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Picnic at Port Alice: Part 4

The road out

continued from Part 3

I didn't expect to go first, but I was ready and headed off back the upper east coast. Veranda and Gary would be behind me, but I wasn't sure how far back. I was fairly certain Veranda would be on my tail in no time. Despite her glowing hair, I suspected this girl had done her time with track days and could whoop just about any pedestrian rider in front of her.

My hunch was right. As I cornered my way out toward the junction of the Marble Mainline, one look in my rear-view mirror revealed what I had expected…a bright red sport bike, loaded with luggage and a flaming tail of light being released form the backside of the rider's helmet. How someone could hang onto all those locks is beyond me.

As a gentleman, I happily pulled to the right and waved her past me. I'm never one to want to hinder anyone's fun, just as I don't one a slower vehicle operator to hinder mine. Whhoooosh, she was gone.

Continuing up to Marble River, I felt the need to stop and take a photo of both sides of the river as it passes under the road. It's stunning. And so I did.

Funny…the entire time I was stopped, never did Gary pass by. Nonetheless, I placed my camera back into the tank bag and continued on. Good god these are some fine whoops and totally worth the trek in.

Nearing the junction of with 19, I spied something red in the distance. Not one red, but two…

Veranda was there, by the side of the road, inspecting her chain.

"What has happened here?" I said.

"Somewhere, further back I felt an odd shake in the chain, then it shook a second time. As I came around the last corner there the bike stopped accelerating and a loud chatter was happening at the rear wheel."

The chain had eaten several teeth from the sprocket, and in its hunger, had freed itself from the sprocket altogether.

As much as a MacGyver as I am, I'm not the guy carrying a spare sprocket for the rear wheel of a Honda CBR600RR. Or wait? Maybe I am…? Uh? No. I do not have that replacement on board. But maybe Gary, who would soon be coming up from the rear on his Harley Tri-Glide would…uh…no…probably not.

And soon enough, Gary did appear. With ideas for a fix.

"Let's stuff the bike behind the 'Welcome to Port Alice' sign. Then you can ride back to Campbell River with me on the back of the Tri-Glide, we'll get my track, come back and fetch your bike, and get it to the Campbell River Honda dealer in the morning."

Now, I'm trying to imagine the scenario. Gary pulls into driveway, giant peacock red flaring from a strange passenger's helmet, wife in driveway trying to make sense of it all. This is not going to go well.

It turns out, that's not how it went at all. Instead…

Gary agrees to take Veranda back to Campbell River. As they mount the Tri-Glide, Gary shifts it into first-gear. Only one problem. It does not engage. As Gary twists the throttle, nothing but a whirring sound occurs…no movement. Another attempt. No luck.

So, off all the helmets come…

"Plan B," announces Gary. "I have a friend with a flatbed tow truck who can get both of us out of here." Cell service in this area is spotty. Even with the Big V, I can't connect from here. Not a problem for Gary, who has come prepared, pulling a satellite phone from the trunk compartment. Oh, to be well-to-do and retired.

It's confirmed, Gary and Veranda have a ride into town, and thus, it's time for me to hit the road back and end this adventure. As I suspect, I pass a rather lengthy flatbed tow truck on my way back down the back-bone of Vancouver Island.

My evening is in Nanaimo. In the morning I hit the ferry back to Tsawwassen and enjoy lunch stateside at a favorite Mt. Vernon eatery in Skagit County.

GM/April 2019


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