Friday June 2, 2000
Nelson B.C. - Republic WA
2:35 driving time - 166 miles
Mountain Motorcycle Holidays
Rating: ****-1/2 out of *****
Why didn't I give RMMH a perfect five of five? Sorry Mike, it was that skimpy martini. If that drink had been full, it would have been a slam dunk, five of five.
I'm kidding of course. When Mike Ciebien, chief of RMMH, heard our martini story, he immediately said, "You should have come and talked with me first - I would have fixed that in a second." And he would of. Another example: When Gizmo bent his ignition key, Mike offered to call his contacts at BMW and have a new key air-shipped to our next hotel. This was overkill as Gizmo's bent key was working fine, but I'm sure he would have taken care of this if we had asked. These guys emphasize customer service and deliver.
Mike's tag line for RMMH is "Luxury Motorcycle Holidays in the Canadian Rockies". We found this description completely accurate - every aspect of the trip was upscale and first cabin. The hotels were all resorts (except for one really nice B&B where we enjoyed the best breakfast of the tour), the meals were superb, and the rental motorcycles were virtually brand new and flawless. (To be honest, it was all a little wasted on these two Hampton Inn, beer-and-potato-chip tourers, but we enjoyed it anyway.)
RMMH is very safety-conscious - this is one reason Mike uses three guides on most trips. (On my most recent Edelweiss trip, there were only two guides for almost twice as many guests.) Aaron, a retired smokejumper, was brought into the organization specifically for his extensive first-aid training and experience. The route and timing is set up to allow plenty of time for sightseeing and to not require early departures or late arrivals. And there is always a chase vehicle at the back of group to help out with any mechanical problem or if a rider simply wants to call it a day. They always take extra bikes so that customers can trade around and try different motorcycles. This is a great tour for couples as they can ride two-up for part of the tour and on individual bikes for other parts.
My only reservation would be if you are looking for a series of consecutive track days. The don't rent the hottest and sharpest bikes (such as the Daytona) and they like to keep close tabs of the bikes on the first day as guests learn the bikes and roads. But after the first day, you are free to go pretty much as you please so if you want to ride briskly, there is plenty of opportunity. (To be honest, the area is too remote and the wildlife too numerous to be really hanging it out day-after-day.)
As good a job as RMMH did, the real star of our tour was the scenery and roads. This is simply drop-dead gorgeous country. If you ride a motorcycle, you have to take a tour in British Columbia. I knew it was going to be pretty, but it exceeded my expectations by a large margin.
But I'd stick to the great local beers with an occasional Glenlivet Scotch. Get your martini drinking out of your system on your next trip to New York.
Well, Day 8 sure generated some interest. Nothing like a little controversy to stir up the pot. But, today, we're back to the mundane middle-aged guys routine. However, if enough of you respond positively to yesterday's approach, we may change the name to "Crankshaft and Switchblade, Breakin' The Law".
Leaving the pump
The truth is, we're really careful and thoughtful tourists, doing our best to leave things in better shape than we found them. Sure, once in a while Whizmo flicks a lighted cigarette butt as we're leaving a gas station, but that's usually the exception, not the rule.
Whizmo gives braking lessons to the RATs
And many of you don't know this, but Whizmo is an official motorcycle instructor. Really. In fact, he is one of the most generous teachers I know, always ready to spend time with aspiring motorcyclists, offering instruction in situational awareness and stopping technique. You just couldn't ask for a more helpful guy.
Always looking out for the other driver
Some people might criticize Whizmo's approach to situational awareness, but I know that he always has the other driver in mind. He yields the road to the less maneuverable vehicle, even if puts him in personal jeopardy. Hey, I ride behind him so I can take these photos! I should know. So please be assured that we're really being safe out here in the land of loonies and toonies.
Well, all good stories need to come home, so that's where we're headed.
New China restaurant in Nelson
Mike & Mark say goodbye
Last night the group went to dinner at the New China restaurant in Nelson. After dinner, we wandered over to Mike's Pub to say goodbye to the group, as we would be parting ways after lunch today. The tour group took the day off to explore local roads. Mark wanted to check out Rt 31A north of town; I stayed behind at the hotel to do some clean-up on the web pages. We rolled out of Nelson at about noon, beginning the last leg of J2K.
|Windshield up and down|
Yesterday I wanted to tell you about this cool feature on my K1200, the moveable
windshield, but that just had to wait until today. My Road King had a moveable windshield with two positions, ON and OFF. I would take the windshield OFF the bike and leave it in the garage for the full open-air effect of having all of nature come in close contact with my riding suit. Or, I would leave the windshield in the ON position for moderate weather and wind protection. The K1200 has a handlebar switch that allows me to adjust the windshield in a continuous range from low to high. In the lowest setting, I get all of the oncoming wind from my shoulders on up. In the highest setting, I get no direct airflow anywhere on my upper body. The settings
in between allow for continuous fine-tuning of the airflow. When it's raining, I usually set the windshield to about 75% of its full height, which moves nearly all of the rain around or over me. Some raindrops will still collect on my face shield, but by simply lowering the windshield for a few seconds the shield is blown clear of all water, just like the last stage of an automated car wash. When I purchased the bike, I originally thought I would leave the windshield in one position and forget about it, but I find myself making adjustments every day, sometimes just for a change of pace.
Me in the mirror
We crossed the border back into the US at the same place we left. As we came back into the United States, Mark took this shot of me in his mirror.
Since Mark rode this morning, he had over 300 miles in by the time we reached Republic WA. We decided to pull into the Frontier Inn on Highway 20. Perhaps this silhouette sibling of the one from Day One drew us in. It must be a regional art form, as the other one we saw was in the same area of the state.
Tomorrow we'll be home.
--- Final Contest ---
Ok, we have time for one last contest before our last day tomorrow.
Our best estimate is that when we shut down the bikes tomorrow, the total mileage for both bikes will be about 5338 miles. The question is: How many total gallons of gas will we have bought for this tour when we finish tomorrow?
No tricks, we didn't buy gas for anyone else - it all went into Fritz and the Millennium Falcon. And although we bought gas in both gallons and liters, we'll convert the liters over to gallons when we do the final tallly. So make a good estimate of our total dead dinosaur juice consumption and win a t-shirt. Those of you who have some idea what mileage motorcycles typically get will be at a distinct advantage.
This contest will close Monday evening. So make an estimate of what mileage our bikes get and practice your long division. Send it in.