Okanagan Valley - KVR Day Trip - First RR! (Fixed! Posts 7 - 15 were missing)
Now that I've got your attention...
So, I've been reading ADVRider for a few years now... Been street riding for 15 years off and on. Finally took the plunge and bought an off road bike. Picked up a nice 2005 WR450F this past spring. Plated and everything which is great for getting out to the trails! Here is a shot shortly after I got her home:
I really really like my WR. It's a great bike for offroad riding and not too bad on the road. I picked the WR because it is relatively light, handles nicely offroad and has just enough power to pull my heavy ass around. I have done a bunch of riding around the area, but this is my first ride report! Yay! Let's get going...
Okanagan Valley - KVR Day Trip - First RR!
So, I had been planning this big two day epic trip for the past couple of weeks. Spent hours zooming in and zooming out in Google Earth looking for pretty much an all dirt route from Kelowna through to the Kootenay's. Thanks to a couple of other ADVers in the Canada regional forum I had a bunch of GPS tracks and was getting stoked to go...<o:p></o:p>
Now I thought I had discussed this solo trip with my wife. Explained that I was thinking about a very long first day ride and probably a night over then come home on Saturday in time for a prior commitment. Apparently her views on this were umm... shall we say entirely different...<o:p></o:p>
Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper. I had the day booked off already, she had to work and the kids already had a sitter. In the end, and after sleeping in way to late, I decided that I was going to damn well take a ride. Like many wives, my wife doesn't like the idea of me riding solo, so I told her I would check in a few times along the way. (Still looking at getting a SPOT so she can track me as I ride)<o:p></o:p>
The revised plan was an afternoon trip south to Summerland via a "secret" trail posted on the Dualsport BC forum. I had not traveled this particular trail, but had sussed it out as a backup track for another ride I had done earlier in the season. It's pretty much impossible to get lost in that area anyway, so I was good to go.<o:p></o:p>
Got all ready to go, and realized I had left my Klim riding jacket (Riff Raff Extreme baby!) in my wife's van. Ok, no big deal... my bike insurance was in it so I took it easy riding down to pick it up. No big fat wheelies!<o:p></o:p>
Grabbed the jacket, hugs, kisses and promises of frequent check-ins and I was on my way. Slabbed it from Kelowna to just south of Peachland, turning off onto Hardy Rd. Followed that up the hill and hung a left on to Log Chute Rd which was to take me to the trail head. Handily there was a tree marked with the letters "SLD" Short for Summerland. That was easy! Unfortunately no pics of the tree... :(<o:p></o:p>
Nice trail, kinda a single track and a half as it was narrower than a typical 4x4 road. It climbed nicely and followed the highway from a couple hundred feet above. It was a beautiful day, no clouds, sunny but not too hot. Cruising along nicely!
Beautiful view from a couple hundred feet above Hwy97:
Found this old run down and obviously not usable water flume:
Came around a corner to two pickups and two guys cutting up a huge fir tree that had come down a few years ago. Some of the nicest firewood I have seen around here. Stopped to chat a bit then let them get back to work... About 3 minutes down the road I thought dang. I should have taken a picture! So after that I vowed to take pics of anything worthy!
Rode the rest of the trail, lot's of switchbacks, rocky sections, couple of reasonable climbs, it was awesome. Finally reached the top. Clear view north to Kelowna and south to Penticton It was fabulous! Shot a few pics and headed out.
Flying along doing about 85km/h a nice gravel road ride. I was cutting a couple corner's and had a good flow going... saw a tree laying onto the road a bit so kept a bit wide.... WHACK! something hits the bike. Hmm... I thought I was wide enough but no matter, didn't seem to be too bad... famous last words of course...
Kept on to the Garnet Valley Damn:
Road the rest of the way into Summerland and pulled into the Petro Canada gas station. Hop of the bike to fuel up and coolant is pissing down the rad and all over the ground. DAMN! Looking all over to see where it is leaking from... Not seeing anything immediately I pushed the bike over to a parking spot. Closer examination reveals the rad guard is cracked and there is a stick stuck in the rad:
Took about a 2x3 inch section of the fins out as it went in. Fire the bike up and it is clearly leaking from the wound:
At this point I'm not exactly happy... Just getting out for this ride was a chore both mentally and emotionally. Having such a good ride until this point didn't help matters. Ok, stop and think. Poured my bottled water into the overflow bottle and headed up to a local Husaberg dealer. Guy there tells me there is nothing he can do, but Lordco might have some stop leak. Ok, I say to myself... At this point I'm really skeptical... stop leak? Yeah, I'm sure that will work... riiighht.
Hit Lordco and bought the cheapest stuff there. $4 later:
It's made by Gunk and it's called powdered aluminum. The guy there says to just use about half and pour a bit of water over top of it when you put it in the rad. Says he had a customer come in with a leaking head gasket, put two of these in the rad and drove the car for another 6 months before it leaked again. I'm still pretty skeptical, but it sounds good...
Pour it in and fire the bike up. Let it run a bit, the wound is still weeping a bit so figure it's time for some eats. Now, one of the reasons for hitting Summerland is so I could grab a BLTC from Yaki's Pizza and Subs. I used to eat them when my parents lived down here. They were the next block over. Seriously, DO NOT drive past Summerland without stopping. It is the smallest little hole in the wall, but the food is great. They pile a ton of bacon on, add some cheese then toast it in the pizza oven. Heavenly!
9320 Jubilee Rd East
Summerland, BC (In case you are in the area!)
Throw the sub in my bag and headed down to the beach to eat. Parked the bike and look at the ground. No dripping! At this point I'm thinking no way... so I let the bike run for a few minutes to get good and warm. No leaking! YES!
Sit down to have my sub...
So I'm eating my lunch and loving every minute of it... I'm also thinking about my two options:
Option 1 - Slab it back to Kelowna. This is the safe, direct option. Any problems I park the bike and hitch a ride. Or call someone with a truck. Not appealing in the least. I'm going to have an adventure dammit!
Option 2 - Head to Penticton and drive up to Narramata then run the KVR back to Kelowna. This is doable! Lot's of traffic up there this time of year, and if I have to walk out it's not that bad.
Of course, I took option 2!
Slab it to Penticton, fuel up at the Chevron. Grab an extra litre of water, just in case I need it for the bike. No leaking from the rad, so I'm pretty confident with the left over powdered aluminum and the extra water. Come out to hop on my bike and BAM! Parked next to me is the car I"m currently lusting over. 2001 E39 M5 in Avus Blue. The right color and everything! I hung around for a minute or two so I could chat with the owner. He was a great guy, stood around and chatted for about 15 minutes which was awesome! Let me take a pic too...
Ok, time to roll. The ride out through Naramata is spectacular. There are about a million small wineries in Naramata. I'm tempted to stop at each one for some tastings. Maybe another trip! The road is wonderfully windy, the scenery is amazing...
I've got a huge grin now... My past worries are behind me... The warmth of the sun, a windy road, slight breeze... The smell of late summer as I pass by winery after winery, vineyard after vineyard...
Finally I hit the entrance to the KVR. I was so excited to just get on with it that I made it about 1-2km's before I realized that I should have taken some shots of the signs at the entrance. So, just for you FF's I turned around and went back:
Ummm.... 30km/h... on a straight flat railbed... Yeah. Right.
Watch out for rattlesnakes! I didn't see any...
OK, back on track! Nice straight level rail bed now. Was flying along nicely... got into a great rhythm. It was... well, awesome. Break out of the trees to see Naramata, Penticton and the Lake from above... Beautiful.
The ride along this section was actually trickier than I expected. There were definitely two defined tracks with a small berm running down the middle of loose gravel. The tracks were fairly loose gravel as well. Felt the front floating then grabbing then floating etc... Still able to cruise along at a nice clip though.
Along this section there are old rock ovens which were used years ago to cook food. I stopped at the first one just to take a quick look.
The path was a tree with railing posts attached:
The rock oven itself was well, a hole in a rock... not entirely spectacular, but in the interest of presenting a complete, if not long winded story...
On the way back you could see where the steps and railings had been cut into the tree:
Found this very nice little campsite right along the old rail bed. Would make a fabulous place to have an overnighter. Cook up a nice steak over the fire.... Mmmm Smores!
I wanted to check out the old Adra tunnel even though it has been closed for years. The tunnel is properly blocked off. Even climbing up was a bit of work with my riding gear on. It is badly caving in and has quite a bit of water inside:
Further on and another Rock Oven. This one was pretty much right on the rail bed, so I grabbed a quick shot of it:
Passed a couple of people on some smaller pit style bikes, they were heading to a cabin up near the Chute Lake Resort. A few km's down the road I come to the resort itself. For those who don't know, we had a massive forest fire rip through this area back in 2003. 24,000 Hectares went up. Many homes were lost, many were damaged. The fire burned all around the Chute Lake Resort property, even jumped across the lake and burned the hill completely:
The resort somehow was saved. It has been here for a long time so the owners were quite happy to see it continue!
The next few km's were spent blasting through the worst of the burn area. One of the good things of the fire is that you can now see some pretty nice looking scenery. Of course at the expense of the forest which used to stand there... Otherwise, this would be a ride down a tree lined rail bed...
A few more corners and I could see Kelowna!
At this point I was pretty happy! With the previous leaking rad incident and having made it basically back home, I felt like I could ride for the rest of the night. I pulled over to take some more shots and have a quick snack/water break. Called my wife to tell her I was just above the city which was good. Had a bit of water and a Wunderbar for some energy. Started thinking... Well, I've made it this far, let's just keep going! So I thought a quick ride up to the Little White Summit was in order. Little White is one of the tallest peaks in the area and is used as a fire lookout. I had heard that the first few km of the road up had been deactivated, but figured it shouldn't be too much trouble on a dirt bike.
Just before the turn off to the Little White FSR is Bellevue Creek Trestle, one of the big steel trestles:
Turned up the Little White FSR and followed the road up to the parking lot. It was hard pack with quite rocky sections.Caught me out a few times, but nothing serious. Got to the trailhead and started to make my way around the deactivations. Now, I should mention... They were damn serious about making sure that NO vehicles where going to go up this road:
The road runs perpendicular to this photo. It's fairly overgrown now, but that trench is pretty serious.
I made it around the trenches that were dug and continued on a ways further... I should also mention that I only started riding a dirt bike this year and my "trials" skills are not what we could call great. Or even good. Or even meh... After hopping about 15 logs:
This is what lay ahead:
I conceded defeat and turned around... I was sweating like a pig and had had enough! Made it back to the parking lot and continued down the FSR. a few hundred yards further it was blocked by a couple big concrete blocks. Plenty of room to get through on a bike, but a truck would have been difficult. This FSR/Trail was actually labeled as the Myra Canyon bypass. The Myra canyon section of the KVR has about 18 trestles over about 12km of rail bed. It is completely closed to all motorized traffic. It is a spectacular walk/bicycle ride though! I have taken our boys up numerous times. If you do make it onto the Myra Canyon section, take some crackers with ya. The chipmunks will climb right up your leg to eat out of your hand. My 4 and 2 year olds were thrilled with that! Anyway, the bypass was made to allow people traveling the KVR a way to get around the Myra section after the fire burned the trestles down. They have since been rebuilt.
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