Canada Prep, or parking lot maintenance

Thanks to the lovely April Swaine, we have a garage to do some maintenance in. It’s a lot nicer than the side of the road, but we did have to go to Trader Joe’s and ask to borrow a couple milk crates. We started with an oil change and realized that the Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink, which I had bought to do dishes in while camping, is a great oil catcher (the green thing below Chris’ hands). It’s a sealed collapsible bucket and squishes down to the size of a large donut, but is perfect for oil. Much more useful than dishes.


Our amazing tool roll, which I know I’ve mentioned before, has proved an amazing asset. The magnet pad is especially helpful.


Before heading into the untamed wilds of the Canadian North we desperately needed to change our tires. We had knobbies on the bikes when we left SF and just wanted to run them down to not waste them before we switch to a more 50/50 style tire, better for the highway and still manageable in the dirt. We went with the Heidenau Scout K60s. We are looking forward to seeing how many miles we can get out of them.

We learned an important lesson about tire removal when your bike is precariously placed on a milk crate that doesn’t fully elevate the wheels: definitely take the front wheel off first. You can lift the front of the bike up a lot easier than the rear, so relieving the front end of weight to slide the axle out was not a big deal. Once the front wheel is off, you can lean the bike forward until the rear wheel is in the air. We learned this the hard way and spent some time struggling to remove the axle on the rear wheel of the 2010 at first. Now our bikes are awaiting their fresh rubber, looking naked and alone.

IMG_2601At least they have each other.

IMG_2599The Heidenaus come in a Tubeless and Tube Type version, and we have tubes, but the tube types were out of stock. It’s fine to run tubes in the tubeless tires, they just have a stiffer side wall. We also bought some heavy duty tubes to help prevent flats while in Canada and Alaska. The combination of these tires and tubes made us want to spend the $100 to pay someone else to mount the new tires. We’ll save our tire changing energy for the side of the road. So we brought them over to Triumph of Seattle, a local KTM dealer. They have been super helpful and awesome.

While twiddling around the neighborhood, we also found a knife sharpener and went in to get Chris’ pocket knife sharpened. Seattle Knife Sharpening and Supply is a fancy knife shop run by a guy named Bob Tate. He originally told me it was going to be about a week to get Chris’ knife back and when I told him we were heading up to Canada on Friday he was incredibly accommodating.
“You’ll be camping, won’t you?”
Nod of the head.
“And you’ll need your knife for camping.”
Another nod of the head.

And then he just wrote “Due Friday at noon” on our intake sheet and said I’ll see you on Friday after noon. So cool! He also commented on the uniqueness of Chris’ knife, and seemed to really know what he was doing. So locals, take your knives to Bob!

If we stay on schedule and get the wheels back with fresh rubber tomorrow, then we should be set to head out on Saturday morning. Next stop: Inuvik, NWT, Canada. There are a couple other loose ends that hopefully come together tomorrow. Apparently, Canadian officials require proof of insurance that works in Canada, so you need to obtain from your insurance company, a little card saying your insurance is good in Canada. Progressive said that the Canadian Border Patrol requires originals and they wouldn’t email us a copy, but only mail it to us. They also only use Fed Ex. So we created a Fed Ex account so they could charge us to send it overnight yesterday (Wednesday). It’s Thursday at 6:26pm and it hasn’t come in yet. Mildly stressful.

What did arrive in the mail yesterday were smaller cheek pads for Chris’ Shoei Hornet X2, AND an Arai XD4 in XS with extra thick 30mm pads for Zoe! Don’t know if I mentioned it in here yet, but my Shoei Hornet X2 felt fine for fifteen minutes but then started hurting terribly on the side of my head. It was clearly the wrong shape for my head, but I sadly didn’t realize this until we were well into Northern California. I hoped it would break in, but it hadn’t by the time we got to Seattle and the way it hurts, it really isn’t going to break in. So I got an Arai. I could use a thicker crown pad, but at least it doesn’t hurt. Very annoying that I had to spend another $600 on a helmet. But if you know anyone who needs an XS Shoei and has a narrow and small head, instead of a fat and small head like me (I don’t know how it’s possible either), it’s for sale! Please buy it.

Also note, we aren’t turning our cell phones on in Canada because we don’t want to pay for the roaming, so we will only have communication abilities when we are connected to the internet. I don’t know when that will be, so blog posts may be less frequent, but don’t fret, I promise we are most likely alive.

Find me on What’s App or send us an email. Chris checks facebook regularly, I check it eventually. Lots of love, everyone! Thanks for reading.


One thought on “Canada Prep, or parking lot maintenance

  1. So glad everything is going so well! Hope you love being in Canada as much as I do! Miss you and can’t wait to hear from you again. xo Katie

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