I noticed this problem a couple of days ago just as I was heading out of Montreal. Hrm, that's not right.
A quick investigation of the bike turned up the problem; the speedometer cable housing had unhooked itself from the drive gear on the front wheel, and the cable inside had slid out and vanished somewhere along the road.
While I can live without a speedometer, the bigger issue is that the same cable drives the odometer and trip odometer.
For those of you who don't ride, 95% of motorcycle don't have a fuel gauge, they have a "reserve" section of the gas tank that you activate by flipping a switch on the side of the bike. When the engine starts to sputter and die, you flip the lever to "Reserve", which starts feeding fuel from the reserve section of the tank, and you know that (depending on the bike) you have around 20 to 30 miles of gas left before it runs completely dry. Most riders augment this by re-setting the trip counter every time they fill up. After living with your bike for a while, you end up learning roughly how far you can go on a tank, and you use the trip counter as a pseudo-fuel gauge.
That's the real problem with the speedometer not working. It's that I now have no idea how much gas I have left before I hit the reserve. And given that I'm going to be passing through vast amounts of mostly uninhabited wilderness, that's a problem.
Fortunately, I'm in Sudbury now, and am taking the day off. My dad and I finally managed to get in touch with each other, through the magic of the tubes, and he's driving back west from Ottawa to meet me here.
And right now, I'm really okay with the idea of a day not spent on the bike. I've been really pushing the miles for the last couple of days, and am quite sore and stiff from it. Just walking feels kinda funny on my hips, as they've spent so long not being moved a whole lot.
This will be sort of a get-little-stuff-done day, I think. I know there's a Yamaha dealer in this city, and I know there must be other small bike shops around. So I'm going to see about getting another speedometer cable, doing laundry, uploading pictures, and figuring out some other minor things on the bike (like how to mount the spare gas cans so they don't fall off and squirt fuel all over the road).
Should be a lot of updates coming later today, so stay tuned.