Ride Report: 2020 BC | Page 4 | GTAMotorcycle.com

Ride Report: 2020 BC

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
I have the same pic of the glacier in your pic from my trip thru there in the summer of 1980 (Columbia ice field?) — but it’s a lot bigger back then. I’ll try to dig it out for comparison.
Post it up if you find it. I'm curious to see the difference.

I was along this stretch in the late 80's on a family trip, but don't have any pics or memory of where the glaciers were at compared to now.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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Day 6 & 7 - Fort St James

There is a small mountain here called Mount Pope. The walk up the trail here is what all the cool kids from northern BC seem to be doing, so we decided to do it on Thursday. The weather here has been really cold and rainy, but when it matters, I remind them that I bring the heat. It's about 7k each way and has an elevation gain of around 800m.

It's a pretty narrow hike and gets pretty popular as the day goes on. We decided to hit it up at 8am, so we could be one of the first there. The walk up was really quiet and the landscape changes dramatically over the 2hours or so it took us. The first 2k and the last 2k are pretty steep and the middle is pretty easy. Anyone who maintains these trails to cut the fallen trees after storms must be in pretty damn good shape!


I did this hike once before - maybe about 10 years ago, when I was actually working out and training every day and we practically ran the whole way to the top. But now we used pretty much every bench that is placed every km or so. I didn't feel too bad, because we started out doing this hike with an 8 yr old and a 4 yr old, and they only lasted to the first bench. These spots have amazing views of the lake down below:


As there are a fair number of bears on the area, we always play music or talk loudly when we go for hikes or runs in Fort St James. We brought a portable Bose Bluetooth speaker with us this time. This thing is really loud and has nice sound for what it is. Perfect for us types who like to stop every few km and enjoy the 420 to enhance the experience. A view from about halfway up the climb:


Shortly after you hit the 6km marker you look up and can see the prize:


This was probably one of the nicest days of their entire summer, so we really lucked out. It wasn't too windy, the views were endless and temps were right around 20deg. And then you get right to the top and the reward is well worth the effort. 360 degree views and the landscape here is stunning:


As we came to the bottom of the hill, I saw a V-Strom parked in the parking lot. It's one of newer generation models which is why it doesn't look as nice as mine:


On our way back home, the lake in front of their house was very calm - hopefully an indicator of the weather on my ride south:


The next day I was too sore to do anything, but eat and talk. It was also very windy out, cloudy and pretty cold. Even still, the sky did want to send me this little message of more good times yet to come:


Tomorrow - heading south towards Lillooet BC!
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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Day 8 Route: Fort St. James to Lillooet
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The plan today was to ride down to Lillooet and on the way check out a few side roads that might be interesting. It wasn't going to be a very long day - 850km and if I'm leaving at 7am, that should end my day around 5pm. It's worth mentioning that I normally plot a route by what looks twisty on a map and sometimes getting referrals from locals. But a lot of the time the roads suggested are the best of the best and don't always reflect the hidden gems and lesser known back roads. It was advised to me that I should buy the Destinations Highways BC book, because it contains almost all the best paved roads in central/southern BC worth exploring. The book is pretty thick and comes with BC sorted out by area and then has a rating system for the roads. The book seems a bit outdated because some things referenced in there are no longer valid, but it has a ton of info. It also came with a nice large scale map that shows all of BC on one side and Vancouver Island on the other side. I also liked that the fold out map was waterproof and tear resistant. It's a little expensive at $90 for the book & fold out map, but I'm happy to support a local endeavour like this and hoping that it will be worth it.

An example of their map:


So from now on, using this map, I plan to explore the backroads between my starting and end point of each day. Today this meant a side trip out to Little Fort BC and some of the backroads in that area.

When I left Fort St James in the morning it was pretty cold out - probably around 3deg. It was cloudy for as far as I could see so heated gear would be on all morning. One of the coolest things I have seen this trip is that although the sky was grey, there was a thin sliver of space in all that grey and the sun was shining through. As I left the house, the sunshine was only shining on the marina just in front of their house, creating this very interesting highlight of colour on an otherwise grey morning:


It's common to see all kinds of wildlife in BC. So far I've seen a baby bear, a bunch of bighorn sheep, a young deer, a crazy rabbit I almost ran over and that's it. I'm hoping to see some moose or caribou somewhere on my travels. That's also why I like to ride early morning, because the chances of seeing some wildlife are much greater. Just as I'm leaving Fort St James I see this sign, so at least I've seen 2 out of 3:


The 160km ride to Prince George was really cold. I should have put my heated socks on, because my toes were numb. But my hands and torso were pretty good. I recently bought a pair of Daytona Roadstar GTX boots just for this trip and was hoping they would be warmer, but they aren't. They are super comfortable as touring boots and great for walking off the bike too.

As luck would have it, as soon as I took the turn south from Prince George, the clouds were behind me and it was pure sunshine for the rest of the day. I recall reading in Kiley's ride report that there are some smelly towns in BC from the pulp mills. As I headed into Quesnel, I could see the pulp mill smokestacks with tons of white flatulence coming out from them. I could never imagine living in such an egg fart smelling town. While riding through on a Saturday morning, there were several huge stacks billowing smoke. If you zoom into the pic below you can see a couple of the smoke plumes rising high above the city:


I rode down and past Williams Lake. It's a nice town - pretty fair in size and the lake is gorgeous. On a morning like today, all the lakes in this area have a beautiful glimmer of the suns rays:


From here I head from 100 Mile House to Little Fort along the #24. One of the suggestions that came out of the Destination Highways BC book was to check out some backroads leading to and from the #24. I checked them out and they were great. The #24 itself was awesome - a good mix of fast sweepers, shimmering lakes, and beautiful pavement. One of the coolest things was the descent into Little Fort which was an amazing 8km of decline with fast corners and zero traffic. Hoping that this would be getting to more twisty roads, I've now lowered my tire pressure by a few psi in the front and back. It's amazing what a difference just a few psi does for feedback from the road.
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Someone knew I was coming:


I rode past an area called Green Lake Provincial Park and by that time the sun was at the perfect spot for a shimmering pic:


One of the things I am most looking forward to now is the increases in elevation. Many of the roads up to this point haven't been very challenging and are usually valley roads with all the massive stuff on the sides. From what I can tell, the roads will soon start to have tighter twists and greater elevation changes. As I come down and into the area north of Lillooet, the mountains are getting closer and the roads are getting twistier!


The temperatures have also started to climb a fair bit. It feels around 25deg and the dense conifer covered mountains give way to this more arid environment:


I arrive in Lillooet and it's a pretty cool small town. I arrived at 4pm and still had a few hours of daylight. I thought it best to go for a 100km ride down to Pemberton and back, so I can ride some twisties without all the added weight of my gear. Just before leaving, I decide to reinspect my clutch even though it was feeling good. I backed out the adjustment screw and then put it back to spec but noticed that I was almost completely out of adjustment here. I thought maybe this has something to do with the clutch plates or something else far beyond my mechanical knowledge. I come back inside and start trying to read up on it and found nothing. So to be on the safe side, I decide against going for a hard 200km ride, because the goal is to make it to my sisters above all else - any mechanical issues I can sort out while there for the next 2 weeks. In Lillooet the main strip is really short and I'm staying in Canada's Best Value Inn. It was $100 and was totally sufficient for what I was looking for. I was expecting the place to be much more sold out on a Saturday night but it was pretty quiet here:


I decide to go for a walk and explore for a bit and grab some dinner. On my way I see another V-Strom. This one's from Nuanvut! I look into how to ride from Nunavut to BC and I'm still not sure if there are roads to do it, so perhaps it's a fly and ride?


I find a place to eat and the waitress lets me know that they have an awesome Spagetti Squash dish that is baked with tons of marinara sauce and cheese. One of my favourite all time meals (besides roti) is lasagna and this one looked like lasagna. It was really good and I devoured it. I was also surprised they put that flower as a garnish - it's a nasturtium and I eat them all the time!


Tomorrow - off to my sisters via Whister and the Sea to Sky Highway!
 
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MacDoc

Well-known member
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Thanks for the memories ...I remember plotting that connection between 97 and 5 on my way home last year.
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24 was very nice scenic
Enjoy the Sea to Sky to Vancouver.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Day 9 Route: Canadas Best Value Inn Mile 0 to Richmond
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I have a cousin who took his family on a trip to Victoria and will be stopping off at my sisters on their way back to Edmonton. I haven't seem him or his family since his wedding 15 years ago. They are coming to my sisters for 2pm, so that means I have to wake up early and get going to make it there on time. I expect this to be one of the most scenic rides of my trip and I will want to stop a fair bit and take pictures and enjoy the moments.

I woke up at 5am, got all my gear together and checked on my clutch. I redid the adjustment and all was good - very different than last night when I parked the bike and felt I had no more adjustment room left. It seems that when I am doing routine work on the bike after a long day of riding, I must be more tired than I feel, because when I double check my work in the morning, things always turn out proper. Anyways I got all loaded up and left the motel before 7am.

It was pretty cold out so full heated gear was back on. I filled up the tank and have to say that BC gas is the most expensive by a long shot. In Ontario I was paying about $1.10/litre, across Manitoba, Saskatechewan and Alberta it was around $1.00/litre and BC is sitting pretty at $1.29/litre. I can't imagine what the fuel costs in northern and remote towns are like.

I read that the stretch between Lillooet and Whistler is the best for low traffic and that was definitely the case for me. Early in the morning I could stop at the side of the road with ease and take in the natural beauty of the many amazing things - like waterfalls!


As soon as you leave Lillooet, the roads are immediately twisty on the 99 heading south towards Pemberton. The slopes are pretty high and tight, so there isn't much in the way of big scenic views to see. The roads were totally dry, but it was still pretty cold and shaded until the later in the morning when the sunlight could rise above the hills. However there was a particular stretch where I was coming around a bend and since there was a nice lake there, this super amazing view of snow-capped mountains in the distance showed up:


Right after taking that picture above, I got back on my bike and as I put my kickstand up, the bike started to lean to the left and since it's so damn heavy with all my gear, I couldn't hold it up and let it fall down. I think it was because of where I parked the bike, where there was a slight slope in the pavement and I had to somewhat compensate for that. I also have a Corbin seat on there which is a wider seat and therefore I don't fully flat foot the bike when it's stopped. I picked up the bike and checked it over - no damage! First time the bike has fallen over on this trip and first time in many years.

Before reaching Pemberton, there is a very small town called Mount Currie. The #99 leading up to Mount Currie follows a river and has several smaller bridge crossings. Often I will slow right down at the bridge and take in the scenery on both sides of the bridge to check out the water rushing along. One particular bridge was right after a pretty sharp bend. I slowed down as I normally do, but the bridge was made out of wood and the wood was really wet. It felt slick like riding on oil and down the bike does again - this time on the right side. I only had a few feet left to go on the bridge before getting back on the pavement, but the tires just lost all traction. Good thing I wasn't moving quick. I pick up the bike again and this time I have bent my handlebar. There is also a decent crack and hole punctured into my right side case, because it hit a small rock when it landed. But at least the cases protected the fairings and the Barkbuster handguards protected the levers.

I have always wanted to test ride an SV650. Now I can! One side of my bars is ADV and the other side is sporty. Makes for an interesting riding position.


The bend on the right side of the bar is still ok for me to ride the bike, but it is literally low down like a sport bike. I also can't come close to doing full lock turns on either side because of the bend in the bars, which sucks for me because I do a lot of u-turns to take pictures of things I pass by. I also still have over 200km of the tightest, twisty riding of this trip so far to do. Good times await!

So off I go and figure that I can find a shop in Vancouver to get either a new OEM bar or an ATV bar put on. I had a Pro Taper ATV bar on my last V-Strom and those bars are so much stronger than these OEM ones. I also prefer the riding position on those bars much better too - much better for tights turns, twisty riding and long distance comfort. I'll also need to get a new side case, because the crack and hole are just a bit too much for the long journey home.

The 99 south to Whistler was incredible. I am going to ride that stretch again on my way out of BC for sure. The 99 south of Whistler was really busy heading north - but this was on a Sunday morning, so I guess that's to be expected. There were packs of sport bikes heading north - sometimes 50 bikes at a time. Big groups of cruisers as well. Since I was now a little delayed and in a bit of a time crunch to get to my sisters, I decided against stopping often and taking tons of pictures, but the views of the water and mountains were nothing short of stunning:


I made it to my sisters by 12, which was good because I needed to help her get the house ready for our guests. As I parked the bike I took another look at my rear tire. At just under 6000km, it's getting pretty close to done. Hopefully I can squeeze another 1-2k out of it and get it changed out in Kelowna or Calgary. My current tire is a Michelin Road 5 and my previous one lasted me 18,000km. All the extra luggage is wearing down the middle of that tire really fast. I hope that since I'm now in BC, I can spend more time on the edges and prolong changing it out too soon.


------------
Two days have now passed and the dealership I decided to go check out is Daytona Motorsports in Surrey BC. I figure Daytona makes nice boots and Daytona's are nice bikes, so they should be the one. Daytona Motorsports also came well recommended by some local riders. The shop was really pleasant and the service manager Janine was very accommodating of my rushed timelines. The bars are probably bent just enough that if they try to straighten them the metal would be significantly compromised, so no dice there. They can get new Suzuki handlebars within a day or two and will get them installed right away, so OEM it will be. They have a few other things I need and they also have a clutch cable!


I also found a mint condition set of hard cases which I'm picking up later today. By the weekend, all will be back to normal again.

If all goes well, sometime soon I'll get a chance to make it out to the island either on my bike or with my sis.
 
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J_F

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
99 is probably the nicest road in Canada (that I've seen)

really good luck finding a dealer to solve all those problems

great thread
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
99 is probably the nicest road in Canada (that I've seen)

really good luck finding a dealer to solve all those problems

great thread
Thanks and yes, good fortune seems to be on my side a fair bit.
I'm hoping that the next time I do the 99 it will be on a weekday morning when there is less traffic out.

I've been riding around the city on my bent bars here and there and really like commuting around here. The speed limits are a little low in some areas, but the scenery is really nice. So many lush residential landscapes - it's my kinda thing!
 

lucky2

Well-known member
Site Supporter
if it was me i wouldn't over thinking the clutch, at this point i would adjust it and leave, sry to hear you laid it down. but you didn't get hurt and still able to carry on.

awesome pics
 
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MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Well you have an ADVENTURE bike and making the most of it .... 🥴
That wet wooden bridge sounds horrid. Glad you are doing 99 back up. I found the Sea and Sky section along the water truly breath taking for scenery ...99 just plain fun to ride. As J_F said ..perhaps the best.
 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
if it was me i wouldn't over thinking the clutch, at this point i would adjust it and leave, sry to hear you laid it down. but you didn't get hurt and still able to carry on.

awesome pics
Thanks. I’m all good with letting the bike fall over. I think I dropped my last bike 6 times in one ride with Iceman and Motorcycle Mike several years ago. What can I say - I’m not good on slippery surfaces:)

as you say - just fortunate that something more significant didn’t happen to the bike and I could pick it up and move along.
 

kiley

Well-known member
Hey Shane…so glad you are enjoying your trip.
It's funny how we took pics in the same area.
And I know that wooden bridge…I stood on it for a good half hour watching the salmon.
It was a bit of a debate for me when it came to doing the island and I decided to skip and carry on.
At least I know it will be there for next time.
Im enjoying following your report and will continue
 

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
Glad your okay Shane and bike is getting patched!

I did the same ride a few days ago, beautiful road! debating starting a ride report for the trip too.

I dropped the T7 on this trip, in the saddest way. it's also heavy loaded with camping gear and all. I was pulling out of Timmies in Ontario, doing a slow U-turn in the parking lot, these two hot twins in ripped jeans walked by, I looked over to see the rear view scenery, and right in front of them tipped the bike over 😅

In Virginia last year lowsided the CBX, bent the handlbars to the point they were about to fall off. 2 hour ride out of the moutains and all the local stores had were ATV bars, so put a set of those on, it happens.
 

Michael0124

Well-known member
I dropped the T7 on this trip, in the saddest way. it's also heavy loaded with camping gear and all. I was pulling out of Timmies in Ontario, doing a slow U-turn in the parking lot, these two hot twins in ripped jeans walked by, I looked over to see the rear view scenery, and right in front of them tipped the bike over

.

Did they come running over to "help"? Sounds like the beginning of a movie I'm pretty sure I saw on late night TV once
 

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