Vancouver Island logging roads advice

Discussion in 'Canada' started by longwaytim, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. longwaytim

    longwaytim Been here awhile

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    Hey all,

    Is there anyone who has a good knowlege of logging roads on Vancouver Island? My plan is to travel the Island from bottom to top & back again while riding as many logging roads as possible over a few days. For example, is thare a logging road that connects Gold River to Port Hardy?? ..that sort of thing. I have a backroads map book to assist me but I'd very much like to hear from you who have travelled the L roads. The more senic the better!



    Thanks,
    #1
  2. where2next?

    where2next? Map guy

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    the backroad map book is your best bet. however, I would be a little bit surprised if what you are talking about is possible. typically, forestry roads follow the watersheds so it's not very often that they cross a height of land. this means that you can't really travel very far on them. that being said, i've never explored the roads on the island much, but that's how they work most other places.

    fin
    #2
  3. storch

    storch Been here awhile

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    I have gone to Port Renfrew,Alberni-Bamfield-Cowichan Lake,Gold River,
    Tahsis,Port Alice,Winter Harbour and some more like Alberni-Cumberland via
    Comox Lake,Nanaimo Lakes.Essentially they all go across,not along the
    Island
    #3
  4. longwaytim

    longwaytim Been here awhile

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    I hear what you're saying. I guess I'll have to settle for a good mix of paved & service roads. It doesn't have to be in a straight line but an island journey, zig zag style:D.

    Have you been on the road from Gold River to Woss? If so, what type of road is it?
    #4
  5. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    Don't get that bloody mudgaurd dirty! :1drink
    #5
  6. longwaytim

    longwaytim Been here awhile

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    haha, I promise! :D
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  7. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    Good gravel logging road. I did it with our VW Eurovan. Keep your eye open for logging trucks though.
    #7
  8. storch

    storch Been here awhile

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    Goldriver - Woss: Drove it with my sidecar rig with no problem.The condition of those roads depends a bit on when and by whome they
    have been graded. Bamfield - Cowichan lake at one time was quite rough
    with the sidecar wheel sinking completely in deep gravel and all the beercans left in the cooler exploded.- Comox main had some very coarse
    tire eating gravel.
    From Woss take a side trip to Schoen Lake and /or the skiarea there.
    #8
  9. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    You can ride pretty much off HWY from one end to the other.

    If you use the Gold River route to get to the North end that will be your biggest stretch of pavement {approx 70km} before your back on gravel...

    The other route North from Cambell River follows the east side where you will see no pavement {except crossing it a time or 2} until Coal Harbour Road next to Port Hardy and this will only amount to only 10 or 15 km to get you onto the Holberg Road... There used to be a route we used all the time to avoid this strip but some slides took it out a couple years back... I favour this east side route over the Gold River way because it is more scenic and requires some navigation skill... When you reach the Nimpkish Valley the route options to Port Hardy are many....

    Here's a video with some scenic areas:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJecAXCioVg
    #9
  10. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    From a guy who drives daily in the bush... please buy a radio and tune in the channels you will need.

    I mount a handheld on my gas tank with a ear bud for 1 ear and a remote mic, works pretty good and keeps the logging truck drivers happy.
    #10
  11. dump-a-thump

    dump-a-thump lapsed atheist

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    of course, the radio only works if you know how to call your klicks, plus, on lots of the industry roads, guys call from industry-named points, eg: Loaded from the hammer, Empty up throttle hill, etc, so relying on the radio isn't a 100% good idea (gotta watch for the Eurovans).

    The weakness of the backroad mapbooks is that they don't show the gated roads overly accurately. And on the island, there are lots of gates. Big gates. I can usually drag the dakar under them, but rarely the big GS.

    And further north, you gotta watch for those damn mini-deer.

    The trip from renfrew, bamfield, alberni is a good start, several options and lots of weekend traffic.
    #11
  12. storch

    storch Been here awhile

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    Anonny: I always wondered and worried about the logging traffic.
    What kind of radio do you carry? How do you know about the different channels used before you get there and how many channels can you use?
    I have been facing logging trucks coming downhill a cuople of times.Not nice.
    #12
  13. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Not much room on either side of these guys:
    [​IMG]
    These are the bigger "Fat Boy" off road trucks... They pack a 30% bigger payload than the HWY trucks and take up about 30% more of the road...
    [​IMG]

    When I know there on the roads I slow down and hug the edge on the corners and drive into the prickle bushes to give them a wide berth.... These days on the North end of the Island the backroads are pretty quiet...It seems like the big logging outfits are shut down more often than working...
    #13
  14. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    I almost got flattened by one of those big boys north of Courtenay on the Duncan bay mainline. They are much, much bigger than our logging trucks that we have up here in the north.

    Now this was a few years ago that I was exploring on the island but I found many of the logging roads gated. No big deal for a dual sport that can fit under the gate but it might be something to think about when planning your island ride.
    #14
  15. longwaytim

    longwaytim Been here awhile

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    If they are gated does that mean that you aren't really allowed to ride on it, or??
    #15
  16. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Maybe gated is kinda like skiing out of bounds.... Quite a few gates south of Cambell River on the backroads... Some south Islanders mentioned about paying a fee or bribe to get through... Likely some areas will be closed during fire season and some because they're privately owned timberlands....

    There are very few gates north of Cambell River so it is something I am not used to...
    #16
  17. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    I always slid the KLR under the gates. I'm not a resident so I was going to play the 'Tourist' card if it came up. I always assumed that if the gate was closed and locked then there was no one on the road passed it.

    Last summer I checked out the gate blocking the road just up from the Denman island ferry. It was closed but not locked. I didn't want to get stuck on the other side of a locked gate if someone came along and locked it behind me. Past that gate is the old Tsable river mine site with a building or two left behind to explore....:evil
    #17
  18. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Maybe locked gates to stop the theft of Cedar? Always been a problem on Vancouver Island, and now that there is not too much logging going on, the shake mills had a hard time getting shake blocks.

    But watch out for them Offroad logging trucks, I came pretty close twice riding those roads, once in a blind curve, all I really saw was a bunch of wheels within inches of my bike in a cloud of dust. Only thing that saved me is that I was going slow and could stop in time.

    Also if you ride like I did standing up on the bike, turn one of your mirrors up so you can see behind, and check regularly for empty logging trucks behing you. Believe me they probably go faster than you or me.....just let them pass and wait a few minutes for the dust to come down.

    But great riding all the way up and down the Island....!:thumb
    #18
  19. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    I have a Motorolla hand held (forget the model # but it's an older model) If you can find some locals the assigned frequencies are posted at the start of the road. Mine holds 24 channels that you can change with the keypad at will....... so you could get a decent radio and program it at the beginning of the logging road.

    Basically you would call "(kilometer number) up the (insert road name)" riding in

    and
    "(kilometer number) down the (insert road name)" riding out.

    Always start with " Zero up the (road name)"

    They logging trucks use the words "empty" going in and "loaded" coming out with the mileage marker and road name, usually there is a place at every kilometer marker board to get in the clear but you can just organize that on the radio with the trucks as it happens. Believe me they will appreciate you efforts, look out for you and help with radio lingo as well as act as ambassadors to their local areas.
    #19
  20. dump-a-thump

    dump-a-thump lapsed atheist

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    A good choice for a radio is an Icom H-16. Too retro to be industry used, but you can directly put the road frequency into it using the cross-over and function 5.

    Yaesu also has several good radios for a reasonable price, but they require you to remove the cover and clip a solder connection to "unlock" the road frequency range (about 146 to 170).

    Many of the newer radios don't allow you to program freqs directly in (Like the Icom F50, Motorola GP300, Kenwood 201). Even with 3 banks of 128 channels I still end up with the occasional freq not being availible.

    Up, empty and from the highway are common calls for going in, down, loaded and to the highway are the usual calls for coming out. Some areas use numeric names and lots of the guys just call "3245". The 3200 road at 45km. Pay attention and he'll call in another few clicks, and you'll know which way he is going.

    You should call every three of four clicks (5 mins max), cuz often, especially when the driver isn't expecting industry traffic, he'll just call once or twice and then shut up. And if you think an off-highway truck is wide, try getting past a half-asleep low-bed driver with a D9 and 14ft wide slag blade.

    Never assume that there will be a clear spot at the milage marker. In ten years of building FSR, I've never even herd that suggested. It sure ain't on our building plans.

    At the bottom of every forest road there should be a sign showing the freq in usage on the specific road.
    #20