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Old 07-12-2013, 09:38 AM   #16
brunstei OP
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Day 8 - June 22

Day 8

Sleep in a bit after late night. Up about 9, meet Ken and Charlotte from Victoria on a very farkled DL1000. Looks like they do quite a lot of this. They're just arriving and like my spot so pull in to take it as I head out.

They had all the bells and whistles - metal side cases, crash bars, extra fuel tanks on hardpoints, front projector beam lights, GPS mount... it all looks pretty cool, but I'm not sure if I want the extra weight, and I sure don't want the extra cost.

Before leaving town, I got the requisite photo in front of the DC-3 windvane: [Canon SX130]

Leave southbound 10:30. Snack break at rest area near Jake's Corner. Mixed sun and clouds but not very warm.

Today I just decided to make some distance back to the south. I briefly contemplated a side trip to Atlin, but decided it's for another time.

Refuel in Teslin at 12:50, then across The Bridge. This time I'm not so lucky, meeting two oncoming vehicles, but the bike stays upright and I'm across safely.

Into Rancheria 2:15. Decide to splurge and buy lunch while I study the map and decide which way to go at Junction 37. The mozza bacon burger was not bad. Talk a bit with the owner; they've been doing a lot of renovating and sounds like business is pretty steady.

Leave Rancheria 2:45. By 3:15 coming into what looks like heavy rain. Watson Lake and a motel, maybe? About 30 min rain (timed to occur as I hit one of the 20 km gravel patches, well, this makes it less dusty but more mucky) then into sun. Got a bit wet through the suit but not too bad. Gas at Junction 37, 3:51. Decide to push south towards Dease Lake.

4:20, photos at Blue Lakes. Sunny and hot here, open the suit vents to cool and also dry out!

The lakes were more greenish, really. [Canon SX130]

This entire section along the north part of 37 had clearly had a forest fire run through in the last couple of years - just charred, scorched lifeless trunks either side of the road and around Blue Lakes, with very lush undergrowth taking advantage of the sun exposure afforded by the forest being gone. [Canon SX130]

Mountain goat herd - including a couple of very small kids - right on the road at Good Hope Lake. Get a few pictures. [Canon SX130]

Stop at the jade store, look around a bit, then back on the road.

They have a 'companion store', run by the sister, just outside of Vancouver here at Britannia Beach. A few months back I'd taken Lu there, she wanted to buy some jade. I picked her up some matching earrings here, right from the source. They have a nice little museum to the (now closed off) town of Cassiar.

View of some of the cutting wheels and jade blocks. [Canon SX130]

Right at the highway sign saying 84 km to Dease Lake, the sky goes black and just unleashes a downpour. I slow way down to see the road and the cold trickles start creeping in all the vent zippers on the suit. Ugh. Only lasts about 15 minutes but pretty much makes me decide not to camp tonight. I want to shower, wash clothes, and dry things out.

7:05 into Northway Motor Inn, Dease Lake. A room is $109 but I take it. A shower and fresh dry clothes feel great and I wash the dirty clothes in the sink basin, even before eating - want to give them as much time as possible to dry.

There is an electric kettle in the lobby - use it to boil water and make dinner (dehydrated beef lasagna; it comes out really good!)

Send a few emails and a position update using the hotel wifi, then into bed.

Total 661.1 km
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:59 PM   #17
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Day 9 - June 23

Day 9

Up and fold clothes - they dried ok, I should be good rest of trip now. Give a last thought to telegraph creek but the road description puts me off.

Telegraph Creek is about 100 km out from Dease Lake - down a dirt road with tight switchbacks, no guard rails, and inclines of 20%. I've also heard there's a lot of beer cans along the side of the road. As much as it sounds scenic, it also sounded a little risky to tackle alone. One drunk driver in a pickup going to fast comes around a corner on my side, I slide on the gravel, and I'm over the edge. Next time, with a wingman...

One drunk local in a pickup on the wrong side of a corner could put me off a cliff. Wait for the gas station to open at 9, refill spare tank and I'm off. Stop at Upper Gnat Lakes for pictures then on.

It's not hard to guess how they got their name. It was completely true - no mosquitos, no no-see-ums, but swarms of tiny gnats. Have to wonder why one particular insect species so predominated. Very scenic today in spite of the swarms. [Rolleiflex 6008i, 50mm Distagon]

At this point I ran out of Reala film, and had to switch to Lomography. I have had really mixed success with it - sometimes great, sometimes, not so great. This is a 'not so great', it's a nice shot but there are tiny flecks of crud everywhere They don't show up much at the size you see here, though. [Rolleiflex 6008i, 50mm Distagon]

One more metal bridge deck over the Stikine. Through Iskut (a motel and a restaurant anda place with cabins, plus gas? I didn't recall so many services here). Tattoga Lodge also looks active - gas, lodging, restaurant.

5 years ago, I don't recall there being much of anything here - it looks like things are much livelier now (relatively speaking!)

Past Kinaskin Lake the road surface improves - fresh paving, brush cut most places, new wooden bridge decks, and painted lines. Stop for a snack at Eastman Creek rest area, just after encountering a bear cub who ran out in front of me, stared, then ran back off the road.

Major power line construction south of Bob Quinn. Just missed a big lumbering boxy twin tail, twin engine air freighter taking off from the dirt airstrip along the road.

Obviously, there's something going on here. About 50 km of the road has this massive power line being constructed, so I suspect there is an increase in mining activity someplace around Bob Quinn. Helps to explain why the whole road seems busier than before, maybe.

Too bad I just missed the airplane takeoff - the highway is directly alongside the dirt runway, and there was a lot of dust left from the propwash - would have been a great photo of it taking off, I think.

On towards Meziadin Junction and Stewart/Hyder.

12:40 into Bell II for gas ($1.55, better than I remember). They now have a beer and wine store and fresh bakery goods as well.

On to Stewart

At Bear Glacier, just before Stewart. [Cannon SX130]

and through to Hyder. There's no US side customs - you just reach a sign saying you're in Alaska. I pull into the Sealaska Inn and ask about camping - they're known as a good tenting spot. The woman at the bar laughs and tells me no tenting - there's a lease issue and they no longer have the space; but more importantly, the town is crawling with bears. "You don't want to tent here," she says. "Stewart has a nice tent ground". It's all of 5 km back. I step out of the bar and just to prove her right, an unattended black bear cub walks by about 100 metres from the hotel. I mention this to the bartender and she shrugs. "There's a sow with three newborns wandering around the town". She was right, this isn't the place to tent. I explore the town

Hyder is an interesting place. There is a US post office, but as noted, no US Customs; electricty is BC Hydro; and there's no services, with gas, police, hospital/ambulance, hardware sore, restaurants, and school all being in Stewart. [Canon SX130]

The post office:

Dean's Groceries - Duty Free for Canadians! (It's seen better days)

Main Street. There was a street sign, telling you so.

The Sealaska Inn - Mile 0 of the Alaska-Yukon Highway

Building in Hyder

I rode out on a worn out wooden wharf out towards a boat launch, to look around a bit at the Portland Canal.

Right by the border, stands a tiny masonry building. This, it turns out, is the first masonry building made in Alaska - Storehouse #4, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers under Capt. David Galliard (who later became famous for his work on the Panama Canal; part of the canal is now named for him). Four small storehouses were built as part of a survey of the Portland Canal and the US - Can border here; remnants of all four still exist, although two are now on the Canadian side as a result of the 1903 Boundary Tribunal. [Abbreviated from the plaque at the site].

Looking from Storehouse #4 at the lonely Canadian-side customs station.

and then head out into the Tongass forest towards the glaciers. Unfortunately, the dirt road has just been graded and topped with fresh, soft gravel. My tires really don't handle this well and after about 3 km of sliding all over I regretfully give up and turn around.

Again, not the right tires and I just don't have the skill and confidence on the big VStrom on soft gravel when the front wheel wanders all over. I did get some photos in the Tongass Forest, though. It's beautiful.

Tongass National Forest, by Hyder [Canon SX130]

[Rolleiflex 6008i, 50mm Distagon]

I stop in a souveneir shop in Hyder to det a decal for the bike luggage. As I pay with Canadian money, the owner comments how she pays her electric bill in Canadian anyhow (I guess Hyder is on BC Hydro grid?). It's a unique place. Back towards Stewart to get a tent site.

Canada does run Customs here (why????). It's a very low key conversational crossing.

One has to really question why there is a customs office here, at all. The road dead ends - there's nothing to buy - and you can walk from one town to the other in maybe 45 minutes, if you're slow. I get the usual question of "any firearms, weapons, etc?" and report I'm carrying bear spray. While legal, this will still usually get you a lot of questions. Here, the officer just shrugs like "well yeah, to be expected".

I was told later in the town, while talking to the bartender, that the Canada customs is always staffed by 2, and is open 24/7. That really can't be the best use of my tax dollar.

Back in Stewart I get a tent site (note the bear warning signs here, too)

An unreassuring juxtaposition! I slept with the bear spray in the tent, in quick reach. [Canon SX130]

then walk the few blocks to "downtown" and treat myself to a cold beer and plate of poutine. The locals are complaining about the heat - it is probably over 30C out there.

Some photos around Stewart [Canon SX130].

Buildings from the 1920's era, when mining first started here.

Closer view of the glacier hanging over the town - you can see this in the top edge of the last photo, too.

Find the camp has metal "bear lockers" so put my food drybag in there for the night.

Glad to have these. [Canon SX130].

Have another beer and fish and chips at the King Edward, then call it an early night.

The campground here, by the way, is very nice. Free wifi (satellite link, so slow, but works for email), showers, nice soft grassy spots, shady, right on the edge of "town" and a 5 minute walk to all of it.

Today's total: 421.1
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:20 PM   #18
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Thank you for the trip so far, it has been great! Looking for more to come.
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:00 PM   #19
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Glad you're enjoying it!

I like your tag line, by the way.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:10 PM   #20
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Day 10 - June 24

Day 10

Slept well. Warm night. Up 7:30 with sun on tent. Usual breakfast oatmeal and coffee. Just a little over half the methyl hydrate gone, should make the rest of trip. Pack up, refuel, on road by 9:30.

11:30 into Kitwancool and photo the totem poles.

Now known as Gitanyow. A few km off the highway, and well worth it. The village has been here for a long time, and the village and Gitanyow people have maintained a strong since of tribal identity. There's a short but interesting section on them, along with a 1924 photo of the village, here:

The totems are very impressive, all the more so because they're not here as tourism draws - they still have significance for the tribal families. They're hard to photograph though, being very tall and narrow, and since they're right in the town, among buildings, the background is distracting. Some examples [Canon SX130]

There's some less skilled examples, too - but still kind of interesting, in the sake of real authenticity:

I was in luck - the carvers were working on a new totem pole while I was there. I got into a conversation with them - they said each figure on a pole takes 2-3 carvers about a month to complete, varying of course with the complexity.

They asked where I was from. The fellow in the blue shirt commented, "Vancouver? It must be very noisy. How do you hear yourself think in all that?" I smiled and understood what he meant, and replied that it was precisely for that, that I tried to get away on rides like this. Time to let the mind run through things it can't, with all the distractions usually facing it.

[Rolliflex 6008i, 80mm planar]

Closer look at the wood grain as it's worked [Rolliflex 6008i, 80mm Planar]

Through Kitwanga (photos of church)

Old church, with an interesting separate bell tower. [Canon SX130]

Required photo by the 37 junction... [Canon SX130]

and on to Smithers - refuel. It's super hot, even just stopping to fuel is unpleasant in the suit. Open all the vents and on to Tyhee Lake Park at Telkwa for lunch. Discover the margarine has totally liquified and leaked from tub - fortunately I had bagged it so mess is contained but decide to ditch it here before it gets on everything.

Brief rain squall looks like it could be bad, set up tarp as gear shelter and look at map. Weak cell signal but enough to get weather forecasts. Looks drier as I head towards Prince George. Decide to head on - at least to Burns Lake.

Fraser Lake has a sushi restaurant? Really?
Somehow looked rather incongrous....

Coyote runs out after bike near there - seemed like it was playing? By time I stopped was too far past to get a good picture.

So, this sounds a bit odd, but it's basically what my log says. Just past Fort Fraser, as I came into a long slight uphill stretch, I saw a coyote on the far edge of the road, standing there. As I got close, it launched itself onto the road diagonally at me, and ran trying to catch me. Somehow I got the impression it was playing just like dogs who like to chase cars; I was just something moving fast, and a challenge, could he catch me? I hit the brakes as I went past, stopping a bit down the road, but it was a bit too far for a decent photo of him standing now on my side and watching me, and there was traffic going both ways so I didn't feel like making a U-turn. By the time I'd get there and get a camera out, he'd likely be gone anyhow. It was a kind of neat experience.

Really bad winds start about 50 km west of Vanderhoof - struggle to keep lane position. Sky gets very dark. I know what's coming and pull over to close the suit vents. When the rain hits about 25 km later it's a downpour and into the suit anyhow within a few minutes. Cold and wet when I reach Vanderhoof. Inquire at one motel but I don't like the price

(or the attitude of the proprietor, for that matter. Guy gave me the creeps instantly.)

so decide to add on all my layers and push on the last 100 km to Prince George. Weather starts improving with only occasional rain patches as I make it into town by 7:30. Pick the cheapest motel listed at the tourist infocentre and check into the Economy Inn. Right across from Dairy Queen so get a meal there as soon as I am out of suit. Early night.

I'd reccommend the place - cloase to downtown, clean, quiet, pretty cheap.

Today's total 712.4 km
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:43 AM   #21
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Day 11 - June 25

Day 11

Woke to steady rain. As expected - why I didn't tent last night.

Gray, rainy morning in PG. [iPhone 5]

Forecast says will taper off here, and Williams Lake says morning showers done by noon. Decide to make a late start and minimize my rain exposure. Use the room coffee maker to make coffee, of all things! Contact friend and arrange rendezvous for night of 28 in Lillooet

My friend Dmitry rides, and was who got me into medium format photography. He had some time off and was planning to ride up and spend a few days around Lillooet taking photos, so we planned to meet up for the last leg of my trip home.

Gas up and on road by 10. Through rain, get mildly wet inside gear, but weather improving. Into Quesnel - stop for food at visitor center and spread out clothes to dry. Visit the museum - cool CD Hoy photo exhibit.

It's a pretty good museum - worth a stop if you have the time. Some of the exhibits: [iPhone 5]

Early medical supplies, including a home made wooden prosthetic leg:

Six-cylinder chainsaw! (OK - it's not really 6 cylinders - that's sort of an inside joke)

C.D. Hoy was a very early Chinese photographer in the Cariboo gold rush. According to
"Hoy took more than 1,500 photographs between 1909 and 1920, creating an invaluable record of the rich cultural diversity of the Cariboo region. Capturing the enduring presence of the Interior's Aboriginal peoples, as well as the dignity and pride of Chinese workers and Caucasian labourers, Hoy has left a poignant legacy of a world now lost forever."
Many of his photos were on display here - along with informative text discussing how he applied classical Chinese portrature methods (emphasis on placement of hands, etc). You can see some of the photos here:

12:45 back on road towards Williams lake.

Gas up and confirm with travel centre that you can still camp at the motel in Horsefly. On to 150 Mile house where I fill the reserve tank out of caution. Into Horsefly and set up. $15/night for soft grass in front of motel; sparkling clean bathrooms and showers and laundry facilities included. Normally wifi too but they tell me severe thundetstorms have knocked the line out, waiting for repairs.

I first went through Horsefly a few years back, on my ride to Bella Coola, when I got here via back roads. It's the fgirst place gold was found in the Cariboo region, and there's still appreciable active mining for gold, copper, etc., although now also a lot of agriculture and some logging. Horsefly itself still has quite a few old buildings, dating from when it was called "Harper's Camp" in the 1920's. I'm not sure what it is, but I really like Horsefly. I think I would like to live there. In fact, the motel is for sale, and the idea did cross my mind....

Example of one of the older farm buildings: [Canon SX130]

Deer on the road at edge of town. This one was really unconcerned by the motorcycle - I had to come to a full stop as it looked at me then walked across the road, standing maybe 3 metres from me. There was a deer the next day at exactly the same place (basically on the edge of someone's lawn) and I suspect it was the same deer, just kind of "hangin' out" in town. [Canon SX130]

Setting up outside the motel [iPhone 5]

Walk into "town" and the general store - haagen daas ice cream bar, chips, and beer. They have cold singles of Fullers ESB! Somebody locally has taste. Get two and walk back to camp. Rain is coming so set up tarp and chair - works great, I stay totally dry through half hour storm, drinking beer and reading. After the storm passes, sun comes back out and I make dinner - chicken gumbo. Another good one, mental note to get this again.

Gumbo coming up! [iPhone 5]

Read until about 9 - it's already getting dusk here, big difference from Whitehorse - then into the tent.

Today's total: 309.6
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:47 AM   #22
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Day 12 - June 26

Day 12

Chilly overnight but slept ok. Really glad I brought the down shirt along, it's been great both riding when needed, and sleeping - compensates for the lack of warmth in the very compact bag I brought.

Up 7:30 with sun on the tent - looks like I'm back to good weather. Usual breakfast plus some fruit leather. Get the bike up on centre stand and check/oil the chain. Seems slightly slack again but not seriously so? Maybe just that it's unloaded. Chain is pretty gunked up but oil and turn it until it seems smooth.

I had made tentative plans starting more than a month back, to meet up in Williams Lake around the time of the Williams Lake Stampede with a friend who was going to be there - so I needed to kill another day in the area. I'd never been to check out the town of Likely, and the ghost town of Quesnel Forks had also been recommended as worth seeing, so my plan was to spend the day checking these out. There's a dirt road running along Beaver Valley which connects Horsefly to the paved road into Likely, so I decided to head across that to start my day.

Beaver Valley Rd is 40 km of hardpacked gravel - narrow and lots of blind corners but generally good conditions. Not as remote as you might expect - there's a farm every few km and power lines.

Here's a photo of when this road was being made: [Canon SX130, copy of photo in Horsefly Museum]

Back onto (very good) paved roads on Likely Rd and into Likely. Grab a coffee at the store.

Some views around Likely [Canon SX130]

Bridge across the Quesnel River. The river was very high.

Stained glass window at the store.

Metal sculpture at the little grassy park in Likely.

Guy on payphone outside the lodge is telling somone he got attacked by a bear last night and had to shoot it.

The fellow sounded pretty shook up - not surprisingly! You can see him in the photo below. The lodge dates to 1936. [Canon SX130]

Local at the store tells me Cedar Point park worth seeing, and Quesnel Forks, although he describes the road into there as ending in "goat trail".

On to Cedar Point and the museum/ travel info centre. Closed. Go in and explore the park - has a few old mining machines like a 1906 steam shovel painted up around the park. Shoot the last of the 120 film. That's it, 8 rolls gone.

Wish I'd brought more 120 film - there were still some good scenery to come, but I made do with the two digital cameras for the rest of the trip.

1906 steam shovel in Cedar Point Park [Canon SX130]

On to Quesnel Forks. Most of the 13 km in is ok, it's the last 3 or so which are a steep single lane descent with loose gravel and small washouts.

"Goat trail" was a pretty accurate description - but chances of meeting any other traffic were thankfully very remote, so just go slow and use the entire (single lane) of road, and it was fine. No point taking photos of the road, no matter what, they never do justice to the narrowness or steepness.

Bike handles it ok and I park in the old townsite to walk around and check it out. Cemetary is partly restored with headstones for Chinese gold miners, Jewish merchants, and a negro farmer - seems like it was a pretty multicultural place. One info sign says it was the third largest Chinese community in BC at one point.

There's a handful of info boards, with things like copies of old 1920's legal documents about the town and its residents. There used to be a bridge over the river here and this was a major hub for the early gold rush.

Some photos of the cemetary and town remnants: [Canon SX130]

The cemetary is partially restored.

Chinese incense / altar house in the cemetary.

The town had a Robson Street... a little quieter than the one in Vancouver.

Some of the original buildings.

1:13 leaving Quesnel Forks - not looking forward to "goat trail" first few km. As I usually find though, uphill is a bit easier than down and no problems. Real glad I didn't meet any traffic coming the other way, though! Back through Likely and stop at Bullion Pit viewpoint.

The Bullion Pit was an enormous hydraulic mining operation - that is, where high pressure water is used to blast away soil and then it's sluiced over rocker boxes or large gold collection sluices to capture the placer.

A photo of one of the "monitors", or water canons. It's about an 8" bore. [Canon SX130]

At its peak, this operation used more water per day than the entire city of Vancouver. They eventually water blasted an entire new valley until the gold returns got too scarce to make it worthwhile. You can still see the scar, even nearly a kilometer away from this overlook: [Canon SX130]

I bet there's still appreciable gold down in there if you dug and panned - maybe sometime. (At least one mine is still active right near there; I saw the sign for it and followed a loaded ore truck for a bit).

A link to some interesting relevant information. If the story here is true - and I suspect it is - then yes there's almost certainly a lot of placer still there if you're willing to dig down.

Back along Beaver Valley Road to Horsefly. Get a beer at the store and back to my tent for lunch. Last of the canned tuna meals and a few crispbread.

Early evening it becomes clear a thinderstorm is approaching. Set up the tarp again and wait for the rain to start. Try out cooking at the edge of the tarp while sitting inside - works pretty well. Other than one brief eddy in the wind which pushed a few raindrops in, I stay dry and out of the rain while cooking and eating. Beef Stroganoff. I grabbed it in the store while trying to ensure some variety in my meals, without thinking much. I'm not a big fan of mushrooms and there were lots. Well it was still ok - and I got to watch a brilliant rainbow form as I ate it, looking out the mouth of the tarp.

Double rainbow - view from under the tarp. [iPhone 5]

After about an hour the storm passed over, and I and all my gear were still nice and dry. Glad I brought the tarp.

Today's total: 182.4 km.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:28 PM   #23
One day at a time!
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Location: MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
Oddometer: 713
Great photos!

This is an awesome RR and so enjoyable to read. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:41 AM   #24
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Location: Playing Hooky
Oddometer: 407

Glad you're enjoying it - I should get the last few days up pretty soon.

Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
This is an awesome RR and so enjoyable to read. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:29 PM   #25
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Day 13 - June 27

Day 13

Rained some overnight but that's ok, gear and I stay dry and it's nice by morning. Go into Horsefly and check out the museum - I've been before but remember it was interesting. It was even a second time through.

Old farm equipment at the Horsefly Museum [Canon SX130].

Photo of one of the original rooming houses at Harper's Camp (as Horsefly was originally known) [Canon SX130, of photo in Horsefly Museum]

Stop at the realtor and look at listings in the window - cabin with electricity, wood heater, 1 acre, walking distance to "town" of Horsefly, is asking $50k. Seems like a pretty good price.

I know I said it before, but I'm going to repeat myself. I really like Horsefly. Guess there is not a lot for a molecular biologist to do there, though. PCR studies on horsefly phylogenetics?

Into 150 mile and look for places to tent tonight - don't see any, guess I need to make it to Lac la Hache after dinner. Well, it's not that far. Into Williams Lake, gas up, leave a note at her motel for my friend June, and go visit the museum.

Unfortunately, it was a 'no photography without prior permission' museum. I didn't feel like being a rebel. It kind of irks me when museums don't allow at least non-flash photography, though.

Has some interesting sections. The Loran-C transmitter at Riske Creek which I saw a few years back on my ride to Bella Coola is no more, and they have some artifacts like the HUGE tube amplifiers from the transmitter. It's a "no photos" museum, unfortunately.

Out of the museum about 2 under increasing cloud and even a few rain drops, but doesn't seem like they will amount to much. Ride down to Scout Island nature park on edge of town to sit and relax.

5:30, meet up with my friend June, who's arriving in town to photograph the annual Williams Lake Stampede, starting tomorrow. She leads me off to a pub where we grab dinner, (thanks, June!) and then I'm off southbound before dusk (and more deer on the road). I head about 50 km down to Lac la Hache Provincial Park and have the tent set up before 8 pm. Camp is a bit loud, too close to highway, but it's my best option for the night.

Photos of sunset over lake, clouds. [Canon SX130]

Today's total: 142.2
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:39 AM   #26
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Day 14 - June 28

Day 14
Slept well despite road noise and some campers running a generator past midnight. What's the point in camping like that? Loons really loud most of the night, much nicer than the mechanical people noises. Warm, didn't need the down shirt. Up 7:45 and off by 8:30 after breakfast and breaking camp.

Only dreams I've had all trip, were this night. I have forgotten I am supposed to be lecturing an undergrad math class, and I'm on vacation; the department head isn't happy. Wake up pretty stressed until I realize I'm not lecturing anything. Guess I am coming back to "the real world" and its problems.

If I actually were teaching an undergrad math class, I think it would be the student who'd be having problems!

Into Lillooet and meet Dmitry at Mile 0 Motel about 11:30. Spend the day walking around taking photos.

Some photos from around Lillooet [Canon SX130 unless otherwise noted]

The Barn of 23 Camels. So there's a story behind that name - during the early Cariboo gold rush, someone in Lillooet got the idea camels would make great pack animals for the trail, and brought in 23 of them in. It didn't go well, and most of the camels just got released into the wild (I don't think you can do that now with exotic species?) A few were kept on farms, with the last one dying in 1896. Anyhow, today, this building which was their original barn, still stands. It went through multiple later uses, including for a while, purportedly the smallest movie theatre in North America: [From]
Built in 1861 to house the 23 Camels Frank Laumeister brought from San Francisco to serve as pack animals on the Cariboo Trail to the gold fields. The project failed, but the barn survived: briefly as a mortician's storehouse, then from 1938 as the Log Cabin Movie Theatre. It closed in 1985 and has been reopened as an historic building, a performance space and a gift shop. It contains the original theatre seating, the projectors and a 24x11 ft. wide screen.

Old truck sitting just off the main street.

Lichens on tree trunk in town, looking down to Fraser River.

We walked the 2 km or so down to the old bridge at one side of town. There's a large prairie dog colony along the road down to the bridge.

The bridge itself:

There's an osprey nest on one of the bridge towers (see the first bridge photo), and unfortunately I didn't quite get the camera ready in time when one of the parents flew in and landed right overhead, wings spread wide as it dropped in. I waited for probably 15 minutes or more for it to do it again, but all it did was occasionally peer over the edge of the nest at me. The other parent was sitting on a cable over the river though and posed for a shot.

Train tracks through town under scattered clouds in evening [iPhone 5]

Today's total 219.3
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:23 PM   #27
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Day 15 - June 29 - Return home

Day 15

On the road 0900. Refuel in Lillooet then on towards Pemberton

Not a lot to say from the log now - well, this is sort of my back yard, so it doesn't feel very exotic and I didn't stop to write down anything. It's still a very pretty area, though.

Dmitry fiddling with light meter at Seton Lake: [Canon SX130]

View down Seton Lake: [Canon SX130]

Photo stop at Duffey Lake: [Canon SX130]

Home safe, 1:45.
Today's run 277.2
TOTAL: 6331.5 km

All told, an excellent trip!

Glad to have 'had you all along' for the ride report - one more installment to go (Epilogue of the only disaster related to the trip, which actually happened after I got home).
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #28
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Epilogue - the adventure wasn't QUITE over

Well, as you may have noticed, some of the photos are square in this report, and taken with a Rollei 6008i. This is a medium format camera that uses film. You remember film, right? That stuff you used to have to put in your camera, when it wasn't your cell phone?

Well anyhow - yes - I'd shot 8 rolls of 120 format film in this trip, and I needed to get it developed. I dropped the rolls off right after getting back into town, and went to go pick them up on July 2 - the first work day after Canada Day holiday, which the film place was closed on.

Hopped on the Vstrom and rode into downtown(ish) Vancouver - got the developed film - and started on my way back, in the beginnings of afternoon rush hour traffic.

Coming southbound onto the Oak Street bridge about 4 PM, in the left lane, doing about 80 km/h with the rest of the traffic. Nobody right in front of me, but there's a vehicle in the right lane next to me, and the concrete barrier on my left. The bridge climbs and turns to the left as you come on from the north side.

The curve was why I didn't see it earlier. A rock - about the size and shape of a smallish watermelon - right in my lane. I had very little time to react or think. I had the side cases on, so not a lot of room to go either left (concrete barrier) or right (car) - not enough distance to panic brake in time (plus cars behind me, also not a good choice).

So I went right into it.

There was a loud bang and the bike went airborne; I felt a lighter second tap as the rear wheel connected with the rock as well. The bike came back down on the roadway, all over in maybe a half second. Fortunately, the bike came down upright, with me still sitting in the seat; I didn't fly out of my lane, I didn't get tossed off the bike, and amazingly, neither tire burst or came off the rim. As the bike hit I instantly assessed it, expecting to feel a rapid loss of tire pressure, but all there was, was a bit of vibration. Steering and traction all still felt ok and so I kept going, made it off the bridge, and still didn't feel any loss of tire pressure; so I just continued with the flow of the traffic, and made it the 20-some km home.

Then I got off and looked. Here's the rear rim:

The front was similar, but a bit worse.

Long story short - jack the bike up, and both wheels off:

(Never mind the molecular biology lab in the background - what, don't act like you all haven't got odd things in YOUR garages, too!)

Took the wheels in to a bike shop, where the rims got sent onward to a place specializing in rim repair. Front rim - beyond fixing (all the more remarkable that it held air and got me home!) - new one has been ordered; rear is replaceable, still waiting as of today (July 26) for job to be done and to reassemble the bike.

I think I was pretty lucky here - well, the look on the shop foreman's face when I took the rims in pretty much said it. He asked incredulously if I'd been riding the bike when the rims got that bent, and when I said yes, he gave me this strange look and said "Uhhh -- and you're ok?"

Hard to say what worked in my favour here, but in retrospect, not trying to avoid may have helped; if I'd hit at more of an angle the bike might have thrown sideways and down and/or into the other lane. Also, speed probably helped, through gyroscopic stabilization. As the impact and landing occurred, I was aware of how very stable the bike felt, there was never any sensation of a sideways pull or feeling that I was going over.

Can't say I want to go through a similar event again if I can avoid it, though.

Hoping to get the rims back any day now and get things all reassembled....
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:03 PM   #29
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Well done.
Great pictures.

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Old 07-27-2013, 10:27 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by conchscooter View Post
Well done.
Great pictures.
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
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