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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.
Sweet bike! Many happy miles!
She has not aged in 15 years. Congrats on the new bike. Enjoy.
Moin Gene and Neda,
Great color choice - if Neda likes blingy things.
A new bike is always a great thing - hope you have many happy miles together
Did Neda advertise as
"Ridden by an little old lady who never raced !!!".
BC is one of the most expensive provinces to travel through, with lodging, food and gas well above the national average. Is it possible to ride a motorcycle around the BC interior and over into the Rocky Mountains for less than $50 CDN a day per person? Let's find out!
Day 1: Kelowna to New Denver
We travel from the relative warmth of the Okanagan Valley into the western Kootenays or "the Koots" as it's known around here. The temperatures there are 5-10°C cooler, especially over the mountain passes. We're aiming for ~400 kms a day, which allows us to leave a bit later on in the day and still arrive at a decent hour well before the sun sets. Wildlife at dawn and dusk presents an ever danger threat to travelers, especially those on two wheels.
Taking Hwy 33 south towards the US border, we cross two different geographical zones, up to the Okanagan Highlands, where we go snowboarding every winter and then a slow and steady drop all the way to Hwy 3, the Crowsnest Pass, which snakes its way just north of the 49th Parallel.
We stop for a little break in Castlegar. Lunch consists of a protein bar to minimize the effects of the afternoon dip in energy after eating a big meal. Also, it's cheaper and we're trying to hit that $50/day target!
The Crowsnest Pass is one of the best roads in the province, the pavement quality is excellent and provides high entertainment value in the form of twists and turns and scenic views of mountains and lakes as it winds through the Kootenays all the way to Alberta. Although the sun sets around 6:45PM around here, our daylight is cut much shorter the minute the sun disappears behind the mountains to our west.
From Castlegar, we detour off the Crowsnest Pass to Hwy 31A and head north along the shores of Kootenay Lake. At Kaslo, we turn onto an even smaller road packed with tight 50 km/h turns. Very fun, but at this point we are racing against the setting sun.
31A ends at New Denver where we find a campsite for the night. It's $25/night.
Dinner is rice with beef stew. Technically, food hasn't cost us anything because we have packed all our groceries from our pantry at home, I'll still include the approximate cost though.
Cost for Day 1 per person (in CAD):
We're doing well so far!
Is that a Sportster Gene? You stepping up?
Nice guys, good to see ya posting rides again!
Meanwhile, 3? Years ago in Japan.....
Nice to see some action from you guys. Was hoping to connect at the Valley Riders camp out at Midway. Of course it was all us Grey hairs and most were in RV's Lots of great riding in the Koot's and Southern BC but I was thinking 50 bucks a day, Good luck. 400 k, two bikes that's like 50 bucks in fuel alone!! Then I re-read it Per Person, more like it, but you'll have to camp in the Foresty Rec Sites which are mostly free if you want to eat or drink any thing.
Great to see you back in action Gene and Neda on some cool bikes, too looking no worse for the wear.
Hey, those Sportsters are pretty capable machines. Here's Neda and I on one of our faster-paced rides with our new motorcycles:
I’ve owned dozens of machines and ridden the continent. Three have been new Sportsters. Four if one includes a 2008 Buell XB12XT.
Wishing continued best wishes in your adventures.
Day 2: New Denver to Fort Steele
It was cold last night!
I had to wake up in the middle of the night to pee and I checked the temperature: 8°C! Our sleeping bags are rated for 7°C but that's a survival number, not a comfort number. We need to get warmer sleeping bags, which means we'll need a bit more space in the panniers for all those extra goose feathers!
We've each got a three-case system on our bikes, but Neda's sport-touring model is down quite a bit on carrying capacity. I'm not a big fan of dry bags strapped to the passenger seat, so I'm happy that we've managed to get all our supplies inside the hard-cases with the exception of our tent poles which don't quite fit inside the boxes, so I have to strap it down to the top of one of my panniers.
We woke up to this sight in the morning!
Our campsite is right on the shores of Slocan Lake, overlooking Valhall Provincial Park. And what a view! We walk around the pebbly beach for the morning, waiting for the sun to dry our tent off. There's always quite a lot of dew that collects on cold mornings like this.
There's a Japanese Garden right near our campsite, so we poke around for a look.
New Denver was the site of an Internment Camp during WWII and the garden was set up on that site to honour the Japanese-Canadians who were kept there during the war.
We kept our breakfast small - just a small wrap with some salami we carried from home. Just small enough to avoid those post-meal slumps while on the road, but also to keep costs down. We watched the geese fly overhead and I wondered how many of them I'd need to fluff up my sleeping bag so it'd be warmer enough for the next few days.
Not a bad way to wait for the weather to get warmer.
We bundle up and head south back to the Crowsnest Pass where we pass through Nelson once again. Here's the view from the big orange bridge that leads to Nelson. It's official name is the Big Orange Bridge.
At Nelson, we fill up for the day - some high-test for our bikes and protein bars for us. While we were at the gas station, a guy strides straight from across the parking lot to where we are filling up.
Ah, a fellow bike nerd!
"Yeah, I just put away my R1250R for the winter", he tells us.
"But there's still plenty of riding left in the season", Neda replies.
"Yeah, I have an old V-Strom that's my winter beater."
Of course he has more than one bike. I instantly recognized him as a member of our tribe of Crazy Bike Nuts. Like the Crazy Cat Ladies with the 12 cats... except with motorcycles.
We talked bikes for a while and he wished us a goodbye by telling us, "I gotta go, my wife is giving me the evil eye. Everytime I talk about bikes with other riders she's afraid I'm going to buy another motorcycle!"
Yep. Definitely another member of our tribe.
We head back to the Crowsnest Pass due east. I'm glad we waited till the afternoon to ride, the temperature is in the high teens and the sun is out which makes it feel even warmer.
At Creston, we begin looking for a place to stay and we find a campsite just a few kms further outside a tiny town called Fort Steele. The camp fee is $35. Ouch, that's expensive!
It's a nice site, but our neighbour's dog barks at us everytime we walk past to head to the water pump and washrooms. Neda doesn't like that.
More beef stew and wraps for dinner.
Total for Day 2:
A great day of riding and still under budget!
Consider just adding a second very light sleeping bag to throw over the ones you have on those cold cold nights. A square bag unzipped would work as a blanket over both of you. I find that two light bags offer lots of warmth when needed, I only need one bag for warm nights, and it's easier to pack two small bags than one large bag. Also, they're generally less expensive.
@NorskieRider beat me to the exact same suggestion (though I might have learnt it from him)...
Stay warm and have fun. Glad you're back.
So Neda never located a new red riding jacket?
I carry a sleeping bag liner that adds about 10-15deg to my down bag, although they do come in different weights.. Also great for summer use by itself. Stuffs to about hand-size, so doesn't take up much space.
Great to see more posts and riding from you guys! I was very happy to see you meet up with Jamie z and that you are doing well!
Unfortunately no. The one that @DunkingBird linked to was local only, pick-up preferred.
If anyone else has a line on one, please let us know!
Blow $250 on an quality 0 degree F bag. They are the size of a loaf of bread. I love mine. No problems getting cooler, never problems being cold. Amortized over seemingly endless days on the road and it's one of my best investments.