We Ain’t Rushin’ Motorcycle Tour
First tour of the year with the aptly named we aint rushin’ tour on my vintage 1972 Yamaha LS2 that has appeared on this site many times. I thought this would be an ideal bike to make a short distance tour on. I’ve been pining to take this out for a long time, so when Joel said he had the idea to do a very slow moving tour with him and his wife I knew exactly what to bring.
First day saw immediate troubles when the bike wouldn’t start out of the garage. Immediately we had to take the tool out and diagnose the problem. First problem looked like a connection issue to the coils and after re-seating the connector it fired right up and we were on the road. Immediately I could see this was going to be an endurance challenge even if were were only going a short distance. The weight on the back of the bike also made the steering very light, a handful on the highway for sure!
In about an hour and a half we made it to the Howling Coyote site. This would be my third time spending the night here, and I genuinely think it’s one of the nicest camp grounds in Alberta, certainly the best motorcycle camp ground east of the Rockies. LC and Grannie were tremendous hosts as always, and it wasn’t long before our friends came. First was Johanne and his daughter Kariena, and shortly after they had their tent set up we decide to ride to the campstore to grab a case of beer. But while we were there we see Sheldon, who brought along a Margaritaville machine! It wasn’t long before we had to wrap it up there and walk the bikes back to site. Shortly after Shelly joined us, and we drank late into the night.
Lac La Biche
Staying another day was a lesson in relaxing, nothing much happened – aside from a trip to the beer store on site. Eventually we knew we had to leave and packed it up the day after to begin our trek to our main destination Lac La Biche. The Yamaha engine was running a treat that day, eventually reaching and holding 90km/h, until we nearly reached the major highway 36. We stopped for some water and an engine cooldown on the side of the road when we spotted another motorcycle coming down the road. It was an old Africa twin with a massive 40L fuel tank sitting on it, and two extremely friendly Germans looking to see the frozen north. After chatting for a while, we recommended they visit the Churchill campground where we were intending on staying.
Some time on the highway later and after running out of fuel I ran it on the reserve for a little bit. I got a fuel can from Joels bike and thought we would resume riding, but now the bike won’t run on it’s right cylinder. With 19km left to go for the day, I decide to tough it out. Running on the shoulder to make sure traffic is able to get around me easily I could get the bike to go around 50km/h, still not enough for the massive truck traffic. Vehicles were passing me constantly, and eventually I could find myself tailgated by a black pickup truck despite being on the shoulder. Cursing under my breath I desperately wanted a way out of this situation. When suddenly I could feel some metal hit my right leg and then the bike lit up like a bonfire full of oiled rags. Fortunately, I had Joel riding behind me who saw where my battery cover flew off to, and I used the newfound might of my engine to move forward. I’m not sure what the problem was yet, but I wasn’t going to question finally hitting highway speeds. We noted the range road to collect the parts and continued onwards.
When we reached the town site I couldn’t be happier. Lots of smiling faces seeing the bike, and more importantly a place where I can sit down. I love the Airhawk that is on the bike, but it was still too much time and stress on the saddle for me. We passed through the town and went on the bridge to the Island where we would be camping. A lovely road in, and some scouting later eventually we would find the spot where we could set up our gear.
We would spend 3 nights here, devouring ice cream, drinking beer and rum. But eventually we would have to leave. The Shady 80 would be our last stop of the trip. During the ride there I eventually experienced the same problem as on the 36, but this time my left cylinder would stop firing. Knowing it should eventually return I decided to keep on going, and lo and behold it fired again after about 15 minutes. A lot more gravel this time, and a lot more cursing we made it to our final destination.
After a relaxing and uneventful night, we were ready for the ride home. It was fortunately uneventful. After being having bike problems every leg of the trip this was a nice change of pace.