It was windy all day, and not at my back, but I'll take a 30 km/h crosswind with sunny +25 over autumn rains on a gravel highway any day. Combined with the northern fall colours, it made for a gusty, glorious start to this September's trip.
I left home this morning with a trio of mantras grilled into my head by my #1 supporter, and throughout the day they scrolled through my frontal lobe like a marquee sign, as if they knew the repetition was needed. "You're not on anyone's schedule." "You will never live this moment again." "There's always time for another photo." I tried my best to adhere to this, but it's hard. What if the hotel owner starts worrying for my well-being if I arrive 10 minutes late? (She wasn't even around; I let myself in.) What if all the stops-and-starts run me out of fuel? (Today's two tanks were my two longest gas gaps of the trip, at 305 and 328 km, and even with the headwind I didn't touch my reserve.) What if traffic comes up behind me, or I become that infuriating leapfrog vehicle to someone else? (What traffic?) Alas, I did my best, and stopped more often than normal, yet still I'm sitting here thinking about that one that I kept speeding by: A corner which provided a 2-D perspective on the forest burn before Jean Marie.
Today's route included my first crossing of the new Deh Cho Bridge across the Mackenzie River. It was slightly anti-climatic, as construction was ongoing and there were three makeshift traffic light stops to facilitate one-way traffic, but it afforded me a chance to memorialize the event with a photo.
Today's stranger-of-the-day was a curious woman on the Simpson ferry who seemed to have already decided that I was either lost or crazy for being near Simpson on a motorcycle. "Where did you come from?" "Whyyyy?" "What are you doing here?" "No, you can't go south from here!" "Oh, you need to get gas...?"
The bike ran like a champ. No issues except my right saddle bag dry bag which was prone to lifting at highway speed due to being too empty, and my rear right signal light whose mounting screw vibrated loose but re-attached without issue. No opportunity to evaluate the Progressive front springs which I installed yesterday, as the wind had things feeling squirrelly all day regardless.
I learned that, despite my instinctive aversion to it, Vaseline works better than baby powder at preventing forehead helmet chafe.
Tonight I've been re-learning the evening rituals while on the road. I think the way it needs to go is:
- Get gas
- Check into motel
- Take in luggage, get undressed.
- Bike maintenance and any repairs from the day.
- Eat supper.
- Plug in rechargeable batteries - camera, GPS, phone.
- Log the day's progress on map and fuel log.
- Research tomorrow's route and reserve accommodations.
- Download & edit pictures over coffee or dessert.
- Journal or experiment with a blog...
I suppose in the morning, there'll be another set of rituals to re-learned.
Day total: 630 km, 8h20m
Trip total: 630 km
Start: Yellowknife. End: Fort Simpson.
Soundtrack: Road Apples, AWOLNATION, Into the Wild, Pablo Honey.