Edmonton to the Island ... and Beyond!!!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Pray4Snow, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Soooo...
    Last year's trip is a distant memory. The 'separate-yet-equal' vacation plan was a huge success ... I got the best of both worlds ... some nice alone-time on the bike, and some family vacation. It was so successful, that the wife suggested it again this year ...hmmmm, not sure what that says about my company.

    Anyway, the wife wanted to visit some friends of hers at different points on the mainland of British Columbia, and I wanted to see some of the northern BC coast. She didn't want to learn to tow our camper trailer, so she's armed with a tent, a mini-van full of camping gear, and a pocket-full of phone numbers for hotels if the tenting doesn't work out.

    My route will take me from Edm. to Prince George, and then out to Prince Rupert. If the weather's good, I'll leave a day earlier and take a side trip up to Hudson's Hope to see the Bennett Dam. If the weather is crappy, I'll probably just bee-line it for PR. From PR, it's a short 13-hour ferry ride down the inside passage to Vancouver Island, where I'll meet up with the whole fam damily again at Tofino. Once we're done on the island, we'll come back through WA, ID, and MT.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure of my ability to post from the road, so the RR might have to wait until I return.

    P4S
    #1
  2. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,042
    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    Man...that is a heck of a long way to go see the dam. Why not take the northern route?

    Oh and as for the weather...it looks good for the foreseeable future :D
    #2
  3. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Ya ... but I've never seen it.
    I was up the northern route a few years back ... Edmonton, DC, FSJ, Watson Lake, Ross River, and up into NT. But I've never done 97 north out of PG.

    Any word on forest fires between PG and the coast? My brother and a buddy tried to do a similar route a few years ago, and got turned south ... the road to Bella Coola was closed due to fires.

    P4S
    #3
  4. GISdood

    GISdood Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    803
    Location:
    Prince George, BC
    Drop me a line if you haven't already got a place to stay or camp in Prince George... and post lots of pics!! :D
    #4
  5. Garry_88

    Garry_88 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    67
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Hi P4S,

    We will be doing almost the same trip this summer, I'm leaving this weekend. My wife and I and a friend will be traveling thought southern BC (Via the KVR), Washington (going on the WABDR) , Idaho, Montana then back up to Prince George (Via Barkerville). Keep posting messages and photos and you never know our paths might cross, here is my trip map, this in the works.

    [​IMG]

    Garry
    Edmonton
    #5
  6. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    443
    Location:
    St Albert. Alberta Canada. IBA Member 50093
    I am in....:lurk
    #6
  7. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,042
    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    Of course it's your trip but going up to the dam from PG and then back down again just seems off to me. Lots of backtracking over that route.....

    Just a suggestion...Edmonton to Hinton. Hinton to Grande Prairie. GP to Ft St John. FSJ to Hudson Hope (and the dam). Very nice road, highway 29 BTW, from FSJ to Hudson Hope and then Chetwynd. Chetwynd to PG with a side trip into my awesome home town of Mackenzie. Really the jewel of the north IMO:rofl

    You get to see some great scenery....both the Bennet and Peace Canyon dams...and NO backtracking!!!
    #7
  8. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Merc,
    I hear ya ... but I've spent enough time on 43 between YEG and GP to last a lifetime. Besides ... I figure if I ride a road that I've never ridden before, in both directions, it's two sets of views I've never seen before. :-). There's a LOT of smoke in the air from the fires up in MacKenzie ... I'll be doing well to get ANY views

    Got away around 8 this AM. Just grabbing some breaky in beautiful metropolitan Entwhistle, Alberta (look it up :-) ) and thought I'd see if I can get Tapatalk to work ... seems to be working.

    P4S

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk
    #8
  9. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    I'm back.

    Trip was awesome, weather was (mostly) great, and met some good folks along the way.

    As you can now tell, all my good intentions to blog from the road went to hell after Day 1. Between sketchy cell and wi-fi service for most of the trip, some issues with my helmet cam and and the ensuing hate I got on for electronics in general, and just generally enjoying my holiday too much to give a $h!t ... it just didn't happen.

    I'm starting to sort thought my pics now and hope to start posting shortly!

    P4S
    #9
  10. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    So I'm finally geting on top of the ride report ... now that the snow is falling in the Great White North. Solo bike trip through the northern interior of BC to Prince Rupert, and take the inside-passage ferry down to Vancouver Island. Send the wife and kids through the southern interior of BC, let her do her visiting of friends and family, and meet me at Tofino. Fiddle around on the island for a week, cross over to the Olympic Peninsula for a week, Mt. Ranier, Seattle, Spokane, Glacier N.P., Waterton N.P., and home. With the exception of a couple of en route audibles called due to weather or opportunity, that’s the way it played out.


    SPOT Track of actual route ... a couple differences from the original plan
    [​IMG]



    Sat, July 14, 2012
    Odometer: 17,993
    · On the road at 07:45
    · Grabbed brekky at Entwhistle … took token food-porn shot I decided to try my new ‘Tapatalk’ app to start a thread about the trip while on the road. Seemed to work, however lack of consistent cell coverage, aaaaand enjoying the holiday too much to want to spend too much time updating the thread lead to me ignoring the Ride Report until now … after the snow has started to fall.

    Brekky the first morning at Entwhistle
    [​IMG]



    · Hit the weigh-scales near Edson … bike and rider was 390kg (I think … it digital display was hard to read) … works out to around 860 lbs fully loaded … including rider. I’m around 185 … so around 675 worth of bike and gear. Seem heavy, but I have nothing to compare to (anyone else have weights to compare?)
    · Shot some footage with the Drift … didn’t know until that night that something was wrong … missed all the shit I thought I shot, camera ran till the card maxed-out shooting straight roads and traffic.
    · Stopped in Jasper to see if Pete was working on his place. Nobody home, but so I left him a note thanking him for letting Junior and I crash there in June on our attempt at the Forestry Trunk Road.
    · Stopped for mandatory shots of the bike at Mount Robson. Didn’t actually go onto the visitor centre … to many tourists.:1drink

    Mount Robson
    [​IMG]


    · Grabbed fuel in Prince George, and headed north. There wasn’t really any camping close to PG, and since I was planning to head north to see the W. A. C. Bennett Dam, I figured I’d try for something that would put me a little closer to the next day’s destination. The AMA Camping book said there was a place around 60km north of PG. This was a bit further than I had planned to go in one day, but what the heck … it would make for a shorter day tomorrow. As I turned north, I noticed VERY black clouds to the west.
    · Pulled into Crooked Creek (approx.. 60km north of PG) around 7pm. Campground was PACKED … no room at the inn. Apparently, everybody from PG heads to Crooked Creek for the weekend. Had to decide whether or not to go back to PG or push on another 60km to McLeod Lake. Noticed that the storm was definitely moving east towards me. Shit. Do I backtrack to PG, and re-ride this stretch tomorrow? Or push farther north, which would put me REALLY far up shit-creek if it was just as full and the storm hits. Decided to roll the dice and try my luck at McLeod Lake.
    · Storm was super-dark. Fully expected to get caught in the rain, so I pulled over to swap helmet visors.
    · Pulled into McLeod Creek … two spaces left!! Took the one on the shore of the lake. I didn’t even bother to change out of my riding gear, before setting up camp …just raced to get the tent up.
    · I managed to get the tent up, my riding gear off, and my rain gear on before the storm hit. And what a show! Lightning across the lake, rain by the bucket, and hail! Waited out the hail and then started cooking dinner (freeze-dried backpacker meal … lasagna!) in the rain. At one point, I had to cover my pot of water while I waited for it to boil, because it was filling up too fast. Despite the pouring rain, it was comfortably warm, and was dry inside my rain gear. Even in sandals, my feet were soaked, but warm. Was reasonably pleasant.

    A shot of after the worst of the rain:
    [​IMG]

    · As I was cooking dinner, another rider rolled through the campground on a 1300RT.
    · After I ate and washed up, I poured a scotch, lit a stogey, and wandered down the road to see if the other rider needed a hand getting set up.
    · It wasn’t hard to find him … he had the only other spot that had been empty when I rolled in. As I came up, he was just finishing chucking his bedding into the tent. He had also changed into rain gear and now that his tent was up, was just deciding what to do next. I introduced myself and we shot the shit for about 30 minutes. His name was Mark, and he hailed from Chino, California (somewhere in the L.A. area.) He was on his way home from a trip up the BC/Alaskan coast. He gave a tip for a good sea-food restaurant in Prince Rupert. It was still raining cats-and-dogs … so hard in fact, that I couldn’t keep my damn stogey lit. After about 30min at his site, he wanted to check out my bike, so we wondered back to my site and chatted for another 30-or-so minutes.
    · This far north, it didn’t start getting dark until around 10pm. I was still wired from the long day, the panic to get set up before the rain, and the extra daylight, so it took me an extra scotch to get mellowed-out enough before I was ready for bed around 10:30. A long day, and a reasonably long one again tomorrow.
    · Mileage: 873 km
    · Tunes: ‘Ride Mix' all day long.

    Stogey: Cuaba
    [​IMG]

    Libation: 1) Glen Rothes Select; 2) Amrut (Indian)<bb pic="" 78.jpg=""><bb pic="" 80.jpg="">
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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    #10
  11. agplant

    agplant Ride Fast Travel Slo

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    299
    Location:
    High Level, Alberta
    Looks like a good start. Hope you don't mind if I tag along.

    :lurk
    #11
  12. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,025
    Location:
    :o)
    Loving it! You can coun't me in! and wtf you have whisky in cans? :huh
    #12
  13. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Just a metal case to protect the little bottle ... and it makes a great match-keeper too!
    P4S
    #13
  14. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Day 2
    Sun, July 15, 2012
    Starting odometer: 18,866
    · On the road around 8am (local)
    · Found brekky at Windy Point Lake&#8230; approx. 10min from McLeod Lake. Judging from the artifacts and photos on the walls, the place was opened (or at least decorated) by Dutch immigrants &#8230; looks like my mother&#8217;s kitchen!
    · Fuel station wasn&#8217;t open yet, but I should be OK till Chetwynd.
    · Must have thrown a wheel-weight somewhere &#8230; front wheel bounces a bit in the 50-60km/h range. Will have to look for a bike shop somewhere.
    · Drift helmet cam seems to be well and truly fucked. Either the unit is hooped or the battery in the remote is done. Hope it&#8217;s the latter. Will have to add new battery to my shopping list for PG.


    Glacial outflow valley on the way north
    [​IMG]


    · The highway crosses the mighty Peace River immediately downstream of the Peace Canyon hydro facility &#8230; a &#8216;run-of-river&#8217; dam a few km&#8217;s downstream of the W. A. C. Bennett dam.




    Bridge and 'art' at the Peace River crossing
    [​IMG]


    Peace Canyon Dam (just downstream of the W. A. C. Bennett Dam)
    [​IMG]


    · Got to the dam in reasonable time, but knew I wouldn&#8217;t have much time to sight-see if I wanted to get back to Crooked Creek in reasonable time.
    · After checking in with security at the front gate, I made my way to the Visitor&#8217;s Centre, parked, and had a look around. Some of the stats on this thing are incredible, and the displays were well done. I opted to pass on the guided tour, and do a self-guided ride across the dam. The thing is huge, around 2km across and 180m tall at the intake to the turbines, and an emergency spillway that appears to just drop the overflow around 100m down to the valley floor. Despite the trouble with the Drift, this was something that absolutely had to be captured on the helmet-cam. I just had to start and stop the damn (no pun intended) thing before I put the helmet on. Needless to say, it&#8217;s a cool ride across &#8230; it&#8217;s the only real way to get a sense of the size of it. After getting across, the road out to the end of the spillway was closed for maintenance, so I didn&#8217;t get a chance to see that, but everything else was relatively open to the public &#8230; although a couple of the checkpoints have those bollards that extend hydraulically out of the ground if they need to shut things down quickly. Rode back to the entrance and stowed the Drift, and started making my way back south.


    Pic from the visitors' centre
    [​IMG]


    A good shot of the elevation difference between upstream and downstream.
    [​IMG]


    The water intakes for the turbines
    [​IMG]


    The powerstation
    [​IMG]


    Upstream view of the emergency spillway gates
    [​IMG]


    Looking down the spillway
    [​IMG]


    · Stopped in Chetwynd for fuel on the way back. After fuelling up, I moved the bike over to the front of the convenience store to grab some water and jerky. Saw two guys on fully-loaded V-Stroms. After grabbing my shit, I stopped to chat with them and see where they were headed &#8230; I&#8217;m glad I did. Their names were Cacha and Adrian, and they were on a 3-month trip from southern Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, AK and back! My Spanish is almost non-existent, but Cacha spoke decent English so we chatted for a bit and swapped notes on our trips so far. They gave me a sticker for my luggage, and I snapped a pic for posterity.

    Cacha y Adrian
    [​IMG]

    Their trip sticker
    [​IMG]

    Nothing like a F8GS to make a sticker look gooooooood!
    [​IMG]

    · Their ride is posted on http://www.fazedoresdechuva.com/forums/showthread.php/624-ALASKA-ya-no-estás-tan-lejos
    · Got back to Crooked Creek &#8230; the place I couldn&#8217;t get into the night before &#8230; was lots of room this time, and the weather was great.

    The campsite at Crooked Creek
    [​IMG]

    · The bugs were a bit bad at the site &#8230; when the breeze died, they really came out. Had to use the bug dope &#8230; something I don&#8217;t like to do if a shower isn&#8217;t in my immediate future.
    · Made a brief shopping list for PG tomorrow &#8230; batt&#8217;s for the Drift remote, wheel weights, some more Cdn cash. Discovered that a 8Gb microSD card in the Drift only gives about 45 min of HD footage. If I can get the Drift working again, I&#8217;ll have to either get a couple more cards (already have 2 8Gb cards), or look at a netbook to be able to dump footage from the cards at night. Will check prices in PG and check online to see if prices are much different in the US.
    · Mileage: 489km
    · Tunes: Rush &#8211; Greatest Hits; Dirty Heads &#8211; Cabin by the Sea; Raconteurs &#8211; Consolers of the Lonely
    · Mileage: 489 km

    · Stogey: Cohiba
    [​IMG]

    · Libation: Sullivan Creek Single Malt (Aussie)
    [​IMG]

    My fancy 'new' scotch cup. I found it in the garage and it has my initials on it ... I just wish I could remember where it came from!
    [​IMG]

    · Evening Entertainment: South Park &#8211; episodes 10/03 and 10/04 ("Cartoon Wars": parts 1 and 2); and 13/12 &#8211; ("The F-Word" &#8230; best biking episode ever!).
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    #14
  15. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Day 3
    July 16<sup>th</sup>, 2012
    Odometer: 19,455km


    · Up around 7, on the road by 8.
    · Grabbed a new microSD card for the Drift, and new batteries for the remote … will look at netbooks in the US.
    · I went looking for wheel weights, but the only bike shop open in PG on a Monday is the HD shop. And being an HD shop, all they carry is chrome weights. So from PG through the end of the trip, my dirty dualsport has a set of shiny chrome wheel weights!! (Although I have to admit, the guys in the HD shop were very helpful, and gave me the weights for free.)
    · Spent some time on the phone with the support service from the Vancouver vendor from which I bought the Drift. I changed the batteries, re-paired the remote to the device, and still no-joy. They weren’t as helpful as the folks from SPOT last year and wouldn’t forward a replacement unit without me sending in the old one. I’d either have to just use the unit manually (mount it within reach on the bike and use the controls on the camera to operate it) or just stow it and do without. I had hoped to shoot a bunch of helmet cam footage and piece it together in webisodes like my brother. Oh well … there’s always next year!
    · Stopped for fuel in Fraser Lake. After fueling up, I pulled around the back to cop some shade and have some water. After a couple of minutes, one of the cashiers from the station came around the back for a smoke. After a little bit of polite small-talk, she put out her smoke and said ‘Don’t forget … be careful.” I asked her what she meant, and she told me that the stretch of Hwy 16 from Vanderhoof to Burns Lake is called the ‘Highway of Tears’ for the number of young women who have gone missing from the area. I chose to ignore that she was lumping me in with ‘young women’ and thanked her for the advice. After riding away, I noticed the number of ‘Missing Person’ billboards along the road. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.
    · Decided on a short day, which still leaves a reasonable-length day tomorrow into Prince Rupert. Stayed at Sandy’s RV and Camping ‘Resort’ … a nice spot on Francois Lake, about 20minutes south of Burns Lake. Had a chance to dry-off all the camping gear that was put away wet from dew this morning.



    Nice spot on the lake, away from everybody else.

    [​IMG]



    Time for a swim… f-ing cold!
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BEcW0ogznIo" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>


    · Tunes: “Any Port in a Storm” – Dirty Heads; “We Are the Same” – The Tragically Hip
    · Mileage: 343km (short day)
    · Pipe: Executive Blend
    [​IMG]

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    #15
  16. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Day 4
    July 17, 2012
    Odometer 19,798km


    · On the road by 07:45 and grabbed brekky in Houston around 10:00. Should be in Prince Rupert around 2 or 3.
    · Gretta, my black and orange beauty, should turn 20,000km today … will try to get a picture.


    Missed the actual event … a bit late.
    [​IMG]


    · Tried hard-mounting the Drift to the engine guard on the left-hand side. It’s within reach to be able to operate the controls with my left hand while riding. Will try shooting some video and stills today.
    · Landscape was interesting … shortly after breakfast, I would start to get glimpses of mountains through the trees to the west. As the day wore on, the terrain got more and more mountainous. After lunch, the rivers beside the road started to look less riverine, and more ‘fjord-like’.
    ·
    ·
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    · Pulled into Prince Rupert around 4 (I think) and found Tall Trees Bed and Breakfast without any trouble. BTW … the choice of something other than camping turned out to be a good one. Originally, I did this because I didn’t relish the notion of breaking camp (especially if it was raining) at some ungodly-hour of the morning in order to make the 6am check-in for the ferry. As it turned out, this was a good decision for another reason too … this was a fantastic place to stay. Beautifully renovated, the promise of fresh baking for breakfast, and a movie collection to envy … I wish I would have more time, even if only to watch a few days more of the movies! And the proprietress of the B&B, Andrea, was super-nice, and helpful with information about town and the ferry-boarding process. I checked in, unpacked, and grabbed a HOT shower.
    · After getting dressed (in something other than synthetic under-gear clothing for a change), I grabbed my camera and set out to see the town and grab some fresh seafood. PR isn’t a big town, and the B&B was relatively close to the waterfront, so I hoofed it.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ·
    · The fellow rider I had met on the first night (Mark, from Chino … http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19962776&postcount=10 ) had recommended a place called Dolly’s Fish Market. He had made some crack about the place being ”fairly fancy” and having “fine linen” on the tables, so I got all dolled-up in my finest outfit (translation: my last pair of clean ginch, and anything that didn’t smell of cigar smoke) and went in search of Dolly’s. As it turns out, Mark must have a pretty dry sense of humor, because the place was a bit more up my alley … not terribly fancy at all. It’s an actual fish market … when you walk in from the street, the room is filled with glass-front cases full of fresh seafood … not unlike a small butcher shop or deli. If you come in far enough, you can see a small seating area to the right … sort of tucked behind the cases and beside the kitchen, seating maybe 20 people. But good seafood? You bet! (And cold beer!) Had calamari to start with, followed by the ‘seafood platter’ (haddock, shrimp, scallops, smoked salmon, and fries). Their target clientele must be 'big' people ... almost everything was deep fried ... but still really good. If you live in a land-locked province and only get fresh seafood a couple of times a year, it can’t be called ‘gluttony’ … more like ‘compressing a year’s worth of something good, into 24hours’.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    · After filling my gullet, I wandered out to continue my tour of the water front. I stopped at a beer store on the way home for ‘provisions’ and made my way back to Tall Trees.
    [​IMG]



    · After chatting with Andrea for a few minutes, I headed up to my room to repack everything for an early departure, enjoy some cold bevvies, and watch a couple of movies from Andrea’s extensive collection.
    · Milage: 522km
    · Libation: Lots … a couple of bottles with dinner, and a random assortment of tall-cans ‘to-go’ from the beerstore.
    · Smoke: Not tonight.
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    #16
  17. BenZens

    BenZens Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    lost in Saskatchewan
    Great ride report, I am looking forward to reading more. Really interested in the ferry trip as it is something I plan to do.

    Ben
    #17
  18. Pray4Snow

    Pray4Snow Saddle Monkey

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Ben,
    I'm just pulling the video, pics, and notes together now for the ferry trip. Bottom line: Before I left, I wasn't sure whether the trip was going to be worth the price, non-riding day, etc. Now, without a doubt, it was one of the highlights of the trip. Definitely worth the price of admission!
    P4S
    #18
  19. Xequence

    Xequence Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Cool trip and some really nice pics! Looking forward to more :D
    #19
  20. BenZens

    BenZens Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    lost in Saskatchewan
    Gee what a way to build the suspense! How much was the ferry ticket?

    Ben
    #20