OK, it’s still miserable out
Day 7: Powell River to Vancouver
I already decided to cut the riding a day short and spend a night in Vancouver seeing my girlfriend. Unanticipated, but given the weather it seemed to make the most sense. I left Powell River early. There are two ferries to catch before arriving in Vancouver and the choice was either to leave early and arrive mid-afternoon, or leave a bit later and arrive later. I elected to just get on the road. Weather was supposed to be overcast, but dry.
As has been the case every day on this trip, the weather was worse than the forecast. I left Powell River early in cold wet weather. Got the first ferry from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove, then spent a bit over an hour riding to Langdale. It’s a beautiful road and wish I were riding it in conditions that were dryer, warmer or (ideally) both. No such luck this time so I’ll have to come back. I arrived early at the Langdale ferry terminal, and waited for a while with another biker who’s been on the same route all day. Grabbed a sandwich from the little cafe there, then finished my soup and tea while waiting in the on-and-off rain showers. It’s a big boat with two-level loading and motorcycles load first up top.
The ferry arrives at Horseshoe Bay, just outside Vancouver, and it was a quick ride across Lion’s Gate (that never happens!) to my hotel where my girlfriend met me.
Day 8: Vancouver and Home
I slept in, checked out of the hotel, and rode across town to grab a couple of slices of pizza for the road at one of my favorite quick spots. Not a lot of pizza by the slice in Seattle, and none I’ve found that’s any good, so a nice place to stop along the way. Then I hit the road. Fairly unremarkable. A nice ride across the bridge, then mostly fast cruising home. Hit a bit of unforecast rain after my regular coffee stop in Bellingham, but I’ve gotten to the point where I expect that.
Last night the bike was parked indoors for the first time on this trip, so it’s been the first time I’ve gotten a chance to see it and start it up in a dry space. I took my time a bit more than usual, and realized that at some point on the trip, and I’m guessing even before leaving home, the suspension settings had been reset to almost as soft as it can get. I’m now feeling a bit better about how badly I seemed to be handling things. Admittedly, I’m still a bit rusty myself, but resetting things to accommodate for luggage and more “neutral” rather than “comfort” damping made a world of difference. It probably helped that the temps were higher than they’ve been all week and my fingers were surely less stiff on the throttle, clutch and everything else.
All in all a miserable trip, but probably not a bad choice for a shakedown cruise, both for the bike and myself. Logged close to 700 miles, which is less than I had planned for, but not terrible given my condition and lack of recent distance riding.
I overpacked and need to adjust that. I was over-cautious given the time of year, but even so ended up with way too many extra bits of clothing and other items. Some things were purely precautionary given lack of recent experience, so they’ll be dropped as well.
Got to keep track of the electronics on the bike. On an all-mechanical bike like the ones I’ve always had, it’s impossible to do something dumb like reset the suspension without noticing. I’ll need to be careful about this. I’m happy with the handful of mods (mostly electrical stuff) that I’ve made, and extra-happy with the Puig Touring Windscreen. I would have been truly miserable with the stock screen.
If I’m going to ride any distance in this kind of weather I’ll need to wear better gear. I have some, but that will demand losing a bit of belly. Probably for the best.