her vehicle and while we were walking we saw our "Premier we love to hate" also stuck in the ferry line.
:mrgreen: :laughing: :lol: :twisted: It was like a consolation prize knowing he was stuck, too. Although I was tempted to ask for a refund just for having to be on the same ferry as he. I did not vote for that man. I, along with a lot of common folk, despise that man.
After a few hours of standing around in the sun ( I should thank BC Ferries for the tan :roll: ) an announcement was made that we would soon be able to begin boarding.
All of a sudden some rude guy on a bike ( he came later than all of us and was behind us) started up his bike and roared up to the front of the line and barged right in front of me. jerk! When we finally got the green light to board he roared on ahead like none of us were there. It's guys like him who give bikers a bad name. We were all going to get on the ferry, for crying out loud.....He wasn't much better when it was time to disembark....He tried to nudge in front of the other 2 bikers who had been at the front of the line but I don't think they like what he had done on the other side, so they moved their bikes up just enough so he couldn't barge in ahead of them to get off first. Sheesh....we were all stuck over there....we all had places to go and people waiting for us.....

The ride up the coast was pleasant...not much traffic....so no pressure for me to try to take the corners too fast. They are v-e-e-e-r-r-r-y tight curves.
Guess what....Dan was waiting at my Mom's....he wanted to say hi and see me and my bike....and give me a hard time...yet again about the braking cornering thing...( in the twisty road thread ) and give me a hard time about my helmet. I wear a full face, he has a beanie.
Once again, I tell him to ride his own ride and I'll ride mine.

The next evening at a barbecue, this person starts giving me the gears again....what is it with this person....
Now, if he was right, I could accept what he has to say and leave it at that. But, in this case, he is trying to push me beyond my ability and comfort level and that is just plain wrong. Plus, I am riding the way I was taught....by the professionals. ( Not to mention that he has had his own share of crashes over the years....and has lots of stories about some of the crazy things he used to do on bikes....and he thinks I should listen to what he has to say? :roll: )
When he started yelling at me and swearing at me, I yelled and swore right back at him...He finally went away. I cancelled the ride we had previously planned. I told him I would not ride anywhere with anyone who would talk to me like that. I wasn't sure if he would still turn up the next day....it would have been just like him to think there was nothing wrong and still show up....so I left my Mom's an hour earlier than needed.
OK, call me a chickensh*t, but I couldn't deal with any more confrontation and I needed to be able to focus on riding back down that twisty road.

As luck would have it there was almost zero traffic and when I got to the ferry there was an unscheduled boat about to leave. We were under sail about ten minutes after I arrived. After the extreme wait on Thursday, this was a nice little bonus.
It was good to get home.......I had much to do as I was scheduled to go back to work on Monday after 3 months off. It would not be an easy week.

coming up.....Seymour and Cypress Mountain.
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twisties with an altitude

Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:17 pm

Now that my hand is starting to get a bit stronger, I feel motivated to ride somewhere a little more challenging. dr_bar and I decide to take a ride to Seymour Mountain in North Vancouver.

This will be my first mountain ride.

We are making our way along Hwy #1 towards the 2nd Narrows Bridge. When I got to where the HOV lane ends, I decide to change lanes...to the slow lane....I looked in the mirror....I signalled....I shoulder check....there is nothing....I move from position 1 to position 3 first before the actual lane change.....my signals are on, I look again and still there is nothing.....just as I move from position 3 to make the actual lane change....holy crumb...where the heck did he come from? There was an Intrepid going wa-a-a-a-y-y-y-y over the speed limit passing me on my right. I held my position hovering on the line...look again and...whoa....there's another one in hot pursuit.....
The lessons I learned from my Rally-pro instructor and the fact that I actually put them into practice just saved my life....These 2 cars had been in the farthest most right lane which would be ending in a few hundred more metres....instead of going behind me to get into the passing lane, they chose to pass me on my right and cut me off in front of me..... :shock:
We rode to the mountain via the Seymour Parkway and started our ascent of the mountain. On the way up I noticed a couple of deer munching happily along the roadside. I think they are quite used to traffic along here because Seymour is a popular year round destination. Hikers go there in the summer and skiers in the winter. It is also common to see cyclists riding up and down ( more like coasting down ) the road.

After arriving at the top we took a little look around the area and headed back down. There is only a small view on the way down because the rest of the way is in trees. "Watch for bears." Bears are commonly seen up here. We came back via Deep cove and the Dollarton Hwy to the 2nd Narrows Bridge to start making our way to our respective homes.
As we were coming through the Cassiar tunnel, in the slow lane, I notice a car crossing the solid white triangle coming into my lane......I look in my mirror....nothing....I signal...look again....I shoulder check....all the while the left signal is on....I am accelerating because I am about to go into the passing lane to avoid the guy entering the freeway illegally

I moved from position 1 to position 3 in the passing lane and shoulder checked again....did I mention there had been nothing there....the lane was empty.....even dr_bar riding staggered behind me was in the process of making the move to the passing lane.....OMFG...scr-e-e-e-ech The sound of the screech made me look again and out of nowhere a red car appeared. I stayed hovering near the line in position 3.....the red car had been travelling so fast it appeared out of nowhere, so to speak. The speed limit over the bridge is 70kmh....but because I was accelerating to go into the passing lane, I was probably over 90. I'd guess the red car was doing double the limit......At the last second he saw me and screeched his brakes. I think I saw smoke coming from them. It's a good thing I wear bright yellow. It's a good thing I practice what I learned.....dr_bar said the guy who had entered the freeway illegally, (the one who I had to move over to avoid ) had eyes like :shock: I held my line...I didn't make any sudden moves....
When I knew the red car was stable and not going to try something else stupid, I moved over to position 1. dr_bar moved over behind the red car.
When it was safe for me to do so, I moved back to the slow lane.
As the red car then came by me in the passing lane, I fully expected him to give me the finger or make some caustic remark, but I think he knew how close he came to causing a horrible accident....I think he realized that close call was his fault. I flipped him the bird instead. :wink:
As we approached where 1st Avenue enters the freeway, I moved back to the passing lane...so many cars entering there.....just around the bend is the HOV lane anyway.....I got into the HOV lane and dr_bar sped up in the passing lane to get along side of me......"Are you ok?", he asked.
Today, instead of us parting ways at the Canada Way exit of the freewy, dr_bar accompanied me home. I think he wanted to make sure I was ok....so we had a bite to eat and a chat about what happened. I asked him if he thought there was anything I could have done to prevent that near disaster. I thought maybe my depth perception was off....
"No", he said, "If it wasn't you, the red car would have done the same thing to the car in front of you......We went through the whole scenario several times...."could it have been my fault?", I kept wondering.
dr_bar assured me it was not me. I guess he should know since he was behind me and saw the whole thing.
2 close calls in one day? It's a good thing I was home now, cuz don't things come in threes?

A couple of weeks later, we decided to go to Cypress Mountain. dr_bar only has a little time available before he has to head off to work , so we go directly to the mountain...via the circuitous route. :wink:
I found Cypress a little bit more challenging than Seymour mainly because of the extra tight hairpin turns that seemed to have some gravel on them. Along the way to the top, we passed an empty parking lot near the summit that was being used for a bunch of guys in muscle cars wasting a lot of gas and laying a lot rubber and making a lot of noise.
scre-e-e-ech
I bet the wildlife likes that. :roll: At least they were in an empty lot and not on congested city streets. Alas, the noise was too much for the park rangers....a park truck was on its way down to send them on their way.

Note....the cafe/pub/or whatever it is called was open. It used to be open only in winter. Given the time constraints today we opted to make our way down and stop at the viewpoint instead.
Hmmmm, I remember when you could actually see the city from here. Some of the trees have grown so tall and lush over the years you can't see much of the city.

Unlike the previous ride, this ride was uneventful......uneventful is good.....

But, soon it is time to head home. An ominous black cloud is hovering overhead.....Oh my...
Just as we neared the HOV lane, it was as if someone had slit open the black cloud with a big knife.....it poured so hard it felt like hail.....
At our usual going our separate ways place, I exited the freeway barely able to see. It eased up a bit as I neared home, though, but I was already drenched by then.
.....and this time the rain was not my fault....someone else must have washed their bike that day. :laughing:

soon to come....Whistler and the Sea2Sky[/b]
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Rain, rain, go away-We're riding Sea 2 Sky today

Unread post by blues2cruise » Wed Jul 20, 2005 10:21 pm

Saturday, June 16...I have bribed dr_bar to ride with me to the bike shop....so I can get a ride back.....there is no bus on weekends and it's a ve-e-e-r-r-r-y long walk to the nearest bus stop.
"You busy on Saturday?"
"No, what did you have in mind?"
"I'll take you to breakfast if you can come over and ride with me to the motorcycle shop."
"And then what?"
What a leading question. :wink:
"Wel-l-l....If they are finished looking for and fix the squeak early we can ride to Whistler"....."Whaddya think?"
"Maybe", he says.

dr_bar arrived at 8:30 so we could be at the bike shop for opening. I had just brought my bike out from the parking garage and out into the cul-de-sac.....drip....drip....drip.... :shock: What are those drops on the windshield? When did it start raining? It had been nice out earlier.

dr_bar donned his raingear while I went back inside for mine. We left my bike at the shop and made our way 2 up to the Flying Beaver. It's a pub/restaurant at the south airport. On the way we encountered yet another monsoon like rain. After breakfast we went browsing in a bike scrap/parts/repair shop. He found what he was looking for. A miracle if you ask me....I don't know how he spotted what he was looking for the place was in such dissaray and filthy.
While we were browsing, my cell phone jangled....It was the bike shop....my bike was ready to go....It was only 11am.....

The rain had stopped by the time we came out of the bike shop.....decison time.....where did we want to ride.
I took a wander past the building to see how far I could see clear sky.....
"I can see the North Shore Mountains." :) "There's some blue patches looking north".
"dr_bar gave me a sideways look and said, "You thinking whistler?"
"Why not?", I reply. "If it starts to get bad, we can turn around and come back."
"Besides, we are dressed for the weather." :mrgreen:

"True enough. Ok, let's go, but first I have to drop off this replacement seat. I'll meet you at 8 Rinks."

We parted ways for an hour and met again at 8 Rinks. It is a convenient meeting place because it is right beside a freeway entrance.
While I am standing at the hockey arena waiting for dr_bar, the sun came out in all it's glory.
Note to self.....you must get a lighter weight jacket for motorcycling. It was suddenly so hot.
dr_bar finally arrived and we headed off over the Iron worker's Memorial Bridge ( 2nd narrows ) to follow Upper Level's towards Horseshoe Bay. To go to Squamish and Whistler we left the highway at exit 2 and dropped to the speed limit of 50. It's only 50 for a short time before it jumps up to 80kmh.
There have been many stories over the years about this highway. It has oft been called the killer highway. There have been a lot of fatalities on this highway and you will always read about how dangerous it is.
BUNK!
I have driven up that highway plenty of times in a car and a couple of times a bus. The highway is good.....if you follow the posted signs

The speed signs are there for a reason.

As is our usual, I set the pace....I don't know what happened to me today. It was like something clicked and I found my rhythm. The traffic was light and moving along at a quick pace....and I was keeping up. (There will always be people wanting to pass no matter how fast you go, so, I always move to the right when I get to a passing lane)

I was taking the curves on the road like I had been riding for years. My shifting was perfect and acceleration brisk. I threw caution to the wind today and was riding faster than my usual speed limit. ( I'm sure dr_bar enjoyed the quicker pace for a change instead of doggedly plodding along at the speed limit :wink: ).
We stopped in at Shannon Falls for a quick look at the waterfall. The trees have grown so tall, you need to walk along the path for a few minutes to get a good look. After leaving the falls we then stopped in Squamish for a short coffee break.
When we got off the bikes, dr_bar commented to me that he had been wondering what got into me. He said "You must be really feeling confident about your skills today. I couldn't believe how you were taking those curves!"
He then commented, "I don't know what the h**l problem your friend up the coast has. There's nothing wrong with the way you handle these roads."
"Why, thank you, dr_bar. And he's not my friend....he's my Mom's friend....."
"Well, he's got rocks in his head, your riding is fine. But, I don't want you pushing yourself to go too fast just for me."
"Don't worry", I reply, "I'm not feeling pushed. I'm just really enjoying the road."
We carried on to Whistler. I was feeling so much in control....I was focused on the road ahead...must have going around 90kmh....just came around a bend....it's straightened out a bit now.....WTF....a stinkin' motor home pulled out.....I throttle down and gear down....now we're going about 60kmh......did he not look and notice there was a long line of vehicles coming his way?....idiot. Thankfully he didn't travel very far before he realized he was holding up the flow of traffic....he pulled over to let us go by....I gave him a little "toot, toot" as I went by, to say thanks.

We are now in whistler.( where they desparately need some designated bike parking, so you don't have to cruise all the way through the gravel lots looking for a parking space )

After a walk through the village and a stop to watch the mountain bikers coming down the mountain we decide to head back. Since we got a late start there wasn't much time to linger. We fuelled up at the Husky on the way down...be very careful when you make your right turn to go into the Husky. It's a solid white line along the shoulder right until the light. for those that forget...it is illegal to cross a solid white line or to drive in the paved shoulder or to pass on the right. We had our signals on to turn right, and just as we were about to make the turn, a guy in a black jeep came barreling down the shoulder on our right and made the right turn. It's a good thing we shoulder checked.

"You hungry?"
"Mmmm, peckish." "You?"
"Getting that way." "You want to head straight back to town or stop in Squamish for supper?"
"Your choice".
I figure we could make it back to town, but as we neared Squamish, I realize I should eat. There was still an hour of winding highway to ride and it wouldn't be wise to be "riding empty", so to speak.
We pulled in to the Howe Sound Brewing Company to go to the North Beach Grill for supper.
"Can I get you something to drink?", the waiter asked. " A glass of wine or a beer, maybe?"
"We're riding motorcycles, so no alcohol for us."
The waiter smiled....a very understanding smile...."How about an iced tea, then?"
Perfect.
After dinner and coffee, we headed back down the highway towards Vancouver. We stopped only once for a view point. I was focusing only on the road and could not afford any peeks at the scenery so we stopped by the road side to enjoy the vista before us.

We went our usual separate ways at my freeway exit and as soon as I got in I phoned dr_bar to thank him for an awesome day.
He has ridden that highway plenty of times, but this was my first time and I felt exhilerated by my experience today.

I found that this road was not as difficult to ride as I had imagined. It could be because I have been riding up and down the Sunshine Coast highway quite a bit and I gained some valuable skills from there. I have to say, that the Sunshine Coast Highway is actually more difficult to ride than the Sea 2 Sky.
Next trip....Victoria....and some surrounding twisties....
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blues2cruise
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Bikes and BC Ferries

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:56 pm

Tuesday morning (July 19), is the day I am finally getting to Victoria to visit a friend for a couple of days. To get there requires a ferry ride. I left home at 7:35 to insure I had lots of time to get there. It's a good thing I did leave lots of time, because being a weekday, I had to contend with the morning rush hour traffic. (which I had not thought about it until I saw the line of cars)
As I was coming along 20th Street to make the approach to the Queensborough Bridge, I saw the line. The ve-e-e-e-r-r-r-y long line of cars waiting to go to the bridge.
Now, I'm sure by now anyone who reads this blog has figured out a little bit about me. Generally, I go the speed limit, follow the rules, wait my turn in line......As I look down that line of cars, I think to myself, "I'll never get to the ferry on time if I have to wait in that line." (like I usually would)
So, I did what most people would like to do....I just don't usually have the courage.....I stayed in the left lane until near the beginning of the line.....there's a painted "No man's land triangle" there.....put my right turn signal on and edged onto the triangle and slightly into the right lane. If I had waited my turn today it would have been several light changes before I would have got to this spot.
When the light changed I slipped in and made the light onto Marine to get access to the bridge. It was a slow ride to get to Hwy 91 (commonly known as the "East/West Connector") and slow going for awhile once on the connector. I think someone at the front of the traffic must have still been asleep. It's a 90kmh road and not very congested....ah, finally whoever was holding things up must have moved because suddenly we're zooming along at 90....
The exit from 91 and the entrance to Hwy 99 to go to the ferries is a couple long sweeping curves....fun if there's no tourist in front of you. When on 99 you can get into the HOV lane if it's really congested ( usually the afternoon rush hour )and head towards the tunnel. This morning the counter flow is in effect so that means there is only one lane going my direction. It doesn't take long, though, to get to the tunnel and once in the tunnel, the speed picks up.
The exit for Hwy 17 comes up soon, so make sure you stay in the right lane for the exit to the ferries. Finally the traffic has thinned out....it's a Tuesday morning, so the ferry lineup won't be horrendous today.
After I pay and get directed to the proper lane, I start my slow ride along the empty lane to gain access to the front of the line. As I ride along between the rows of cars, there is a couple walking along the right side of this empty lane. As I approach....very slowly.....she turns and looks at me...and just as I am about to go past her on the left, she jumps in front of me to go to the left. :roll: I had to brake and stop. I just shook my head at her. I think she realized after the fact what a stupid thing she had done because she made sort of an "I'm sorry" gesture. All I could do was shake my head at the stupidness of it. "Why?" "What was she thinking?"
Oh, well, onward to the front. Soon there were a few more bikers who had arrived. A young fellow on his Yamaha sport bike, a couple of older couples on their GoldWings.....When it was time to load, I gestured for the young guy on the sport bike to go ahead of me.
The ferry trip is 1-1/2 hours and is a very scenic cruise to get to Vancouver Island. Especially the part through Active pass. This is a particularly narrow channel through the Gulf Islands where the ferries often cross paths going opposite directions.
The whistle blows to make sure small boaters get out of the way.....It is gorgeous here on this clear sunny morning.

After we get off the ferry....the young fellow on his sport bike was gone in a flash... this is where one really needs to be careful because a lot of people don't obey any traffic laws at all.....I am behind some big truck, so I put on my signals and shoulder check so I can change lanes and pass the truck....I am on the line in the processing of changing lanes....when the person on the Goldwing Aspencade came into view....man, oh man, he was travelling too fast......he had no intention of letting me complete my lane change.....I let him pass me and then I moved into the left lane. Interestingly enough, he never got into the dominant position ( line 1) he stayed close to the right side of the lane, so I rode somewhat staggered behind him in the dominant position. May as well take advantage of him leading the way.....
At every light he kept looking in his mirror at me...Do you think he was bugged by my following him? I wasn't following close staggered like you would with a buddy.
Eventually he started going too fast for my liking , so I got into the right lane and let him disappear from my view.
I can't find my friend's place. I have followed her instructions but I just cannot find the street. Eventually I saw a city parking checker on a scooter. I asked him if he knew the street. He did and was able to point me in the right direction.
I arrived at my friend's at 11:30 and at 11:31 her friend and neighbour arrived....."Did I see someone go by on a Harley?", he asked.
"No, it's a Yamaha", I replied.
"It looks like a Harley", he says.
Personally, I don't think it looks anything like a Harley.
This friend and neighbour of hers rides a Goldwing.....that should have been my first clue....but I'm a slow learner sometimes.....
We had some long discussions about biking and that I'm a new rider and that I like to ride close to the speed limit. yadda, yadda, yadda.....
We arranged for a ride the next morning. He would take my friend with him on his bike and I would follow along on my bike.
Sigh.....
As soon as he didn't bother to stop at the first stop sign I knew this was going to be a difficult ride.
Oh, yeah, I actually stop at stop signs.
I spent a good portion of the ride playing catch up.
He led the way to some very twisty roads. You will find them in the Destination Highways book for British Columbia. Pages 50-60.

I should rephrase and say he led me to the beginning of the road, because he was gone in a flash. I rode most of those winding roads alone. He knows those roads really well. I have never been there. Some of those curves are very tight and blind.....you have no idea what may be around there so I had to take the corners at the suggested speeds.

Once in a while, he would pull over and wait for me to catch up to them, but then he would be gone again. Oh well, he'll just have to pull over and wait until I catch up again......
If you go to the island and need a twisty road to ride, these roads will fulfill your needs...Prospect Lake Road, Kangaroo Road, Millstream....
the area called the Highlands....we went through Langford, Metchosin, Colwood (where we stopped for breakfast), Sooke, Saanich. We went through forests and along the ocean.
It was nearly impossible to ride staggered with this person. At some lights he would stop in the centre of the lane, so I couldn't pull up beside him. then at the other stops he would pull up to within inches of the car in front of him...so I stayed well back. It's not good to pull up right behind another vehicles bumper....you need a safety cushion......
When we were riding along, he would suddenly put on his blinker and squeeze in between some cars to make his lane change....now I'm having to change lanes a few cars behind.....It's a good thing my friend was wearing a red helmet....it was easy to spot up in the distance.

We went through a construction zone and I got the STOP sign flashed at me by the flag person. So, while I am waiting for the flag person to let me go, the other person is still on his merry way.....
The whole ride was like this, him following too close, stopping too close, abrubt lane changes and leaving me in the dust....or at least a few cars lengths behind...he barely slowing for stop signs.....
Eventually we were back at my friend's place.....
"Thanks for playing tour guide", I say. "What a great ride."

in my head I'm thinking, please go home now

I was leaving soon, anyway, so I collected my gear and got my cargo net in preparation for leaving.

Where did those greasy finger smears come from? I washed and polished my bike the day before....my friend was seeing my bike for the first time and I wanted it to look good. Now there was greasy fingers smears all across the gas tank....sigh......

As I am cargo netting my duffle bag onto the rack I think to myself....
Soon....I will get saddle bags, soon.....

Where the heck did that come from? There is gum on the chrome. I pulled over thinking that I would pull it off.
BIG MISTAKE. It is so hot it just stretches and smears over more of the chrome. I decided I better leave it and deal with it when I get home.....when the bike is cool.

I didn't plan on catching the 2pm ferry, so, I was riding along in the slow lane doing the speed limit....just enjoying the day....I decide I actually like riding alone. Shortly before the last stretch to the ferry there is an overhead lighted sign that informs you if the ferry is full or if you will have to wait. The sign said the ferry was only 45% full and no waits...I looked down at my $4.00 clock that I have on the triple tree....1:40pm. Hmmmm, it would be a shame to be this close and not get on that boat.....So-o-o-o-o, I wind up the throttle a bit and hope there's no police around.
I made it! I paid for my ticket and made my way to the front. 5 minutes later we were boarding.
Sometimes I wonder about the ferry workers. As I am approaching the ferry deck, I am looking at the ferry worker for direction. Should I go left or right? At the last second I was directed to go right.
Do I have to stop right in front of you and ask? Sheesh.
2 had been directed left and the one on front of me had been directed right. So, now I follow the guy who went right and I get to the front of the ship, I was now directed to go to the left.
Make up your minds people. :roll:

You sure do meet some interesting people on the ferry rides sometimes. Here I was sitting minding my own business.....the ferry only half full....lots and lots of empty seats....he chose to come and sit with me.
:roll: did he just need to talk? was he just wanting to share his adventure story? was he trying to pick me up? he was wearing a wedding ring and if I had been receptive he might have asked for my number....but I guess when I turned down his offer of coffee....
Finally it's time to go down to the vehicle deck to prepare for disembarking. The two young fellows who were there on their Harley Davidson motorcycles were having a "paid day" to go to Victoria. They have a client who asked them to come over on their bikes. Who in their right mind would turn that down? I chatted with them a few minutes before it was time to leave. One of fellows had crashed his own sport bike and he was riding a loaner from the other one's Dad. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but would you be inclined to lend someone your 1200cc Harley to someone who you know had crashed?

After travelling along Hwy 17 to the exit to go home, I look over to the freeway and see that traffic is backed up way before the tunnel. DANG! The afternoon counterflow must be on and that means only one lane heading North....so....wait a minute....I can go home River Road. :mrgreen: Thanks to having been riding with dr_bar, I remembered having gone this way before. Instead of making the right turn to go on the freeway, I stay straight and ride along River Road.
I am hoping I have enough fuel to get home and not have to switch to reserve.
I've never gone to reserve yet. What if it malfunctions? How do I know it's really going to work? I look up at the Alex Fraser Bridge and wonder," Do I have enough fuel to get all the way over the bridge?" I probably do, but I decide not to risk it and after I turned onto Nordel I decide to stop in at the gas station. I'll find out another day exactly how many km I can go on a tank of gas.....better safe than sorry....I can't imagine running out of fuel on the bridge where it's a 90kmh zone in rush hour and most people are flying by at over 100kmh...

Just one more rush hour hurdle to get through....the access to the Queensborough Bridge. Finally I am on the home stretch and safe and sound in my parking garage. As I take the cargo net off my duffel, I notice the strap on the duffel is coming loose.
Hmmmm, maybe this is the excuse I need to get out the credit card and get serious about saddle bags.....they are just so darn expensive....

Soon, though.....

Now what do I do about the gum.....
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I'm almost caught up with my adventures on 2 wheels

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:00 pm

Given that dr_bar and I had a plan to go for a ride on Friday, I was not expecting to be out today. This morning while "writing my memoirs" ( the blog ) and connected to the internet, dr_bar was apparently calling and leaving a few messages. Finally his last call booted me off the internet....only I didn't realize it. I was surprised to hear my phone ring. I had just spent a good deal of time writing and before I could post it, My connection was severed. DANG!
dr_bar was on the phone....it's a nice day....the forecast for tomorrow is not so great....maybe today would be a better day for a ride.
"OK", I say, "ring the intercom and I will let you in."
I quickly got dressed and geared up and went to the garage to get my bike. As is usual the conversation started like this, "Where do you want to go today?"
Why is it so hard for us to make a decison?
We decided on Stanley Park and Marine Drive and then Horseshoe Bay for lunch.
We rode along Kingsway and dang.....there's another truck. I don't know what it is, but I sure do seem to end up behind a truck a lot.

There's an opening so we change lanes to get to the front of the next lane. The light is still red and the dump truck beside me is constantly edging forward. I honked my "tiny" little horn. He looked out and down at me whereupon I pointed that the light is still red.

We had a pleasant ride through the city and then onto the Burrard Bridge to cross False Creek. We turned right at the end of the bridge and then right again to gain access to Beach Avenue. This is my favourite part.....it's a playground zone....for a lo-o-o-on-n-n-ng time....30kmh
I am at the front of the line and I am going 30kmh....the whole way :twisted: . It messes with people's minds. It ticks a lot of people off, but, what the heck, I am allowed to be legal. :laughing:

We had a nice cruise around Stanley Park (the speed limit is still 30kmh) and took the exit for the Lion's Gate Bridge. We headed through Ambleside, Dundarave and beyond to Horseshoe bay via Marine Drive. The speed limit is 50kmh with the exception of a short stretch that slows to 30kmh.
In my mirror I can see a 4x4 SUV or pickup too close to dr_bar. The driver of the truck kept swaying to the centre line and moving up too close to dr_bar, so when I could finally find a place to pull in, I did so. We let this overly aggressive driver go past and then continued on to Horseshoe Bay. We lucked out and found free parking right across the street from the restaurant. After lunch we got a coffee from the local roaster and "drank in the views while we drank our brews". :)

Soon it was time to head back. dr_bar has to get home to sleep. A ferry has just come in so dr_bar says to hurry up so we can make it to the highway before the cars unload. OK, I make haste and really boogie up the hill. In my mirror I see dr_bar pulling off. Oh, oh....has he got engine trouble or something....
I pull over and wait...finally I see him heading up the hill and he pulls in, too. He had left something behind in the restaurant. :oops:
So much for getting ahead of the ferry traffic. "Ok", I say, "let's just go to the next exit and head back."
After dr_bar went into the restaurant and found what he had lost, we headed back to the highway. We were right in the thick of several hundred off loading vehicles. OK, no more sedate riding allowed. I can ride assertive when I need to to ( I just usually choose not to). After merging into the flow I look for a gap and put on my signal to make a lane change. I throttle up and accelerate and merge smoothly into the passing lane. ( dr-bar has told me never to worry about him....he has a more powerful bike and wa-a-a-y-y-y more experience....he will get in with me sooner or later.)
Sometimes dr_bar changes lanes before I do and then makes a gap for me. 8) Thanks, dr_bar.

We travelled along the highway and over the 2nd Narrows Bridge and get slowed down at the usual place from the tunnel to the HOV lane. After that it's smooth sailing....sort of....At out usual "going our own way" place on the highway, I need to get assertive to get out of the HOV in preparation for my exit. One of these days I won't be able to make my exit and I will have to go past and double back. If drivers wouldn't tailgate it wouldn't be such a challenge to change lanes. But, I am a professional driver....I can handle it.... :wink:

I decided I better head over to Lordco to see if they have anything that will remove gum from the chrome. Nope. So, over to Canadian Tire.

I walked in the door with my small black rack bag over my shoulder.
"Excuse me", I hear. "Will you give me your bag, please?"
:shock:

I replied, "No, I can shop somewhere else." I turned around and walked out. There are women shopping in there who have purses bigger than my little black bag, for crying out loud.
I then headed over to Rona ( it's a home and hardware store) where I was able to find some Goo-Gone. The label says it will remove gum....so here's hoping.
That was a couple of hours ago. The bike should be cool by now....so here's hoping....wish me luck.....
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New name for WD40....Gum-B-Gone

Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:11 pm

Who knew it could be so easy to get chewing gum off the chrome? I was fretting for nothing. I could have saved a few bucks, as well.
The WD 40 worked like a charm. I tired it on a small spot of gum and WOW! it just dissolved the gum.
I have another product that I use for cleaning my mountain bike that I wanted to try. It is called Finish Line EcoTech. It is a cleaner/degreaser and biodegradable. It also worked to remove the gum. lastly, since I had already paid for the Goo-Gone, I tried it also. It, too did the job.
After getting all the gum off, I finished up with some chrome polish and now the chrome is looking showroom new again.


Tomorrow....Sunshine Coast Highway....
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Thunder shower forecasted...in raingear again....

Unread post by blues2cruise » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:37 pm

Call it insurance.....the raingear may be a bit bulky and warm for summer riding, but when you leave home at 6:10am it feels ok. I was heading for the first ferry to Langdale this morning for a quick trip up the coast to visit my Mom. She needed help with a baking project for the "Ladies Auxilliary" event tomorrow.

When I arrived at the ferry there was V-Strom with Ontario plates on it but no rider. He was probably in the passenger lounge snoozing. At 6:45am, can't say's I blame him. A few minutes after I arrived a young man on his "not really a sport bike" Honda ( that's what he called it) arrived. He was in full leathers with knee caps and racing boots to boot. ( a groaner, I know) He was so very chatty and knew everything there was to know about everything.
Judging by the way he talked, I was quite sure he was a speedy kind of a guy, so when we got on board the ferry, I motioned for him to pass me and park ahead of me. The rider of the V-Strom had not appeared by loading time....we were hoping that someone would go find him. The ferry people usually make an announcement (quite loud) for all drivers to return their vehicles, but there was no such announcement this morning.
I walked to the stern of the ship to have a look and I could see the rider of the V-strom hurriedly donning his gear to be able to ride on board the ship. He would be last off, but at least he was on the ferry.

As I suspected, when it was time to disembark, the fellow on his "not really a sport bike" Honda, was off like a "bat out of he*l." I could see him quite far up the bypass as I approached the bypass. I never saw him again after Gibson's.

I stopped in Sechelt to fuel the bike...and buy a lottery ticket.....maybe I won't have to go work on Monday... :wink: ...hey, we all gotta have dreams :laughing: and then carried on to my destination. My Mom should just be starting to cook breakfast about now...

It was a good ride today. Quite a bit of traffic and it was moving well. Must not be any tourists in this bunch this morning. Just wait until the 9:30 ferry, though. I kept pace with the flow of traffic today but I always moved over to the right when there is a passing lane....even though we are speeding, there's always a few who need to go faster.

Today I only pulled over once...when I got the really twisty part a guy in a big white 4x4 pickup was gaining on me at an alarming pace....as soon as I found a place I could pull over, I did so....Even though I was maintaining the speed limit, he apparently was in a much bigger hurry than I. (and I don't need the stress and pressure of someone tailgating)

I found I rode this highway better today than before. Of course having the road dry made a huge difference. But, also my riding skills are getting better.
One hour after getting off the ferry I have arrived. Coffee is ready and pancakes are cooking....
Thanks, Mom.

It hasn't rained yet...in fact the sun is coming out. We get to finish our coffee sitting on the deck.

I'm so glad I was dressed for foul weather.... :wink:
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Mind your own bee's whacks...or...put your visor down

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:24 am

While I was helping with the baking, the aforementioned in another post 40 year veteran of riding rumbled by on his Harley. Just as he was about to turn into the driveway, he saw my bike parked there. He must really be PO'ed that I had the audacity to stand up for myself, because when he spotted my bike parked in the driveway, he turned his bike around and left. :roll: Sheesh, grow up, will ya.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, I could not find my key. We looked and looked but it was nowhere to be found. Luckily I carry a spare. Now I am late leaving if I want to catch the 4:20 ferry. That's ok, I think. The roads are dry and I am getting better on the curves, so I can go a little faster today. Once again I pulled over before the twisty part because there was some yahoo in his rented Grand Am tailgating. I'd rather have those kind of drivers in front of me.
I kept pace with him, so it wasn't because I was too slow....he's was just a bad driver. He tailgated the other cars in front of him as well. He was constantly on his brake pedal. What part of this can't he figure out? If he left more space he wouldn't have to always be putting on the brakes.
When we went through Sechelt, he never bothered to use signals and he went straight through from a "right turn only" lane....cutting me off. What a yahoo.

So, here I am in full gear....covered from head to toe...full face helmet, boots, gauntlets, sunglasses...cruising along at about 90kmh...how is it possible that a bee can manage to fly into the only square inch of skin not covered? :shock: This bee hit my cheek so-o-o-o hard...man, oh, man that was painful....I think the parent bees must teach their baby bees "look for the pink", you'll bounce better... :wink: I then flipped my visor down and kept it down for the rest of the ride.

Tonight, several hours later, it still hurts where the bee whacked my face.


It was only about 4:03 when I got to the ferry terminal so I was sure I would get on the ferry. At the ticket booth I was told to go the front (as usual), but that the bikes were being held there. ???
It is a myth that bikes get priority loading...first on and first off happens only on the whim of who happens to be on duty that day. I think some of the ferry workers must really hate bikes with a passion.
So, there we all were, about a dozen bikes, being made to wait out in the hot sun....in full gear....while they kept loading late coming cars. Finally we are allowed to load....we are at the back of the boat....we will NOT be getting off the boat quickly today. We are in the dungeons...it is so hot and humid down here....
Finally we are at Horseshoe Bay....I swear the ferry docking must be done by a rookie today...so slow and you could hear the boat screeching and squeaking on the dock....Finally we are moving and..oh...we are stopped...now what? Someone seems to ave stalled up there and has blocked the whole ramp.
It would sure be nice if my Mom would move back to town so we wouldn't have to contend with the stinking ferries. Why can't they get their act together? The ferry workers get well paid but they act like they hate being there.

Yay! We are finally moving again. As I rev up the engine to get the speed up to get up the first big hill, I am making my way to the left and just as I am about to change lanes ( I did look and it was empty), another biker who obviously enjoyed the ferry experience even less than I today and who obviously has a million times greater acceleration than I, suddenly appears in my peripheral vision...I hold my line as he zoomed past me and then finish changing lanes after he has gone.
Unlike my usual of doggedly plodding along at close to the speed limit, today I decide to "go with the flow"....and the flow is going very fast. The speed limit is 90kmh and we are going close to 110 in some places. As I said before I usually stay in the right lane and let the speed demons pass me, but today, I am in the left lane keeping pace with the cars in front of me, and the cars are passing on the right. :shock:

There is too much congestion to be changing lanes here so I wait until after Capilano Road to get into the right lane. Its safer that way because of all the entrances to the freeway that have a lot of traffic entering.

Once I get to the cut, though, I go back to the left lane and keep pace with traffic once again. It's rush hour now and I would rather be in the left lane going on the bridge to avoid the entrance with all the cars trying to get on.....We're moving along quite well until close to the tunnel....Dang! It's a tricky manouever, but I manage to move a few lanes over....I'm going Hastings instead. I am expected at some friend's for supper and if I stay on the freeway it will take too long.

I arrived at my friend's only 10 minutes late. When it is time for me to leave, their 3 small children are excited to see me off. They are usually in bed before I leave and today they are allowed up a bit later....Can we see her ride away?
It's exciting for them to be up so close to a motorcycle. Vroom, vroom...

I probably should have waited until tomorrow to write my blog because I am very tired now. I am making a lot of typing mistakes. I want to get it done tonight though, because I am going hiking tomorrow....a trail in the forest, river and mountain views, a waterfall to admire while we have our lunch.....
Until next time....keep the rubber side down..... :)
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