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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    Ok, so I was using a little poetic licence regarding your height. And I would agree that you don't look sketchy, however it greatly benefits my RR if I can blame things on you, if you don't mind :imaposer. Regarding talking to people, I just love meeting new folks so I'm quite happy to initiate a conversation.

    Thanks for the Vulcan info :thumb
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  2. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Thanks Joe! I enjoy writing them, and comments like yours make it all worthwhile :beer
  3. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Lillooet:

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    John Mellencamp's house? (Think about it...)

    I can't believe that I ever agreed to meet for breakfast at 7, but for some reason I did and at the appointed hour was back at The Cookhouse to meet Rob. The same Cookhouse that we had had supper in the night before, that is. The Cookhouse that had told us they open for breakfast at 7. The one where we told the staff we'd see them in the morning and they replied that they looked forward to it. That Cookhouse.

    It was closed.

    A sign on the door said that due to a staff shortage they'd be closed today and tomorrow. Wtf? Well, Rob was on the opposite side of the street packing his bike so I let him know what was up and we rode down the street to find The Rugged Bean Cafe. I had eaten there the last time that I was in town, and hadn't been impressed. I even wrote about in a Ride Report, but there aren't many options in Lillooet and if I didn't get a cup of tea, or two, inside me soon it was all going to end in tears. But it was a great breakfast, the place was run by a wee Scottish lady who even had Yorkshire Gold teabags. I was sold. It turns out that she's only had the place for a couple of years and that would explain the difference between this visit and the last.

    Highline Road time. This began with a +/- 50km backtrack on the same road that we'd ridden in on the afternoon before, but it's a freaking great road. At the damn you turn left and go through the tunnel...

    ...I should point out that some of the following photos are Rob's. When I know for sure that a pic is one of his I'll say so, but there may be a few that are overlooked hence my crediting him now. Thanks, Rob :thumb

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    The road from the dam takes you alongside Carpenter Lake (the opposite side that we'd ridden the day before), then very quickly up and over a mountain. Steep gradients. Hairpin turns. Soiled underpants. Big, shit-eatin' grins.

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    I think that pic is from the day before, actually

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    And now we're on the Highline

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    Rob's shot. I love this picture.

    Oh, I see what happened. The rest of Rob's pics are from the Hurley and I didn't post them up. Later - let's get the Highline over with first.

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    The Highline was much narrower and rougher than I remembered.

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    I had a little bit of a scary experience on the hill leading down to this bridge the last time I rode this road. You can read about it here https://advrider.com/f/threads/1-cylinder-13-000-kms.389825/

    At the end of the road we stopped for gas and Gatorade in D'Arcy. I mentioned earlier how on the way into Lillooet I'd become dehydrated even though I'd been drinking plenty of water. Rod said that he used Gatorade and I asked him whether he noticed it being better than water, he said he hadn't really compared it but for the rest of the trip I drank Gatorade and never felt woozy again, so...:dutch

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    D'Arcy

    As far as I can tell I took no more photos as we rode to Mt. Currie and took the Duffy Lake Road back into Lillooet. I have to say I had forgotten how goddam spectacular the Duffy is. Exceptional riding in scenery that would melt even the hardest heart. I have a feeling that it might be better to ride it the way we did now rather than in the opposite direction, but don't quote me on that. Just ride it - it has to be seen to be believed. It's only 100km or so, but I could've taken three days to ride it if I'd stopped to take all the photos/do all the exploring I wanted. Truly world class.

    Lunchtime saw us back in Lillooet. And back at The Rugged Bean. We ended up yakking with three other bikers in there, a chap from California and a couple from Vancouver Island. There isn't much to report after that. Rob and I were headed to Lytton and beyond (he to Abbotsford and I to Tsawwassen), and we said our goodbyes where I was turning off onto the Fountain Valley Road, just because. Rob had a flight to catch and kept on the main road, whereas I could take any ferry so long as I was in Victoria that night. Thanks for the great time, Rob! :clap

    I remember that it was 37c in Lytton, and for a new experience I took Hwy 7 through Agazziz stopping in Popkum for fuel and Timmies. The Tims had the second washroom in a row I'd been in that had no hook for a coat on the back of the door. What is wrong with people?! There were a couple of local guys there on 250s whom I asked about the road that cuts across from the East Harrison into North Bend. A few years ago I had tried to ride it (read about it, and why I had had to turn around, here https://advrider.com/f/threads/bc-coast-to-williams-lake-and-back-as-much-dirt-as-possible.988071/). What they told me suggested that I'd probably made the right call given that I was alone, but perhaps with my cousins next year.... I traded their info for mine about the Highline, which they were wanting to try.

    I made the 8pm ferry. It was a beautiful evening for boat ride, but I was still bloody hot. The temperature was high, too (:lol3) so I stayed on the car deck in order to catch some breeze. I don't regret it...

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  4. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    I’m no longer married so it’s no longer all my fault! But if it helps your rr have at er’. :)
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  5. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    These photos I know were all taken by Rob

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    Thanks Rob!
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  6. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Ride report looks great!
    It was a good couple of days on two wheels. Thanks for showing me around
  7. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Likewise!
  8. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    I went up island the following day, just north of Campbell River to Gosling Lake which I discovered last year. One of my favourite camping spots. I wasn't alone and didn't take many notes, but I have a few photos. The camping spot is about 15km off the highway up a logging road and while it had been bright sunshine and blue skies all day, as soon as we were about half way up the gravel, the rain began. It only became harder, lasted until well into the night and was accompanied by lightening and thunder. I don't like camping in the rain. For that and other reasons I was not happy. And when we woke up the following morning - bright sunshine. And a giant slug.

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    Garbage on the back of the bike, to be disposed of at the first appropriate opportunity.

    We headed another +/-60km north to Sayward having packed up camp. I love that place, and last season on the ice road I made a new friend who lives there. We called in on Jon for a coffee but then had to head back to Victoria. Some pics from Sayward:

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    The day after that I did the Renfrew loop again, stopping in at Kenco in Sooke to talk 685 kits and KLRs. Kenco has some fierce guard rabbits that may look cute and fluffy, but they'll rip you to shreds as soon as look at you. This is the closest I dared get to them.

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    Ken caught me eyeing up a pair of RE Himalayans, and in no time at all his wife came over and said that one was hers, but the other was a demo bike and would I like to take it for a ride? Ummm, yes!

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    And that was about it for this time out. I was pretty sure that on my next set of days off I would be having to go back to the U.K. (now confirmed), so I put the bike a little further away than usual. I took it back to Chris's place and although he wasn't there part of his menangerie was.

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    As the crow flies Chris's place is probably only about 600m from the airport, but you should have seen the stink they raised when I hopped the fence and sauntered across the runway. Geez. My duffel bag is bright yellow for heavens sake, any pilot worth his or her salt would see it from a mile off! Instead I had to walk the 3km or so around the perimeter. Can you imagine?!

    I'll be back to ride some more in the middle of September. Thanks for following along :D

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  9. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Love to hear the results of the Himalayan ride
  10. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    I don't really feel that I'm qualified to answer. I had never ridden a bike similar before, and I only took it out for 15, maybe 20 minutes. I wasn't particularly impressed with it, but I wasn't unimpressed either. That's all I've got.
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  11. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    So I'm about a month late, I know. I was one day away from writing up the next leg and I had to take off overseas at no notice. Now I'm back and ready to rock and roll...
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  12. SlowernOlder

    SlowernOlder Misfit

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    :clap
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  13. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    And so it begins...or continues, to be more accurate.

    I flew back down to Victoria on Sat 14th Sept, and as the day approached I became more and more worried about the weather. The forecast was shite, and once I landed things looked worse by the minute. They were anticipating a months worth of rain on the B.C. south coast that weekend alone! Bloody Nora!

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    I went to my usual campsite, where I had booked a spot for the first few nights. There are no full time attendants at the campground, but Parks Canada staff come round once or twice a day to check that everything is hunky dory and put a 'reserved' tag at applicable sites. The reserved tag has the arrival and leaving date on it, so whichever dumb fuck was in my spot had clearly seen that it was reserved - and then taken the trouble to remove the tag telling them that they couldn't stay there. Their tent was set up but no-one was around. If I had been planning on staying there the rest of the day I've taken their tent down, but I wasn't. Should I slash it? No, bad karma, and anyway there were other spots available. It's no big deal, just very ignorant.

    It was nice to ride into Victoria without any gear on the bike, and I pootled around until it was time to go to supper with my best friend Simon and his family, who have appeared in this thread already several times.

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    Strange place to park!

    Oh, and at Yellowknife airport the baggage conveyor isn't working (it hasn't been for months now), so you have to carry your bags to the oversize screening area and drop them off there. They make you wait around while they scan it (which is a bit odd because just like at any other airport when everything is working normally if they even scan your bag you're not around). Anyway, buddy sees that I have an oil filter in my checked bag and asks whether it's used. Wtf - why would I be carrying around a used oil filter?

    Snapped some pics in Victoria.
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  14. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    It rained hard during the night. I had put a tarp under the tent but all it did was collect pools of water. Argh, I hate camping in the rain!

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    I spent the day just catching up with friends - probably not of much interest to you. I'll skip to the following day other than to say that it was beautiful in the evening and if the campground hadn't been under such thick canopy it would have dried.

    But not for long. The stars were out when I went to bed, but it rained again during the night. It was overcast in the morning and I packed everything away wet. :(

    There was water in the tent even, so I got an early start hoping to get to get to Campbell River early to give everything time to dry out. I left at 8.20am and stopped for breakfast in Mill Bay. It rained torrentially in Nanaimo but was merely overcast otherwise.

    I stopped in Courtenay on the way on the advice of friends. Interesting place.

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    There were lots of cool and funky buildings, but they were only on the main drag, so it all seemed rather fake. Courtenay is the mountain biking mecca of Vancouver Island.

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    There is a hostel above this bike shop that I'm told is half decent.

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    Nearing Campbell River I stopped to look for a hotel. A cheap one, preferably (my other bike is a KLR :D), and ended up at The Harbourside Inn.

    DO NOT stay at the Harbourside Inn in Campbell River! If I had read the reviews online first I wouldn't have done so either. It's by far the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. I'll tell you about it...
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  15. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    The hotel was in a great location, right downtown close to stores, the water, bars/restaurants and the visitors info place, but it was more low income housing than a hotel. The place was inundated with street people, both inside and out, and frankly it didn't give me the warm and fuzzies about leaving my bike parked there. The front desk chap showed me where I could park it so that it was on camera, and common sense said that everything needed to come off it, but I was taking a gamble in my opinion. It didn't help that there was a liquor store beside the hotel. The only thing that did make feel better was that everyone I spoke to was friendly, and I made a point of speaking to everyone hanging around outside the doors and in the lobby because these were the folks that were going to have most say about whether my bike was left alone or not. I won't go into the blood stains on the sheets or the unfinished bathroom, just take my advice and don't stay there. I never will again.

    I used the room to dry out my tent.
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    About to take a shower, I unzipped my dry bag to grab some clean clothes and found them damp. I know better than that, you should always pack your clothes (or anything that needs to stay dry) in a bag inside your dry bag. I walked around town, found a place for supper (although I can't remember where it was now), and met @gunnerbuck for a Timmies then a co-worker and his girlfriend for a beer.

    The next morning was...proper shite. Brutal weather. I don't mind riding in the rain, but it helps to know that it's going to stop at some point. Everyone at the hotel said that it was only going to get worse. Gunnerbuck said that it would smarten up considerably the next day, but I needed sunshine and dry for camping so I abandoned my plan to head north and, with a little searching forecasts online, decided to head for Lillooet on the mainland.

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    I had an email that morning asking me to rate the hotel...thought that I had better wait until I had checked out before I did that! I very rarely leave bad reviews, but anything I can do to warn people away from the Harbourside Inn is a service I'm happy to provide.

    I took the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay (I wonder whether anyone has noticed it's missing yet :D).

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    Torrential rain on the way to Nanaimo and it turns out that my new Icon waterproof gloves are not, in fact, waterproof, but when I hit Whistler it just instantly cleared up. In the line up at Nanaimo (I had to wait a good 90 mins for a ferry) there was a...drug?...explosives?... sniffer dog being taken up and down the lanes of vehicles queuing. Don't know what that was all about. I snoozed on the ferry, I was tired.

    By the time I arrived in Pemberton it was really quite nice, and I considered taking the Hurley River Rd to Lillooet, but the Duffy Lake Rd is far superior. As I climbed in elevation the clouds started to roll in and soon it began to drizzle, but I had a plan...

    It was later than I usually like to ride until, and I was tired so I wasn't going to reach Lillooet but I also wasn't going to camp in the rain again. I knew that there would be a salt shed on the Duffy and was hedging my bets on that. I won.

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    The shed was angled so that hidden in the corner as I was I couldn't be seen from the road. Smooth. And there was a giant-arsed loader bucket in the yard that would keep my bags dry over night (I don't like anything that may potentially smell interesting to a bear too close to me when I'm bush camping. Especially in grizzly country). It was 10c out when I stopped, so my touque came out, I ate what was left of my Subway from the night before in Campbell River (oh, that's what I ate last night!) and brewed a nice cuppa. My food went on the other side of the highway, far away from me, and I turned in. The rain sounds waaaaay harder under the shelter, let me tell you.

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  16. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    I was woken up early (I didn't look at my watch, but I'm guessing it was 4 or 5am) in rather an amusing way.

    A car pulls off the road into the clearing, Indian music (Bollywood soundtrack sort-of-a-thing) blaring at full volume, and two guys get out. They stretch their legs, one has a smoke, one has a piss, and - the amusing part - then dances in the headlights. When I think of some of the drop dead gorgeous Indian women whom I'd pay to see dancing in the headlights (Pryanka Chopra or Freida Pinto), instead I got to see a middle aged fat geezer instead. They stayed about 5 minutes and went on their way. Despite being perhaps 35ft from me, they never even knew I was there.

    When I got up the clouds were lifting and I watched the peaks of the mountains poke through.

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    And once Id had tea watching the sun rise I packed up and rode the rest of the Duffy - which really does have to be one of the best motorcycling roads there is (and more details on that later).

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    If you've been following this thread for a while you might remember a camper van painted with what looks like graffiti and strange slogans that I saw on the Renfrew Loop. There was another one parked at this lake. Quite why anyone would pay money to rent a camper that looks like this I don't know.

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    And before I knew it, I was in Lillooet.

    I have a favourite campground there, Fraser Cover, so that's where I made a bee line for.

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    Oh.

    But it was only about 9am, and sure the place may have been fully booked last night, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't room for me tonight. I rode straight in and right away was shown where I could set up my tent. Which I did.

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    A quick chat with the owner and I had the entire day to play in the sunshine without any of my gear on the bike, plus a ready-made campsite waiting for me when I arrived back that evening. Heaven.
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  17. sages

    sages Been here awhile

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    Hmmm, dancing Indians in the headlights, chickens in the campsite..... I thought FIFO workers got drug tested regularly :bubba
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  18. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I often wondered about sleeping in one of those sand/salt sheds.
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  19. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    There are ways around everything :brow:evil
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  20. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Seemed like the obvious place to stay. I wasn't going to be disturbed by highway crews at that time of day, it didn't smell as though it had been used as a urinal and it provided me with the shelter I needed. I left a great review on Trivago, would definitely stay there again!
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