Ride Report - 2020 BC

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by shanekingsley, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    My plan was to attend a V-Strom Rally during the weekend of Oct 9, 10, 11 @ Deals Gap. Before arriving in Deals Gap I wanted to ride to my sisters in Vancouver, then my wife would meet me in Vancouver and we would ride down the California coast and she would fly home from southern Cali or Vegas. I would continue on to Deals Gap and then home.

    Because Covid, there's no going to the US for who knows how long, so I decided to head to BC and back. I had booked a ferry ride from Prince Rupert to Bella Coola, but it would turn out that Bella Coola is only allowing BC residents into their community - not residents from other provinces. So it meant I would keep it simple and spend more time visiting the people I wanted to see and maybe a bit less time riding.

    So now the ride there is supposed to be something like this:
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    While staying with my sis, if time permits, then I would like to do something like this:
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    Coming home, the route is supposed to be something like:
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    I've got 4 weeks to do this. Never had a 4 week vacation before and the longest bike trip I think I have done is around 2 weeks. No tents this time - just motels so I can maximize my days and keep the packing light. I'm riding a 2010 DL650 and did a bunch of things to it to make it a good bike for this trip & to make sure nothing goes wrong. New front/rear suspension, new seat, new bluetooth communicator, new gps, fresh tires, new chain/sprockets and of course a fresh oil change. I even upgraded my cell to an iPhone 6 to take better pics for you. I also bought a BC mapbook which is the Destination Highways BC book and it's written specifically for motorcyclists looking for the best paved roads in BC - stuff that maybe locals would know or even stuff that locals don't know. Hopefully on my way home I'll have a few days to ride around the southern interior and check out some hidden gems.

    On to Day 1!

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. multiphrenic

    multiphrenic Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    128
    Location:
    SF, CA
    Was expecting a 4000 year old ride report !
    #2
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  3. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 1 Route: Mississauga to The Coach House Motel
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    My gear weighs too much. The tools weigh quite a bit and I also brought my laptop and iPad and enough trail mix to feed an army of squirrels. I think my top case alone is pushing 50lbs. Left the house at 6:30am and made my first stop here at the 518 in Parry Sound. It was freezing out and foggy, so I had to put my heated jacket on.
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    A member off a local moto forum (danp) mentioned a road with checking out which is the 638. It runs north off the TransCanada and after 50km it spits you out in Echo Bay - very close to Sault Ste Marie. Unfortunately for me it had rained a bit before I got there so the road was pretty wet in all the corners. And since I'm carrying so much extra weight, I have my tires aired up more than normal and they feel hard like hockey pucks. I'm hoping this will be okay to do until I get to BC to preserve my tires a little bit and then I will lower the pressure to normal psi again, but for now the cornering is a little stiff.

    The 638 has a mix of rolling sweepers through farm country and twisties under the forest canopy. It's well worth checking out. Thanks danp!
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    I stopped off at the very first spot along Lake Superior to eat some lunch. Leftover Thai food from last night which was still delicious while looking out on the ocean that is Lake Superior. Some local - a really old guy, came along and started talking for a bit. He was hard of hearing and kept trying to get super close to hear me talk, so I ended that conversation. If you have never had the pleasure of riding along the north shore of Lake Superior, go do it. It's not a very technical ride, but the scenery is amazing and some parts really remind me of the Cabot Trail.
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    Not too far up the way along Lake Superior is a place called Pancake Bay. It's a really scenic spot to stop and also has toilets. Lot's of beach and room for people to have a quiet space to enjoy the lake.
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    In my relentless pursuit of that perfect picture for this forum, I got my bike stuck. All that extra weight combined with street tires and sand on beach don't mix. So I took all the luggage off and tried to get it out, but it was just getting worse. And this wasn't at a normal scenic pull off, so I couldn't really expect cars to show up and help me out. But lo and behold some French couple showed up and since they also happened to ride, they happily pushed me out. It was all worth it, because I got this pic for you:
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    Much further down the road there is a really nice beach called Old Woman Bay. It's located before you get to Wawa and worth the stop for a break and walk along the beach. I've stopped here before and it's so sheltered that the water is a good temperature - easily warm enough for swimming:
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    Back in 2011 I rode out to the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay. On my way out there, I stopped at this cool spot where you can see how the train hugs the coastline. I took that train from Toronto to Vancouver in 2004. I sat in those damn chairs (no sleeper cabin cuz poor) that recline about as much as a Greyhound Bus for 74 hours. Never again. Much of the motorcycle ride along Lake Superior is really close to the railway tracks, but there are many spots that the tracks go which are much less disturbed, so they are prime for wildlife viewing. The railway tracks are down below:
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    Another member of the same local moto forum (PrivatePilot) had mentioned in his Pickel Lake trip that he stayed at the Coach House Motel just outside Terrace Bay. I thought I would give it a try and it was pretty nice. I arrived there around 6:30pm, so that was a pretty full day with basically no breaks, because these first few days are about making good time. The Coach House Motel - nice staff, nice rooms, but really crap wifi and no cell service. I would stay there again because it was still very cozy. Thanks PrivatePilot!
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    Took a walk at night and this motel is situated across from a lake called Jack Fish Lake. Nice lake for swimming and a beautiful night out:
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    Tomorrow need to be up early for a long day exploring some roads Thunder Bay and Kenora.
    #3
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  4. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,713
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    keep an eye on the temps, dropping quickly this year in the northern states.
    #4
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  5. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 2 Route: The Coach House Motel to Lake-Vu Motel Restaurant & Cnv
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    Yesterday was around 1200km and I didn't want to do that much today. A straight shot along the Trans Canada from the Jack Fish Lake motel to Kenora is about 700km. The only thing is that there are a few roads that seem nice and they add about 350km, so I decided to go for it and if needed I could cut the day short. Also, tomorrow is supposed to be a longer day because I will try to get from Kenora, through Manitoba and as far into Saskatchewan (perhaps into Alberta) as I possibly can. I have an old friend from high school and she lives in Fort St James near Prince George. Her brother happens to be up there right now with her and it's his birthday on the 25th and his son's birthday on the 26th. It would be pretty sweet if I could make it to her place for the 25th for his birthday, but it will mean some long, fast days. I'll spend time puttering around and smelling the flowers on my way home.

    I woke up and headed towards Thunder Bay and the stretch from my motel last night westwards is really nice. For most of the morning it felt around 10deg and was foggy with drizzle, so I had to bust out the heated gear again. Every now and then the clouds would part and reveal something awesome.
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    I mentioned earlier that some the of riding along the north shore of Lake Superior reminds me of the Cabot Trail. This section here is most definitely it, and I think it's just east of Nipigon:
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    As with any riding in the morning when near any form of changing elevation and bodies of water - fog hits you out of nowhere. You could be riding in bright sunshine and come around a sharp corner and BAM - dense fog. I love it:
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    There are three roads in particular I wanted to check out today. The 622 north of Atikokan, the 502 south from Dryden and the 71 south of Kenora. All of these roads have tons of lakes around them and are much less travelled than the TransCanada #17. So despite the long duration on the map, it's pretty easy to carry a comfortable speed though these roads. The police seem to not care if you are going above the speed limit. Maybe they care if you are doing 50 over, so just keep it below that upload_2020-8-31_19-0-53.gif

    On my way over to the start of the 622 at Atikokan, I was reminded that it's very easy to run out of gas along some of these roads. They do have signs warning you to be mindful of your fuel reserves, but they don't tell you how many kms it is to the next gas stop! The first stretch I did was 160km. The 622 was around 130km. The 502 is around 160km. Many of these roads have very little side streets, houses or really anything along them.

    On my way over to Atikokan, I passed this sign - learn something new everyday!
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    As I pulled into the gas station in Atikokan basically running on empty, I tried to downshift from top gear down to 1st. No dice!

    I could pull the clutch lever in, but the shifter just would not go down. I let the lever out just a touch and then it would do a hard clunk and drop a gear. I did this until I could get it into 1st and filled up. At home before the trip, I had also adjusted my clutch and took it for a 100km ride to wear in the chain and feel how the bike was doing. It felt mint, but clearly after only 1600km to Atikokan, it wasn't. I started pulling out my assortment of tools and was about to start rechecking my clutch adjustment when a really nice couple from Collingwood pulled in on a sweet Multistrada. The guy gets off and asks me if I need a hand. I tell him the story and he tells me to first check the slack at the lever. I check that and see there is a lot of room to adjust so we are now good. If you couldn't already tell, I'm a youtube mechanic. I watch videos and have the service manual and seek help after I screw things up. I have learned a fair bit in the last couple years, so I'm content with my half baked volume of knowledge. Ahh the kindness of strangers - 2x so far preventing me from venturing further down a stupid path than I have already begun!

    I put all my stuff back on the bike and head up the 622. This is a pretty cool road. It's a bit tighter in the south and then open up into about 150km of fast sweepers and straights. Tons of lakes all around and very remote. I make it up to the top of the 622 at the Trans Canada and my clutch lever is really soft with tons of free play. So whatever adjustment was done is already fading. Seems to me like my clutch cable is on it's way out. I limp the bike another 45km over to Dryden and pull over to see if I can make any adjustment at the bottom of the cable. It's Sunday and no dealers are open to get a cable. So what does a youtube mechanic do? He calls his wife back home who knows less about mechanics than he does upload_2020-8-31_19-0-53.gif

    I adjust as much as I can at the bottom of the cable and I decide to try and ride another 130 or so km to Kenora where I already have a room booked. Someone over on ADVrider who lives in Kenora tells me that if I get stranded to call him and he will bring his truck and pick me up. Some local EMS guys stopped to chat and told me that at least if I do break down, there is pretty good cell coverage along that stretch so I should be able to call for help if needed. I make a run for it and make it to my motel in Kenora and the clutch cable held up pretty good, but it's going to fail soon.

    I'll figure out my next steps tomorrow - likely seeing if any of the dealerships in Winnipeg have them in stock, or can get one quicker than Kenora can. Last of all, I'm sure I can figure out a way to use some zipties and duct tape to at least allow me to downshift the bike and then I can clutchless upshift my way to Winnipeg or maybe Regina/Saskatoon/Calgary.

    Good times and all because of a $20 part!
    #5
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  6. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 3 Route: Lake-Vu Motel Restaurant & Cnv to Super 8 by Wyndham Moose Jaw SK
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    I woke up in the morning and called a few places - all of which did not have a clutch cable. I was debating on staying put for the day and see if I could score a clutch cable or maybe I should be just going for it. Adventure Power Products in Winnipeg wasn't open until 10am. I adjusted the clutch again and since it was feeling nice, I decided to ride over there and ask them in person - it's on;y 2hrs away and on my way westward.

    First off - Kenora is a pretty hilly little town. I liked it quite a bit and thought it would be a pretty sweet place to live if it wasn't so far away and so cold in the winter. I left at around 9am and the ride from Kenora out to the Manitoba border was pretty scenic and nice too. Once in Manitoba, I appreciated the increase in speed limit from 90km/hr to 110km/hr and traffic was moving at a pretty fast pace. The weather was clear and the temperatures were getting close to 30. As I neared Winnipeg I took some back roads to get to the dealership and passed by this perfect scene that (for me) captures farmland Manitoba. Big blue sky, massive fields and flat earth as far as the eye can see:
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    I arrived at the dealership and they said they did not have the part in stock and the only one they did have in stock was for a smaller Suzuki dirt bike with a super short cable. I then called a few other places and also some shops in Regina and Saskatoon, and still no dice. Everyone says basically the same thing. We can get it, but it will take about a week for it to come in. No thanks if I can help it.

    I decided to keep going since the clutch was still feeling great with no additional adjustments needed. My goal was to ride to Regina, and if I was fortunate, I would get as far as Swift Current. For some reason my GPS routed me directly through the city streets of downtown Winnipeg to get back on the TransCanada, instead of taking the outer ring road. That sucked about 30 minutes of my day, but I've never been to Winnipeg in the summer, so it was kinda neat to ride through it. I've only been there when it's -30 out, and now it was +32 out. I stopped off in Portage La Prairie for a lunch break and the guy working the Subway counter must have been on his first day. He made the best veggie sub ever and was so attentive to everything that went into it. I just ate the second half for my dinner and it did not disappoint!
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    I stopped off in Brandon, Manitoba for some gas, a quick snack on some trail mix and some lube for the chain. This particular can of HHS Lube by Wurth was given to me by a member off the local moto fourm (cycling) from GTAM a few years ago. I never did use it when you first gave it to me an I was saving it for a special occasion. Well now it's going on my brand new chain and it's perfect for this trip. So thanks cycling!
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    Across the prairies there is not much in the way of shelter from the elements. Today it was pretty hot out and not a whole lot of shade to be found along the TransCanada. But as luck would have it I found this nice spot and was immediately surrounded by very loud chipmunks and squirrels wanting some of my trail mix.
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    I finally crossed over into Saskatchewan and it looked exactly the same as Manitoba, but I think just over the crest of this field is where the flat earth finally ends.
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    As I pulled into Moose Jaw to get some gas, I decided to call it a day. I still have 1700km to get to my friends place north of Prince George, and want to see if I can hit up Blackfoot Motorsports in Calgary tomorrow. If all goes well, I sleep in Canmore, Alberta tomorrow night. Another simply amazing day on the bike!
    #6
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  7. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Thanks. I brought my heated gear so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will do the trick.
    #7
  8. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    You avatar picture is awesome. I had an American Staffordshire and named him Sneaky since he looked identical to the one in Little Rascals!
    #8
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  9. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 4 Route: Super 8 by Wyndham Moose Jaw SK to Big Horn Motel
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    Last night I found an ebay seller with the clutch cable located just south of Edmonton. Since that's on the way to Fort St James, I figured I would first check out Blackfoot Motorsports in Calgary and if no luck there then I would head north and grab this used one.

    Before I left Moose Jaw I checked my clutch lever and there was a minor amount of increased free play, so I adjusted it again. I think for me the problem seems to be not knowing how much to tighten the adjuster screw. The manual says to loosen it a few revolutions and then tighten it until it stops, then out 1/4 turn. I don't feel like mine comes to a stop, but rather gradually gets more tense to tighten. Anyways, I think I'm getting better at gauging the right tension, because today I rode another 1000km and now there was zero change at the lever - perfect all day.

    Before I left in the morning (as I do every morning), I use the fresh dew on my bike to wipe down the windscreen, lights and anywhere there are bug guts. Despite this, there's a ton of wasps always buzzing around mourning their dead brethren and plotting their revenge. Normally bugs don't bother me, but I'm super allergic to wasp stings. Getting back on the bike in the morning or after paying for gas or after lunch or whatever is good times and I must look like a complete tool.

    I rode out to Swift Current and it was damn cold and windy this morning. Normally I get around 350km/tank and my first tank of the windy morning was closer to 250km. My second tank between Swift Current and Medicine Hat was around 300km. There were so few vehicles out on the road at 7am, that the road to nowhere seemed to go on forever.
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    The bales of dried hay made the air feel thick. My voice feels like I've been yelling all night in a smokey club, but it's just the dry prairie air. I need to make an effort to drink more water. Even by 9am there were still very few vehicles on the TransCanada. I was able to park the bike in the middle of the highway and enjoy the view.
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    I passed by a small town called Chaplin and I guess there is a natural salt deposit there. It was pretty weird to see this out of the blue and sandwiched around all the farmers fields.
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    So after Medicine Hat I'm making my way north to Calgary - along the way I'm reminded of the lonely workers of Alberta. I fully expect them to rise up against humanity one day:
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    I stop in at Blackfoot Motorsports and on my way there I can see the faintest outlines of the Rockies in the distance. Blackfoot is a massive place inside - very much reminds me of GP bikes. They have an awesome collection of gear and other stuff. I might pop in on my way home and buy a tire off them since I don't think this Road 5 will get me home. But for now I'm back on my clutch cable hunt. I'm usually pretty easy going and cool to chat up staff and see how their day is going and so on. I also don't get upset if no one comes to talk to me etc... That said, I think one of the parts guys there is paying Leisure Suit Larry or something behind that screen, because it literally took him 15 minutes to look up a part number. I told him I was travelling and couldn't wait for the part and if they didn't have it in stock I couldn't wait to have it delivered. But he just kept wanting to tell me about how he never got to take the ferry when he was stationed up in Terrace BC 20 years ago and now his time has passed and blah blah blah. There were 5 people behind me in line and the awesome parts lady beside this guy served all five of them when I finally said - 'so Mister... you think you can get that part for me or what?' And then he said oh yeah let me check... uh no, we don't have that in stock, but I can order it for you and it will be here by next Monday'.

    I called GW Motorsports (also in Calgary) and the parts lady who answered the phone was so helpful and gave me the ins and outs of their ordering process and what I needed to do to get it delivered from Suzuki Canada within 2 days to a location of my choosing. I had ridden 700km to get to Blackfoot and my clutch was still feeling exactly the way it did this morning. I had to decide if I should go and grab the used cable in Edmonton or not. Screw it, I'm going to the mountains:
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    The feeling was very much like the first time I rode to Deals Gap by myself. Back then I was coming down the Great Smoky Mountain Highway and seeing those mountains for the first time with tunes blasting. Awesome feeling.
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    I've been to Banff before, by car, bus and train, but never on the bike. I like seeing the bridges that only serve as wildlife corridors:
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    And sometimes the water, the sky and the road all come together for something special:
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    Most of these shots are along the Kootenay National Park, which is the highway #93 south of Banff and a pretty nice ride.
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    Bighorn sheep! Looks like roadkill is on the menu tonight.
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    I decided to take up a suggestion for a good place to stay from another member off the local forum (Kiley) and ended up at the Big Horn Motel in Radium Hot Springs. Thanks - I really like this town and this motel!
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    Tomorrow - off to Fort St James!
    #9
  10. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 5 Route: Radium Hot Springs to Fort St. James
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    The Big Horn Motel is a great place and I look forward to staying there again on my way home if everything works out. Owner of the motel is also a V-Strom rider and rode his south to the bottom of Mexico or something like that.
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    When I left in the morning, the weather was showing 9deg, but as soon I left and took the Hwy 93 back to Banff, the temps dropped at elevation since the sun had not yet crested over the mountain peaks. I was freezing. Thank the stars for heated gear, because I pulled it all out and was toasty warm! Today was going to be a day of larger than life scenery. Another amazing day for weather too.
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    Once in Banff I decided to ride the Bow Valley Parkway. It has a super slow 60km/hr speed limit, but at this time of the morning, there was no one on it and it was beautiful. Way in the distance of the straightaway below, is a view of the mountains between the trees.
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    Once in Lake Louise I took the Icefields Parkway up and over through Jasper. The roads out this way are filled with scenery that is big, bold and stunning from any vantage point. I scored a ton of sweet pics of turquoise blue lakes, receding glaciers and amazing mountain formations. Since it was early in the morning on a weekday, there was very little traffic. Also got to see a super cute baby bear just north of Lake Louise. Enjoy these views:
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    I finally looped up and over through Prince George and landed here in Fort St James. The ride from Jasper to Prince George is really nice. It’s a valley pretty much the whole way with mountains on both the right and left sides. There is not too much in the way of tight curves, but every now and then there is a climb or descent with some fast sweepers. There is an Ancient Forest Provincial Park with 1000 yr old cedars that I wished I had time to stop into and go for a walk, but I was trying to finish my day by 6pm to be time for an 8 yr olds birthday!

    My friends place looks over the water and is just past the white church on on the right. This now puts me at almost 5000km in 5 days, with pretty much no rain to speak of. Once I arrived at her place, then the clouds in the pic below opened up right on top of her house, but I had just enough time to park the bike and offload my gear. She mentioned to me that it’s been so rainy and cool up there this year that they never had a summer. Little did she know that my role in life is to bring the sunshine...
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    My clutch needed a little adjustment, but is working great overall. My chain slack was pretty loose, since it was a brand new chain and this is the first adjustment after the initial 100km - so I've adjusted these two things and the bike is doing great. Tomorrow is a rest day and same with the next day after that. Then down to Lillooet or 70 Mile Lake before riding down to Vancouver area to see my sis.
    #10
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  11. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 6 & 7 - Fort St James

    There is a small mountain here called Mount Pope. The walk up the trail here is what all the cool kids from northern BC seem to be doing, so we decided to do it on Thursday. The weather here has been really cold and rainy, but when it matters, I remind them that I bring the heat. It's about 7k each way and has an elevation gain of around 800m.

    It's a pretty narrow hike and gets pretty popular as the day goes on. We decided to hit it up at 8am, so we could be one of the first there. The walk up was really quiet and the landscape changes dramatically over the 2hours or so it took us. The first 2k and the last 2k are pretty steep and the middle is pretty easy. Anyone who maintains these trails to cut the fallen trees after storms must be in pretty damn good shape!

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    I did this hike once before - maybe about 10 years ago, when I was actually working out and training every day and we practically ran the whole way to the top. But now we used pretty much every bench that is placed every km or so. I didn't feel too bad, because we started out doing this hike with an 8 yr old and a 4 yr old, and they only lasted to the first bench. These spots have amazing views of the lake down below:
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    As there are a fair number of bears on the area, we always play music or talk loudly when we go for hikes or runs in Fort St James. We brought a portable Bose Bluetooth speaker with us this time. This thing is really loud and has nice sound for what it is. Perfect for us types who like to stop every few km and enjoy the 420 to enhance the experience. A view from about halfway up the climb:
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    Shortly after you hit the 6km marker you look up and can see the prize:
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    This was probably one of the nicest days of their entire summer, so we really lucked out. It wasn't too windy, the views were endless and temps were right around 20deg. And then you get right to the top and the reward is well worth the effort. 360 degree views and the landscape here is stunning:
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    As we came to the bottom of the hill, I saw a V-Strom parked in the parking lot. It's one of newer generation models which is why it doesn't look as nice as mine:
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    On our way back home, the lake in front of their house was very calm - hopefully an indicator of the weather on my ride south:
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    The next day I was too sore to do anything, but eat and talk. It was also very windy out, cloudy and pretty cold. Even still, the sky did want to send me this little message of more good times yet to come:
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    Tomorrow - heading south towards Lillooet BC!
    #11
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  12. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 8 Route: Fort St. James to Lillooet
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    The plan today was to ride down to Lillooet and on the way check out a few side roads that might be interesting. It wasn't going to be a very long day - 850km and if I'm leaving at 7am, that should end my day around 5pm. It's worth mentioning that I normally plot a route by what looks twisty on a map and sometimes getting referrals from locals. But a lot of the time the roads suggested are the best of the best and don't always reflect the hidden gems and lesser known back roads. It was advised to me that I should buy the Destinations Highways BC book, because it contains almost all the best paved roads in central/southern BC worth exploring. The book is pretty thick and comes with BC sorted out by area and then has a rating system for the roads. The book seems a bit outdated because some things referenced in there are no longer valid, but it has a ton of info. It also came with a nice large scale map that shows all of BC on one side and Vancouver Island on the other side. I also liked that the fold out map was waterproof and tear resistant. It's a little expensive at $90 for the book & fold out map, but I'm happy to support a local endeavour like this and hoping that it will be worth it.

    An example of their map:
    [​IMG]

    So from now on, using this map, I plan to explore the backroads between my starting and end point of each day. Today this meant a side trip out to Little Fort BC and some of the backroads in that area.

    When I left Fort St James in the morning it was pretty cold out - probably around 3deg. It was cloudy for as far as I could see so heated gear would be on all morning. One of the coolest things I have seen this trip is that although the sky was grey, there was a thin sliver of space in all that grey and the sun was shining through. As I left the house, the sunshine was only shining on the marina just in front of their house, creating this very interesting highlight of colour on an otherwise grey morning:
    [​IMG]

    It's common to see all kinds of wildlife in BC. So far I've seen a baby bear, a bunch of bighorn sheep, a young deer, a crazy rabbit I almost ran over and that's it. I'm hoping to see some moose or caribou somewhere on my travels. That's also why I like to ride early morning, because the chances of seeing some wildlife are much greater. Just as I'm leaving Fort St James I see this sign, so at least I've seen 2 out of 3:
    [​IMG]

    The 160km ride to Prince George was really cold. I should have put my heated socks on, because my toes were numb. But my hands and torso were pretty good. I recently bought a pair of Daytona Roadstar GTX boots just for this trip and was hoping they would be warmer, but they aren't. They are super comfortable as touring boots and great for walking off the bike too.

    As luck would have it, as soon as I took the turn south from Prince George, the clouds were behind me and it was pure sunshine for the rest of the day. I recall reading in Kiley's ride report that there are some smelly towns in BC from the pulp mills. As I headed into Quesnel, I could see the pulp mill smokestacks with tons of white flatulence coming out from them. I could never imagine living in such an egg fart smelling town. While riding through on a Saturday morning, there were several huge stacks billowing smoke. If you zoom into the pic below you can see a couple of the smoke plumes rising high above the city:
    [​IMG]

    I rode down and past Williams Lake. It's a nice town - pretty fair in size and the lake is gorgeous. On a morning like today, all the lakes in this area have a beautiful glimmer of the suns rays:
    [​IMG]

    From here I head from 100 Mile House to Little Fort along the #24. One of the suggestions that came out of the Destination Highways BC book was to check out some backroads leading to and from the #24. I checked them out and they were great. The #24 itself was awesome - a good mix of fast sweepers, shimmering lakes, and beautiful pavement. One of the coolest things was the descent into Little Fort which was an amazing 8km of decline with fast corners and zero traffic. Hoping that this would be getting to more twisty roads, I've now lowered my tire pressure by a few psi in the front and back. It's amazing what a difference just a few psi does for feedback from the road.
    [​IMG]

    Someone knew I was coming:
    [​IMG]

    I rode past an area called Green Lake Provincial Park and by that time the sun was at the perfect spot for a shimmering pic:
    [​IMG]

    One of the things I am most looking forward to now is the increases in elevation. Many of the roads up to this point haven't been very challenging and are usually valley roads with all the massive stuff on the sides. From what I can tell, the roads will soon start to have tighter twists and greater elevation changes. As I come down and into the area north of Lillooet, the mountains are getting closer and the roads are getting twistier!
    [​IMG]

    The temperatures have also started to climb a fair bit. It feels around 25deg and the dense conifer covered mountains give way to this more arid environment:
    [​IMG]

    I arrive in Lillooet and it's a pretty cool small town. I arrived at 4pm and still had a few hours of daylight. I thought it best to go for a 100km ride down to Pemberton and back, so I can ride some twisties without all the added weight of my gear. Just before leaving, I decide to reinspect my clutch even though it was feeling good. I backed out the adjustment screw and then put it back to spec but noticed that I was almost completely out of adjustment here. I thought maybe this has something to do with the clutch plates or something else far beyond my mechanical knowledge. I come back inside and start trying to read up on it and found nothing. So to be on the safe side, I decide against going for a hard 200km ride, because the goal is to make it to my sisters above all else - any mechanical issues I can sort out while there for the next 2 weeks. In Lillooet the main strip is really short and I'm staying in Canada's Best Value Inn. It was $100 and was totally sufficient for what I was looking for. I was expecting the place to be much more sold out on a Saturday night but it was pretty quiet here:
    [​IMG]

    I decide to go for a walk and explore for a bit and grab some dinner. On my way I see another V-Strom. This one's from Nuanvut! I look into how to ride from Nunavut to BC and I'm still not sure if there are roads to do it, so perhaps it's a fly and ride?
    [​IMG]

    I find a place to eat and the waitress lets me know that they have an awesome Spagetti Squash dish that is baked with tons of marinara sauce and cheese. One of my favourite all time meals (besides roti) is lasagna and this one looked like lasagna. It was really good and I devoured it. I was also surprised they put that flower as a garnish - it's a nasturtium and I eat them all the time!
    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow - off to my sisters via Whistler and the Sea to Sky Highway!
    #12
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  13. koa925

    koa925 Senior Stromer

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    san ramon, ca
    I'm enjoying your ride, I've been up to BC quite a few trips while doing the 3 Flags ride over labor day weekend, cancelled this year due to the virus. I've had 2 V Stroms and really enjoyed them both but switched to a GS in 2010 , keep the posts coming and we can all enjoy your ride, be safe
    #13
    shanekingsley likes this.
  14. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    610
    Location:
    Elizabeth, Colorado
    Awesome pics and report! Looking fwd to more..!
    #14
    shanekingsley likes this.
  15. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    Great trip report, some amazing photos and for me, just the right blend of words and pics. :clap
    #15
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  16. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    512
    Location:
    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN
    Great report. Makes me want to get out west.

    Glad you overcame the “clutch issue “ you endured while passing through our area.
    BB
    #16
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  17. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Thanks and really appreciate all those who give good advice and are willing to help a rider out. In big urban areas like where i live it's easier for a rider to figure their own way out, but in rural areas, having some assistance goes a really long way.
    #17
  18. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Day 9 Route: Canadas Best Value Inn Mile 0 to Richmond
    [​IMG]

    I have a cousin who took his family on a trip to Victoria and will be stopping off at my sisters on their way back to Edmonton. I haven't seem him or his family since his wedding 15 years ago. They are coming to my sisters for 2pm, so that means I have to wake up early and get going to make it there on time. I expect this to be one of the most scenic rides of my trip and I will want to stop a fair bit and take pictures and enjoy the moments.

    I woke up at 5am, got all my gear together and checked on my clutch. I redid the adjustment and all was good - very different than last night when I parked the bike and felt I had no more adjustment room left. It seems that when I am doing routine work on the bike after a long day of riding, I must be more tired than I feel, because when I double check my work in the morning, things always turn out proper. Anyways I got all loaded up and left the motel before 7am.

    It was pretty cold out so full heated gear was back on. I filled up the tank and have to say that BC gas is the most expensive by a long shot. In Ontario I was paying about $1.10/litre, across Manitoba, Saskatechewan and Alberta it was around $1.00/litre and BC is sitting pretty at $1.29/litre. I can't imagine what the fuel costs in northern and remote towns are like.

    I read that the stretch between Lillooet and Whistler is the best for low traffic and that was definitely the case for me. Early in the morning I could stop at the side of the road with ease and take in the natural beauty of the many amazing things - like waterfalls!
    [​IMG]

    As soon as you leave Lillooet, the roads are immediately twisty on the 99 heading south towards Pemberton. The slopes are pretty high and tight, so there isn't much in the way of big scenic views to see. The roads were totally dry, but it was still pretty cold and shaded until the later in the morning when the sunlight could rise above the hills. However there was a particular stretch where I was coming around a bend and since there was a nice lake there, this super amazing view of snow-capped mountains in the distance showed up:
    [​IMG]

    Right after taking that picture above, I got back on my bike and as I put my kickstand up, the bike started to lean to the left and since it's so damn heavy with all my gear, I couldn't hold it up and let it fall down. I think it was because of where I parked the bike, where there was a slight slope in the pavement and I had to somewhat compensate for that. I also have a Corbin seat on there which is a wider seat and therefore I don't fully flat foot the bike when it's stopped. I picked up the bike and checked it over - no damage! First time the bike has fallen over on this trip and first time in many years.

    Before reaching Pemberton, there is a very small town called Mount Currie. The #99 leading up to Mount Currie follows a river and has several smaller bridge crossings. Often I will slow right down at the bridge and take in the scenery on both sides of the bridge to check out the water rushing along. One particular bridge was right after a pretty sharp bend. I slowed down as I normally do, but the bridge was made out of wood and the wood was really wet. It felt slick like riding on oil and down the bike does again - this time on the right side. I only had a few feet left to go on the bridge before getting back on the pavement, but the tires just lost all traction. Good thing I wasn't moving quick. I pick up the bike again and this time I have bent my handlebar. There is also a decent crack and hole punctured into my right side case, because it hit a small rock when it landed. But at least the cases protected the fairings and the Barkbuster handguards protected the levers.

    I have always wanted to test ride an SV650. Now I can! One side of my bars is ADV and the other side is sporty. Makes for an interesting riding position.
    [​IMG]

    The bend on the right side of the bar is still ok for me to ride the bike, but it is literally low down like a sport bike. I also can't come close to doing full lock turns on either side because of the bend in the bars, which sucks for me because I do a lot of u-turns to take pictures of things I pass by. I also still have over 200km of the tightest, twisty riding of this trip so far to do. Good times await!

    So off I go and figure that I can find a shop in Vancouver to get either a new OEM bar or an ATV bar put on. I had a Pro Taper ATV bar on my last V-Strom and those bars are so much stronger than these OEM ones. I also prefer the riding position on those bars much better too - much better for tights turns, twisty riding and long distance comfort. I'll also need to get a new side case, because the crack and hole are just a bit too much for the long journey home.

    The 99 south to Whistler was incredible. I am going to ride that stretch again on my way out of BC for sure. The 99 south of Whistler was really busy heading north - but this was on a Sunday morning, so I guess that's to be expected. There were packs of sport bikes heading north - sometimes 50 bikes at a time. Big groups of cruisers as well. Since I was now a little delayed and in a bit of a time crunch to get to my sisters, I decided against stopping often and taking tons of pictures, but the views of the water and mountains were nothing short of stunning:
    [​IMG]

    I made it to my sisters by 12, which was good because I needed to help her get the house ready for our guests. As I parked the bike I took another look at my rear tire. At just under 6000km, it's getting pretty close to done. Hopefully I can squeeze another 1-2k out of it and get it changed out in Kelowna or Calgary. My current tire is a Michelin Road 5 and my previous one lasted me 18,000km. All the extra luggage is wearing down the middle of that tire really fast. I hope that since I'm now in BC, I can spend more time on the edges and prolong changing it out too soon.
    [​IMG]

    ------------
    Two days have now passed and the dealership I decided to go check out is Daytona Motorsports in Surrey BC. I figure Daytona makes nice boots and Daytona's are nice bikes, so they should be the one. Daytona Motorsports also came well recommended by some local riders. The shop was really pleasant and the service manager Janine was very accommodating of my rushed timelines. The bars are probably bent just enough that if they try to straighten them the metal would be significantly compromised, so no dice there. They can get new Suzuki handlebars within a day or two and will get them installed right away, so OEM it will be. They have a few other things I need and they also have a clutch cable!
    [​IMG]

    I also found a mint condition set of hard cases which I'm picking up later today. By the weekend, all will be back to normal again.

    If all goes well, sometime soon I'll get a chance to make it out to the island either on my bike or with my sis. Otherwise it's just helping out around the house!
    #18
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  19. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    512
    Location:
    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN
    Shane, I clicked on your “Big map” link on your signature.
    Since you’re from southern Ontario but have ridden across it all you can relate to this story.
    Way back before GPS and Googlemaps when I was managing a Honda store, they decided since we were in Ontario we should have a Honda rep from Ontario call on us. (Instead of one from Winnipeg)
    So the guy calls me to set up appointment. He’s flying into Thunder Bay, renting a car and coming to see us. In questioning him I found out he plans to call on TBay dealer, us in the Fort, Kenora, and Dryden in a big loop.
    Asked him how many days he’s taking and he said just one, flying home next day.
    The provincial maps used to look like yours but they shrunk (bout 10 times) the big old north and put it on top left corner and this dude thought all same scale.:imaposer

    As you know Ontario is huge.
    Yup, bigger than Texas (sorry guys down there):jack

    So by my rough estimate you will put 10,000 Kim’s doing this trip?

    Enjoy it all eh.
    #19
  20. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Yes sir and thanks.
    I agree about the distance too.
    I'm sure there are lots of people who underestimate how vast Ontario is and how much of it is really undeveloped. Years ago I spent a week up in Attawapiskat and that place is also really far north, but there is so much further room to go north in Ontario. It's crazy that from my house I can make it down to Deals Gap in one day, having passed through several states in the process. Yet that same distance won't even get me as far as Thunder Bay, Ontario with a good distance still to go to get to Manitoba!

    I think when the trip is all done I will be closer to 15,000km than 10,000km. I never did get to ride the 71 south of Kenora and the 502 south of Dryden, so I want to hit both of those up on my way home. The more I look at southern BC, there more I want to leave my sister's place a day or two early and explore that area for bit - maybe use Vernon BC as a base. I might even loop up through Jasper and Banff one more time to ride them in the opposite direction, if I get a new tire put on before that stretch. I did 5 days to get here and might do 9 days to get home.
    Cheers!
    #20
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