Day 6 - July 6th Thursday
Distance travelled for the day- 619 km
Total distance for trip - 3889 km
Route - Medicine Hat - Golden
I woke up early in the morning but had to wait until 8:00 am for the Harley Shop to open. I called Harley at 8:05 and was put through to the service dept. Unfortunately they don't service Triumph motorcycles but recommended that I call Medicine Hat Moto-Sports.
They didn't open until 8:30am and I called at 8:35. The service dept wasn't available and I gave my number so they could call me back. I was finally able to speak with Stacey from the parts department and although they don't typically service Triumph motorcycles they agreed to take a look.
I packed up and checked out of the hotel. Earlier in the morning I had checked on my bike and the battery charger showed a green light indicating the battery was charged. When I came back to the bike with my bags, Warren drove up on his Harley. It was very good timing. He helped me back out of the tricky parking spot and offered to guide me to Moto-Sports. I turned on the bike and the battery was dead, not even a clicking sound.
This time I would have to push start the bike. Fortunately another guest at the hotel saw us in the parking lot and offered to help push. With a combined effort they gave me enough speed that when I popped the clutch and it started. Phew!
It was a 10 minute ride to Moto-Sports and after delivering me safely, Warren went off to other commitments. He said he's return in a bit to see how it was going. I had parked the bike in the parking lot and the service guys had to come outside into the heat to take a look. Stacey was the parts guy and Nick was the mechanic. Nick was British and told me the last time he rode a Triumph was in 1967.
We took off the seat and they hooked up a digital voltmeter to check the charge. Then they attached a portable battery with leads and we were able to jump start the bike. Using these tools they performed an impromptu load test and discover that when the engine was revved the battery was not charging. After a closer look, Nick discovered that there was a loose connection on the negative (black) terminal.
It made sense to me that the problem was a loose connection because I experienced the issue intermittently until it finally wouldn't work at all. If it had been a system issue the first time I had a problem would have been definitive. At least that's what I reasoned. It could have come loose after thousands of kms traveling and hitting bumps and vibrations on the road.
We wanted to make sure that this was the issue and the only way to do that was to remove the battery, fully charge it and do a proper load test. This would take two hours. The staff were were helpful. They gave me a place to store my bags and I changed out of my riding gear and walked to a coffee shop for lunch. A couple hours later I returned and Nick confirmed the battery was in good shape. It seemed very likely the issue was a loose connection but there was no way to be 100% certain. So they asked that I email them when I arrived safely at my destination. I agreed and packed up my gear and I was on my way by 2:30.
I'd like to say a huge thank you to Warren, Stacey and Nick for all their help.
My plan was to ride to Banff/Lake Louise and see how I felt and what time I would arrive before deciding on next steps. If I was still fresh I would continue to BC. It was very hot coming out of Medicine Hat and onto the TransCanada Hwy 1 West. I rode 300 km west to Calgary only stopping for gas and water.
The Trans Canada Hwy offers a bypass around Calgary on the way to Banff going west. According to experts Calgary is the best planned city in North America. The downtown core is a grid system and there are ring roads around the city for faster commuting.
To get around Calgary on the bypass heading west is about 30 km. When you arrive on the other side of the city from the prairie you can see the rocky mountains in the distance and it's inspiring. As you travel further west you get closer to the mountains until they are upon you, majestic.
The ride through the mountains was one of the most spectacular rides of all time. I stopped in Lake Louise to get a bite to eat and sat at a picnic table along side a river only steps from the parking lot.
Looking at google maps I decided to stop for the night in Golden BC for two reasons. The name of Golden was representative of the day and for practical reasons it was the right distance, only one more hour of riding.
The sun was setting when I arrived in Golden after the best ride of my life. Along the way the mountain views were spectacular, the roads winding and empty. I enjoyed every moment.
I was lucky to get the last room available at the Holiday Inn Express. There were 3 other motorcyclists there standing outside beside their bikes chatting. Two of the three were from Medicine Hat and the third Cèsar had come from Guatemala. He was on his way to Alaska on a BMW GS. We chatted late into the evening and agreed that the route from Lake Louise to Golden was one of the best of all time.