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Old 11-11-2008, 03:52 PM   #181
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There are two roads from Lillooet to Squamish - I could have taken the Duffy but I'd already done that twice this spring in my car, so I went to revisit an area I once did a weekend trip around back in '95 or so and had been very taken by. Goldbridge and Bralorne are way cool communities out in the back of nowhere, and I took a crazy road out of Lillooet to join the main road which goes around Carpenter Lake. A couple of times I saw the two couples from the campground the night before with the Alberta plates and the quads, but we only waved at each other. The road around Carpenter Lake is a dirt road and leads ultimately to Bralorne, which is an old gold mining town and is now largely deserted. There were some crazy shots of the road out of Lillooet that I could have taken, but it just wasn't safe to stop. Or I just ddn't feel safe stopping that day where was no room to pull off the road, and anyone could have come around the corner at any time.

I went to Goldbridge and rode on through to Bralorne, where I stopped for lunch. Just as I was entering the pub the two couples with the quads were leaving which was a shame as we each seemed as interested in eachother's stories. They had some claims in the area and were checking on them, having some fun into the deal on their quads. And man, that one chick was smoking hot!

Welcome to Bralorne, B.C. Pop: 57




Carpenter Lake


I'd have been happy to explore the area in more detail, but wanted to make Seton Portage that night. If I had had both brakes I would quite possibly have ridden the Hurley down into the Pemberton valley, but a couple of people had told me that it was in pretty rough shape so I thought I had better err on the side of caution.

While hanging out here

I chatted with a father and his two young sons, who were fishing (and picking up frogs if I remember correctly!). The dad turned out to be ned1, who lives in WA but has a cabin somewhere out in the area. Very cool guy is Ned, we had a good chat and he was even familiar with my ice trucking thread! Small world!

At one end of Carpenter Lake is a dam, and to cross over it you also have to go through a tunnel blasted out of the rock, like this:


It's not very long, but it's way cool. By this time the sun was beginning to come out and I hung for a few minutes collecting my thoughts on the far side of the tunnel. It occurred to me just how far I'd ridden since I'd begun the journey a few weeks before, and I was well chuffed with myself.



Having ridden around Carpenter Lake, the road winds up...and up, and up...into the mountains on old logging roads. In no time at all I was way high, looking back down at the road that I'd ridden along around the lake. Of course the one down side to riding up all that way is that you have to come down again, and riding B.C. logging roads in the mountains with only a front brake is freaking scary, I tell you. Luckily the road down into Seton Portage was paved, but even so it was a first gear all the way job - I just didn't feel like locking that front tire or having it slide on a piece of loose gravel and wiping out. Again.



At LAST I made it into Seton Portage and found a campground. I kinda wish I hadn't because even though it was very secluded, it certainly wasn't worth anything like the $20 I paid for it. And the next morning when I left I found that there was another campground run by the local native band about a kilometer down the road that was free. Seton Portage is a neat little place, with some pretty wild roads leading into it at either end.

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:51 AM   #182
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More pics from the area

















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Old 11-12-2008, 10:41 AM   #183
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Squonker, great ride report. I had a chance to look over your ice road trucking report. Have you ever tried studded tires and jamming on the ice roads with the bike?
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:08 PM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moraflex
Squonker, great ride report. I had a chance to look over your ice road trucking report. Have you ever tried studded tires and jamming on the ice roads with the bike?
Can't say that I have - I'm a bit too much of a pussy for that! But I have other excuses too...the road is really only open to the public for a few days either side of the ice trucking season. Beforehand I'm busy preparing, and afterwards I'm resting.

There's a wee public ice road from Yellowknife to Dettah - about 11km long - that I guess I could play on, but it basically boils down to my being too lame to get the bike out in those temps.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:19 PM   #185
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And more pics from the area...

















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Old 11-13-2008, 03:22 AM   #186
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Last year, I was leaving an overnight stay in Cincinnati and the temperature was -5. The Gold Wing barely started at that temp. I doubt the KLR would have started at all. So if you're going out for a cold ride you better have it on an engine heater of some kind up there.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:47 AM   #187
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My 00 KLR started and ran at temperatures much colder than -5. Can't say much for the rider though

When the winters are as long as they are here and you are a rider you need to have some diversion or mid winter fix just to keep the crazies away
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:54 PM   #188
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And on into Seton Portage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
My 00 KLR started and ran at temperatures much colder than -5. Can't say much for the rider though

When the winters are as long as they are here and you are a rider you need to have some diversion or mid winter fix just to keep the crazies away
My KLR is pretty good at starting in the cold, too. But I live where it's winter for 8 months of the year, and quite frankly for those months I'd rather take my car. I don't need to go looking for the cold! Glad to see you're still checking in, Mac - thanks bud.

On the road in to Seton Portage




Old Minto Village




High above Carpenter Lake




Between Goldbridge and Bralorne




The road alongside Carpenter Lake






My campground in Seton Portage


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Old 11-14-2008, 09:04 AM   #189
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The High Line Rd.

I had three choices for routes between Seton Portage and Squamish. One was to back track to Bralorne and take the Hurley River Rd down into the Pemberton Valley, but as I've already said that road was apparently bad and my lack of brakes kept me off it.
I could have back tracked to Lillooet and taken the Duffy Lake Rd down into Mt. Currie, but I'd already driven that road twice in the spring, and anyway I already had some sort of a plan.

The High Line Road is an old cattle trail that runs high above Anderson Lake between Seton Portage and D'Arcy. It is marked on some maps as a summer only 4X4 road, but a few locals told me that it was in fact open all year round. I had driven it once before over ten years ago in an F150 and I remembered it being pretty cool. I wanted to try it again.

But I was uncertain as to what was the sensible thing to do. I had no rear brake, so taking a steeply graded dirt road through the mountains where not many other people would be around didn't seem like the most obvious thing to do. On the other hand, the guy who rented me the campsite the previous night said that his son used to ride the High Line in 20 mins on his motorbike - although I dare say it was a dirt bike and had two functioning brakes.

First thing in the morning I had to retrace my steps a kilometer or two to the gas station, and when I arrived there I was twenty minutes too early. A local chap in a van turned up and he said the High Line was only 20 km long - I had enough gas for that, so I was ready to go now. I just needed to decide which way.

Thinking cap on.
Choice #1. The Hurley River Road. Reportedly in bad condition, and anyway I didn't want to ride back to Bralorne, where I'd come from the day before.
Choice #2. The Duffy Lake Road. Paved and familiar, clearly a very sensible choice.
Choice #3. The High Line. Steep, rough, and remote. Not the sort of place you want to go with just a front brake.
I decided that any sensible, well brought up, educated, sane and intelligent person would most definitelty NOT attempt the High Line in the circumstances.

But I am none of those things.

So off I went. I began climbing and was soon high in the mountains. The road wasn't in the state I'd been lead to believe, but the campground owner had told me that it had been graded recently.







I began to relax a little. If the road down into D'Arcy was the same grade as the one up out of Seton Portage, I could handle it. I saw one other car and enjoyed some decent views of Anderson Lake, thinking jealously of some of the amazing properties I saw on its shores. I made the summit and congratulated myself - I was going to be alright.



Coming around one corner, I came across a patch of freshly graded shale and thought, "Oh shit!", or at least words to that effect. This shale just happened to coincide with the steepest downhill grade yet and I foresaw trouble ahead. The hill itself might have been steep, but it wasn't that long. At the bottom of it was a left hand curve onto a bridge, which was long enough for me to be able to stop on it. If I picked up too much speed, I thought, I had two choices. I could ride it out to the bridge if possible, or I could use one of the concrete barriers that was my side of the bridge on the right hand side of the road to stop me as a last resort. This was a bit risky as the bridge obviously went over something, and if the bike were to stop dead when it hit the barrier but I were to keep going, what would I land on? I couldn't see, but it was an option if something else meant certain death!

I began my descent and was soon picking up more speed than I was comfortable with. I used the front brake as much as I dared, but I didn't want to lock that wheel up. Nearing the bottom of the hill largely out of control, I began into the left hander and immediately knew I was in trouble. I prayed out loud in my helmet, but it was too late.




Shit. No immediate damage to the bike or to myself, but trying to right it the front wheel kept sliding out away from me and I couldn't raise it more than a few inches. I unloaded my gear and tired again, but with no more success. My right ankle was hurting a bit and the tank was leaking, but the bike was beyond the horizontal and I wasn't going to be able to right it without help.

As it happens I didn't have to wait long for a car to come by, and the lady driving helped me get the bike upright so that I could wheel it down onto the bridge and park it safely. As I got onto the deck I realised that the bridge was a good 100 ft above the creek it crossed, and if I had hit that concrete barrier with my front wheel I'd have gone flying off and onto the rocks below. Certain death - yikes. And I had been going to use it as an escape route!



On the far side of the bridge was a pull out, also on the flat, so I moved the bike there and began to assess the situation.

The bike seemed unhurt. My ankle felt as though I'd only pulled a muscle, and I was still pretty high on adrenaline. But I was pissed, too, because I knew I shouldn't have taken this road and I didn't know yet what was to come.

Just then another car came along and the very nice older gent in it offered that I could put all my gear into the trunk and he'd drive it back over the bridge to the bike for me to save me humping it across. I asked him whether the hill I'd come off on was the steepest part of the road and he gave me the wrong answer. Shit! It was going to get worse before it got better. He told me that as long I used first gear this time I'd be ok. This time? I'd been in first gear already when I came off! I eventually got him to say firstly that the other steep part of the road - just before you made it to D'Arcy, he said - was at least only gravel and not shale, and secondly that maybe the bit I'd just come off on was indeed the steepest grade I'd encounter. I knew he only said that to make me happy, but it's what I needed to hear, and I was happy!



I spent a good 30 mins there winding down and getting in the right head space to continue. I loaded the bike up and hit the start button. All electrics went dead. Shit, not this again. I played around and still nothing. By this far into the trip I was fairly certain that it was a loose wire under the seat, so I unloaded the bike again and took the seat off. Jiggle wires, hit button, engine comes to life. Good. Seat back on, hit button again. Engine comes to life. Good. Load gear up, hit button, electrics go dead. Fuck. A pick-up with a bunch of natives in safety gear came past and stopped fifty or so feet in front of me and began to chainsaw something on the edge of the road. I played around for a few more minutes and thought, "Fuck this". I walked over to the work crew and asked them whether they'd give me and the bike a ride down the hill into D'Arcy. I felt kinda bad about wimping out at this stage of the game, but I had a decent excuse with the brake situation given the road I was on. Anyway, if it wasn't going to start I was stuck there without help.



The crew said that they couldn't give me a ride while they were still working, but they could call a tow truck for me if I wanted. That was too much humiliation for me, so I said no thanks I'd sweat it out for a while more, and if I couldn't get the bike running at all I'd flag them down on their way back and get them to call a tow then as a last resort. Walk back to bike, jump on, turn key, hit starter, engines comes to life. Sweet!!

And off I went again. As it turns out, I was over the worst of it. I was likely going even slower this time, but the steep bits were short enough that I never had time to build up too much speed, and all were followed by flat stretches where I could do al the braking my heart desired. I can not tell you how happy I was when I came around a corner and saw the buildings that told me I was down, in D'Arcy. I'd made it!! I was bursting for a piss, had been low on gas before I even set out and had lost more while the bike was lying on its side. I pulled in to the gas station and, as I was waiting for the car at the pump to pull away, looked at my odometer. Hadn't that guy at the gas station in Seton Portage that morning told me the High Line was 20 km long? He was wrong - I'd done 40 km since he told me that.

I was stressed, high on adrenaline still, and impatient. The car at the pumps wasn't moving and I needed to keep doing so, needed to ride off the head space I was in, so I just put the bike back in gear and continued riding the 60 or 70 kms into Pemberton. I knew that area very well having lived in Whistler for 4 years in the mid '90s, so at the Petro Can in 'Pemby' I felt safe, at home. I parked and switched off, finally letting myself relax. I'd made it. Holy shit, what a morning.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:31 AM   #190
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Wow, Holy Flippin' WW!!!!
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:18 AM   #191
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Ouch!!!!
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:52 PM   #192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motomac
Wow, Holy Flippin' WW!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moraflex
Ouch!!!!
Yep, it kinda sucked that morning.



So I spent about an hour and a half at the gas station collecting my thoughts. Left a message on an old friend's machine, sat in the sun drinking tea and just...sitting.

Two BMWs pull up, WA or NV plates I think, and Bob and Ian jump off. They're both great guys, up for a few days playing in Whistler and they're riding to a resort somewhere to meet their wives, who are flying in for the weekend. We swap stories, take pics of ourselves with eachother and then exchange contact information. Sadly, since then I've never heard back from either of them - it's the first of two times it happened on this trip, I'd meet somene I got along great with, we'd exchange info and then when I emailed I'd hear nothing back. Sad, because in both cases they were excellent folks.

As I was sitting there by the side of the road I hear a 'beep beep' and look over to see what I recognise as ned1's pick up from the day before go past - good eyes, Ned, and I hope you saw me wave back.

Time was getting on. I needed to get to the Kawi dealer in Squamish and find myself some brake pads, then get to Robyn and Shane's place. I stopped in Whistler for half an hour to see a friend and say 'hi', then carried on, negotiating all the construction which is as a result of their upgrading the Sea to Sky Hwy (Hwy 99) for the 2010 farce. I mean Olympics.

At the Kawi dealer, No Limits Motorsports, I got a warm reception (didn't even have to tell them where I had ridden from, they were nice anyway!) and some bad news. "We don't have any rear brake pads for your bike". Shit! But the very helpful parts guy had a search in the 'specials' catalogues for me and came up trumps, he found a pair that would fit. Excellent! I was so relieved because I really hadn't fancied riding to Vancouver to find some. Shane had owned more than one KLR in the past and I knew he'd help me find the problem.

We had a great night that night. I got drunk. And high. I needed to - we stayed up late watching movies and enjoying our intoxication.

But Shane had never done any brakes on his KLRs so I was just as clueless. I rode back to No Limits Motorsports in the morning and told them my sob story. I've ridden from Yellowknife, my rear brake has pooped it's pants and I can't find the problem. I have new pads but I need help putting them in because what I've done before is wrong. Is there any chance your guys could take a quick look at it now?

You hear so many horror stories about dealerships on this site, and I've posted one before too. But No limits Motorsports in Squamish, B.C. were fantastic. Not only had the parts guy gone out of his way the previous afternoon to find me pads that would fit, but now they were going to get their mechanics to fix it for me right there and then - and I'd specifically asked whether I could watch so that I could see what was wrong.

The mechanics were great. We chatted about back woods riding in the area while they worked, although at first they also couldn't see a problem. Eventually they figured out that the pesky metal square-C-shaped clip was in back to front, and now everything was good. It took between 90 mins and 2 hrs, but they only charged me for 1/2 hr labour - sweet! I told them I'd write nice things about them in my RR so, one more time - No Limits Motorsports in Squamish, B.C. They deal in Kawi and KTMs at least, and they were awsome to me. Thanks guys.

I spent the Saturday and Sat night too with Robyn and Shane just chillin', doing laundry and catching up, then Sunday afternoon headed for the ferry to Vancouver Island. I'd arranged to spend that night with my buddy Jeff and his wife Laura in Nanaimo.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:07 PM   #193
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Remind me what the stick on the side of the panniers is for.


Great story!


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Old 11-17-2008, 06:43 PM   #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
Remind me what the stick on the side of the panniers is for.


Great story!


Thanks bud.

There's a couple of strange things that stand out to me whenever I see a pic of my bike, and I'm waiting for someone to ask...

The stick is my VFS - Very Functional Stick. The side stand is just about a quarter inch too long, and the ground I parked the bike on didn't have to be sloping too much in the wrong direction before I'd park and walk away, and as the shocks decompressed (I'm guessing that's what it was) the bike would slowly go over the vertical and topple over. I'd load all my heavy stuff on the left, but it would still happen. The VFS was Hecktoglider's idea - it basically propped the bike up from the other side (it was too heavy to get on the centre stand while loaded). Of course, once I diligently sourced the perfect stick from the banks of the Yukon River in Dawson City and began to carry it around with me, I never needed it any more. But I knew that the moment I threw it away the bike would become horizontally challenged again every time I parked it. The bike is stored at a friend's place right now and I think the VFS is still with it!

Lots more good stuff to come!
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:50 AM   #195
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At the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal I saw this



Has to be one of the ugliest things I've ever seen, and I wonder how there was enough weight on the front of the bike for that wheel to have stayed on the ground. Buddy that rode it was a nice guy, though, and had built it himself. That dome on the top is so that his helmet will go it, too.



Here's something that interested me. I used to live on Vancouver Island, spent about 4 years there, and loved it. It is definitely one of the most astoundingly beautiful places I've been, and of course I have many friends there. But when I left, to move to Yellowknife, I was really down on the island and needed a change big time. For my first few years in YK my ears would always perk up whenever someone mentioned it, but I am far happier in the Arctic than I ever was in southern B.C. But when I rode off the ferry in Nanaimo, I instantly felt as though I was home. It wasn't something that required thought or processing, either - it was a factual thing. I was home, simple as that. Have to file that away for future analysis....

I spent the next week or two just chilling and catching up with friends. This is Jon and Kate


Jon rides a KLR too, and kate recently bought a...I'm pretty sure it's a Shadow..., a 250 - her first bike.

We spent an afternoon in Maple Bay watching two tall ships have a mock battle, complete with cannons and smoke. Very cool.









Jon and I went for a day ride to Sooke.


And I went to visit my friends Reg and Donna in Nanoose Bay.


It was a good time and I was glad to see so many friends again.


But all was not well.....
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