Saturday, May 26, 2012

First 2012 adventure ride: part 5

After escaping the muddy trap (see part 4), I had to stop for a moment to rest and eat something.  I did some more exploration in the area after the caffeine break.

Then I headed towards Labelle.



[Labelle Lake]  I took this shot when I arrived at Labelle Lake.


[The right colors!] After taking the shot of the lake, here’s what I saw.  Wow!  I could not have found a better background for my grey Versys.

The same original shot with various color filters and temperature:



Mont Tremblant


[Dune Buggy] Once out of Labelle, I took the 117 South to Mont Tremblant

At around 16h30, I arrived in Mont Tremblant and I stopped at a snack bar to eat my favorite meal when I go out for a ride - a poutine!

While waiting for my meal, I saw this particular cruiser arriving in the parking lot.

I spoke with the owner (great guy!) for a while and he confirmed that Mont Tremblant park was really nice and it was worth the detour.

However, that will be for another day...  I still have another 2 hours until I get home.




That was quite a ride!  I think I got some nice pictures, I felt one with nature in a peaceful decor and even tougher moments are good souvenirs…at least it allowed me to test my limits and those of my bike.

What a great way adventure motorcycling is to disconnect with everyday civilization burden!

Next article: Mont Tremblant? or may be a surprise.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First 2012 adventure ride: part 4


Adventure riding is quite satisfying when everything rolls, but when it gets bad…


[Hells way] This path, which looks somewhat easy, got my attention before arriving to the little creek (see part 3).  As I had to turn around, I decided to take a peak at it when I passed back in front.

Sooooo bad idea.



[#$&* MUD!] Oh well, not that bad, I thought – slope is going down.  I can do it!

Effectively, up to then everything went relatively well…



[Lake Doré] Hey! Really…it was a good idea to follow this trail.  A sign indicating Lake Doré (the lake was on the left side) - I am probably closer to civilization than I thought.


Unexpected workout

[Strike 1]  Crap!, I’m in deep sh..trouble.  What seemed to be an easy trail suddenly transformed into a painful process!  Mud all around the place.  I tried to avoid it by riding on the side, but that made it even worse.     

Going down a muddy trail is not too hard, gravity helps.  But going upward is another story.  With a heavy bike – if you are hesitant on gas, something like this is bound to happen…

Sad smile

The last thing I expected on this sunny day was a bonus workout.  Push forward…pull back…push forward…all I achieved doing this was to sink further.

How the heck I will get out of that?  Finally, the solution was to spin the bike again (see part 3).  I put a big rock under the kickstand…but it was not enough, this rock was sinking under the pressure.  I had to pile another one over.  Then I was able to spin the bike enough to go into the opposite direction – downwards.

So turning back again…but it was not over yet, I still had to go up against the other slope.  Unfortunately, my fears were founded.


[Strike 2] Yet again.  I swear…if I get out of this darn hole…I’ll go back home and SELL THIS #$#%# BIKE RIGHT NOW!

I really need a lighter bike.

Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile

The bike was so deeply stuck that it stood on its own.  Unable to spin this time, the kickstand was out of reach and there was a big rock that blocked the front wheel.

The fatigue started to take over and I was out of resources.


[Light at the end of the tunnel]  Of course not! I’m not dead yet.

I got out of trouble by laying the bike on its side and putting 2 logs under the rear wheel so it wouldn’t go back into the hole when I lifted the bike back up.

Fortunately, the front wheel placed itself on the big rock on the side (and not back into the hole), which allowed me to get the bike out of this hole and continue my journey.

Phew!  That was a close one!


I learned my lesson – without the right bike and the right tires, mud is a no go.  There’s no way I’m going back there with my bike…

…well, unless I install a K60 on the back wheel too…

be right backBe right back

To be continued…part 5

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First 2012 adventure ride: part 3

Plan B: Sioui path

After turning around at the Chenail du Moine path (see part 2), I took the Sioui path that also leads to Labelle, but the road is longer.


[Fire roads]  Beaches Lake (Lac des Plages) is an area where logging is still active.  The happy consequence for adventure motorcycle amateurs is a maze of trails of different difficulty levels (0, 1, 2 and sometimes even more difficult).

The first time I ventured in that area, I followed the indications I found on the Internet to the letter  – I was quite afraid to get lost, run out of gas and get stuck in the woods.

But after a couple of rides in the area, I developed a good sense of orientation, previous fears disappeared and  now the need to explore new trails prevails.

All this just to say that I could not resist following this unknown fire road on the left picture.

Open-mouthed smile


[Quiet place]  I had to stop after a few miles.  The road was separated by a small stream a bit too risky to cross with the bike due to the deepness of the river bed.

This video on the right shows the peacefulness of this place.

I went for a walk on the other side of the stream and there were many other interesting trails to explore…but that will be for another ride. 


[Before the storm]  While cruising in this little paradise, I took some more shots of nature.

The path was easy to follow until I got to the next fork in the road…


To be continued…part 4

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First 2012 adventure ride: part 2

Chenail du Moine path, Beaches Lake (Lac des Plages)


[Chenail du Moine path] After riding the rest of Scotch road (see part 1)… the Huntington path… the Maskinongé path, here I am at Beaches Lake.  Up to now the ride is under control.  Everything is going as planned and I should be in Mont Tremblant shortly…










[Unknown trail]  …so darn wrong.  Whut?!  How did a rocky trail get here?  I don’t recall that path when I came here last year (see Beaches Lake Ride  ).  Yup, that’s me Who me? too anxious to leave, missed some map “details” and ended up God knows where.

(Back home I noted that I should have followed the “Lac à la Carpe” path instead of “Chenail du Moine”).

Might as well go see what's at the end of this trail…


IMG_0768[Dead end]  After a too rocky start to my taste, the trail conditions improved, until I reached this flooded section. 

There is no way I can get throught this: the trail is made of soil and if I attempt to cross it, I will get into trouble.


IMG_0769[Turn around]  It is not always easy to U turn with a 450 pounder.  A good trick is to spin the bike on the kickstand.

I uploaded a video on Youtube last year to show how to get out of trouble in a closed area as seen on the picture.  I included the video below. 

If you ever need to do this in the woods, just put a big rock or a piece of wood under the kickstand.

A little trick that saved my ass more than once!


Spinning on the kickstand


To be continued…part 3

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First 2012 adventure ride: part 1

Saturday, May 5 2012.  Finally the stars were aligned for a first ride... 

…well after overlooking all other overdue home improvement projectsSmile with tongue out.

When I woke up that morning at 6 am, I told my better half not to expect me before 5 pm and not to call the police before 9.

After a quick breakfast I scribbled a few lines on a piece of paper to plan my adventure ride.  My main goal was exploring Mont Tremblant Park, but by the trails from the Beaches Lake area (instead of the highway) to get there. So basically:

  1. Departure from St-Eustache
  2. Scotch road, Grenville (a must)
  3. Huntington road 
  4. Maskinongé road 
  5. Tour du Lac road, Beaches Lake (Lac des Plages)
  6. Chenail du Moine road 
  7. (gray zone, do some exploration)
  8. Somewhere in Labelle area 
  9. 117 south down to Mont Tremblant
  10. Mont Tremblant Park exploration
  11. Go back home

That should keep me busy all day.

Scotch Road


[Sand pit] Going to Scotch Road is never a problem. It is once you reach the sand pit that troubles begin.  Ever since my visit last year when I took this video:, there remains an irresistible attraction between my bike and this dune.

Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile




[On top of the sand pit] On the right, this picture was taken from the top of the sand pit.  You can see the bottom of the sand pit where the bike was in the previous picture, on the other side of the pond.

Getting there was not as easy as I had expected…I still wonder how I made it without crashing.

I lost my balance at least 3 times and each time I was sure I was going to bite the dust. 

I was most likely going too slow and Shinko’s 705 DS is probably not the ideal tire in that situation: the rear wheel was oscillating from left to right to left and was spinning a lot (in the top picture, you can actually see this pattern in the sand just above the helmet, slightly to the left).

To be continued…part 2