"Two Become Twelve"
Monday May 29, 2000
Whistler B.C. - Sun Peaks B.C.
4:37 driving time - 252 miles
Mike from RMMH talks waivers
Last night at 6pm we were scheduled to meet with Mike Ciebien of Rocky Mountain Motorcycles Holidays as well as all of the other tour participants in the lobby of the Summit Lodge in Whistler Village. As people drifted in, everyone introduced themselves until we had a critical mass of tour participants. Once everyone was gathered together, we walked across the street to a small French creperie for dinner. After everyone was seated, Mike handed out a packet of information covering the tour, with a highlighted map, a list of the places we'd be staying, some safety suggestions, and of course the all-important waiver of liability, or as Mike described it, "the document that keeps us from getting sued." The waiver basically says that anything good that happens is due to RMMH; anything bad that happens is our fault. Mark and I are the only ones with our own bikes - everyone else is renting Triumphs from RMMH. In addition, several of the participants work for Triumph of Canada and call themselves RAT's which stands for "Riders Association at Triumph" (or something similar). The overall group has people from Canada, England, and the US. We'll get to know them better over the course of the next few days. As we parted, we received instructions to gather at 7:45 in the morning for the breakfast briefing, at which time we would review the day's route.
RATs, ready to rumble
After the briefing, everyone took their assigned mounts, ready to roll. The basic plan is that one guide leads the pack, another follows behind, and then behind all of the motorcycles is the support vehicle with extra fuel, motorcycles, and everyone's luggage. We opted to simply keep our luggage packed on our bikes. As we pulled out onto Rt. 99 heading north out of Whistler, there were quite a few stares from people walking around Whistler Village. The group didn't quite have the intensity of a bunch of Harley riders, but it was still quite a sight to see 12 motorcycles in a row.
Behind the bus
Traffic was more of a factor this morning than it has been in the last few days, and the guides opted to keep the entire group together by not doing any passing. We quickly ended up behind a tour bus, following it for about 45 minutes before taking our first roadside break. Mark and I conferred and quickly agreed to tell the guides that we would be splitting off from the rest of the group, and that we would meet them later at a designated spot.
We took off ahead of the others, and managed to pass the tour bus within a few minutes, and quickly established a more comfortable pace for ourselves. Mark has done quite a bit of tour group riding in Europe, and says that it's typical to have three skill levels of riders in a tour group, and that groups form and travel together shortly after the tour starts. So I didn't feel bad about leaving the others behind.
Whizmo's Words of Wisdom...
Since my garage has mostly Japanese motorcycles, I'm often asked why I decided on a BMW for my touring mount. I reply that the bike has many touring-oriented features, heated handlebar grips among them. Often I'm greeted with an incredulous look, like I've just told them I selected a car based on the color of the tire jack. When I get this look, I know I'm talking to an OUTSIDER - someone who DOESN'T KNOW. Basically, someone who has never ridden a bike in cold/wet weather with heated grips.
Usually the person then looks at me with disdain and says something like, "I've got a good pair of gloves that keep me warm, why would I ever need heated grips?". To me that's a little like saying, "I've got a good set of long underwear, why would I ever need a furnace in my house?". Comfort man, comfort.
I recall a trip to the Alps last summer in which my good friend Terry Afdem and I awoke on the second day of the tour high up in the mountains. A steady, intense rain was falling and it was not much above freezing. Within ten minutes of departing the hotel, our gloves were completely soaked through. (I didn't have the gloves I have now.) Without heated grips, I'm certain we would have been in real trouble; we might have even had to stop to keep our hands from getting too cold to work the controls. But with the grips, we soldiered on and made it through the rain to blue skies in a few hours with only minor discomfort. Heated grips add an easy 20 extra-degrees of usefulness to any gloves and allow you to use less bulky gloves that would otherwise be possible. And on a motorcycle, you need all the fine motor control of your hands that you can muster.
You can retrofit heated grips to most motorcycles but it is time-consuming and tricky since the right grip is the throttle and has to twist. I'm completely dumbfounded why the other Japanese manufacturers offer virtually no models with heated grips. It is just another example of how they build to the absolute lowest price point and attack the "middle of the market" - they don't have time to fool around with the fringes. BMW has always understood touring so they worry about these things. If more motorcyclists would take a winter test ride on a bike with heated grips, the market would shift.
Today was once again an amazing contrast of temperatures and weather conditions. Temperatures ranged from the low 40s to the high 70s; and the weather went from glorious sunshine to dark overcast, to rain, and eventually hail. By this time, our reaction to the weather has become pretty blasť - oh yeah, rain, whatever. Just keep riding - it will change again soon!
Awesome scenery from behind the grips along Rt 99
Lest you think this is less than challenging riding, I'd like to point out that the roads we've been on the last two days have been some of the most challenging roads I've ever ridden. You're constantly faced with changing road surface conditions, blind turns, the potential for wildlife along the side of the road, and of course the weather.
Decreasing radius =
This hairpin curve exhibits a characteristic called "decreasing radius", meaning that it gets tighter as you continue into the curve, and of course, we're going downhill at the same time! It all adds up to some very challenging riding. As long as the pavement is dry and clear of gravel and other obstructions, it's an exhilarating experience. The K1200 allows me to ride much more confidently, as it is very easy to control through the turns and grips the road quite easily.
We arrived at the designated rendezvous point, Seton Lake, at about 11:30 am. The view of the lake from the turnout is simply spectacular. We couldn't resist lining the bikes up for a beauty shot with the lake as a backdrop. The rest of the group arrived shortly scattering to take pictures and make organic deposits along the bank.
Clouds roll in the afternoon
We stopped for lunch in Cache Creek at Chum's, meeting up with two of the other group participants who had also split off from the rest of the tour. We enjoyed a pleasant time talking motorcycles, and discussed our final routing into the Sun Peaks resort area near Kamloops. After looking at the map, Mark and decided to add a loop of about 60km to the trip, vectoring us through Logan Lake and Lac le Jeune before heading up through Kamloops on the way to Sun Peaks. We could see that the weather would once again turn wet and cold before we retired for the day, but frankly, it just didn't seem to matter.
By the time we got to Logan Lake, we had encountered more rain, some hail, and the temperature had dropped about 25 degrees from the time we had lunch. Unbelievable. In spite of the urge to just keep rolling to the hotel, I couldn't pass up this photo opportunity in Logan Lake. That is one large truck - check out the pickup truck in the lower left corner! There was an enormous copper mine near Logan Lake, with miles of exposed cliff where mining has been done. I'm certain that this truck was related to the mining activities.
We rolled into Sun Peaks at about 3:30pm. Because we had added the 60km loop to our route, we were sure that the rest of the tour would have already checked into the hotel. Much to our surprise, we were the first to arrive at the hotel! The rest of the group rolled in about half an hour after us.
Tomorrow, we're off to Revelstoke.
You recall this guy, don't you? Sorry to take so long getting back to you about this, but we had some motorcycle riding to do and good answers keep trickling in. Here they are:
Mike Kanarek: Trick question, he's not eating the disk. First, he wouldn't be smiling if he was, would you be? Second, he's just sitting there, no signs of chewing; he's not eating anything.
Think you're pretty smart, don't you Mike? But you just told us what he isn't doing, not what he IS doing. So you're correct, but incomplete. So there.
Chuck Israels: I have no idea why this fellow finds a floppy to be an appealing meal, but then I also find it mysterious that folks often prefer canned music to live, and movies and DVD's to theater. It's like eating a picture of food! I will worry about the fate of the human race when I start to see phone and internet sex replacing real contact. (Still, I'm pleased with the chance to follow your adventures, and the "virtual" reminder of experience is better than none.)
Waxing philosophically won't get you anywhere, but stroking us will, Chuck. Nice job. And thanks!
Joe Eiffert: He (mistakenly) believes that is where IE [Internet Explorer] resides in his computer, and (not so mistakenly) has concluded that masticating and ingesting it are his only hope for uninstalling it.
Joe, you work for the Justice Department?
Bob Seidensticker: He's illustrating Acme Software's new slogan "If you don't like our software, we'll eat it!"
Rob Shurtleff: "Who is J.R. Simplot?" founder of J.R. Simplot Inc, a major potato grower and processor in Idaho, and the backer behind the Idaho-based computer memory maker and mail order PC firm, Micron. Or, "Who is the baron of french fries and king of ram memory in Idaho", or "What chips besides McDonalds french fries are grown in Idaho?
Another multiple answer answer, but these are pretty good Rob. BTW, we weren't doing the Jeopardy style of questions this time.
Jaime Welker: You see man, the disk is like, a metaphor, man, for what garbage we humans put in our body every day.
Jaime, do we know you?
The truth of the matter is that the picture is a promotional poster for a nutritional software program from years ago when those enormous 5.25" disks were the rage. The guy, "Beaner", was the husband of the woman who ran the Corner Cafe in Sandpoint ID. Honest.
So, with great trepidation and angst, the judges would like to award a "best effort" award to Joe Eiffert, whose sense of geek humor appeals to the judges, at least today. Your prize is an actual 5.25" floppy disk, once used in an actual computer, and without a single bite out of it! Congratulations, Joe!
Stay tuned for another exciting contest, coming up soon!