Gopher safari #2 - 2016! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Gopher safari #2 - 2016!

I got a call from a rancher friend in Alberta near Pincher Creek, asking if I would come out and help him to get rid of a "few" gophers, two weeks back.

As another friend a bit further E in Lethbridge was having a birthday party around the same time, last week I decided I'd "do" both, so, loaded up the GREEN HORNET TOO, heading out at 0700 on the 17th May, my .22 rifle wrapped-up in the red canoe-bag.



My route was to head S on BC 33 to the Crowsnest Pass Hwy - BC 3 - but this 'pile-of-rocks' (an Inukshuk) drew me to stop...



then back onto 33 headed S thru the area burned last year



and then E onto 3, up-and-over three mountain passes







the highest (5800') over Kootenay Pass which looked like this.





Then it was the long 'slide' down thru Creston



where I took a lunch break.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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After passing thru Cranbrook, keeping track of my fuel computor which seemed to indicate that I COULD get into Alberta 'where the cheap gas lives', I continued altho' I added 3L "just-in-case", the Rockies coming into view.









I made it into Blairmore, AB and gassed up (about $.14 LESS per L than in BC......), taking



which, added to the 3L ('insurance' gas...), made HALF a L less than the tank holds, and that for 479.9 kms...!

.

The way I fill-up on long rides will add about 1.2L, so I had about 1.7L to 'dry'.

-

A few miles E of there is the Frank Slide, where back in 1908 (?) Turtle Mtn slid, covering the town of Frank in the early morning hours.



A famous tree - the "Burmis Tree" is a few miles E. (More about this later on....)





Then I turned N to ride about 20 kms of gravel to Harry's ranch where I'd 'hang my hat' for a few days,





the day's total ride - 781.4 kms (and a "FEW" bugs - check the windscreen....



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 05:20 PM
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Great pictures and description. I enjoyed reading your thread, you make me want to ride the roads of the Rocky Mountains.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
Great pictures and description. I enjoyed reading your thread, you make me want to ride the roads of the Rocky Mountains.
Then come on out and DO IT! Air Canada started a service which will fly you and your bike to various places, so you could fly out to Vancouver, then ride back, spending BAGS of time in the 'Rocks'...!



...OR fly to Calgary, the start of the Rockies....

-

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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We had a 'few' beers to cut the dust, then a great 'ranch' dinner and early to bed.



Next morning - up early, coffee, brekkie, MORE coffee, then grab the rifles, shells, and lunch, and head S to a particularly 'troublesome' field (that I had helped clear something in excess of 650 gophers from, LAST year) of somewhere between a quarter and half-section, and start 'culling'....

As the day ran on we saw clouds forming N and NE, while the radio mentioned showers overnight, rain tomorrow. Not good news, so we continued our 'cull'. By the time 1800 rolled around we estimated that we had sent about 1,000 gophers to their 'happy hunting ground', unloaded our rifles and headed N for dinner.

As we started onto the gravel there was BIG sign indicating that "GRAVELING IN PROGRESS"....



I asked Harry if he'd mind if, as soon as we got to his house, I 'suited-up' and rode my V down to his feedlot (to store it in one of his buildings), he following to pick me up, and he said he would do it. I had visions of trying to tackle DEEP, wet gravel after a night of rain (so far I have ONLY one DS tire on the GREEN HORNET TOO, a Shinko 705 on the rear, while the front Dunlop 222 is anything BUT a DS tire - and waiting on a front 705 shipped to Oroville, WA, a few hours S of my home) which I did NOT want to do...!

-

He planned to leave 5 minutes after me, so on the 'pegs and heading S, so far no deep piles, tho' they DID start appearing about half-way down, and at one point, standing on the 'pegs, the bike started to oscillate scaring me pretty good, but I managed to dampen it (saying a prayer...).

I was in the shed, turning everything off when he appeared, so I jumped in and we headed back N. (His pickup was handling the deep gravel MUCH better than the V had....)

We arrived back to a great feast of beef from one of his cattle, a few more beers to wet our whistles, watched a movie about some fellows from Texas A&M who bought wild mustangs, then, over several months rode from the Mexican Border to the Canadian Border via the Grand Canyon and Glacier Nat'l Park, just to name a few, then off to bed in the solitude of the Porcupine Hills, the southern foothills of the Canadian Rockies.

Thursday dawned early, the land wet from the continuing overnight showers, and we chatted about whether there was any point to try gopher hunting in the rain, but after a couple of cups of "joe", we decided to give it a 'go'.

As we drove thru the deep, wet gravel, I again thanked him for helping me to move the bike early....

Soon we arrived back at the same field, the one that was at least 1,000 gophers shorter in number than it had been..., and you can imagine our surprise when we saw what looked like a field that had NEVER been hunted...!



We got started right away, firing our .22s, (in the rain...!) eventually heading back to his ranch house around 1800 again, agreeing after looking at all the empty shell boxes, that we'd PROBABLY sent another 6 to 800 gophers to 'heaven'... - or WHEREVER...!



Another great evening, early to bed, then up Friday, the ride to Lethbridge via Fort Macleod now shortened to about two miles of wet gravel before hitting pavement, and I was soon on my way, "Goodbyes" echoing in the damp mountain air.

Back in the early '60s I had had my first motorcycle trip w/ my best friend, from Edmonton, Alberta S thru Kelowna (where I now reside) then Seattle and down the coast to Crescent City, CA, where, seeing that HALF our money was gone, we turned and headed back N.

I hadn't seen Gerry since '62, had learned he was in Fort Macleod and so arranged to stop and renew our friendship. Rode in w/ rain-gear on, spent an hour and a half reminiscing, then back on the V, again heading E.



Got to Lethbridge around 1300, my wife's flight arrived at 1400, then we spent the rest of Friday helping the set-up for the birthday party the next day, had a few beers, then to bed.

GREAT celebration Saturday, then my wife flew back EARLY Sunday (0540, I seem to remember...), and I helped clean up w/ the friends, after my morning walk, where I saw these, about a mile down the road...





Seems the fellow that used to live there had been an RCAF fighter pilot, flying the F-86 Sabre jet (which we called the "Swords"), and had taken plywood to make the horse and driver for the wagon, and the FULL-SIZED F-86 in profile...! I'm pretty sure that this Sword had particular significance to him, and I hope to trace down its serial-number, maybe learning his story....

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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So far I haven't been able to trace that serial number on the plywood F-86, but Ebay has many models of it:

canadair sabre | eBay

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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F-86 tf-286

Looks like I found it:

CanMilAir Decals: Single Jet, Canadair F-86 Sabre

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Helped get everything cleaned-up, had a nice dinner w/ some VERY nice Scotch whiskey, then in bed by 2015 (LONG day coming up!). Slept "like a log" till about 0430, then up to shave and brush my teeth.

Checked out the door - raining, so my rain-gear went on top of my Kilimanjaro jacket which was OVER my Tourmaster heated jacket-liner (DON'T leave home w/out it!) - then I quietly departed, moved the GREEN HORNET TOO out of the garage



looked W, hoping it MIGHT clear, then I 'hit the road'.

A few miles later I pulled over, adding TRULY waterproof gloves - the ones they sell at Princess Auto (or H-F in the States...) for working w/ sewage - over a set of thin MX gloves



then continued, looking for a MacDees, A&W, or Tim Hortons for breakfast, and found one in Fort Macleod, an hour W.



Riding in the rain, w/ 'frequent' stops, I was sensing that some sort of WARNING - UNPLUG THE TOURMASTER before getting off would make a lot of sense...!

-

I finished their version of a "sausage'n'egger" and coffee, re-sealed the rain-gear, headed into the jaws of the weather....

I planned to stop again at the Burmis Tree that I'd photographed a few days earlier - years ago I had entered a B&W 16"x20" pic of it into an international photo comp in London, England, winning BEST B&W w/ it - and here it is again, in the rain, along w/ the sign explaining what it is/ was....







Then I saddled-up, plugged in the liner, heading W....



Because of the constant rain I took very few pics, and this one was taken exactly FIVE hours later, just above Castlegar, BC, the weather STILL CRAPPY as you can see, w/ NONE taken going over Kootenay Pass despite the fresh snow, as it was pouring there...!





I have done this ride several times previously and posted pics on here, but even when I FINALLY rode thru the rain near the S end of BC 33 (STILL got a few 'squalls' riding N!), I left my camera protected from the wet, kind of like a rental horse heading back to the barn, arriving four hours and one minute after the Castlegar pics, at home, a total of 1,762.4 kms (GPS) for the week-long 'adventure'....

-

When I put all the numbers together I had averaged 61.84 mpgImperial (49.47 mpgUS), and according to the GPS



a 'moving average' of just less than 90 km/hr - about 55 mph. Don't forget that also included the gravel to-and-from Harry's ranch, as well as in town and traffic.

This day was 11 hours, of which 9+ was riding in the rain - the V running perfectly...!

Another GREAT Versys adventure for me...!
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