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Prepping for 2015

by on Mar.02, 2015, under Camping, Ham Radio, Motorcycle, Personal

As we move into March and we finally starting to feel like the deep freeze of the winter is over it’s time to start planning for summer 2015.

I have a HUGE list of events laied out on my calendar including Motorcycle trips to Utah/Nevada, IDPA matches, training courses for both personal and professional development, bicycle touring trips and HAM radio events. I’d like to fit some hiking and camping in there as well as have some time to just relax and enjoy a beer at the cottage. My calendar is a multi-coloured web of events, engagements, and commitments. Some things I’ve paid for and some weekends have two or three possibilities and I’ll need to pick one and book it soon.

I started off earlier in the year by scouring the internet for upcoming motorcycle rallies and and expanded from there. I’ve picked a few, paid for them, and I’m excited to be headed to Las Vegas (I’ve never been!) for two weeks on two wheels in the desert. I’ve also booked in for the Roaming Rally for my 5th straight year in a row, this one looks to be one of the best routes yet. To be ready for all this two offroad fun I’ve spend a bit of the winter going over my motorcycle prepping it as well as myself for the upcoming season. I started off with purchasing a new Goretex Klim Latitude riding suit that will hopefully keep me warm and dry during the inevitable spring rains. I’ve replaced bearings, exhaust packing, sprockets, brake pads, and fixed a broken spoke on the bike. Well almost, I’m still waiting for the replacement spoke to come and I’m looking at only 2 weeks left before my bike ships out.

This year I’m also getting into competitive shooting. I’ve been interested in shooting for several years now but never put more effort into it than going to the range and blasting off a few rounds or some hunting in the fall. I took a course last fall to prepare for long range competitions and I’m signed up for a IDPA pistol introductory course this spring. Between the two I’m hoping to be able to have a focus to upgrade my skills, and my fitness, while running around at the range.

I bought a touring bicycle a few years ago and never put the miles on it I had been hoping to. This year I’m looking to change that and I’ve been looking to do some smaller rides in the area before taking a week to ride to Burlington VT. I’m excite and I’m hoping to add a new outlet for my restless spirit to get out and explore the world… at a slightly slower pace.

Throughout all this excitement I’m hoping to squeeze in some camping, some HAM radio fun, and some cottage time to just relax and enjoy the view. I’ll see what I can to do take some pictures and do some write-ups on my blog. In the mean time make sure you follow my Instagram account to see my most recent exploits.

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3800Km, 250cc, 7days = Success !

by on May.02, 2014, under Camping, Motorcycle, Personal, Travel

So I’ve done it. 7 days on the bike covering roughly 3800 Km. I made it to the Tail of the Dragon, rode it several times and enjoyed myself every step of the way. Here’s my trip, day by day.

Day 1: Started off a bit later than I had originally planned but I figured the extra sleep was needed and after looking at the temperature outside I wasn’t keen on leaving when it was only 3 degrees out. Burrr. I eventually hopped on my bike around 10:30 and rolled out. A few back roads later I was waiting in line to cross the border. Normally a quick crossing at Ogdensburg NY, was much slower because of the Easter traffic backing up halfway across the bridge. Another hour or so to get through and I was on my way.

I decided to take back roads as much as I could and headed to the shores of Lake Ontario where I could inspect the first few of the potential campsites I had pre-scouted from Google maps. I was impressed at how good they would have been but it was way to early to stop for the day so I hopped back on the road.

This is where I had my first small routing glitch, instead of cruising down among the finger lakes my GPS (Garmin Monterra) decided to route me as quickly as possible back to the interstate. Oh no! I looked but it was going to be very out of my way to get back to the route I wanted so interstate it was. This probably worked out for the best because of my late start and delays at the border I needed to put in some distance before I looked for a place to camp. Also, the further south I made it the warmer my night would be.

As luck would have it, about 45 minutes before sunset I passed under some powe rlines with what looked like a nice service road just as I was about to get to an exit. I hopped off the interstate and scouted the surrounding area before I jumped the ditch. 30 seconds later I was up over a rise and out of site of any roads, houses or businesses. My Hennessey Hammock was setup up, dinner was cooked, and I settled in for a somewhat chilly night in my hammock.

 

Day 2: I awoke with the sun but it was way too cold to get out of my sleeping bag so I rolled over and as the sun warmed my hammock I got an extra hour or two of sleep. Around 9am I finally decided it was warm enough out to ride a bike so I packed up and readied myself for another day. Leaving the campsite you could not even tell that someone had slept the night and I popped back out on the road without anyone seeing me. I then hopped back on the interstate for a quick blast before I could see the sights for the day. Day 2 took me to Hershey Pennsylvania’s Chocolate World. If I had had the time, money and a place to lock my stuff I would have been tempted to ride the roller coasters for a day but instead I snapped some photos and kept moving. From there I rode a bit of Skyline drive before getting off to make some distance on the Interstate for the day. I tried to stop by some motorcycle stores but everything closed at 2pm on Saturday. As the sun started to set I went looking for a place to sleep. I was a bit behind schedule and the sun set as I was heading back into the mountains to get near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had a few placed picked out via Google maps but had to drive the most insane switchback road up there in the dark. A tad spooky. Unfortunately one place I had picked was too close to the road and the other was gated. Defeated I headed back towards the BRP and town but just as I was about to get to the parkway ramp I saw a small dirt trail heading up a hill. What did I have to loose? So I zipped up this road, through a few switchbacks, until I came to a downed tree. Perfect! No one would be coming down if this tree was down and probably no one coming up either. The road looked like it hadn’t been used in ages. Probably the only downside was it was steep but that is no issue in a hammock! Trying as best as I could to not use my flashlight I strung up my hammock and called it a night.

 

Day 3: The night wasn’t as cold as the previous night but it wasn’t as warm as it could have been seeing as I was camping over 3000 ft. I took my time getting ready and packed up the bike for another day. I couldn’t see the BRP through the trees but I could hear cars as they used it. I got my bike turned around and headed out. After an hour of riding on the parkway I pulled over at a stop with a picnic table and boiled some water for a breakfast of  freeze dried bacon and eggs. The view was spectacular but while I was eating another inmate from the ADVrider.com website stopped by and introduced himself (ADVRidgeRunner) and we chatted about bikes, local riding and my trip. He wished me luck and was on his way. I also enjoyed the fact that I was basically sitting on the Appalachian trail, a trail that I will hopefully be able to hike one day.  From there I enjoyed the BRP until I exited in search of the Appalachian trail museum and half way point. Taking a break I browsed their displays, chatted with the staff and signed the register before heading back to the road. Some of these back twisty roads where amazing, lined with old cabins that really define the area. I finally had a chance to hit up my first motorcycling road “The Snake”. This road isn’t as popular as the Dragon but a good warm up none the less. It was fairly quiet and I really worked my loaded bike in the corners before I eventually caught up to a car. I took a small break and let them get ahead before finishing up and stopping in at the gift shop. There were several bikes in the parking lot and I enjoyed the atmosphere and shopped for a souvenir before moving on. Eventually I hopped back on the interstate for a quick blast before the end of the day. I was slightly behind my original schedule of making it to the Tail of the Dragon this night but I would end up only 200km short. Not having anywhere nearby to camp and with the sun quickly setting I slipped into a Holiday Inn Express but was shocked at their price ($100+tax) for a room and decided to look elsewhere. Just behind the hotel were some large advertising signs along the interstate and they had a service road. A bit of exploring later I ended up down a dirt road with a clearing on the side and setup for the night, my hammock stretched across the trail. I took a hobo shower, spraying myself with bottles of water and soaping up before heading to bed. At least this far south the nights were warm enough and slept really well.

 

Stay tuned for part 2!

 

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Crazy 2 hour video of hiking the CDT

by on Jan.24, 2013, under Camping, Travel, Videos

Really nice video of two guys hiking the CDT after 3 years of planning.

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Riding to Fitzroy

by on Jul.14, 2012, under Camping, From The Field, Photos, Travel

Had a great ride with Jane and Jeff today. Hopefully it cools down a bit so we can sleep. I think I figured out the image rotation thing too so I should not have any more upside down photos !

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Frontenac Park April 14-15 2012

by on Apr.16, 2012, under Camping

Finally, after many months of hibernating and waiting the hiking season has started. Jane, Jeff and I packed up our things and ripped over to Frontenac for a nice easy overnighter to kick off the hiking season.

For this weeks adventure we had to gamble on the first come first serve status that the park is running under as they don’t start taking reservations until the start of May. Luckily the weather had been forecasting rain and being so early we only saw a few other people during out hike.

We chose a direct route but to one of the farther sites in the park. Our route ended up being approximately 10Km each way through some beautifully rugged terrain.

Our site was up on a ridge with a beautiful view of a lake. We setup our tent and suck in a quick nap before waking to cook dinner and sit around the camp fire. Unfortunately the strong breeze kept the smoke blowing towards all of our gear and our seating on the picnic table so now everything smells like smoke.

Once the sun was down and the fire was out we crashed for the night. Overnight lows were around 10C so everyone slept well and woke rested and ready to go in the morning.

Day 2:

We packed up our gear to overcast skies and readied our rain gear at the tops of our packs in preparation for what we all knew was going to happen. GPSes started up, we headed out on a trail that none of us had hiked before. The south shore of Big Salmon Lake was more rugged than the north shore and as a result the trail meandered between rocky outcrops and dipped into the occasional gorge.

Later in the afternoon we stopped on the trail at a unused campsite to enjoy the view and get a bite to eat. Re-energized we made one last push to get back to the car. Tired and sore we all piled in and headed towards the nearest Wendy’s to get our reward for a hard day of hiking.

Overall we had a good time and it was nice to get out in the woods before the bugs got bad.

 

Here’s a an overview of the route we took:

 

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