* Riding Companions *

  • Doris Maron

    My Wheels: 1997 Candy Apple Red Aspencade, GL1500

    I brought her home June 3rd, 1997, right from the showroom. Wow, was that a great day! We have traveled 56,160 kms. together through 22 States and 5 Provinces. This year we will experience the other 5 Provinces and add a few more States to our memoirs.

    Memories I Have Gathered

    • 1989 - I took the Motorbike safety training course and bought my first bike in October. It was a red 1984 Honda Shadow 500. I practiced for the remainder of 1989 until the snow fell and I had to reluctantly put her away.

    • 1990 - I put on over 10,000 kms. I did my first trip across the Logans Pass (Highway to the Sun) on this bike. Beautiful little bike to learn on, but I was already getting the urge to go bigger.

    • 1991 - April 24th I bought my first Goldwing - 1984 Champaign colored Aspencade, GL1200. In June I did my first big trip with this bike. We traveled through Alberta, B.C., down the Washington, Oregon & California coastline to San Diego coming back though Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. What an experience! Being a new biker and just getting to know my wing meant I needed to concentrate hard on my riding. Consequently, I must do that trip again so I can see what I missed the first time.

    • 1992 - I bought a Tiny Mite tent trailer to pull behind my bike - now this was luxury! My big trip this year was to the Gold Wing Rally in Madison, Wisconsin and then on to Sturgis for the Harley Rally. We visited Montana, N. Dakota, Minnesota, very briefly into Ontario, Wisconsin, Iowa, S. Dakota & Wyoming. There were 11 bikes and 21 people on this trip. We didn't all stay together for the whole trip, but met up in several places and traveled together as a group at times.

    • 1993 - No big trips this year as I was buy building my house. But I still managed to get a good amount of kms. for the season doing local rides and riding back and forth to my house project.

    • 1994 - The Gold Wing Rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I traveled with three other people from our GWRRA Chapter to the rally and we met up with several others once we got there. States we toured - Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana. Great trip and great traveling companions.

    • 1995 - I sold my 1984 Wing. She was a great bike and in 5 years I had put on over 85,000 kms. I came very close to buying a '95 Wing, however, it wasn't meant to be just yet. I ended up with a '95 Yamaha Virago 1100 (teal green and black). Pretty bike! I did a lot of short rides and one to Golden, B.C. I enjoyed the Virago but missed the luxuries of my wing.

    • 1996 - Found a deal on a 1985 Gold Wing that I couldn't pass up, so for a year I owned 2 bikes! Now that's the way to go!

    • 1997 - Sold both the '85 Wing and the '95 Virago to buy my '97 Candy Apple Red Gold Wing. I put on about 15,000 kms. doing weekend trips and the Wing Ding in Billings, Montana. Do I ever love my bike!

    • 1998 - This was the year for another big trip. Four of us did a 4 week trip - destination Huntsville, Alabama for the Wing Ding XX. Our route took in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario (Niagara Falls was the highlight of ON), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, W. Virginia, Virginia, N. Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, S. Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Shenandoah Mtns. and Blue Ridge Mtn. Parkway were just some of the highlights of this trip. It's a 'must do again' trip! What a great time! As usual we could have used another 4 weeks. In September of this year I joined Women in the Wind, Edmonton Chapter. I did a few weekend rides with them and have met some great gals to ride with.

    • 1999 - I went on a 2 week trip with 4 other WITW members. We traveled the southern end of B.C. to Abbottsford, south to Oak Harbor, Wash, Mt. St. Helen's, Union, (to buy electric clothing), followed the Columbia River Gorge east past hwy97 along the Washington side returning on the Oregon side, crossing back to Washington at Astoria on the 4 mile floating bridge. Rode along the outer edge of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, back to Oak Harbor and home via the Northern Cascades. Another beautiful trip. Traveling as a group of 5 women got us a lot of attention. People were quite surprised that no men accompanied us. I think I'll try that again soon! Great fun!

    • 2000 - The millennium ride! Y2K C2C! The plans are getting exciting!

    Provinces and States I have traveled on my bike(s):

    Alberta, Wyoming, Maryland, British Columbia, Montana, W. Virginia, Saskatchewan, Idaho, Virginia, Manitoba, Nevada, N. Carolina, Ontario, New Mexico, Tennessee, N. Dakota, Alabama, Washington, S. Dakota, Mississippi, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, California, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, New York, Kansas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Nebraska

    I'm adding the big Island of Hawaii to this list - in 1993 and 1997 I rented a Harley for a day and rode around the Island. What a great experience!

    That makes 5 Provinces and 30 States on bikes I've owned and 1 State on a rented bike.

    Year 2000 will add the other 5 Provinces and 6 more States (possibly 9).

    I went back through my travel journals, pictures and maps to put this profile together. What a joy it was to relive those trips. Doing this exercise brought back memories of forgotten places I'd been and wonderful people I've traveled with and met along the way. I thought I'd only ridden in 28 States and now discover it's been 30 plus Hawaii. I am very appreciative of the friend who got me started in keeping a journal. What memories!

    My tip to fellow bikers/travelers: Keep a journal and highlight your route on a map. You will be well rewarded with wonderful memories, for the little time it takes.

  • Kathryn Seymour

    My Wheels: A 1984 Venture Royale with only 118,000 km.

    What makes my '84 unique are:

    • Progressive front springs
    • heavy-duty fork brace
    • air horns
    • driving lights
    • Ventureline backrest
    • Jardine mufflers
    • Baker-built wind wings chromed casings, forks and handlebars
    • custom paint: GMC Turquoise

    To be added before the Y2K trip:

    • heated grips
    • CB unit
    • new windshield

    I see the Y2K trip as the opportunity of a lifetime to travel coast-to-coast across two countries with good company. A shared experience is the most rewarding and often the most memorable as well. I am proud to be taking this trip on my sixteen-year old motorcycle and I am confident that we will easily go the distance.

    It is difficult to capsulize fourteen years of riding, sights, experiences, memories and wonderful friends into a short summary. Like everyone else who ride or co-rides, there is always a story, a memorable sight or meaningful encounter each time you swing your leg over the saddle.

    Living in Southwest British Columbia, I have been able to ride my motorcycles year-round for most of my riding years. Riding never was a hobby or summer pastime, I embraced it enthusiastically from the start. Motorcycling became my transportation and recreation; my greatest passion, my way of life.

    Memories I Have Gathered

    • 1970-1975
      My introduction to motorcycling came in 1970 when I eagerly, if somewhat naively, accepted a boyfriend's invitation to accompany him on a trip aboard his 1970 Triumph Bonneville from my home in Edmonton, Alberta to Kirkland Lake, Ontario via the Trans-Canada highway. The trip appealed to my sense of adventure and I learned a few things along the way. What became most important to my future as a motorcyclist was that as a passenger I had no control over any element of the ride. I was very often an unwillingly participant in some hair-raising riding stunts and I decided that I would prefer to be up front, in control.

      My riding in the early days was limited to BC, Alberta and Washington State. I had learned the basic controls on the Triumph, but really learned to ride when we left Ontario and settled on Vancouver Island. I have fond memories of summer days spent riding the network of good logging roads, enhancing my skills on my first bike, a 1971 BSA 250, with these solo rides.

      I soon outgrew the 250 and four months later upgraded to a used 1970 BSA 500 Royal Star, then moved over to the Lower Mainland. We formed a small motorcycle club (Fraser Valley Touring Club) and rode with our friends every weekend throughout the Fraser Valley and I commuted to work daily as well. I never did own or have access to a car, motorcycles were my sole means of transportation.

      As the mileage increased it eventually became tiresome to keep mending the 500 (electrics and clutch cables mostly) and once it was no longer reliable I bought a brand-new 1972 Honda 500 and I'll never forget my first ride on that bike, I was grinning ear-to-ear as I rode down the freeway thinking the motor sounded exactly like my sewing machine. I enjoyed every mile on that bike and rode it daily for over a year, once joining my Island friends for a three-day tour of the Olympic Peninsula; touring the Fraser Valley where I lived and taking solo trips on holiday to Edmonton, AB to visit my family.

      The local Honda shop in Cloverdale at that time had just received a new accessory, a one-wheeled motorcycle cargo trailer and I volunteered to test it for the summer. It was great fun, I didn't even know it was there...and I could carry my camping and cooking gear and still take on a passenger.

      The most memorable trip while I had the Honda 500 took place at the end of October, 1972. The Cascade Highway, WA #20, had opened that year and four of the fellows from our club had ridden over it the weekend before. They spoke highly of the beautiful scenery and a unique little town called Winthrop, it's few buildings done up Old West style and they encouraged one fellow's wife and myself to go along on a return trip on the upcoming weekend.

      We left Cloverdale, BC on a beautiful sunny morning - dressed accordingly for the temperatures on departure. About halfway across #20 we hit snow at the higher elevations and stopped to seriously consider our options.

      Since we were more than halfway to Winthrop it was decided that we would continue on and let me tell you it was blessed cold. We camped that night near Winthrop and the temp. was 17 degrees F. The only bike that would start in the morning was an ElectraGlide that the owner had kept in the tent with him and had started it up several times in the night. We set out the next morning, after cooking our breakfast, returning home by crossing the border into Osoyoos and then on BC #3 over the Hope-Princeton. As we climbed out of Princeton we ran into heavy snowfall...we had no choice but to carry on as best we could, riding single-file in one wheel-track in the deep snow, unable to pull over if a car overtook us, unable to brake or steer out of the rut or change gears. Any of these actions would cause the bike to promptly fall over on its side. Ask me how we found this out.

      The trip from Princeton into Hope took us hours to navigate; it was dark when we arrived at Manning Park Lodge to stop for a cup of coffee. At Hope the roads were clearing and we had bare pavement soon after that. One rider went to hospital that evening, his hip joints had "frozen" up and he couldn't walk. We were all very, very cold and stiff...but you know, the four of us of us left of that group of six still talk about that trip. We certainly made some memories.

      The 500 met an early demise when I was hit by a car in 1973. I broke some bones and missed motorcycling tremendously in the three months while I healed. As soon as the casts came off I borrowed a car and $20 and drove to Allied Honda in Burnaby. I intended to take them up on their ad for a new Honda for that $20 down. I bought a 1973 Honda 750.

      I remember the price, $2100 with a free matching helmet and my year's Insurance cost just over $200 for full coverage. I never did keep track of all the miles put on these early bikes, but I went the farthest on the 750. I was usually gone from Friday after work until Sunday evening, every weekend in the good weather. Our little motorcycle group had discovered the large and well-established Clubs in Washington; the '99ers, the Hoquiam Ramblers, the Kirkland Rebels to name just a few and we began to regularly attend their well-organized events. There was nothing like this in our part of the country and I met many wonderful people in those years as well as discovering some great roads. Canadian participants at that time were rare and we each accumulated a number of long-distance trophies for travelling just beyond Seattle.

      During 1974 I primarily commuted to work and took local rides and also became a Motorcycle Instructor for the BC Safety Council. This excellent training program was in its inception and I thoroughly enjoyed my two seasons with this group of excellent staff and instructors. In late 1975 the 750, by this time accessorized with Windjammer fairing and Craven hard bags, was stolen. I had the bike up for sale as by this time I had married and we had two small children - my priorities had changed.

    • 1992 - present
      Skipping ahead to 1992, children almost grown, my heart longed for a motorcycle again. I went back to what I had known before, and bought a used 1981 Honda 750 for $800. I took it easy at first, refreshing my skills, and once I felt confident again took a solo trip to Vancouver Island in October. Early the next year I discovered some local bike Clubs and enthusiastically joined three: the UMCI (United Motorcycle Club International); the Langley Road Riders and the Free Wheelin' Canadian Women's Motorcycle Club. The ride schedules of these clubs provided many opportunities for local and long-distance riding, camaraderie and fun, and I continue to renew membership with each group. I participated in my first UMCI Provincial Rally, at Sicamous, B.C. that summer. By late summer of 1993, I had outgrown the 750, primarily because I had the opportunity to ride a friend's Wing on the UMCI BC 500 road rally and other solo trips. I was spoiled by this luxurious machine and began to look for a touring bike. A GW was out of my price range but in 1993 I lucked onto a used 1978 Yamaha XS1100.

      A bargain at only $800! I bought it from the second owner, the original owner had customized this bike to the max, it had a superb paint job (I was told that it would cost upwards of $2000 to do it nowadays) - red that airbrushed into black; a huge Calafia full fairing, trunk box and hard top-loading saddlebags; home made running boards with heel-toe shift, radio and trailer hitch. It really was a thing of beauty. But beauty is only skin deep and I soon found out that this bike had sat unattended for at least two years and it cost a lot of money to have a tuneup, the carbs cleaned and almost every rubber part replaced.

      In September I accepted a very good friend and riding buddy's invitation to accompany him on a three week trip through the Southwestern States. This was my first major trip on the XS, a great touring machine with a very strong motor.

      We were on the road from September 19th to October 12th, riding from Abbotsford, BC. through Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. A very memorable piece of road was Utah #12 from Boulder to Escalante, 27 miles of great curves when suddenly you arrive on top of a razorback ridge, where the ditch is 2000' below. Awesome! Then onto the Grand Canyon south rim and a day of sightseeing. Next onto US #40, when disaster struck as we approached Seligman, AZ. The XS, at speed, emitted a loud and terrible grinding sound - I thought the brakes had locked - as I lost power very quickly, pulling over to the left of the fast lane where I had been travelling. The upshot of this is that I slowly limped on into Kingman where there was a Yamaha shop, the bike not willing to shift and the gear indicator registering neutral as I drove. It took a week and $700 US to fix it. Second gear had gone and taken fifth with it, as I learned later, an inherent problem with this forerunner of the Venture and the early Ventures as well. I also learned that the XS burned oil at a ferocious rate for it was nearly dry at the time of this incident. For the rest of the time I owned it, it routinely used 1L. for every two tanks of gas. You get what you pay for, right?

      We headed homeward on the California Coast Hwy, where I met disaster once again at Carmel, CA. When leaving a gas station, I was headed out onto the main road when a car suddenly approached. As I put my right foot down to stop, my toe sunk into a pothole and the heavily-loaded bike went over, badly twisting my leg underneath, ripping the sole off my boot and breaking three toes. I couldn't go to a hospital since my travel insurance had expired a couple of days prior, so the next morning we started for home. It took us three days, foregoing the beautiful Coast Hwy., cutting across to the I-5 to save time. It took six months for my foot and leg to heal and return to normal size; while I could ride, I couldn't walk very far.

      In 1994, the "Excessive XS" and I participated again in many UMCI events, having a lot of fun in spite of twice earning a hard-luck award. Once for - you guessed it - oil leakage in copious amounts while enroute and once for dumping the bike in gravel at 20 kph and breaking another toe. Most of these rides were of a good length; I note that from home to Kamloops, BC for the start of the BC 500 in June, the ride and the return home was 1440 km. over the two days.

      I particularly enjoyed one July Saturday ride taken with three UMCI friends from Kamloops who rode to Abbotsford where I joined them. We rode into WA and across US #20 to Winthrop, where the temperature had risen to 42 degrees C. by mid-afternoon. We crossed back into Canada and Osoyoos via US #97, then picked up #3 to Princeton. There were forest fires burning at that time and as dusk approached we became especially wary of wildlife as we headed N.up #5A. It was nearly midnight by the time we arrived in Merritt so we chose to take the Coquihalla Hwy. #5 into Kamloops to end our day. We were up and on the road a few hours later, bound for the UMCI breakfast in Salmon Arm after which my friends went riding - what else? - and I returned home via Hwy. #1 through the Fraser Canyon.

      On the August long weekend I travelled with a friend on a 1900km trip through NE. Washington on #20 to Omak; N. on #97 to Kelowna, B.C.; then we were forced S. on #33 to cross back into the US at Midway. There was no accommodation available at all in this area in Canada as the forest fires has caused many tourists to stop for the night. The next day we rode E. from Kettle Falls, WA on #31 to Ione, then N. back into Canada to rejoin #3 into Cranbrook. The return trip the next day was W. on #3.

      As the km's racked up and the rings got progressively worse, none of my riding friends would ride behind me anymore. Under hard acceleration I left behind a black cloud so thick and stinking that it was hard to see the road, or breathe. I could write a book on my experiences with this bike, but to capsulize my two years with the beautiful oil-burning, smoking, shimmying-at-speed-in-the-corners Red Beast - we shared nearly 50,000 km. of wonderful adventures and misadventures and I will never again own another motorcycle with so much "personality".

      I had begun to look around for another bike early in 1995, the electrics on the XS were becoming a major problem - and the last straw. Two of my riding friends in Kamloops rode Ventures and they extolled the virtues of this bike at every opportunity. I had joined the local Venture Touring Society the previous year and started to pay more attention to this "different" motorcycle. The 1200cc bikes were reputed by some to be the most nimble so I started to look for one. I found a 1984 Venture Royale not far from home, asking price $3500 with only 40,000 km. I bought it and although it was running and in good shape, a good friend of mine took it home to strip it down and meticulously serviced it.

      While the Venture was down, I decided to follow my friend's advice and have it painted - GMC turquoise was the color I chose and while the bike was apart I had the casings, forks and handlebars chromed. I upgraded to Progressive springs, and replaced any worn gaskets, seals, bushings and screws. (Not personally, mind you.) On July 15th the Venture was ready for the road and I was off with friends to Kelowna for a barbecue and overnight campout prior to heading for the UMCI International Rally in Devon, Alberta - returning home through southern AB and BC.

      1996 - My major trip that year was to attend V-Days in Gunnison, Colorado. This was an 8000km ride that went through nine States. The highpoints of the ride for me were the "Million Dollar Highway" from Montrose to Ouray, CO. - with innumerable switchbacks (sans guardrails!), traversing the summit of Red Mountain Pass at 11,120 feet; and crossing 60 miles of Death Valley.

      1997 - due to on-call shiftwork my riding time was limited but I did travel to Vancouver, WA for a VTS "Hands Across the Border" campout with WA and ORE members. I also enjoyed many local Club rides and travels throughout Southern and Central British Columbia.

      1998 - once again my riding time was limited, but I was able to travel to Ashland, ORE for the ORE/WA VTS "Labor Day Campout"; returning home via the Coast Hwy. N. from Eureka, CA.

      1999 - This was my lowest mileage riding year. I joined in on the ride that Cliff mentions - from Osoyoos to Lopez Island and through Eastern and Central Washington and had the opportunity to take only one other week-long ride in September. Mileage on the Venture at the end of this season is 118,000 km.

      2000 - it is time to have the Venture motor rebuilt, not only in preparation for the Y2K C2C Tour, but for continued enjoyment of this very fine motorcycle. I have often been heard to say that "I never get attached to a motorcycle" - but must admit I have very strong feelings for the '84.

      Clearbrook Yamaha, a local shop with a good reputation for service, has just performed the following work: replacement of 2nd, 3rd and 5th gears, new stator, new V-Max pistons and rings.

      I am a proud member of the following Motorcycle Organizations:

Preparation and Trip Log ~ Trip Schedule
My Wheels and Memories I Have Gathered
Riding Companions ~ Travellin' on the Web
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