Calgary to Billings

We finally moved out of Calgary yesterday afternoon after lunch.  All was well in the world.  We had a new belt on the ’06 Uly and the weather was perfect for riding.  Warm, comfortable, overcast, but no rain.  We had about an 8 1/2 hour ride ahead of us according to Garmin.

Around 9pm we stopped in Great Falls, MT for supper at Jimmy Johns, from there we went across the street to fill up.  At the gas station Shawn noticed my front wheel bearing was going out.  Grrr!!!!!!!  I was already tired & that is not what I wanted to do last night.  After a quick search online we decided to fix it in a hotel parking lot in case we had any issues.  At least we would have a place to stay & my bike would be with us.  It only took about 40 minutes for Shawn to get the wheel off & the new bearing in, which was good, but the whole stop with dinner, bearing change, washing up after etc. was almost 3 hours.  We didn’t get to Billings until about 3:30am.  Yawn.  I was soooo tired.  Fortunately I downloaded a new book while we were waiting in Great Falls, so I listened to it, and it kept me awake.  Dad had stopped to visit my cousins in Helena and Bozeman and he didn’t get in until 2am so he wasn’t too far ahead of us.  We slept a few  hours & this morning we loaded up his bike & he headed for home.

Shawn is in the parking lot doing a few more repairs.  Our latest delivery of parts arrived at this hotel yesterday so his bike is getting a new motor mount & mine is getting front & rear brake pads.  We won’t be able to do the 1,000+ mile ride today (Iron Butt) since we are starting so late, but we’ll make it as far as we can & we’ll get home tomorrow.  I am sad we are going to miss the reunion & my Iron Butt certificate, but I am again thankful that we are in a comfy place to work on the bikes.  Minor inconvenience considering we have traveled well over 8,000 miles at this point.  I’ve read horror stories of bikers needing simple items like a belt, but delivery has taken a week because they were in a remote location.

I haven’t looked to see how many miles we have ridden on dirt roads, but I am guessing somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 miles.  The pot holes, mud, dirt, and generally rough surface has contributed to our minor repair needs.  Had we put new bearings & belt on my bike before leaving, we would have only had the 1 belt go on Shawn’s Uly & we would have had a spare.  Next time we’ll be a bit more prepared.  It has still been a super fabulous trip & I am so thankful we weren’t stranded someplace like Wiseman waiting a week for parts to arrive!  Eventually I’ll get some video of the dirt roads posted.

I don’t have any way to edit video on my laptop, but here is a link to 1 of the videos I captured rolling down the road near Watson Lake.  A black bear ran across the road in front of Shawn. I’m excited to edit some of our video & get it posted.  We have seen some beautiful things!  This video came from my Midland video camera that was attached to my handlebars at the time.  For some reason when I upload videos directly to my blog, they play back as a slide show & not a video.  Sorry for the link to SmugMug, it will have to do for now.

http://hickeyphotos.smugmug.com/photos/i-fH4RHwD/0/X2/i-fH4RHwD-X2.jpg

With all the bugs in AK, it was really hard to keep the lenses clean on the cameras.  Some of the pics & video are blurred by the mosquito massacre.  I can still see 12 bites on the back of my left hand.  Fortunately the ones on my face & head are starting to heal up.  Ick!

I’ll see about posting a few more pics since Shawn is still working on the bikes.

 

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