Category BC

loop

The track, 1200 miles/1900K, southern BC, ridden in a figure 8
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And here’s how that sits in the Province
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Steph rested, it was time to go the next stop on her tour: her friends in Kelowna.

A chilly, misty start up Howe Sound. No problem though, the forecast is for sun within hours, lasting a week
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We didn’t take any pictures to Pemberton due to lousy weather.

But the next morning things looked better all around and we set off for the Duffey Lake road. The below pic is of a short track between our hotel and the impressive industrial design studio of a friend of mine in Pemberton. It was good to see him again after 4 years
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Up the Pemberton Valley. A few months ago this would all be deep in snow. The timing is perfect
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The cottonwoods were coming into leaf. Magic. It’s a beautiful valley
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Further on, as we rode the twisties alongside the river, on both sides: this
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River into lake
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Then up onto the Duffey Lake road, snow still at the roadside. It chilled off fast. Here’s Steph wrestling another layer on
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To the Joffrey Lakes entry which was deep in snow
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All around us
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Everyone takes a pic here, a nice spot
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Looking the other way at the log-jammed outflow, where at the right time of day in a month or two you can see Rainbow Trout snagging anything edible concentrated by the outlet constriction
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Then across into the range’s rain shadow on our way to Lillooet. As expected it warmed up quickly
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The classic scree slope that defines this area of road
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Down to Seton Lake, with the railroad along the north shore
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Down further past the BC Hydro station and fish ladder
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Into town, lunch at the Reynolds, a Lillooet classic
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We rode along the Fraser
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The Fraser’s 850 mile/1300K route to the Rockies. Five species of salmon run at different times as far as 300 miles/500K upstream. The Pink run alone averages 13 million fish
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5 years ago I went to see the Adams River run where up to 2 million Sockeye meet to mate/spawn and then die in a 12 mile section. Below is a screen grab from the blog I wrote back then, lol
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Then through the valley towards Spences Bridge
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Looks like an amalanchier species in bloom
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The sudden changes in landscape are always surprising on this route
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The hotel at Spences Bridge had just changed hands 3 days ago and is closed for renovations. The new owner makes us coffee and cookies while we watch 2 trains go by from his deck. This one had about 80 cars
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Steph chilling in the shade. It was hot now
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Hoodoos on our way to Merritt
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Female Big Horn Sheep on a steep slope. I searched for the ram on the skyline but no sign of him
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Another lush valley as we approached Nicola Band land
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We were about 20 minutes out when we were held up by a logging truck, a small car and a black SUV on a short hill. Double yellow line. I overtook and when alongside the car and SUV and could see clear ahead, waving Steph through behind me.

Unfortunately the SUV was a cop and he was watching me wave the all-clear from immediately alongside him, in the wrong lane. Man was I surprised when he hit the flashers and pulled us over. My first ticket in 3 years, Steph’s first in 2. A reminder we’re back in North America where they care about such small things
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Then after a night in Merritt and a quick blast down the Connector (Steph was tired so we took a short cut), into Kelowna. This photo from a couple of days later from the Chute Road.
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The one thing that caught our attention in town was this beautiful ‘still’. At $85,000 you can distill 40 litres of alcohol a day. Amazing. They were making whiskey here
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I left Steph in Kelowna and headed south to Osoyoos, passing Vaseux Lake and cliffs
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To the Nk’Mip reserve to check out Area 27, touted to be the finest private track in NA, designed by Jaques Villenueve
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When it’s finished it’ll look like this. Big: 4.9K
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But not so easily done. I had to get 2 permissions. First at the Band office. They gave me slip of paper with someone’s name on it I had to find up the road
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After following directions and getting our final permission we explained that we wanted to be the first motorcycle ever on the track and span a story as to why we should do that. It worked
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Down we went onto the track. Pavement looks like it’s still far away. This will be the final sweeper before the main straight
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This is the main straight, headed off to the hill. Very nice
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Later, through Oliver
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Fruit trees coming in to bloom
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Osoyoos Lake
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Osoyoos from about 10 minutes out of town, headed east now. The American border is only a few miles south
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Up through the semi-arid and beautiful bench lands
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Along Baker Creek
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To Greenwood (pop 708). A fantastic breakfast the next morning right behind the red Chevy
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Into Grand Forks, home of the Doukhobor Sons of Freedom
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But the Crow and Bear pub had totally burned to the ground
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Past Christina Lake
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Up over the pass. Very cold
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And down into Nelson
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We don’t like Nelson much. A hippie town that doesn’t have a positive vibe imo
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Along the shore of beautiful Kootenay Lake
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To Kaslo (pop 1026)
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Maybe our favourite town on the loop. Great people, great hotel on the water. I wish I’d taken pictures of the perfectly maintained old craftsman homes
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On the edge of town, the grand old sternwheeler SS Moyie, the last of her kind, now beached, launched in 1898 before improved roads and rail opened up the interior
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The road from Kaslo to Nakusp is fantastic. After the Duffey, the best on the loop. Cold today
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Beaver pond. The lodge is maybe 12′ across, 8′ high. An old pond, the dam is grown-in
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Dams
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Dam detail further downstream
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An large lodge and pond further away
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Briefly past Slocan Lake
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To the beautiful farms around Nakusp
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Bizzarely there was this huge electronic sign right outside of town. This is the first part of the message, the second was ‘use caution’ or something. And they’re right: a month from now and the roads will be busy with bikes, maybe 50 to 100 a day on weekends at a guess, as riders come from Kelowna or Vernon for a day or two, or from Vancouver for a¬†week or more. And lots of riders come over from Alberta. It’s a big semi-remote playground for bikes of all kinds
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An inflow on the Columbia River
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Waiting for the ferry from Fauquier to Needles
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We’re at least a few weeks away from the season starting so the boat’s nearly empty
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Except a Harley guy. He was cold too but agreed it was a beautiful day to ride
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Then a bit more elevation on the ride back to Kelowna. Two days to Kaslo, one back. A nice slowish pace
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In Kelowna my good friend Don threw a RTW party for Steph and I. He had the brisket-style meat flown in from Montreal, yay! Don. No party pics so his bike garage will have to do
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After recovering from that, we had to return to Vancouver, leaving Steph to continue her RTW when she had fully rested from her shoulder and back issues. We rode the Summerland-Princeton road up over the hills
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Big yellow daisy-like flowers everywhere
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A bit of luck, the dirt had been recently graded and was fast and fun, after about 20 miles of nasty washboard
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Past one lake
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And Osprey Lake. There were cabins here along the shore.
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A cold, empty ranch
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Then over, and on the final stretch to Princeton. Some of my favorite land in the province, but super-hot in summer
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Big ranches. Cows around a pond
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Into Princeton (pop 2724). A real working town and supplier to all the ranches in the area
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The next morning we had the big highway through Manning Park then the #1 to Vancouver, which is one of the worst highway stretches we’ve ever ridden for boredom. But this is the price for going the low road through Princeron, a choice
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Some good views through the Park
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Into Hope
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Then follow the Fraser home
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Maybe not so strangely, there’s been a strong and satisfying sense of my bike (and partner) riding for the first time where she belongs, on her home ground here in BC, after many adventures together a long way from here.

A couple of good overnight trips coming up.

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The amazing Steph is back. One of only two solo RTW girls out there in the world at the moment. You can find her blog in the blogroll below. I met her at the border a week ago.

Her RTW is easterly. Our paths crossed first in Bribane, Australia. Now they’ve crossed again here in Vancouver, on her way to Alaska
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The bikes
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We’ve been hanging out quietly, touring the local pubs and sharing stories. We regularly take a break from adventure tales to talk about bikes, Steph’s favorite topic. But the highest priority is giving her body a decent rest as she’s seriously road worn.

We’ve got a couple of mini-trips planned before she heads north. More to follow.

Track: Vancouver to Havre

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Day one

(written 012713. Narrative, if any, is from emails sent home at the time)

Vancouver to Osoyoos

The low road through Manning Park

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