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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I started posting a ride report as a pdf, but I decided I wanted something more specific for this forum.

So, here is my ride report of a 6500km tour through, well, almost all of British Columbia. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

My travel set-up:
Bike: 2007 SV650 (naked) which I picked up June 3rd. At the time I left, I had about 2500kms on the bike.
Luggage: Two E45 Givi Bags, 57litre PVC bag, Duffle Bag, a back pack and a tank bag
Also had a tent and tripod with me
_________________________________________________________________

I moved to BC a year before taking this trip (almost to the day), and I figured it would be nice to see a little bit of this province. So, I took a couple weeks off work to do just that. Friday, June 27th, I left work at lunch time, and at 1pm, I was out of Hudson’s Hope (the town where I live) and I was out on the road. The skies couldn’t be clearer. Not a single cloud in the sky; not one. Once past Chetwynd, I hung a right and HWY 97 West was under me on my way to Prince George. Every trip through the Pine Pass puts a grin on my face. Beautiful scenery and curves that just keep on going are what I had to make the miles go by. This day, the wind picked up, so I got a real taste for touring with a naked bike. As with any trip through the Pine Pass, Bijou Falls and a hike up to the top were mandatory. Traffic into Prince George was decent, with quite a few bikes. Including a group with two Goldwings (one with a trailer) and Suzuki cruiser (I believe an M50). The Suzuki was conserving fuel running into stations on fumes with its small tank. On 97, due to my stops, I passed this group about 3 times.

So, here's a picture of my bike at work:


Here is a picture of Bijou Falls:

And a view from the top:


Prince George found me being a little tired so I ran into a Timmies for a coffee before heading onto the Yellowhead. Believe it or not, I did not get lost in Prince George. I found the Yellowhead and followed my shadow towards Valemount. Hwy 16 can be an eerie highway sometimes. There is a 200 km stretch between Prince George and McBride with almost nothing but forest to hug the shoulders. For one 90 km stretch, I saw 8 bears, 3 deer, 2 moose, 4 RV’s and 2 cars. The bears: mostly cubs, with the mother close by but not in sight. Also on the highway was a pretty good RCMP presence. I passed three cruisers all with someone pulled over. It started clouding over in the evening, but as you can see, the Yellowhead still had some wonderful views. Friday night found me in Valemount. I was surprised to find a huge number of hotels and motels in Valemount. It was also a long weekend, so vacancies were pretty scarce. I eventually found a place to give me a bed at a decent rate.

Here is a picture of the Yellowhead, probably about 60 clicks out of P/G:


Day two’s destination was Clearwater BC. I woke up this morning with a sore rear end, and I was a little worried. It was just a 750km day, and I was already sore. About 2 hours out of Valemount, I saw a sign for a sheep farm. Thirty minutes later, I found it. I pulled in and asked if they had any sheep skins for sale. Soon enough I was on a tour of the farm, and eventually we found a beautiful sheepskin. The gentleman gave it to me for 40 bucks off since it was already two years old. It is big enough to cover both seats, and it only cost me 80 bucks: Sweet. A friend of mine belongs to the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Medieval Club. They had an event just outside of Clearwater on a buffalo farm, so I decided to check it out. So what sort of event would this be? Well, these fine folks, as a hobby, dress up in period armor and have a little bit of fun enacting small battles. Think something like fencing, only, well, awesome. Another way of looking at it: Medieval Paintball. It’s awesomely fun haha. (Google SCA for more info)

Sunday morning, I moved my bike over to the campsite, and went out for some breakfast. I came back, and my buddy said: “Tom, your bike fell over while you were gone; we picked ‘er back up for ya.” Well, after packing my stuff up, I was quite disappointed to find out that my clutch lever was now broken. I eventually gave CAA a call to find out that they won’t tow my bike. Somehow, they have no problem towing my all wheel drive car with a flatbed, but won’t arrange a tow for my bike. I called the local towing guy, and asked if he had a clutch lever for a bike. Amazingly, the answer was yes. I went to ask my buddies for a lift into town to find that they’ve made one from plastic. The results are below. Not exactly OEM, but it worked!



I rolled into town with my new clutch lever, found the tow truck driver, and after 35 minutes with a die grinder she fit like a glove. A ripped up glove that’s a bit too small, bit it sure works! I did have to bypass the fancy clutch lever sensor to get the bike to start though. I just closed the circuit and was on my merry way. (This will come into play later – oh how wonderful hindsight can be)

Anyways, by about 3 pm I was enjoying HWY 24. This small highway connects HWY 5 and 97 just north of Kamloops. This is an absolutely gorgeous and wonderful road that unfortunately gives a wonderful view of the Pine Beetle’s destruction. While on this road, I passed the Goldwings and Suzuki cruiser from Friday going in the opposite direction.

By 9:15pm, I made it into Prince George. It was late so I decided I wanted to stay in a Bed and Breakfast that night on the edge of town. Sure enough, on the edge of town, I saw a sign for a B&B. Obviously; I got lost looking for it. Half an hour later, I found a gas station. Inside, I got my hands on a phone book, and the “B&B hotline.” I actually managed to find the exact B&B I was looking for 40 minutes ago. The B&B was in a residential neighbourhood, and as I parked my bike I wondered: “Why do the neighbours (of the B&B) have a bonfire?” I parked my bike, to notice that the smoke was coming out of a window of the house, and not from the backyard. By the time I got the brain bucket off and alerted the fire department, I heard screams “Get out of the house, it’s on fire!”

By this point, there were about a dozen people on the street watching a house burn down. No need for me to hang around and gawk at a family losing everything they own. On my way out of the street, the fire department arrived, and the fire fighter on the hydrant asked for someone to block the street until the RCMP arrive. Everyone just had a deer in headlights look. So, there I was, directing traffic for 25 minutes until the Police arrive.

On my way out of town, I saw the “Bon Voyage Motor Inn.” I checked in, got a room on the ground floor, and the picture below illustrates my skilled parking job:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day four found me on the Yellowhead with my morning’s shadow to guide me along the way. I rolled into Vanderhoof’s Tim Horton’s and found a gentleman from Edmonton on a 1200 BMW Dual Sport. I followed him at about 150kmph all the way to Burns Lake. A good (local) friend told me the RCMP like to hang around Burns Lake so I wasn’t going to speed through there. I stopped for a rest, and got a real pleasant surprise.

Day four was June 30th; it just so happens this day is my birthday. While in Burns Lake, I got a phone call with birthday wishes that made me just a little homesick. For the first time since moving to BC, I legitimately missed the T-dot. Spending this much time on the road really gives one the time to think. Turning 25 seems like as good a time as any to reflect on one’s life eh?

Okay, back on the road, and heading to the rainforest. Today was also the first day of my mysterious electrical problems. Sometimes (about 4 times every 600 kms or so) when I downshifted twice with the clutch lever pulled, the bike would randomly shut off. I was quite perplexed, and worried that somehow I damaged a sensor when the bike fell over. No matter how much, or what I tried, I could not replicate this problem. Also, the bike would just fire right up as soon as I pushed the “press to play/start” button. I also noticed that with the clutch pulled in, the bike’s idle speed would fluctuate between 1400 and 900rpm. I was quite perplexed, and worried.

The Yellowhead, as a highway, doesn’t offer much in terms of twisties. But what it lacks in turns, it over-compensates in views. Views and nice little towns seemed to be dotted all over this highway like freckles. Smithers comes to mind as a real cutie of a town. I found myself having lunch there, and then walking through downtown. I popped into a few stores and was surprised at how friendly everyone was. As I pulled out of Smithers, I looked to my left and saw this view:



Just behind me (where I stood taking the picture) was a falcon nest. Well, I’m no expert, so when I say “falcon” I really mean a massive bird.

Okay, onto Terrace where I cleaned and lubricated my chain, and meet up with a buddy in Kitimat. The somber mood did not leave for quite some time, as I found myself thinking a lot about my work, my trip, and well, frankly, my life. Here’s a waterfall just outside of Kitimat, not too far from the ALCAN plant:



While in Kitimat, my friend took me on a river drift for some fishing. I’ve been fishing about three times in my entire life, and have never been on a river. The vessel for my drift was nothing more than a chair on two pontoons. It took me about an hour into the trip to get sucked into a portion of the river I should have avoided. I got stuck on a log jam and before I know it, I was under water in the freezing cold Kitimat. By the time I swam out, I managed to lose an oar. Oh yeah, the boat got caught on another log jam so I had to go out into the river (again, COLD) to fetch it. Eventually, we tied my boat to my friend’s, and he basically towed me down the river so I didn’t have to hike through grizzly country to get home. It was quite amazing to see all the grizzly tracks throughout the river.

So, four days, and I’ve had a make shift repair on the bike, watched a house burn down, and almost drowned. Happy birthday Tommy…

Okay, the evening was spent riding the rest of the Yellowhead to the coast: Prince Rupert was my next destination. The Yellowhead really knows how to please with the scenery. Due to the very warm temperatures the past week, a lot of the snow was melting and making its way down the mountains into the rivers. This resulted in numerous cascades along the highway. On top of the cascades, there were plenty of gorgeous views as the roadway ran along the river; both of us with the same destination: The Pacific Ocean.

Here is just one spot where I stopped to indulge in the view:



Prince Rupert found me quite quickly, and soon enough I was checked into a motel, unpacked, and on the hunt for some dinner. Riding down Main Street, I glanced over to notice a beautiful Norton in front of “Rain Lounge.” Now, growing up in Toronto means that “lounge” to me is synonymous with overpriced, pretentious, and just plain too posh for my tastes. But, a vintage bike can’t be wrong. So I went in and had one of the best Halibut burgers yet. I sat right at the bar, with the chefs on the other side. So, I had some decent entertainment and a couple good conversations. One of the chefs just moved to Prince Rupert four days ago from out East so he shared my amazement in the area. They also had some micro brews on tap, so really, I could not have asked for a better dinner.

Day 6, also known as July 2nd, was a day I looked forward to since I planned this trip (three days before I left – kidding, more it was more like a week). Today was the day I boarded a ferry in Prince Rupert and “sailed” down to Vancouver Island. The ferry departed at 7:30am, and for those of you who are not familiar with the BC Ferry system, motorbikes are first class to them. First on and first off is the name of the game if you’re on less than four wheels. This also means bikes are requested to be ready for boarding approximately two hours before departure. This translated to a 4am wake up for Tom. In the lot, I met three Texans on their way home from Alaska (Hyder). Finally, I found someone with more bags on their bike than me. Their stallions were two Electra Glides and a Goldwing. It was also very foggy this morning. I followed the three of them to the ferry and could barely see the bike in front of me. But I just followed my ears.

Once we were queued up, another Electra Glide and another Goldwing joined the party. So, for the kids keeping track at home, that’s two Gold Wings and three Electra Glides (five bikes purpose built for touring) and myself on a naked sportbike. Just the way I like it. At about 10am the fog broke, and my oh my, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many breathtaking views. Maybe it’s growing up in the smog, or reading too much Jules Verne as a kid, but I have always loved the smell of the ocean. I could probably fill a handful of pages with pictures from this voyage.

Here are some pictures of the bikes inside the ferry:





























Apparentely there is a limit on # of images in a post....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)


10:30pm found me in Port Hardy, looking for my bed and breakfast in Port Hardy. With a map, and only needing to make about 6 turns, I still managed to miss a turn and an impromptu night-time tour of Port Hardy ensued.

Day 7 started at 7am, and I was on the road by 9am. The plan was a trip down to Victoria along the Eastern Coast. Now, before I start getting hate mail for not going to Tofino, I was on a tight schedule at the time, and I’ve been there already. So I know how beautiful it is, and I know what I missed.

It’s very hard to make good time on the island as once you get past Campbell River, there was just so much traffic and many of small towns. Campbell River was a nice town and I took a run up to the Dams to check them out. I was impressed, and the road was awesome. Qualicum Bay I believe:



I got started seeing exits to Nanaimo at about 5pm, and there was a sign that displayed Ferry times on the highway as well. Now, my original plan was to take a ferry from Victoria to Tsawwassen. But I was running a little late and then I remembered seeing a Ferry from Nanaimo to Tsawwassen. So, I booked it to the Ferry terminal, and just as I made it to the motorbike queue, we started boarding. It was on this ferry ride that I picked up “Destination Highways BC.” Now, how’s this for a subtitle: “A Motorcycle Enthousiast’s Guide to 185 of the Best Highways in British Columbia.” This would make excellent bedtime reading material indeed.

I made it to Richmond at about 9pm, and was absolutely starving. I then found an all you can eat sushi joint that was recommended to me by a good friend, and I got my money’s worth.

Friday saw me meeting a friend for lunch in Kitsilano which was followed by a stroll on Jericho Beach and a tour through UBC. Nice to see the university girls are still into bikes. I then went over to the UBC Botanical Gardens. It was really nice to just relax in such a beautiful garden. I also got to play with the macro capabilities of my camera:













After the gardens, I went over to Richmond Motorsports to see if someone could help me with my mysterious electrical problems. I almost bought a V-Strom from these folks, and got decent service from the sales department. So, I figured I could count on them on helping a young lad, on a two week road trip on his 2007 SV650 with about 5000 clicks. Here is the conversation that ensued:


Tom: “Hi, I’m hoping you can help me out. I’m on a road trip on my ’07 SV650 and got some weird electrical problems”
*******: “Do you have an appointment?”
T: “Uhhh, I’m on a road trip, live 1500 kms away and I am in Vancouver for just a couple days”
A: “I can’t help you without an appointment; we’re booked solid, maybe in a couple weeks”

Whatever, I figured I’d go up to parts and get some levers: one to replace my clutch, one spare for front brake. A really nice girl behind the counter told me she only had the brake lever. As she’s helping me, the ******* from service comes up and starts to give the girl helping something to do. She replies “Uhh Larry, I’m with a customer.” (Yeah F***er was all I thought – I bit my tongue). I left and was quite disgruntled. In the lot, as I was packing up, I saw a guy on a SWEET Ducati pull in. He was revving the motor like it was not his. “Must be a test ride” I thought, as he pulled into the back followed by “I hope those tyres aren’t brand new.” Just as I finish this thought, he came around the corner, cracked the throttle and the ass end kicked out and he was in a power slide: right, left, right, left. I thought he was going to bail. Somehow he managed to stay shiny side up. “Well, that’s my queue to leave.” I swear, the Yamaha dealer a block down was more helpful than this wretched place!

In my hotel, I found the address for Jim Pattison Suzuki. Now, I realize that Richmond Motorsports is probably much busier than J-P, but seriously, I was upset with the service I got. Now, let’s contrast this to J-P:

I walk into service, and two older Asian gentlemen are having a discussion with a cute girl in coveralls. They look at me, and I describe my problem and that I can’t replicate it all. This was followed by a lot of “Hmmmmm” and “I’ve never heard of a problem like that.” I then asked if the ECU monitors the clutch engagement, because as far as the ECU knows, the clutch lever is in all the time. “As a matter of fact, I know the Gixxer ECU monitors the clutch sensor”

The fine young girl grabbed a clutch lever from the back, and installed it on my bike. I then chat for 45 minutes with them about my trip. Everyone seems to be amazed at the story about the fire. The older gentlemen looked at my rear tyre: “When’s the last time you checked your tyre pressure?” “This morning; that’s just my flat spot from touring.”

We laugh; I go buy some t-shirts because the service was so ****ed good. I was thinking of getting a spare visor for my helmet. The parts guy looked at me and said “You don’t need a spare visor. Those are like 70 bucks. All you need is this 10 dollar can of Plexus.” He cleaned my visor for me, and then gave me the “young kid on a bug killing spree across BC discount” on everything I bought. This was on top of the fact that the t-shirts were all on sale already.

So, guess who’s going to get my business next time I’m in Vancouver and need a Suzuki dealer.
Dinner was spent at my favourite restaurant in Vancouver: The Reef on Main St just south of King Edward. Caribbean cuisine in the greatest atmosphere possible with the best waiting staff ever is what I get every time I am there. Curry goat roti with some brews filled me up that evening. I spent about an hour nursing my beer, just absorbing the fine sunshine.

Day nine brought with it overcast skies and a chilly wind. The morning started with lubricating the chain. This was followed by a trip to North Vancouver. A really good friend of mine from Toronto (my neighbour when I lived there actually) moved to North Van a year ago. So the afternoon was a BBQ with him. But I was still stuck in 10am. So, what else does a young lad on a bike do? Why, go for a ride! Another self guided tour of UBC was followed by riding through Stanley Park, twice. The Lion’s Gate Bridge, with Burrard Inlet on my right took me into North Van, or was it West Van? Excellent question…guess who’s lost. Half an hour later I was somewhere close to my friend’s place, so I park to give him a call. I get directions, look up: “Cold Beer.” Well, that omen was celebrated with a six pack of Stella.

Just like that, I was on my way to my friend’s place, and soon enough I was parked under the backyard porch. It started raining soon after. He and his lovely girlfriend were only too kind to lend me their ears as I recounted my first week. Big mistake, as this always leads to me pulling out maps and showing pictures. My buddy is a graphic designer and photographer (you can see some of this work at the following link: http://www.rhyshastings.com), so he let me play with his macro lens in the backyard.

Rhys cooled up some REALLY good steaks and just like that I was all filled up and about 5 hours had gone by. I must throw in some kudos to Erin’s fine little pup: Roxy. I can’t help but love a dog with personality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, time to hit the road. First stop: Deep Cove (below).





Then, I took a run up the road to Seymour Ski Resort. On the way down, I went in too hot into a corner. Basically, I would have been fine, except for this one switchback, it was still wet (shade). So, I got to hear that *chirp* your tires make as they lose traction, and skid into opposing traffic. I look up to see myself sharing a lane with a pick-up. I squeaked back into my lane and used up another life.

I slowly meandered home and pulled out the map and my destination highways. I looked at the map and saw a place called “Hell’s Gate Canyon” right near Boston Bar. With a name like that, I had to check it out! Some snooping around the DH website yielded many choices for places to stay the next night.

Sunday morning, I packed my bike up and was on the road around 8:30am. Again, I got lost, but I just followed my nose (well, I headed into the sun while keeping it slightly on my right). Soon enough I was on the Trans-Canada heading to Hope. Not too long after leaving the city limits, I got passed by a Harley Tourer. I kept pace, and soon enough we passed an old Goldwing and we’ve got three in our group. We reached Hope, and all three of us went our separate ways. I was amused. I headed into the Hope Tourist Info Center and got a British Columbia sticker for my saddle bag. The road up to Boston Bar was AWESOME. Tunnels through sheer rock cliffs and twisties that didn’t end were all I had in front of me. I stopped in, I think, Yale for some gas. I meet this lady who is on an amazing trip. She was from Boston, and went to New England for some Clam Chowder, then went to Hyder for some Halibut, and was heading into the south western states. Soon enough, I was on an air tram that took me down to Hell’s Gate Canyon. It is the narrowest point of the Fraser River. Check out the picture.



Back in Hope, and I took a nap at the info center. I then jumped onto the Crowsnest, and this was the part of the trip where every road was the “best yet.” Views, twisties, RV’s and lots of passing kept me occupied for the entire afternoon. In the following picture, you can see one of the spots where I actually stopped to take a picture. It was really hard to find a safe place to stop, as the shoulders were all very narrow. Plus, there was a lot of traffic at the same time. In the picture, you can see on the left, in between two trees is the highway on the other side of the valley. Lots of switchbacks, and curves gave me plenty to grin about. The nice thing was that there were tonnes of bikes. So I had lots of good company, but for some reason, it seemed like EVERYONE was going in the opposite direction as me, it was quite interesting really.



A fuel stop in Princeton kept me on my way, and soon enough I was in Osoyoos. Erin told me to check it out, and I’m glad I listened! I can say a lot about Osoyoos, but really, I’ll let the picture take care of the words:



I stayed at a B&B in Rock Creek called the Grouse Ridge B&B (http://www.grouseridgebb.com/) . I found it through Destination Highways as a “biker friendly” place to stay. I think the folks were just plain friendly. They gave me ice cream, so that’s all I needed to put them in my good books. I slept like a baby, and was ready for Day eleven.

First I headed into Kelowna, and was greeted by overcast skies upon my arrival. I put on my rain gear, and headed over to Westside Drive. Up to this point, this was my favourite road ever ridden. Again, I just didn’t see many safe places to pull over to take pictures. Plus, I was having just too much fun. With signs like “Caution, narrow winding road, 11kms” I think you can imagine my giddiness. Then, I took a corner a bit too fast, and hugged the shoulder to notice that in fact, there was no shoulder. Instead, there was just a cliff with a lake at the bottom. Okay, let us just calm down and keep the pace.

Vernon found me checking into another B&B, and I visited a friend from University. We went out for some beer and food, and I got the grand tour of Vernon; Great little town.

So, this day I did destination highway 11, and 7. I must say, I preferred number 11 to be honest, despite the construction and poor traffic.

Day twelve brought me another clear sky, and by 10am, I was on my way to Salmon Arm. I was going to visit Shuswap Extreme, the local Suzuki dealer, to get myself some new tyres. I was excited to try out a new set of Michelin Pilot Road 2’s. I had called before leaving to confirm that my tyres were in. Well, imagine my disappointment when I arrived to find out they accidently put my tyres on someone else’s bike. I mean, I was choked, but really, compared to what I’d been through already, this didn’t seem like that much of a deal. The service and parts guy, Dustin, was just excellent about it. I got a cigarette lighter outlet and some bark busters put on while there, and he knocked 50% off my labour. He also called EVERY dealership along my route trying to find someone with tyres my size in stock. Nobody stocked my tyre size. We figured that I had enough tread to make it home, so whatever, I have Destination Highways to try out.

Vernon to Needles…my friends, the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on. 120kms of pure grinning, twisties that just didn’t stop, and about 15 kilometers total of straight section. It was just unbelievable.

My next stop was Nakusp where I fueled up, and was on my way down the Slocan to Nelson. On the ferry, one of the gentlemen suggested staying in Nelson. I have found that listening to the locals was the way to go. Here you can see a segment just north of Slocan.



I pulled into Nelson and rode around for a bit. I saw the Hume Hotel, and figured it looked like a nice place to stay. It is a restored hotel from the late 1800’s I believe. It had a three level restaurant-bar-bar setup and I sampled the local craft brews until I couldn’t see straight, and stumbled up to my room for more sleep.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I see this alot with touring bikers... do you really find people mess with your bike enough to roll it into the bedroom?

I mean it is in the middle of BC somewhere not down town vancouver on hastings or something...


I've parked outside and never had an issue... so was just curious

Honestly, I had a really weird day: I watched a house burn down.

I will admit that I mostly did it because I wanted to spend the night with my sweetheart :)

I just want to add that for the entire trip I never had any trouble. I met so many friendly strangers (bikers and non bikers alike)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The next day was my thirteenth day, and let me tell you there is nothing unlucky about this day. It started by back tracking along HWY 6 to New Denver. After some more fuel, I was ready to make it into Sandon. Sandon is a ghost town now, but in its hay-day it had two major railways leading into it. I stopped by Molly Brown’s Brothel, but didn’t spend too much effort looking for company on this trip. Solo was just fine for me.



This town was also filled with old buses. A little creepy, but soon enough I was back on 31A heading to Kaslo. In my humble opinion, you have not ridden BC until you have ridden 31A from New Denver to Kaslo: Not overly voluptuous with the twisties; Not really screaming for attention with crazy switchbacks either. I wouldn’t exactly say the views are extremely breathtaking, but really, this is the kind of road I could spend a lot of time giving some love and care on the rides. She just does every little thing right without standing out in any one area so you can’t help but love ‘er. Okay, enough with that metaphor. Picture:



Soon enough I was in line for the ferry to Kootenay Bay. There were at least a dozen bikes on the ferry, and I met a fine gentleman on an FZ1. We chatted, and I expressed my enthusiasm over the #1 rated highway in BC. I was not disappointed. Even the greediest of appetites for curves would not be satisfied by the servings of 3A from Kootenay Bay to Creston. Lots of small towns though, so you couldn’t speed too much, but really, you didn’t need to. The views were just breathtaking. About half way, at Sirdar, I pull off to admire the view and the FZ1 pulled over. Just behind us was a bar and we turned around for some lunch. The bar was completely empty, but boy did it have character. By the time we finished our lunch this was what the bar looked like:



The view the other way:



I don’t think I need to say anything else about that, now do I?

So, let us fast forward to Cranbrook, where I came to the conclusion that I can’t possibly have more than 700kms of tread left on my rear. I was about 1400kms from home. Now, recall, I’ve already contacted every dealer on my route, and nobody has tires my size.

So, things weren’t looking good at this point. As far as I could tell, I didn’t have the tread to get home. For those of you who know about my trip from Calgary at the beginning of June, you may recall my praise for GW Cycle. So guess who I called up.

“Yup, we got a set of Bridgestones here that are perfect for your bike. Come by tomorrow and we’ll squeeze you in.”

How about that?

Four hours later I was in Calgary, unpacking. Too bad it was stampede time, so I kind of got ripped off with the hotel rate. I resisted the temptation to park my bike in my room.

I slept, and started the day off with some Denny’s: French Toast Slam baby. I got sick from the fast food, I guess it’s really been that long since I ate this kind of food. I got to GW (without getting lost for once) just as they opened:
“Well, unload your stuff, we have appointments all morning, so we’ll squeeze you in the first chance we get; most likely around 1pm or so.”

I lounged around the dealership, and checked out the B-King. **** is it ever a big bike. The Bandit looked really nice too. Maybe if I ever started two-up touring. But then, without even really knowing it, I found myself between two SV650’s and hop onto a blue SV650.

I then sat down at an empty desk, and took a nap.

At 11am, they got me and told me my bike’s ready (at 10:30am). Dave and Steve were just awesome. I got a brand new set of BT-014’s and an oil change. Just like that, I’m packed up and on my way.

By 1pm, I was in Canmore, and it was raining. Not only was it raining, but I could hear thunder. Just then, I looked up at the mountains and thought to myself: “Is that snow?” Just then, a girl came up and told me the following: “I have some family members who are bikers so I really sympathize with you and this crappy weather. I just came from the North, and unless you absolutely MUST go, please stay the night in Canmore.”

Well, that sealed the deal. When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to make a few trips out here skiing. My dad and I always stayed at The Kiska Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s just outside of Canmore in the hamlet of Dead Man’s Flats. I gave them a call, and sure enough, they had a room for me. I headed over, and basically slept all after noon, ate some dinner, and then slept all night. I guess I was more tired than I thought.

Day fifteen started off quite well. I slept extremely well, and had a great breakfast. I packed up my bike, and noticed how brisk the air was. It was very refreshing when but not so good for windchill. I looked up at the mountains, and couldn’t believe what I saw: Snow; in July. My ride through Banff was absolutely frigid.

I took the 1A, and it had a bit more traffic than my jaunt through the woods in the beginning of June. But this was the amazing thing: people pulled over to let me pass. It’s not like I was flying or anything (there was the occasional car which passed me), but almost as soon as I caught up to a car, they’d pull over and let me pass. Locals, out of province plates, rental cars and RV’s alike would let me by. Easily 75% of the vehicles would pull right over. It was amazing. I made it into Lake Louise, and I was COLD. I pulled into the gas station there which has a restaurant as well. As I rolled into the lot, four fine ladies were saddling up and telling me how cold it was.

I entered and asked for a hot chocolate, and proceeded to thaw my insides. In 15 minutes, five more bikers come in, clearly in worse state than my self. I settled up, and started going through my saddle bags looking for anything I could put on. I even put on my rain gear, which helped a lot. It would seem that waterproof is also pretty close to wind proof.

As I fill up, a car pulled in and informed me that the Trans Canada, East of us was closed. Something about two trucks in a fatal accident. I took this as an omen to be careful (as if all the other weirdness wasn’t enough already). One of my stops on the Icefields Highway was the Bow Summit. Here is a picture from the parking lot. The roads were wet, but there was fresh snow on the flora.



By noon, it was all melting. So, in a little over a week, I went from the rainforest (Kitimat and Vancouver Island) to the desert (Osoyoos) to snow (Jasper National Park). Anyways, Bow Summit’s amazingly breathtaking view:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Things didn’t get much warmer from there, but the rain gear really helped, and I could ride for a solid hour before getting cold; all pretty sweet if you ask me. I intentionally timed it so that I went through the highest elevation after noon. I hoped that the sun would warm the air enough to make the ride enjoyable. I wasn’t cold, and trust me, the ride was enjoyable. This picture is from the Icefields Highway, just north of the Columbia Icefields. I stopped, and then walked into the field and just sat there for about 20 minutes.



Lunch was spent in the town of Jasper. I parked in front of the Visitor’s Center and got weather information on Prince George and Grande Prairie. I’d never been through Grande Cache, and was wondering which route would be warmer. HWY 40 to Grande Cache was the winner; Prince George’s forecast being 4 degrees colder and significantly wetter. I took a nap on a park bench in front of my bike, and by 3pm I was out of town.

It was really windy this day. So for a naked bike with a dual sport helmet, I mean extremely windy. My neck was really sore after about thirty minutes on the road. But with these views, it just didn’t seem to matter.



That’s all she wrote for pictures. Highway 40 was pretty nice, but it was extremely windy. There was also a lot of truck traffic, going about 140kmph. I had dinner in Grande Cache, just across from the access way to the penitentiary. Lots of oil trucks were also on the road. I rode by a coal mine, and probably took about 6 months off my lungs in the process.

I got to Grande Prairie by 7:30pm (or so) and was in my hotel by 8:30pm. One last chain lubrication and I was good for the night.

The next day was all on familiar roads. Dawson Creek was my first stop where a Tim Horton’s served me a breakfast bagel and an apple fritter. I swear, the fritters must be laced with something. Every time I go by a Tim Horton’s, I feel this little twitch in the back of my mouth. There was another rider on a sweet fat boy there enjoying a coffee. We chatted for a bit, and he was off. By the time I was half way through my hot chocolate, another fine gentleman rode in, this time on a packed up Shadow.

I came through Chetwynd, and by 1pm, I was in Hudson’s Hope. According to my odometer, I had traversed 6590 kms in 16 days; these 16 fantastic days. It’s quite amazing. At the end of this trip, on July 12th I had traversed just about every major highway in BC. The only part of BC I have not seen is the North-West. Let me tell you, I have seen British Columbia, and IT IS BEAUTIFUL. The seat of my pants was sore for a few days, and my neck was sore for just one day. I had owned my SV for one month and about one week, and had put over 9000kms on it. Yeah, I think this bike and I hit it off.

This was also the first major road trip I have ever done on a bike. My next longest trip was a three day trip from Calgary to Hudson’s Hope to pick up my bike with a friend on a brand new DRZ 400SM. Before that, my longest trip on a bike was about a 600km riding around Ontario. First major trip, solo, and it feels like quite the accomplishment. This was something I dreamed about doing for quite some time, and I’m so glad I did it.

The Desintations Highways book was awesome, and I met so many interesting and friendly people. I can honestly say I've seen British Columbia, as the only highway I have not ridden in this province is the stewart cassier (Terrace to the Yukon) and the road to Bella Coola. I've been EVERYWHERE else (except Revelstoke), and let me tell you, they don't lie when they say "Beautiful British Columbia"

Thanks for taking the time to let me share my story!
 

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Thanks for the great ride report and pics! I saved a few for my screen saver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks!

Another thing I won't forget is all the people that thought my bike was a dual sport!

"that's a funky looking dual sport eh?"
"yeah, prolly because it's a streetbike"

hahaha

But really, I take it as a compliment, seeing how my primary uses for the bike are:
commute to work, grocery shopping, and touring
 

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I'm glad you got to ride down Westside Road in Kelowna. It has to be one of my favorite roads in the Province. Duffy Lake road north of whistler is probably the only one better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
tbolt,

you're only a day away from some of the nicest roads in BC. in terms of twistiness, the best roads are in south eastern BC.

although, I still love the north. There's just something I can't quite describe about riding for over an hour on a highway through dense forest, totally absorbed by nature, without passing any vehicles, with not a town for hundreds of kilometers. the place where bears outnumber people....
 

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Hey great write-up & pics. I grew up in Smithers & dream about going back there (hopefully next summer!) to ride through all the spectacular scenery northern BC has to offer.
 
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