Llydia returns to the land of twisties

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Moving Pictures, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    8,566
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    God's Country, New Brunswick
    Some of you know my story, of how my daughter and I have come to be some significant distance apart. I see little of her, and this year less than I would like.

    I am not a man of great wealth. I do not pretend to curry favour with gifts and trinkets. Those fade. Memories last... and thus it was on Tuesday that I set out to provide a few memories for my little lady. Our journey began mid-day, heading eastward from Greater Victoria for Sooke and beyond.

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    In Sooke, we grabbed some vittles for the road. And gas. Sadly, I cannot translate into teaspoons per imperial foot. Well, i could, but I'm lazy.
    Distance travelled: 365 Km
    Amount of gas required: 19.273 Litres
    Metric (Canada) 5.28 L/100KM
    Metric (Europe) 18.94 KM/L
    US Gallons 44.80 MPG
    Imperial Gallons 53.50 MPG
    The road to Jordan River is pleasant, and much favoured by local riders.

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    Jordan River is located on pretty much the south east tip of Vancouver Island. It faces south, to Washington State, but is subject to the Pacific Ocean's unfettered tides - here, the gentle slope of the Jordan River delta means the site is popular for surfers.

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    Onward we go, with PictureKid experiencing some of the wonders of bike-in-twisty terrain. She loves it, and keeps urging dad to go faster.

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    Carving pleasant roads to Port Renfrew, we turn north, along what is now one of the government's "circle routes." In past, I'd come along this way to get some basic off-pavement riding done. It was here I did the last out-of-city riding before moving to Saskatchewan.

    This is why.

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    Giant cedars of the pacific coast rainforest. Unbelievable giants.

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    Fairy Lake is the site of one of the B.C. Forest Service Campgrounds. The little lady and I went camping here many years ago. A feature then, and now, is this little tree, growing out of an old stump in the middle of the lake.

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    #21
  2. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    The newly paved road, I must say, has transformed a moderately interesting off-road journey into a thoroughly enjoyable journey.
    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Port+Renfrew&daddr=Mesachie+Lake&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=23.77254,55.546875&ie=UTF8&ll=48.68323,-124.257625&spn=0.25142,0.28901&output=embed" scrolling="no" width="425" frameborder="0" height="350"></iframe>

    <small>View Larger Map

    </small>I highly recommend it. One feature is a giant spruce tree, an easy walk from the road.

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    A human for scale.

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    Now, as a warning, those individuals travelling this road should be a bit cautious regarding gravel. I came around one corner a bit blase about such things, and only just managed to see a fair hunkload of little pebbles right at the apex of a very tight corner. I managed to dump some speed, and the bike's rear wheel only shuddered. However, it could have been worse... and I resolved to go a bit slower from thereon in.

    The moisture from the ocean caused a fair degree of cooling in PictureKid, so we stopped at A&W in Lake Cowichan for a hot chocolate, before we went hunting for a campsite.

    I knew of one - and punched in some co-ordinates to the GPS unit. A story, now, is in order.

    I arrived at the location, to find it had been closed. It was then that I triggered on a memory.

    It was, if I recall, 2006, when PictureKid and I went for a camping trip on the Island. While there, some guy showed up on a strange-looking motorbike, one I'd never seen before. Among its features was a fair amount of luggage. I quizzed the guy, and discovered he camped off his bike, and travelled some significant distances. I purchased Llydia less than a year later, but I twigged - at that very moment - at where one of the seeds for my current habit first sprouted.

    Anyhow, PictureKid and I did some poking around - including a bit of an off-road excursion that caused some sanity-related questions from my passenger.

    "Kid," I said, "See that road? If I were alone, I'd probably find somewhere at the end of it and call that my home for the night. That's what I do."

    But I had strongly suggested we'd camp at your basic pay site - and we found one, Skutz Falls Provincial Park. We settled in and dined on mac and cheese for dinner.

    It was a slightly chilly night, but we were comfortable...

    ... until the air mattress started to deflate. Again. I was not impressed. In the morning,the air mattress found a new home in the dumpster. I made breakfast.

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    While I despise paying for campsites, I could not complain about the scenery.

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    We moved on, puttering about looking for a couple of things - one of which was being a pair of smaller air mattresses, a variety I have tested many times with little drama.

    From there, we kinda just ambled about, stopping here and there, including a visit to the well-known ice cream store at Black Creek.

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    More poking about, largely looking for a swimming pool, eventually led us to head towards Horne Lake.

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    We eventually found a campsite by Horne Lake, and obtained a lakeside spot. It was getting late, so we set up quickly. Or rather, I set up while PictureKid took a few photos. She also vowed to inflate one of the little mattresses herself, using her own lungpower.

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    Resting comfortably on two new and not-leaking airmattresses, we spent the night talking, playing cards and generally bonding. And, I may add, sleeping blissfully on our new not-leaking air mattresses.
    #22
  3. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Wednesday morning, we woke to this:

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    For some time, we debated whether to stay here or move on. After a while, the little lady and I agreed to call our camping done - as we'd originally outlined. We headed home at a lazy pace, and proceeded to spend a few days of quiet time together.

    On the way out, we had an encounter with an Vancouver Island bear.

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    This little guy was just sitting there, for purposes unknown.

    On Saturday morning - the day I was to leave, I visited and old friend for a coffee and a donut while PictureKid snoozed. Interestingly, the meeting point was a Timmies next to the vehicle driving/testing centre. After the visit, I took Llydia through the testing courses. Holy Hannah, the twisty curves combined wtih 30,000km of bike experience has had an impact. I zipped through the slaloms and was able to turn the bike at bars-locked through a u-turn. I couldn't do that as easily not that long ago.

    Anyhow, after a teary goodbye - five days with the little lady is too little - I motored onto the ferry. Not knowing how long it might be before I see ocean again, I snagged this piccy.

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    I chose to follow 0 Avenue from White Rock to Abbotsford. This route goes right along the border, and has very little in the way of either traffic, stop signs or other obstacles.

    It does, however, serve as prime spawning ground for the Giant Pacific Mountain Marshmallow. This elusive species tends to proliferate in the alpine reaches of places like the B.C. Coastal Mountains and the nearby Olympic range in Washington. In summer, the adults of the species come down to the fields of nearby farms to spawn.

    Here's a couple of the creatures gathering in advance of spawning in a field just east of White Rock.

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    Unfortunately, the eggs of these noble beasts are a delicacy - they are processed and turned into the common marshmallows. The adults are frequently culled for the unfertilized eggs. In recent years, the declining stocks have led to some thoughts the stocks may be in danger. There are other reports that farmers have wantonly shot these gentle beasts, as the creatures often fatten up on grains and other produce before returning to the mountains to winter.

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    God. Noble things, these beasts. Heavy with emotion, I plod on.

    A new border marker.

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    Another marker, a little further down the road.

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    Llydia, as seen from a foreign country.

    Good God, it's good to be back in Canada again.

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    Geez. You guys drive slow.

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    Canada and the United States share the world's longest undefended border. To the left of the power lines, Canada. To the right, the United States. We are truly blessed to be living in two countries that have no need to erect fences/walls or other barriers between each other.

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    'Murican dirt. Looks much like our dirt.

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    I tuck a left into Abbotsford, bound northeast. I want to make a bit of distance, but I have a detour planned... i want to ride some familiar terrain: the Fraser Canyon.
    #23
  4. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Eager to make time, I endure the zoo that is the Trans-Canada highway and blast eastwards to Hope. Many of the little communities are a leftover from the Gold Rush when miners eager to carve a fortune would follow the Fraser Canyon north to Barkerville in hopes of striking it rich.

    In the late 80s, the goverment built a new superhighway between Hope and Kamloops - the Coquihalla. A toll road (that was only supposed to be a toll road until construction costs were recouped, but remains a toll road as a cash grab) cuts down on driving time out of the Lower Mainland by an hour, or more. Hence, much fewer cars come this way. Spuzzum, one such community, is dead and many other communities are either stagnant or dying.

    There's a local joke here, that used to tie into a once-modest community called Spuzzum. It was a small little village. Folks used to say that Spuzzum was beyond Hope. Others would say that the rest of B.C. was beyond Hope.

    Anyhow... this is beyond Hope.

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    The mighty Fraser River.

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    A couple things to note here. First off, the rail tracks. At one point many decades ago, there were two rail systems in Canada. The first to connect the nation sea to sea was the Canadian National (Google "the last spike), and in difficult terrain, such as the Fraser Canyon, Canadian National had to take the undesired or more difficult side of the canyon.

    Thousands of Chinese immigrants were put to work on the rail construction. Many died. They were put to work doing dangerous things like handling nitroglycerin (an explosive.)

    One of the sad parts of B.C. history lies in the historical revisionism that went on under a former socialist government. An area near the rail used to be called "Chinaman Creek" but was renamed because the government of the day considere the name offensive. Me, I figure it should have stayed the way it was, a reminder of the history we have. Just because we don't like the history we made doesn't mean we should ignore it.

    Another bite of history: riverboats used to ply the Fraser River, from Vancouver to Prince George, some 800km upstream, until a massive series of slides created a rapids in the river, now called "Hell's Gate." Used to be a major tourist attraction, but has wanted following the installation of the new interior highway.

    As I moved up the valley, I noticed - again - smoke. I had heard news of some forest fires in the southern interior, so I guessed that's where this current batch of smoke came from.

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    Moving up the valley,the terrian begins to get more desert-like.

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    One of the neat things about B.C. is that if one starts in a certain location, one can - within one day's drive - find rainforest, temperate forest, alpine meadow, alpine, glacier, desert, semi-desert and one of Canada's three designated fruit belts.

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    In a location few actually can see from the main road, the Fraser is joined by the Thompson River. This is upstream of that junction, and this is the Thompson River. I love this location... You can see the orange hue created by the smoke in the air.

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    #24
  5. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    There is so much history in this valley. Somewhere during our camping, PictureKid asked me about Morse code and how it came to be. I gave her a bit of a history lesson about telegraphs.

    Odd, then, that I'd run into a series of these.

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    Spences Bridge. Moving ever-closer into pure desert, but not yet. Nor will I. I plan to turn towards Merritt. I have a big day planned tomorrow... a last dance in the Kootenays.

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    The joy of a dual sport is that one can depart the beaten path. Such as, for example, exploring abandoned rail lines - there are many such entry points in this, the Nicola Valley.

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    I eventually settle on camping down one of these abandoned spurs.

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    Singapore-style curried noodles for dinner.

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    I went to bed, eager to rise early and begin an action-packed day. Or, at least, so I had planned.

    Fate, however, had another plan in mind.
    #25
  6. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The morning began in typical fashion: coffee, oatmeal, and packing proceeded as normal.

    Then, as is my habit, I conducted the usual asset check. Had I left anything behind? Nope. Did I have everything? Yep.

    Except, as I am occasionally wont to do, I hadn't put my wallet back in the tankbag.

    Or my jacket pocket.

    or my pants.
    Oh shit.

    I proceeded, in moderately panicked fashion, to delve into every nook and cranny possible - but I did not find my wallet. The obvious solution, of course, was that I left it at the last gas stop, which is where my ongoing fanatic collection of gas receipts to chart fuel economy seemed to be a useful thing.

    However, I had no cell signal. So I drove to a farmhouse, and asked a local farmer to assist me. Chris, her name was, was awesome. However, a few calls to the station revealed no wallet.

    Emergency reactions say to check one's assets and liabilities in an emergency.

    Liabilities: I do not exist. I have no insurance/registration. No money, no bank card, no credit card and I am a long way from anyone I know.
    Assets: I have, maybe, enough gas for 120-140km. Enough food to last two-three days. I have $7. And my cellphone.

    So I decide to ride to Merritt. There, I cancel my credit card, and pillage Internet access to put out a call for help here on ADV.

    Rob1313 comes through, wiring me enough cash to get me home - and more.

    Now, the combination of the emergency, the altered route plan (beeline HOME) and the ongoing smoke limits pictures from here. I take the Trans-Can out to Alberta.

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    In Revelstoke, I get a bit of a shock. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about a kid who got hit with a pretty sad, racist nickname: Chuggie. He's on the front page of a B.C. newspaper, implicated in a series of fairly well-known murders. Odd.

    I keep moving east.

    In Golden, I grab a Subway (screw cooking, I'm in a hurry) and keep moving. However, I do pause to note this honourary member of the KLR owners club:

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    Coming out of Golden, there's some pretty twisty sections.

    And these guys, in the middle of the road.

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    My thoughts on losing my wallet:

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    Only in Rogers Pass does it clear enough to take pics.

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    Lotsa altitude in the Crowsnest Pass.

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    Leaving BC

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    I push on, forging my way to Bieseker, AB. About 800+ km in 12 hours. I set up my tent, and crash at about 12:30, after I have to put my foot down to execute a gentle U-turn, I know I'm too tired ot push on. I find as good a spot as I can.

    I can't brush my teeth at night, because the pressure of the altitude change has caused my little tube of suntan lotion to evacuate its contents all over my personal effects.

    Adding to my woes, I have once more found myself a spot beside a *&@*&@ railroad track, and am thus woken twice in the night by big trains. Damnit.
    #26
  7. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Monday. Moving day. I stand on the rail tracks. Goodness, my urban stealth-camping skills need work.

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    I shall spare the details of moving east. Because well, it's full of this.

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    Utter. Unending. Flat.

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    Home. Tire not square.

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    31720 on the odo.

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    5,214 km. Journey over.

    Yet another, for what its worth, was quietly started.
    #27
  8. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    8,566
    Location:
    God's Country, New Brunswick
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    This story, will have to wait...
    #28
  9. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    ".....machine with highway pegs that make the guy look more like he's getting ready to give birth."
    Good line. It's not copywrited or anything is it? Pretty fine rr also.
    Jim
    #29
  10. sproot

    sproot Sturdy Adventurer

    Joined:
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    300
    Location:
    London, England
    Thanks for the rr, sproot wife wants to emigrate out there (BC probably), good to see a native's perpective on the place. If nothing else, your rr has ruled out Saskatchewan :lol3

    What's with the 'ditching the wallet' thing though ? The last rr I read had the same happen. Is it some sort of initiation to the ADv world? :evil
    #30
  11. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Sir Loin of Biff

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I am of the opinion the wallet fell out while taking pictures.

    As for Saskatchewan, the southern part is borrrrrrring. The north, however, is not. There's trees and some contour. Not BC contours, but still some sign of... well, not glass-flat boredom.
    #31
  12. Kamloopsrider

    Kamloopsrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    491
    Location:
    Rainshadow of the Coast mountains
    Just a note, the tolls were taken off the Coquihalla hwy this year. The toll booths have been completely removed.
    #32
  13. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Minnyhappiness
    Don't rule out Saskatchewan due to flatness.

    I've been up here for four years, and have met fantastic people here. The economy is strong, there is a ton of outdoor recreation (fishing, boating, snowmobiling, etc) and if you get up north and have the right bike there is some really decent riding.



    M_P, thanks for the ride report, I'm sure we'll get a chance to discuss the details over the girly cocktail of your choice sometime this fall. :thumb
    #33
  14. Lexington

    Lexington deliciously wicked

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    :clap :clap :clap

    Nice work MP!!
    #34
  15. configurationspace

    configurationspace delooper

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    Kanadia
    What're you talking about. That's a HILL right there in the background, on the horizon. :norton
    #35
  16. Night_Wolf

    Night_Wolf Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lat: N 90°00'00" Long: N/A
    & it's at least a weeks worth of riding away :hide

    #36
  17. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    good to see you made it home safe n sound :ricky
    #37
  18. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Location:
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    Nice to see your mug MP!!

    Enjoying the RR.




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    #38
  19. Chilipepper

    Chilipepper Baja wannabe

    Joined:
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    BC
    Great report man. Nice to see someone else's view of our island.
    #39
  20. curbjumper

    curbjumper Lane Changer

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    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    :thumb
    #40