With fall in full swing and a rare warm Thanksgiving weekend coming, I planned a long day (Dawn till Dusk) ride as a sort of Grand Finale to the season. Most of the time trying to get my ridding buddies together for a ride is akin to herding cats, but they must have sensed the impending end to the season, and actually wanted to go. Canadian Thanksgiving is mid-October and depending on the year can mean snow but this year has been unseasonably warm all month, reason for any bike aficionado to be thankful.

The route is a conglomeration of some of my favorite routes made into a long loop. It covers the southwest corner of Alberta travelling through the foothills of the Front Range of the Rockies, The Castle Valley and through the Porcupine Hills areas south of Calgary. Most of the roads are fairly wide, well-travelled gravel, but some get rough, narrow and remote. I have even thrown in a couple of my favorite found treasures in the form of green-lanes just to keep my buddies entertained, and challenged. As much as I enjoy pushing the limits of my own skills, I try not to make my outings an abuse of machine or rider when groups are involved. The fun-factor should outweigh the risk, and is always considered in my planning.

This trip will also see my quest for the 100,000 km mark on my “990 Adventure” come to fruition somewhere just north of Blairmore, Alberta. For a while I was certain that I wouldn’t make that mileage this year with a less than stellar riding season and a much abbreviated “big trip”, but sometimes I underestimate just how much I get out riding.

It was still dark when I left my garage to head over to the coffee shop meeting point but the temperature was a balmy 10 degrees Celsius, amazing for October in these parts. I was still fiddling with my GPS when Warren arrived in his truck. He was as disappointed as I was that he couldn't join us, but family obligations prevented all but the early morning coffee meet. We were sitting on the patio of the Starbucks when we heard the approaching burble of the next bike and it wasn't long before both Chris and Ian had joined us. Chuck rolled in last on his KTM 640 Adventure. We didn't hang out long as we had a full day of riding ahead, but wanted to have the sun up enough before we ventured out onto the dirt I had planned to start the day. We all said our goodbyes to Warren and rolled out of the parking lot eager to enjoy the day.

The first "green-lane" of the day.

It had been dry during the week and warm so I thought I would risk the fairly long "green-lane" north of Millarville using the little one just west of our meeting point as a test of surface conditions. I didn't take into account the fact that the Millarville one was a north to south lane and the muddy section never really sees much sun to dry it up. It was a Mud-Pit with lots of slippery Aspen leaves hiding the treacherous spots. No one crashed but I was stuck for a few minutes, mud flying as I chewed my way out of the deep mud hole. I was too busy to take pictures and I don't know if any of my buddies managed to sneak a picture during the action. The clay covered climb to the peak was slick but we all made it up and over. The south grassy side was dry and a relief after the greasy climb.

Once the sun was fully up the day was fantastic (for riding) and we didn't stop much after fueling in Turner Valley until we were a long way south on the Trunk Road.

We stopped to say hi to another friend that was camping (with a trailer) just up Dutch Creek road which had seen some construction since the big water crossing earlier this season. A bridge now spanned the clear calm shallow water in the place of the original flood damaged one.

Even the washout had a new bridge (none was there before).

As we journeyed further south the clouds started rolling across the mountain peaks and a few drips of rain with them. The wind started to blow, even in the shelter of the valley, growing stronger as we neared the Crows Nest Pass.

We stopped for lunch at the Cinnamon Bear in Coleman before doing the loop into the Castle Valley and up to the old Adanac Mine, a side trip that I threw in at the last minute.

The wind across the top of the ridge line that overlooks the old mine-site was so intense that it nearly blew over our bikes as we sat on them.

2 wide angle shots stiched together (sort of). The view south from the Adanac Mine site.

Then we ran up North Burmis road and into the Porcupine Hills where I hit the first of two milestones.

99,990 kms. ( The bike is a 990)

Ten kilometers of odometer watching I pulled over here.

For this,

Then we carried on in the late day sun toward home, gravel surfing (much to Chucks displeasure, he hates the deep marble gravel)

One more green lane in the failing light before finishing where we started.

It was a great end-of-season group ride. As we sat on the patio sipping hot coffee the sun finished its journey to the western horizon. I arrived home in darkness just as I had departed another season coming to a close.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost; The Road Not taken.
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Wow....quite the milestone Lee, Congratulations! As always, thanks for sharing Alberta.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Video coming down from The Adanac Mine Site


The only video that I shot this trip. The Mine site is about 6000 feet above sea level.

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I found a Way

Haha get the oil can out bro !!

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So I went for a quick morning ride to work off the meal and work out the pain. How you ask, By making those already sore muscles work even more.

And being the full-service tour guide that I am, I re-rode the first two green-lanes and shot video and pictures. I re-enacted getting stuck and again spun my way out of it. Total dedication to my craft.....:Rockon:

First green-lane both today and Saturday.

Incredibly slippery forest trail. Leaves Grass and black mud make for ice-like surface.

The little muddy lane where we played in the MUD.

The end of day green-lane from Saturday.

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I can just see myself doing a face plant on that surface. My commutes have been very slick as well lately.


I can just see myself doing a face plant on that surface. My commutes have been very slick as well lately.

It was tricky to be sure. Leaves on pavement can be slick, but add grass and black mud underneath the leaves and yikes, next to no traction. Gives new meaning to Fall.


New Member

It was tricky to be sure. Leaves on pavement can be slick, but add grass and black mud underneath the leaves and yikes, next to no traction. Gives new meaning to Fall.
Since January i have drove my favorite bike HONDA ( ST 1300 ) 1,500 miles
YAMAHA SUPER TEN 8,800 miles
I can turn mine off and do at times
But man is it nice to when your 50 years old and tired !![emoji41]

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Video From the Weekend

This was the first little run that we did on the Saturday to get warmed up.


This was the second of the Green-Lanes that we did on Saturday. This footage was shot on Monday during a solo visit to get the footage that I missed on Saturday.

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Riding On Borrowed Time

It was another nice day or at least half a day. It was 1 degree when I left the garage and I made the mistake of wearing my Summer gloves. The heated grips kept the inside of my fingers warm. The top half of my hands started to hurt so I pulled over to warm them with the exhaust.

Then I did a little "Green Laning" on my way to meet my buddies north of town in Cochrane, Alberta.

After coffee to warm the innerds as well as hands we went to play in the woods.

Ghost River Valley north of Waiprous, Alberta.

The trail ahaed of me blocked with a fallen tree. Good thing as it was a 50 foot drop from the river damage back in 2013. The river must have looked terrifying during the flood. It is picturesque now.

Then we really got down and dirty. The trail really isn't easy on a big bike. A little arm pump but I made it to the lake!!

The reward;

Margaret Lake.

The video coming out will follow. It was a narly trail on a big machine with two wheels. I got a work out!


Video October 17th

This was my first attempt at using the YouTube settings to save the video. I have to say I am dissapointed with the quality, but it did take a 10th of the time to upload. It shows, sadly.

The hill that I fall over on was the hill that stopped me the last time I took the 990 out to try to get to Margaret lake. The lake is really nothing special, it is the challenge of the trail that is the appeal. There was ice in the water that is noticeable in some of the crossings. The water was so muddy that it was impossible to know how deep or if there was big rocks hiding, that could dump you on your side.


My bike really needs a good bath now!

It was so clean to start the day.

Not so much now.

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Freezing Over

It was a frosty below-zero ride to work this morning with rain and snow in the forecast overnight. Tomorrow the high just 5 degrees Celsius. This isn't the end of the riding season for me yet as the end of the week looks better, but as far as exploration goes and interesting pictures this might be it. I put together a little compilation over the weekend set to music (even a couple of recent songs, my kids think that I don't listen to anything after the late 1980's stuff).


I hope you enjoy.

One last video compilation from the 2015 videos highlights is in the works.

Enjoy riding all of you in southern and coastal climates!

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Happy Halloween

I took the Great Pumpkin for a Halloween ride through leafy lanes. It was a great grey day!

Pavement-less perfection!

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2015 in Videos

The 2015 Riding season in Video Review;

Where does the time go?

Looking back from the brink of the riding season’s end, I can’t believe that seven months have passed. A little over 18,000 kms have rolled under my wheels this year despite consciously keeping my riding in check to save money. This was a year of uncertainty, not knowing if I would even be employed by this point in the year. The company where I work still hangs on, waiting and hoping that our niche of the economy improves, but the reality says otherwise. It has been very stressful and it is a good thing I recorded the miles in pictures (and video) since my memory is a bit of a fog as a result. Stress can do that. The excitement that comes with the start of riding so distant now that only the video and pictures remind me that I felt it at all. I cherish every short ride that I can steal now from winter’s grasp, all too aware that the clock is ticking, waiting for the bell to toll on the season.

Despite everything, this riding season has been good, and longer than last year’s, at better than seven full months. I am passionate about riding and every minute on a bike is appreciated, and every winter without riding despised. If I could figure out how to spend every day, all day, all year on a bike and make a living, I would. When I commute to work on my bike, the ride, however short is the best part of my day. I stay in this part of the country for my job and for my children who go to University and live at home. When that situation changes I will consider a move to a climate better suited to my passion. In the mean time I make the most of the opportunities that the climate allows.

It is hard to explain to a non-rider or even an occasional-rider why I would rather suit up in full gear (to ride in temperatures below zero to go to work), when I have a nice car (with climate control) parked in my garage. The expression; “If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand” comes to mind, and is the best way of expressing how I feel about that. I have a car because it is a necessity (in winter) and a bike because I love to ride. It is that simple. When I was young and first living on my own I owned a motorcycle (two in fact) before I ever owed a car. I only bought a car for the winter, tired of walking home with groceries in the snow.

When this season started in the last week of March, there was still a lot of snow around, but the roads where dry in the city. The temperatures felt warm by comparison to what had been, but were still very cool. It was dark in the mornings when I left for work each day then, and now as winter approaches it has been dark again for weeks. The temperatures are colder now at the end of October than back in March and erode further with each passing day. So far the weatherman has been wrong about the snow and rain in the forecasts but that can’t last forever. I hold out hope that I’ll be able to ride into November this year at least a few times but this morning it is lightly snowing and the salt trucks will surely be out now. Once the salt hits the roads I'm parked.


"Ride Easy My Friends"

This morning! I'm glad I took the car.
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