Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sturges North 2011 & Veterans Motorcycle Run

Friday morning was the sign up for the Veterans Motorcycle Run in support of the Canadian troops.  Everyone had to sign a waiver and show proof of valid motorcyle license.  When I left my motorcycle to go sign up, I asked the fellows near me if it was okay to leave my motorcycle there.  With smiles, a big fellow answered, "Don't worry we'll protect it."  My Honda 230 CFR was by far the smallest bike there.  I'd given up telling everyone I couldn't bring the Harley Electraglide on the back of the truck towing the RV.  Instead I just called it my 'baby'. "Looks like it could be a trouble maker, " a Gulf War Vet commented.  The rest of the bikes ranged from 600 cc to 1600 cc and maybe more.   At the Sturges North grouns Azzkikr had a custom built motorcycle  with the biggest car engine Chevy ever made.  As this was a Veterans Bike Run I wouldn't put it past some of these guys to have rigged their machines with military ordnance to enhance performance, maybe even Stealth technology.
When we 'd signed in and got our Sturges North "Ride with Honor" t shirts, the ride captain told us the route. I couldn't hear so would depend on staying with the group. That was my first mistake.  Then we all bowed our heads when the chaplain said a prayer for the ride.  I find motorcycling is a great catalyst for prayer and like that these rides begin with the sacred.  Then someone called out "Mount Up".  Another shouted "Lock and Load".  The women and men got on their bikes and a collective throbbing roar filled the air.  I couldn't hear my little bumblebee so had to trust to the feel.  We rode out in double lines.
On the flat the Honda CRF does 110 km but as soon as there was an incline I had to lie down over the top of my bike to reduce wind resistance.  I'd say I started on point and drifted to rearguard but in fact I just slipped a little back in the middle of the pack when the space opened a bit in front of me and some big bikes behind would pass and fill it up. I had a definite advantage with gnarly tires when we hit the road repair before Sorrento   but then we took the uphill turn at Monte Creek. I was reduced to 80 km with guys and gals flying past me. You could actually see my feet pedally furiously to keep up.  On the downhills I'd make 120 and close the gap. I had no idea where we were going.  I actually thought I was the last bike.  It was only when I pulled into Falkland for the buffet lunch at the Falkland pub that I found out there were a whole lot of bikes behind me. They must have got caught behind traffic.  That happened to me and even with the passing lane I didn't have the get up and go to pass this one car that thankfully turned off somewhere letting me get back to making my maximum 110 km/jr speed.
The scenary was tremendous along the winding roads with lakes and evergreen, cattle on rolling grass pastures. Falklands Pub was welcoming , a famous Hog destination with a lot of biker paraphernalia on the walls from previous rides.  Great roast beef , ham and chicken wings, roast potatoes and salads for $10/  I sat with a fellow who said he had got chilled without any windscreen. I said, "I know what you mean. I don't have any either on my Honda 230.  I got chilled plus  I got bugs up my nose. I also think I'm the smallest motorcycle here."
"Then I'm the second smallest, I'm riding a 600 cc Buell Blast."  he said. He was up from Vernon.  Since I'd had a Buell and loved it we got along just fine.  I left early though figuring that even though I couldn't ride fast I could eat fast and get the jump on most of the other bikers.
I had to fill up with gas and riding wide open throttle had to add a litre of oil.  Then I was back on the road way out ahead of the crowd.  The salmon valley with the horses and cattle and rolling hills was a treat to ride through.  I came out at the place where we began and as no one was there thought I'd just beat everyone.  So I drove 5 km back to Pierre's Point Campground, shut down the motorcycle outside the trailer, hailed Gilbert and Laura, regaled them about my exploits as a great motorcyclist only to have Laura say, "It's on the radio, the Veterans ride, ends in Sicamous.  I just heard the first bikes were arriving." I gave Laura a hug and chucked Gilbert under the chin. Then I had to get back outside to the bike and climb wearily back in the saddle.
Crossing through Salmon Arm there were bikes going everywhere. I took the road to Sicamous and arrived in a town flooded with motorcycles. There were bikes parked on the sides and down the middle of the main street.  The band, "Lead Painted Toys" was belting out rocker tunes at the open beer garden. The Canadian legion was open and inviting visitors. Ice cream vendors were doing a hot "cold" trade. Harley Davidson had some big bikes there and the firemen were out watching the big "burn off' event.  I definitely got into the ice cream.  I took a picture of myself and my motorcle dubbing it the "little motorcycle that could'.  Picking bugs out of my nose I missed the windshield on my Harley Electra glide and the comfort but there was a strange sense of accomplishment in just getting there. I thought it appropriate for a Veterans ride given that often the Canadian troops had done the really big jobs with the least and certainly not the latest equipment.  Canadian troops got the job done regardless. I was glad too that they'd finished their tour in Afghanistan doing Canada proud.
Siccamous has a great marina and given all the power boats here I expect there's great fishing. Driving back at a reasonable 80 to 90 km/hr pace, not pushing my bike to the limit I enjoyed the magnificent lake and scenery thankful that the ride had given me a chance to see what wonderful country lies around Salmon Arm.  Sturges North picked a great place to have the rally.
When I got back to the RV  I was exhausted. All my muscles ached and all I could do was lie down and watch another episode of Sons of Anarchy starring Charlie Hunnan, Ron Perlman and Katey Sagall, Kurt Sutters television series about an outlaw biker gang.  Very apropos viewing material.  I'm reading a Louis L'Amour western novel too which seems an equally good fit. .
DSCN9389DSCN9392DSCN9388DSCN9391DSCN9393IMG 1993DSCN9397DSCN9396DSCN9395DSCN9398IMG 1994IMG 1996IMG 1995DSCN9399DSCN9404

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

like the guy said

your bke looks like a touble maker

in the group