Sunday, June 19, 2016

More two-wheeled fun!

"I'm not gonna shower this morning, cuz I'll probably need to have one when we get home tonight anyway...." said me, to Chris, when we got up bright'n'early Saturday morning to go dirtbiking.... Yep, that's right.... Dirtbiking. I bought one of those crazy machines on Friday, and unbeknownst to me, that sentence would become the understatement of my year! The story I am about to tell you ranks up there as one of the most stupid Cheryle tricks in the history of Cheryle. I almost can't believe I am sharing it publicly, but hey, it was a good learning experience, and part of my blogging goal is to share my experiences in the hopes that others find the info useful, or at least entertaining. So here it is. D'oh!

I've been humming and hawing about getting a dirtbike ever since Chris bought his a few months back. I thought perhaps I'd look around, take my time, and see what I could find on Kijiji or something. Well I'm fairly particular, and somewhat impatient, so when the invitation to head out West for a Saturday ride was sent out earlier in the week, I figured, meh, how about if I stop in at Turple Brothers and have a quick look-see. Chris had Friday off so he eagerly drove me there, and within about 90 minutes I was on the phone to my insurance agent - I was the proud owner of a brand spankin' new CRF230. Of course I needed all of the associated riding gear, so by mid-afternoon Friday I was completely decked out for some two-wheeled fun!

We headed out past Prairie Creek with a group of riders and side-by-siders, and I proceeded to have a fabulous first day on a dirtbike. The company was awesome, the scenery was beautiful, and I only had about half a dozen relatively minor 'tip-overs' (as Dave calls them!). I was loving it!

Fun on wheels!

Beauty views!

And then.... It happened. We had been riding through mud puddles all day - some small ones, and some that were as wide as the trail in places. Being a bit of a newbie slowpoke, I dropped quite far behind the two bikes ahead of me, so when I came upon one of these 'larger' puddles, I assumed that they would have ridden through it. It never dawned on me that they might have found a dry path around it, so I geared down, cranked on the throttle, and plowed right through the center of the water. Or at least that is what I anticipated doing. In actual fact, what ended up happening was I made it about eight feet into the puddle before the front end of my BRAND NEW dirtbike sunk into what turned out to be a 5-foot deep mud hole. Before my brain could really register what was going on, I was up to my neck in slop water. I let go of my precious BRAND NEW Honda's handlebars and flailed to the edge of the puddle, and as I was hauling myself out, poor Chris was running towards me in disbelief. He saw the whole event, and the only visible parts of my BRAND NEW bike at this point were the clutch lever and handgrip and the tip of the rear fender - the rig was completely submerged. Gaahhhh!

I was so unbelievably mad. I stood at the edge of the mud, looking like a vaguely pink swamp monster, cursing, ready to leave the stupid bike in the stupid puddle and stomp/slosh back to the stupid truck. Luckily, Chris is slightly more level-headed than me: He reminded me that the stupid truck was a stupid 10km away, and he calmly insisted that we were going to drag the bike out, take it home, and fix it.

So that is what we did. Surprisingly, and I'm guessing adrenalin had a bit to do with it, we had the bike out of the puddle within 20 minutes. I then pushed it for another 20 minutes (uphill!) before the two other riders came back to see what was taking us so long. Fortunately one of them had a tow rope, so Chris pulled me up to the crest of the hill, and from there I coasted down to the main road where, 2-1/2 hours after the fateful plunge, I waited to be picked up.

I didn't get any photos of the 'incident' as the camera was in my backpack which got soaked. But here are a few pics of the aftermath:

A serious pressure washing session ensued - the bike and all my clothing were hosed down big time - the mud was everywhere and it was black and it dried like cement! We drained the oil and fuel from the bike, cleaned out the airbox and filter, cleaned the carburetor, changed the spark plug, cleaned out the exhaust piping, replaced the fluids, greased up the chain, charged up the battery, and guess what.... she fired up first try!


So I definitely had an epic first day out on the dirtbike. I definitely needed a shower when I got home. And although I wasn't able to at the time, I can laugh about it now. Oy, Cheryle! Tsk.

Moral of the story - things aren't always as they appear! And don't ride through a puddle unless you see somebody else do it first! LOL!

Be careful out there my friends!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One last look.....

I'm back on Canadian soil now.... What a sensational vacation! Here are a few straggler pics - I took two cameras with me by the way, which makes me laugh because I never in a million years would have believed that I of all people would record a holiday solely on my phone! And I pretty much did just that. Gotta love technology!



View of beautiful Reykjavik from the steeple of Hallgrimskirkja.

Teeny action figures were on many street signs
around downtown. How fun!

Creative garden wall.

The street art was incredible!

The waterfalls of Iceland are amazing!

Geothermal activity is everywhere.


As per usual, after a phenomenal holiday, I'm itching to plan the next one - and that right there is the only good reason I can think of to go back to work! LOL! I do still have a few days off however, to ease myself back into reality and to get caught up with friends, which I am looking forward to.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sjaumst sidar, Iceland.....

All of a sudden it is my last day in Iceland.... *SIGH*  What a stellar trip this has been! Travelling here by myself meant that I joined organized tours and decided to stay only for a short period of time - partially due to the expense and partially due to not having much insight to the country's culture. Knowing what I know now however, I wouldn't hesitate to rent a car and wheel around the country at my liesure! Maybe next time?

The Icelandic people are a unique breed - they are highly intelligent and extremely motivated. Everybody, with the exception perhaps of a very few elders, speaks three to four languages, and the unemployment rate of less than 2% can likely be attributed to the fact that Icelanders are expected to work and contribute to society starting at age 14. Daycare costs are reasonable and is available for little ones as young as 6 months, so almost every parent puts their children into one. And from that time on, when a child brings lunch and a toy with them to playschool or kindergarten, it all goes into a common pile and they are taught to share, all of it. Many of the native Icelanders feel that this is why there is very little crime - there is no need to steal a thing, because if you really need something, another person will lend it to you. As well, they say that they don't steal because they would likely be 'robbing from their own family'. The country only has 330,000 inhabitants, so there is a good chance that somewhere along the line they are related!

All in all, I think their general life philosophy is great, and I now fully understand why so few of them are eager to move away. It is definitely the freshest (is that a word??) place I've ever been, with the purest of pure water and a vast renewable energy supply which distinguishes it from every other country on the planet. And did I mention the Skyr!? You should Google that - it is almost the best thing I've ever eaten... Mmmmm.....

A few last thoughts about my experience: Iceland is hands-down the most expensive place I've travelled to so far. Yep it is. This 9-day excursion is costing me more than a month's salary..... Oy..... But it has been worth every single Krona. It is in the top two of the most beautiful countries (outside of my own of course! LOL!) that I have seen. The people are somewhat reserved, but I did meet and get to know some really great locals: Asta the fabulous city tour guide, James the Puffin expert, Saga and Fay the hiking guides, Karl the walking volcano encyclopedia, Simon the off-road king, Seo the crazy Viking storyteller, Ian the history buff, and the always entertaining Steini, Rakel, and Louis, from the gorgeous hotel that I stayed at.

Speaking of hotels, my Mom really really wanted to see pics... Eyja Guldsmeden is relatively small, but it is top shelf all the way. The staff is amazing, and the chain originates in Denmark, and organic is their thing - from the food they serve to the furniture throughout the building to the toiletries in all the rooms. Five stars is what I would rate it for sure!

I'm sad to leave - I've had an awesome time here - but home is good too! Summer in the Rockies is pretty hard to complain about. So until next time Iceland.....


Monday, June 13, 2016


Wait a minute.... That's not right.... It's 'Snaelfellsnes'..... But I swear when the Icelanders say it, it sounds just like Snuffy! At any rate, that is where I went today - Snaelfellsnes National Park. And I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but the vistas were stunning! The black sand beaches are mysterious and not frequented by locals - the sea is vicious. It does give back however, and there are several busy fishing villages along the rugged coast on that peninsula.

The weather was pretty much perfect today. Which meant lots of blue-sky photos!