Discussion in 'Adventure Dual Sporting' started by ARP, May 9, 2014.
Kickstarters are expensive. Loctite them. I lost mine and it costed $150.
Back from the RAP and then away on family vacation up north again, I've finally got some shots of RAP adventure.
It all started with this...
Its not a Helliwell ride until someone brings the pump!
We got the trailer LOADED, and were ready to head North.
Every adventure should start out right so we stopped for treats (not even out of Kitchener yet tho)
Friday was spent getting organized, having a beer and bench racing a bit.
I didn't get any pics but Steveb's bike looked like a factory Wolfman sponsored ride.
I think he emptied their shelves of product but everything seemed to work flawlessly.
As we started to rise Saturday morning, there was excitement in the air.
Sadlmakr could hardly get his gear on fast enough.
We started out uncharacteristically early for a Helliwell ride.
Bruce had given the word the night before (I think he was the oldest so he had seniority)
Kickstands up by 9!
Brian was like :shock: #-o
We started out slowly on the cottage roads. Getting used to the loaded bikes and new faces on this adventure.
We were all waiting for the first tough section. Nobody except Brian knew when it would be.
We started finding water and I knew that the break-in period was over. [-o<
I actually thought the first day might be easier to see what everyone's skill and comfort level was. :lol:
I guess that time was condensed to an hour or so.
Ride some roads, hit some bumps, stop for a wiz, tighten your gear and giv'er.
So on the first day we were in the rough stuff. All of us.
We did some trail that was part of the Algonquin ride up closer to the town of Madawaska.
We got to town and needed gas. Madawaska had been planned as a first gas stop but the only pumps in town were out of order. :x
I rode up the road to a trailer park and I spy a gas tank. No problem I thought.
I see this...
Ok, is that a Northern 15 minutes? This might not be good.
I walked around a bit having a look-see and a fella comes out of his trailer. Remember, its just me there and the rest are way down the road.
Ah, can I buy some gas?
He thinks... Ya, and I add in, there's 8 of us. :wink:
He agrees and I went back to get the rest of the guys.
Turns out this guy is just a tenant at the trailer park. He said the owner took sick and had to go to the hospital and that the sign on the door had been up for about 3 weeks.
We were grateful that he was willing to help out.
We were already starting to feel worn out but were only about halfway to Pembroke.
We snacked, stretched, rested, hydrated (prayed?) and got on our way.
I could see Gorick had that WTF look on his face by now and of course any queries to Ridemaster Helliwell about conditions up ahead were always met with "no, no, its not too bad up ahead"
So, off we go into the wild blue yonder. Heading out of Madawaska on a nice rail trail.
But it got rougher.
We got into a section of really snotty, rooted, rocky trail and I wondered if all were going to get out unscathed.
It wasn't too long, but when you're tired it seems, well, TOO LONG!
Brian stalled the BRP at one point and motioned guys passed.
I watched Gorick attack the roots and rock like a madman on the loaded Yammy WR. I could tell he had had enough and was going to get out of this hell and take the smart way to Pembroke.
I was resting behind Brian waiting for the big XR to fire. He was growing tired of kicking it. It sputtered to life but that didn't last.
We were not far from the end of this hell at all. I had to ride out and ask the other guys to push the bike to an easier spot where it could be diagnosed.
After trying a few things and burning daylight we all agreed that towing to Barry's Bay was the plan.
Down the rail trail we went. Bruce towing Brian. Others ran farther up ahead.
We got to town first and talked to a guy right at the trail head. He had a few suggestions.
We were still on the trail and hidden by trees. I had walked out onto the road and looked to the end to see the "THE BEER STORE" sign.
Suddenly, I didn't care about Brian's bike. We didn't know how long they would take to get to town.
"I'm going to buy a beer and something to eat and deal with this after" I say.
Strangely, the rest followed. Quickest decision we've made all day!
We bought fresh pizza and sat and ate and waited for the "tow truck"
So the pizza lady in the grocery store said to try the bartender in town for someone that might want to take Brian back to his cottage. Eduardo went down to the bar to ask.
The bartender knew a guy. Eduardo called him and he was on his way with trailer. Go figure.
I have more pics of this but I'm sure it was painful enough for Brian so just one. #-o
Internet rules: Without pics, it didn't happen, right!
I forgot to show this pic from earlier the first day. If you can see the smile on Eduardo's face just over Bruce's right shoulder you know its before the trouble really started.
But even then, I wonder if Rick is thinking of leaving everything and walking out [-X NEVER
Well, after Brian was on his way to headquarters we decided the road to Pembroke was our only chance. We had run out of time and soon, daylight.
Our first night was at the Hillside Inn in Pembroke. Nice little spot.
We checked in, locked bikes together and got cleaned up to go and find some much need food.
Again, I think Bruce made the call on departure time so we were up early and over to McDonald's for breakfast and got going in decent time.
There was time for some strategizing on the porch however
Sunday was Pembroke to Bonfield. A long remote stretch that may prove challenging for those of us with less than stellar fuel mileage.
We rode up Hwy 17 to Petawawa and some gassed up again before hitting the trails.
At this point we were now 7 and started following a route that Brian had made.
We explored for awhile (too long) and as it turned out we got dead-ended at someone's property. The trail we wanted was actually at the back of his land on the pipeline.
He was a nice guy and I chatted with him about where we were going and he gave some helpful directions. His polite way of saying "Not on my land" and we naturally respected that.
We re-routed up the back roads for awhile and found the trail we wanted.
At that point, we split and a group and 3 went for an easier tour and 4 of us followed Brian's originally planned GPS route.
Given what we had found Saturday, I didn't expect today to be much different. Why should it, right?
I struggled with navigating as I normally follow and my GPS skills were marginal but this would be good practice.
Remember, the ride leader is, ahh, AWOL.
It rained off and on but really wasn't bad. We had some really nice trail in a pine stand that flowed beautifully and all were starting to get comfortable on their bikes.
We had a fast run down an old rail bed and I blew a turn off so we had to turn around.
The rail bed had really coarse, sharp rock so naturally it caused a flat.
John made quick work of changing it and we forged on.
We followed logging roads at times which we made good time on and had some good trail too but being slow in the morning to find the trail and the flat and whatever else, our group of 4 was running out of time and daylight again.
We had also run up to Hwy 17 west of Mattawa to get gas and snacks for 5pm "lunch" and it rained hard for a short while.
We were booked at the DinnerBell on Hwy 17 north of the town of Bonfield. Its a small place and being in the north not likely to be open real late.
Thankfully, our group of 3 that had gone a different way was at the motel in good time. Amazingly, we had cell signal in the bush and started getting texts from Bruce about our ETA.
Holly smoke! WE'RE GOING TO MISS SUPPER! Worse than any mechanical problem could ever be, we had to get back to Hwy 17 and make time.
We got to 630 that is access to Kiosk in Algonquin Park. We ran north on it to Hwy 17 at a good pace. Before getting on the highway I had to dump fuel bottles in my tank just to make it to the motel.
Now, if we could only find Riverdale? What the ? (inside joke but we got it cleared up with some yelling )
Our planned gas stop in Rutherglen turned out to be closed already.
We just made it...well 20 minutes late.
The poor waitress had run off her feet that day but kindly agreed to make us some fish and chips and that was going to be just perfect.
Well, that and she had some beer tucked in the cooler that would cap things off just nicely!
We are ever grateful for their Northern hospitality and we tipped well to show our appreciation.
The Dinner Bell was a great spot to stay for our adventure.
Day 3. Ohh day 3.
This wasn't going to be our day.
I've done a RAP before and remember the west side of the Park to be a challenge to find good trail that gets you south in good time.
We got a late start and had to run back east on Hwy 17 to Rutherglen for gas. Just behind the station was the start of our next route.
This area was uncharted territory and the GPS file Brian made had waypoints on it with names like "I wonder what's down here", "Having fun yet", "mudstart and mudend".
We rode as a group of 7 for awhile. Gorick had mentioned he had plans to take a more scenic route to the Super 8 in Huntsville and would let us know when he was parting ways. Bruce decided he would keep Rick company.
All agreed say I. Done
So it was myself, Sadlmakr, Clint, Eduardo and Steveb. We had a plan :lol: We would short cut some of the original route for the sake of time and god knows what else was "down there"
On the GPS it was a straight line trail that joined 2 points of Brian's plan but skipped a big portion. Perfect right?
We had some rough trail but managed and came to the exact "intersection" in the bush where Brian's planned route would have taken us.
I was feeling pretty good about the shortcut and my navigating was improving. [-X
We were on the intended route for only a few more water holes when we started to descend into a valley. #-o
The tree canopy cleared and we emerged into a very large open swamp.
These pictures really don't do it justice. The trail looked like it started out of the swamp at the other end but I couldn't even see that far without binoculars
The tree that John was sitting on was surely going snag every one of us if we dared to try and cross so getting a run was useless.
And mud! It wasn't super deep where we were but if you stood still for a bit, you were trapped. It sucked you in.
We all agreed that there are likely lots of dead moose in there that just couldn't get out and we didn't want to be next.
We turned around and went all the way back to the road where we had split the group. On the way, Eduardo had a slow tip over in some water.
He took precautions to make sure no water got in the bike by checking the air box etc so I took the opportunity to check the GPS some more. Wow, we were in deep and again, running out of time.
We all got going and back on track but found lots of trail that looked like it hadn't been touched. If the locals aren't using the trails with ATV's, that's a bad sign.
Again, it was time to look for gas and 4pm "lunch". We got to Powassan. Totally not where we wanted to be headed. I looked down at Sadlmakr's back tire.
Me: "Hey, is that a big gash in your tire or a shadow"
John: "where. oh, holy crap, ya that's a big cut"
Well, at least we're in town now and not on the trail. We found gas, and a "tire" place. They tried to glue a patch on the inside of the tire to keep the tube from squeezing out. And we were on our way.
Not that easy. The tire guy's took quite a while. Then we went back in the shop to use some tools because they didn't get the bead seating all the way around.
It wouldn't have mattered except we knew the tire would be really out of balance. And that would matter because at this point we were going to take an hour's ride south on Hwy 11 to Huntsville.
My rear end hurt just thinking about it.
So we made it to the the Super 8 and met up with Rick and Bruce.
Eduardo took the opportunity to run into town to the beer store and treated all of us to some well deserved tall-boys.
Thankyou again my good man. =D>
At this point, Brian had fixed the BRP AND ridden 350 kms to meet up with us at the hotel so he could ride Day 4.
Wow, that is a man who loves to ride.
There is a pic earlier in this thread of all the bikes locked together in a circle. That was Huntsville.
Check-in, cleanup, and the hunt for late supper. It was cooling off too.
Day 4 started with an early continental breakfast at the hotel per Bruce's call and we set out.
Huntsville to Limerick Lake to finish the RAP.
I had some repairs to do before breakfast so I was up at 6am.
Not quite metal on metal, but real close. I had spares.
We took some road and easy trail leaving Huntsville. Brian was leading again.
By now, everyone was very comfortable on their bikes and things that slowed us down on Day 1 and 2 weren't given a second glance.
We found some trail that, again, looked untouched, and surprisingly, Brian turned around. We had a long way to go and there was no use in getting in trouble.
We were in Baysville and I had been hoping for fresh blueberry pie the whole trip. We took a visit to Humble Pie and all bought treats to brighten the day.
I ate the pie too fast and never got a picture.
However, the man of the hour was Steveb. He's a quiet guy and when I saw him go across the road I figured something was up.
He got a standing ovation for his contributions.
We divided up the beer and put them in our packs where there was room. It would be a welcome reward back at headquarters for job well done.
We all continued on for awhile. Rick and Steve then changed course. Steve needed to be back at a decent time so he could get home and get ready for a drive to Alberta!
We shook hands and bid them a safe journey.
So Bruce (DRZ400), Clint on the Italian Stallion (aprillia 550), Eduardo (XR650R), Brian (XR650R), John (Husky TE449) and myself (Husky WR250) headed out for what turned out to be the toughest trail I've ridden to date.
I think Bruce was a competitive swimmer in his early days and was going to head across to the island and back
We rode an ATV trail that was one water hole after another.
Eduardo (above) is headed where Bruce (below) is
Then you had to get turned and come up another incline where I am standing to get out.
Clint doing some recon at yet another water hole.
After the fun was over, Bruce had to part ways and head south. I think somewhere near Minden.
He was riding all the back home to Guelph!
So we were now 5. And more ATV trail to go.
I watered out my bike and thankfully Sadlmakr talked me into trying to de-water it where I was.
I had tried a few things to get it going and was just going to push it through the crap to the road because we could hear cars on the highway.
We turned the bike upside down and I recall John quoting Shane Watts in his best Aussie accent how to de-water a 2 stroke.
I was baffed. Just about defeated. I was going to quit and leave it all there for someone else to have.
Then I realized I could never hitch a ride looking the way I did. Also, the others got through the crap and the road wasn't that close so pushing was out.
I pumped the water out of the bike with the kickstarter, put a new plug in and started kicking.
Slowly, the old Husky came to life. Bit by bit it ran and stalled. Finally, it ran consistently and when I hit the throttle it howled that familiar sound that said "heck ya, I'm ready"
Looks like I'll keep going.
We headed down some road and stopped to discuss where we were headed.
Eduardo an Clint were now getting a bit pressed for time and were wondering about trail conditions. Rightly so, after the hell we just went through!
Eduardo to Brian: "so is the next trail going to be like this one?"
I burst out laughing. "He's never going to give you a straight answer"
Clint flattly admitted he was gassed and not into more ATV trail.
It must have been a chore on the big Itallian twin and his tires weren't helping as it seemed the combination of rocks and power were shearing knobs off at an alarming rate. :shock:
They had to make a choice.
Me: "You"ll see when we get there. It will be just the same as what we just rode"
Brian: "No, I don't think its going to be THAT bad"
They decided to ride to the next trail head to get a better idea.
That's not the exact water hole that greeted them (I was too busy laughing to take a picture) but its what the next trail was all about.
Eduardo and Clint decided to hit the roads to the cottage. John Brian and myself ventured into the abyss.
Little did we know, when Eduardo turned to start down the road, his clutch cable broke. Wow, if that had happened in that trail we would have really had a problem.
I believe the two compensated for not having the ability to stop and go by having Clint lead and Eduardo never fully stopping for any signs or anything until they got to the cottage.
The 3 of us slowly worked through the mess. Then finally we came to a Y in the trail. I motioned left and went to look. Up over a rock and out onto a road I landed. Man, was I happy.
I signaled to the others waiting. They hesitated. I kept waving them to me. They too smiled when they saw the road.
As always we were running out of daylight.
We would take a "quick" way the rest of the way to the cottage. We ran along the back roads as the light got less and less. Our headlights weren't doing a great job so we rode close together.
We finally started down Brian's cottage road in the pitch dark. We met Clint and Eduardo already loaded and headed for home. We stopped and chatted briefly and learned about the clutch cable.
It was really, really nice to see the familiar site of Brian's cottage and also Rick's smiling face as we got off the bikes and hobbled to the porch.
Man, that beer sure tasted good that night.
awesome write up!
That looks like a blast! I was in Mattawa a few weeks ago in the VMUTS trails and those rock edges do get pretty sharp.
You mailed it all, Alex!
If you thought Day 4 was a killer, you guys deserve a standing O for riding Days 2 & 3.
I really enjoyed it. There was tons of variety. We got some good speed going at times only to be confounded by bogs.
Everyone deserves a RAP badge for this one.
Great write up Alex! It's the type of ride you remember for years.
It was a great time! Ton of fun. And now I really understand what Brian means by "it's not too bad " or that "lunch" is usually after 5pm or so... :lol:
Here's a few more pictures from the trip.
Methinks Steve is keeping those Wolfman bags. :lol:
That really says and shows what it was like. The only thing people can't see is the hills and off camber trails that went through and into those water holes.
It definitely was even better than I expected. I went with the plan of an easier ride but my plans got changed a couple days before the ride when the group leader for the easier ride bailed out. I then decided that I would ride the first full day with the group, whatever comes, and see where I stand at the end of the day. If it was too tough, then the next day I would just ride some back roads and trails and meet with the group at the hotel.
Well, when you ride on a Helliwell ride you better be prepared. I was ready, for I had been working out and doing a lot of technical riding to tackle what was coming. Maybe I should have done more.
At the end of day one, I have never been more physically and mentally drained. I was totally done and it felt great. I knew I could not do a second day of hell or my body would be finished.
So for the last three days I rode with the group until about 1:00 or 2:00 each day until they headed into the unknown. As it turned out I never rode alone because Bruce and/or Steve would ride with me the rest of the day.
On day two on the north side of the park after splitting from the rest, Bruce ,Steve and I rode some fantastic trails and back roads leading us right to our motel.
On day three I think Bruce and I had a better ride than the pack because we rode some beautiful back roads, stopped for an ice cream, and just enjoyed riding. We got to the motel about 5:00 and ten minutes later the rest came riding in after doing 110 Km's an hour down Hwy 11 for an hour after they found themselves going nowhere all day. Fixing flats and hitting dead ends is not that much fun.
Day four was again very nice trails. Steve had to be back at the cottage at about 5:00 so he and I broke from the group around 2:00 and then rode some pavement to save some time but ended with about 30 Km's of rail trail and back roads.
Being back at the cottage was nice. The beer was really cold and the hotdogs tasted like steak. I helped Steve pack up and leave. I then had another beer until Clint and Eduardo came back and I helped them load and then in came the last of the adventurer's.
Two things stand out in my mind from this trip. The first one is that I have never rode so hard for so long and felt so exhausted and at the same time had so much fun.
Number two is that for those of you who ride the north. Who ride the trails that we rode during any one of the Enduro's or trail rides in the north, my hat is off to you. Some of those trails are just plain nasty and if you ride or race on them, then you have my full RESPECT.
A RAP survivor
Great ride report!
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