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Old 08-22-2010, 09:37 AM   #1
Lycan1 OP
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Calgary,Alberta
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Seven Strangers and Dutch Creek Road,AB

Another Saturday morning comes around. I’m up early as always and I phone and wake up my riding partner. The sky is overcast and the temperature is cool (9* C) and the smoke from the fires in British Columbia is still thick in the air. I take my time getting to Pawel’s house and once he is ready we set out. He is riding the KLX 250 today (instead of the BMW) and I know it is work on the highway so I get him to set the pace. Although I have the rain liner in my jacket I begin to wish that I had also put in the thermal one. We head south to Longview and he stops for fuel for the tiny tanked KLX. We meet a couple from Alaska who are on the return leg of a lengthy tour. We chat for awhile and offer some routing options as they head toward Jasper. Then it is west on Hwy 40 toward Highwood House, like the week before, only this week a couple of riders short. After a brief stop to discuss future big ride plans we blast down the gravel of the forestry trunk road past Cataract Creek and onward to Livingston Falls and Coleman where the KLX will need to be fueled again. Just south of Livingston Falls I spot a creek and small bridge, most likely set up by an Oilfield company for exploration drilling. The bridge is gated and locked so we seek alternative access via a small stream.





Any excuse for a bit of playtime. After I do a recon walk through the fast flowing stream and soak my boots (they are waterproof only until the water depth exceeds the top of the boot) I return for my Camera and stomp through the stream again to document the adventure.







Then Pawel takes the KLX through successfully and takes over paparazzi duties. Then back through the stream (hey when your feet are already wet what does it matter) I splash and mount up for my crossing. My form is good as I stand for the crossing and plough in. My line is slightly off from my recon and I find a couple of large round slippery rocks that throw me off course. My front end slides and down I go.












I am able to pick up the bike very quickly, before Pawel can put the camera down and get over to help. My air box has not gone under and I start it and rev it up blowing the water out of the exhaust. The bike is now much cleaner than it was a few minutes ago. I ride it out of the stream and give it a good checking over. Everything looks good and sounds alright.



After dumping out my boots and Pawel has a smoke we turn around and do it all over again. We really didn’t care what was on the other side, it was the crossing that mattered. We both make it back across with no further drama. As we head south the KLR seems to be a bit sluggish, so I pull over and open up the air box and check the fuel. The air cleaner is dry and dusty (very) so I clean it up and reinstall it, problem solved. As we are working on this a group of 7 riders (on BMWs a KTM and another KLR slow to make sure we are OK. I give them the thumbs up so they carry on. With the roadside maintenance done we carry on and come upon the group having a break at the entrance to Dutch Creek road, so we stop to talk. The road is rough and narrow, and they plan to do it, as the last time they were stopped by snow. The group leader asks if we want to join and we agree. The only concern is the KLX’s fuel range but a small jerry can that he carries should see him through to Coleman, and he can always siphon some of my ample supply, should the need arise. Another rider in the group (Gilles) tells us to stay close to the lead group as there are some confusing intersections and it is easy to lose the trail. We try, but their group is experienced off roaders and we fall behind. They are great guys and leave a rider at each turn off so we can stay with them. The lead group is stopped up ahead, filming the riders crossing a particularly difficult washout in the trail so we get to have an audience. Each rider is photographed going down into the steep loose dip through the mud and up the other side. I go and do it no problem, albeit not the best form.






Pawel is much more tentative but gets through OK. We stop on the other side and make introductions as well as clean dusty visors. The road surface is very rough, rocky and rutted from there until just north of Coleman.







We have agreed to meet at the Subway for lunch. Pawel has to get home for a family function, so after a fuel stop he heads for Calgary on the pavement, trying to make time on the little KLX. This I do not envy him as I rode it the previous weekend for an hour on the highway, and found it very underpowered for that.



I meet up with the group of seven at the Lunch spot and we share pictures and stories. Doug, the guy riding the KTM 950 and I have met before when he was on his other bike (a cruiser) with his wife. I had just got the KLR and had stopped for lunch in Turner Valley when he came over to ask about the bike. When we had stopped by the washout I had not realized that, but now when he mentioned it I don’t know how I could not have. Only 3 of the group are going to carry on south of Coleman on the back roads, the other 4 have to head home. I am asked by Richard if I want to carry on with them and as I have time I agree. I am a bit worried that I may hold them up, but hope that I can keep up with the KLR at least. Gilles brings up the rear again and off we go. The sign for the road indicates it is a snowmobile trail but is no worse than anything we have encountered thus far. I have to push fairly hard to keep up, and on a wider section of road near a popular fishing area, a mini van comes around a corner using the whole road. In the split second that I have to react, it’s get hit or go wide. Going wide means off the road as the edge is too loose and I will low side for sure. I am carrying a lot of speed and thankfully the bank is only about 6 feet down into the underbrush. I get quite a wild ride and I knew that I would. The brush and weeds and grass have some deadfall in it before the tree line. I concentrate on the edge of the road farther along (rather than the big trees) I crash through the deadfall, the size of my arm and smaller, making loud snapping noises. It’s like hanging on to a bucking horse, but I make it back up the embankment and onto the road, only to fall down as I do. Gilles arrives on the scene just as I am picking up the bike. He helps me push the shifter back to its original position, which amazingly seems to be the only damage. There is yet another scrape on the crash bar on the right side and it is pushed in slightly (although that could have happened in the stream). There is the smell of wood burning and I realize that a good sized piece of branch is wedged in against the hot exhaust pipe and is starting to burn. I pry it out and clear the leaves and grass out of the skid plate, before carrying on. Tough bike this KLR, and a good thing to. Not far along Gilles and I meet Richard and the other KLR who is having difficulties, his bike is losing power. I suggest checking the air box and he breaks out his tools. The KLR toolkit does not have a socket for the side cover removal, but as luck would have it he has a nice little kit (still in the plastic bag with the receipt) that he bought recently. He is running a K&N filter and it is muddy from the dust and oil mixing. Note to self; stick with the foam filter for off road. I help him get the bolt back in after he knocks the mud off as best he can. After a test run he seemed to think it was a bit better. The rest of the run has a couple of stops so that I can take pictures as we head north.









Back at Hwy 22 near Chain lakes Gilles signals us to stop before we head down another gravel road. He has to get home, and the guy with the other KLR decides to join him, concerned about his engine (rightly so). After hand shakes and thanks Richard and I carry on down the gravel, winding our way north to Calgary. He is using his GPS and signaling me as we approach each turn. We are cooking down the gravel and make good time, jumping onto pavement for short stretches through High River and Okotoks. When we get to the south end of town, we shake hands at a stop sign and head for our respective homes. Back at one of the stops we had exchanged business cards and I promised to send the pictures through so that we all would get to see them, and also have contact info for future rides.
It is the next morning as I write this and the back and arms and legs are all a bit sore, but just enough to remind me of the ride. Off roading with a group is defianatly fun and when you get in trouble a lot safer. Had I been more experienced I may have done better but I doubt that I could have done much, short of slowing down to avoid the mini van. What could have been a disaster is only something to laugh about now . I hope to get to know the names of all the rest of the “group of seven” in the near future. Ride safe guys and thanks!!
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Lycan1 screwed with this post 08-24-2010 at 12:34 PM
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
Lycan1 OP
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After the Air filter issue on that last outing, I picked up another foam OEM filter (pre-oiled and in a sealed bag). I will have this along for the next ride should myself or another KLR rider need one. $43.00 was highway robbery, but better than being stuck in the boonies with a clogged filter.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:40 PM   #3
RedDogAlberta
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Excellent. Beautiful country. A number of the off road expedition crowd camp down in the Dutch Creek area from time to time, mainly Toyota and Land Rover type people from Calgary. I keep meaning to join them with the Jeep but the dates never work out.

Great shots.
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