Canada 2015. Days 8 & 9 (Aug 6 & 7, 2015). We spent two full days at Craig and Brenda’s house. We are so grateful for their kindness and warmth. We felt truly at home. They live in a beautiful home in a farm outside Calgary. From their kitchen and living room one can see a green pasture where cows graze. Beyond the prairie grow conifers on the banks of a river. Frequently, deer and coyotes add a bit of color to the passivity of the cows. It was such a pleasure to wake up in that house. Adrián and I are not city people; we grew up in a small town in the Argentinian pampas and prefer the quietness of the countryside. It rained hard the first day so we spent it working on the bikes. Craig’s has an amazing shop with all kinds of tools. He needed to replace the wheel bearings of the rear tire of his Africa Twin. And I needed to figure out a major wobbling problem in my front tire. When I decided to get new tires for the trip I did not realize it would be so complicated. I initially ordered front and rear Michelin Anakee III tires from the Motorcycle Superstore but after two weeks of waiting the tires had not arrived. I called customer service and they told me that UPS had lost the tires. After one day of arguing with the people at Motorcycle Superstore, I decided to go to Chaparral Motorsports in San Bernardino to purchase the Anakees and to get them installed. I did not notice anything weird with the bike when we drove back home from San Benardino with the new tires and I did not ride the bike again until we left for Vegas. It was actually in Victorville, CA, when we stop to get gas that I realized that at speeds between 30 and 40 miles per hour the front of the bike went up and down like a wild horse in a rodeo. At higher speeds the wobble was barely noticeable but it was there. We checked everything in the front end of the bike and did not notice anything wrong. I had heard stories of bad, deformed tires, so I assumed I had purchased one of them. I asked Craig for his opinion about my bad tire problem and he inspected the tire to verify that the bead was sitting properly on the rim; it was not! It was very obvious to Craig and, once he pointed at the problem, also to two rookies like us. It is hard to believe that the “professionals” that installed the tires missed it. A bad review for the sloppy service at Chaparral Motorsports is brewing in my mind. First, we tried deflating and inflating the tire but that did not fix the problem. So, we (Craig) had to remove the tire completely out of the rim. Anakee IIIs are super hard and hence they are a bitch to remove from and put back onto the rim. After fixing the tire, Craig balanced it. Next day when I rode the bike the wobble was gone! We took a lunch break to savor delicious scrambled eggs with Canadian bacon, mushrooms and onions. After lunch, Craig noticed that the front tire of the KLR did not have much tread on it, so he generously offered an older tire that to us looked almost like brand new. Adrián and I had never changed a tire before so with Craig’s directions we got the old tire off the rim and put on the new one. Craig kept Adrián old tire as a memento. That night we had pizza for dinner. One of the pies—under the vigilant care of Adrián—caught fire on the grill. To be fair, it was not Adrián’s fault that pine needles had been stored under the burners! After dinner we met Joe, the farm’s owner. We had a lovely chat over an exquisite Malbec from Argentina.
The following day we went for a ride to Elbow Falls and to Turner Valley where we had excellent fish tacos from a little stand by the road. At Elbow Falls we met Alicia, a Uruguayan from Montevideo who lives in Calgary. She saw the Ruta 40 sticker on the KLR and came to inquire if we were from Argentina. We chatted for a while about asado, mate, and other delicacies from the Rio de La Plata. That night Brenda and Craig had a lovely party so we could meet their motorcyclist friends. We met Trent, Mirjan & Dani (from Holland), and Sandra & Jordan. They all have ridden motorcycles to places far, far away. Both Sandra & Jordan and Mirjam & Daan (Africa Twins) have done Canada to Argentina. I think that Daan and Mirjam continued into Africa. Check their site Far Away From Flakkee at http://www.farawayfromflakkee.nl. I forgot the details of Trent’s travelling—thanks to the delicious homemade wine provided by Daan and Mirjam—but I do remember talking about Colombia and a Colombiana. You can read about Trent and Daan’s current adventures beyond the tarmac at http://www.wanduro.com. Joe also crashed the party for a while. It was a lovely evening that ended with all of us sitting around a fire pit under clear skies.