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Day 220 – 16th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 16, 2009

Thursday – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

So, when I woke up suddenly there was internet, but a crappy signal and very hard to connect to. I struggled for a while, trying to post but the uplink was no good, so I gave up. I instead went and checked my chain, well the stretch test was fine but it did seem a tad loose, so I readjusted it, it also seemed to be out of alignment, probably by the young feller that installed my tyres the other day. Anyway, it got done, but a simple test proved it was not much better, hmm.

I went and got my free breakfast ticket, to a place about 5 blocks away and after packing up headed over there for breakfast, it was the same owner so hopefully internet would be available. Well, it took a long time because of a server error but eventually I was connected and eating breaky.

There was still no response from Rob in Saskatoon, but Edmonton had quite a few invites, one of which was exactly what I needed. It was from a member called Stoney, he had offered a workshop and tech help and even gave a phone number, this was the best news yet. All the other offers had a few details like an address, but I did not want to arrive unannounced. My intention today then was to ride to Edmonton and head for a camp ground I had already picked out, then call Stoney and take up the offer of tech help. So, decision made I am ready to go but wait, now my Tyrewatch has stopped altogether, bugger! I went to a computer shop just over the road, but when I showed him the battery he advised the Source shop a few miles away. Off I go, find the place and get all undressed ready for a mall entry, with all my other stuff locked away.

When I took the sensor from my pocket it was working again, with no low battery indicator, wtf! Ok, let’s hit the road before something else breaks, only 385km to Edmonton.

It was only an hour or so later I got into Lloydminster, this is the border town and here I stopped at the visitor centre for some maps. It seems most maps in Canada need to be paid for, so I declined, I only use a map for a few days, if that, before they get binned. Instead I used some free travel brochures which had basic maps in it, my GPS can do the rest 🙂 This is also when I noticed I had clocked up 25,000 miles on the bike, well only 22,000 for me, but not bad going for 3 months, that is 35,000km for me, 40,000km for the bike.

There is lots of oil around here, buckets of it and there are heaps of storage tanks just lying around the countryside, so why is the petrol so much dearer than the US?

Because of my late start I was already experiencing the wind picking up in the early afternoon, so I stopped for a snack and a rest at a tank and tummy stop, this is where I think I lost my notebook with all my rough fuel costs and names of people I met, the wind was very strong and it may have blown out of the tankbag when I left. 😦

I had passed this guy a few times as he had kept on going while I stopped for wind breaks, this time he had some issues with the wrapping on the house and it needed redoing.

Up the road a ways near a town called Vegreville, I saw a sign saying the ‘world’s largest Pysanka’. Now I am not really a person that collects the ‘world’s largest’ anything usually, but I was intrigued, I had no idea what a Pysanka was. It sounded like a vegetable, but it was a weird one if so. Anyway, as usual I got sucked in, it turned out to be nothing more than a large easter egg! But, as there was nothing else around to take photos of that was anywhere near interesting, here it is 🙂

As you can see from the photos it is quite large and I guess pretty impressive, it even has a motor and rotates about 90 degrees. There seemed to be a Ukrainian influence around here. Off I head and a bit later along the highway was a history information sign on a lay-by, so I stopped and found out that yes, Ukrainians were quite well represented in Alberta.

About half an hour later I am in Edmonton, heading for a particular campground on the west south side which I knew had all the facilities I needed as well as internet.

I stopped at a servo and phoned Stoney who happened to be home and he said sure come on around and I could even set my tent up in the back yard, cool stuff. It was an easy ride to his place, once I had interpreted his directions for my GPS I found a Vstrom with sharks teeth exactly where he said it would be, this was after some major peak hour traffic issues through a construction zone 🙂

So, he had a small shed out back for the bike and a heap of tools, I only bottomed out once getting into the shed and I proceeded to erect the tent, just so that it was done now rather than trying to do it later, I had a couple of extra helpers as well, the fat one I called Wombat!

After that it was remove the front sprocket cover and check for bad teeth, they were worn, a bit shark finned but no teeth missing and of course there was a lot of crud in this area which went everywhere. I started the bike on the centre-stand and engaged the gears but to my surprise no noise, that’d be right!!!

Stoney(Mike) geabbed some gloves and very kindly cleaned the chain for me, he does it a different way and I was impressed by the lack of mess everywhere like which would happen with me 🙂 Basically he wet’s a cloth in Kero then grips the chain and pulls it through the cloth. Anyway, we noticed a few small kinks in the chain, maybe tight links but towards the end of the process, he happened to put sideways pressure on the chain, this caused the clinking sound I had heard. It turns out the chain is not stretched lengthwise but has side to side slop and under load it was causing the chain to ride up off the rear sprocket! It may have been useable, as I still had 4 marks of adjustment avavilable, but when he told me I can get an OEM chain and two sprockets for about 140 bucks, I decided I would buy a new chain kit. It was not worth the hassle or potential problems riding this one any further especially where I was going into the remote north. So, the tech part was over, but not for Edmonton apparently as a number of other local Vstrommers had said they would turn up 🙂

BBQ time, Mike fired up some burgers and smokies(sausages with cheese in them) and the kids(Brandon and Victoria) helped out while I sat back and did what I do best, stay out of the way and make sure the beer does not evaporate 🙂 Jante(John) turned up while we were chowing down, he also had invited me to stay at his place but I did not have his number, that is him on the left at the table.

A few more people turned up and some left during the evening, apparently the ‘Edmonton Tech Nights’ are all the same, they turn up, do a bit and get into the beer, which they call Wobbly Pops 🙂 Here are some of the others, it was a pretty late night by the time I crashed out, but well fed and of course some great people to chat with. Tomorrow it was chain buying time, then sort out the FI issue by accessing the Dealer Mode plug. This is Jante leaving, Whitey Jr and Mike chatting about roads then the ‘Wombat’ asleep, Whitey Jr leaving and Dan who was a late arrival due to work commitments. It was nice of all you chaps to turn up and say G’day Canadian style, I appreciate it 8)

Day 267 miles and 430 km
Trip – 25,173 miles and 40,512 km


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