Getting prepared is by far the hardest part I’d read on other travel blogs and now I would agree. The planning from start to finish took a lot more time and energy then we expected. Selling my home and quitting my job was a big decision for me. Leaving behind daily routines and driving head first into paths unknown is always something worthy of much thought. Alas after many months of contemplation I made my decision to let the dices roll. For Jenn she too said goodbye to her career as a self employed massage therapist a business which she worked very hard to establish. We both agreed that work, bills and typical daily routines weren’t going anywhere and would unfortunately be waiting for us upon return. So now was our time, our time to claim back the most precious thing of all… time! We plan to use it wisely to roam, explore and grow.
With the decision to make this thing happen we began preparing. We purchased a used 2010 BMW F800gs a trusty onroad offroad stead and began bolting on the critical bits and pieces to carry our load.
We will be travelling light meaning no camping gear. We had originally intended to camp but found the bike just too cramped with the camping essentials on top of our personal belongings. Camping gear left behind opened up a lot more room for fishing gear so along with our two travel rods a third rod was added to the quiver, a 9ft saltwater surf rod that we hope to land a few monsters with from the beache.
Small amounts of clothes along with a laptop computer, camera, GoPro, spare bike parts, sleeping bags and many other bits and pieces make up the one hundred pounds of total cargo including the pannier side cases and our tail top bag.
Bank details organized, immunization shots acquired, travel insurance purchased, living wills addressed, bills set to auto pay, big bunch of other shit sorted and two farewell parties later and we’re almost ready to roll out.
First project was to ship the bike from Fernie B.C. to Ottawa Ontario and we needed a crate for Blanco as he was being shipped by transport to Ottawa. I got together with my good buddy Potsy and this is what happened when two car salesman tackled a dozen beer and swung hammers….. Voila Frankencrate!! Thanks Shawn, lets hope she makes it!
When the truck came the next day it was apparent that our carpentry skills were even worse then I thought. Out by over 2 inches it was going to be a very tight fit but luckily with a crowbar and few last minute adjustments to the crate the fat little piggy wiggled himself onto the truck. Shipping $575 Fernie to Ottawa, DEAL!
I met up with Blanco in Ottawa five days later surprisingly still in one piece. It must have been one hell of a ride though as the roof of the crate had collapsed in and he was a bit shaken from his journey but alive!
I quickly assembled the front wheel wanting to go for a burn only to discover the ABS brakes acting funny. I looked over the bike and disassembled the front wheel thinking something went wrong when I installed it. After reinstalling the wheel again the problem still exists and turning the ABS off is the only solution for to my problem for now.
The following day I rode over to Premier Cycle a local BMW service shop in Ottawa to book a coolant flush for Blanco. While talking with the owner Jesse and mentioning my ABS issue he inspected the front wheel and noticed the bent ABS sensor, wish I’d of caught that yesterday. Once home again I uninstalled the front wheel removed the sensor and straightened it good as new. With the sensor reinstalled and ABS working properly it was time to tackle the busy Ottawa streets, a drastic difference from what I like to call fun in the backcountry.
While waiting for Jenn to arrive the following week I managed around 500km of urban city riding with only one close call involving a half blind senior wanting to share my lane.
First stop of the trip is at Bennett lake in Perth for the month of October to relax at a cottage lent to us by my aunt and uncle. We gather there every year for fishing trips, summer holidays and for the annual October mens week fishing trip which is always a great time!
Congrats to you Dad for finally dethroning the Bass Master!
Keep your trophy safe Dad while I’m away, I’ll be back for it!
We were shacked up in a timber framed 26 ft camper trailer with all the amenities needed to condition us for the road ahead like no running water, no flush toilets and no laundry facilities.
In truth we did have these services for the first week of the month until the campsite closes down for the year and these services are discontinued. We were very grateful to be allowed to stay there after all other cottages and trailers were vacated and a big thanks to Ennis Cottages on Bennett Lake for the extended hospitality and to Charlie and Susan for opening up their cottage to us.
From here on out I will let Jenn tell the tale of our month at the lake and her thoughts before departing, Take it away Jenn!
The moment I got to the airport my heart was heavy and racing after saying good bye to my family. My head was trying to talk me out of it while my gut said every thing will be ok. I was finally doing this trip we talked about everyday and night for over a year it basically consumed me the nervousness and the excitement. I had questioned my ability to fullfill such a trip many times but now the planning the savings and the difficult conversations had finally come to an end. I am glad my family and friends where all wonderful supporters in this grand journey we where about to embark upon. Once I landed in Ottawa I was over come with a sense of relief. John arrived at the airport to pick me up on the bike and we were off to Bennett Lake for the remainder of October.
Our casa at the lake was a timber framed trailer with hard wood floors, it is very cozy. I could stay here year around if it wasn’t so darn cold. It is very peaceful being the only two people here and other then the random gunfire from the duck hunters it’s heavenly.
The fall is so beautiful here and I have never seen fall colours like these before. Most days it is warm and sunny early in the morning and freezing F’ing cold later in the afternoon. By cold I mean freeze the nipples off a polar bear cold.
We have no running water at the lake and for most of the time we stay a wee bit stinky.
The cold outhouse toilet seat really openes up your eyes in the morning.
On Sunday one of Johns friends that lives on the lake named Joey invited us out for a fun day of bush cruising. I jumped in the side by side with Joey and his two boys while John took Blanco out for a spin.
The days mission was to blow up a beaver dam that was causing floods in the back fields. Joey brought along an interesting looking bomb to do the job and placed it on the beaver dam.
Time to blow shit up!
After mission “blow shit up” we toured around some more exploring the many hunting cabins in the area.
That evening Joey and his wife Melissa insisted we come for dinner. Little did we know that also included all you can drink vodka screwdrivers. After a fun night and way to many refreshments we left for home in the pitch black dark. It was only a 1 km stumble from door to door but a mere 50 yards from the house I went a little too far right and rolled my ankle in a pothole. I managed to limp the rest of the way home on liquor pain reliever but the next morning I woke up to a grapefruit sized ankle and could not walk a single step.
My sprained kankle left me down and out for a few days and I guess to many screwdrivers got me screwed! Kankle didn’t keep me from fishing tho because John found a nice wood cane to help me get back in the fishing saddle.
While we were held up in the trailer for a few days with kankle John discovered we had a wee mouse problem. Little did we know mice can be smart and sneaky! We set out the traps with all kinds of great treats to temp them but they would pick us clean and leave the traps fully set. It became a weird little game of how many mice caught verses how many traps picked clean. Winner, mice 7 to Johns 4.
Overall the fishing hasn’t been as good as it could have because of all the wind and rain but we have not let this stop us from fishing and fish almost everyday catching plenty of fish!
Pike seemed to be what we catch the most of. The slimy bastards range from 4-6lbs.
And the bass we catch we give to friends to eat around the lake for helping us out with our shower and laundry situation.
Of course we have a few fish fry dinners!
On Sunday we met back up with Joey for another ride on the bikes only this time we had a larger crew.
We passed through mudhole after mudhole and had a great day on the trails. The last mudhole of the day was a doozy and John boy got Blanco stuck right up to the rear brake pads. This bike is as heavy as a 500lb pig going to the auction and it took a few hands to push it out.
While taking pictures 20 ft away on the hill John gassed it and I got covered head to toe in mud. This is obviously not a good thing when you have no running water to shower with. Apparently to be a photographer you must also get filthy to get the shots who knew?!
I got to see how Maple sugar was gathered and processed and it was very impressive to see so many lines winding through the trees like a crazy maze.
The maple trees are tapped and the sap begins to flow in the spring during the thaw. The individual tree tap lines run into larger collector lines.
The larger collector lines then distribute the sap into main collecting drums.
When the drums are full they are hauled to the sugar shacks around the property for processing.
The impurities are boiled off the sap to make the yummy maple syrup.
It is nearing the end of the month and end of the month chores around the lake included taking out the docks before the winter freeze.
Johns Dad and his uncle Charlie have arrived this weekend to help close up the trailer and to say goodbye. It has been a great month at Bennett Lake and I wish we could stay.
We are sad to leave but the first snowfall here is not far away so south we must go.