My “All in British Columbia SaddleSore 1000” – May 27, 2006
With all of the excitement about the new IBA in “State & Province” 1000 mile days, I decided I should step up to the plate and get a ride documented in British Columbia as soon as I had the time. THis is the same route the BCSB 1000 mile day has been running except I ran it counterclockwise just for a change
Precisely at 2:00 am Saturday morning I rolled (crawled?) out of bed, dressed quickly and quietly, checked the internet for the mountain weather (cold) and walked out the door. I had left my riding gear downstairs, laid out from the night and our two cats Maille and Seamus had been pre-warming my Darien Jacket and pants for me – who says cats don’t care?
Vancouver, as a city, has a poor road system, but does have a 24 hour gas station within 100 yards of the TransCanada highway – this is very good for starting off with a clean average speed.
I top up my main tank and Ron Smith Fuel cell at 3:13 a.m. and 30 seconds later I’m traveling eastbound on the TransCanada highway. My first fuel stop is Avola, BC 340 miles away.
It is now raining quite heavily and the temperature has begun to drop from 11 Celsius, (51 F) to a less than balmy 3 Celsius (37F) as I climb the Coquihalla highway.
As I pay my toll ($5.00) I mention to the attendant I had a coyote ( Animal sighting number 1) run in front of me about 10 miles down the road. She explained that a deer had been hit in the southbound lanes near there about half and hour ago. I expect Wile E. was returning home from an early morning breakfast at his own Roadside Diner. Things are so slow in tollbooth land that one operator is running both the north and southbound lanes.
Rolling North, I entered the 20 miles of highway construction 30 minutes before it was to begin and congratulated myself on beating the congestion. It continued to get colder and by now even with my Electric jacket, heated seat and heated grips on high combined with two layers under my riding gear; I was getting cold in the hands and feet.
The sun’s arrival was most appreciated and I began to shut down my wall of light that my fear of animals had me install on my Goldwing. I run a set of the PHID’s and a set of PIAA 910 in combination with the 6 stock lights on the Wing. Why so many lights? – Well there is no traffic on the road at this time of the year. Your lights never bother oncoming or overtaking traffic – because there is none. I have seen less than a dozen cars in since I passed Hope BC an hour ago
The weather begins to change again and after I pass though Kamloops and move on to the delightful winding two lane highway known as the Yellowhead Highway # 5
My low fuel light came on at the same time as I saw a sign that said “Avola 30 Kms.” I pulled in for fuel at 330 miles at 8:17 am, bought 9.8 gallons of gas for an average of 33.7 MPG (US). Not too shabby, when I consider that I have been climbing for the whole time from sea level and the cool outside temperature. It was about 55 degrees in Avola and within an hour the temperature rose to over 65 as the sun came out. I stopped, stripped off my fleece pants and continued to ride.
Animal sighting Number Two – I saw the rear of an Elk as he grazed in the ditch roadside just as I left Avola.
I now made my swing west onto the Yellowhead Highway # 16. It must seem weird to travelers that we name two highways (5 and 16) the same name and one goes East West and the other North South ( sort of ).
My swing west occurred at the intersection of the Yellowhead and the Yellowhead. I now am heading toward McBride, a place where many Hyder bound riders have failed to reach – no gas. The local service centre in McBride does a brisk business in selling red plastic gas cans. Shortly before McBride I met an eastbound member of the RCMP. I think he was glad to see me as his cruiser was the first car I had seen in an hour. He waved electronically and we passed each other without drama. Moments later I had;
Animal Sighting Number Three.
A nice, sleek black bear was just off the highway. I thought about a quick U Turn, stopping and getting out my camera but I decided against it for many reasons. Some of them were; it was not my first black bear sighting, I would have to stop get off the bike and take a few pictures, I do not have a telephoto lens so the picture of the bear would end up being a black spot in a forest, it would be unfortunate to drop a Wing in a U turn near a bear.
Soon I was in approaching Prince George and made the shortcut south to avoid the “town traffic”. My next gas stop was Quesnel. Almost immediately the weather began to change and I pulled over to have a stretch and gear up for the dark clouds ahead. I was passed by two Harleys and just as they rolled past me I heard a trucker on the cb say; “I hope those there motorcyclists have some soap because they are about to get a shower”. I called him on the radio and got the forecast rain and more rain – Surprise!!!
I swapped visors and pulled out behind a Subaru, the new Rabbit model, which almost immediately locked its brakes at the next corner. It was apparently time for -
Animal Sighting Number 4
There was a stupid (is there any other kind?) deer jumping on to the road. The deer soon left the scene and traffic proceeded.
A few miles later we have animal sighting number 5 – the Mighty Moose http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure...mals/moose.htm
This Bullwinkle of the Forest was gingerly walking a creek bed adjacent the highway oblivious to its surroundings, but Moose scare me whenever I see them. They consider deer their intellectual superior and unlike deer, Moose are bad tempered.
“Moose are unpredictable and sometimes dangerous; although they generally avoid human contact, cows with calves and rutting bulls have been known to charge people, cars, horses and locomotives.”
Now there is more road construction and traffic is lined up for about half a mile. In BC motorcyclists are allowed to proceed slowly and carefully to the front of any construction wait and proceed first when the flag person opens the road. I soon had clear road all the way to Quesnel, 528 Km (328 miles) where I took 9.39 gallons (US) 34.9 MPG.
Animal Sighting Number Six
Another stupid deer, this one in a herd of 5 cows grazing roadside.
I headed southbound into the rain and went though that lovely combination of rain, sun, hot, cold and as an added bonus, I found the traffic. I decided to stay at warmer and lower altitudes on the way home; I was also concerned the rain might be snow at higher elevations. I decided to ride home along the Fraser River, a delightful winding tunnel laden route with great scenery and history.
“The Fraser Canyon Tunnels were constructed in the late 50's to about the mid 60's as part of the Trans Canada Highway project. There are seven tunnels in total, the shortest being about 57 meters, the longest is about 610 meters and is one of North America's longest. They are situated between the Town of Hope and the Town of Boston Bar.
In order from south to north, they are: Yale, Saddle Rock, Sailor Bar, Alexandra, Hell's Gate, Ferrabee and China Bar. The Hell's Gate tunnel is the only tunnel that does not have lights, while the China Bar tunnel is the only tunnel that requires ventilation”.
Here is a link to the Fraser Canyon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraser_Canyon
I soon arrived in Hope, BC (where they filmed Rambo) http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regio...s/?townID=3360 and found that the rock I had hit in the morning fog had dented my rim.
I got some fuel (main tank only) and headed home to Vancouver after a hot meal. I did not fill my fuel cell so no mileage computations are available.
I arrived home in a little over 18 hours from my start, and after riding 1080 (GPS miles). The last hour of my ride was once again in the rain.
I really enjoy these SaddleSore days. I see amazing things, ride some great and roads with little traffic, see some wildlife and ride just long enough to go somewhere and come back.