The morning brought with it another chance to say goodbye. One of the things I love about travelling is meeting friendly people, but by its nature it also means you don’t get to spend much time with them. I collected my stuff which had exploded out of my luggage all over the room. Funny how staying put for a day can do that. With the bags packed, it was time to go. I had one more person to meet before I left Vancouver.
Do to scheduling problems, I wasn’t able to meet Bob sooner. I rode over to his office, and we set off to find a beverage.
The meetup did not go as planned however. There was a small crisis which had to be dealt with first.
When we stopped at the café, we set about taking photos, and that is when I noticed my license plate had snapped in half lengthwise. It was fine when I left Sonja’s place. The rough and bumpy Vancouver roads had finished off what the Alaska and Cassiar Highways couldn’t!
Now how to fix?? Neither of us had a way to make a hole in metal that thick, and we didn’t have any epoxy either. The stores nearby didn’t have anything either, but we did have one tool left. A cell phone. Don’t leave home without it! Bob made some calls, and soon we were off again after strapping the plate to the luggage rack.
We met up with fellow rider, Roger, at his shop.
He whipped out a drill and three screws. The problem was resolved four minutes later. Nice!
We returned triumphant to the café to celebrate with a warm beverage.
Bob was a bit trigger happy with his camera. I was not my energetic self due to many late nights and early mornings. I should have taken more.
We chatted away on all sorts of topics, but just as early in the morning the time for goodbyes came too soon. Bob had to get back to work. With a wave, we were off in our own directions. It was great to finally meet Bob. I had been wanting to meet him for some time as he was one of the first people who commented on my blog.
I headed back into Vancouver to get some goodies for the ride down to Seattle. Vancouver is a unique city for me in that it was the first I have ridden in that doesn’t have a freeway to the core downtown area. It was voted down repeatedly in the 60s and 70s, so they just never built one. Hence, it takes some time to navigate the web of spotlights and cross streets. For the traveller, I enjoyed it. It gave me more time to see the city in a way that blasting by at 60mph you can’t. As a resident, it might get annoying taking so long to get from one side to the other in normal conditions. In rush hour, both are painful. Fortunately, Vancouver has many HOV lanes which are friendly for motorcycles.
I headed south along the coast towards the US border. I hoped it would be a quicker process there, and if not at least I could stare at the ocean. I had plenty of time to look at the ocean, as the cars were stacked up two lanes deep for more than a kilometer. It took about 45 minutes to get to the border agent, but she was very friendly and efficient once I got there. The crossing was easy, and before I knew it I was on I-5 heading south towards Seattle.
I had planned on getting new tires and an oil change in Seattle on 5/25 since getting tires for my bike in Vancouver turned about to be overly difficult. There wasn’t much of a price difference between the two, both were more than I was used to paying in Minnesota. Since the dealer was open until 8pm, I popped in to see if they could squeeze me in. I was in luck as they could and did.
There was a bit of a mix-up with the tires. I paid for them while I was in Alaska over the phone, but they couldn’t find my order. The tires were there, but no name on them. We agreed to have them charge me again, and we’d sort it out after I confirmed I was charged via my credit card statement (more on that later).
They took about 90 minutes to do the tires and oil. I nearly fell asleep laying on their comfy couches in the customer waiting area. Too many late nights! I wandered around and looked at all the cool old bikes they had on display.
They found my rear sprocket was very worn. I had a new chain and sprocket kit installed before I left, and this one only has 7,000 miles on it. It seems when the new rear tire was installed in Fairbanks, they tightened the chain too much, and I didn’t notice. It seemed fine to me when I checked it. (and I did). oh well. At least I’m not sitting in a cube staring at a computer (I’m doing it in a café instead! haha!) They didn’t have time to change the sprocket then. I will have to figure that out later.
The bike feels SOO much better with a decent tire on it and the chain correctly set. I was feeling some weird vibes from the bike as speed increased, but I blamed it all on the ME880. The SV feels good as new again. They even cleaned up the bike some and washed the wheels. The squeaky sidestand and footpeg are also now lubed up. Thanks to Nick and Mitch at Aurora Suzuki for taking care of me so quickly.
A tasty dinner.
By the time I made it to the Seattle downtown area, the sun was getting pretty low and the “magic hour” had started. The hour photographers love for the beautiful warm light around sunset/sunrise. The downtown area looked amazing in that light, but I was tired and didn’t setup my GoPro before I left. No photos. In fact, hardly any today. I made it to the hotel where I’m meeting my wife Friday (5/25) and went straight to bed.
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Video: Riding with Bobskoot