Heading EAST to shoot gophers...! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Heading EAST to shoot gophers...!

It looks like my wife gets to "do" a trip to visit friends this summer, instead of ME heading back north to D2D 2014.... Oh well.



A rancher friend near Pincher Creek in southern Alberta offered his hospitality IF I would come there and spend a few days helping him get rid of some gophers, so last Tuesday I loaded up the GREEN HORNET, my trusty Marlin .22 disassembled, wrapped in 'bubble-wrap', then sealed in a waterproof canoe bag across the rack, shaving kit and sox'n'shorts in a saddle-bag, ATGATT, kissed my wife good-bye and headed east on BC 33. The sun was UP, my heated jacket liner was on LOW and into the sunrise I rode. I've written up many trips down 33 before, so I'll skip THAT part....



About an hour and a half later I transitioned onto BC 3 - the Crowsnest Hwy continuing for a LON-N-G way. The road goes over at least three high mountain passes, and the pic w/ snow at the sides is THE 5,800' ASL one, my heated gear a click-or-two higher now, till down in the valley towards Cranbrook where temps came back up. Had a 20 minute wait for a paving induced single-lane tie-up, but generally it was going pretty well, tho' I WAS looking forward to getting to Alberta, and CHEAP(ER...) gas - so far it was around $1.419/ L which pretty much equates to about $4.83 US gallon!

BC is wall-to-wall mountains, but the Canadian Rockies start an hour or so from the Alberta border, so ALL the rest are just "pretend" mountains! Just after filling up on $1.289/ L Alberta gas you ride up to Turtle Mountain, site of the 1903 Frank Slide, Canada's largest (worst...?) landslide that buried the town of Frank, killing upwards of 100.

I turned north, passed the Oldman River Dam, then after 20 miles of gravel arrived at Harry's ranch, and a cold beer followed by a BBQ'd steak supper!

Today added 786 kms to the odo, 487 miles, done in just over nine hours.



Tomorrow... MORE!
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 05-25-2014 at 05:33 PM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Days 2 and 3, the "Gopher Safari"...

I failed to mention in the day 1 post that I saw one grizzly near the top of one of the BC passes, as well as MANY mule deer, several of which were being fed on by ravens. As I slowed to get a pic of Mr Grizz, he decided he wanted to be elsewhere, so - NO pics!

Got up pretty early Wednesday, and after breakfast and coffee Harry and I drove to his feedlot (about 10 miles south of his house) where he drove me to the area he wanted "culled", a few miles west, then back to the feedlot where he gave me a quick check-out on his diesel Kubota side-by-side quad, then directed me to the fields w/ the gopher problems. Later he and neighbors were going to brand the calves, as well as "removing" some un-wanted bits from the male calves....

When Harry pointed the fields out (they were all partially tilled), my first thoughts were that there couldn't be TOO many gophers there, as my experience has generally been on pasture fields, the gophers in the short grass.

Got there pretty quickly, and I started into the fields.... Holy Smoke - gophers EVERYWHERE!!! I'll spare the details, but I drove around the fields till I ran out of .22s, then back to get a pick-up and into town for more shells.

When I returned, branding was in progress, so I was invited to watch, then join in the steak supper for all the working cowboys (...and me!). They had three cowboys roping the calves ("heeling" them), then dragging them to where another couple would flip them over, holding onto the tail to present its flank to the branding iron, and the person w/ the knife. In fact several of the workers, including the ropers, were women. Soon the 200 or so calves were done, and it was over to the ranch-house for some beers, then the dinner prepared by the ladies. VG spread, too!

After that was over we headed back north to Harry's house, where his border collie - Tes - wanted some exercise chasing a ball. She didn't tire, but we did, so I suggested using a golf club to get some yardage, and soon she was running 75 yards out, then back, and pretty soon was "tuckered-out", so we headed to bed.

Next morning we did pretty much the same, but as I got to the gopher fields one of the neighbors' dogs, a black lab, decided to join me and help by "rounding up the gophers", but that pretty much stopped the 'operation', as I didn't want to accidentally hit it, and besides - the gophers were NOW underground!

Took the Kubota back, transferred to a pickup, then drove back to the ranch house, to assemble a Kamado BBQ Harry had brought back from AZ, then Tes joined me and we hunted a different type called 'red gophers', something I'd not seen before, somehow a "high-country" cousin to the usual ones.

Soon the dinner gong sounded. After another GREAT Alberta dinner, and a few beers, we headed back onto the veranda to hit balls for the dog, then time to hit the sack!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 01:33 PM
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Friday started early, and after the oatmeal and coffee, I loaded up the GREEN HORNET and headed west, again stopping at the Frank Slide to get a pic of it w/ the Versys to try to give an idea of the scale. Some of the rocks are EASILY as big as houses, and the northern extent of the debris field HAS to be a mile or two from Turtle Mountain!

Soon I was back in BC, passing thru Fernie and out of the BC Rocky Mountains. The weather was mostly clear, some high, thin clouds evident further west, thickening as I rode thru the passes. The third picture is Kootenay Pass which is the eastern of the three major ones, 5,800' ASL, and that is dirty snow right up to the shoulders of the highway! (My heated jacket liner was selected ON!)

By the pass just east of Castlegar, drops of rain were coming as I climbed, clouds MUCH darker ahead. Just as I 'summitted' I saw a pickup w/ its 4-way flashers blinking and a Harley on its sidestand, a few people beside it, so I waved, just noticing as I was passing that another Harley was upside down on the shoulder. I thought about turning around, but then I figured that there were enough folks there already, but I pulled off into a side-road 100 yards further to get rain-gear on.

As soon as I re-entered the highway the rain started in earnest, and it was "cats'n'dogs" by Castlegar where I gassed up, thankful for the cover above the pumps, then headed back west again, the rain lasting a few hours, till I removed rain-gear near Greenwood where I took the last pic I've attached, then about an hour and a half up Hwy 33 and home, stopping in my garage at 1,550 kms (961 miles) for the four days of which two days were riding.

Despite the fact that I get usually around 55 mpgUS on BIG RED in AZ, my gas mileage was anywhere from 20 km/L down to 18.9 km/L which translates to 42.8 mpgUS. I have NO idea why it's so much lower than on the '08 - I just checked the valves, cleaned the airfilter, replaced the spark plugs. I have a "Thermo-Bob", same tires and windscreens on both Vs...?

My butt did NOT particularly hurt (stock seat, front raised), and I REALLY like the 2" handle-bar rise from the ROX RISERS.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 05-29-2014 at 11:49 AM.
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