Exploring Canadian Backroads Coast to Coast 2007 travel blog

It was cool this morning (darn cool actually) so we waited until noon to complete our last leg of the trip from Calgary to Red Deer. It had warmed up considerably so it was not too bad although it got colder as we went north and threatened to rain.

We arrived home to find everything in order. The lawns were well cared for by the girls we had hired and our good friends and neighbours Bill & Joan had checked the house regularly, looked after our mail and fed the cat. It was as if we had just left yesterday, not 2 1/2 months ago.

It is always good to be home after a long absence but as I write this the temperature is -2C outside with frost clinging to everything. Our next leg will likely be the american southwest and then Mexico, sometime after christmas, if we can wait that long.

Here is some final triva from our travels this year which included my solo trip to Alaska and our trip across Canada:

Kilometres ridden: Alaska trip 13,500; Canada tour 19,000; total 32,500 from May 21, 2007 to October 2, 2007.

Provinces visited: all 10 plus the Yukon Territory

States visited: 15

Ferries taken: 13

Wildlife sighted: black bear, grizzly bear, brown bear, wolf, coyote, white tail deer, blacktail deer, mule deer, moose, tundra caribou, woodland caribou, elk, bison, musk ox, antelope, big horn sheep, Dahl sheep, mountain goat, minke whales, harbour seals, sea lions, marmot, porcupine, beaver, badger, possum, mink, prairie dog, puffin, gannet, bald eagle, golden blue herron,snow geese, canada geese, swan, loon and wild turkeys.

Tire changes: I started with new tires on May 21 and replaced rear tires in Fairbanks Alaska, Calgary Alberta and Corner Brook Newfoundland. I also changed front tires in Anchorage Alaska and Moncton New Brunswick. The front needs replacement now but the rear still has a lot of tread left.

Chain and sprocket replacements: I started with a fairly worn chain & sprockets and replaced them the first time at Prince Geoarge BC, a second time in Victoria BC and once more in Corner Brook Newfoundland. I expect I can get a couple thousand more km out of the current set.

Oil changes & servicing: 20,000 km in Edmonton Alberta, 30,000 km in Victoria BC, 40,000 km in Monton New brunswick. It is due again as I am over 50,000 KM on the odometer.

Problems/repairs: The biggest problem I encountered was the steering head bearing. After riding the haul road to Prudhoe Bay Alaska I had a flat spot in the bearing. I had it replaced in Victoria BC. This was the second time I have had this problem and I would consider it a weak spot on the F650GS. Notably, it is specifically excluded from warranty coverage so BMW is obviously aware of this weak spot.

The other problem was with the kick stand. It is simply too short and allows the bike to lean way over. This is a common complaint with the Dakar. When loaded with all our gear it was prone to falling over. It fell over once in Newfoundland and snapped the bolt securing the trellis (undercarrage). We replaced the bolt in Antigonish Cape Breton and Janine kept a rock in her pocket which she placed under the stand every time we stopped. I will be extending the side stand very soon.

Overall I am very pleased with the bike. It has taken a lot of hard riding in all kinds of conditions and on every surface you can image. With the exception of the items noted above we have had no real problems.

This has been a great summer of riding and exploring. I would not have changed a thing (other than perhaps visiting Labrador earlier in the season).

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