Ride Report: 2020 BC | GTAMotorcycle.com

Ride Report: 2020 BC

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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My plan was to attend a V-Strom Rally during the weekend of Oct 9, 10, 11 @ Deals Gap. Before arriving in Deals Gap I wanted to ride to my sisters in Vancouver, then my wife would meet me in Vancouver and we would ride down the California coast and she would fly home from southern Cali or Vegas. I would continue on to Deals Gap and then home.

Because Covid, there's no going to the US for who knows how long, so I decided to head to BC and back. I had booked a ferry ride from Prince Rupert to Bella Coola, but it would turn out that Bella Coola is only allowing BC residents into their community - not residents from other provinces. So it meant I would keep it simple and spend more time visiting the people I wanted to see and maybe a bit less time riding.

So now the ride there is supposed to be something like this:
1598226585495.png

While staying with my sis, if time permits, then I would like to do something like this:
1598226661356.png

Coming home, the route is supposed to be something like:
1598226820778.png

I've got 4 weeks to do this. Never had a 4 week vacation before and the longest bike trip I think I have done is around 2 weeks. No tents this time - just motels so I can maximize my days and keep the packing light. I'm riding a 2010 DL650 and did a bunch of things to it to make it a good bike for this trip & to make sure nothing goes wrong. New suspension, new seat, new bluetooth communicator, new gps, tires, chain/sprockets and of course a fresh oil change. I even upgraded my cell to an iPhone 6 to take better pics for you. I also bought a BC mapbook which is the Destination Highways BC book and it's written specifically for motorcyclists looking for the best paved roads in BC - stuff that maybe locals would know or even stuff that locals don't know. Hopefully on my way home I'll have a few days to ride around the southern interior and check out some hidden gems.
 
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MacDoc

Well-known member
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My only suggestion would be do 16 out of Winnepeg on the way out up to Saskatoon then cut west towards Calgary - just so it's not a retread on the way home. Jealous ;)
 

lucky2

Well-known member
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i would try to run the okanagan valley if you have the time, came home that way a month or so ago and it was worth the drive to see the scenery
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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Day 1 Route: Mississauga to The Coach House Motel
1598231397757.png

My gear weighs too much. The tools weigh quite a bit and I also brought my laptop and iPad and enough trail mix to feed an army of squirrels. I think my top case alone is pushing 50lbs. Left the house at 6:30am and made my first stop here at the 518 in Parry Sound. It was freezing out and foggy, so I had to put my heated jacket on.


danp mentioned a road with checking out which is the 638. It runs north off the TransCanada and after 50km it spits you out in Echo Bay - very close to Sault Ste Marie. Unfortunately for me it had rained a bit before I got there so the road was pretty wet in all the corners. And since I'm carrying so much extra weight, I have my tires aired up more than normal and they feel hard like hockey pucks. I'm hoping this will be okay to do until I get to BC to preserve my tires a little bit and then I will lower the pressure to normal psi again, but for now the cornering is a little stiff.
The 638 has a mix of rolling sweepers through farm country and twistys under the forest canopy. It's well worth checking out. Thanks danp!


I stopped off at the very first spot along Lake Superior to eat some lunch. Leftover Thai food from last night which was still delicious while looking out on the ocean that is Lake Superior. Some local - a really old guy, came along and started talking for a bit. He was hard of hearing and kept trying to get super close to hear me talk, so I ended that conversation. If you have never had the pleasure of riding along the north shore of Lake Superior, go do it. It's not a very technical ride, but the scenery is amazing and some parts really remind me of the Cabot Trail.


Not too far up the way along Lake Superior is a place called Pancake Bay. It's a really scenic spot to stop and also has toilets. Lot's of beach and room for people to have a quiet space to enjoy the lake.


In my relentless pursuit of that perfect picture for this forum, I got my bike stuck. All that extra weight combined with street tires and sand on beach don't mix. So I took all the luggage off and tried to get it out, but it was just getting worse. And this wasn't at a normal scenic pull off, so I couldn't really expect cars to show up and help me out. But lo and behold some French couple showed up and since they also happened to ride, they happily pushed me out. It was all worth it, because I got this pic for you:


Much further down the road there is a really nice beach called Old Woman Bay. It's located before you get to Wawa and worth the stop for a break and walk along the beach. I've stopped here before and it's so sheltered that the water is a good temperature - easily warm enough for swimming:


Back in 2011 I rode out to the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay. On my way out there, I stopped at this cool spot where you can see how the train hugs the coastline. I took that train from Toronto to Vancouver in 2004. I sat in those damn chairs (no sleeper cabin cuz poor) that recline about as much as a Greyhound Bus for 74 hours. Never again. Much of the motorcycle ride along Lake Superior is really close to the railway tracks, but there are many spots that the tracks go which are much less disturbed, so they are prime for wildlife viewing. The railway tracks are down below:


PrivatePilot had mentioned in his Pickel Lake trip that he stayed at the Coach House Motel just outside Terrace Bay. I thought I would give it a try and it was pretty nice. I arrived there around 6:30pm, so that was a pretty full day with basically no breaks, because these first few days are about making good time. The Coach House Motel - nice staff, nice rooms, but really crap wifi and no cell service. I would stay there again because it was still very cozy. Thanks PrivatePilot!


Took a walk at night and this motel is situated across from a lake called Jack Fish Lake. Nice lake for swimming and a beautiful night out:




Tomorrow need to be up early for a long day exploring some roads Thunder Bay and Kenora.
 
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shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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i would try to run the okanagan valley if you have the time, came home that way a month or so ago and it was worth the drive to see the scenery
I would like to if the forest fire situation is okay. That's something I've been monitoring a fair bit since there's a bunch of new fires cropping up.
BC Wildfire Dashboard
 

STARSHIP

Well-known member
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Shane, If time allows and with you starting the Island tour from Richmond, you may want to return to the mainland via the Sunshine Coast. Crossing from Comox to Powell River. And then along the coast and then crossing over to Horseshoe Bay. However, it does require 2 additional ferry crossings, but a really nice trek.

Had planned to do this in June via rental car With my wife but it is now deferred.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Day 2 Route: The Coach House Motel to Lake-Vu Motel Restaurant & Cnv
1598234394834.png

Yesterday was around 1200km and I didn't want to do that much today. A straight shot along the Trans Canada from the Jack Fish Lake motel to Kenora is about 700km. The only thing is that there are a few roads that seem nice and they add about 350km, so I decided to go for it and if needed I could cut the day short. Also, tomorrow is supposed to be a longer day because I will try to get from Kenora, through Manitoba and as far into Saskatchewan (perhaps into Alberta) as I possibly can. I have an old friend from high school and she lives in Fort St James near Prince George. Her brother happens to be up there right now with her and it's his birthday on the 25th and his son's birthday on the 26th. It would be pretty sweet if I could make it to her place for the 25th for his birthday, but it will mean some long, fast days. I'll spend time puttering around and smelling the flowers on my way home.

I woke up and headed towards Thunder Bay and the stretch from my motel last night westwards is really nice. For most of the morning it felt around 10deg and was foggy with drizzle, so I had to bust out the heated gear again. Every now and then the clouds would part and reveal something awesome.


I mentioned earlier that some the of riding along the north shore of Lake Superior reminds me of the Cabot Trail. This section here is most definitely it, and I think it's just east of Nipigon:


As with any riding in the morning when near any form of changing elevation and bodies of water - fog hits you out of nowhere. You could be riding in bright sunshine and come around a sharp corner and BAM - dense fog. I love it:


There are three roads in particular I wanted to check out today. The 622 north of Atikokan, the 502 south from Dryden and the 71 south of Kenora. All of these roads have tons of lakes around them and are much less travelled than the TransCanada #17. So despite the long duration on the map, it's pretty easy to carry a comfortable speed though these roads. The police seem to not care if you are going above the speed limit. Maybe they care if you are doing 50 over, so just keep it below that:)

On my way over to the start of the 622 at Atikokan, I was reminded that it's very easy to run out of gas along some of these roads. They do have signs warning you to be mindful of your fuel reserves, but they don't tell you how many kms it is to the next gas stop! The first stretch I did was 160km. The 622 was around 130km. The 502 is around 160km. Many of these roads have very little side streets, houses or really anything along them.

On my way over to Atikokan, I passed this sign - learn something new everyday!


As I pulled into the gas station in Atikokan basically running on empty, I tried to downshift from top gear down to 1st. No dice!
I could pull the clutch lever in, but the shifter just would not go down. I let the lever out just a touch and then it would do a hard clunk and drop a gear. I did this until I could get it into 1st and filled up. At home before the trip, I had also adjusted my clutch and took it for a 100km ride to wear in the chain and feel how the bike was doing. It felt mint, but clearly after only 1600km to Atikokan, it wasn't. I started pulling out my assortment of tools and was about to start rechecking my clutch adjustment when a really nice couple from Collingwood pulled in on a sweet Multistrada. The guy gets off and asks me if I need a hand. I tell him the story and he tells me to first check the slack at the lever. I check that and see there is a lot of room to adjust so we are now good. If you couldn't already tell, I'm a youtube mechanic. I watch videos and have the service manual and seek help after I screw things up. I have learned a fair bit in the last couple years, so I'm content with my half baked volume of knowledge. Ahh the kindness of strangers - 2x so far preventing me from venturing further down a stupid path than I have already begun!

I put all my stuff back on the bike and head up the 622. This is a pretty cool road. It's a bit tighter in the south and then open up into about 150km of fast sweepers and straights. Tons of lakes all around and very remote. I make it up to the top of the 622 at the Trans Canada and my clutch lever is really soft with tons of free play. So whatever adjustment was done is already fading. Seems to me like my clutch cable is on it's way out. I limp the bike another 45km over to Dryden and pull over to see if I can make any adjustment at the bottom of the cable. It's Sunday and no dealers are open to get a cable. So what does a youtube mechanic do? He calls his wife back home who knows less about mechanics than he does:)

I adjust as much as I can at the bottom of the cable and I decide to try and ride another 130 or so km to Kenora where I already have a room booked. Someone over on ADVrider who lives in Kenora tells me that if I get stranded to call him and he will bring his truck and pick me up. Some local EMS guys stopped to chat and told me that at least if I do break down, there is pretty good cell coverage along that stretch so I should be able to call for help if needed. I make a run for it and make it to my motel in Kenora and the clutch cable held up pretty good, but it's going to fail soon.

I'll figure out my next steps tomorrow - likely seeing if any of the dealerships in Winnipeg have them in stock, or can get one quicker than Kenora can. Last of all, I'm sure I can figure out a way to use some zipties and duct tape to at least allow me to downshift the bike and then I can clutchless upshift my way to Winnipeg or maybe Regina/Saskatoon/Calgary.

Good times and all because of a $20 part!
 

lucky2

Well-known member
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what makes you think it's a cable problem? you think the cable is stretching
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
what makes you think it's a cable problem? you think the cable is stretching
I do think it's stretching or the strands are snapping. The bike is a 2010 and maybe it never had them replaced and the cable is just brittle?
I only bought the bike last year and I think it was parked for most of it's life - something like 14k in 9 years of riding.

I did not adjust the cable slack at home before I left - just the pushrod and tension at the bottom clutch assembly (clutch actuator).

This morning when the cable free play was adjusted at the lever, there was no more adjustment available at the lever and the lever felt firm and snug to pull on, with just a bit of slack or free play before engagement. By the time 160km had gone by, there was tons of free play, so then I took out all the free slack in the bottom.
I've never had a cable do this before - I've just had them work fine and then snap so I had to replace them. I figured this is what it must feel like as the strands of metal are one-by one snapping, until I'm hanging on by a thread.

Do you think something different?
 

lucky2

Well-known member
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usually you don't get much adjustment when the cable is breaking strands till it just snaps, i would be sure you tighten all the adjustment nuts and it's just not backing off, both at the lever and clutch pin.

but i'm not 100% on the way the clutch functions on that bike.
 
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Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
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In the event the clutch cable fails, you can also clutchless downshift. I do this all the time when I'm taking videos with the camera in my left hand.

Same technique as clutchless upshifts, just load the shifter, blip the throttle and it'll snick down into the next gear.

Hard to get into neutral this way though. Might just have to stall it at a stop.

Good luck. If you run into trouble further on down the line, don't hesitate to contact me.
 

danp

Well-known member
Glad you liked the 638 and sorry to hear about your clutch troubles. Are you gonna try to make it to a suzuki dealer in winnipeg? It looks like it's only 210 kms and most of it is highway so you wont need to shift much at least until you reach the city.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Thanks again for that 638 suggestion. I will hit it up on my home again.

I rechecked the upper and lower adjustments as lucky2 suggested and it seemed ok. I readjusted it anyways and it feels good. I will make a run for the dealership now anyways, because having the cable is a good thing to have as a spare part anyways.
 

kiley

Well-known member
Following.
Have a great trip man.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
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I guess touring vicariously in 2020 is okay ....one leaves, the other comes home. Glad the clutch is okay at the moment. :coffee:
 
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