Travel

Fall Tour 2020 – Part 6: Conclusion

Our group’s grand tourers. (L-R), BMW RT, BMW RT, Honda Gold Wing, BMW GSA and BMW RT. (Missing from photo, Honda Gold Wing. From Day 3)

Thick fog mixed with heavy smoke from forest fires in the U.S. greets us as we load our panniers early in the morning. It’s cold and the ride north towards home is going to be less than pleasant.

Our room is in a separate building away from the main motel rooms. As we walk over to check on the rest of the gang, I broach the idea of making the run from Fort Macleod to Calgary for breakfast at Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus. It’s a Dutch pancake house that Robyn says is his favourite restaurant in Calgary, and one he recently introduced me to.

Robyn eagerly agrees and we find the guys have just started packing. The guys are discussing an alternative to riding 470km due North on the dreaded (straight, boring) QE2 divided highway.

Given the very cold temperature and anticipated drone back to Edmonton, the guys want to get this last, ‘transit’ day over and get home, and we agree that Robyn and I will separate from the group and ride to Calgary.

We say our farewells and ride into the fog and smoke soup and within minutes on the highway, visibility drops precipitously. Robyn’s leading and he cautiously slows our pace down to 90 km/h. I can just make out his taillight, yet the odd car still passes us despite the lack of visibility.

And the temperature drops, from a ‘reasonable’ 4-5 C down to 2 C. I’ve got the Wing’s heated grips and saddle cranked up to ‘max’, the windscreen raised to the highest millimetre so I can still see over the top. I’m cold, not quite painfully cold, but definitely uncomfortable. I’m regretting I hadn’t obtained the correct power plug adapters for my heated vest to plug into the Wing’s 12v outlet. Stupid me.

This is the time when I miss the superior weather protection of my ’14 BMW R1200RT. It’s fairing and air management protects the rider better than the Wing.

Luckily, the ride from Fort Macleod to Calgary is only about 1-1/2 hours and as we get closer to Calgary, the temperature increases a couple of degrees, becoming tolerable.

We arrive at Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus a few minutes before opening and chat with a few other early bird customers waiting for the restaurant to open.

Breakfast is outstanding. I have the Bacon, Smoked Sausage and Mushroom savoury pannenkoek ($15.20) and coffee (always served with a Dutch biscuit), and Robyn orders a slightly ‘custom’ pancake. It’s a nice setting to end the tour.

From Calgary, Robyn and I separate ways; Robyn returns to Edmonton on his own, and I stay in Calgary to celebrate a family member’s 91st birthday.

The Fall 2020 Tour (From Edmonton to Fernie, Grand Forks, Kamloops, Nelson, Fort Macleod, Calgary and back to Edmonton) racked up a comfortable 2,909 km

When I rolled into the driveway, the Wing’s trip meter showed 2,909 km for our Fall Tour 2020, which started in Edmonton then to Fernie, Grand Forks, Kamloops, Nelson, Fort Macleod and finally home to Edmonton.

This year’s tour was mostly cool and smoky, virtually free of rain, lacked ‘events’ of any note, and was filled with good roads, memorable food, and great company. It was a good one.

End of Fall Tour 2020

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