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November 15, 2010

Labour of Love: Part Deux

“What the heck was I thinking?!”

We rode on to our first stop at the gigantic Manic 5 dam , which is the world’s largest multiple arch and buttress dam. I will admit, talking to the camera is quite unnerving when security feels the need to follow your every move!

As Keith Urban would say, this is “Where the blacktop ends….” The party was about to get started….

Sadly, the party ended about 60km later when I realized that when I moved back on the seat, my butt was no longer hitting the tent I had strapped on behind me. Crikey!

I turned around, looking at the bare, plush passenger seat where my tent had once been. As the dust settled and darkness crept in, Mike and Tyler in the UHAUL made their way closer.

“You guys didn’t pass anything on the road, specifically my tent?” I asked.

“Nope,” they replied.


I rode back for about 10kms, scanning the ditch lines, but … nothing.

This was bad for two reasons: The first being that I no longer had my “free accommodations.” What with all the wild fishers on the loose, sleeping under the stars … in Northern Quebec … in October, seemed a little ambitious. More importantly, this was my wife’s expensive tent that I had already damaged on my God forsaken motorcycle/TV trips the previous year and received a good scorning for.  She was NOT going to be happy now that I had lost it.

Probably the only time Huggy was smiling while traversing the demanding wilderness of Northern Quebec.

Sitting in the middle of nowhere while darkness overtook the valleys was not an option. We pushed on to Relais Gabriel and arrived at the gas pumps with the lights on full blast. We had 317kms under our belts but now came the hard part. Where was I to sleep and what was I to eat? The one thing about riding those long distances is that it gives you time to think, and since I hadn’t ate for about 12 hours, this was my first priority.

I asked Brownie to get the camera and we walked into the restaurant. Approaching the counter with a smile, I gingerly asked the hostess (in what was probably the worst French accent ever), “Je m’appelle Bryan. Tu parlez l’anglais?”  Her response: “Oh Yea! Hi Bryan”

YES! WE’RE MOVIN’ ON UP! Surprisingly, my offer to clean the men’s bathroom for a plate of spaghetti, and the women’s for bacon and eggs in the morning, was warmly received. I would even say that it didn’t require much negotiation. Then again, most people are happy not having to scrub toilets. It wasn’t long before I was twisting my fork, followed closely by my best Cinderella impersonation!

He’s lucky! The guys first stop featured a very generous hostess, who provided Huggy with a bite to eat, but not before he shined the porcelain!

My belly full, and the bathrooms sparkling, I stepped out onto the porch. The next order of business was sleep. I cast my eyes on the UHAUL in all it’s glory (kind of like in cartoons when a dog looks at a chicken and imagines it grilling on a rotisserie) and started looking on the bright side of sleeping in the cargo box. Off the ground, mostly water resistant, fisher-proof … it would do. I spread out my sleeping bag and got comfortable (sort of). For the first time in my life, I sure felt like an old-time Hobo! Now where to put this stick and handkerchief…….

Huggy’s new sleeping quarters after losing his tent. What’s the saying, “He who endures, conquers…”

Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4.

For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and click on the “photos” tab.

The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.

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Posted @ 5:02 pm in Authors,Commuting,Travel Stories   

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