12 days on the Orange Dragon
It’s been a long winter, both literally and figuratively. I am far more stressed out than I can remember being for some time. My normal enthusiasm for my job has been waning as of late and I needed a break. I need to get away from family, work, phones and schedules. I need to fall off the grid. Two weeks does not seem nearly enough, but it will have to do. This go round’ I am diving into my true passion, a recent revelation, Dual sport riding. Maybe it is the explorer in me, or the outdoorsman, but either way it is pure joy to combine those with motorcycles.
After testing the water with a relatively cheap entry level dual sport bike I came to the realization that pure road bikes, regardless of how good, just do not cut it anymore (for me). I have a fantastic road machine, and one that I thought that I would never consider parting with. I am also blessed with living a short ride from some of the best back roads in the country, most of which are not paved. After last season and the late start this year, I have come to realize that even as crude as the KLR 650 is by comparison to the Yamaha FZ 1, I prefer to take out the Kawasaki, if only so that I don’t have to turn around when the pavement stops. Having been bitten hard by the off road bug and quickly improving dirt skills, I decided to take the plunge (head on) and upgrade my equipment. The machine does not make the rider, but having a really good machine (for the job) doesn’t hurt either. I wanted the “best of both worlds”, the power and road ability of the FZ and the dirt ability of the KLR (at least). I think that I have found it in the KTM 990 Adventure. It is slightly heavier than the KLR, but has nearly 3 times the power and with much higher spec components. With that said, the KTM comes with some baggage; the complexity of electronics and fuel injection, and a simple job such as an oil change is a big job. On the road it gives up very little to a sport bike, even with knobbies, and in the dirt…wow! The KTM just makes riding fast on a deep marble-like gravel road sheer exhilaration. The great suspension gives you instant confidence, to the point of irresponsibility. Looks wise it is a love it or hate it bike and I am in the former camp. From the side it has beautiful lines that just scream thoroughbred, no surprise considering its lineage as a <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dakar</st1:place></st1:City> racer. Even the color does it for me, Hot Rod Orange, always my favorite color, and a huge departure from any vehicle that I have actually owned. It is still in the “honeymoon stage” admittedly, but I have done the first oil change, just yesterday and today I still want the bike, and can’t wait to get out on my trip. It is considered an “Adventure” bike and came with hard bags and a small tail rack. The bags are packed and waiting to hook up on Tuesday night. My tent and sleep gear are in a dry bag, ready to be tied onto that rack. Monday and Tuesday will feel interminably long, and Wednesday will be hard to really work. It has been a long time since I was this excited by a holiday.
The night before I left, my parts came in so I was able to get my High Fender installed and was happy with the results!
Posing with the Dragon in my best poser gear.
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It will be familiar territory to some degree in my neighboring province to the west, and will have me doing some pavement here and there. The first weekend sees me and 120 or so of my closest dual-sporting friends participating in “The Big Trailie ride 6” through the Caribou and Chilcotin regions of <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">British Columbia</st1:place></st1:State>’s interior. After that I have uncharacteristically not planned other than a few places to see and a date on the Island (<st1:place w:st="on">Vancouver Island</st1:place>, for a family wedding). It will be; just plan when I get up in the morning, what that day will bring. I have my camp gear and will not be too far removed from civilization, so I will just wing it. I, as usual, am packing my camera to document the trip, so stay tuned - pictures to follow.
The first night was spent camping just over the bridge at Revelstoke, Canada West campground and RV park. Not a bad little place that is being renovated this year to include more spots and fix up the shower room and pool.
Day two got me to Clinton BC and the start of the BCBTR6. I stayed at Clinton Pines Campground, on the east side of the highway just south of town. Great place with very nice people running it. Nice clean modern shower and washroom facilities and nice spots under big trees to camp. The place was full of other riders from the Rally and we had a great time drinking and BSing that night.
I took this shot of the 990 from just below my campspot, ain't she purdy (if a bit out of focus).
Sign up and ride prep in Clinton behind Caribou lodge.
The following Morning I was in need of hydration and food. The Caribou Lodge was open early for the Rally crowd thanks to our organiser's doing. The place was packed and the food was good. I met up with another rider, Paul from the ADSMC site that I met on the Cypress Hills ride earlier this year and we agreed to ride with his buddy Matt on his KLR in tow. We would spend a few hours throughout the day roadside, trying to figure out what was blowing the main fuse out of the Kawasaki. It's not an adventure unless there are challenges.
Just missed a picture of a Moose while I dug out the camera, I settled for this.
I was waiting for Paul and Matt when another rider stopped to ask if I was their buddy. He told me they could not restart the KLR, so I turned around and went to reder assistance. With a spare fuse from my bike he was back in motion. Later that day after he bought spares in Williams Lake I figured out what was doing it. One of the wires to the starter solinoid was very slightly loose. After I tightened that he was fine for the rest of the ride, (and much less stressed, alowing him to quickly get the hang of dual sport riding).
Paul and Matt roaring up Old Nicola Road.
Stopped to do a strip tease and shed some too warm gear.
The Rain held off on day 1 but I was offered a cot / floor space at the Ramada in 100 mile house and after a very long day that sounded great. Floor space it was as cots were in short supply, and it still beat a tent. Hopefully I didn't snore the other two out of the room. The German / Mexican restaurant next door was great if a bit Eclectic.
Bikes lined up beside the Restaurant beside the Ramada in 100 mile house.
Day two of the Rally started with Rain but that was short lived. Matt forgot his wallet and had to turn back 10 minutes out. Paul and I waited at the side of the road as the whole crew past on by (slowing down to make sure we were OK). Matt retrieved his wallet and we carried on to improving weather. The old road down into Little Fort was beautiful and I was having so much fun I didn't stop for a picture until we were through the best part.
Rest stop at the Thula Lake turn off, the car driver was having a WTF moment.
More to come......
After we got to Little Fort and crossed on the "reaction Ferry" which was a first for me, we had to wait for the Rocky Mountaineer to pass before carrying on. The road over to Barrier was a lot of fun and had a nice variety of Gravel, Pavement and MUD. I was Ok through the ruts where we stopped to pick up a couple of other riders bikes, everyone seemed OK. A pick up truck passes by and rolls down the window to infor one of the other riders "If you think this is bad just wait!" and laughed. I thought Oh Good this should be fun. Now you won't see me on the cover of any Off-Road-Style magazine any time soon, BUT... I managed not to crash, and my ego only took a few bruises. I have some action shots courtesy of Greg "Prime" from Kamloops, thank you very much!.
Yep my feet were hanging like that until I saw a camera....:lol3
This mud was good to ride on and I was getting my Mojo back.
I stopped to take fuel for the hungry beast in Barrier and then topped up in Chase. Coming down into the Nicola Valley later that day was a blast on some nice narrow twisting pavement, I was having a bit too much fun there, Then a short but sweet run over Old Nicola road before dropping into Merritt and the Big BCBTR6 party.
Me B.Sing in the back ground.
Greg Rolls in.
It felt good to be one of the early ones after the previous day rolling in almost dead last (it help to have very few delays / roadside maintenance issues :lol3). The food was great, and plentiful. The hosts were very gracious and patient with all the questions, comments, etc. I even won a door prize, a grey ADV shirt that I will wear with pride.
The next morning after getting our Hortons fix Greg joined, and lead our group south from Merrit to Brookmere. One of the guys (who will remain nameless) was having technical difficulties with a borrowed Go-Pro. We had a "Go" without a "pro". Footage anyone?? We pulled in front of the Water tower and lined up for the touristy shot. As I leaned the bike onto the side stand I found my self lying on the ground think "what the hell just happened?" The ground was good everywere except that few square inches, somewhere in the trees was a BMW pilot with a big camera, laughing, I just know it!
"weird... it's good over here!?!"
A couple of Other riders joined us at Brookmere and I sugested we stay on the KVR as it was a short jaunt to were it joins the Coalmont road . They agreed to follow me and we followed the short but very scenic section. There was a trail marked "Coalmont" down to the right just before a few large rocks blocked the way ahead. We stopped to have a look at where the trestle used to be and at the "two" puddles at the end of the path to the road. "the water only looks a foot deep from up here" I said. The rider on the Dakar 650 replied "I'm calling bullshit on that!" We laughed. Greg rode down the smaller, steeper bicycle trail into the water and the rest of us walked back to the bikes and used the marked bypass. Greg was waiting for us with camera at the ready like a good soldier! The two puddles turned out to be three, the first hidden by the trees and a bit of a mud bog. No problem now for us studly adventurers :evil. The Dakar pilot was right, a bit deeper, but Oh so fun! Once again action shots by Greg.
We stopped in Tulameen and were asked to sign a petition to keep motorized vehicles On the KVR. The Bicycle Nazis don't want to share anymore I guess. I was happy to champion the cause and held up our little group while I gave the petition guy some info and my KVR ride report details. Sorry guys. We then carried on to pose for Greg in front of the now totally closed (Oh yeah it was Sunday) Hotel in Coalmont. As we left I warned the other riders about the deer along this stretch, "Oh... then you lead Lee" I chased a few animals off the road for the others benifit. When we arrived at Princeton we stopped at the Petro for gas, ready to head our seperate ways. A couple of Funky Trikes rolled in while we prepared to roll.
The Yellow VW powered one was driven by a fiesty woman in leather in her Seventies if I had to guess (I do). She felt like talking, Grampa Munster in the Munster Mobile did not.
The Fiesty Old Woman felt like talking. She went on to tell us how this woman, a total stranger you see, told her that she was going to use Fiesty's trike. Unbelievable don't you know "She tells me that she is going to use MY Trike for a ride!" Well it didn't happen. "Some time later this same woman again tells me she is going to use my bike for a ride she is planning" " now boys there is going to be a bad word coming." she says to us. She continues (Us youngsters now fairly warned) " I say back to her" she states adamantly, fire in her eyes, "sure, what are friends for, now that we have known each other for awhile. " And while you are out riding my Trike I will be at your place fucking your husband !":eek1 That aparently put an end to the Trike borrowing nonsense! "I would sooner lend out my husband, if I had one, than lend out my Trike !" You go Grandma! A woman after my own heart, and pretty damn cool old gal. After that little story we all shook hands and I headed east on Old Hedley road for Summerland and my camp for the day just south of Penticton.
More to come....
After giving the wrong road name to a fellow inmate, my apologies (my memory is great, just really friggin’ short). I left Princeton along <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Princeton</st1:place> Summerland road, just over the bridge beside the fancy footbridge north of highway #3. Go right, then bear left past the entrance to the mill. The road is a nice curvy bit of pavement that eventually gravels out. Just up by the dam on the south side of the road I jumped onto the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Kettle</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Valley</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> right of way on the north side of the road (just look for the Trans Canada Trail sign). It was easy running even for a big Trailie like the 990 and familiar territory for me. Near Summerland the trail widens and has nice pea gravel on it. I shot a few pictures while I rode just for experiment sake.
Along the river here. http://i906.photobucket.com/albums/a...sectionKVR.jpg
Old cave behind me.
Still sporting day 3 BCBTR6's "red greened" roadbook.
The end of the line where the steam train runs. The way the bike is facing in the picture will get you onto the Fish Lake road and into Summerland, just follow the signs.
parking on the right of way above the camp spot.
Parking is actually on the KVR right of way with the camp sites down beside the lake. Easy get away in the morning without disturbing other campers if you are an early bird like me.
The office, laundry and washrooms. One of many.
The most northerly showerhouse and washroom at Banbury.
A shot for you botanists, looked like asparagus to me.
I putted by a couple of bicyclists who didn’t even hear me coming until I was just about on them. They didn’t seem to have any problem with me being there. When I got to the end of the trail I went left 100 yards onto <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Fish Lake Road</st1:address></st1:Street> and into Summerland. After a quick stop for provision in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Penticton</st1:place></st1:City> I blasted south on 97 to Banbury Green Campground. It is easy to miss, just look for a break in the concrete barrier at the top of the hill as you climb out of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Penticton</st1:place></st1:City>. It does have a little sign notifying a campground is there. After setting up camp it was a pleasure to wade into the lake right beside my spot and cool the roasted feet. After a early campfire and a fine single malt or 4 it was time to call it a day. I had formulated a plan for the morning that would see more time on the KVR on previously unexplored sections as well as some familiar.
The view across the lake from the camp.
Visitors to my private beach.
Facing north along the KVR and west side of Skaha Lake toward Penticton. Watch for rocks in the weeds and underbrush. A few low hanging tree branches as well.
More to come....
As soon as the sun lit the tent, 04:30 I was awake and ready to go (it’s a curse). I quietly packed up and then hit the shower room. I fired up the beast and idled north up the trail about 200 yards and then let the bike warm up. It was a fairly easy ride, if a little narrow in places and I skirted around a few rock falls. The pines growing along this stretch were a bit low so I was sitting, puttering along at about 30 kph. The next thing I knew I was laying on my right side facing the lake just registering the hit. I had hit something immovable, and I was apparently not unstoppable! Both <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Gobi</st1:place> bags were lying back (10 feet or so) on the trail. After shutting off and picking up the bike and getting it facing north on the trail again, I retrieved the bags. The right one was OK and latched back on, the left had broken the part of the rear latch that grabs the rack. I zip tied it on with a few heavy duty zip ties (an adventure riders best tool) Then tied a cheap ¾” nylon strap around the bag and rack just to be sure. Repair done in less than 5 minutes, heartrate back to normal.
With much more caution, I proceeded along the trail. The day prior while checking in at the camp I had asked about the Bear warning posters and was told that a black bear and her cub were calling the trail north of camp home but that he “was pretty sure they had caught them”. My senses were now on high alert (they should have been before) and when I saw a dead partially eaten fish on the trail as well as bear dropping I was concerned. I stood up on the pegs and started honking the horn as I continued on. Not much further I could see the next campground where the trail ended and quit making noise as I cruised slowly into it. Back on the road I headed east into town to the nearest Tim Hortons for what passed for breakfast. I had fueled previous afternoon so through town toward Naramata I went. Last year there had been little signs directing you to the KVR, but this year they were gone, so I had to rely on memory, was I screwed. I could remember the wineries that I had passed, but not the road, so when it looked about right, I turn right (east) and went up the hill. It turned out to be a different access point but I found the KVR and headed north toward <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Chute</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. I stopped for some new pictures of the KTM up on the line and just enjoyed this easy section of the trail.
Just above Naramata before the little tunnel.
When I got to the Adra Tunnel bypass I was surprised at how much they had improved it, and at the top of this short bypass I saw that the trail to the tunnel had concrete blocks arranged like a maze down its length. I was curious so I parked and hiked to the tunnel entrance. They had begun repairs and the sign said the tunnel was open and accessible for the first 100 meters. So in I went, cool!
After a little poking around, I continued toward my next objective, <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Myra</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Canyon</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. I knew that I would not be able to ride the trestles but it was the bypass and just seeing them that was the appeal. Just before <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Chute</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, in the burnt area from the 2003 fires I had to stop for a bear. A mid sized black bear was standing looking at me up the trail. Of course I had to get his picture before honking and revving the engine to clear the path.
I was far enough away that I could turn and run if he charged. After that little encounter I carried on past <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bellevue</st1:place></st1:City> trestle and all the way to the Myra Canyon Parking lot just for curiosity sake.
Then I back tracked a kilometer and a half to the Little White FS road and went south up the hill to the bypass. Since rebuilding the trestles and opening up the Canyon again they obviously have not maintained this bypass and the signs are either missing or fallen over with only a few remaining. A little common sense and directional ability and even without a GPS you will get around it.
It is fairly bland up top as you start east with just what undergrowth has grown since the big fire decimated the area. The trail gets pretty rough and loose as you climb higher. Then it really narrows as it drops to the Pooley Creek bridge. Then you will either want to have a saw or practice riding over fallen trees all of which are fairly small diameter.
A bit further on there is a steep banked little stream crossing that could cause problem, and would have been less intimidating with another rider along in case of a spill. There may have been a small log bridge over at one time but now just a few logs were floating in the stream which would only roll under the tires.
I put away the electronics in the waterproof bags and stomped into the stream to move the logs out of the way, and plot my course over the big round slippery rocks. With a path determined and nerves steady I put the beast in gear and took the one shot I would get. As I drop sharply into the stream I kept a steady throttle and straight line, bottoming out the front forks, then I was up the even steeper bank on the other side safe and sound. Now I felt good! Not long after that I came onto a high spot and got my first glimpse of the Trestles, Yeah, this is what I came for. I only wished I had packed the big lense, but just being there was fantastic! I had missed this section last year and I felt really good about getting through this time. It had been very helpful that a fellow ADV inmate had posted this route on my ride report, and as a result I was able to see this. If you are through here come see it, you will be impressed if you have any interest in the history of this amazing feat of engineering.
the report continues.....
Day 6 part 2
I followed the bypass and it just merges onto a logging road and since my borrowed GPS is just doing the Tron thing (leaving a blue line on a white screen I have no reference as to where I am. Not lost yet, I still have plenty of fuel, I’m “exploring”. As I come around a corner there is a logging truck whose driver is just getting ready to roll. I ask him how to get to hwy 33 and he tells me “follow this road to mile marker 71, take a hard left and follow it to highway 33. Make a left to go to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kelowna</st1:place></st1:City>”. I thank him and go ripping down the hard packed gravel. His directions are right on and I am soon on the pavement heading for <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kelowna</st1:place></st1:City>. It has been awhile since I had done 33 and it is a lot of fun, and for a change I don’t see any deer. After a food and fuel stop I carry on south to 97 C and across to Merritt. I have decided to make a bit of time as I want to end up in Lillooet by days end. Along Hwy 8 from Merritt to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Spences</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> I stop a couple of times to indulge my fascination with the KVR.
I briefly consider crossing one rather large trestle but after walking it I decide the risk outweighs the benefit, one screw up there and you are in the raging river.
The trail deteriorates badly after that anyway so it would mean returning to cross a second time. I stay on the pavement and make time to Lytton. At Lytton I head north on highway 12, a nice stretch of pavement that is underused, making for a nice run up to Lillooet. I pull out the camera and experiment with one handed riding / shooting through the best curves with mixed results.
Lillooet is hot and I need to clean up after a long day. The campground on the north side of the bridge is fairly barren and unappealing so I ride out to the BC Hydro one just past the spawning channel before the entrance to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Duffy</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> road. It is very picturesque and very clean.
It is missing showers but otherwise a great spot and it’s free. There are a couple of other riders on matching GS 800’s that ask if I was at BCBTR6 and I tell them yes. By the time I am cleaned up and set up they are no where to be seen, early night I guess. Other than the roaring river the place is nice and quiet and I make an early night of it as well. I feel as though I am being watched......
As always I am up as soon as there is light and much too early this morning as it would turn out. I take my time and get packed up and have a commando shower using the ice cold water at the tap beside my campsite. I am sure it is piped directly from a near by melting glacier and refreshing is an understatement. I have jumper cables at the ready to restart my heart if needed. Now fully and truly wide awake I break the silence of the site and idle out to the LOCKED gate, WTF! This is a serious gate and the hills on each side have been built up and sculpted to keep people out, or in in this case. Camp warden takes on a whole new meaning. When I arrived last evening I had failed to read the sign saying gates locked at 10:00 and open at 07:00, oops.
It is now 05:30 and I’ll be damned if I’ll sit her until 7 a.m. It is an adventure bike isn’t it! I consider taking off the bags and squeezing around the end of the gate but with the tree and the slope I foresee a crash, so I do further recon. The hills on each side look more like Dam construction and are very steep with strategically placed boulders (been there already). I sit on the gate and consider my options (like packing a plasma cutter next trip). I am a bit ticked but not everyone appreciates the early part of the day so I may have to wait it out. I am nothing if not stubborn, so I continue doing recon on foot. The “warden’s” area at the west end of the camp says “no unauthorized vehicles beyond this point”, sounds promising. I spot a couple of boulders that look to be blocking an old road but it is hard to tell in the underbrush so I investigate. Sure enough we have a road leading in the general direction of the highway and freedom. I go stomping through the waist high underbrush and find a doable path and am just getting back to the highway when the Warden shows up early! My bike is now blocking his path as it is parked right up to the gate which he is unlocking as I stroll up. I am in a much better frame of mind now and talk with him for a few minutes about the road to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Gold</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> and where I might find sustenance at this hour. A&W it is and just so happens to be on the corner that I need to turn at in Lillooet to get to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Gold</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. Breakfast is not bad and the road is better. I forego pictures on the really nice, narrow, covered in rock fall, first stretch as I have a sudden onset of prudence (and the light is bad). Later I stop numerous times as the road is just awesome.
I take a little detour through the tunnel at the Seton Portage turnoff and ride back and forth through it. Seton Portage and the Highline road will have to wait for next time.
Back on the road to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Gold</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> there is lots of rock fall on the road so it is best to pay full attention, which is hard with such amazing scenery. I fuel in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Gold</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> with what is available which is regular, and since I am only taking less than a third I don’t worry about it. The gas station owner is very talkative and it is hard to get going without being rude (lonely I guess). I stop in front of the Hotel for a “I was here” shot before heading up the hill toward Bralorne.
The road is surprising new pavement climbing out of Gold Bridge, but covered with pea gravel, presumably from winter maintenance. I see a Doe and her two fawns on the road and wished that I had a camera handy. One handed shooting on this road would have been foolhardy and this would be the first (but not last) time that I would wish for a Go-Pro camera. Bralorne was as expected since I had seen many pictures on the ADV site before my trip.
I once again took the (see I was here!) shot then headed down East Hurley road toward Hurley road to go east over the pass to Pemberton Meadows. Calling East Hurley a road is a bit of an over statement and although it is good for the first 10 minutes coming out of Bralorne it quickly narrows to not much more than a quad trail. I was standing on the pegs and cruising along winding down a steeper, curving decline when as I rounded a corner I see the back end of a rather large Grizzly running away from me! It was truly the largest grizzly that I had ever seen and the silver tips on its hump rippled as it ran on legs the size of tree trunks. I thought, OH SHIT, but turning around on the trail at that point was going to take a bit of time and on the slope be difficult at best, so I kept going toward the bear, honking the pathetic little horn, pulling in the clutch and revving the engine and standing on the pegs making myself look as big as possible. The trail was nothing but tree lined curve after curve. Every time I came around another curve there he was, still running down the path and this carried on for what seemed like eternity. I kept hoping that he would go into the bush and not turn around. I had a funny thought as I chased the Grizzly (funny what comes to mind sometimes), a scene from the movie Mars Attacks. The horn on the 990 reminded me of the green alien’s speech (Ack, Ack). The Alien walking down the street with the translator machine saying “do not run, we are your friends” as he shot people with his ray gun, all the while going “Ack Ack”. Like I said strange things come to mind, but it made me grin. After about a kilometer I came around another corner onto a straight stretch and no more bear. This was good but where did he go?! I picked up the pace (a lot) and continued with the horn passing over a repair over a stream washout, done with very chunky rock, that would be tough on anything other than a bike or quad. Not long after I was out to Hurley Main road and turned left. This road was pretty rocky and I was glad there was no traffic throwing those rocks at me as they passed.
Just doing my part for the site.
Just a normal day on Hurley Road
There was a good amount of snow at the top and a wrecked pick up. I stopped to make sure it was empty, it was. There was a note on the passenger (top side) window “ I’m OK no problem, will return tomorrow to recover the truck” I guess this is par for the course along here. The road was scenic but unremarkable and I made good time into Pemberton Meadows. I did almost overshoot one switchback when I came in too hot, but lived to tell the tale. Coming out of Pemberton toward whistler I came in hot to the one nice hairpin waving to a couple of sport bikes heading north and felt something touch down. When I stopped in Squamish at No Limits Powersports (KTM dealer behind the Wendy’s) to see about a new latch for my bag I saw that I had dragged the bag in the corner. I was impressed that with TKC’s I could still drag a bag in a corner (not that old after all).
The guys at No limits checked about the part but could not find one in the KTM system. I had been using a small black tie down strap to keep the bag on and when I explained what had happened the guy behind the counter went in the back and grabbed 2 white 6 foot ratchet straps that are use to tie down bike crates when they ship. He gave them to me and said no charge, very cool.
I had to buy something so I bought a KTM coffee cup which would come in handy in the evening for my scotch. That way I would not look like a hobo anymore, drinking from the bottle. The ratchet strap (I only needed the one and packed the other away) worked like a damn and I carried on to the Ferry for the sunshine coast. I had to wait for about an hour to board allowing time for food and coffee. I headed for Sechelt and Bayside campground on the busy 101 on the other end.
Horseshoe to Gibsons ferry
campsite at Bayside Campground in Sechelt
After setting up camp at Bay side campground in Sechelt I went in search of food to a nearby dockside Pub. The lighthouse Pub was a nice, if somewhat formulaic Pub, with a vibrant atmosphere and an eclectic demographic. The view was great and the sunshine streamed across the packed patio to the cool interior and the cooler drink. My food on order I relaxed and people watched. I was feeling a bit under dressed and road weary complete with wild man / helmet hair. The power had been out at the campground and had been for hours explained the attendant. The city had promised it back in a few hours. There were no power problems here, oops… until now. The place’s music and multiple competing TV programs suddenly fell silent, and the load conversations seemed more so now. Those quickly toned down to a murmur. After a few minutes the waitress came over to explain that they had been told the power might be out for hours, and did I want to wait a bit and see if my order could be completed? I was hungry so I said I would have another drink and wait for a while. Some food was coming out, the last orders of cooked food as it would turn out. I asked if they could at least handle a Caesar salad and that they could. It was not what I was in the mood for but it would have to suffice this night. After another hour in the quickly emptying Pub I settled up and returned to camp, to tired to bother with a campfire. Sleep would come quickly.
The saga continues....
Early morning light roused me to the nice clean shower room and another early start. I was at the high end of the camp by purpose and once packed and ready I simply rolled down out of the camp without firing up the Dragon. At the entrance / exit and well away from the campers I fired up the 990 and let it warm. Back on northbound 101 I cruised toward Earl’s Cove intending to stop at a Hortons or the like along the way. A sign for <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Sargeant</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Provincial</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Park</st1:PlaceType> caught my attention and on a whim I broke left onto <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Half</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Moon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> road. The detour was worth the time and after all it was really early. The morning light was great for pictures so I took the time to salute the ADVers by the beach.
The Dragon by the beach early morning.
Sargeant Bay in the provincial park.
I salute you with the traditional salute.
Half moon Bay road was a pure joy to run and other than the deer I had the road to my self. I took full advantage to let out the hooligan for a rubber peeling pre-breakfast play. Another Doe and her two fawns stood motionless at the end of a driveway as I ripped by. I had at first though they were statues until her head moved. That brought me back to earth and I toned down the later part of the run back to where it met highway 101 again. The highway up from there to Earls Cove was spectacular and could be used for an F1 race as the man at the Ferry pointed out. I was about 50 minutes early for the first ferry across to Saltery Bay but the ferry attendant was a motorcyclist and kept my occupied with questions about the Orange Dragon which caught his eye and started the conversation. It turns out that he was another man with M.B.S. (Multiple Bike Syndrome) His favorite was his Triumph Bonneville and I had guessed that by his belt buckle. One other rider eventually showed up and we boarded first.
Earl's Cove to Saltery Bay.
It was a fairly short hop over to the north end at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Saltery</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. I had consulted with the crew on the way over and they suggested a campground at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Powell</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, Willingdon Beach Campground. My plan was to set camp and go exploring the back roads around the area. I had still not spotted a restaurant that interested me and was at the south end of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Powell</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. I fueled and asked about a car wash as it was time to wash the Big Trailie ride off the beast and do some maintenance. I was directed by a friendly local a few blocks away from the gas station to a bike shop and car was. I bought a can of chain lube and went next door to wash the bike. I got carried away, and a couple of hours later the Dragon was shining brightly again with a clean and adjusted chain. The bike shop owner (Guys Cycle Works & Marine) had come over and helped get the loaded mule up on the center stand so I did not have to remove the heavy bags. He was happy to tell me how good the back roads around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Powell</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> were and which ones I should not miss. I headed up to the Campground and checked in, again at the very top of the campground under some huge pines.
The <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Willingdon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Beach</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> campground is a great spot and very well kept with nice clean facilities including laundry and a beach hut food outlet that was surprisingly good. Maybe it was the setting or my need to do laundry, or a bit of weariness but I just spent the rest of the day lounging around the campsite. I got my exercise walking the steep hill back up to the camp spot every time I descended to the beach, laundry or food shack all cruelly at the bottom of the hill. The weather was great and I had high hopes for the next day.
more to come...
http://advrider.com/forums/data:imag...BJRU5ErkJggg== Good stuff Lee.
I must get that route to Cypruss from you...
Days 9 and 10
I woke to the unmistakable sound of rain drops hitting the tent fly. Damn! I had been talking to my wife who was on route to Vancouver Island for her brother’s wedding and was expecting to be in Sydney by late that afternoon. The afternoon before, I had told her that I wouldn’t be there until the 24<SUP>th,</SUP> in the afternoon. I was now reconsidering that plan, as I listened to the patter of rain on nylon. I have no issue with riding in the rain, but did I want to ride unfamiliar roads (of unknown consistency, no doubt muddy) and camp in the rain afterward? The short answer was no, so they would have to wait for another trip and to packing I got before things got too wet. After a fast break down of camp and a leisurely shower I hit the nearby Timmies’ for breakfast. The weather lightened slightly as I headed for the ferry terminal for what would be a long wait for the day’s first ride over to Comox. I killed time talking to the only other rider waiting for the boat. He rode a touring BMW (no idea what model, sorry) He was sporting the (apparently required) mascot, Buzz Light year, taped to the rear fender. Nice guy and we talked on the ferry ride over as well while he had BC ferries finest cuisine (hopefully he is OK).
He was meeting a couple of buddies on the Island side to ride up and down the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Island</st1:place> with. They were on the shoulder as we exited the boat in Comox. I rode south toward <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sydney</st1:place></st1:City> with a small detour in mind along the way as the weather across the Strait was much better as was my mood when the clouds broke. I took the big road to make time to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Horne</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> road and headed west into the woods. The road winds a bit and could be confusing but it is well signed. I was going to check out the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Horne</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Caves</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. The road was great fun and nicely graveled most of the way. It wound past cottages and into the park. It started to rain as I got to the parking lot, but at that point I didn’t care as the sky hinted that it would be short lived. I hiked across a swinging bridge and up to the caves. The main cave was closed but one of the small self guided ones was accessible. A brief sortie into the cave and I returned along the dark rain forest path to the waiting Dragon.
Leading me down the path
getting back to my roots.
These boots wern't made for walkin'
It's a CAVE, Man!
Still raining I had a second helping of this nice road. By the time I hit pavement the sun had made a return appearance. I blasted south across the Malahat and jumped off at <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Thetis</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Park</st1:PlaceType> and took a spectacular, narrow winding road up into the <st1:place w:st="on">Highlands</st1:place>. This was a gem and I could have ridden this all day long. At the other side it dumped me out west of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Cordova</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>.
The Cedar Wood Inn in Sydney
A change from camping.
From there it was a short hop up to <st1:City w:st="on">Sydney</st1:City> and where I would spend the next couple of days, other than a visit down to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Victoria</st1:place></st1:State> for Scott at Adrenaline Motorcycle Co-Op to install a new K-60 rear tire for me. He has a great shop and his service is second to none! He was patient with me hanging around waiting for the tire to arrive (and for awhile it did not look like the supplier would come through). In the end I had run over to Visit my Brother in law and Scott called to say it had come in. I ran back and he wasted no time getting it mounted and balanced. He even checked my wheel bearings to ensure I would not have any issues on the remainder of my trip. If you are passing through go support your fellow ADVer, even if just to see his amazing mongrel KLR / Versys Franken bike.
The next day was taken up with family and family wedding celebration, but I still managed to do some biking, and the GPS that I borrowed came in handy running into and around Victoria, making one trip back to Sydney at night much easier on unfamiliar roads. I played around with pictures at the nice place called Sea Cider, the setting for the small informal wedding. One of the guests came on a 950 SMT.
more to come....
Day 11 and the Toad
The eleventh day sees me packing up as the others slept. I just can’t shut off the early mental alarm clock. I have breakfast and wait for the rest of my family to wake before setting off. My wife and kids and in-laws will be heading north to Parksville to spend a few days there, while I head home to take over pet sitting duties from one of my children’s friends. If not for this I would have stayed as I could find lots of places to explore on the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Island</st1:place> and along the way back. There will be other trips for this and I have packed a lot into this one already. I manage to be the last vehicle on the early ferry, and sit behind the trucks and busses on the lower level. I have to settle for stacking a couple of car blocks under the bike as the nice big KTM orange ones are all at the front of the upper deck where bikes usually reside. On the way back my focus is making time but I plan to cross <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Grey</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Creek</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Pass</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> if the locals say it is possible. I take highway 3 from Hope across to Castlegar and then across to Nelson. I plan to camp just the other side of the ferry at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Kootenay</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> and it is getting late. A quick stop at the liquor store for a…. closed, wtf ?!, OH, Sunday…not in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Alberta</st1:State></st1:place> remember, Duh! Onward to the ferry at Balfour. Talking to one of the locals, and no way is <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Grey</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Creek</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Pass</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> going to happen tomorrow. “We had a hard winter around here, there is still 13 feet at the summit” on to plan B. I make plan B as I visit the funky bakery that another in line points back to with a mouth full, “Good bakery”. I buy a couple of things, Dinner and Breakfast and pull out of line. The ferry was going to be 45 minutes to arrive yet, and another hour to load and cross, and since I could not do the pass I would rather find some gravel going north. I headed up 31 to Toad Rock Campground. I have been past it many times and have meant to check it out before, now seems a perfect time and I have pounded enough miles for one day. It is a 5 minute blast north from Balfour to the camp on the left side of the road. If you have never been you really should. It is specifically meant for motorcyclists and caters on an honor system to their every need. Rustic in some ways and luxurious in others, but eclectic, all around.
Toad Rock's new washroom and shower house.
The social scene at Toad Rock.
A Toad rock Welcome.
In need of a change, try Toad Rock.
Mary (the owner) came over on her golf cart to greet me and explain how things work. After that I was on my own. I set up and did a bit of exploring and socializing. I made it an early night again as I was beat.
A little More to come....
Up with the sun peeking through the trees, I make my way to the new, clean shower rooms. A sign (in keeping with Toad Rock) says "shower with your mouth open, you will get all the minerals that you need" It goes on to explain the water has lots of iron in it so any stains in the shower are normal and not from lack of cleaning. Despite this warning it appears very clean. I finish showering and then go to the end of the building where the communal sink room is to shave, etc. I pack the beast for the final run home and after a chat with another early riser couple I head out. Kaslo and the BlueBird Restaurant affords a good early morning breakfast before hitting the gravel up to Galena bay. I take one brief detour up to Duncan dam lookout, and another, a short ways up Healy Forestry road before arriving at Galena Bay.
Duncan Dam lookout.
Healey Forestry Road on the east side of the river on Hwy 31.
After that it is just a pavement blast with fuel stops to home. I encounter only one holdup at the Alberta border where they are doing blasting for the second bridge of the 4 lane construction. 10 minutes at most and it is homeward bound.
It has been a good trip on the KTM 990, now named the "Orange Dragon" . I found that the bike is truly a great machine with a design best suited to all out, no holds barred riding. Subtlety is not it's strong suit and it can be a handfull on a narrow trail. It nearly killed me once on Old Nicola road and another time coming down off Hurley Pass. But hey, if the Grizzlies will run from it then maybe the Dragon saved my skin as well. She looks sexy with the luggage off and has enough legs to shame a few unsuspecting sport bikers. I see a lot of future miles on this Austrian monster, for now she resides in her cave behind my place. I think I'll take her off the leash again today....... Cheers all!
Nice Report and pictures. Sounds like a great way to spend 12 days. Thanks for sharing.
:D That's the one! Thanks Lee
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