NWT, AB, BC two weeks at a time

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by squonker, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Oh, and while on a walk down a random path I came across a bear den. Very cool, I've never seen one before. I didn't poke my head in it just in case it was occupied, and needless to say I didn't have my camera with me!
  2. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    It was a wet ride home, but we were dressed for it. In Port Alberni, about a block from Tim Hortons I came up behind a van at a red light, and could see from the reflection of my lights on the back doors that one of my auxiliary lights wasn't working. I pulled into Tims and found it hanging by the wire, a part of the bracket having broken. It was still working thankfully, but would need some repairs.

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    I needed a large washer, and went about Timmies asking people where the nearest hardware store was. The first guy I asked was very French and didn't speak English to understand me. The next three or four people I asked weren't from town and didn't know, so in the end I just went for a walk to a NAPA and grabbed some zip ties to hold it in place until I could do a more permanent repair. As I was doing so, a guy wondered over from his van, happened to be an electrician and had washers-a-plenty with him. In less than 5 mins it was all fixed up, and I zip tied the other light up just in case it was about to go too.

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    The electrician was called Kit, I believe - the kindness of strangers :clap. Bike all ready to go again, we went inside for a drink and the Frenchman's girlfriend was with him now. She spoke better English and asked whether we needed help, her boyfriend was a mechanic! We had a quick chat with them - super nice folk, on their way to Tofino - and then hit the road again.

    Oh, and while working on the bike a car drove into the lot...and then right over the curb, becoming stuck on it. wtf?
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    These people attempted to lift it up and move it sideways. I was thinking that it would be much easier just to take some weight off the front end and let buddy back it up a little - assuming it was rear wheel drive. I asked him, "Is the car front or rear wheel drive?" and he responded, "It's an automatic". Ok...

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    We stopped at Cathedral Grove, always worth the time but jeez is it ever busy. There is no parking lot there so everyone just parks on the side of the road. It's crazy, but at least all the through traffic slows right down.

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  3. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Gone riding! Back in a couple of weeks :ricky
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  4. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    The next day I dropped off some booze for Chris, who had stored my bike over the winter. Years ago he and his wife had offered to rent me a cottage on their heritage farm but the renos were never completed, and I eventually moved away. I asked Chris whether it was done yet - no! But we walked over and had a look at it, I had always known that this place was going to be special and I everything I saw confirmed that.

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    And then I took off on the Renfrew Loop - again!

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    A quick stop in Sooke for gas

    At a pull out nearing Port Renfrew three other bikes pulled in shortly after me. All four of us had plates from different provinces :beer
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    Margaret was from Langley, B.C. on a VStar. She was over for a day of riding on the island. Moti Ben was on an Africa Twin with Ontario plates. There was a big of a language barrier there and I couldn't understand how, as I thought he'd said while pointing to his airplane style suitcase bungeed on the back of the bike, that he'd flown in that morning and jumped on the bike at the airport. There was also Jacques from Montreal who was a very cool guy, just riding wherever on his HD, in no hurry whatsoever.

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    The views from the lookout were fairly spectacular, but perhaps a little hard to demonstrate properly in the photos. There was a massive ship out there which looked to me like an aircraft carrier. Quite possibly.

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    We all agreed to meet up in Port Renfrew. As I was gearing up, this van pulled in.

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    What would posses someone to drive around in that? Had they lost a bet or something?!

    I made a quick stop at my favourite place for tea, Toni's, but it was closed.

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    The ice cream place next dor was open, but I wasn't there for ice cream!
    Just as I left Toni's, Jacques came from the other direction on his HD. We stopped and he said that was just off to grab a spot at the campground and would be right back. I didn't see any of the others. While waiting for Jacques I snapped some pics from the dock.

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    Jacques never came back sadly as he was a very cool guy and I'd have loved to chat with him. Onwards.

    I took a track off into the bush to take a wiz and found this abandoned (I assume) there. That's some mighty big litter.
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    I pulled off on several of the larger logging roads and they were all gated.

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    Came across this shrine:
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    And onwards...
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    I don't know where I took this one:

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    And back in time for supper of Thai food in Victoria. This wicked paint job was parked in the lot:
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    The place where I was staying has a hose and car wash bay in their underground parking. I still can't get over this because that wouldn't happen in a million years in Yellowknife. Before and after shots.

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    The funny thing is that the wash bay and drain aren't coordinated in that the water from the wash bay pools a few feet from the drain and then sits there until it evaporates. I took this shot the following evening, you can see where the pool had been.

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    The following day I had to leave, so I parked the bike at Mike's in amongst his lawnmower collection, every one of which had a flat tire. Perhaps he only buys ones with flats?!

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  5. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Location:
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    As promised, my dead sexy new jacket :-):raabia

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  6. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Having arrived back home in Yellowknife I finally got my KLR sorted and was able to take it out for the first time this year. Just a quick ride that day, but having returned from the following stint at work I had two days before I was to fly down to the Strom again. I love my KLR!

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  7. sages

    sages Been here awhile

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    I like the way you colour coordinate with the flowers
  8. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

    Joined:
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    Lol I get a lot of flack for the colour of my bike. I think that if I were to buy new plastic for it now it would look silly. :-)
  9. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    New plastic....why!
  10. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    There is something going on in my life right now that I'm really not happy about. It's a constant source of worry and upset even though I tell myself I can do nothing about it, so worrying seems a little pointless. It just makes the call of the bike even stronger, but ironically is causing me to ride less - it's why I had to go to the U.K. in May rather than ride, and I will be doing so again these coming days off. There is one other thing on my mind too and in July when I flew down to the bike I was determined to do things a little differently - more the way that I wanted to - for the first few days. Due to having made plans to ride the prairies this summer (they fell through in May with the first UK trip) I had bunch of flights already booked, one of which took me to Edmonton on Fri July 19th. I also had a hotel room booked there for the night already, and still feeling bad about the lack of photos from my last stint on the bike I took a picture of my hotel room just to have content. Don't say that I'm skimping on my photos any more! :D

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    I was in Victoria by 10am the following day and instead of walking to the bike, a friend picked me up from the airport. We had brunch in the sun and went for a walk. No stress - me likey. She had borrowed some gear and was hitting me up for a ride so she then drove me to the bike and we rode for a half hour or so. She had places to be, and I had a ferry to catch...

    I had arranged to meet my friend rob1313 for some riding, but refusing to be tied down (unless you're Jessica Alba or someone in which case really, tie me up anyhow you like), I was not going to commit to catching a particular ferry. Rob was cool with that, he was in the Fraser Valley/Lower Mainland area anyway and we'd meet up when I docked in Vancouver. Rob was crashing with a friend of his in Maple Ridge that night and had kindly arranged for me to do so too, so the first thing to do was to get my sorry arse to Maple Ridge. Easy, right? Ha!!

    First, referring back to the first paragraph of this post, I had to send a text to my sister in England, saying that if I needed to turn around and get my butt over the Atlantic, now (before I boarded the ferry) was the time to tell me. She said, "Keep going". :thumb

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    Oh, the ferry lineup. There were three cruisers already waiting, and a couple of dual sports. The riders were all talking to each other as I pulled up, one of the cruiser riders looked at me so I nodded just as I came to a stop, and he ignored me. Too cool for school, obviously. He and his two companions (one male, one female) all had patches of some sort on their leather vests but I couldn't read what they said yet. One of the dual sport riders walked back to his bike which was parked in front of me, and he was willing to chat. He was British, too (probably still is) and was on the very last day of a 10 month ride with his wife (the other DS) from Argentina. (Are we Brits still welcome in Argentina?!) Really nice guy. They were both riding BMW Sertaos, and he told me how all throughout the journey he'd been approached by people riding GS and GSA 1200s with all the Tourtech extras they could find space for on their bikes, who would tell him that for a real adventure he really needed the same bike. He'd say, "Oh yeah, how long a ride are you doing, then?" and invariably the response would be a couple of days. Yeah, ok. Plonkers. So he was praising the 650s they had and their reliability and everything about them. While we were talking the female cruiser rider walked back to her bike - next to mine - and when I said hi she actually smiled and responded in kind. Wonders will never cease! I was able to get a look at her patch, can't remember the letters but they were part of a BC group who protect vulnerable children. One patch she had on said, "No child deserves to live in fear". This is very noble, these are obviously good people who care about others...but apparently someone forgot to tell her two male companions that as their antisocial behaviour was to continue.

    At the last minute someone in shorts turned up on another bike and kept his engine running. When the BC Ferries chappie told us we could board, he just went for it and rode ahead of everyone else even though he'd turned up last. Not that it really matters, but whatever happened to etiquette?

    Enough talk, more pics.

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    As the ferry was docking I was the first back to my bike. The English guy came over and shook my hand, the woman on the cruiser and I exchanged pleasantries, and her two companions ignored me. One of them started his bike and then turned his stereo up way loud so that everyone else on the deck could hear it. And boy did we all appreciate it. Not.

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    Yeah, so - Maple Ridge. I live in Yellowknife, grew up in the countryside in England and the biggest city I have ever lived in is Victoria, B.C. population 350,000. Big cities and I do not get along, particularly when it comes to finding my way around in them. "Get a GPS!" I hear you cry, but I'm a luddite. And a dumbass. Paper maps and asking for directions I can do. GPS not so much. My paper map said to take Hwy 7, or even 7a, off whatever highway the ferry off-ramp throws you out on, but signs to 7 and 7a proved to be very elusive. At some point I ended up almost downtown and was not at all happy. But I had a backup plan by the name of Siri. She's helped me out before - I type in the address, plug in my headphones and voila, I can find pretty much anywhere! But...I am also an idiot. I had replaced my phone a year ago with an iPhone 7. Does an iPhone 7 have a headphone jack? No it bloody well does not, and almost downtown Vancouver is not a good place to find that out!!:stupid Long story short I ended up in Surrey or Langley or somewhere and when I found my way back to the #1 Rob would send me a few directions, I'd follow them and then ask for the next few. Which worked great - until it didn't and I ended up on a dead end road somewhere almost exactly where I shouldn't have been. Rob and his friend had to jump in a car and come and rescue me. Because I'm an idiot. I think that Rob might have even made sure that I didn't forget that. Embarrassing. But funny. For Rob :lol3

    Eventually both Rob and I were parked securely underground and we all went out for some grub. I was tired, so after a shower I gratefully passed out on the bed in the spare room.:snore
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  11. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl I'll ride anything. Supporter

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    Geez man, if you get off the ferry and follow the one (and only) road it takes you to Maple Ridge (OK, there's 1 turn). I'm not quite sure how you could get lost :scratch Well, of course, unless you are, indeed, a dumbass! :tush
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  12. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    How many years have we known each other? And you leave room for doubt? I'm disappointed! :confused
  13. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    He’s not from those parts. He’s so well travelled that he can’t keep track of anywhere he’s been. All the twists and turns just kinda muddle together up in that brain of his. He doesn’t usually get where he’s going, but he always seems to find exactly what he needs.
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  14. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Love it, Rob!
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  15. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl I'll ride anything. Supporter

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    You're right, I shouldn't have doubted it! :lol3 Let me know when you're next in town, we'll get together for tea!
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  16. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Waiting for the next instalment....
  17. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    This is where I gratefully crashed that night. It had been a long day, I was up at 5am in Edmonton to catch my flight.

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    And the next morning when I looked outside to check the weather I was happy to see this. Sunshine!
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    Rob's friend offered to cook us up some breakfast but we declined and hit the road. We'd stop in Squamish for some grub. But, just as Rob can't face the day until he's had a shower, I can't do so without at least two cups of tea inside me. Rob's friend's kettle even allows you to adjust the temperature! What in the world?!

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    Judging by the Farenheit/Centigrade function this kettle would even boil water in the U.S. Whatever next!

    Before we left I checked to see the forecast for Lillooet. 33c. Gulp! This northerner starts to melt at around 23c. Crickey.

    So...I had been hoping to get to the Lillooet area this summer. There is some great riding, and in 2020 two cousins are coming out from the UK to rent bikes in Vancouver and I'll take them on a tour of some of my favourite DS rides. Hopefully I'll learn some new ones too. I wanted to go to Lillooet not only for the riding, but to take some pics with which to entice my cousins. Mission accomplished.

    It was almost 30 years ago now, but when I first came to Canada I lived in Whistler, B.C. for 5 years and although I haven't been back often (parts of the place are unrecognizable now), I have made my way through there on various bike trips over the years. But holy heck, I was blown away by the scenery on the ride up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish (and beyond). When I lived there, a couple of friends and I took a road trip to Calgary and I remeber speaking to a gas station attendant somewhere around Rogers Pass who described the Whistler area as 'God's country'. Boy, was he ever right. Traffic wasn't light and one asshat in a grey Jetta earned himself an ADV salute from both Rob and I, there was at least one speed trap, but the views....the views! These two are just from the parking lot at the Timmies in Squamish.

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    That's Rob, that is!!

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    Sufficiently refueled (the bikes too), we continued north. But wait! As we were about to gear up Rob asked me whether I'd be interested in riding his Tenere as far as Whistler. Ummm....YES! :clap

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    It was funny to see Rob, who can be over 18ft tall depending on the phase of the moon, sitting on my Strom. It could have been a Honda Cub under him! I liked that Tenere, though. Was really surprised to find that I could flat foot it more easily than the Strom. Likes: it felt so planted, and the lights on the dash that tell you your signals are on. Dislikes: nothing to tell you what gear you're in. I thought I'd left that behind in Yellowknife with my KLR!

    It was in Function Junction that we switched back to our own bikes, and as we headed out it was just a sin not to stop and take some pics. What a beautiful place. I recognized some of the subdivisions that I used to live in, but not all. When I left Whistler the Creekside was literally a gravel parking lot with Dusty's bar at the base of the mountain. Now it's its own village. And we passed the Green Lakes Golf Course, which I helped build running heavy equipment. I think they call it Nicklaus North now, after it's designer Jack.

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    That last one is one hella lame photo. It looks like Function Junction. I have no idea why I took it.

    I had told Rob that I wanted to stop at Nairn Falls, which back in my day was a popular suicide spot but is now safely fenced off and boasts a campground. A possible stop for the first night with my cousins next year.

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    That's me, that is.

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  18. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Location:
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    Next stop was Pemberton. Another village that has changed beyond recognition since I lived in the area. We stopped for gas and drinks, people watching for a while while we sat and enjoyed the sun. A rider appeared on a Kawasaki street bike of some sort (it was green, if that helps), seemed a little wary of us but we introduced ourselves and he warmed right up. (It's because Rob looks so shifty that was unsure, I have no doubt :-)). David was from Vancouver (probably still is) and out for some fun. He'd only been riding for four months and was still finding his feet, so to speak. (Not literally, he'd merely have had to look down had he actually been unsure of where his feet were. Does that make sense?)

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    Although we never actually discussed it, it had become an unspoken plan that Rob would show me the Hurley, which I had never ridden before, and I'd in turn show him the Highline Road, which was new to him. I knew the way to the start of the Hurley, so I lead the way.

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    It ain't ugly in those parts.

    We came to a right hand turn with a bunch of very faded signs, one of which (not so) helpfully told us that we could get to Bralorne by going straight. Or by taking the right turn. Bralorne would have taken us to Lillooet, so which way to go? I think I may have even pulled out a map at this point, but it seemed that we basically had two choices, either of which would be just fine. So we took one (but not the other). Or was it the other way around?

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    At the end of the Hurley we passed a sign telling us to turn right for Gold Bridge and Bralorne. Lillooet was straight ahead, I think...all of it not very close at all to how I remembered it but it really didn't matter. Part of the reason that it didn't fit in with my recollection, I now know, is that the road we took to Lillooet had been dirt when I was last there. Now it was metaled and that rather threw me. We rode into Lillooet alongside...Carpenter?...Lake. What a ride!

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    No RR of mine will ever again be complete without a photo of Rob taking a leak

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    It was 4.30pm when we arrived in Lillooet. What a day it had been! It was also 32c which is far too hot for me, and for the last 50km I had been aware of being a little foggy (despite drinking plenty of water) and having to use more caution than I would otherwise have done. We ate at The Cookhouse - great burger! - where all the staff were complaining about summer not having arrived yet. Are you kidding! I guess 40c is more the norm for summer. Uggh. They told us that they opened again at 7am so Rob and I agreed to meet there then for breakfast, after which we'd do The Highline and end up making our way back into Lillooet before heading to Lytton. He was booked at a hotel over the road, whereas I was at a campground a few KMs away.

    The Texas Creek Campground is new, and very small. I believe that they had just one tent spot, four RV hook-ups and a cabin. The lady that runs it, Jane, was very nice. She told me about how it was possible to take gravel from Lillooet to Lytton. That was news to me, and having set up camp I pulled out the BC Backroads Map Book to peruse the route while enjoying a cup of medicinal tea.

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  19. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Great addition to the report! I am not quite 18 feet tall. And the guy in Pemberton was on a 650 Vulcan. I'm not terribly sketchy looking I'm just big, which makes some people a little concerned.

    I admire your ability to get people talking. It's obviously served you well over the years.
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  20. jathkajoe

    jathkajoe Been here awhile

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    Enjoy your RRs. Your writing is great and your pictures invite me to plan a ride there, that's good looking country and interesting looking roads.

    Jathkajoe
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