I've been on vacation for the past three weeks or so, and part of that was a fun journey up to Sauble Beach, Ontario and back (about 370 miles each way).
My son was up in Sauble Beach with my parents, and the plan was for my wife and I to go up, spend a few days, then come back with my son. It turned out that my wife couldn't go, so I decided it would be a perfect trip to take on my bike. The problem? When my son had gone up, he had taken two rather large suitcases with him, and there's no way I could strap them, along with him, to my bike - along with my own stuff! I decided the solution was to take my Aspen Sentry camper along. Even though I had no intention of using the camper portion of the trailer, it has quite a large storage compartment underneath, more than enough to carry my stuff as well as his two suitcases. Off I went on a bright, sunny day.
The ride was great, albeit a bit hot. I encountered about 45 minutes of stop-and-go traffic riding through Detroit, including one heart-stopping sudden braking event. Pulling the trailer, I always keep lots of space between me and cars in front, but in Detroit, this is an invitation for drivers to pull in front of you. Detroit drivers are crazy, and drive at speeds far too fast for the narrow, potholed highways that the city is famous for. Coming around a curve, we came upon stopped traffic, and people panic stopped directly in front of me. The narrow highways give you nowhere to go, so all I could do is haul on the brakes and hope. The bike with trailer definitely has a larger stopping distance, but I got it stopped in time - but boy, I could smell the hot brakes afterward!
Another hour delay at the border crossing, where the best entertainment is listening to the truck drivers complain about the delays over the CB. Once in Canada, I stopped at a small burger chain that I had seen, but never been to: Union Burger. Their parking lot had no pull-through facility, so I got my first real experience backing the bike with the trailer attached. It turns out that it's quite easy - easier than backing with my truck ever was.
We had a great time in Sauble Beach, with fantastic weather, and decided to extend our stay by one day: the Monday we had originally intended to return was forecast for rain and thunderstorms for practically our entire route. I had brought rain gear with me, but the following day was forecast for sun and 75 degrees, so why suffer through miserable rain?
That night, we decided to attend a classic car show. We motored into town, but there was no parking to be found. I spotted a sign, "motorcycle parking" with an arrow. I saw some bikes parked on the street behind the sign. Perfect! I zipped around the sign, picked a spot, and parked my bike. As soon as we got off, a young girl approached me, handed me some paper and a pen, and said "here's your entry form, just give it back to me when you're done." Oh. Apparently we are now part of the car (and bike, apparently) show! Oh well, free parking is free parking. I filled out the form and handed it back, we went off in search of dinner, and then strolled amongst the cars and bikes.
Afterward, I sat next to my bike (the only Goldwing, amongst many Harleys, a couple Can-Am Spyders, a Bolt, a Ural, and a few other oddities) and met many friendly people who wanted to know about it and Goldwings in general. It was quite fun, actually!
Time for the beach trip to end, we packed up our gear, hooked up the trailer, and set off for home.
Stopping for lunch in Port Huron, my son told me that the leg zipper in his overpants (my old Joe Rocket pants) had opened up. I had a look, the zipper had failed, opening above the zip, leaving the pants wide open from knee to ankle. I pulled the zip downward, which then popped off in my hand. oops! That wasn't what I was hoping to do! Thinking about it for a minute, I got my knife out, cut a series of small holes in the zipper fabric, and used wire ties to fasten the leg together:
My son, horrified, asked "are you going to leave it like that?" I told him "yes, why, is that a problem?"
Once I cut the ends off with diagonal cutters, you never knew that a repair had been made!
While riding along the highway, I passed a truck with an oversize load, and pilot cars in front and behind it. The car behind it was driven by an older woman. As I passed the car in front, I heard over the CB the woman saying, "I sure wouldn't want to be riding that for any kind of distance!"
I replied back, "actually, it's really comfortable, I've done 20 hour rides on it. You'd be surprised!"
The woman, obviously taken aback that I had actually heard (and replied) to her, simply transmitted back, "oh."
Between Detroit and Toledo, we came upon a major accident which was kind of scary to see.
More to come...
Reports and stories from trips, planning of gatherings, questions about how to get there!
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