Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From Yorkton Saskatchewan to Kenora Ontario

Although it had rained all night, by the time I had done my blog, emails and photos it was 10 AM and no rain! It was cold and overcast but zero rain!


We had no time to stop in Manitoba other than for gas but on the way home we will be staying in Brandon and visiting with friends and riding clubs in Winnipeg.

We cruised through to Kenora - 750 KM was our mileage for the day...
We got in To Kenora at about 8 PM Ontario about the next leg of our trip - Travel Ontario by Motorcycle:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lloydminster - Saskatoon & Yorkton!

Day three of our Conga saw us leaving Lloydminster but not before a wee press conference with the local NewCap TV station, a newspaper and a radio station. We were running late but still made time to go for a ride with Tami & Grayson - we stopped at the Honda Powerhouse and the Edge H-D shop - guess who just bought that shop - just weeks ago...Clint Rabb from the Cecil Hotel!

Stacey - L and Tami - R
Stacey - L and Tami - R
Lloydminster Honda Powerhouse
Lloydminster Honda Powerhouse
The Edge Harley-Davidson - Lloydminster
The Edge Harley-Davidson - Lloydminster

Finally at 11am we began the trek to Saskatoon to meet with Preacher and the gang from the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves. Wires got crossed as to what time we'd be there so we missed the lunch at the Casino but we still got to meet 90% of the gang - in all 14 riders came out to meet hubby and I, we discussed F.I.R.R.E. and I am proud to report that it looks like we will end up with one and perhaps 2 F.I.R.R.E. chapters in Saskatchewan!

Members of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves
Members of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves
Oh - and one more that didn't fit in the first picture (He was trying to hide and got routed!)
After a couple of very productive and enjoyable hours with the SK Lone Wolves some of them rode with us for a while, made sure we got out of town safely and off we headed towards Yorkton.
Lorna stayed with us until we got to a little service station in the middle of nowhere that had great food and of all the people who should walk in to the place - it was Al Maccinis from Slave Lake - just heading home from Sturgis!

After parting company with everyone - Mark and I headed for Yorkton - we got in at about 8 pm and I will tell you she was starting to get pretty chilly. We pulled in to the Comfort Inn on Dracup Ave. It is located very conveniently across the street from a Tim Hortons and most of the conveniences one could hope to need are in the region within walking distance.
Motorcycles park in front of the doors
Motorcycles park in front of the doors where an eye can be kept on them

The hotel is getting a face lift on the out side with new parging being done.
When we checked in, the young gal behind the counter made sure we knew where the laundry and pool/fitness area were. (Sadly the hot tub wasn't working but I didn't find that out until I was in the water.)

We got a luggage carrier and took all the gear off of our bikes and were told we could park them right in front of the hotel tight against the wall  - out room had a view of our bikes...

No water or cloths to wash our bikes down with but everyhting else was very hospitable.
The Pool and Hot Tub area
The Pool and Hot Tub area - there is also a gym room for those who choose to avail themselves.

The room itself was well appointed with a King bed - and while comfortable - the beds here were not as plush and comfy as the ones in Lloydminster - I slept very well though...
One really nice touch was the night light in the bathroom. I don't know about you but I find it hard to find my way around in the dark in strange places so I generally sleep with the bathroom light on and the door three quarters closed - the night light made for a much better sleep.
Electrical outlets were really handy to get to. Made charging up all of the electronics a breeze!

So far the Choice Hotels has a really good customer service rating from me.

If you find yourself in the Yorkton area and needing a hotel - check out the Comfort Inn & Suites:

22 Dracup Avenue
Yorkton, SK S3N 3W1
(306) 783-0333

Travel distance today was 655 KM!

Talk to you all tomorrow from Kenora...Were we meet with the gang from the 10th Anniversary Ride for Dad Cross Canada Run!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lloydminster - the border town

Lloydminster is a town with a confused or should I say confusing identity.

Split almost down the middle with "rich" Alberta on one side and "poor" Saskatchewan on the other.
Now let me explain that statement a Saskatchewan's defence - they do not have the population to sustain a decent tax base - it is a pretty province with a ton of potential and I guess as the oil and gas industry takes off here, the maintenance will improve but - without a large population base the money isn't there for the kind of infrastructure maintenance we are used to in Alberta.

Lloydminster - the border Marker
The border marker...
In the last 5 years, the Alberta side of Lloydminster has enjoyed huge growth in buildings and business not to mention population. The city has grown form 22K to about 30K - and as I said mostly on the Alberta side of things. It is rumoured that the Saskatchewan side is poised for huge growth with the Husky upgrader - we shall see...

After Mark and I checked in to our room - Lucien, Mark and I went to the Humpty's Restaurant on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster for a very unsatisfying supper. I am not generally one to provide a bad review on a business - if there is nothing to commend the business I generally just say nothing, however - this one is sooo bad IMHO that I had to share with you to prevent you from having the same disgusting and awful experience I had. The serving staff was slow, the food - when we finally got it after an hour of waiting was so horrid that I could not eat mine - it was greasy and unpalatable and the woman's washroom had black mold creeping up the wall - wished I had gone to the washroom BEFORE we ate instead of after - cause had I done that we would have left immediately - DISGUSTING and PUTRID are two words that describe the place.

We should have just stayed at our hotel to eat - but no we thought we'd go out and explore the town a bit...

When we were done eating, Lucien headed back to Alberta and his home in St Paul - it was an absolute honour to ride with him...and then hubby and I headed back to the Econo Lodge in the old down town core.

We were greeted by rags and wash buckets filled with warm water for cleaning our bikes which I promptly took advantage of. Once washed our bikes which were now bereft of their contents (hubby packed everything to our room) were then parked on the side walk. We couldn't help but notice that the in house restaurant - RC's RJB Steakhouse seemed to be very popular with cars coming and
Taking a few minutes to relax on my bike after giving both a wash...

Mark and I decided to walk around the down town core and take in some of the scenery and historic buildings.
The Anglican Church
The Anglican Church

I am unsure of what this building originally was but it is now a coffee shop and Internet cafe - the architecture is gorgeous!
OLD hotel in Lloydminister
The OLD hotel - another display of great architecture..

As with all cities that experience extreme growth - the down town core is suffering. Building new buildings is the big thing and the old and dare I say it - the beautiful brick and mortar buildings down town are being left behind - vacant and for rent or lease - every block we walked down had the same sad tale on display. It has the shabby elegance of a New Orleans or an Old is so sad to see such a marvellous area being left behind in favour of the new...

After our walk downtown, we decided to head back to our hotel - again we couldn't help but notice that the restaurant of the hotel was very popular. At the front desk I asked the gal about the restaurant and she told us that it was under new management and that the people who ran it were extremely good at what they do  - so since supper was so unsatisfying we decided that dessert and coffee might be in order.  What a treat! Creme Brule Cheesecake and a good cup of coffee - (No coffee seems to measure up to the Biker Coffee Company's coffee though).

I found it a bit pricey but very tasty, the serving staff was stellar and the restaurant had a nice decor.

We went back to our room and got settled in for the night. The flat screen TV went on, the pop came out of the fridge (we had fuelled up the bikes and done a bit of shopping to stock up the fridge)

The beds - OMG, were they comfy! If these are the kinds of beds we are going to be treated to by the Choice Hotels Chain - I am gonna like this trip a lot!

The room is well appointed with handy electrical outlets that allow one to charge their cell phone and run their lap top without having to move the fridge and microwave to get at them - that was another wonderful little bonus.

The staff knew to put us in a room where we could look out for our bikes - another bonus!

The one thing that struck both hubby and I about our "retail" experience in Lloydminster - no matter which side of the border - the same AWFUL customer service that we experience in many Alberta businesses is prevalent here as well. 

Except for this hidden gem...the Econo Lodge. It may be off the new beaten path and on the old one - BUT - it is clean, well maintained and well appointed with comfy beds, a microwave, fridge, hair dryer, flat screen TV and an affordable rate at $109 a night. Now all of that wouldn't mean a hill of beans normally - but when you add in the customer service - well now you have a gem of a place.

The people are truly what make this hotel special - they truly want to work with motorcyclists and their efforts have not gone unnoticed!.It doesn't hurt that the manager rides either...the staff seems to really understand what a rider is looking for in a room and service...try them out - they might be off the beaten path a bit but in my opinion this is one of those places that is worth taking the four or five block trek out of the way.

If you decide to check out the Econo Lodge - tell them Belt Drive Betty sent you... 
Use your BDB membership card to save! where membership is free and the membership card is your passport to savings at over 250 locations!

The Econo Lodge
5009 – 51 St
Lloydminster AB
(780) 875-6101

I hope you will join F.I.R.R.E - the never ride alone program alone makes it one of the best $20 you will ever spend on yourself never mind all of the good work the group does helping riders in the advent of an accident - or in the awareness work F.I.R.R.E. does. Check it out:

Today, after a press conference, we are off to Saskatoon to meet the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves. Apparently we will have 20 - 30 members coming in from all over the province for lunch. I am excited for the opportunity to meet more great riders and spread the word about F.I.R.R.E., who riders really are, The Give the Kids the Village Charity and the Wharf Rat Rally!

Have a great day and ride safe everyone!
Belt Drive Betty

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Travel Saskatchewan by Motorcycle

My name is Belt Drive Betty, I am the editor of a weekly community newspaper for motorcycle enthusiasts called the Busted Knuckle Chronicles.

I am looking forward to sharing the information on Saskatchewan is a vibrant province with a variety of vistas to delight the eye.
And I am looking forward to reconnecting with Saskatchewan - the land of the living skies!

I went to school for two years in Yorkton. Grades 1 and 2 hence why when we were setting up the route for the Light a F.I.R.R.E. Awareness Conga Yorkton was chosen as one of our destinations.

Mark and I will be in Lloydminster Saskatchewan on August 15th in the early afternoon, and will leave Lloydminster the morning of the 16th around 10am to head for a meeting with some of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves in Saskatoon around 1 pm and will leave Saskatoon around 3 pm and head to Yorkton where we will stay until 10 am the morning of the 17th of August.

Our return trip sees us visit Saskatoon again on September 17th and leaving for Edmonton  at about 2 pm on the 18th.

I personally am looking very forward to filling this blog in with stories from this trip but also with stories from our riding friends and the riding community in Saskatchewan!

Stay tuned as we light a F.I.R.R.E. in Saskatchewan!

View Saskatchewan Leg of the Light a F.I.R.R.E. Conga in a larger map

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