Day 5 / Monday, June 16, 2008
The next morning, I made my appointment at the US consulate to turn in my visa paperwork and was told to come back the next day to pick it up. Along with spending some time with my hosts, I had some things to take care off on the bike. A bolt on my luggage rack near my left pannier had sheared off and I had damaged both my fuel containers. The bolt sheared off as the left side pannier was heavier than the right, so I repacked items to evenly balance things out. The heaviest item I was carrying was all my food. I had about 15 pre-cooked meals (including MREs), oatmeal for about 15 days and then granola bars. From here on I was going into remote land and camping frequently and I knew the cost of the food would be higher, so that was my justification for carrying so much food.
One fuel container was beyond repair and Claude said I could add it to his collection of damaged fuel containers. It made me feel better when he said he had the same kind of containers for his off road trips and they didn't last very long either.
The house of my hosts: Tracy and Claude who posted up on ADVrider's Tent Space list of people willing to house passing travelers. They're both avid riders, on KTMs and they're even featured in a motorcycling movie.
Claude hosing down his KTM Adventure and check out his lifted Jeep Wrangler. It looks like a proper jeep. They were both really gracious hosts and they were headed up towards Alaska in a few weeks time for their own adventure, that too taking only dirt/forest roads.
I thought long and hard about where to place my extra gas cans on the bike and decided on below the panniers for the lower center of gravity and increased functionality of my panniers but as a friend said, I couldn't control myself in the twisties and leaned the bike over too much and scraped both gas cans. I was able to fix one of them. Oh well, lesson learned.
At the local hardware store, as I was ready to pay for the two replacement bolts, the busy lady owner looked at me and my bike outside and told me with a smile to go ahead; I didn't need to pay. All this generosity and kindness towards bikers. To my non-riding friends: It's not that I prefer motorcycle travel as opposed to car travel because people are so kind to us, I think it's more that people's good side comes out when they see a guy traveling on a motorcycle.
I'm really grateful to my kind hosts of Tracy and Claude for opening up their house to a traveler. It was nice to see a happy family centered around motorcycles, as Claude taught Tracy how to ride and now they're teaching their two sons, and they're all on KTMs. While Claude says that the 990 Adventure is the best bike so far, regarding weight and power, he said it's also pretty labor intensive for servicing. Another cool fact about this awesome couple is that they've been featured in an off-road motorcycle adventure film called Get Lost: Oregon by Motoventure Films.com. And right after my departure, they were getting ready to leave on their own completely off-road trip heading towards Alaska, riding through the woods of British Columbia. Claude said he had made it up the Cassiar Highway a few years back when it was all gravel, which required a higher skill level to successfully ride it. While I don’t mind if a road is gravel or paved, I'm glad for paved roads as that allows me to cover more ground quicker.
Day 6 / Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I collected my passport with my new US visa in there and was now ready to start my journey north. The only other scheduled item on my trip was trying to make it to the Dust2Dawson rally in Dawson City in 3 days with 1,800 miles to go.
The reason I came to Vancouver was to renew my US work visa at the US consulate there. You have to leave the country to get a new visa. Oh well, it was very quick processing and I got my passport back the next day.
Passport with new visa in hand and heading out of Vancouver. Alaska, here I come... which was another 2,000 miles away.
Route map of the second leg of the journey: Vancouver through all of British Columbia to Dawson City, Yukon; 1,900 miles.
The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver through Whistler to Pemberton was just as fun as I remembered from a few months back. The road has been under construction for a few years in order to widen it before the 2010 Winter Olympics being held at Vancouver and Whistler. The road is a real beauty, hugging some huge cliffs right up to the water's edge and it's pretty sad that they have to bring down some of it to make the four lane highway.
I had dinner at a little bistro on Tracy's recommendation in Pemberton and some warm soup was prefect for the chilling evening. I was hoping to make it 100 Mile House tonight, but I got out of Vancouver too late. I figured I'd go as far as I could and then just camp wherever. Being a twisty lover, I wished it was still day light as from Pemberton to Lillooet is the famous Duffy Lake Road, which is a twisting haven for all motorcyclists. It’s considered one of the best roads in BC. However, since I enjoy night-riding so much, I still had a blast, while keeping my eyes peeled for wildlife.
In Lillooet, the gas station had just closed (I think it was around 9 pm) and I didn’t know if it was safe to continue without filling up, not knowing where the next open gas station would be. While studying a map under the lights at the gas station, a mechanic in a truck pulled up and asked if I needed any help. I explained my situation and he said he was carrying extra gas and wouldn't mind filling me up. Gracious acts by strangers. After he poured in nearly 4 gallons, I asked how much it would be and he said just to give him 10 bucks. That petrol was worth more than $20. I asked him what the risk was for bears in this area, regarding camping and he said I should be more worried about elk crossing the road.
Riding the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler. The scenic highway follows the coast and then starts climbing up the mountain. I was just here about 6 months ago to ski at Whistler with a bunch of friends.
Construction on the highway has been going on for quite some time in order to expand it for the 2010 Winter Olympics that are going to be held between Vancouver and Whistler.
Climbing up to the sky... a fun, easy road to ride.
Last year I passed under a similar looking bridge on US-95 in southern Utah...
Whistler and Blackcomb mountains - a fantastic place to ski. It really does live up to the hype of being North America's number 1 ski resort. We had a great 7 days here back in January.
Lillooet Lake, just north of Pemberton. The beautiful lakes are everywhere.
Fueled up, I pushed on into the night and was looking out for the next campground before resorting to just camping by the roadside. Night riding under a bright Moon is a beautiful experience, which always makes me feel close to the cosmos. With the Moon right in front of me, I thought about how man-kind had the amazing ability to put twelve men on the moon, an object that was deified just a short while back in human civilization. With moon landings scheduled for the near future by multiple nations, the Moon is slated to be front page news again in a few years.
Around midnight, I came across Marble Canyon Campground and quickly setup camp and fell asleep.
Rustic camping on hard gravel at Marble Lake Provincial Park near the Cariboo Highway, 97 that heads north to Prince George.
Since my 1 person tent isn't free-standing, I need soft ground to peg into or the use of my bike and a picnic table to hold the tent up. Whatever it takes.
Next: Day 7, Riding the Yellowhead Highway
Ride Report Index