When 4mud/Rod posted this ride I knew I had to take part, I mean how many rides are organised here in Bridgewater!? Eastcoast Al came by and we headed to Tim’s to meet up with everyone. While the rest grabbed a coffee, I was busy trying to contact the BMW Starbucks delivery drone for a Latte, but no luck. I suspect this service is only offered to those who purchased an Adventure model, maybe Kelsow can clarify this for me. It was a wide variety of small and medium sized bikes, along with two big Stroms ridden by Kunstor and NSdave, self- dubbed Team Fat Girl Suzuki.
Nobody was laughing later as they impressed everyone by keeping pace and handling everything that was thrown at them throughout the ride. Kunstor had never been offroad before, but is now a convert I believe. And NSdave did his best to demonstrate the type of riding requiring a serious bash plate. Well done boys!
The route was dry and very dusty throughout with the odd bridge missing, which called for some alternate routes through fields, up/down slippery hills and over ramshackle temporary bridges. That led to a few pucker moments for some of us. At one detour through a muddy field, Kunstor was kind enough to demonstrate why you do not leave traction control on when going through mud. The Strom stopped dead in its tracks and lit up like the strip in Vegas, but he managed to reset and make it to our gas stop. Young Mac was the only one to try (and succeed) a suspect plank crossing. I think it was the only time he didn’t wheelie the entire day. The rest of us wisely took the field detour.
We continued towards Yarmouth after a brief pub stop and some artery hardening food (the best kind). Surprisingly, for a dozen guys with different bikes, we managed to stay in a fairly compact group. Once and a while someone would have a wardrobe/luggage malfunction and another was always kind enough to help out or wait. Waiting for others to catch up was a serenely quiet experience when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and then you see headlights in the distance as they approach in a dust cloud, pretty cool.
As we got close to Yarmouth, many picked up the pace as the promise of beer seemed to take hold. I started having visions of the Dakar as the pace picked up! Unfortunately, Disillusioned Al was held up repeatedly by disappearing bolts and screws on his KLR. Luckily, he did have ‘flying pig’ duct tape to patch things so he could complete the ride and get to Yarmouth. I managed it unscathed despite almost rear ending a couple of the boys while in a full sideways power slide – hey, no harm, no foul!
That evening we headed to the pub for some tasty food, decent live band and ride stories. It was great to sit down with all the guys after such a great days ride. I have been part of many teams/clubs in my life, but the camaraderie of motorcyclists is unparalleled. We all headed to bed after a brief stop at Dooleys, which was either culturally enlightening or psychologically scarring, depending on your perspective. Particularly disconcerting was the next table of sixty-something’s eyeing our table like lionesses at a lame wildebeest convention. Young Mac was sipping on his coke oblivious to the danger. Ahhh, the naivety of youth!
The next morning we got a heavy breakfast into us and hoping the overcast skies wouldn’t open up and let loose. Right on cue it began to drizzle as we departed, but it helped keep the dust down so no worries. We tried to outrun the weather by going faster (makes perfect sense), and just as I was having Dakar visions, Heli-mech blew past me in a wheelie. Dream crusher! But then, it began to pour. There was no escaping it. Unprepared Al got wet in a hurry, as his mesh gear funnelled water onto his body. He believed that not taking rain gear would somehow karmicly hold the rain at bay through the power of positivity. He was sadly mistaken along with the rest of us optimists. My gear kept me reasonably dry except for my boots, which just plain gave up. They were not simply wet, but completely full in minutes. I may as well have stuck my feet in buckets of water. As we huddled in the entrance of the Barrington NSLC, we ignored the staff’s attempts to move us. We were too miserable to care, and looked longingly at 4mud and Robmac747’s Klim gear. I wasn’t happy to end it, but knew that another few hours on the trail would be inviting hypothermia. A few of us decided it was time to head home via slab. I felt gutted bailing on 4mud, but knew I had to get home and dry. Good decision too, at our stop at Shelburne, Unprepared Al became Hypothermic Al, and we pulled a couple of garbage bags over him so he could retain some semblance of body heat. We all added layers for the final push towards home and eventually waved goodbye to Heli-mech and Robmac747 at Bridgewater. Man, a hot shower never felt so good. It certainly put the adventure in adventure riding though!
All in all, it was an amazing ride and a big thank you goes out to 4mud. I look forward to more rides with you guys.