I am officially the “Unluckiest Man in the World who still manages to have a Home and a Job”

Sunday morning, as I was headed off to the Big City for one of my Meetups, I thought, “I wonder what kind of gas mileage I can get on the bike?” You don’t buy a motorcycle for the gas mileage. I generally get 40-45mpg on the bike which is pretty average, all things considered. But, seeing as (hypothetically, in case any law enforcement is reading this) I have been known to ride at speeds…..significantly over the speed limit, it’s not bad.

But I was curious as to what kind of mileage I could get if stuck to the speed limit for a whole trip. So, I drove the entire 90 minutes at the speed limit…and….

I got passed by *everybody*. Semis, minvans, old men in Buicks…

It was TORTURE. But I stuck with it.

Near the end of the trip, there’s a road I turn on (for those of you familiar, it’s turning right onto Boundary Road off of Southwest Marine Drive), go up a very steep hill and re-enter on to the highway. There is no traffic around me as I accelerate up the hill (everyone had already passed me 🙁 ).

As I get to within about 50 yards of the crest of the hill, I see some IDIOT standing in the middle of the two lane road….WTF!?

I get off the gas and start to gear down, making a plan for how to get around this crazy person. As I get closer, I notice, he’s wearing…..a bright yellow safety vest….WTF!?

Why the hell is this guy wearing a….OH FUCK! COP!

SON OF A BITCH…..

I pull over and the cop walks up to me. I motion that I can’t hear him and start taking off my helmet. Meanwhile, I’m literally laughing out loud at the unfairness of it all. I get the helmet off, still laughing, and the cop is looking at me (rightfully so) like I’m a crazy person.

The cop very importantly says, “Do you find this funny, sir?”

I tell him the story of my speed limit attempts over the past 90 minutes. He says, “Jesus. You’re the unluckiest guy in the world…” SO IT’S OFFICIAL.

“Luckily” for me, the cop gave me a break on the ticket so it will only cost me $138.00. It could have been *much* worse. But…still….

GODDAMNITALLTOHELL!

Super Bowl Sunday Recipes!

Yesterday’s Big Game gave me the opportunity to test out two new recipes. OMG SO DELICIOUS!

Of course, I made wings. I used this recipe:

Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip


It’s a bit fiddly but the wings came out perfect, the coating was delicious and I doubled the amount of blue cheese in the dip so it was glorious!

For dessert, I made:
Chocolate Frosted Brownies

Without the raspberries and with dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Like the recipe says, they are *very* rich but so good!

Open Letter to the Women’s Marchers

Open Letter to the Women’s Marchers:

Remember – the MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do is to keep this momentum and pressure up. Protest without action is irrelevant. EVERY PERSON involved in these (WONDERFUL!) marches, literally around the planet, needs to also GET INVOLVED in the issues that are relevant to them. Not just today but tomorrow and next week and next month and next year and NEXT ELECTION. Start planning NOW for how you are going to run for office or support someone who is going to run for office. Don’t let the opportunity, power, desire and energy dissipate.

Ride Report: Chilliwack -> Kamloops -> Chilliwack

This past weekend was my birthday (“Happy Birthday!” “Thanks!” There. We’ve gotten that out of the way) and I had originally planned on doing this ride with Kim but as she has apparently lost her mind, I had to do it on my own. 🙂

Even though I’ve put tens of thousands of kilometers on my 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES Sport Tourer, it was all (except for a ride to Vancouver Island last summer) on Lower Mainland roads so I’d been itching to “get out of town” on a long ride.

I’d heard from several fellow riders that the “Duffy Lake Loop” was a real treat so I made that part of my goal. As I didn’t have anywhere else to be, I decided to make it an overnight trip so I could do the route as leisurely as I’d like.

Now, for you non-motorcyclists, the trip from where I live to Kamloops is 254kms (158 miles) and Google Maps says it would take a little under 3 hours. But that would be *boring*. I decided I’d make my route Chilliwack -> Squamish -> Pemberton -> Lillooet -> Cache Creek -> Spences Bridge -> Merritt -> Kamloops. Eight hours and 640kms (400 miles).

The trip from Chilliwack -> Squamish was uneventful. I’d done it many times before. I *thought* I was on a leisurely pace until I got to the Starbucks in Squamish and realized I’d gotten there in only 90 minutes. Ooops…in my defense, those of you who have ridden the new(ish) Sea To Sky Highway, with its smooth roads and big sweepy curves will understand.

I met this beautiful fella outside the Starbucks:
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Next stop would be in Pemberton to fill up on gas. Unbeknownst to me (I’d never been past Whistler), this is where the real fun would begin. If you’ve never been, Pemberton is quite pretty.
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I saw a group of local Gold Wing riders at the gas station and stopped to chat with them, mostly on behalf of my new Gold Wing riding buddy Terry:
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Typical of riders in general, they were full of useful information and tips on the route I was about to take. They kindly offered to let me join up with them but, as I really didn’t have much of a plan and was thinking I’d stop frequently, I declined. Plus, I didn’t have the heart to tell them I planned on traveling at speeds a little higher than they were likely to be going. 🙂 (not a knock on Wings or Wingers. I know they can ride better and faster than I can but they were in a group and I was solo so…)

The Pemberton -> Lillooet road, 100kms (60 miles) is absolute nirvana. Beautiful (and highly distracting!) scenery, pretty good roads (only a couple of short construction areas), wonderful sweeping curves and not much traffic. It was *glorious*.
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Next was the ride to the Horstings Farm Market in Cache Creek that had been recommended by a fellow rider. I will say, it was disappointing. Boring sandwich and bland, mushy blueberry pie.

My plan was to then go to Spences Bridge but, as I have the worst sense of direction in the world, I got lost even while using a GPS! 🙁 But, “lost” is the wrong word to use when you don’t care where you are or where you’re going. 🙂

There’s a fork in the road out of Cache Creek – one way goes to Spences Bridge, the other goes to Logan Lake. As is pretty typical of my life, whenever I come to a fork in the road, I inevitably take the *wrong* one. 🙂 I didn’t know I was even going in the “wrong” direction (I was headed to Merritt so I would have gotten there eventually regardless of the route I took) until I stopped by this weird “lake” near Logan Lake (anyone know what this is?):ShawnKing_2016-May-07
and talked to a couple of fellow riders who told me Spences Bridge was *behind* me. Oh well.

What was really interesting was how much the scenery changed from the Pemberton area (typical west coast trees and mountains) to the “almost desert” of the Logan Lake area.

I made it to Merritt with no problems and fueled up. I was meeting friends in Kamloops for a birthday dinner and didn’t want them to have to wait on me so I took the Coquihalla from Merritt to Kamloops. Ugh. What an awful, boring road on a motorcycle.

The only downside was, on a high speed stretch, I was following a SUV when suddenly, they swerved across the yellow line. I thought, “WTF are they doing!” as I braked. But there was no danger obvious – until I looked about 10 yards in front of the bike.

There was momma duck staring at me. Six baby ducks in a row, crossing the highway. One baby duck straggling behind.

There wasn’t enough time to get aggressive on the brakes but there was a gap between the six in a row and the straggler so I went for it…and the straggler ran in front of the bike….:(

“NO!” I screamed in my helmet. “YOU WERE OK WHERE YOU WERE!” I felt the small “bump, bump” under my tires. Poor little fellow. I felt awful about it but, as I explained to my non-riding friends over dinner, there are two obstacles on the road – “Squishables” and “Non-squishables”. You never lay your bike down for a squishable.

Once I got into Kamloops, I got lost a couple more times (my TomTom GPS, while OK, frequently can’t find addresses or know about roads that have been in place for *years*) before I made it to my perfectly ordinary but cheap hotel. Dinner with great friends from college and in bed by 9am, exhausted but happy.
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I was up bright and early the next morning….even though I didn’t want to be. I have no idea why the Hospitality Inn staff decided to, while putting me at the very end of the building, also put a family of five in the room next to me. So the “Crying Baby Alarm Clock” I didn’t need went off at 3am….and 5am…and 7am….Oh, screw it – I’ll just get up…

The best part of my morning was, while I was at Starbucks, my mom, sister and niece back in Nova Scotia called and wished me a happy birthday. Always great talking to family.

I was in no hurry to get home so I wanted to make sure I at least found out where Spences Bridge was so, after coffee, I headed to Merritt via Highway 5A.IMG_7929
OH. MY. GOD. That sign should be amended to “Motorcyclists: Speed Up in Curves”! It was AMAZING. If you ever see a motorcyclist on the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Kamloops, THEY ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD. 5A was spectacular. Wonderful big sweeping curves, great scenery, no traffic. I couldn’t have had more fun. Until I got on Highway 8 to Spences Bridge!
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It was just as much fun as 5A. Needless to say, I had an absolutely fantastic time on those roads.

After Spences Bridge (which, BTW, isn’t even there any more), it’s a pretty familiar trip back home. And the scenery got even *better*:
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On the Trans-Canada headed home, I hit a personal milestone:
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I haven’t been riding long (I got my M/C license 11 years ago but have only owned a bike for about half that time), so putting 40K kms (25,000 miles) on any one bike is a pretty big deal. Even more so, I’ve only had this bike for 18 months. 🙂IMG_7934

It might have been because of Mothers Day but there was very little traffic on the road and most of it was easy to pass. But I wasn’t in much of a hurry so I stopped often to enjoy the scenery and take pictures. There was only one section (about a kilometer long) that had this:
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That sign tends to get your attention and slow you down on the bike! I stopped a few times (only when it was safe to do so!) to take pics of some of the various tunnels along the route:IMG_7937

Before finally making it home. Grand total was two days, 14 hours on the bike, 1300 kms (807 miles), great weather, great friends, and a great bike all mean it was the best birthday weekend I’ve ever had.IMG_7941

I Raced A Harley Today

From Michael J. Costa on Facebook:

I raced a Harley today but, after some really hard riding, I managed to PASS the guy. I was riding on one of those really, really twisting parts of a canyon road with no straight sections to speak of and where most of the curves have warning signs that say “15 MPH”.

I knew if I was going to pass one of those monsters with those big cubic-inch motors, it would have to be a place like this where handling and rider skill are more important than horsepower alone.

I saw the guy up ahead as I exited one of the turns and knew I could catch him, but it wouldn’t be easy. I concentrated on my braking and cornering. Three corners later, I was on his fender. Catching him was one thing; passing him would prove to be another.

Two corners later, I pulled up next to him as we sailed down the mountain. I think he was shocked to see me next to him, as I nearly got by him before he could recover. Next corner, same thing. I’d manage to pull up next to him as
we started to enter the corners but when we came out he’d get on the throttle and outpower me. His horsepower was almost too much to overcome, but this only made me more determined than ever.

My only hope was to outbrake him. I held off squeezing the lever until the last instant. I kept my nerve while he lost his. In an instant, I was by him. Corner after corner, I could hear the roar of his engine as he struggled to
keep up.

Three more miles to go before the road straightens out and he would pass me for good.

But now I was in front and he would no longer hold me back. I stretched out my lead and, by the time we reached the bottom of the canyon, he was more than a full corner behind. I could no longer see him in my rear-view mirror.

Once the road did straighten out, it seemed like it took miles before he passed me, but it was probably just a few hundred yards. I was no match for that kind of horsepower, but it was done. In the tightest section of road, where bravery and skill count for more than horsepower and deep pockets, I had passed him. Though it was not easy, I had won the race to the bottom of the canyon and I had preserved the proud tradition of one of the best bits of Brit Iron.

I will always remember that moment. I don’t think I’ve ever pedalled so hard in my life. Some of the credit must go to Raleigh Cycles, as well. They really make a great bicycle.
Bike passing Bike