Kawasaki Versys Forum banner

2221 - 2240 of 2272 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,221 ·
THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 100

I’d left Joel at the top of the Gaspe on the 132 coast road, he to continue his gravel route through the interior, while I was now riding southwest along the St. Lawrence River, out of time, out of patience, and in growing desperation for a ferry to cross the river north into mainland Quebec. I hadn’t planned to use the ferry this day, no reservations, and I had only a sketchy notion of the ferry schedules, some sailed infrequently. It was a Construction Holiday in Quebec, the traffic on this non-scenic section of coast road was terrible, and I was up and down through the gears like a kid practicing force fed musical scales on an out of tune piano, C flippin‘ major for the fumble fingered, my brain hurt big time.

While Joel had brightened the day over a leisurely bike talk lunch, now I was walking the damn high wire, teetering toward the dark side, still on a rolling boil after placing an uncharacteristically bad bet to start the day. Worse yet, I hadn’t hedged that bet, and now I was making a down payment on the price to pay, total cost to be determined.

The ferry at Metane would have taken me across to Baie Comeau, I know that town, but when I got to the landing it was closed, locked up tight. The next ferry opportunity southwest was at Trois Pistoles, now there’s a good name, sun now low, let’s give it a shot, so to speak. I dropped the freakin’ hammer, broke every speed limit in sight, Leo Vince in full throat shriek, and I rode up to the ferry office at the Trois Pistoles landing in a 4-3-2-1 hair-on-fire downshift from 8 or 9 grand, I had arrived…the office was closed.

There was a schedule posted near the door, and as far as I was able to determine with limited French, there was a ferry sailing to Les Escoumins later in the evening which would put me on the north side at about 11:30, hmmm. I didn’t have a reservation, better ask some of these French folks, they would know whether I could get on board.

That’s when the ferry fun started. My French is so impossibly fractured that I hate to deploy it, and it seems I had found one location in Quebec where no one spoke English, although many made a mighty effort. This ferry landing was a fair weather promenade location along the river, many people out for their evening stroll, and it soon became a community project to get me on the ferry.

Snooty, snarky Quebecois, never for me, in fact always the opposite, and so it was today, or they may have just been captivated by the whiskey tainted southern pool hall English I was speaking, must sound sublime to the French ear. Sure, it was an affectation, but man, I had it workin’, more French friends by the minute.

The call went out for an English speaker, and after a dozen misfires, a guy said in barely manageable English that he thought I could get on with the moto without a reservation, but the river was very low and the ferry might run aground causing considerable delay. I had to laugh, but I had been on a small ferry once that had run aground, and the captain was about to order all the passengers into the water to push when he finally floated free.

I had exhausted my entire French vocabulary by the time I boarded, may have slipped in a little quaint Spanish along the way, although no one seemed to notice. The ferry was trying to depart, and when I took a look at the prop wash all I saw was mud. The captain was going to have to plow the back 40 until he got some water under the hull, and he finally did as the sun went down, the ferry pointed north, sky ominous in my path.



(to be continued)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,222 ·
Chaos on the ferry, little wild Indians racing around the cabin lounge, parental units comatose, well beyond any supervisory capacity after what must have been a very long day of family travel. At least I could get some dinner, potato chips and a metric diet coke, but soon interrupted by a five year old girl who demanded to put on my helmet to take a selfie, all in a kinda Frenglish hybrid language. Either she already had her own phone, or had stolen her parents, but I had unpleasant thoughts of having to chase her around the ferry in order to get it back. Sorry, “No”, and her reaction was…well, put it this way, if she’d had a knife handy, she would have tried for my throat. Damn, a BSC five year old, and I was already tired of my ferry ride.

It’s not that far across the river to Les Escoumins, but when your ferry is only advancing at the rate of 6mph, the ride takes for freakin’ ever. I finally saw lights way ahead, getting close, and then I realized I was alone in the lounge, passengers had all headed to their vehicles. Oh boy, the ferry was going to empty in an old time Le Mans style start, and my moto was parked towards the front, damn, I could get run over. As the saying goes, it was 0-dark-30.

The ferry bounced off the fender pilings, all ugly crunching sounds, splinters flying, slammed into the landing, ramp mated up, gate down, and as the vehicles touched terra firma, every driver pinned it, me too. It was a little Class B highway up to 138, midnight dark, and I was running 70-80 with all the lights on, hell, y’all coulda read a newspaper a full mile distant just from what I was burning. Every single car on the ferry passed me before I got up to 138, those Frenchies were late for the big holiday party I guess. I even saw my BSCish five year old girl, she waved when she went by, caught wide eyed at the SUV window in the blazing arc of my driving lights. Lordy, I was thinkin’ Exorcist, signs and omens, made me shake like a wet hound dog.

Highway 138 is the coast road on the north side of the St. Lawrence, and I’d been here before, but riding northeast. Now I was headed the opposite direction, prospects slim to none at this hour of the morning in falling temps, and I’d been rolling for over eighteen hours at this point. I was still feeling pretty good, had caught a second wind, and as I shifted around in the saddle prior to my turn southwest, my active mindset was “Well, ok, just let ‘er buck”. Without that active state of mind I would have been forced to park it, no use continuing on.

The 138 is a scenic ride from Les Escoumins northeast, but less so southwest towards Tadoussac, didn’t matter, couldn’t see anything anyway, except for “No Vacancy” signs, or infrequently the French equivalent. Some establishments had bonfires going in front, party central, big crowds of Quebecois, no doubt some still half drunk from the previous night’s revelry.

I passed the intersection with highway 172 which runs north to Saguenay, this road was on my route as an alternate, but continued on to Tadoussac, maybe lodging would be available there, yeah sure, “No Vacancy” neon was branded on my eyeballs. I should take the free ferry across the Riviere Saguenay, but when I got to the landing there was a long line of tractor trailers waiting, the ferry had broken down, that was the report I got from an English speaking driver with Ontario plates on his rig.

I sure as heck wasn’t going to wait, so I backtracked to 172, turned left, and headed north to Saguenay. I’d been there too, but now a long ways off on a dark highway, not much in between. Yeah, that’s what I said, and a fuel stop I remembered on the 172 was closed up, out of business when I got there. My mental fuel range calculator said “Fumes” in the same sentence with Saguenay, man, this is going to be close.

Those thoughts were in my mind when I ran into about 30km of brand new road surface, beautiful smooth black pavement, freshly striped same as the States, and I was flying headlong up the road, fuel, coffee, and food had to be somewhere ahead. That’s when the new pavement markings stopped, no signs, no nothing, and I floated off into pitch black space, weightless and winged.

(to be continued)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,224 ·
Not sure, are you on the road right now? (in Quebec?)
i had planned to be in Canuckistan in 2020, but the wuhan changed those plans. nope, not in Quebec presently, if i was i would have messaged you. i do have a 30,000km route blocked out, but the adventure starts west of Quebec. hope i can do it, time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,175 Posts
i had planned to be in Canuckistan in 2020, but the wuhan changed those plans. nope, not in Quebec presently, if i was i would have messaged you. i do have a 30,000km route blocked out, but the adventure starts west of Quebec. hope i can do it, time will tell.
Pfiuf, ok, let me know if you ride in the area ;) I'll take you to a great poutine ;)
be safe!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,226 ·
Pfiuf, ok, let me know if you ride in the area ;) I'll take you to a great poutine ;)
be safe!
thinking back, i was first in Quebec over 50 years ago, then back many times since. in all those years, and for some inexplicable reason, i've never had the first taste of poutine...at least that i remember.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,227 · (Edited)
No moon, no stars, no traffic, no lights of any kind except those pointing forward, and all I saw was black as I seemingly flew off a sharp edged cliff at 70mph. I was hallucinating, and I must have traveled a good half mile through the air before I landed, figuratively speaking, and if I had been alert before, now I was really wide awake. I’d been swallowed by a rolling sea of blackness, my spatial reasoning in failure mode. Now I was back, ain’t no Knievel, the heck with that flying nonsense. Let’s get to Saguenay, and I backed it down a little, save some fuel, either that or walk the final miles.

The glow from Saguenay was showing against the clouds, then finally some actual lights, yeah, lights, like my low fuel light, I’d been staring at it for 25 miles while I crawled along. No chance of impeding traffic, I’d only seen two vehicles since 138. It was around 3am, what fuel stops would be open at this hour? Three o’clock in the morning, and I coasted up on two young kids on bicycles, maybe 10 or 12 years old. They wanted to race, I was going that slow, near out of fuel, but I finally pulled away, leaving them pedaling furiously, no quit in those two.

Another mile or two into town, here’s fuel with the lights on in the convenience store, no lights at the pumps, I stopped anyway, hadn’t been off the bike since the ferry. I thought the store was closed, but a car pulled in, a guy jumped out and went over to the door, locked, but then I heard a faint buzz and he pulled the door open, aha, a safety feature for the night time store clerk. I walked over, knocked on the door, the clerk took a peek at me, then buzzed me in. I headed straight for the coffee, passing close enough to that other buzzed in guy, damn, they must sell Boy Chanel somewhere around here, although no one would ever confuse him with a svelte urbanite.

I asked for pie in English, then tried in French, but the fat-boy clerk looked at me like he hadn’t heard a single word, deaf in both languages. I did buy a couple candy bars and a sticky bun, then hung around long enough to find out a credit card would work at the pumps, he’d turn one on for me, at least I think that’s what he said.

I got out there real quick and fueled the bike, no fuel and I was stuck right here. I was standing there drinking my coffee, eating my fuel stop breakfast, when the two bicycle boys rode right up to the store door, brakes locking up the rear tires, then dropping the bikes like rocks. The clerk buzzed them right in, must be his 3AM regulars, no curfew in this town.

Done in the store, the boys came over to look at the bike, they didn’t respond to English either. What the heck, maybe I can get them to help lube the chain, and I got out my spray can. I showed one kid what I wanted done, he understood immediately, and as I rolled the bike forward, he sprayed down the chain, good job too. I packed things away, turned to the boy who had helped me, pointed to the chain, and said “Merci beaucoup”. He looked me right in the eye, and said “You’re welcome”.

Ha, that was a small gift, but if I laughed too hard the boys wouldn’t have understood. Hey boys, let me gift ya back, give ya something to talk about, and I left the pumps in a near redline launch, Leo Vince an out of control wild scream. Yeah kids, there’s madness in there, don’t have to dig too deep.

(to be continued)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,229 ·
the lack of an "EDIT" tab around here in the year 2020 is really annoying. admin must not be IT competent, or maybe it's hidden away and requires the super secret password.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
20,303 Posts
Dave - see the vertical row of THREE " . " to the right on your first line?

"Click" on it and you'll see some options including "EDIT"....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,232 ·
Breaking News: The Truth About fasteddiecopeman's Age

fasteddiecopeman, aka Senor Fast, or Father Eduardo Fast when wearing the collar, has been circumspect about his age. one minute he's recounting woolly mammoth hunts in northern Alberta, while the next minute he's talking about motorcycle rides at the turn of the century...that's 19th century, not 20th or 21st. he has refused all DNA test requests, and has also declined to provide a sample for the latest iteration of carbon dating.

i sent an investigative team up to Bring Cash, Canuckistan to find out the truth. while their results were far from conclusive on the age question, they did not return empty handed. after much sleuthing, the team was able to locate the front wheel from Senor Fast's first motorbike, circa 19th century, likely 1890 or thereabouts. with some adjustment made for the acceptance of risky behavior during that era, Senor Fast was apparently born in 1878, even though he will vigorously deny it.

over all, even though now very old, and equally, very slow, he looks reasonably well for a man 142 years of age. Senor Fast was the talk of the town in 1890, he had the trick suspension on the front of his motorbike.



 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
20,303 Posts
Don't know HOW you do it, Dave, but I'm REALLY HAPPY that NOW you're 'able to EDIT' stuff, as a LOT of your stuff needs editing....

;)

Keep looking to see IF you can find my 'early' helmet, the one w/ a 'cloned' Von Dutch on the front....

:cool:

*WildThing4 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,236 ·
I’d punched in a GPS number for La Dore up the 167 road, I knew that little town too, y’all can’t quite manage to forget flipping the damn bike upside down in the café parking lot on a beautiful Sunday morning, not that I had an audience of about fifty Quebecois looking out the windows. I had a good five course breakfast at the place though, damn cute waitress doing that French girl walk-on-air thing…I left a nice tip. Now as I made my way through Saguenay, I was thinking about where the heck to stop, I’d been traveling for going on 24 hours, still full dark, sunrise due pretty soon. I’d sorta gone through my second wind, and was reaching deep for my third, the one that would take me home, wherever that landing may be.

Up past Lac Saint-Jean and the series of little towns at the bottom of the lake, full of French inspired architecture, nothing open, then past my La Dore café, also still closed at this hour. This was a fuel stop, and I couldn’t remember anything between La Dore and Chibougamau, I sure as heck had fueled here when running the opposite direction. Let’s see, how many miles to La Dore, then La Dore to fuel, the numbers were confused, hazy, bottom line I’m probably screwed…then it started to rain. I eased off the gas, nautical sunrise, gray dawn, and the road became a big black mirror well into the distance.

Highway 167 runs through Reserve Faunique Ashuapmushuan, unpronounceable in any language, but there is a nice campground. If you find the campground office, it’s the same one I casually threatened to burn down after another impossibly long riding day down from the Baie James via the Rout du Nord. The camp attendant was hopelessly confused by the credit card machine, and was not the least aware of the cheery menace standing in front of him. Thankfully, he didn’t speak a single word of English, otherwise he might have dialed the Mounties. Eventually I paid in loonies and toonies, and the office still stands. I wasn’t far out of the park on the northwest side when the fuel light came on, and the light prodded my memory a little, I’d been carrying 12L of extra fuel the last time and could run the distance, but now it was looking a lot like a kick in the yarbles.

Suddenly I ran up on Le Relaise du Lac Cache, huh?, is this place new? I had no memory of it being here, and it did look relatively new, who cares, I was saved, here was food and fuel. Fueled the bike to overflow, then in for coffee, I was staggering, in need of a half gallon of coffee.

[IMG]


I got my coffee and a selection of junk food, I didn’t want to sit down for breakfast, if I did, I might not be able to stand back up. The throw back sweater vested young man at the register had an unusual look, might have been those car door ears sticking way the heck out, and he rattled off some instructions for my credit card use in a machine gun cadence.

I said “Could you please say that again in English, my French is kinda rusty”.

He haughtily replied “Monsieur, I am not addressing you in French, let me assure you, I am speaking to you in absolutely perfect English.”

Hmmm, “Well ok then, whatever it is, give it another try.” I was into this ride about 26 hours, had the high temp fevers, y’all want some excitement around here, hey, just push that button again.

That’s when I knew I better start looking for a place to stop, and I made a defining turn south on 113, the hell with Chibougamau. I had taken a look at Lebel-sur-Quevillon, about another four hours ahead which would round things off nicely at 30 hours of travel. Here I was on the edge of the boreal spruce again, still out of the wall and urgently alive…hard on the gas, shifting through them gears.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
20,303 Posts
Dave - was this run thru Chibougamou in '17?

(It was COLD and WET when I went thru then!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2,239 ·
THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 101

I had made the turn west on I40, sure I had left the crazy behind, but now was rolling alongside the demented, those drivers that should be institutionalized, locked away in a safe place where they can't get their hands on vehicle keys. Confiscating drivers licenses won't work, I don't think many at the wheel around me had one to start with.




Dark now, and I set a goal of 800 miles on the trip meter, better stop for fuel, and I rolled into a Pilot truck stop. The guy tending to the beat to crap and a half pickup across the island from me was drooling tobacco juice down the front of his shirt from a big chaw, had a loose pitbull in the bed that was silently estimating the distance between it's teeth and my throat, and there was a twelve year old boy riding shotgun that some judge should give 25-to-life right freakin' now, save the world a load of grief. When I hung up the pump handle, I noticed the old guy had a knife stuck in his right boot, never have seen that before except in the movies. Hmmmm, time to head over towards Memphis, and I was outta there.

The traffic had thinned after dark and west of Knoxville, pure dark now, running 80, wary of deer with all the recent road kills along the shoulders. Far ahead I could just make out a faint tail light, and when I run up on it, I find a scooter redlined at 40mph out on the interstate in the middle of the night. The guy at the controls was way north of 400 pounds, all white boy blubber wearing a football helmet, and his ass had completely eaten the back of the scooter, poor thing. I wanted to gawk and try to snap a few frames, might help the authorities identify the body when they peel it off the front of the next Kenworth to happen along. Shucks, can't wait on the excitement, and I headed to Jackson, should be close to 800 miles.

I had been to Jackson back in 2011, and it held some memories

The exit I choose (at Jackson) happens to be the road I will use to ride down through Mississippi on the way to Arkansas. I find a beat up Super 8, should be cheap enough, and when I ask the desk gal if there have been any problems with theft around the motel lot, she replies "Nope, only stabbings". Comforting after a long day, at least the bike would be safe.


Pizza place next door, convenient, but when I walk in, oops, I'm the only white person in there. Luckily, I had a really dark end of summer tan, shouldn't be a problem, like if I was really really white. Ordered my pizza, and struck up a conversation with the other people waiting. Had to dredge up my jive repertoire, and then told some stories about my first days on the road. I was the crazy white dude, got everyone laughing, then slipped out the door with my pizza before I got stabbed.

Jackson had several exits, and I stopped at a Loves station, fueled, then went inside for some junk food, but changed my mind when the food prep area smelled like deep fried Chuck Taylor. Got some water, and when I went to pay, the night cashier guy wearing the fake mohair T-shirt was way too friendly, and had bad blinky meth eyes, Lordy, gimme the change, I need fresh air.




Outside, I realized I had hit the wall at 800 and wasn't going anywhere. I took a look around, the metal halides around the parking area were so bright directly under the poles that there wasn't even so much as a hint of shadow at my toes, this will work. I had a bunch of gear on the back seat of the crew cab, shoved it aside to make some room, climbed in and locked up. I could have found a room, but a little gypsy is way more fun, part of the adventure, and I'm nothing but a hound dog on the trail of adventure.

(to be continued)
 
2221 - 2240 of 2272 Posts
Top