Bella Coola and Beyond: 9 days in and out BC on 2 F800GSs

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by MotoLara, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Ageing Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
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    816
    Location:
    Lower Hutt, New Zealand
    I'm in, plan to do this trip at some point when we finally bring our bikes up from NZ...:wink:
    #21
  2. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    Nov 21, 2009
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    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    beautiful pics...we live in a gorgeous Province...Alberto you lost a lot of weight! :wink: The Alaska Ferry system could learn from BC that set up they have for bikes. Looking forward to more!
    #22
  3. far

    far ADVreader

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
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    Location:
    Los Andes,Venezuela
    Great pictures from a beautiful place :lurk
    #23
  4. naotweed

    naotweed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    128
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Thanks for following along eyerone, and for the locals we are both looking forward to meeting you in person and swapping some stories at the BCBTR :freaky
    #24
  5. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
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    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    I have one photo in mind from this trip that I want to submit for the 2013 HU calendar... but it's from day 6 or 7 I think
    Indeed! I was blown away with the overall 'adventure riding' experience we had in this short trip.

    Hahaha I guess being 30 lbs lighter becomes noticeable :lol3 (thanks to Herbalife btw :deal)

    Muchas gracias! :D
    #25
  6. bujas

    bujas Adventurer

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    Jun 19, 2011
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    Location:
    Alhos Vedros, Portugal
    Looks promising this ride report, look forward to see more.
    #26
  7. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    Nov 21, 2009
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    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    :wink:looking good
    #27
  8. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    The first real day of the trip begins, real because we are actually riding in places we've never been. We sort of had a lazy start due to the late night the previous evening. We showered up, breakfasted up and then hit the road.

    Two bikes, one tent = perfect!
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    Breakfast setup
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    Bella Coola!
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    Back on the road surrounded by awesome vistas
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    The scenery was quite impressive in the light of day. We decided to back track back into Bella Coola to see what was up. That took about 5min, and then we were back on the road heading east. While Alberto was parked at the side of the road taking a picture a friendly local told him to follow him to a great spot to get some good views of the mountains. So off we went into the hills following the guy in the red pickup. It was like a 15min detour, what a friendly guy to offer. It's fun, bizarre, random moments like that that make doing trips fun for us.

    Leaving Bella Coola
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    Blue skies again! :clap:clap
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    Lots of 'head-turning' scenery :D
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    We enjoyed the road very much. There was very little traffic and lots of amazing scenery. Reasonably twisty and the road surface is fair.

    What a nice ride it was
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    Wow...
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    Incredible panoramas right next to the road
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    After a 'photo break' we needed to keep rolling :evil
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    We experienced the infamous "hill". A very nicely maintained dirt road I must say. Some of the tightest switchbacks we have ever been on. It was great fun!

    On 'The Hill'
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    Twisty stuff :evil
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    Why do they call it 'The Hill'?
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    Still climbing up
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    Heidenau vs VeeRubber :lol3
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    Then when the dirt road plateaus it is quite smooth, wide and fast, very much like a paved highway. Some people were really flying too, we tried to keep it sensible. The only complaint we have is that when we stopped for lunch the mosquitoes were crazy, so much so that we had to postpone our lunch stop!

    Lunch break ... before the mosquitoes noticed our presence :lol3
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    Smooth like mantequilla (ala Jorge Lorenzo)
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    We felt really isolated riding today, which reminded us of riding in foreign countries. I joked to Alberto that I never need to leave BC again because I can simulate almost any type of riding in this province.

    It was another gorgeous sunny today, quite warm actually. We both had our vents blasted wide open! How long can this luck continue? I hope a long time. We eventually stopped for gas and lunch in Nimpo lake. There were mosquitoes but it was not nearly as bad as earlier. We continued on Highway 20 until Tatla Lake where we turned off on a secondary road to find a campsite that was recommended by the owners of Gnomes Home. They said it was called the Movie Spot, because of the scenery. It was worth the detour and then some. We camped at a spectacular lake side Rec Site with fantastic mountain views. Life is good.

    Well maintained dirt roads :deal almost too well to call it 'adventure riding' :rofl
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    Naomi and her new head gear: XD4 + S.Cardo G9 :evil
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    La Gringa back on the road, where it belongs (50% of the time napping on it :muutt)
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    We set up shop right on the lake in a pretty private little site. We were all settled in pretty early, which gave us a chance to enjoy the sun and the views. A nice relaxing evening is a perfect spot.

    Tatlayoko Lake = amazing
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    Free camping @ its best!
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    The view from our tent
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    The 'movie spot' view
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    Dinner time!
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    GREAT camping spot:
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    Agua es vida (Water is life)
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    Nice to enjoy what BC has to offer
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    I like this shot
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    Planning our next move :wink:
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    Great gadget to keep our electronics running
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    Night falls and colours rise :D
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    Last shot of the day (11pm)
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    #28
  9. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,414
    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    :clap We never been to Bella Coola..we missed that area last year...now we know where we must go!
    #29
  10. VanIsland Rider

    VanIsland Rider Intrepid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Hi Naomi and Alberto

    Great pics and RR. Last summer my wife and I did a 5000km loop through southern BC, into Alberta, and ending up in Bella Coola. It never ceases to amaze me what an incredible province BC is and how lucky we are to call it home!! In the area that you are now in, we came across a couple of young grizzly's and also had to stop due to three very large bulls deciding to rest in the middle of the highway!!

    Our ferry ride also turned into an adventure as we had to anchor overnight due to bad weather in the Queen Charlotte Strait. The ferry ride turned into a 32 hour trip!! The staff on board were amazing and took very good care of us. I have never been so envious of motorhome owners as we had to sleep on the floor sharing one pillow and blanket. It all adds to the adventure though.

    Take care and keep the pics coming.
    Bryan
    #30
  11. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    556
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Hey Bryan,

    I remember meeting you and your wife at the Hotel in Bella Coola (Bella Coola Inn?). I had to stay there, because the RCMP wouldn't let me camp due to the Salmon running = Lots of Bears. You mentioned getting a bigger tank for your GS. Hope all is well.

    I'm going again this fall... same time sligthly different route. More dirt.

    BTW: Great pics and RR. I can see some of the places I missed and some great places to camp. Keep 'em coming. :clap
    #31
  12. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    Thanks Bryan! our ferry ride was nice and smooth for the most part (the weather was perfect!) when at first we were on open waters and boy... it was rocking and rolling :super I was a bit concerned about the bikes staying up right... but all was good and once the ferry entered the channel waters it was really smooth

    Envious of motorhomes? blasphemy! :pope ... *joke*
    :thumb
    #32
  13. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    4,386
    Location:
    N.V.I, B.C.
    I always appreciate your ride reports mainly because of the fantastic photos you compose and include... I say five stars so far...
    #33
  14. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    You Sir are too kind :D
    #34
  15. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    I woke up to beautiful mountain views and clear blue sky; this is going to be a good day. By ADV standards we are pretty slow starters, we typically hit the road etween 9 and 10 am, and today we were towards the later end of that time window. No schedule, no worries. We tend to have a leisurely breakfast, followed by slow packing and occasional sightseeing.

    A simple yet effective breakfast
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    And some tea too
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    We changed things up a little bit and took a different road back to the highway. It was more challenging than the road we were on last night, tight turns and some loose gravel. A fun way to kick off the day.

    The new road required some more navigation :lol3
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    Back on the highway things were smooth sailing. Highway 20 is a pleasure to ride, reasonably nice surface but more importantly pretty much free of traffic, or at least in our experience it was. It's a nice fast road, enough turns to keep things interesting and some nice scenery to feast the eyes upon. We stopped for a mid day snack at a roadside campground that bordered a glacier blue river. We weren't the only ones taking a little break, there was a camper van family as well, we had a nice chat the gentleman as he was fascinated with our BMWs.

    Sharpening up some pegs :rayof
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    Glacier waters
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    Back on the road, vroom vroom, off we go. When the road eventually got a centerline traffic picked up a little bit. As we descended into Williams Lake the temperature gauge sky rocketed, we werent expecting this. It eventually peaked at 29.5 degrees and we looked for shelter in the air conditioned grocery store. We stocked up on the essentials, including some bug spray with a higher concentration of DEET. Down the road was a Denny's so we stopped for a bite to eat and some wifi access.

    Coming down to Williams Lake
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    Camping options in the direction we were heading looked limited to so we decided to camp nearby, but south of the town. As we were leaving the Denny's parking lot a guy on a bicycle stopped to say hello. He said that we looked like we were riding around the world, and we didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise. All too frequently people ask us either where we came from or how long we've been riding expecting an exotic answer, and when we tell the truth we usually get a disappointed reaction. This guy was so friendly and happy we told him about riding in south america. He wanted to follow us on his bicycle and party in every town we stopped. Thankfully he couldn't keep up because I suspect we couldn't keep up with his partying.

    We camped for the night at a popular lake Rec Site, Chimney Lake. It was packed. There are a few places along the lake and it seems to be a popular place to spend the hot summer days for William's Lakers. We found a nice quiet little spot, away from the crowds somewhat. The first thing we did though was take a swim and it was amazing. The water was cold but it felt really good.

    Camping setup
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    Alberto's hair is getting out of control :augie
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    The rest of the afternoon we spent sitting in the sun, enjoying the slight breeze. Some tunes and some snacks were the only accessories we required, well maybe a little bug spray as well. It's a nice little spot and the locals are very friendly, offering their help unprompted.

    Chillaxing
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    We were treated to a nice sunset
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    #35
  16. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    I could tell when I woke up this morning at 6:30am that we were heading for another hot day. So I quickly woke Alberto up and told him that we should hit the road ASAP. He agreed. We quickly packed up, drank some breakfast and hit the road. But not before I dropped my bike leaving the campsite, stupid hill. It's a fine line between the point of no return and glory when trying to take the bike of the side stand.

    Fun roads near Williams Lake
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    We rode back the way we came to Williams Lake. I stopped at the grocery store and stocked up on some water. We weren't planning on being anywhere near civilization for the next few days. One last quick check of the map and we were off. Tragically our TomTom died about a week ago, and has yet to revive itself. This is quite unfortunate in some situations, like finding the right road in cities. Oh well, I chose to improvise to the best of my knowledge and it worked out. What we discovered was an amazingly twisty road, that we had all to ourselves so early on a Sunday morning. It was road biking bliss. Elevation changes, technical corners, a nice cool morning breeze. Good times.

    :ricky
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    The road turned to gravel as we descended down to the river, and stayed dirt for a little ways before turning back to a rough paved road. Based on our map we were expecting more gravel, but there you go, it was paved. We continued through farmland, into the back of Quesnel. There we topped up with gas, and met a nice gentleman on a Honda Goldwing. The day was starting to heat up so we wanted to keep moving. Another quick glance of the map and we had a route planned for the rest of the day. Our intention was to follow what looked like backroads towards Prince George.

    Trying to 'catch' Naomi :evil
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    We turned off at 10 Mile Lake, and we were again surprised that the road was paved. The road changed from dirt to paved and when we finally intersected the highway we discovered that we had gone way too far north. This was one of the moments that TomTom would have earned his keep. He would have alterted us that we had gone astray. So once again we checked our map and realized we didn't really need to backtrack that far we decided to continue with the original plan. Back on Highway 97 we headed south keeping our eyes open for Genvieve street. We didn't find it, but thankfully where we stopped to check our map again was indeed the road we were looking for, it just wasn't signed. Back on track we headed for the hills.

    We didn't get very far though. There was active logging going on and the road was blocked.

    This must be a logging zone :huh
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    There was an alternate road that looked like it would get us where we needed to go though, so we tried our luck on that one. We saw a couple of pickups shooting a gun, but that was it. No logging, no people. Lots of unnamed intersections and blind guesses on our part. All the random guessing eventually led us to a dead end, but the riding was fun and we weren't really going anywhere in particular today. Just a couple of fun seekers on some motorbikes.

    Are we LOST again? ... great! left or right? ...let the fun begin :freaky
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    We were getting close.... to a dead end :lol3
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    No TomTom? no problem, get that Backroad Mapbook out :deal
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    The ruts - bottom left - don't look like much but boy... Alberto got into some almost un-savable wobbles :rofl
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    Too many wrong turns and 90min later we decided to head back out to the highway to a road that we saw and knew where it led. We were now interested in a sure thing. So back to the highway we went, but not before seeing some local wildlife: moose and calf plus a deer.

    Back on the HWY
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    We turned off the highway on to Naver road, which we thought was going to be paved (based on our map). This was not the case, but we saw an RV coming the opposite direction so we thought we were for sure on the right track. There was more signage but it was still pretty weak, and of course we took a wrong turn. 50/50 odds, and we were not doing so well today. We considered stopping at a pretty lame Rec Site but the mosquitoes were very aggressive and that kept us searching.

    We pointed ourselves in the only direction left, and finally we guessed right. Success! By this time though the temperature was hovering around 27 degrees and we had taken several wrong turns. I had choked down a lot of dust, and was cursing TomToms good name. I was starting to loose Alberto too. We hadn't really had lunch, he was cooking inside his riding gear and his back was past its limit for the day, we needed to find a place to camp, the sooner the better.

    Eventually a sign I recognized appeared, phew we were driving in the right direction at least, and I remembered that Stoney Lake, where we were trying to go, was nearby. Alberto was eager to stop for the day, and it was hard to keep up with him. We chose to stop at Stoney Lake Rec Site (North) for the evening and we were rewarded. A nice peaceful spot with a good view. There were a couple of families with campers also enjoying the lake, which in our opinion is a good sign.

    FINALLY Stony Lake :clap
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    Just a bit dirty :deal ... that VeRubber tyre has had a good run
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    Very nice spot was Stony Lake
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    We had barely set up the tent when we ran down to the lake for a dip. Oh boy, that felt good. It was sweltering inside our suits. A bit too hot for our tastes and not what I was expecting when we decided to go North for this road trip. The lake was refreshing, and under normal circumstances I would have considered it cold, but in that moment it was perfect.

    We spent the rest of the evening hiding in the shade until the heat of the sun had dissipated. It was nice though, there was a cool breeze and sitting by the lake was very peaceful.

    Isn't she beautiful :wink:
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    #36
  17. VanIsland Rider

    VanIsland Rider Intrepid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Awesome pics, what camera are you using?

    Bryan
    #37
  18. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    Hey Bryan, I use a 'DSLR wannabe' Canon T2i :lol3 but I have a UV filter and a Polirizer on it. Oh yeah, and for some shots I use hard line neutral density graduated filters to not overexpose the skies but the setup takes longer so I don't use them all the time. I'm also just experimenting with these ND Grad filters... there is LOTS to learn!

    The 'action' shots are from my mounted GoPro HD.
    Cheers :freaky
    Alberto.
    #38
  19. MotoLara

    MotoLara ADV rider wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
    Some cloud cover that had rolled in over night was our friend this morning, it gave us a little extra time to enjoy the morning, without the fear of sweating our pants off trying to pack up later. We were feeling so cool we had oatmeal and tea for breakfast.

    We had a good idea of where we were going this morning, and which made us less worried about getting lost, though the memories of the previous day were haunting us a little bit. We didn't really want to be in the same position at the end of the day. The riding was cool and breezy at first, a welcome change compared to how we ended the day yesterday. The road was pretty fun too, challenging enough without being terrifying. A very fun morning indeed.

    Riding out of the free camping rec area
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    A bit of water to make a GS look like a GS
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    We came around a tight corner at one point and Alberto had a surreal moment. He thought he saw a teddy bear discarded at the side of the road, which he thought was strange, but then after a double take he realized it was a real live baby bear. The bear just sat there looking very cute watching him as he rode by merely inches away from it. Usually bears run off before I come along but even I saw this little guy. The bear was very cute, it's nice to see things like that.

    We haven't seen rain for days... imagine when it rains in this area :hmmmmm
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    Naomi having some fun
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    We eventually poped out of the woods at Barkerville, and discovered that our only hope of getting some much needed gas was in Wells. The only catch was that the gas station didn't open until noon. Yikes it was only 9:30am. I went to ask the reception at the nearby hotel if there was anyone else I could buy gas from, and she told me she would call the person who ran the gas station. The friendly lady opened the gas station for us, thank goodness. The kindness and helpfulness of the people of Wells saved us a tragic paved ride back to Quesnel. We also took advantage of the little break and bought some fresh popcorn. Not the most likely snack for a bike rider.

    Cool mining shopping cart :lol3
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    Barkerville
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    Begging for gas :shog
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    The wait isn't too bad when you have a bag fresh popcorn :lurk
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    Now armed with full tanks of gas we set out on the Gold Rush Circle Route, which by the way is well signed, a welcome bonus. The road conditions are mixed, at times it is as smooth as pavement and other times there is heavy gravel. It's a mixed bag, but an enjoyable ride nonetheless. We saw very few other vehicles, mostly road maintenance machiniery in fact. The scenery was typical beautiful British Columbia: rivers, forests, lakes and snow caped mountains. A perfect ride, in a perfect place.

    BC is beautiful
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    :ricky
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    Mountains started to show their face
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    Naomi looking cool
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    Definitely a great ride[​IMG]

    Making sure we're not getting lost again :rofl
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    Some of the views
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    Stretching technique on a GS :evil
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    Taking a short break
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    The road finally connects back to civilization in Likely, but before returning back to the outside world we saw another bear (full grown) and a moose with two calves. The wildlife tally for this trip keeps growing.

    We decided to break for lunch in Lively. There is a nice spot beside the river with picnic tables, and a public washroom. The lunch of champions included a shake, popcorn, and an ice cream (purchased from the corner store). One thing I must say is that I love traveling with my shaker cup, it does everything from mixing drinks to making scrambled eggs. I'll never leave home without it again! It provides an easy instant meal and provides much needed convenience when we are on the road.

    Lunch by the river in Likely
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    Going crazy for GOLD
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    Re-energizing
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    Short Peruvian miner vs tall Canadian one
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    Alberto's back was getting tired and there were some campgrounds in the area do we decided to check them out. We got lucky on the first try and ended up setting up camp at Jacobie Lake Rec Site. We had a lakeside campsite and the place to ourselves. Score!

    After setting up the tent we took a bath/shower in the lake. It felt amazingly refreshing and very needed. I ate so much dust today, that swim felt like the best thing on earth. We stopped for the day pretty early so we had lots of time to lounge around and relax beside the lake. The only issue, which has been a theme throughout, was the bugs. We had to hide in the tent most of the time, instead of enjoying the great outdoors outside.

    Jacobie Lake: another AMAZING free camping spot :clap
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    Relaxing the back
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    Those who never leave the city don't know what they're missing :deal
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    The planner is planning :norton
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    A much needed bath :getiton
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    Our high-tech charging stations!
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    The view from our tent :evil
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    Jacobie Lake
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    #39
  20. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,414
    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    just awesome...love your pics and narration...
    #40