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Friday, 3 July 2015

Taking in Two Travellers A Long Way From Home

I cannot imagine what it would be like to spend eleven months on the road. Does the road become home after all that time? What is even harder to comprehend is knowing you have another two, yes TWO years left in your journey. Then when the journey is over, what becomes a normal life again? I mean normal would be "on the road". I guess when you are in your mid to late forties with a family, job, mortgage, etc it's hard to wrap your head around it.

Growing up in Newfoundland in the '80's, there was no internet, and we basically had 5 TV channels, once we finally got cable. So the thought of traveling long distances to far off places never even entered my mind. I hadn't even heard of it on a motorcycle. I mean a big trip for me was driving with my buddy Dan to Halifax to go windsurfing. At the time I thought I was some kind of crazy adventurous surfer. Little did I know how pedestrian that trip really was.

I had a nice Honda Elite 125, that I should have loaded up and hit the road with. Went off and explored North America. Times were good then, no need for a passport (never even had one until I started flying with Air Nova in 1997). I had no responsibilities, no one to answer to. At the time I was making good coin as a lifeguard for the City of St. John's, work a year, save up some cash and hit the road in the spring.

If it was all possible to wind back the clock, I would. I wouldn't change my life in the present, but I would have done things differently when the time was right to do it. Unfortunately there are no do-overs in life, so my opportunities for travel and exploration will have to be on a small scale until retirement.  Or I get to live vicariously through young people like Ed March and Rachel Lashem

In a previous blog I told you about the opportunity I had to meet them, and chat briefly with them, well last Sunday evening they showed up on my doorstep, soaking wet in the cool, June rain. A hot cup of tea and good meal and they were right as rain again.

What was really funny was that my daughter and her friend had just finished watching Ed's movie Malaysia to the UK, and then lo and behold he's standing in the porch soaking wet.

They spend three days with us, mostly chillin', catching up on journals, blogs and Ed uploaded his latest video.

I hoped they enjoyed they're stay here, it was a real treat having them with us. I know my two daughters thought it was pretty cool. Katie thought Rachel was really cool, and it was nice to have the girls see a woman do a big, make that HUGE, two-wheeled adventure. Katie was actually disappointed that they only stayed 3 days. "Dad, how come they aren't staying a whole week?"

We wish them all the best, and lots of luck on their journey south to Argentina.

So, if I had the chance now to do what they are doing would I do it? If I could without having to miss my family..........YES. Although it would have to on something bigger than a C90. My old bones need a little more comfort I think.

So after spending three days with them, and hearing all about their adventures, I am amped up for another one. Plus I watched our Two Wheels Thru the Bigland which I forgot had been re-edited and aired on AdvTV in the US. Here is the youtube link.

Some bad words were edited out and copyrighted music was replaced.

So Terry needs a week long adventure somewhere again. Something off the beaten track. I really want to do the T'Railway Trail in Newfoundland, but that will have to wait til next year, and will require a slightly smaller and more off road capable bike.

I still really want one of these.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Moto Art

It was an extremely hard winter here in New Brunswick. We were essentially buried in massive amounts of snow, and I refused to go outside because I hate the fluffy white shit and the bitter cold. So to keep me from going completely insane and depressed I jumped back into some artwork again.

A lot of my artwork focused around my daughters hockey team. I got suckered into doing a picture of every girl on the team, plus the coach. However I did make time to do a couple of moto pics. I have a couple that are still in progress, but now that summer is here, and it's time to get out on two wheels and surfboards, it's been thrown on the back burner for awhile.

Anyway here are a couple I am particularly happy about.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Ed March, Rachel Lasham and Their Honda C90's. My Brush With Adventure Riding Celebrities

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a book written by Nathan Willard, and his adventures of riding a Honda Postie bike (Honda CT110) from Australia to the UK. Loved the book, so much so that I became fascinated by long distance travel on small motorbikes, however not fascinated enough to give up the comforts of my Vstrom...... Yet. Although sometimes I think it might be time to slow down and smell the roses.

In my search to find more travellers on small bikes I came across a fellow named Ed March. I first found his blog, and then discovered he had made a movie on his trip from Malaysia to the UK. So I bought the movie from DirtPunks direct download so no waiting for a DVD to be mailed.  Loved it.  The trip itself was awesome, and Ed is a funny, unique character. I mean how could you not be, he's British, young, and goes against the grain in the realm of adventure motorcycling. Unlike Long Way Round with Ewan and Charley, which both my wife and I really enjoyed, and got me back into motorcycles, Malaysia to the UK was completely raw, plus it was just Ed, no buddy, buddy movie, it was just him and a camera. Ed also has that juvenile sense of humour that I have.

I then found out that Ed and his girlfriend Rachel Lasham were coming to North America to ride from Alaska to South America. Friggin' cool. So, like any middle-aged guy with a lust for adventure and only 3 weeks vacation a year, I vicariously lived through him, by following his adventures on his website. C90 Adventures

Then as luck would have it, Ed and Rach decided to ride across Canada.........in the winter.........on C90's. Yes folks they are special people. Now there is a part of me that thinks this is very cool, and I would, if I was younger, contemplate doing the same thing. Hell, for awhile I even considered riding the Trans Lab Highway in the winter if I got a Ural. So maybe all us "special" people took the same short bus to school.

Shortly after this I find out that Canada Moto Guide was going to be publishing articles on Ed and Rach's trip. Cool, now we have something even more in common. My friend Rob is the editor.

Fast forward a few months and I am standing in Rob's kitchen in Sackville, NB, having tea with Ed. Hell I even drove Ed, Rach and the C90's to Toys for Big Boys in Moncton for a presentation. They were running late and needed some quick transport.

Rachel discussing the finer points of C90 travel

Rob shamelessly plugging the Fundy Adventure Rally before Ed takes the stage.

Would you ride one of these across Canada? In winter?

Ed and Rach are great people, and it was really cool to get to know them even in the brief time I was with them. It was kinda strange meeting them for the first time. They are strangers, they have no clue who you are, but you know them. They let you into their nomadic world, and what you read and see is Ed and Rachel. Ed is a lot shorter in real life than I thought he'd be, but that's it.

The presentation at Toys for Big Boys was well done, owner Larry Northrup had a great set up with drinks and a BBQ. Toys is an awesome dealership if you're looking for a Honda/KTM/Harley. Larry actually became friends with me on Facebook, although he thinks I'm Walter White, and not Terry Burt. Alias's are good and bad sometimes.

Ed'd presentation was well attended and very funny and informative. Some behind the scenes looks that I didn't see in the movie. The one puzzling thing I did notice, was the lack of young people in the audience. It was a mostly a crowd of folks in their 40's and 50's. Folks like me, that wish we had the time again to do what they are doing.

I think Ed's presentation would be a real hit if it was advertised and put off at various collages and universities. It might inspire other young people to get out there and explore the world. Not necessarily on a motorbike, maybe an old van, bicycle, or just their two feet and a backpack.

If you like what Ed and Rach are doing, and have some spare cash, buy the DVD or download the movie, it's worth it, and it goes to help them fund their trip. Plus there is a Paypal donate button on Ed's site, buy them a tank of gas, or a lunch to keep them going, so us old farts can continue to live the dream through them.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Broiled in the Bronx

Adventure riders seek out the remote areas of the world, where terrain, isolation, weather and unpaved roads challenge riders and machines. Whether it is the Road of Bones in Siberia, the Trans Lab, and Dalton Highways, or some crazy arsed mountain road deep in the Himalayans.

Now for a small city boy from Newfoundland who has more or less spent most of his life in the maritimes in cities of less than 350,000 people, The Big Apple, or New York City as some call it is a major wake up call in terms of craziness. Of course being a pilot, I get to visit some big cities. I've been to NYC before, London, Chicago, Miami, San Fran, Berlin, etc. However a lot of the time someone else is driving, or it's a quick trip from the airport to the hotel. So my latest trip on the bike, which just so happens to be a "work" trip has turned into an adventure ride of another kind.

Each year I have recurrent flight training on the aircraft I fly. The Falcon 2000 simulator is now in New Jersey. So I asked the boss if he could schedule my training for late May to take advantage of warmer weather, so I could ride the bike the 1000 or so kilometres to get here. Piece of piss, two-day ride down, then take my time and explore the way home.

"Ya so where is the adventure in that so far?" you ask. Well fuck me, the trip was awesome as far as Portsmouth, NH, where I spent my first night. How hard can it be? Motor on the I95 all the way to Joisey. Easier said than done for someone whose idea of traffic is four cars on the highway.

When you are in a cage and someone else is driving, you kind of zone out and look at the scenery, as much scenery as you can see on the I95 at 75mph.  Put yourself on a bike and it all changes of course. Today was my first time riding in heavy traffic, in a bizarre way it was like riding on the TLH. Totally focused.

In Labrador the focus was on the road itself. The gravel. How it went from almost concrete to lose sand, or marble-like rocks that made your backend fishtail at 90kph. Oh, and in the back of your mind you realized that you were totally isolated, no cell coverage, and little traffic, if you went off the road, it maybe awhile before anyone finds you.

The I95 from Boston to NYC, total focus, not so much the roadbed itself, because like most American roads its SMOOTH. Focus is on cagers. The traffic is crazy. Posted speed limit is 65mph, most are doing 75 or 80. I actually figured it was safer in the fast lane doing 75 or 80. All kinds of crazy shit going on in the slow lanes. Way too many people trying to kill you. Too many people in their own world, talking, texting, eating, drinking, reaching for stuff in the passenger seat, I've seen it all.

So where does the broiled part come from? Well, I thought the I95 was an interstate, meaning fast, meaning multiple lanes, and it does, until it goes through the Bronx. Fuck me, how does traffic go from 70mph to a standstill in 500m? 18 miles from my hotel in New Jersey, traffic came to a standstill. I mean it took me an hour to go a mile. Oh and all that nice riding gear that keeps you comfortably warm at 75mph turns into a broiler at a standstill when its 20C surrounded by concrete, thousands of cars and huge transport trucks. Fuck it sucked.

Oh and slipping the clutch as I inched along like a snail stuck in molasses, my left hand was in agony, the joys of being arthritic.

So, for a guy from the maritimes, where I can get lost on a logging road fifteen minutes from my house, this was truly an adventure. Unfortunately it was an adventure I don't want to repeat anytime soon.

The return trip, will be an early Sunday morning departure from The Garden State, which is odd, because all I've seen is concrete. Then it's back roads and an easy three day ride home through the Adirondack Mountains. Time to enjoy the scenery.

Despite todays craziness I did get to stop into Twisted Throttle, the adventure bike outfitters. Very cool store, which even has a cafe. I hung out there for about an hour, and picked up a couple of goodies.

So outside of the hotel in Portsmouth, I came across this
Which more or less confirms what I knew all along about American drivers.....they're nuts.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Spring is Here.....Finally and Oh What's That????? Another Twist in the New Bike Saga.

Let's be honest, the end of March may signal the arrival of spring in other parts of the world, but not in the Maritimes. It's still the dead of winter. It's May 2nd and the snow has finally gone and the ice is off the Kennebecasis Bay. Even though it's a balmy -3C this morning at 8am, today the sun is out and it's gonna hit.....wait for it....holy shit a whole plus 10C. Yes folks double digit temps.

All winter I have been planning on trading in the VStrom for a Yamaha Bolt. Well, after riding my strom again this spring, I find it increasingly difficult to part ways with the big ugly beast. It's comfortable, has bags of power, cruises the highway like a touring bike, and has a lot of luggage, and wind protection. Hell it's the Bigland bike. The ol' girl got me up to Labrador and back in one piece.

I have missed my little XR250R, and would like something like that, but street -legal. I hear it now, "here we go again, Burt has changed his mind for the umpteenth time." Yup, pretty much. Back to the CRF250L again? Nope. I'm thinking of going the WR250R route this time. 

One of the main reasons I did not ride the XR very much was, I had to transport it everywhere. I'm old now and convenience is everything in my life. If I can pull out of the garage and ride to the trail, hell ya I'm gonna use it. I also have the added benefit of connecting trails via roadway. Or if I'm running late, jump on the road and high tail it home.

Why the Yamaha this time. Well, since I have a very restrictive cash flow, the WR needs less mods than the CRF. Suspension is already good, and so is the motor. I'm really not that good of an off road rider so I really don't need anything too hardcore. Plus my friend Tim is the proud owner of MotoSport Plus the local Yamaha dealer. I feel like shit, because he had a 2014 Bolt put away in the garage for me to buy this spring, and now I'm changing my mind......again, or just going back to plan A.

As much as I wanted the Bolt, and to add a sidecar to it, plans have fallen in my lap that require a dual-sport. I cannot reveal too much at this time, but it may require another trip to the Rock, and possibly a trip on the Trans America Trail in 2017. Oh and there is also the Fundy Adventure Rally again this year, which I would like to compete in.

So with minimal amount of money I can get the WR set up for some light off road use. 
Right off the bat I see a need for hand guards, new pegs and folding shift and brake levers, folding mirrors and a small tank or tailbag. I have all the riding gear, so I am set in that department. Maybe a new helmet. I can always use a new helmet to add to the collection.

So what's the Minister of the Opposition (my lovely wife) think? Well she's giving me the "no more bikes, that was your last one" Well, I mean did she really believe that at the rip ol' age of 45, that was going to be my "last one". I mean come on. 
I'm sure I'll get the silent treatment for a week or so, then it will be the payback shopping trip, which so happens will be in NYC, because her and the kids are joining me there for the Victoria Day weekend.

What better present symbolizes my entrance into my "late" forties than a new dirt bike on my upcoming birthday.

Monday, 16 March 2015

It's Spring..........Somewhere

I'm afraid to say it, but I actually think spring may have finally arrived in New Brunswick. After a cold winter from hell, it's finally starting to warm up..........a little. The seven feet of snow still on the ground is slowly starting to melt, and my urge to go riding again is hitting an all time high. 

Ya it's been a long time since I posted anything, but having relentless snowstorm after snowstorm for the entire month of February, giving us a whopping 300cm of snow, it's really hard to feel motivated to write about motorcycles, and riding.

This year is gonna be an odd year for me, I'm selling the Vstrom, the big bike that got me through the Trans Labrador Highway and picking up my first cruiserish bike. A Yamaha Bolt or XV950. I guess it's more of a bobber style bike than a cruiser, and it has mid-pegs instead of the silly feet forward ergos the other cruisers have. 

Why a Bolt? Well a few reasons. One, I really like it, kinda like a Sportster, but with better ergos, brakes, suspension, and reason two, for me over $2K cheaper. My buddy Tim Hovey owns MotoSport Plus, the local Yamaha dealer and is giving me a sweet deal on a leftover 2014 model. Third reason, I can attach a sidecar to the Bolt for a fairly inexpensive price, compared to the over $9K quoted for the the Strom. Four, I want a smaller sized bike than the Strom. Something a little lighter with a lower seat. Hey, I'm getting old. Myy flexability is not what it used to be, trying to swing a leg over a big bike is getting harder and harder.

Well the Fundy Adventure Rally promo video is now complete, finished it up in February after a lot of collaboration with Rob and Courtney of Canada Moto Rallies. Here it is for all to see.

So what's new? Well, I have reignited my long lost passion for art. I used to do a lot of painting and sketching when I was younger, but over the years I stopped for some reason. I recently discovered the Wacom digital graphics tablet. It let's me draw and paint with a stylus on a screen. It's opened up a whole new artistic world for me, and I have been busy drawing and painting again. Slowly working on developing my own style, inspired by other graphic artists.

Of course being a motorcyclist, and surfer most of my work centers around those two loves.

So the rest of 2015 for me will be going back to my real loves, motorbikes, surfing and windsurfing, so my adventures and trips will be focused around those three things.

Videos......well, I still want to make one about the "biker rally" so I hope to take part in either Atlanticade or the the Wharf Rat, to see what these cruiser, beer, tattoofests are all about. I am also hoping to finally make a SUP/Surf film over the summer. Welll at least get a lot of footage to put something together over the winter. Nova Scotia, and or Maine surf trip.

Oh and a gear review will be coming down the pipe soon. Welll as soon as I get to ride again. I picked up a new Bell full face helmet, Icon jeans and FirstGear heated glove liners. I can't wait to try it all out.

Hopefully the next entry will have me on a new bike and the start of new season underway.


Friday, 9 January 2015

2015 and Beyond

Hey folks, it's been awhile. Happy new year to everyone, hope the Christmas season was good to everyone.

2015 is upon us and so is old man winter. We had a great fall, even managed to ride right into December. Unfortunately that has changed, with the appearance of Jack Frost. 

I'm sure by now everyone, except those living in coastal BC, have tucked their bikes in the back of garage as battery tenders trickle away, eagerly awaiting spring weather and a new riding season.

I have spent the last couple of weeks finishing up the Fundy Adventure Rally (FAR) promo vid. It's almost done. Then I'll be getting to work on the Deer Lake 67 ultra marathon video. So that should keep me preoccupied over the cold, snowy, dark, and miserable months of January and February.

I'm also writing a book, or at least attempting to. I am not revealing anything about it, other than the main character rides a bike, and is on a journey of freedom and discovery.

Plans for this coming season? Well, as usual, my head is full of ideas and I cannot stay focused on anything for too long. ADD maybe? Typically most of my ideas and future projects never make it past a piece of paper, or even fail to make it onto paper. 

Off course my vacation schedule also plays havoc on some of my plans. For instance, Pete is returning to his roots this year and will be rowing a lot more. He was once a Canada Games rower, and was probably the only guy to row across the Bay of Fundy in a single scull. Nuts, right? Well, now he wants to something called the Blackburn Challenge. It's an open ocean race in Massachusetts that is over 20 miles long. Nuts again.

Being the video/editing nut that I am, I figured this would make a great documentary, and since I wasn't competing, could focus all my efforts into filming it, and Pete could concentrate on rowing. Let's hope I can get the time off.

Of course there is the great Honda Rally Build. That might be shelved this year due to financial constraints, I cannot afford two bikes at this time, and I don't think I can live with a 250 alone. Next year maybe. My wife renovated our kitchen and my bank account this month!

I have for a long time wanted a Sportster type bike. Small, simple and something I can easily attach a sidecar to for the dogs.

So, if you follow the blog at all I am looking at getting a Yamaha Bolt. My buddy Tim owns the local Yamaha dealership, and has a nice 2014 leftover that would suit me just fine.

 Now that brings me to my next possible project for the year. Biker rallies??? WTF? you say. Yes, I going to a traditional, cruiserfest, assless chap, dew rag wearing, burnout pit rally. Don't worry, I will not dressing up as a pirate, but I do have a nice collection of black t-shirts, so I can blend in nicely. Not sure I can pull off the dew rag, nor do I ever want to wear chaps. If I spend the rest of the winter doing squats, I maybe able to pull off leather pants.

I have ridden sport bikes, dirt bikes,  adv bikes, and scooters all my life, but have never experienced this, loved by many, hated by some, type of motorcycling. In fact the only rally I have been to is the Fundy Adventure Rally. 'Arris forgot to have the burnout pit, or wet t-shirt contest (that however would have been ugly, and emotionally scarring)

There just so happens to be a couple of such rallies in the Maritimes. Atlanticade is probably one of the biggest, and they just announced that the rally is moving back to Moncton from PEI. That's a quick one hour ride. It is also taking place during Ribfest. Another bonus for the beer bellied biker. Maybe those dewrags come in handy for wiping BBQ sauce off your face?

The other rally is across the Bay from me in Digby, Nova Scotia. It's called the Wharf Rat Rally. It features such events as arm wrestling, and the best tattoo competition. Time to get inked up, and work on that arm sleeve. From what I can tell, the Wharf Rat seems to be a more hardcore rally, more in line with the grand daddy of them all..........

Sturgis is in South Dakota, and is a hell of long ride from here. Of course if I was a true blogger/vlogger/film maker I would make the trek. Alas I only have so much time off, and will have to make sacrifices.

Typical rally participants. Could I pull off wearing pasties?

Something you won't see at the FAR.

Hell, I may even go to both, to fully experience the cruiser lifestyle. I'm gonna film and try to interview as many people as possible, and make a funny, and satirical look at the cruiser bike rally from an outsiders prospective.

My big motorcycle trip of the year will be a ride to New Jersey for my annual training on one of our airplanes. The simulator is located in Teteboro, so instead of flying, I decided to ride since it will be in late May. I may also take a week vacation afterwards and head further west to Kentucky.

Berea, Kentucky is where my grandfather went to school back in 1929, at you guessed it....Berea College. So I have always wanted to visit the place. It should be an interesting trip.

That's it for now, once the FAR video is complete and gets the blessing from 'Arris, I'll post it up here.