Ahhhh…Nothing like a steamin’ hot 50 gal shower, 2 fingers of “The Glenlivet” 18 yr, Christmas muzak on the stereo and an epic ride report to share! Can life really get any better?
You wimps missed out on a truly awesome day and ride!! Beautiful snow covered scenery, epic ride on a gem of a track, good food and drink, fell in love and without planning our departure, drove straight onto the ferry home without even stopping; They waved us into the line and we were the last vehicle on! Just like regular motorcycle treatment!
I picked up Stephen Melnechuk about 8:30 in the morning and drove straight to the ferry while listening to him bitch about how dumb he was for sitting around waiting in his kitchen and daydreaming out the window instead of making a coffee for the road. I tried to fake genuine empathy while sipping my Timmy’s but I wasn’t stopping until we were through the ticket booth and in the line-up! We weren’t going to miss the boat because he wanted a coffee!
The “Howe Sounder” winds were frothing up large waves and there was quite a bit of bump and roll on what is normally a pretty smooth passage to Langdale! Spectacular scenery of the pointy sharp, snow covered mountains that line both sides of Howe Sound was the backdrop while enjoying a hot breakfast best viewed through the picture windows and in the warmth inside the ship! I’d like to thank the server on the ferry that asked of me if I would prefer bacon or sausage, I replied “bacon” which of course got me sausage. When I said politely “no, bacon please”, she piled on more sausage! Wtf?? Talk on the voyage needless to say was all about bikes. No brainer there! The big excitement on the ferry though occurred when Stephen decides to go to the can after the final call to “Please return to your vehicle!” The deckhands insisted I could wait no longer for him and so I had to drive off the ferry regardless that I would be abandoning Stephen aboard the ship! I thought he maybe reconsidered the cold weather, backed out of the trip and was sneaking home smuggled in the washroom! But no, I found him on the side of the road walking behind a few shapely figures amongst the foot passengers! Maybe not so dumb after all?
We arrived at the track about 10:30. The snow covered everything about 2-3 inches deep and when we walked to the edge of the hill to take a panoramic peek it was kind of tough to make out exactly where the track was laid out! After a few minutes of discussion which included time to ponder if we really were idiots but decided everyone else was, we went back to the van to get changed. Gear change seemed to take forever but finally we were ready to roll! We were ready that is except the bike wouldn’t start! I dunno???…. I had run the fuel dry (as I always do) last time I put the bike away so maybe the cold weather and dry fuel lines conspired against us but no amount of fiddling with the choke, throttle position or kicking the tires (I have a push-button kick-start, I refuse on principal to kick the manual start!!) would produce anything resembling a gurgle or fart from the cold motor! Fortunately, parking is at the top of a long hill down to the flat part of the track so we rolled it down the hill to try jump starting it. Because of the snow the first two efforts just locked up the rear but third gear finally turned over the motor and brought things to life! WOOHOO!!!
Riding at first was very intimidating! The deep sand ruts were hidden in the snow and poor contrast and riding was really sketchy until I relaxed, sat back and got used to the front end jumping around in any direction other than the one intended! Arm pump removed any vestiges of cold that might have lingered within 30 seconds and after 3 laps it was time for a break! Stephen jumped on and had the same general experience at first as I did too; trying to ride on lumpy grease is probably a good description! We took a few laps and a few turns and things just kept improving! It’s really too bad there weren’t a few more bikes there to help break in the surface. Once the snow was beaten into the sand and a line established, both traction and control kept getting better and better. We swapped back and forth (Stephen was sharing my bike, if you haven’t figured that out yet) and we both had our physical fill after 2 or 3 hours. That snowy sand is hard work! A local rider, Steve showed up just as we were packing things up and we pit raced with him for awhile. Lucky guy has this playground just 15 minutes from home! I WANT!
Steve (the local) recommended “The Lighthouse Pub”:
Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0
for a good barley sandwich and he wasn’t wrong. At this point I’d like to apologize to the staff. They cheerfully and graciously put up with this old goat that so easily can make an ass of himself and the young, handsome but married guy! Tall, blonde and beautiful….I’d deal with the devil to trade 25 years! But I digress… Food was good and tasty pub fare and the beer…well beer! Duh! Multiple big screen TV’s are visible from every seat but for me the fascination is watching the endless parade of Beavers taking off and landing just 200 meters from our seats! That’s another toy but another story and not likely to happen in this lifetime! Good pub, worth taking the time to stop in! Send my love….Stephens too but he didn’t say that!
Fuelled and tuned, we headed to Gibsons. Half way there, Stephen decided it was probably appropriate to check the ferry schedule, a thought that until then had eluded me! Eleven klicks to go and 10 minutes to departure! I wondered why all those vehicles were playing bumper tag behind me! Pedal to the metal and the long line behind maintained close formation as we moved at a brisk pace towards the terminal. Fortunately, a police car with lights ablaze passed us going the opposite direction so what at first was apprehension we might have been tagged turned to relief that it was unlikely there would be a radar trap between us and the ferry dock! The strange part though was all the vehicles that seemed to be racing to the boat turned off along the way except one and that one passed us on the two lane stretch! We pulled up to the gate where they waved us through and joined onto the last few cars boarding the ferry. There was no need for a reservation though; I doubt if it was even ¼ full!
That’s about it! We BS’d some more on the ferry back, I dropped Stephen at home, I washed the bike, came home and jumped in the shower!
You really did miss an excellent day and ride that really, the cold just wasn’t a factor as far as comfort goes and you missed riding an excellent track to learn on! It doesn’t have the insane jumps that other MX tracks all seem to have and it was pure fun riding it! I can’t wait to get back there in regular conditions and really put me to the test!
Here’s a few pix:
No Wimps here!:
Breaking trail (actually, starting the bike!):
SEE!! The snow wasn't that deep!:
Me actually getting air! (Not my double! ME!....throttle must've stuck!):
Bugger just had to go higher than me!:
Stephen claims she's his niece! (thanks Leah!):
Remember I said "Tall, Blonde and Beautiful? (thanks Elyse!):
Remember I said "Old Goat" & "makes an ass of himself"? (Sorry Elyse!):
Two Buds toasting an awesome day riding! (And a beauty in the background cheering us on!):
Too bad you snooze you lose! Next time, just DO IT!! There will be a next time for sure!