Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who doesn't like Eyecandy? Customs, that is ;)

Sometime you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug. But you're always grateful to have a visor when you hit a bee at 100kph.

We’d had our first truly cold morning ride between Pincher Creek and Canmore, Alberta, and knew that our thin blood was still hoping we would return to 45 degree Australia and was dragging it’s feet with the whole thickening process.

Well, between Jasper National Park and Prince George, British Columbia, we had our second truly cold day and it kicked the pants off of the first one. We had reached out to an ADV Rider offering tent space, and by the time we rolled into Kelly’s driveway, our feet were so numb we were hesitant to trust them as we got off of the
bikes. And dear sweet Kelly, came to greet us and was all like “If you’re dead set on camping, you can put your tent up in the carport, but it’s pretty cold, and you’re welcome to stay inside.” So within the hour, we were showered, less numb and cozily chatting with Kelly while his verrrry friendly cat, Tickles, went to work thawing the rest of us.

We stocked up on food, oil and other necessities as we’d been told this would be the last “big town” (i.e., town with both a Walmart and a Canadian Tire) for a while.

And on to Smithers, BC where we had heard about Sam, mechanic extraordinnaire, who would likely have anything we were in need of (i.e., a rear tire) at his shop, Eyecandy Custom Cycles, which he owns with his wife, Sara. Eyecandy, specializes in customizing any motorcycle you can imagine, but Sam does everything else, too, and is friendly and helpful to anyone on the road. He makes clear to his regular customers that if a traveler arrives and needs a hand, everything else gets put on hold so he can get the traveler back on the road. One might think the regular customers might mind, but I think anyone who has ever done any real touring can appreciate a shop that will drop everything to make sure that someones “Dream Ride” to Alaska isn’t threatened by having to wait for a talented and trustworthy mechanic in a small town to get through the half-dozen tire changes and multi-month restoration jobs that are sitting in his shop awaiting attention.

Sam @ Eyecandy Custom Cycles having a look at the Transalp
Although Sam rides a sweet Harley that he, of course, customized
Checking the TA's compression
himself, he really likes the Africa Twin and Transalp, so naturally, we got to talking about our bikes and Roel mentioned my wee little oil consumption issue. After rehashing all of the quirks and stats on my bike, Sam blew us away and offered that if we wanted to take one of his two lifts in his shop and put my bike up on it, strip her down and to a top end job under his supervision, it would be his pleasure to help us out.


This was an offer not to be refused, so the next morning we got into part sourcing… not so easy in a country where my bike was never imported, and is only next to a country where it was only imported in the late 80s. At the end of the day, we determined we wouldn’t be able to get the parts for about a week and half, which would put a lot of time pressure on the rest of our ride to Prudhoe Bay. So, the decision we faced was wait a week or more, do the top end job and risk not getting up to Alaska at all if sourcing parts became an issue or if my little old Honda threw us a curve ball. OR make a run for it now and beeline to Prudhoe Bay, ordering the parts ahead so when we come back through Smithers, they are there waiting for us.

Option #2 seemed like the way to go, and so we’re off… fingers crossed that everything holds the same as we make the journey to Prudhoe Bay without any major issues. At this point, we’re riding on a prayer and a serious stockpile of 20-50.

Oh, and a stockpile of visor cleaner. Cleaning our visors has become as regular an activity as refueling due to the insane number of bugs that clutter the area between our windscreens and eyes. 

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