Why Nova Scotia?

Why not Nova Scotia might be the better question. It's one of those exotic sounding places that I've never been to and that's reason enough for me. I plan on leaving around the 8th of May and spending several weeks on the ride. Along the way I'll be camping out, visiting unsuspecting friends , and maybe getting to ride along with them for awhile. Let me know if you're up to either!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb 24 - Ninja get's a new Windscreen..Yippee!

While waiting for the call from the fabrication shop a new windscreen from Zero Gravity arrived which I installed. It was during the first ride to Alaska I discovered how little wind protection the factory windscreen provided which in turn prompted my recent search for a solution. Zero Gravity is well known for their line of racing windscreens but they also make some of the best street and touring equipment. The new screen worked well in yesterday's monsoon-like weather and I’m satisfied it will enhance the upcoming ride.

Here’s a couple of pics of it plus the dash layout showing the Garmin GPS, heated grip control (lower left on the fairing) and digital controller for the electric vest. Boy am I spoiled or what?

Feb 24 – Ninja gets a new Rack

Preparing for a longish trip is always at least half the fun. When I bought the Ninja back in ’06 it was for my first ride to Alaska and it was a great learning experience. One of the things I made myself was a rack of sorts to help limit the travel of the saddle bags, hopefully keeping them out of the rear wheel. My setup worked OK but it was never totally satisfactory and some damage occurred to them. I was able to affect temporary repairs to things like broken straps and torn seams but when I got home I figured it was time for a better plan. GIVI, the Italian manufacturer of the bags kindly sent a replacement set for my next trip and also informed me they now offered a steel saddle bag mounting system for the Ninja. I immediately ordered a set and mounted it on the bike. What a difference between my shoddy home-made brackets and theirs!

Fast forward 3 years, there was no ride in ’07, then in ’08 I took the Aprilia/Sputnik sidecar rig to Deadhorse, Alaska. As much as I enjoyed the hack I really missed the thrill of 2-wheel riding so I decided to take the Ninja on the ride to Nova Scotia, which brings me up to the present. The GIVI rack system is great for dealing with the saddle bags but there is no provision for adding a rear luggage rack. Having learned the lesson regarding home-made racks, etc, I decided to have one made. My shop of choice was Bandon Fabrication located 7 miles up the road from home. I’ve had them do a number of things on my boat and the sidecar so I was confident in both the quality and pricing for their work. After initial talks Ron the owner was able to give me a price I could live with and the go-ahead was given. They’re a busy bunch so a wait of several days ensued but yesterday, Feb 23rd I got the call and rode the bike to their shop. Naturally it was pouring down rain and the high winds damn near blew me off the road a couple of times but that’s just part of coastal living, eh? A few hours later I once more headed out into the fray, stopping off at the local True Value to pick up a couple of cans of primer & satin black Krylon. Once at home I removed and dried the rack, then applied two coats primer and paint. It turned out nice and since the bike is no longer perfect the flaws in my paint job sort of match the rest of it. Such is life…

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feb 8 - Bikers Breakfast in Brookings, OR

Each month there’s a non-organized group of bikers who meet for breakfast in Brookings, a small coastal town in southern Oregon. We sit around and tell lies, eat too much, and weather permitting some go for a ride while others go home and mow the lawn. Today was a bit nippy, the outside temps were typical for this time of year so most people drove non-biker type vehicles. (aka "cages")I think there were around a half dozen bikes total. I tend to lean a bit towards masochistic tendencies so I rode down, around 90 miles each way. Heated grips and an electric vest do wonders for one’s macho persona, right?

On the way I stopped in Port Orford for a quick photo of the sunrise, then again a few miles further south where I was attacked by dinosaurs. True. Every word is gospel. On the way home I got to test the water resistance properties of my Aerostich Roadcrafter costume. Brrrr... Have a nice day.

PS - Oh yeah, almost forgot. On the way down to Brookings I was just south of Langlois, one of our local wide spots in the road and home to the world famous Greasy Spoon cafe when a nice herd of Elk decided to cross the road in front of me. Being the clever sort that I am I rode past them and stopped a couple of hundred yards up the road. Hopping off the bike, I grabbed my camera for the photo op of the year. I dialed in on them with the telephoto at full max and clicked off at least a dozen shots, some of which were pretty good I thought. As I was walking back to the bike I flipped open the little view screen for a quick look and there displayed for all the world to see was the "no image card" message. Jesus Larry, pay attention! I quickly located a backup card, inserted it into the camera and sprinted back down the road just in time to glimpse the last bull disappearing into the trees. Perfect. Just freaking perfect. Way to go LL.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feb 5 - Cabin Fever clear to the bone

Planning my ride to Nova Scotia has begun in earnest. The bike is shaping up, new tires, fresh oil change, cleaned & lubed the chain, new filters, it's running great. I've been busy wiring it for heated grips and an electric vest plus installed a GPS. I've also been messing around with the saddle bags and seat bag, trying out new arrangements and load distribution. I picked up a new tank bag that's a bit larger than the one that came with the bike, more room for maps!

I've learned a few things on my last two rides to Alaska and as a result I'm replacing some of my camping gear. Smaller is better when it comes to most things, plus I won't be taking as much stuff this time. I figure anything I really need I can pick up along the way. Or just go without it? Maybe I'll do one of those photos you see where all the junk is spread out on the floor so you can see what all goes along. I'd probably need a wide angle lens...