Skip to content

Prince George

June 11, 2010

This morning was the first day since leaving Idaho that dawned crystal clear, though a bit chilly. As we passed our 5,000 mile mark, the road continued to follow a long valley with Rockies rising on either side, We caught sight of a huge buck elk grazing in the sunshine, but he took off before we could stop for his photo.

It is much more enjoyable touring in nice weather, and we did not miss for an instant getting more practice recognizing spray patterns from passing vehicles form on the helmet visor.

When we exited the last mountain pass, the terrain broadened into a wide valley floor with fertile farmland, marshes and swamps. Deer, bears, and wolves made occasional appearances, but as yet no moose. As we got to lower altitudes and farther out into the plain toward Prince George the temperature warmed to a comfortable 65-70 degrees and this helped us make good time to our evening destination. We arrived early and attended to a number of errands including laundry and finding me some replacement rainboots, as the elements had shredded my original pair.

Seb reminded me also that I should be concerned about the rapidly disappearing tread on my rear tire. We’d been noting this for some time, but on a quick look, it seemed like it might make it to Anchorage where I could replace it at my leisure. The tire was new at the outset of the trip, and I refused to accept that it needed replacement after only 5000 miles. But Seb stuck to his guns and reminded me of how hard a time we had finding his tires, and since Prince George was by far the largest city we would visit before Anchorage, I was convinced to have a look. The second dealer in town had something close, but not exact; we tried two more with no luck and at one of them, Seb pointed to my tire and showed me a spot where the tread had wore clear through to the underlying belts. Now desperate, we returned to the previous dealer and bought the close fit. It’s a decent tire, but I paid about twice what it would have cost under more planned circumstances. I’m glad Seb was with me; had I been on my own, I might not have seen the extent of the problem and my stubbornness would have driven me into a most uncomfortable mistake.

I have now answered the questions about comfort over the long haul. I am having no back issues at all—I attribute that to a lightweight back brace that I wear every day. At one point I was concerned that saddle sores might become a show stopper, but two bike modifications and two techniques, have helped eliminate this concern: a gel seat pad and an extra set of footpegs respectively add extra cushioning and a third alternate position for my feet. Both of these modifications came from a Harley Davidson dealer in Bozeman, MT and they have now proven to do the job. The techniques are: using appropriately placed doses of baby powder, and holding our daily mileage as close to a 300-mile maximum as possible. This will slow us down somewhat—I had originally planned to average 350 miles.

Tomorrow begins a 5-day stretch into more remote places where fuel may become an issue. Originally we were expecting to get mileage somewhere around 45 mpg and we had decided to each carry one extra gallon. This would give us a comfortable range of about 200 miles. The longest stretch without fuel I had seen on our route was 180 miles.

In fact, however, we have been getting closer to 35 mpg owing perhaps to the extra weight we carry and to the altitude for which our bikes are not tuned. We have shifted some cargo around, and are now carrying two extra gallons apiece.

I remember on an earlier trip seeing a couple of other bikers traveling in Canada poring over a map almost in tears when the route they had planned so carefully at home evaporated: they discovered only on arrival that one of the roads they’d planned to take turned out to be a railroad line. I’m hoping that all of the fuel stops I have found with GPS and Google searches will prove to be there and be open for business.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sky Cole permalink
    June 13, 2010 2:27 pm

    I remember the Canadians.

    I also remember your previous solution to saddle discomfort; attaching a rope to the handle bars and leaning back on the sissy bar.

    Glad to see you’ve gained some wisdom–wise enough to ride with Sebastian.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: