Invermere to Golden: Long Way Found

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bartron, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    With the winter approaching and extended forays into the wilderness now limited by weather, sunshine, and spouses, we embarked on a quest to confirm the existence of an off-road route from Invermere, BC, to Golden, BC.

    Hard to imagine that when I texted Revelstoker the week before about getting our last ride in for the year it was 34C in Edmonton. This thought tended to repeat itself in my head, perhaps as a distraction to the chattering of my teeth while dodging snowflakes at 130 kph. I was quite impressed with my timing, although not impressed enough to observe the speed limit and just accept that I would be an hour late for my meeting with Revelstoker in Invermere.

    I figured he would understand that I waited for daylight to leave home that cold Friday morning and that frost on my visor was slowing me down. 'Thank goodness for the BC/Alberta time difference', I remember thinking.

    I arrived in Invermere at 3pm Alberta time, which I thought was not bad and only an hour late for the 1pm BC time meeting we had planned in Invermere. Turns out that Invermere is on Alberta time so I was actually 2 hours late. Revelstoker was good about the whole thing and was just stoked to see me. Secretly, he was grateful for every additional minute he had to recover from his hypothermic ride out from Revelstoke.

    After pounding down a coffee and whatever the cafe had that was worthy of heating up and eating we made way. The initial plan was to go into the high country around Panorama ski resort but this was thwarted by my tardiness and the unseasonably low snow line.

    We chose to go south to Canal Flats to do the Swan Lake loop. As it would turn out this was a longer pavement stretch than anticipated and we stopped to fill our tanks for the unknown to come. It was at the pump that I noticed my odometer had just turned over the last zero in the new millenium mark - 12,000km.

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    #1
  2. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    Once fuelled up and accordingly top-heavy we headed out to the trail head. I still don't know where these trails are - I trusted the leadership of my dear friend Revelstroker who promised to keep me safe.

    Once on the trail things went from wet to worse and then to worse than wet. Sloppy clay would coat the bikes, sting our eyes and the ground was so water-laden that I had to keep stopping thinking I had a flat.

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    Luckily the views more than made up for the sogginess encountered.

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    The clay baking on our engine cases would be difficult to clean so we hoped for more rain and some water crossings - neither of which would disappoint.

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    The knobblies would kick up all sorts of stuff into my helmet thanks to the perfectly aimed jet stream from the BMW touring windshield. In this case, I had feared I ran over something with a heartbeat but alas it was just some seeds hitching a ride.

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    #2
  3. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    As the rain continued and we got further from civilization, the roads became greasier, sloppier and more rutted.

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    With a longish journey already behind me, I was starting to get tired so when I encountered some greasy rut trouble I rode out the rear wheel skid for the 20-30 feet only to come to a dead stop and have the nearly imperceptible force of the wind force me to walk off the bike during its lethargic descent into narcolepsy.

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    The road, however, did not disappoint and continued to become more interesting.

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    Not quite the bath we were hoping for but some help against engine-case pottery.

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    #3
  4. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    Moving on we were reminded at every turn why autumn is such a beautiful season in the mountains. The leaves on the ground would dance behind Revelstoker when he rode by, as if to say, "it's not slippery enough with the clay-mud, you need us! You neeeeeeed us."

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    We nearly went the wrong way here....good thing we didn't.

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    Can you see the leaves dancing?

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    Revelstoker is a hell of a guy and I'd tour with him to the edge of the flat-ass earth but in this situation even I don't know if he'll let go early.

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    #4
  5. Backcountryboy

    Backcountryboy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    :lurk
    My kind of riding! More please
    #5
  6. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    One of the advantages of not leading is watching what the guys ahead of you do. So when I saw Revelstoker running back towards me through a gully I figured he was either being chased by a bear or there was some sort of water crossing - both awesome photo ops.

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    Turns out Revelstoker's camera is auto-focus (pronounced 'out-o-focus') and didn't quite understand the blurry subject vs blurry background distinction. Nonetheless documented.

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    After the creek was a slimy uphill which responded well to massage with right-hand throttle. What I didn't know was that just over the knoll was a 640 adventure parked ahead of a mud pit. Panic braking - rear? rear with some front? face? face with some arms?

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    #6
  7. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    Barfron, your ability to put pen to paper is great. Despite what I thought, you definitely graduated from school!
    #7
  8. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    Thank you, Revelstroker. I can send you the link. The fit and finish is great and they'll even add 'cum laude' for a few bucks. My copy was misspelled and caused some akwardness the first time I used it. BTW, they take paypal.
    #8
  9. Grizzler

    Grizzler Gas Passer For Hire

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    South of the North Pole
    Cum louder is Latin for wha???

    Don't stop, the story is just gettin' good - did you hit that sucker?

    As you know, my '08 GSA is still in the local shop since July :flush , so once again I live vicariously... when not riding my more reliable H-D!

    ==Grizzler
    #9
  10. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    After the creek was a slimy uphill which responded well to massage with right-hand throttle. What I didn't know was that just over the knoll was a 640 adventure parked ahead of a mud pit. Panic braking - rear? rear with some front? face? face with some arms?

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    Looking back at this picture, I realize now that I should have stopped about two feet earlier.:rofl
    #10
  11. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    Given our late start and the low clouds we figured it would be wise to find a camping spot earlier than later. My inner conflict raged. I'm always driven to keep on pushing even though logically it probably doesn't make much sense. We stumbled upon a nice riverfront clearing and decided it was time to call it a day. That decision took us 2 minutes. What took us another 10 minutes was a debate whether we could manage to get back to Canal Flats, pick up booze and be back at the campsite before total darkness. Common sense won that debate - both Revelstoker and I lost.

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    The view from the site was spectacular and we couldn't get enough of the scenery...

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    ...and each other.

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    We took time out to ponder the meaning of life...

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    ...and point at fluffy clouds that looked like kittens.

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    #11
  12. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    We found a wonderful pull out just above the campsite that would function as our own parking spot to keep the bikes off the trail.

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    The trail, however, was already all over the bikes.

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    We then proceeded to make camp for ourselves.

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    Revelstoker took the condo next to the firepit.

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    While I moved out into the suburbs - family man and all.

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    Revelstoker was the firewood bee-atch in his space coat which reflected available light into his path for improved illumination.

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    While I got to play pyro with wet wood. It took more than a few matches and a cotton rag but at least no siphon was involved.

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    We swigged rum from Revelstokers titanium flask and smoked cigars while reliving the day's highlights - and how we'll have to appease the wives on our return.

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    #12
  13. NaeKid

    NaeKid Ancient member, eh?

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    I've been in much of that area and yet I don't recognize some of the roads ... any GPS co-ordinates for me to start with? I would love to explore more of that area ..
    #13
  14. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    In the morning, I could hear Revelstoker was already up and getting ready while I bitched under my tongue how I could have avoided taking down camp in a downpour if I had just gotten up 30 minutes sooner. I don't know how Revelstoker does it, but he just doesn't need sleep and seemingly runs only on premium coffee. He must be a robot.

    Note the dry spot.

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    After everything was packed up, I wandered around trying to figure out who built some of the existing infrastructure at this site. Given that it was way out in the woods they were either up to no good or good and up to nothing.

    Methlab heater or drum circle?

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    Methlab processing or crop drying?

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    Oh the stories Gibraltar Rock could tell...

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    Yet all he said was exactly what we asked. The phenomenal echo was a source of entertainment for way too long, despite any alcohol and the fact that we were no longer five years old.

    Time to grab gear and go.

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    #14
  15. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    Wish I could help ya. I just followed behind some guy riding a KTM wearing BMW suit. Would that make him a cross dresser?

    Seriously, the campsite is across the river from Gibraltar Rock which may help you out.

    #15
  16. NaeKid

    NaeKid Ancient member, eh?

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Did you at least stop and soak in the Lussier hot-springs? :eek1

    Or - did you drop off the pavement closer to Skookumchuk? I am still trying to visualize the roads you took.
    #16
  17. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    When we finally hit the road, from our presumed secluded and secret location, we encountered two dudes and a pick-up on the trail no more than 100 metres down the trail. WTF? One guy was at the river with a fishing rod and the other was watering the side of the trail. He was a little startled, the proof of which was on his shoes, but was quite stoked to see us.

    I had stopped to take this pic of Revelstoker...

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    ...and by the time I took a picture of this greasy clay-covered wooden bridge of damnation...

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    ...Revelstoker was way ahead. So when I came to a fork in the road and my North Star nowhere in sight, I waited, and waited, and waited, watered the lawn and waited some more.

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    Revelstoker did finally come back for me and we made a merry exit through some wonderful forest service roads to Canal Flats. We were relieved to find that there was not a liquor store in sight and our previous dilemma was moot.

    We followed the cold and wet highway back up to Invermere where we tried to find a NAPA so Revelstoker could find a fuse to fix his non-existent headlight and stoplight. Although we didn't find the NAPA, we did find a gas station and this guy.

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    Mark is an inventor who teaches ski coaches how to coach in his spare time. He invented some sort of aluminum lunch box for motorcycles - for the price of a couple thousand lunch boxes. Brilliant! Keeps the fuel cold and the tires warm.

    Revelstoker checked the fuses and sure enough one was blown. Luckily, once he managed to get into the fuse box there were a few spares there. It then took all three of us to re-install the KTM seat.

    We got back on some forestry road to make our destined adventure expedition to Golden - sans pavement.

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    The scenery was beautiful.

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    You always have to be careful about catching crabs in ski towns but Revelstoker caught a leaf.

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    I felt inspired by the natural beauty and followed my urge to decorate Revelstokers bike with an exaggerated replica of some acorns. Revelstoker was so impressed he asked for a low-angle picture and asked me to confirm if his brakelight was working - right before he ROOSTED me! I would have thought he'd be flattered.

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    It was worth it, though, as I giggled for a long time at the sight of his ever-dirtier pannier.
    #17
  18. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    The only soaking I did was in my boots. :wink:

    Not sure about the route specifics. Calling Revelstroker?
    #18
  19. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Alberta
    The new route was terrific and provided beautiful scenery and an opportunity to wake up after our Tim Horton's brekky in Invermere.

    As we motored on, we found the rain and clay were making things sloppy again with the ground feel of a wet sponge.

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    The road would change into double-track to covertly cover the mud with grass.

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    We then hit up a forestry connector road on our way through which allowed us to finally rev the motors a bit.

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    We then came up to a fork in the road and figured we'd try the route with the interesting sign that Revelstoker was photographing.

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    What does NWO mean? I figured we'd probably find out the hard way but we were up for the challenge - fuelled up on Tim Bits.

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    #19
  20. NaeKid

    NaeKid Ancient member, eh?

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Damn ...

    About 5km south of Canal Flat there is a turn-off to the east-side of the road, 10km up on the south-side of the road is a natural hotspring and just further up the road is some lakes, camping and places to shoot the shot-guns .. :wink:

    Oh ya - you can find lots of booze at the main grocery-store just behind the CanalFlats HomeHardware store (and more ammo at the Home Hardware once you run out of shot-gun shells). :rofl :rofl
    #20