Yes yes, it is that time of the year again, when some wonder if the mighty/hellish duffey lake road is open for playtime.
For some weird reasons, I did not go down that way for the entire last season. So this past Saturday 8th I was determine to go check it out since the DriveBC.com reports were pretty good (read : no ice / no snow).
I did it South bound and yes, yes, it is in a pretty bad shape.
Well of course that is to be expected, but really, I was at least hoping to see some signs that the BC Ministry of Transportation is about to do something. After all there is only 12 months of fairly good weather before the 2010 olympics to improve that road somewhat.
Is the Legacy of the games going to be the Sea-To-Sky only ?
How about those wooden bridges ? Are they not going to be replaced ?
In June of 2006 I came down from the hat Creek Ranch, and had to negotiate some pretty heavy road works for several miles.
I am happy to report that the North half of Hwy99/Hwy97 to Lillooet is absolutely perfectly smooth. Not a single crack or bump in the road.
But wait, that's all ??? In 2 Spring/Summer work period?
A quick search on the Ministry website, yield no data on any project plans. Looks like nobody knows that the road actually goes on North of Whistler.
Back to the current duffey conditions:
The Duffey is 2 feet wide in most places due to the cars traffic cleaning up the dirt. But in some places, it is just impossible to find a clean lane.
Frost heaves, pot-holes and rocks are the norm. What was interesting was one tarmac section of the big switchback right above Lillooet is completely gone. You basically ride on dirt for about 500m.
Here is some pictures of diverse locations.
This is a section of pretty intense gravel approaching one of the Cayoosh creek bridge.
This is the bridge, and yes there is another muddy pool on the other side as well. Now imagine you are in the heart of August on a nice sunny day. The pool will be gone, but not the hole holding the water.
I would not approach any of the wooden bridges at anything above the posted Speed limit (Yes that is 20Km/H)
Here is one view of the center crack of one lane. This crack is basically running along the entire length of the Duffey road. Most of the time you just ignore it as it is nothing compare to the rest.
For example this little crack right on the Median is large and deep enough to swallow a tire.
A sample pot-hole. This one is fine you just have to move over to the other half of the lane to be OK.
However, if you were to travel North bound, there is a really cool right hand curve, who should be a blast to negotiate on a normal road. I could not stop for a picture of that one as it was a dangerous spot, but take my word for it. Mid curb right in the middle of the lane, you will find one single pot-hole the size of a bathroom sink. That one is sure to wake up anyone falling asleep.
And finally here is a typical section with multiple cracks.
Anyway, the road is open and you are free to go.
Guys, if you like your balls being punch for over an hour on your gas tank, go ahead, you will be more than happy.
My 2 cents:
Sport bikes : Stay away, your nice rims will thank you.
Cruisers : Stay away. Your lower spine will thank you.
Dual sport : Go ahead, this is your playground.
Motards : Hell yeah, go go go. Just remember to fill up your tank.
Oh and one last comment. The Pemberton to Whistler section is turning bad near Pemberton. There are some really nice bumps developing right across the entire road. Your ass will separate from your seat at almost any speed. So beware.
As 'Elevation' put it in another thread you are better off down super boring Hwy1 and Hwy7 for the foreseeable future.
I will post a ride report on another thread.