3500 KLIX on a KLX
Can you remember the first time you released the clutch on a motorcycle? I can. I can still remember the smell of the 16 to 1 break in mix of Castrol oil emanating from my Hodaka Wombat, smoke thick in the air. I can still see the front wheel rolling through the small creek onto the trail that led to freedom. I can remember the feeling as my first bike carried me along with a big excited smile on my face.
After that moment thirty five years ago, I always thought about how much fun it would be to go on a camping trip on a motorbike.
35 years later.
I left Nanaimo on the ferry to the mainland with the idea of getting as far along the Sea to Sky Highway and past the Pemberton area as I could in an afternoon. There were plenty of bikes on the ferry, mostly big street bikes with the usual suspects, bikers on Harleys with beads in their beards and full sleeve tats. Yuppie bikers on Harleys that wished they could have beads in their beards and full sleeve tats and just regular folks on cruisers on their
way to somewhere.
The ferry ride went fast enough and soon I was caught up in the rush of traffic roaring off the ferry, I jockyed for position into the correct lane that would take me where I wanted to go, and found myself riding along the sea to sky highway towards Whistler and Pemberton stopping only at Squamish to pick up some dehydrated food and some fruit.
I carried on through the heat of the afternoon riding past a beautiful lake and eventually came to a deserted campsite at Owl Creek.
After a swim in the river to cool off from the 34 degree heat I made a meal of Katmandu Curry. This is where I realized that I had left my spoon at home but quickly improvised an eating utensil from one of my tire irons.
After dinner I figured out my route for the next day and fell asleep on the picnic table with a bright starlit sky shining above.
Woke up early and noticed that my sleeping bag was damp from condensation but I wanted to get some Klix under my tires so I packed my gear into the Giant Loop bag, had a quick breakfast of oatmeal eaten with my tire iron, and got moving.
I rode through Mount Currie and gassed up in Darcy, spoke with a a girl at the gas station about the fires in the area had a quick cup of coffee and headed for the start of the Highline Road that climbs up beside Anderson Lake and eventually passes through Seton Portage, and Shalath and then up over Mission Mountain Pass.
The ride was spectacular. Climbing to about 4200 ft and the views of the lake were amazing. Cruised along the gravel at about 50 to 70 klics except for the hairpins and some of the rough spots.
I stopped at the summit and got my sleeping bag out and dried it in the sun and soon got on my way again.
I carried on up and over the Mission Mountain Pass pretty well grinning the whole way as my bike chugged its way up the grade. The views from the pass are very nice and as I climbed to an elevation of about 4200 ft I could see smoke in the distance from the wildfires around Clinton.
I eventually got down to Carpenter lake and roared along the wide flat gravel to the east end, and a Hydro damn.
I cruised through the tunnel and onward to Bridge River which is a First Nations Reserve. there is a narrow bridge over the river and as I crossed it I met a couple of ladies that were walking back from the native sockeye fishery, They invited me to come and have a look so I went and watched the process for a while and had a bite to eat with them and carried on my way to Lillooet.
I carried on through the heat to Lillooet and stopped at a little german bakery that had wireless so that I could get my Spot transmitter working properly and have a cool drink. When I had finished the lady charged me $3.50 for less than half and hour on the internet so I didn't feel bad about lifting a fork from her to solve my dining problems.
At this point I had planned on following some more off road sections to Cache Creek but the extreme heat and the fact that I was riding solo made me think slabbing it would not be too much of a sin. So I headed off in the direction of Cache Creek on tarmac.
It was very hot and I took every opportunity to swim that came along. Marble Canyon was one spot that I would have liked to camp at but also wanted to drive on so I just stopped for a swim in the cool water.
I stopped at Hat Creek Ranch for a photo and carried on.
It was getting late in the afternoon and I wanted to get close to the start of the Kettle Valley Railway as possible so I motored on through Cache Creek and on to Savona where I turned south towards Merrit on a super curving country road that passes through ranch land and lush farms. I thought to myself that this must be what entices street bikers to ride long distances.
I stopped at Tumkwa Lake Park for the night. This is a huge grassland campground on a lake that is teeming with fish. As I lay on the picnic table listening to CBC radio on my mini radio I could hear Coyotes howling in the distance and the stars were once again bright in the sky.
What gorgeous country for a ride!
I'm scanning the pictures carefully to see how you've packed everything on to your KLX. That loop bag seems to be handy.
tell us more about your KLX? Is it a 250, or 300?
What aftermarket tank you'll bolted on there?
Sure looks like some beautiful country. Keep the pics and words coming.
Keep it comin'
BTW how do you find the Giant Loop bag?
it's an 09 250s with an acerbis tank
You can ride your bike like a dirt bike with the Giant Loop bag.
I'm pretty sure it's not available down here yet is why I ask.
Wow! you're really putting your KLX to great use! Thanks for the intro and pics :thumb
After a quick breakfast of instant porridge the day's riding started with a some really nice twisty turns from Tumkwa Park to Merrit. This took me down a fantastic country road with farms and lakes and no traffic. The air was cool and fresh and the only sign of life was the odd farm dog or cattle grazing.
I stopped in Merrit for a spark plug and coffee and caught up on some emails. I then headed for Coldwater road which runs parallel with the Coquihala Highway and basically drops you right off at the start of the Brookmere to Princeton portion of the Kettle Valley Railway. This is an old railway bed that has been turned into a trail that runs across B.C. It has an amazing history that is well documented in this book.
My ride down Coldwater road ended at a pass under the Coquihala Highway and continued on to the very small town of Brookmere. I followed a rough gravel road and quickly found myself on the railbed that I had read so much about. My trip was actually working out!!
I rode for a few minutes down a narrow path and after a short distance came to a washed out bridge. I doubled back and found a steep trail down the side of the embankment which took me across to the other side of the bridge and up another steep trail to regain the railbed. Being an old railway, the trail tends to be fairly level and straight with wide sweeping turns. It has a miriad of woop de doos and you generally ride standing up and letting the bike do its thing. My bike handles this sort of ride very nicely and I was cruising along at 60 to 70 kmh for a lot af the time.
The rail goes through ranch land which means gates, and lots of them, and in the heat I was getting fairly overheated and tired constantly getting off my bike unlocking a gate, opening it, pushing the bike through, closing and locking the gate and getting back on and riding off. I think the temperature was around 37 degrees or more.
Eventually I noticed my bike was not handling well so at the next gate I checked and found my rear tire was flat. I also noticed I had the shits. What a fluke. What are the odds? At least I didn’t have to stop twice.
It is amazing how your mind works when you have two emergencies at once. I vacillated between trying to prop up my bike and hunt for toilet paper. Nature finally won out.
I looked for some shade to do the tire change and after stripping down to my bathing suit because of the heat, I propped up the bike under the only tree that was accessible, with an old railway tie and a few pieces of wood and went about popping off my rear tire.
I AM actually wearing my bathing suit in this pic so don't get any ideas. It was so hot out and I had already drank down two liters of water and I was starting to feel pretty messed up.
This was a brand new tire and heavy duty tube, but it looked as if I picked up a nail. After about 1.5 hours I was on my way. I pushed my bike through the gate and locked it behind me and as I turned to get back on my bike I spotted a brown colored bear about 50 feet away walking on the trail towards me. He had obviously come down out of the woods and had not noticed me yet. So here I was with a bike that was not running, I had just locked myself on the same side of the fence as a bear. What would the dog whisperer do? I started to wonder where the hell I had packed my bear spray, especially because I thought he was a Grizzly. I very slowly walked to my bike which was even closer to the bear. I started my bike and he looked up sniffing. I revved the engine a bit and he turned around and very casually sauntered down the trail. When he got a reasonable distance away I took out my camera and took a photo of him. I waited a while and he walked down the path, I followed him, idling my bike. He stopped a couple of times to turn around an look at me and then he headed up into the bush and I passed him.
I stopped many times to cool off in the river and finally got to coalmont and stopped for a beer and the hotel.
I knocked back a cold brew and chatted with the barmaid for a half hour and hit the road.
It wasn’t till I almost reached Princeton that I noticed my glasses were gone. I turned around and high tailed it back to the hotel in record time. I new the hotel closed at six and I had twenty minutes to get there, so I cranked it. I somehow channeled my old motocross skills and made it to the hotel with minutes to spare, only to find out I hadn’t left them there after all, so they must be on the trail somewhere. I also saw another black bear and the biggest deer I have ever seen. I ended up in Princeton at 7 pm and grabbed a campsite just out of town.
Redpillar......ride safe bro..love the pics and ride info...
It does bolt on but you have to make a few changes so that you can get hold of the choke. I also installed a vacuum fuel pump to draw the fuel from the wings of the tank. Well worth the effort.
Damn! A flat tire, Katmandu Curry catching up on you, bears, barmaids!:lol3
Just took my KDX250 out for a spin. First time I have ridden it for a while.
I had forgotten how much fun these light 1/4 litre bikes are.
Happy Trails Amigo
I hope you got an aftermarket seat too! I rode my 07 KLX aboout 700 miles in 3 days and thought my ass was going to be permanetly numb!! Great fun those KLX's. Love the photos, great story, keep goin'!
Hey Red, I am adding this to the official ride report over on www.kawasakiforums.com What a great report, and I'm sure you have more to add. Thanks. Oh and you and I share a great common bond. I too had the Hodaka back in the day...it was my first bike, and I often think about that bike when I'm out riding on the KLX. :clap
Oh and next time you go out in the Great Wide Open, take along one of these. :D
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