Winterizing Babies and Stirring up Dreams

The season is over.

As you may have guessed from my first column, I am not really an early or late-season rider. I will endure the cold as part of a larger adventure, but not for a Sunday ride.

Already the weather is discouraging me from riding. Seeing fallen leaves decorating the bikes doesn’t help.

A friend tells me about fall rides in Cape Breton to view the fall colours, but somehow it just doesn’t seem the same here. I think it warms up in the daytime a little more out east.

This time of year, as I go through the steps of getting the Babies ready for winter, I start feeling wistful about the trips I didn’t get to this season. There are some really great northern trips that didn’t get off the planning board this summer.

The big one is “The Never Ending Left Turn”. The plan would be to start here in Whitehorse and take only left turns, unless forced otherwise, quitting when you hit the Canadian border in New Brunswick.

Think about that one for a minute.

Assuming you take only the roads on the maps, not the dirt trails leading who knows where, your first forced right turn would be in Haines, Alaska. The second would be Chitina, then Valdez, then Seward and Homer, all in Alaska. Only then would you be heading north, ending up travelling along the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay for the first forced southerly directed right turn.

This August, the big guy did some reconnaissance with the jeep as far as Deadhorse and riding through the Brooks Range is definitely a priority.

Continuing the left turns would end up in Inuvik, via the Dempster Highway, then Keno, then the MacMillan Pass via Ross River and Tungsten in the NWT on the way to Watson Lake.

We made it to the Tombstone on the Dempster Highway and Keno last summer. If Keno is a taste of what we are going to find in some of the small northern towns along this trip it will be rich indeed.

Just before Nelson, the left turn would lead you to Fort Simpson and Wrigley via the Liard Highway, as well as Yellowknife via Fort Simpson.

I’ll trail off here. You get the picture, but we still have places like Churchill, Manitoba, Waskaganish, Quebec as well as Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador before the final left turn takes us across the US Border into Maine at St Stephens.

Do you think it should stop there?

As you can see, I have thought about this one.

As for other far-flung trips, the big, land circumnavigation of Australia is still two or three years down the road, but the big map of Australia is pinned up in the entryway of my home.

This fall, as I add the fuel conditioner to the tanks and run the carburetors dry, I will have my mind on the most imminent planned adventure. The plan is to wake the BMW up the end of December, transport it down at least as far as Vancouver, then head straight to Baja California, Mexico.

As I tie the tarps down over the bikes, I’ll move from dreaming about what trips didn’t get done to the one that is definitely in the works.

The dreams, this time, will be of desert, mountains and beaches with sides of tequila and tortillas.

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