Saturday, September 1, 2012

12oo GS Rallye 2012: Ride to Parent: part 3

See part 2

Sand pit, near Parent (47.75° N, 74.61° O).  Free camping area?
Nearing Parent (at about 11h20) on my first ride, a road leading to this sand pit got my attention.  The place was huge!  The picture on the left shows one third of the sand pit area.  Most likely a place where ATVs and motocross riders hang out. 

I would have spent a lot of time here but I was on a tight schedule.  I will certainly have other occasions to come back.

There was evidence of camp fire in the pit… probably a nice place for free camping near Parent.

Once in Parent, there are gas stations, restaurants, camping areas and hotels.  I had to refuel and eat something.  I was toasted and would probably have had a power nap in the restaurant after lunch, but hey!, the little restaurant was crowded!

1 p.m., back to Mont St-Michel

Heading home was more difficult than expected: the road from Parent to Mt St-Michel has more sand patches and the washboard sections are more pronounced.  I have my own theory on this: given that the logging trucks are loaded heading to Mont St-Michel and empty back from Parent, the road is subject to more strain and is more distorted. Here's how the return went on each of the bikes:

1- First with the Versys, it was a real ordeal. I stopped on the way, I could take no more of these vibrations: DrrrRRrrrRRrrrrr. I took off some pressure in the front tire. It was a good improvement for the washboard sections, but a big mistake for sand patches! The wheel had lost its bite in the sand and the bike slowed down more than before and easily shifted from left to right. The best solution, in my opinion, would be to further reduce the preload on the front suspension. In any case, it was a real relief when I finally left the path to Parent! But I still had 240 km to go ... ouch!

I decided to spend some time in the area and took some shots.  I saw this beautiful horse earlier on my way to Parent.  I stopped by and took this shot.

Palomino, on Principal road, Mt. St-Michel

From that point onward, the way home was pretty boring.  I made many stops to rest, drink and eat something.  I was toasted when I arrived at home, the adrenalineless road sucked up the rest of my energy.  Of course, the fact that I left home at 3 a.m. and got back at 7 p.m. weighed in the balance.

2- Now with the 1200GS Rallye.  The combination of both a thinner and larger diameter front wheel was a major asset in this mix of sand and washboard. The wheel was more incisive in the sand and was less prone to transmit the road waves but rather to fly (for lack of better term) over them.  By adding the positive effects of suspension and a set of TKC 80 (50-50) tires, the behavior of the bike was much more predictable.

However, there was a real problem: traction control. When I passed through the sandy sections, the bike began to hesitate: Brrr ... Rrrrrrr .. brrr ... When I opened the throttle to compensate for the bike slowdown, I felt like I was riding a horse that did not want to jump a fence! Fortunately, this option can be disengaged – something I had not bothered to do before because the effect of traction control had never been a real problem, but now it was really time to disengage it.  For the time I had the 1200GS Rallye, I never experienced a situation where I saw the positive effects of traction control.  Its real benefit remains unclear on that kind of bike.

Beginning of the pavement after 120 miles of dusty Parent road, Mont St-Michel

Of course, I had to return home with the 1200GS too. Since it was still early in the afternoon, I stopped on the side of the road and searched on my iPhone for a route that could be more interesting than the 117 for the return. A resident of Mont St-Michel, a truck driver who knew the place, came by and suggested I take the Manaouane path: much quieter than the Parent road but also unpaved.  This road would lead to St-Michel-des-Saints, down South.

So, here I am at 2 p.m. seeking around for the Manaoune path, 140 miles (240 km) away from home.  Really, this old retired man kept a good secret…  since my Internet connection was bad, I could not find the said road with my iPhone/GPS!  Even after asking other residents, I was unable to reach this path.  Not an issue.  It will probably be my next destination: The Manaouane Indian Reserve through St-Michel-des-Saints.

Finally, I programmed my GPS to go home.  On my way back, I recalled a previous ride where I rode by the Labelle Lake and ended up about 20 miles north of Mont-Tremblant on the 117.  So I decided to make that previous ride in reverse (I was close to Labelle Lake.)

So I was riding south on the 117 looking for Labelle signs…Darn!  I missed the exit!  Oh well, I’ll take the next one.  I finally got out at the 323 South.  Let me say that providence made it quite enjoyable from then on…

One thing leading to another, I crossed this covered bridge on Prud’Homme road to take this unexpected picture.  Tires coincide perfectly with tire marks on the pavement, giving the impression I made quite a stunt to get there (my wife was the first to notice when I showed her my ride pics).

Funny coincidence!  Covered bridge, Prud’homme road

Then on the 327 South, I stumbled upon this beautiful creature:

Oddly enough, ever since I took a hunter safety course, deer keep popping up everywhere during my rides!  I like to stop and take pictures, but I can also understand hunters that like the challenge as well… could I shoot those beautiful animals?  There is a grey zone in my head.

The rest of the 327 south was a total frenzy. The road snakes through the mountains in successive curves, at times requiring to apply the brakes firmly (brakes on the Rallye are quite efficient) and then to accelerate to the next curve (and again quite sensational).

Heading through the 323 and 327 was the apotheosis of this ride with the Rallye.  I was able to enjoy the full potential of the bike on paved road, and it was absolutely awesome!

Lastly, I’d like to thank BMW Canada who accepted to lend me their brand new press bike (only 72 miles/120 km on the odometer) and Moto Internationale, on St-Jacques street in Montreal, who prepared the motorcycle.

Thank you for reading!

A condensed diaporama of the ride below. 

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