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Old 11-03-2014, 04:55 PM   #61
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So with my low beam headlight proudly shining off I went in the direction of Lone Butte. That means heading out of town on the highway for just a few KMs and turning left at the Resort Lakes area onto Highway 24, The Fishing Highway.





As I've already stated, the plan was to head through Lone Butte and along this highway as far as Bridge Lake. I'd always wanted to see Lone Butte as when I first emigrated to Canada my friend Ed came out to visit me in Whistler, where I was living back then, and found a months work at a ranch there.



Lone Butte










So I buzzed through town and out the other side heading for Bridge Lake. On my right I passed a sign for a place called Watch Lake, it wasn't on any of the maps I'd seen and it was about 40km away so I thought I'd check it out then turn around and retrace my steps back to the highway and the turnoff. At the end of the road I found this - Watch Lake, presumably.



And a wee store across the road.


There was a signpost there telling me that I could get to Bridge Lake without going back the way I'd come. Sounds good to me, I'll take this new road.



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Old 11-16-2014, 04:29 PM   #62
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Just a couple of hundred meters after the turn off the road became gravel. It was very pretty through there, and I don't remember seeing one other vehicle.





There was a sign saying, "Watch for children horses". Isn't that a pony?





I came to another intersection, sign says Bridge Lake is 17km if I turn left. This road was bigger, softer, potholed and rutted in one section but not bad in general. After a couple of kilometers, another intersection. This time I'm to go straight, although if I turn right I'll come to Eagan Lake. By this time I'd decided that that might be worth a visit too, but I would backtrack to it, fueling up and grabbing lunch at Bridge Lake first.
The photo below is out of sequence.









Just a couple of kms outside Bridge Lake was a road called the Eagan Lake Road so that added another option as to how to get to Eagan Lake - it was becoming confusing, all these roads out there. There were dozens and dozens of them!

Bridge Lake consists pretty much of just one store, apart from the houses. There was a campground but I didn't bother exploring it as it was the middle of the day still and I had no intention of stopping.

Downtown Bridge Lake


I had the coolest experience while I was at Bridge Lake. I probably spent an hour there in total, eating a junk food lunch (I love it when there's no option, I don't have to feel guilty then!), fueling and just chilling.

In the previous photo my bike is parked right beside the community mailboxes. I moved it out of the way and parked it nearer the store while I was eating, and as I was munching away a woman in a car who had stopped to check her mail stuck her head out of the window and said hi. I walked over and she introduced herself as Mary.

Mary had had four different types of cancer since she was 14 (I'm guessing that she was about 50 when I met her). The last time she was told that that was it, that there was no hope, so she sold up and moved to Bridge Lake from Manitoba with the aim of beating it. She wanted to buy a lot she liked but couldn't get financing what with being classified as terminal, so the seller ended up brokering the deal for her. She lived on it in a trailer for a few years and was currently, having beaten cancer yet again, in the process of building a cabin.

Mary is an amazing woman. She gave me her card and told me to call her if I was ever in the area again. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to her, and it was one of those connections that I wouldn't have made had I been traveling in my car, or with anyone else. Nothing beats traveling by bike solo.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:51 PM   #63
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At another intersection I turned right again, the signs still saying that I was on the 500 Road. There are also signs saying that road is unmaintained, but it was considerably better than what was to come later on supposedly maintained roads.





After a while I began to have doubts as to whether I was in the right place. There was no real reason for my wondering, but I hadn't seen a sign for a while and I was heading further and further into the boonies. As always I began to wonder about fuel, and how far I should go before I turned back while I knew I could which seems a little ridiculous given that I have a range of over 400 kms. Still, to run out and become stranded out there would pretty much suck.

After what I estimated to be 30 kms since the last intersection I came to another, and turned right picturing the map in my head. Another 5 km brought me to another one, this one unexpected, and I turned right although the signs said that that put me on the 6271 Road. That road was not in my plans. Or on my map.

Every time I stopped I was swarmed by mosquitoes, and there was also lots of bear scat on the road. I began to see a few, including a mum and two Corgi sized cubs right in the middle of the road on a corner - no road sense at all.



This one was interesting. After having hung in the tree for long enough to allow me to get my camera out of the tank bag and snap a shot, it simply jumped sideways onto the tree that had been beside it. I have never seen a bear do that before, or even heard of their being able to.




You can't really tell from the pics I don't think, but in each of the last two shots it is in a different tree.

I came across the Bosk Lake Recreation Site and knew I was on the right track. I'd also seen a big lake on the map called Hendrix Lake, and figured that Jimmy would look after me...









There was even more bear scat now, crazy amounts of it, and I began to see squirrels and rabbits too.

The road began to get faster and faster, bigger and wider. This would indicate why...



I came across this community too, which wasn't on the map. The rainbow on the sign just seems odd out there, I have no idea what this place is about and something told me not to ride in there to take a look. I remain as ignorant about it today as I was then.



There were some pretty major potholes, I was grateful to be able to keep up a good head of steam and fly over them.















From the snowmobile trail machine onwards the road was a top gear job all the way, and as the kilometers began to count down, the last 40 were pretty much all blacktop. Once I got to zero and hit the main road a sign then told me that I still had another 50kms to go until 100 Mile House. I passed through three or four communities but there was nothing about them to make me want to stop. It was starting to get a little late for my stomach too, which was beginning to grumble by now.

The road was intermittently dry and wet, trending towards the latter, although by the time I reached 100 Mile House at 8.30pm it was blue sky. This had been one of the best days riding I've ever had, being out in the boonies not completely sure where I was all the time or whether I was on the right track, in the drizzle, but having the place all to myself - I don't remember seeing one other vehicle between Horsefly and the main road 50 kms out of 100 Mile House.

I had already decided that I'd get a hotel that night despite the blue sky, lazy bastard that I am, and the bike and I were both filthy. Best of all, the hotel was within walking distance of a Timmies

Filthy bike


I think Hendrix Lake was the town site for the old Boss Mountain molybdeum mine which is about 5 miles away and operated from the early 1960's to 1983 .
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:16 AM   #64
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Sooooo...lemme get this straight. You wander all the way up to Willie's Puddle and can't come a MERE 5 hours further north to visit your ol buddy Mercenary?

You're a real piece of work Ben
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Old 11-28-2014, 01:24 PM   #65
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Miss that country......

Squonker, 'Haven't been to the Caribou in ages. Your write-up tugs at me while the sleet falls outside. Great descriptions and photos.....Thanks for posting this. DD
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:19 PM   #66
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Sooooo...lemme get this straight. You wander all the way up to Willie's Puddle and can't come a MERE 5 hours further north to visit your ol buddy Mercenary?

You're a real piece of work Ben
That's just the kind of guy I am - what can I say? You know that if it was only 4.5 hours I\d have been all over it, right?!

How's things going up there? I finally got a start date for this season this morning, will be leaving Jan 3rd. A week later than I'd hoped, but better late than never I suppose!
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:20 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by dammitdave View Post
Squonker, 'Haven't been to the Caribou in ages. Your write-up tugs at me while the sleet falls outside. Great descriptions and photos.....Thanks for posting this. DD
No prob, thanks for commenting. I might even get this RR finished one day...
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:34 PM   #68
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So having written that last update I called Mary and we've been in touch a couple of times since then. She's doing well . I'd forgotten that she had a bike too - it's a 2011 HD that she hasn't had the chance to ride because of being unwell. And when I say that she hasn't had the chance to ride it, I mean that it hasn't even had its first oil change yet. The next time I make it to that area she says she'll drag it out of the shed.

I had asked her about grizzly bears in the area and she said that it was mostly blacks around there, that the only time she'd had a grizzly in her yard was when there were forest fires in the area. She told me that her dog began to act strangely one day, and shortly after that a wolf appeared in her yard. Within a few minutes there were fifteen!

I also had a quick chat with the guy in the general store there at Bridge Lake who told me that there were 150 people that live there year round, although in summer that number swelled to more like 650 spread out over a large area. Looking at the noticeboard outside the store, land and property there is stupid cheap. For the price of a condo where I live I could get a waterfront property with an acreage out there...
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:19 PM   #69
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The plan for the next part of the trip was to get to...somewhere in the general direction of the coast, and home, on as many of the back roads as possible.



I decided to take the Eagan Lk Rd that I'd seen just outside town in the hope that that might take me to Bonaparte Lake, but after 32 Km I simply came out at an intersection that I'd passed earlier in the day, having done a circle route. I wrote in my notes that that meant I'd have to head for Little Fort, 67 kms away, instead and that I was disappointed about that. Looking at the map book now I can't even find Little Fort on it!! An alternative would have been the Loon Lake Road which would bring me out to the highway near Clinton, but it was proving a little elusive. Certainly there weren't any signs for it, and according to the BackRoad Mapbook both roads that might connect me with the Loon Lake Road had bridges that were out. That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be fun to have a look, though . I noted that it began it rain at this point too, and that the weather all was over the place - one minute cold and wet, the next warm and sunny.







Ah ha! Continuing back towards the intersection where I'd turned from the road out of Watch Lake onto the road to Bridge Lake, I rode past it and unexpectedly came across the Eagan-Bonaparte Rd (3700 Rd) on my left. According to the map, that should join the 3300 Rd at Hammer Lake. Now we were getting somewhere!



I was finding it quite hard to correlate the road signs I was seeing with what was on the map now, so I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants just seeing where I ended up.Signs like this didn't exactly fill me with confidence...



...but on the other hand I was a little disinclined to believe everything that I was reading at this point.

I stopped briefly at the Little Scott Recreation Site, and soon after came across four guys in a pick-up standing in the middle of the road drinking beers and shooting shotguns. I found it funny that all four of them were on their cell phones, out here in the boonies. In fact I was surprised that they'd even found a signal, but they said that just in this one particular spot they'd been able to do so and decided to call their girlfriends. I asked whether or not they knew I was heading in the right direction. They didnt.











After another 6km I came across a turn signed for Hammer Lake - so far so good - but then right away came across another one saying that the road was closed ahead. How far should I keep going? I was 37 km up the 3700 Rd so far.
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:06 AM   #70
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That's just the kind of guy I am - what can I say? You know that if it was only 4.5 hours I\d have been all over it, right?!

How's things going up there? I finally got a start date for this season this morning, will be leaving Jan 3rd. A week later than I'd hoped, but better late than never I suppose!
Got a new job in PG. Going to be relocating there. Its a whole new chapter
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