The title sums up yesterdays ride from Saskatchewan to Calgary. I set out in sweltering heat and against a powerful headwind that buffeted my KLR so that I could hardly keep it in my lane at times. The dry wind smelled of burning grass and seemed to emanate from a thick column of smoke on the horizon... smoke that, after hours of riding, came to envelope me. The massive prairie fire burned right to the edge of the pavement and, as I geared down on account of the poor visibility, my bike died. I pulled in the clutch and coasted onto the gravel shoulder. There I discovered two things: 1. In the midst of a raging fire, my carburettor spewed fuel all over my engine, frame and gravel shoulder when I tried to start the machine. 2. My Kawasaki tool kit lacked the tools I needed to properly diagnose the problem. (Normally I supplement the tool kit with a few essentials, but I had packed in haste. Another lesson learned.) I pushed the bike just over a kilometer until I was out of the smoke and under the shade of a grove of poplar trees near Piapot, Saskatchewan. I borrowed some tools from a farm kid who had stopped to help fight the fire and I phoned Quy, my blessed Vietnamese mechanic in Calgary. (The fact that he's Vietnamese really has nothing to do with the story except that he's quite difficult to understand over the phone due to his thick accent.) Anyway, with his help and borrowed tools we fixed the problem. The solution, as always with KLR's, was to remove enough things to properly access the offending component and hit it with a screwdriver - in this case, the carburettor. The rest of the ride proved uneventful except for some heavy rain, electrical storm activity, and more punishing wind.
Today, against Quy's advice, I'm taking the KLR on another long ride to Nelson, BC for the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle rally to present my slide show and sell books. For further updates and postings on my proposed, upcoming ride (with my KLR) from Germany to Iran, check out my website! www.jeremykroeker.com