After 4 weeks waiting for Pacific BMW & Yamaha to replace my damaged wheels, I finally have the bike back, at enormous expense. This sort of thing wouldn’t have happened in Russia! I’m pretty disappointed with how this has gone, but glad to be able to get back on the road.
It’s a late start because I’ve fallen out of the routine of getting up and riding, and it’s much harder to get out of bed in a warm hotel room than it is to crawl out of a sleeping bag in the chill of a Siberian morning.
Before I can go anywhere I have to adjust the wheel because Pacific have made it far too tight. I wonder how much damage that did riding back to the hotel yesterday evening. It feels unusual to be getting ready to ride, but having to deal with technical problems before I’ve even started is somehow quite familiar…
It feels great to be back on road, it reminds me of the good times I’ve had so far. Visions of former campsites and memories of people, places and events come flooding back. It’s amazing how much I miss the little details of life on the road, like making coffee on the camp stove in the morning, and I’d started to get used to a different life in a month off the bike. But it’s all coming back to me, and I think hard about turning south and heading to Argentina. Eventually I decide to stick to my plan of saving that for another trip. I know with absolute certainty that I’ll need another trip to think about, to keep me going when I return to real life.
After 3 straight months on the bike, man and machine were working in perfect harmony, but after the time off I’m back to having a sore backside and stiff shoulders, and everything feels a little unnatural, so when it starts to get really, really cold I quickly relent and check in to a motel. While I was stuck in Vancouver without the bike there were record high temperatures for the time of year. Now that I’m back on the road it’s turning, predictably, into record lows.
I’ve enjoyed riding again, but it’s not the same over here. There’s no adventure, no excitement. The scenery is quite impressive but you’re just passing through it, you’re not in it. When you’re on dirt roads you’re involved in the landscape, you experience the land, the variations of the land, in a way you don’t when you’re on tarmac. In a place like Mongolia you are involved with the land and the nature in a really immersive way, but in canada you aren’t, you could just be looking at it through a window, which is how most people see it. It’s car country. In Mongolia in a car you would really miss out on the experience, but in canada it’s not so different bike versus car.
I saw a lot of harley riders today. Mostly they look like that one from village people, and almost none of them return my waves. The only other place I’ve been where bikers don’t wave to other bikers is Italy. It’s not right, Canadian bikers. When you see another biker, wave. Acknowledge them. We’re part of a community, and anywhere in the world (apart from Italy) you can be pretty sure most bikers are going to be friendly and helpful. In Canada I’m not getting that feeling.