Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quebec, Ontario, and back to Chicago.

The sun rose the next morning out over the ocean, and even I was roused enough to poke my head out of the tent to capture it.

It was still absurd to me that I'd ended up there.  I'm still not sure if I was supposed to have paid a fee somewhere or something, but no one else seemed to.

I got back on the road (after going back to sleep for a few more hours) and kept heading southwest, along the seaway.

In line for yet another ferry crossing.

Camping this evening was difficult; the area seemed pretty populated and even heading up into the hills, it seem liked endless houses everywhere.  I found a couple of places that seemed likely, but the more I looked around the areas, I realized I was in direct view from many people's backyards and porches.

Eventually, I went down this little path, and set up just out of sight around the corner.  I could still hear people's music and various parties going on in various backyards through the night, but no one bothered me.

I didn't do much besides burn miles for the next couple of days; getting across the rest of Quebec and into Ontario.  I did have some maps of some interesting non-paved roads and trails in the area, but I didn't want to take any chances and beat the bike up any more than it already was.

I did see this on the highway, though.  Sexy little thing.

The area I was in was FAR too urban and dense for me to have a hope of stealth camping.  I mean, maybe if I REALLY poked around I could have found something, but I didn't have a good feeling about it.  Everything was either built up or fenced off, not much around in terms of concealment. 

And it was HOT, touching 90F, and this yellow suit was miserable.  It was great when I was getting rained on in Labrador, but now, even with the vents opened, I was baking and smelled like feet wrapped in burnt, week-old bacon.  So I shelled out for a campsite ($27!?), and had my first real shower in more than a week and a half.

See the bike all hidden back there,?  I lost/forgot my towel, after hanging it up in the tree and forgetting to pack it up the next day
The arm vent in the riding suit has given me a very odd little tan spot.

I burned more miles the next day, stopping to have lunch at a beautiful little highway rest stop.

I had a friend in Toronto who's couch I was going to crash on tonight, but before I went there I stopped by an outdoor store to replace my lost towel, and pick up a few more basics.  Outside was parked another V-Strom, and the owner and I chatted about the bike and touring for about an hour.

I think they look better dirty.
As great as a dirty adventure bike might look, my machine was in rough shape.  I discovered that one of the welds on the luggage mounts had completely cracked off.

The next morning, I discovered that a SECOND weld had also broke; there was little holding the left saddlebag on, mostly just hope and luck. 

There was no more adventuring until I got this fixed; I made use of the come-along that I always carry under the seat to hold the box on, and super-slabbed it back to Chicago in a single 16-hour sprint.

At the border crossing into Detroit.  Thankfully I managed to dodge around that thunderstorm
My only stop for the day was to get gas, and lunch.  A local supermarket had fried chicken pretty cheap, but they didn't have any sort of a seating or deli area inside where I could eat it.  So I made use of their patio furniture display out in front of the store.

Fucks given = 0
I got into Chicago at almost 3am, parked the bike in the garage, and went to sleep in an actual bed.  I don't exactly . . . live in Chicago, per say, but it's my base of operations and where I store my stuff when I'm traveling (which is almost always).  So I have access to someone's spare bedroom, and plenty of garage space with all my tools.

The next day I started taking apart the rear of the bike, to find out exactly how bad the damage was.

Look, I made a trials bike!
 After quite a lot of un-bolting and fiddling, I got the rear subframe out.  Most of the bolts holding it on had gotten pretty worn down.

 The sub-frame looked like it wasn't too bad, but closer investigation revealed that it was a lost cause.  Almost all of the welds had hairline fractures and cracks in them, and the whole thing was significantly out of skew. 

If I HAD to, if there was no other option, I might have been able to get it mostly functional again, but it wouldn't have ever been square.  And the luggage rack was written off, It simply wasn't worth the time and effort to try and fix. So after a quick trip to E-bay, a few days later found me with a new luggage rack and a new (to me) sub-frame in my grubby little paws.

It took a solid day to get everything together again; order of operations on this is a pain, so I had to take it apart a couple of times after discovering that I'd not bolted widget A to doohicky B in the proper order.

But eventually it was all back together, and looking solid!  It was going to be nice to have a straight, un-broken bike again.  I wonder how long it lasted like that?

(Answer: not long)

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