Good-bye Canada

After nearly 20,000km we reached our final destination in Alberta, Canada… Our mate Jeff was already waiting for us and a bottle of champagne got ripped open as soon we entered the driveway, very much like a Formula 1 celebration – just without the podium. But the last few kilometers were not without drama…

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I don’t know what it is, but it seems there is always something going wrong on the last day or just like in South America – this time it was a gel battery (Made in China) that completely died without warning. Gel batteries have become pretty much the standard for long distance motorcycle travellers since they don’t leak, don’t need maintenance or slowly deteriorate. Just every morning the same powerful punch that kicks the mighty single cylinder into action. HOWEVER,  if they fail they do like in our case. We just stopped for lunch and when we were ready to embark on the last leg for the day there was – nothing. No cranking, no clicking – heck, not even the headlight came on. It didn’t take long and there was quite a crowd around us, all with great suggestions and ideas on how to start the bike. We even hooked up some jumper cords but with no luck. A mild panic broke out, since finding a battery that would fit a BMW F650GS in the middle of nowhere could be quite a challenge. I could already envision myself riding that bike with a car battery duct-taped to the handlebars if we cant find a suitable replacement. A fellow BMW rider on a K100RS immediately grabbed his  mobile phone and started ringing around to track down a match – but once again, it was the Garmin Zumo 550 that saved the day suggesting a Napa  automotive outlet literally 1 km down the road. In a frenzy, CB ripped apart the bike to get the dud out, strapped it to the Dakar and rode away in a big cloud of dust. 10 minutes later he was back with a big smile on his face and a brand spanking new power pack. Only problem was that the poles where reversed and it was time to think outside the box. Since the battery connectors of the stock GS are pretty short, we had to perform another swap – so the battery of the Dakar went into the GS and the new one into the Dakar since you can install batteries either way…

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In the end all was good, and the fellow BMW rider waited with us patiently all the time until both our bikes were back into commission. Since we were heading all to Calgary we decided to ride together, but not without some local sightseeing on the way – so we passed a humongous rock slide that took out an entire village about 100 years ago: http://www.history.alberta.ca/frankslide/default.aspx and a massive glacier rock, that got dumped 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age: http://www.history.alberta.ca/historicsites/default.aspx

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The last few days were just great – we had plenty of time to catch up with Jeff and Cata, played with the bikes and other toys, even went boating with his family and a trip to Calgary included going down the Olympic bob-sled track from 1988 and checking out the fastest zip line in the world – yes: 140 km/h down the ski jump tower! Totally insane! Only Canadians come up with stuff like that… While the ride ride was not too bad, the breaking certainly was! You pretty much slam into a preloaded spring at the end of the zip line and depending on your body weight the impact force is accordingly… Considering that we have been putting on a few kgs over the last 3 month due to a very hearty diet the braking procedure was pretty uncomfortable and neither of us wish to repeat that any time soon. But needless to say, it was very sad to say good-bye to Jeff and Catalina but it is only another year until we meet again…

Overall, we believe that we had the most amazing honeymoon one can wish for. Surely, we could have flown to Paris or Antarctica, or stayed at the most expensive resort on a coconut island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean – but we doubt that we would have met all these amazing people, seen all this breathtaking landscapes or learnt so much about American history we did. Team Berg is all about adventure after all.

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In the end we knocked off about 29 States, a district and four Provinces in Canada. We missed/escaped hurricane Irene, countless violent thunderstorms on the east coast, encountered only two 10 minute rainy periods over three months, got toasted in the record breaking heatwave (pushing +40 degrees Celsius for about 30 days of our trip) and shivered at Yellowstone at -1 Celsius. We have met some amazing and generous people, heard fantastic stories and learnt so much about North American history and geography – things we would never learnt as kids in school or uni. We feel so privileged that we were allowed to embark on this journey, with getting time off work to do it and the health and resources to enjoy it.

The downside it, that this trip completely hooked us and we cant stop thinking about where to go next year…The West Coast beckons us…

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