20 Days to play, Heading North To The Arctic..

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gunnerbuck, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,392
    Location:
    N.V.I, B.C.
    This year I took an extra week off of work so we could head up to the Arctic... The plan was to ride between 8,000 and 10,000 km for the trip which meant a manageable 400-500 KM for a daily average, but as in many cases things don't go to plan... Tom from Victoria would be joining the ride again this year, also Jason from Britain who flew his bike to Halifax and rode it to Vancouver Island to join in... The other riders had to bow out due to time constraints and health issues, so 3 it was..
    Jason arrived at my place a few days before departure with a tired engine, so first coarse of action was to pull the top end and inspect... I took the head into the local shop and they turned the seats and cleaned up the valves ..We gave the carb a much needed rebuild and also checked to see if the piston had any wiggle movement in the bore before reassembling.. My bike had been running great and getting good economy for the last bunch of rides so I didn't do much other than throwing some new parts into the carb...

    First day we were to meet for the 6:30 AM ferry out of Nanaimo to West Van and the route plan was to take Mud Lakes trail into the B.C. interior... We then had to make up a new plan for day one when Tom misjudged the ferry timings and missed the boat... The new plan was for Tom to B-line for Lillooet off the next boat and we would meet him there while taking in some scenic dirt roads... Mud lakes was thrown into our return trip plan...

    A bit of travelling music:

    Day 1
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    Stop for Gas at MT Currie
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    Jason managed to leap to safety after this big rock rolled down and knocked his bike over the edge, good thing he was riding a KTM as no damage was apparent..
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    This area was on fire not long before we rode through, and it has caught on fire again more to the West of here..
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    Jason taking in the view under the wires
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    Perfect conditions
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    Sad to see the rickity old 2 plank bridge gone
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    Jason had put a brand new set of MT 21s for the ride and carried his cross Canada tire for backup
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    But after some interference with the swingarm we installed a whittle stick to brace it away..
    [​IMG] Another shot of those perfect conditions.
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    The heat was picking up again, not out of the norm for this country and we were acclimatized after having a week of 30+ in Campbell River..
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    Plan B worked as Tom was waiting for us in Lillooet, we grubbed up before leaving town getting in on those low low prices..
    [​IMG]
    Heading towards the wild west to find a campsite..
    #1
  2. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
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    Day 1 continued
    [​IMG]
    Fraser Canyon
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    Whadya think?
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    A shade break, well into the 30s now.
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    Jason tilling up some grain for our breakfast pancakes..
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    Down into the canyon
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    Nice to see some shade in camp
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    Nice spot, Jason wasn't keen on the sand in your tent guarantee
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    Toms set up
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    Jason catching up on the latest edition of Catcher in the Rye to bring day 1 to a close..

    520 KM for the day
    #2
  3. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
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    714
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    Pacific NW
    Ok, that video got my attention!
    #3
  4. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Cant have that, it'll mean the ride report will only go downhill from there.
    #4
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  5. ToothDocJay

    ToothDocJay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    431
    Location:
    Cobble Hill, Vancouver island, BC ("wet coast")
    Where's the smoke? Most of BC is coughing their lungs out right now.

    The pic below is from a couple of days ago, but since then the winds have changed and are blowing it all back west again. Air quality is some of the worst in the world in the Prince George area right now.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. fossilbonnet

    fossilbonnet n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2
    IMG_20180716_220439.jpg
    #6
  7. tbrown-bc

    tbrown-bc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    My day 1 notes read

    Day one started with a fizzle. I had laid out a time budget to get to the
    ferry based on an hour to nanaimo, plus a half hour of slack. I took a
    slower route and stopped for gas before I realized that the timing was
    not working. It is 90 minutes to Nanaimo, not 60. I missed the ferry by a
    bit less than ten minutes.

    A few texts with David arranged a new rendezvous in Lillooet. They would
    run the Darcy high-line road, and I would take Duffy Lake (pavement). I got
    there at one, which was an hour before they did (penance).

    From Lillooet, we ran up West pavilion, and camped at one of David's secret
    locations.​

    New friends on the ferry since I missed David and Jason. [​IMG]

    Duffy Lake road was new to me. Duffy Lake:
    [​IMG]

    -Tom
    #7
  8. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Music
    #8
  9. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 2
    [​IMG]
    The next morning was another perfect riding day, but the heat did build up later on.. The ladies at the gas bar in Dog Creek mentioned that it was 39 Celsius while we were there gassing up in the afternoon..
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    Never get tired of the scenery along the Fraser Canyon..
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    Grabbing some splendor shots on the way down to Big Bar..
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    A new guy running the ferry, filling in for the 2 regulars who are on holidays... He seems to really be enjoying the job..
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    On the way I missed the turn onto a trail that we normally take so we ended up on a very dusty road with thick loose gravel in spots along with gooey calcium chloride in others... We stopped at the Chilco River for a late lunch and to cool down a bit..
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    We crossed the Bella Coola hwy at Meldrum and headed towards Quesnel ... We did see a large bear along the way that looked more like a grizzly than a black..
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    We ended up North of Quesnel for the night, had to take a big detour along the West side road because of a wash out, it put us in camp a little later than we would of liked.. There was a little bit of thunderstorm activity around us with only a light sprinkle coming down, but was enough to bring the bugs out in force and push us to the tents early..
    Approx 400 km for the day
    #9
  10. IronJackWhitton

    IronJackWhitton Chasing my Trunk to the next adventure

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    314
    Love the report, and love the bikes fellas -- especially the stick stand-off device that you must have gotten from the 2019 touratech catalog ;).

    All kidding aside, the bikes look like they've got some character, how an ADV bike should look. Functional and effective. (My personal preference only, YMMV).

    Great report so far. I had no idea that kind of scenery existed in the Fraser Valley -- looks like I'll have to add that to my list.

    Seems like this is being updated as you go -- when you get time, I'm curious what you are using for maps (if any) in that area?
    #10
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  11. tbrown-bc

    tbrown-bc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Day 2 notes:

    We continued up West pavilion, coming out at the big bar ferry.
    Jason seemed to overheat his rear brake, possibly boiling the brake fluid.

    From there we headed to Dog creek for gas. Then back to the engineer's
    bridge and up to and through Gang Ranch. We stopped at Farewell canyon for
    lunch, and in Jason's case, to wash the bike.

    Somewhere around here, we decided we were not getting enough distance in
    for the hours we were riding, and that we should stick to pavement.

    My clutch started to misbehave, and guessed I was leaking hydraulic fluid.
    We stopped and topped it up with motor oil... But I did practice clutchless
    shifting afterwards. For some reason the clutch was most troublesome on the
    fourth to fifth shift... Which is the easiest to do clutchless.

    In Quesnel we went to the Walmart. David got motor oil and I got ATF fluid.
    His bike has been consuming oil and not getting very good mileage. Anyhow,
    David used his syringe to drain my clutch hydraulics, and refill with ATF
    fluid.

    Campsite for the second night was Ten mile lake, just north of Quesnel. Not
    a bad place, bugs were annoying. The previous night had been good as it was
    an arid area.​

    I don't have much to add for pictures... I'll throw in a few that show David.

    [​IMG]

    "Parking lot" for Big Bar ferry:
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    Jason trying to get the calcium chloride off his bike ... which turned out to be a good idea, it was a while before we found a pressure washer:

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    Location:
    N.V.I, B.C.
    I've been through there many, many times so I now can pretty much go map less through there as it is my favorite riding destination in B.C. ...

    If you go to gravel travel.ca you can get the tcat gps file for the B.C. mountains and it will take you through the heart of that country..
    #12
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  13. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    Location:
    N.V.I, B.C.
    Day 3
    This day was all pavement, we whisked through Prince George stopping for a breakfast bagel and continued on towards the Cassiar... A not so great late lunch in Burns Lake and a stop for a 3 bike wash in Smithers ... We then continued on to the start of the Cassiar and set up camp in Kitwanga... The strategy had changed from back road dodling to doing some mileage days to get to the destination and then take our time on the way back...
    [​IMG]
    The only picture I took for the day was our campsite..
    590 KM for the day
    #13
  14. tbrown-bc

    tbrown-bc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Day 3 notes:

    From Quesnel, it was straight highway mileage to Kitwanga. E.g. Prince
    George, Vanderhoof, Fort Fraser, Burns lake, Smithers, Hazelton, and
    Kitwanga at the south end of #37.

    Kitwanga was a nice campsite. Free firewood, dry, good company, just beware
    of the water in the well.
    I had bee go down the back of my neck and got stung between the shoulder blades.

    It was a "quiet" day for pictures. Bikes being washed in Smithers:


    [​IMG]

    And the signage at the gas station at the south end of highway #37

    [​IMG]
    -Tom
    #14
  15. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Day 4

    We were up fairly early and on the road, we hit the first bit of rain on this day, along with cooler temps from the cold front..
    [​IMG]
    Stopped to add some layers..
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    And the superhero, the blue bonnet, alias Frank Thomas..

    Things were going great and we were making decent time until just before Meziadin Junction, here I slowed for a construction zone and I then could hear a bad sound coming from my engine so I got the others to pull over... Once off the hwy I listened to the engine run and took my best guess that it was the right side crank end bearing that was causing the noise... I rode the bike to the restaurant at the junction and paid for internet to try come up with an action plan.. I made a lot of phone calls with no success... I knew 2 people in Stewart from 10 yrs back, whether they still lived there was another question... The plan was to ride into Stewart, tear the bike down and order what parts were required to be back up and running and have them express shipped in..
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    After breakfast I rode the bike down the road as far as the mountain viewpoint and stopped for pictures..
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    When I started up the engine was super rattly, so I shut her down and hooked a towline to Jason's bike... He towed me for around 50 + km to the gas station in Stewart where we started to ask questions... I inquired about the 2 people I knew and it turns out 1 had moved to the Island, but Kim who I knew from my old town was still there... I called up Kim and sprang the strange request upon her of asking if should could spare a little work space for us, which she replied "of course", she also said we could use her hubby's tools if we needed... This was a bonus, and a few minutes later I was back on the towline through Stewart... Jason not wanting to stop once we were under way, towed me right through a four way stop, little did he know, the local constabulary lived right at the intersection and was out in his yard.. The officers head swiveled and watched as we blew through the stop but I guess he figured we already had enough problems and left us alone... Once at Kim's place {early afternoon} the rush was on to pull the engine and split the cases so we could order parts before the upcoming weekend... By late afternoon we had the engine out and were looking at the problem bearing... Instead of using an SKF bearing on the flywheel side of the crank as I always had, I used a Koyo bearing at the last rebuild and that was the one that was causing all the racket... It was too late in the day to order the parts so I would have to do it first AM on Friday, bummer.. On the bright side, while we worked under cover on the bike it was just pissing down rain outside, so at least we were not missing good riding weather..
    [​IMG]
    Hanging glacier.

    Day four was not one for the books, but I guess it is all part of the Adventure..

    215 km for the day
    #15
  16. tbrown-bc

    tbrown-bc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Day 4 started the same as the other days... How the heck does all this go (back!) on the bike?

    [​IMG]

    There were more than a few folks thinking that riding a motorbike to Tuktoyaktuk is crazy (or courageous, adventurous, etc). Well, we've got nothing on the hardy folks that decided to do the same trek by bicycle! We met more than one of them, but this is the first/only guy I had a chance to talk to... as he was eating at the table beside us while David was trying to find a local friend.

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    A couple shots from the workshop...

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    And for a complete break with the normal ride and camp pattern, David and I slept out in the carport, and Jason grabbed a berth in one of the boats on the property.

    -Tom
    #16
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  17. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Day 5
    First AM I started phoning to locate a bearing, I got a hold of a bearing shop in Kitimat and they located the closest bearing in Ontario so we had set it up to be express shipped 3-5 days, so Monday at the earliest... I then phoned home next and because my wife was at work I asked a favor of my mom in law and her Ipad face time... Using her tablet as a viewing screen I guided her through my parts bins to gather the necessary gaskets, seals, piston,rings and special tools I would require, as an afterthought I also got here to go through my used bearing bin and grab 2 used SKF 207s... I had her send the parts 3 day express post.. Logistics taken care of we knew it could be up to 5 days waiting here so I told the guys to head up without me and I would catch up once I had the bike back together.. I do like to ride long miles and with 24 hrs of daylight could go far.. Tom mentioned about backtracking to visit a friend and then going for a run through Telkwa pass and return in a few days, which I thought was a great idea, at least get some riding in... Jason was more inclined to wait around so I suggested he go tour the glaciers up the Salmon valley and I would clean up engine parts and prep things for when the parcels arrived.. Jason said "you come too, I'll double you".. I first scoffed at the idea of having my fat ass doubled, but Jason is a very good rider so off we went once the marine fog cleared out of the valley..
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    It was farther than I remembered, or maybe it was because we were going slower so I would not fall off the back, but we finally reached the lower glacier... WOW...
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    We rode up further and Jason stopped at this 20' tower which stands above the glacier and being from Britain he sorta turns into Mr Bean whenever there is something cool around, eyes start rolling and tongue goes awal.. So he decides to climb it..
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    He was pretty excited once he was up there..
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    And started to do the Bean dance, this way, that way..
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    And just after this shot he tripped on a boot buckle and over the side he went..
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    But managed to grab the platform with one hand and recover.. Close call..
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    After the MR Bean episode we continued on
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    It is very hard to catch the scope of this thing with a camera
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    The right fork of the glacier
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    Crevasses formed where the ice flows over a bedrock shelf..
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    This tunnel full of ice was great air conditioned as the days heat was starting to build
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    Glaciers are everywhere up this valley..
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    [​IMG]
    To be continued
    #17
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  18. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Oddometer:
    6,392
    Location:
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    [​IMG]
    We decided to keep riding into the next valley which also had many glaciers.. Not too many yrs back this glacier:
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    Filled this whole valley
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    It was also once:
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    An immense sized glacier and just about every side valley behind Jason still has an active glacier..
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    This is the Grand Duke Toe, dual glaciers joining
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    Heading back down this is the lake that forms at the toe of the Salmon glacier..
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    He's getting that Mister Bean look again, mumbling something about wishing he had a batsuit..
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    Down to the bus in Hyder for a feed of whatever was good from the bus, and some much deserved shade as it once again was pushing into the 30s
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    Looking toward the the Canadian border on Main street in Hyder
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    This was our base of operations for the next several days, with the nice weather we set up the tents in the back yard on a comfy bed of grass, likely the best tenting site of the trip... Stewart was a pretty good place to kick around, especially when you are experiencing a spell of good weather...
    #18
  19. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    Switzerland and around the globe
    Hey David, you are copying my Problems. That is the same bearing that went bad on Sandras bike back in Mexico and the race Looks similar to ours too. Took me 3 weeks to fix it, but I had to wait over 1 week for the parts and have a Special tool made. Worked out in the end. Made it to Peru in the mean time and the bike is still running. (20000 km later)
    Waiting to see how your trip went on.
    Say hi to Kandi.
    Cheers Thomas
    #19
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  20. Dryfuse

    Dryfuse Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Lake Stevens Wa.
    Dave, I have all of Chris Rea's albums, like road to hell a lot.
    #20