Three weeks on Vancouver Island, not exactly what I had planned, more like three days. I have learnt two valuable lessons from it. Foremost, european model only bikes are a pain in the ass to get bits for and there are plenty of fantastic people out there ready to rescue a motorcyclist in distress like I was.
Standing outside the closed bikeshop with that ball in the pit of your stomach feeling was not the relaxing sunday ride I had planned. I kept looking at passing cars hoping one of them might take pity on us and help out. Hey presto, up drives this guy in a campervan who had already seen us pushing the bike to the shop. Did we want to leave the bike at his house and have him run it to a bike shop in the morning, do bears crap in the woods? Drew, a Harley rider had been through the breakdown in a strange place routine himself and knew how it felt. We ended up staying with Drew and Sandra. We were watered, fed and watched stars in their hot tub at night. We stayed with Drew and Sandra until we tied our boot laces tight and headed back to Vancouver as footpassengers to have a look at the city and for Jess to catch her flight back to England.
Of course we stayed in the cheapest hostel in town. It was cheap for a reason. Wandering around in the evening left Jess in a state of fear and me wondering where all the straight, sane people go. We were in the Eastside of town well know for its proliferation of hookers and drug dealers/addicts. Eventually we discovered the good parts of the city and enjoyed wandering about and hanging on the beach.
Of course no visit to the city would be complete without retail therapy, so we went to Moutain Equipment Co Op, the size of a football field, full of outdoor toys.
After a teary goodbye at the airport I headed back to Vancouver Island to get my bike. It had been fantastic sharing the last 6 weeks with Jess but alas she had to go earn some travel tokens to allow her to return to South America next March.
Bike not ready, no surprise. The list of damage now reads, dropped valve seat, bent valve, buggered piston with rebore needed. 1 more week of waiting.
Unsure how to use the time but again answer supplied. A weekend in a rainforest cabin, fishing and crabbing with Drew, Sandra and their son Brant. The sun shone, the beer flowed from dawn till way past dusk and a good time was had by all.
I had to come to see the Island and no wheels just meant a different way of travelling. I hitched to Victoria and spent a couple of days sunning myself, doing the tourist thing and reading.
Another visit to the bike shop and another problem. The piston sleeve had a crack in it. More money and what turned out to be nearly another two weeks of delays. I knew a gathering of Overland Bikers was meeting some 450 kms away on the weekend and set about trying to find a lift to that. Thanks to this website Timo replied to my postings and on thursday we set off for Revelstoke. Well I suppose you are thinking that these overland bikers are the bearded BMW riding types. Yes there were lots of BMWs and yes lots of people did have beards but the weekend was excellent. Lots of really interesting folk doing some big trips all over the world. A great opportunity to drink beer and talk bull about bikes.
I returned to Vancouver Island and spent the 5 more days waiting for the bike to be fixed. Thanks to Timo and Julie I had a place to stay and managed to relax and nearly forget about the bike and the ever increasing bill it was going to cost me. The day arrived and I parted with $1,400 Canadian and got my scruffy bike back in working order. Steve, the sometimes slightly stoned mechanic had I hoped fettled it to mechanical perfection ready for the next 25,00 miles the dommie would have to endure.
A quick one day blast to the Pacific Ocean was all it took to convice me I could finally leave for the states. One last night at Timos and I boarded the Victoria ferry bound for a cloudy Olympic Peninsular. Back to the country where drivers use their brakes, not steering wheels to go around corners and where every house has a flag or "proud to be american" banner in their windows! I certainly enjoyed Canada and will be back some time in the future.
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!