Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by squonker, Sep 28, 2008.
Squonker--those lakes are amazing. Did you hear or see any loons up there?
Hey pilotfish. That's a pretty neat idea you have there - post everything up twice and double your post count in half the time! Jeez, I thought I was drunk at first....!
(Yes, there were loons)
Hey pilotfish. That's a pretty neat idea you have there - post everything up twice and double your post count in half the time! Jeez, I thought I was drunk at first....!
(Yes, there were loons.)
Another great thread you got goin here squonker. I really like the pics of the old equipment in Ft. Nelson. I don't know how I missed that stuff when I was up there in 07, oh wait! yes I do, it was in the 30's and raining and my teeth were chattering so bad I couldn't see anything.
Awesome shots of the Dempster. I almost cried when we passed it up I wanted to ride it so bad but time just did not permit it for us. Oh well, hopefully next time.
Looking forward to more.
I see you've adopted my devious method already...
(I have no idea how that happened... :huh )
Other than the ones on motorcycles, you mean?
Yeah, that was my idea of a joke!
Definitely more loons on bikes than in the sky at D2D, but on quieter stretches of road I'd say the balance was tipped on the other side of the scales...
Here's some random shots from our trek down the Cassiar. There's a good story coming up of our ride into Telegraph Creek.
Aaah, bollocks. The net is too slow again. I'll try again later.
Pilotfish, you're right about the lakes. I noticed that those at the north end of the Cassiar were particularly beautiful.
I hired a microlite plane just to get this aerial shot for you folks. You'd better like it...
I may seem calm on the outside, but on the inside I'm lying face down, pounding my hands and feet on the floor, and screeching "I wanna go!!!!!!!!"
A few years ago I began working casually for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Yellowknife, and on one of my first days there I met a technician in the basement who turned out to be a very cool guy. He was from the U.S. and had come over to Canada as a draft dodger, staying in Nelson, B.C. for a while and then eventually spending many years in Telegraph Creek, B.C., where he ran the power company's generators. I had never heard of Telegraph Creek, but John's description of it piqued my interest, and I never forgot the name.
It had always been my plan to stop in there to see it first hand while I was passing the turning, and I asked Kevin whether he would come with me. Understandably apprehensive because of his dislike for dirt he agreed, for which I'm still grateful as we had quite the adventure and I am glad to have had someone to share it with. Here are a couple of shots taken on the way in.
The turn off to Telegraph Creek is at Dease Lake on the Cassiar. We stopped for gas and asked the attendant which direction to head in, then set off with me in the lead. Kevin asked, "Is it that way?" and I said, "No, it's down here", heading in totally the wrong direction. Eventually we found the right road, and so began a 112 km journey within a journey.
I have always touted the Duffy Lake Road in B.C. as the grand poobah of all mountain passes with it's tight hairpins and steep grades. But roughly half way along the T. Creek access road what had been a quiet, meandering well maintained dirt road turned into a snarling, vengeful vehicle eating maelstrom of pain.
There were grades signed at 20%, but I think that was a pretty conservative measurement. The Duffy has switchbacks signed at 20 km/h, which you want to take at 20, but the road into T. Creek had hairpins signed at 10 km/h, and the tighter and steeper the road became, the rougher it got too. There were fantastic views, but you daren't take your eyes off the road because there were no barriers to stop you from riding over the edge of sheer drop-offs if you lost concentration for a mere second too long.
I put in my journal that it was the ride of a lifetime into the town, but I reckon that Kevin must have had it several times worse than me - at least I was on the right bike! Kevin, if you're reading this I still have great admiration for you, because I'd crapped my pants, cried for my mum and turned around long before we ever made to the end of the road! Thanks, bud.
Telegraph Creek is really two towns in one. There's the new part of town where everybody lives these days, and an old pretty much deserted part which is almost creepy, but very very cool. It was here that we ended up looking for a place to camp, but it didn't seem that there were too many options. There was a camper on the back of a truck parked at the end of a grass track, but only about two reasonable options for tents. There was a restaurant there but it was closed (possibly permanently) and we spent likely an hour considering our options. At one stage we'd ridden away to the newer part of town but that was plain lame, and by the time we got back to the deserted part, I noticed that the door to the restaurant was wide open.
I knocked and went in and, seeing a chap in a small room at the back, asked whether I could come right in and talk to him. I explained that we were looking for a place to put two tents and did he think anyone would mind if we did so on the grass outside. "Yeah, I might" he replied, "I own that land." While not overly friendly this chap wasn't quite grumpy either, but I never got any kind of warm feeling from him at all until several hours later when I mentioned John that had used to work at the power station there.
This chap let us camp for a princely $7.50 each, and gave us a key to by far the nicest 'camp' washroom I used all trip, proving as I was to discover over and over again that the less you're charged for a camping spot the better it'll be. I wrote in my journal that night that I had just had "one of the best showers of my life." And alone, too!
After our ride in, one of the biggest concerns was our need for a beer, and we were horrified to find that Telegraph Creek is pretty much a dry town. If I'd had the energy, I'd have turned around and ridden out in disgust at this shameless abomination, but we were both so tired that that wasn't really an option. I settled in at midnight, and for the first time in the entire trip had to use a flashlight to write in my journal at that time.
More Telegraph Creek tomorrow.
Ben, I wanted to do that excursion, but it was raining so bad, I missed the turn off.
Don't feel bad, Mac - I missed the turning in broad daylight on a sunny day, having just been given directions!
We'd seen a moose on the way in. We pulled over and I was a bit slow pulling the camera out of my pocket, so all I have to show for it is a pic of its back end. Oh well.
On the ride in I'd been thinking that someone must have wanted to start a settlement here pretty damn badly to have built the amazing road in, and I wondered why. Turns out that in the Gold Rush days when the geat rush north was at its peak, what is now Telegraph Creek was the furthest up river that goods and equipment could reliably be shipped in to. From there on, all the way into the Yukon and beyond, everything - and I mean everything - had to be hauled across the mountains by men and horses. I couldn't imagine a trek of that kind today, and how they did it a hundred years ago I'll never know. Amazing.
In the morning the couple that were in the camper came to say hello and we had a good chat with them. I never made a note of their names or where they were from, but Kevin and I had told them how we'd been so keen for a beer the night before when we got in. In response, the man said that if he'd know he'd gladly have given us each a beer, and promptly produced two cans from his camper! That was such a nice gesture - we decided to keep them as a reward for once we'd made it out again, assuming we did! That road had had an effect on us, I tell you.
As it turns out, the way out was far easier for being uphill, but as we were approaching Dease Lake again and saw a group of about 5 dual sport bikes heading towards T. Creek I did flag them down and tell them that there in for a hell of a ride. It occurs to me today that if they were seasoned riders they probably wouldn't have thought anything of it and regarded me as a bit of a pussy, but what can you do?
We made it back to Dease Lake jubillant at our adventure, and Kevin very kindly announced that he'd buy me lunch before we set off again. That's a gesture I still appreciate today, as I really think that it was me that owed him. We ate at a restaurant over the road from the gas station in Dease Lake with a couple from Kelowna, B.C. called Sandy and Ken, riding an old Norton with a truely massive windshield. Speaking to Homeontherange and The Chanteuse a few weeks ago, it turns out that they'd ran into Ken and Sandy, too.
But before lunch, while we were gassing up a couple of cruisers pulled up to the pumps, one of them pulling a trailer. While I chatted to these guys Kevin went and scored some pot, which lead to a hilarious scene that evening, which I'll write about tomorrow . While the dude pulling the trailer was telling me what he had in there, he mentioned a cooler of beer and a light bulb went on in my head. "We were given a beer each this morning" I said, "but they're probably warm by now. Would you consider swapping two warm ones for two cold ones given that they'll have cooled down by the time you get to drink them?" The deal was done and, parking our bikes outside the restaurant we ate in, Kevin and I enjoyed a cold one each to celebrate our epic edventure on the road to Telegraph Creek. I highly recommend that side trip if you're passing through and you have time.
It would have been coming on for 2pm, I guess, when we left the restaurant. Our intention was to make it to the end of the highway and to Steward/Hyder that night. I have only one photo from between Dease Lake and the Bell II resort, so I guess we weren't hanging around. The cassiar does become slightly less scenic the further south you go, though. You'll have to make do with largely the last of my Telegraph Creek pics instead for this post.
There was an amazing property on the T. Creek road. We were riding through the mountains and all of a sudden you see this manicured plateau with a beautiful log home on it - pretty wild.
Here's the one photo I took that day other than at Telegraph Creek. In fact without looking at a map I can't be sure, but Jade City might even be north of Dease Lake. There store here had some very nice jade carvings and novelties, but they were most definitely asking tourist prices. The sad thing is that even though the jade is all mined in the area, everything in that store was made in Vancouver. Not exactly local craftsmen.
At about 8pm that evening I pulled in to the Bell II resort and found Kevin chatting to a young lasy who was riding her KLR from Whitehorse to Prince George. She was moving to P.G. and I asked why she would want to go and do something like that. "University" she said. Oh. Her Dad was following behind her in the truck with all her shit.
Kevin and I were beat. Steward/Hyder was still 175 kms away and I knew that I didn't have it in me to do that that night, so we called it quits there. I thoroughly disliked the Bell II resort. It's a heli-skiing lodge really, and is ridiculously expensive. They charged Kevin and I $20 each for a very shitty camping spot. Gravel instead of grass and water on three sides of us so the bugs were appallingly bad. We met Brunstei and his friends when they turned up on their way north. There were at least five of them and the bugs were so bad that they decided to get a cabin. Even so, it cost then over $15,000 each. Yeah. Well, it was a lot - you get the point. I left a polite but unhappy comment in the visitors book. The restaurant was closed so the only food available was at the gas station and that was junk food. The one good thing is that the shower rooms were very nice, and having cleaned ourselves up we went to grab something to eat.
A couple of days ago I called Kevin, who was "Deep in the bowels of a law office" (!) in L.A. to ask him whether he was cool with my telling the story of his smoking up that night. I'm not a big pot smoker and although I did partake once during this trip, when Kevin rolled a joint that night I didn't help him smoke it. We were sat at a small table in the gas shop and Kevin was absolutely stoned out of his gourd. He could hardly talk, and I was torn between cracking up at the hilarious sight of his state and being pissed because he obviously couldn't be left alone and I wanted to go to bed! He'd grabbed a cup of coffee and had to ask me to put the empty cup in the trash for him because he couldn't move the 6ft to get it to the can! Man, it is one of my fondest memories of the entire trip and I was so glad that I'd said "No" and wasn't in the state he was in. He did of course make it to his tent eventually, but I don't think anyone who came in to that store would have been in any doubt as to what the smell was in there that night while we were there. Good stuff Kevin - I hope you enjoyed the rest of it as much!
By now it was Tuesday morning and if I were to make Squamish by Friday I wouldn't have time to see Steward/Hyder. One day I'll go back and re-visit some favourite spots as well as seeing the ones I missed out on this time like Terrace and Prince Rupert. And Alaska.
Kevin and I said our goodbyes where I had to turn south to head towards Prince George, and e was riding on to Hyder. See ya, bud! I had a hoot riding with you and hope that we might be able to do so again some day.
At the junction there was what looked like a run down cafe or something and a lone car parked there. I rode in looking for a washroom if I remember correctly, and the guy who was unloading stuff from his car waved me down and told me, with a little more attitude than I thought was neccessary, that it was private property and I had to get off it. No big deal, but there weren't signs up, how was I to know?
At some stage mid morning I stopped to stretch my legs at the head of a forest service road which was advertising the Nisga'a Lava Bed Park about 50 km down it. I'd love to have checked it out but I was on a mission that day and ended up doing over 700km, quite a bit more than is comfortable on a stock KLR seat! Having stretched I jumped on the bike and it wouldn't start.
It had been acting up a little every now and then - I'd turn the key and the green neutral light would come on, but as soon as I pressed the starter all the electrics would go dead. Sometimes it'd cure itself as soon as I turned the key off and back on again, other times I'd have to do it a few times but this time it wasn't having any of it. I went for a walk and came back half an hour later and there was no problem at all, but I began to be aware that it could well leave me stranded somewhere I didn't want to be if the problem became worse.
At the big gas station on the main PG road I met Tom and Shane, a father and son who were making a trip together from Idaho to Homer on a pair of brand new LC8s. Pretty cool to be able to make a trip like that with your kid, I'd think.
I noted in my journal that I'd taken to using cheap Walmart chain lube when my regular chain wax had run out, and that this shit was leaving gunk all over my bike that probably should have been on my chain. It was horrible stuff and that night I finally had enough of it, stopping in PG to grab some of the wax I usually use, and throwing the cheapo stuff away.
I can't remember the number of the Hwy that runs down to Prince George, but it's pretty boring. It's known throughout the province as the 'Highway of Tears' because a number of female hitchhikers have gone missing on it, an unpleasant thought indeed.
I made it to Vanderhoof that night, 740 kms from the Bell II where Kevin and I had had such a disappointing camping spot the night before. One of my ice trucking friends lives in Vanderhoof but I didn't have any contact info for him so I stayed at a pleasant campground instead and called Robyn and Shane in Squamish to let them know I planned on being there on the Friday night. Unfortunately Robyn's son Christiaan would be leaving the day before to spend a month with his Dad, but at least I'd get to see two of the three of them.
Hey Ben, I am totally hooked! Keep it coming
The Highway you wher on is Hwy 16, and from Prince George to Smithers is one of the most boring roads I have been on. I use to drive it once a month.
The picture of the two KTM's was that taken west of town at an Esso?
+1 on Hwy 16 - one of the reasons I was able to travel so far that day is that there was nothing that made me want to stop and investigate. Pretty harsh when you've just come off the Cassiar, but there you go. The scenery was to become spectacular again in the next 48 hrs or so, so stay tuned!
The pic of the two KTMs was taken at the same Petro Can station as the sign in the photo above it. I'm pretty sure it's Meziadin Junction, where I first joined Hwy 16. I remember being chuffed with myself because about an hour north of there I'd decided to take a little detour through a small town there (no idea what it was), and had stopped for gas at some little mom and pop station. Just a few KMs past that I came back on to the main drag here at that Petro Can (which I hadn't known was there), and noticed that the gas at the bigger station was considerably more expensive.
Thanks for posting! More to come....
The next day was another long one - Vanderhoof to Lillooet. I always enjoy traveling through the Caribou region because it's so pretty there. Today, though, the heat was oppressive. I'm a pretty big one for ATGATT, but to wear a jacket that day would have been pure hell. Even in a t-shirt it was brutal, and when I made it to the campsite in Lillooet at 7pm it was still 35c.
I had stopped for gas and brake fluid in Cache Creek. My rear brake had been acting up for quite a while and was getting worse so I was going to try bleeding it. When I first changed my rear tire a few years ago the brake pads had fallen out of the caliper, as they always do, and I simply couldn't figure out which was the right way to put them back in. I was a substitute teacher at the time and asked the small engines guy at one of the high schools if he'd mind having a look at it the next day I was there - the wheel was back on, but the brake was dragging. I rode it the couple of Kms to the school and he fixed it for me that day, but it never quite felt the same as it had done. When working on the bike at Larry's before this trip I'd again had trouble with the same brake, but had eventually persuaded it to work properly. Now, a few thousand miles later, it definitely wasn't happy so I thought I'd bleed it that night and see if that helped.
As always, I was blown away by the logging roads in Marble Canyon between Cache Creek and Lillooet and I was very tempted to spend a day exploring them, but decided that because no-one knew where I was at that time it likely wasn't such a good idea on a heavily loaded bike in those kinds of temps.
The campground in Lillooet
It was a half decent campground and my little patch of grass was nice. There were signs up saying that you needed to let the attendant know which spot you were in so that she could turn the appropriate sprinklers off and you wouldn't get an unplanned shower in the middle of the night, but in this case the girl had told me which spot to take so I knew I was ok. Lots of good looking gils there that night, I noticed. Most of them were a bit young, but there were two couples with Alberta plates on their trucks and quads in the back, and one of the girls with them was smoking hot. Pity she wasn't alone as she was about my age.
Anyway, I only mention that because it'll come up again. I showered and took the back brake apart and bled it several times but it just wasn't co-operating. One of the pads was very unevenly worn and all I could do was put it all back together...but I now had no rear brake at all. Another good reason not to try those logging roads that I so wanted to, but I knew there was a Kawi dealer in Squamish where I could buy what I needed.
There was a family in the campground from Norway. The guy, Harald, spoke very bad English very fast, but was fascinated to hear anybody's story, and I chatted to him and his wife and two sons while we shared a beer or two and some chicken wings. They ended up inviting me to stay with them in Norway if ever I was there, and even told me where they kept the spare key to their house in case I should turn up while they were out!
Harald and family
Eventually it cooled down enough that I'd be able to sleep, and off to bed I went. In the middle of the night I was woken by heavy rain on my tent, only I knew it wasn't rain because there was no way it had been going to rain that night - the attendant hadn't turned off the sprinklers in my site. Shit. I poked my head out of the tent and saw that my stuff was still dry, out of the range of the water, and settled back down again happy that the tent wasn't leaking and knowing that when the sprinklers eventually went off, I'd be able to get back to sleep.
They went on for a while, and when I woke up I had a nasty surprise. There had been a second sprinkler that I couldn't see or hear from my tent, and this one had been showering my gear all night! Everything - and I mean everything - was soaked. I had a system developed by this time for how I stored things at night and how I packed up again in the mornings, and this system made sure that most of my gear was at least somewhat protected from rain no matter how unlikely I thought that rain was, so things probably could have been worse, but I was pretty pissed off for a while. I didn't know whether to blame myself for not reminding the attendant which spot she'd put me in, or her for not realising she had been the one who told me where to go. Fortunately it was another very hot day and in a couple of hours everything had dried out and I could set off again with just a slight delay. I called my parents in England before I set out because I hadn't spoken to them for a while, and I was planning to head into some pretty back woods areas for the next day or two...
Hey Squonker...I mean't to ask you this a couple of pages back but better late than never...
Is the road into the town of Cassiar open? If not it should be easy enough to get past a barricade on a bike I would think. Wouldn't mind heading up that way to take a sniff around.
Hi. I don't know, to tell you the truth - we thought about going in to have a look, and I kinda wish we had, but if I remember correctly when we were talking to the chick at the store in Jade City she was talking about the town as if it were still viable in some way - even if it's just where the locals live. I imagine there are still some folks living there. If you do go in, let me know what it's like would you?! Sorry I can't tell you for sure.