Canada's Best Kept Secret: 500km from the nearest paved road, solo in Northern BC.

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Crooked Creek, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Ben , not sure about most of us that follow your RR but I must admit by the time I read the RR, look at your maps, look up what I can find from my older maps of BC, and finally see you have camped for the night or reached home , I AM ALSO VERY TIRED!:lol3

    Squonker did the same things to me as he described his ice road truck drives.

    Guess I will need to up my training so I can at least finish your RR.

    Keep em coming, take care of that awesome family.

    gale
    #81
  2. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Agreed. I cannot resist. Same reason maps get me in trouble... Is the bridge really out? Hmm, it look like there is a short cut here...

    Well you had better start training, because my "day" is only about a third done so far :lol3.
    #82
  3. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    That is some fascinating back-country you get into. :lurk
    #83
  4. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    Outstanding ride report through some unbelievable country! I am so jealous... Here in Virginia you can't get more than a mile from someone's house or farm; no matter how "remote" the area, there's someone living just over the hill/around the bend. It's beautiful country but over-run with people; I guess the Winters aren't harsh enough. I lived in Wyoming for many years and loved the emptiness and solitude, but even that was nothing like what you've experienced.

    On one such turn. I found the Grizzly I was looking for.

    It was a young feller, probably a 2 or 3 year old male, and he was standing right beside the road. Yep, standing. I almost got a picture of him peering at me over the brush on his hind feet from about 8 feet, but I was a fraction of a second too slow.

    Too bad. It would have been a good one.

    I got such a photo once from the seat of my bike; it made a great shot but in hindsight was actually a pretty stupid thing for me to do. Could have worked out very differently... I love bears, respect them immensely, but don't trust them, especially grizzlies.

    So jealous... :lurk Living vicariously

    BTW, how cool that your wife supports your adventures, even with little kids! She's a keeper.

    Doug

    P.S. Can you comment on how your WR250R is holding up?? I've owned a lot of smaller displacement bikes in my life (KLR250, XT225, XT250, DR250, etc.) and they were great little bikes overall, but I don't think any of them could have been loaded up like your WR and taken over the long hauls and rough country like you've done and they were all pretty gutless, especially at altitude. I've also had several 650s (DR and KLR) and loved them for adventure travelling, but they are too heavy and underpowered for the kind of stuff you're doing. I've got an 1150GS that is a phenomenal bike for 90% of what you've ridden, but the Big Pig would never get a chance to see the deeper stix that you've been to on the WR. I've been shopping for a more dirt-oriented bike to add to the stable and have been looking at 450-class stuff, including the WR450F and equivalent Kawasaki, Honda, and KTM offerrings. Those are great bikes, but again taller and heavier than the 250-class. Are you happy with the performance, gas mileage, load capacity, maintenance, etc. of your WR?? Thanks for any comments you may have - I know you're stressed for time! Congrats on a gorgeous family.

    Doug
    #84
  5. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    The roadside is one of the safest places to take pictures of bears. They hear you coming from a long ways, so if they don't run off, it's usually because they are used to vehicles and more concerned about eating grass. Out of hundreds of bears on the side of the road, I've never felt threatened. It's pretty hard for a bear to feel cornered when they are in the ditch and you are on the read. Be careful with sows and cubs, or a bear feeding on roadkill though.

    My wife is definitely a keeper :clap. And I will keep her.

    Re: my WR250R, if I didn't like it, I'd be riding something else. It's still a 250, but it's in a whole different range than the bikes you've mentioned. When I keep the weight reasonable, I find it much faster than my old KLR 650 (on/off road) because it's smoother and has better suspension. The torque isn't there, but once I learned to ride it, I haven't missed the bigger bike. FWIW, I didn't get passed once in 3000km on this trip.

    Sure, I'd love 20 more hp, but the fuel range (up to 600km) and low maintenance is worth it. I'm almost at 16 000 km and have done nothing but change the oil, lube the chain, and clean the air filter (once :lol3but I really should clean it again...)

    I'm late for a meeting, but If you have any specific questions let me know.
    #85
  6. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    The roadside is one of the safest places to take pictures of bears. They hear you coming from a long ways, so if they don't run off, it's usually because they are used to vehicles and more concerned about eating grass.


    [​IMG]


    :lol3 This was late October and he was totally occupied with eating grass, packing on the calories for Winter, but this was still a little close for comfort in retrospect. They are beautiful creatures and very fast, no way I would have been able to react if he'd taken the notion to come after me from ten feet away.


    Thanks for the feedback on the WR250, it looks like a fabulous bike! I really like your map case "fairing". That was a hell of a trip, man...

    Doug
    #86
  7. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    It's not over yet, Doug. I'm only 1/3 of the way through the first day of 3 :D...
    Nice shot of the bear though. Late October up here, he'd be sleeping already.
    #87
  8. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    Not to hijack CC's tread here but I live in the territory he is currently writing about. Probably seen 1000 bears over the years. In all my travels in the back country I've only ever felt threatened by a bear only once. I was on a worn out 250 Yamaha 4 wheeler crusing down an abandoned FSR north of Mackenzie, BC. There was piles of bear scat all over the road and it was early fall. I figured the bears were out in force trying to bulk up for winter. Anyway I came around a corner on this FSR and there was a big blackie just sitting by the side of the road. I figured he'd take off as I got close to him. Nope. He just sat there and stared me down. I passed within 25 feet of him easily.

    So I continue on down the road for another couple of klicks. Now there is huge piles of scat all over the place. I'm not armed, riding a 15 year old quad that has seen better days, and I know the bears are hungry. Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I come to my senses and figure its time to head back to the truck. I pull a quick u-turn and off I go back down the road. I come around the same corner as before and, lo and behold, my big black bear friend is SITTING right in the MIDDLE of the danged road. On goes the brakes and up goes the blood pressure. He just sits there and stares at me. Doesn't make a sound or nothing. It felt like forever but in reality it was likely only a minute or two when he suddenly looses interest in me and saunters off to the side of the road again. I take the opportunity and book it. He doesn't even look my way as I ride past.

    I can tell you I have a VERY healthy respect for bears.
    #88
  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

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    Congratulations man!! :clap It's gonna be hard to get a baby seat on the WRR with all that kayaking gear in the way. :lol3
    #89
  10. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    So we left off in Chetwynd, BC.

    Here is a picture of the most interesting thing in Chetwynd:

    [​IMG]














    Just kidding.
    (But only a little.)


    Actually, it was raining and dark...so the camera stayed tucked away. I didn't need fuel, so I cruised right on through the big C. I was tired, but not wet. For the first time in my life I had proper rain gear. Well, proper enough anyways.

    Sometime in the winter I had searched ADV re: cheap and durable rain gear, and the Military Surplus ECWCS stuff came up. I picked up a parka on Ebay for $36 and pants for $19 and have been a fan ever since. You're not going to find Gore-tex any cheaper than that. And as a bonus, you blend in really well in desert sand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wore these almost my whole trip and was very impressed with them. The little things are what make the difference: the extra long zipper pulls, the elastic inner skirt on the parka, cuffs that actually work with gloves on, SPOT tracker pocket on the arm. These are my first and only rain gear so I use them for everything. I've worn them packrafting in the Artic, canoeing around home, ice fishing in the winter, snowmobiling, and haven't gotten wet yet.

    Sorry for the commercial, but just in case there are others as cheap as myslef I wanted to let them know: "You don't have to be wet anymore!"


    Anyways, shortly after Chetwynd I pulled off the highway onto a side road and traveled a couple km to Swinada's old house. He was my traveling buddy for my second Spatsizi trip. He had recently moved to the coast, but I wasn't sure if he had sold his house yet, so since I was tired and cold (but not wet) I had the thought of crashing on his deck or something if the place looked abandoned.

    It was 1:00 in the morning by now, so I figured I could sneak in and out no problem. But after traveling his longish driveway, I saw that there were lights on in the house and someone was watching TV, so I decided not to freak them out and just turned around and headed out to the highway again.

    Traveling the Pine Pass towards Mackenzie, I think I was on the edge of a cold front of something. The temperature has dropped almost 20 degrees in the last hour and it would rain hard for a bit, then stop, then rain again. After 40 minutes or so, I thought I had gotten through the worst of it (since it was coming from the west) so I started looking for a promising looking side road to do a little stealth camping. I probably checked out a half dozen tracks and trails, but didn't find anything that I liked the looks of, so I kept reverting to the highway.

    By about 1:50, I was having trouble staying awake, and after groggily dodging a moose, I decided I should camp at the next opportunity. It turned out to be a gas plant of some kind. Off to one side, there was a asphalt pad (the remains) of some sort of building, that I decided would be better than wet grass. I didn't take me long to set up my tent, as I didn't bother to stake it down or put on the fly.

    As I mentioned earlier, my front tent pole (which had broken this spring and was supposed to be in on warrantee 2 months, then 2 weeks, then 2 days before my trip) had not arrived. So instead, I was using a fiberglass one from my sons $10 play tent that was 2 feet too long. Thankfully, it was about as rigid as a wet noodle, so I just bent it that much more and it ended up working ok.

    I was tired before I had left 12 hours earlier, so despite having no sleeping pad, I found the asphalt surprisingly comfortable and I fell asleep right away.


    For about 45 minutes anyways.
    #90
  11. gmac

    gmac Adventurer

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    Crooked;
    Can you elaborate a bit more on the Military Surplus ECWCS gear? Is this summer or winter gear (insulated?). How did you find the sizing - to size, fits big or small, how was sleeve/leg length for motorcycle use? Do you recall which vendor you dealt with? Ideally I'd like to find some waterproof (Gortex) gear to throw over my motorcycle armored gear. Thanks. Congrats on the new daughter!

    Cheers Garry
    #91
  12. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    It is considered winter gear (ECWCS = Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) but is just a shell. The parka has a Nylon liner, the pants don't. They don't get brittle in the cold (I've used them down to 30 below), which is nice. Sizing is accurate as they come not just in sm/md/lg, but short/reg/long as well. If you're borderline, go for a size "longer", especially if you'll be mostly using them on the bike. See chart here.

    The Gen I stuff (which I have) is supposedly not as breathable as the newer Gore-tex, but if you're wearing it over layers, I don't think it matters much. I bought mine from this guy on Ebay, but he doesn't have any for sale right now. There are lots to be had on Ebay though, and dozens of vendors online.
    #92
  13. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    I have a set of Marmot GoreTex pants and jacket that work very well as an over-layer in colder weather wet stuff, but they sure as hell didn't cost what your surplus gear did (more like about 15X), they DO get crispy in cold weather (bought 'em for skiing), and they certainly aren't such a cool camo pattern! I don't think you're cheap, just smart. Sometimes I fall into that "if it ain't name brand it ain't shit" trap and feel like such a TOOL. There's a very good chance that your surplus gear was actually made by Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Lowe Alpine, Dakine, etc. Sheesh.


    Is the new baby sleeping through the night yet? :lol3 I would have had more kids if it hadn't been for the sleep deprivation phase, man that almost killed me. Hang in there, man!

    :lurk

    Doug
    #93
  14. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    :rofl............no.


    But we are down to 3 times a night now. One of the best things about breast feeding is that I can't do it :clap. I think my angelic wife has slept through the night about 4 times in the last 5 years. I'm up helping as much as I can though.
    #94
  15. gmac

    gmac Adventurer

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    Thanks for the input on the rain gear fellows, much appreciated. As you say cheap for Gortex, even at the new price!

    Cheers Garry
    #95
  16. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Ok, I be back to the RR ASAP, but some of you may remember me mentioning earlier that I hadn't cleaned my air filter in a while...









    Turns out, I should have :eek1.

    [​IMG]


    Been riding like this for at least the last 4000km.

    [​IMG]


    Won't make that mistake again, but I can't wait to see how much more power I have now :D. On my way back to Tumbler Ridge tomorrow night...
    #96
  17. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    Arghhhh!!!! Flipping mice! Those things are amazing, the places they can get into. A friend took his car to the mechanic once because it was running very poorly, no power, chugging at low RPM, etc. When he picked it up that evening there was a gallon ZipLock baggie filled to bursting with dog chow sitting on the car seat. WTF?? The service guy said "That was in your air cleaner compartment. We just cleaned it out and put a new filter in and it runs perfectly." He kept the car in his garage next to a 50 pound bag of dog food. I wonder how many trips between the dog chow sack and air cleaner it took for those teensy little mice to fill that compartment up? We have a farm here in Virginia and have endless issues with mice; they will even chew the plastic covering off your wiring. Not good. I made the mistake of storing my beer brewing stuff with some left-over grain near my ski boots once and ended up with both boots nearly filled with grain. That was a lot of trips for those little buggers! Luckily they were too enthralled with the grain to chew on the boot linings. Hopefully your little pals didn't tear anything else up for materials to make their nest.

    [​IMG]

    You know I was just kidding about the sleeping through the night thing. My kids are 26 and 29 now and I still remember the sleep depravation phase. Ughhh. I got caught once sleeping with earplugs screwed in and it took YEARS to get over that indescretion! I tell you, women are a lot tougher than most men I've known. If men had to have the babies there sure as hell wouldn't be 7 billion of us on the planet. I'd do it once and say WHOA that's enough of that crap!!

    Take care!

    Doug
    #97
  18. slabm7

    slabm7 Been here awhile

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    What kind of map bag is that on your handlebars/tank? Or is that just a homemade ziploc thingy?
    #98
  19. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Yeah, I lost cylinder #5 in my car last winter at 40 below. I feared the worst, but it turned out that a furry friend had just chewed the injector wire. Soldered it up, a little tape and good to go.

    It's a SealLine map case, for canoeing/kayaking. It was an impulse purchase on the way out and one of my best. The d-rings happened to be the perfect distance apart to slip over my mirror mounts. Blocks the wind as well.
    #99
  20. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    More pictures! This is not acceptable.