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Old 07-12-2018, 06:49 PM   #21
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Chief Joseph was a solid 11. Will do that again. Maybe a bunch of times.
Invite me..
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:01 PM   #22
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About time for the pics. Don't let it happen again!
3400 miles. 4 days. Putting my BIL's sailboat in the harbor yesterday. Hiking 4 miles along the beach today. A 40 hour work week squeezed in 3 days this week.

Working on it

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Originally Posted by Lickety Split View Post
Nice photos and trip. I'd love to be out in the open riding up there with ya. 784 miles? I see you are keeping your regular pace.
Since my son dropped out and left mrs grommet in the lurch on the driving, I only ended up riding 800 miles on the way up. I picked the best spots (that's easy, there are a lot of them) but on the bike and in the car we laid down some tracks quickly.

We plan to do this every summer. Some how. mrs grommet is a wanderer at heart and loves getting away, loves being on the road, loves the beautiful country. Once she's sold on doing something, it's very likely to happen. And she doesn't mind the whole bike/trailer/load/unload process. Worth it for her to help me feed the habit.

There will be more opportunities.


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I thought you could just park 'em upright anywhere and not use the stand, maybe the old unbalanced tank bag syndrome. No worries, awesome pictures G. Enjoy !
I tried that. No scratches ensued, but it doesn't work.

Enjoyment is the name of the game here. It's all very good.

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Originally Posted by fermic37 View Post
I bet it does awesome burnouts!!

What do you figure, four fronts to one rear?
My riding style has evolved. Recently put over 5000 on a full-sport trackday front, Michelin PowerSport. I got it used as a trackday take-off, with 2 days on it. Free It's probably got another couple thousand in it. I just stopped using my brakes as much when I ride. Between using the SD engine braking, which is considerable, to getting my riding flow smoother, I don't need much braking even in pretty serious twisty places. I put on a Bridgestone T30 front for this trip just to be on the safe side, but I doubt it will wear much at all.

Not sure how much I'll get out of the rear CT. Will be interesting to see.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:22 PM   #23
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Invite me..
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There will be more opportunities.
Not sure the drive across the country would be worth it for just that, but if you are ever going north, which you should, definitely include this road.


Anyone who can keep up, likes long miles, and can be rigidly flexible with the many variables that happen on a trip like this is welcome to ride along. There was kind of a plan but we made lots of adjustments along the way, and except for the first day, had no idea where we'd be spending the night. Did I mention we slept in the car one night when we couldn't get gas? Oh, no. That's coming up.

You get the idea. Riding in a slow group of whiners is not my thing.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:17 PM   #24
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Good ride report Grommet, thanks for posting will follow along.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:01 AM   #25
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Day 3:

Leaving Radium Hot Springs, headed into Kootenay, Banff, and Jasper Nat'l Parks. They are all connected and it wasn't really clear when leaving one and entering the next, but there was only one fee ($9 and change, Canadian, considerably less than the $30 USD charged at Yellowstone).

The ride from Radium up to Canada Hwy 1 between Banff and Lake Louise is perhaps the most spectacular road I've ever been on. I only stopped once for a photo, right near the beginning, but should have stopped more.



Words and photos really fail to convey how cool this place is. Nicer than anything I've yet seen in the lower 48.

Turning onto Canada 1 was a change of pace. Larger road. It's a divided 4 lane for a while, until 93 splits off to go up to Jasper. Lots of people - Lake Louise is a popular destination.

Just after the split where 93 heads north from 1, I stopped to take a couple more pics:





Then a bit further up the road, near Bow Lake:







One very interesting thing happened along this road. There were numerous groups of slow-moving vehicles I passed. Usually a bunch of cars would get stuck behind an RV or semi truck. With all the ups and downs and curves, it's very difficult to get by a large vehicle if you're in a car. But as I was doing this several times, I noticed a van that would periodically catch up to me. For any other vehicle to keep up is rare. That it was a van, not a sports car or some other fast-moving car, was astounding. At one point there was a construction zone where all traffic was stopped for about 20 minutes. I happened that the van was right behind me as I pulled up to the line of cars waiting to go through. I got off my bike to stretch my legs and the van driver got out and came over to chat. He asked how I was, said it looked like I was having fun, and then told of how he and his wife have motorcycled all over the lower 48 states - they are avid motorcyclists. I congratulated him and added that I thought he kept a pretty good pace in the van. He replied that he's been making the same trip from Calgary to Jasper every day for 35 years - some kind of delivery service. He then said he'd NEVER seen a cop pull anyone over on that road, and that he regularly goes 160kph. (that's right around 100 mph) Never got pulled over, never got a ticket.

Having seen the proof of his driving skill and speed, I figured his story was legit. Turns out he was right. No cops at all on that road, and from then on I rode at whatever speed I felt like and stopped worrying about the cops.

I slowed for cars and really, really tried to be nice and civilized around them, but spent many miles in one of the most pristine, beautiful places on the planet, running mountain curves at 80-100 mph. There are other similarly enjoyable things to do in life, but on a motorcycle this was definitely a high point.

mrs grommet caught up to me in Jasper, about 30 minutes behind. We had lunch together and then continued west on Canada 16 toward Prince George. I rode for another 60 miles or so then stopped and put the bike on the trailer so my wife could take a break from driving. However, let it be noted that the entire way from Jasper through Prince George on rt 16 to the Cassiar Hwy (rt 37) is a worthy motorcycling road with plenty of curves and beautiful views.

Here are a couple of photos from the stretch of 16 west of Jasper:





The rest of the day was spent going west on 16 toward the Cassiar, then a ways up the Cassiar to Meziadin Junction. Some commentary on gasoline and happenstance to follow.

At this point, we decided to not stop for the night, but drive straight on through to Haines and get there ahead of schedule. I didn't really know if riding my bike on the Cassiar would be worth it, and we wanted to get into Haines before dark the next day. With nearly 1000 miles to go yet, this all seemed like a decent plan. So no looking for a place to stop - just keep going.

So we didn't really take care to investigate the availability of gas on the Cassiar hwy. I'd read that it could be a difficulty, but once there, it seemed that there were enough people around and enough small towns that surely there would be gas available frequently enough to get through.

Wrong.

We got to the junction of 16 and 37, the south end of the Cassiar. There's a gas station there. I was after dark, around 11:30 pm, and it was closed, and the pumps were turned off. We could get a cell signal and looked up the road for other stations. Road signs confirmed there was gas 140km up at Meziadin Junction, so we headed that way. Plenty to get there, but not much more than that.

While at that first closed station, we met the truck guys. 4 guys in 2 trucks. They are from Florida. Headed to Anchorage to work on a construction project. They work for a hotel conglomerate that owns 60ish hotels all over the US. Their company had recently bought a new hotel in Anchorage and they were part of the crew sent to renovate it. They all seemed nice enough, and offered to let us follow them, as they were in the same situation of needing gas. We thanked them but said we'd probably be ok and off they went. The truck guys would turn up several more times in the next 15 hours or so.

On the way again. Never got full dark but definitely night time. The road became very lonely. Not many people out there at that hour.

About 30km up the road, we come a construction zone with a flag man. He had the stop sign out, so we crept up and stopped. After a few seconds, he comes over to the car. Says it's normally a 15 minute wait, but it will be longer because two trucks just blasted past the stop sign and the pilot car, and the 2-car pilot system was now in disarray with them going north and another group led by the 2nd pilot car coming south. The longer turned out to be almost an hour.

Thanks, truck guys.

While sitting there waiting, I was looking north at the glow along the horizon. What I thought was northern lights turned out to be some cirrus clouds at very high altitude, backlit by the sun and glowing a bright blue color. Not northern lights but very pretty anyway. Signs and wonders.

Finally they got it all sorted out and we followed the pilot car over 8 miles of very dusty gravel. No real big deal, just time slipping by.

With a touch less than a quarter tank of gas left, we rolled into Meziadin Junction. Gas pumps were lit up, though the store was closed. Sidling up next to the pump, I see the LCD screen indicating the need to prepay inside. Impossible, of course, because the store was closed. It's now 3am. Store opens at 7. OK, the plan to drive straight through just vanished. We pulled over to the side of the parking lot and prepared to sleep another 4 hours in the car. It was dark and there was nobody around so we both peed right there in the parking lot. Well, in the weeds near the edge of the lot. Crass, yes. Also necessary, and there were no better options.

Nothing like sleeping in your car at a deserted gas station in the middle of British Columbia. It's why they call it adventure.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:59 AM   #26
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Day 4:

For me the 4 hours of sleep in the car turned into just over 3. I woke up at 6:15 and had 45 minutes to contemplate Lehi's dream. And other things. We were at the pump by 7 and ready to get it moving. The store was open on time and we got the gas and took care of other business inside this time, in the designated restroom areas.

Just after leaving Meziadin Junction, there was a sign on the side of the road saying 24 hour gas available 80km up the road at Bell 2 Lodge. Got to be kidding me. We could have just kept going. Oh well.

The road was pretty and plenty twisty, but I drove and let mrs grommet work on an editing project she had a deadline for. Will make a point to ride that section on the way back.

Bell 2 was open when we went by, but we were full up at that point so didn't stop. Couple of hours went by and the editing project was done. About time for a pit stop, the road was nice, so we decided to stop and I'd get the bike off and ride a ways. We pulled into the Tatogga Lake Lodge, and gassed up again. Car, bike, and the 4 gallons in my extra cans. Went inside to use the bathroom (decency, right?) and use wifi to send off the edit project.

Tatogga Lake Lodge:



Guess who was in the lodge dining room eating breakfast? The truck guys. What the heck!? We thought for sure they would have gotten gas at Bell 2 and kept going.

Wrong.

Bell 2 had in fact been closed during the night, so the truck guys had slept in their trucks there. Turns out we would have been no better off had we seen the sign back at Meziadin and kept going. Hhmm.

They also claimed that the flag man had the slow side of his sign showing, not the stop side, so from their point of view, they were not 'blowing past the stop' as we'd been told, but merely following directions. They were thus surprised when the flag guys gave them a dressing down in the construction zone. Nobody was killed or arrested, so I guess in the end it was no big deal.

While we were unloading the bike, truck guys came out and took off. In spite of mrs grommet being pissed at them for causing all the trouble (likely story, she said of their claim of the 'slow' sign), we wished them a good and safe journey.

The Tatogga Lodge guy came out as we were unloading. He offered a water hose for me to wash all the dust off my bike. That was nice. That looks like a fast bike, he said. What kind is it? KTM. What's that? KTM. It's an Austrian company. Oh, BMW. No, KTM. Different company. Scowls, and then, well, be safe, hope you have a nice ride. And we were on our way.

In the daytime the Cassiar is endlessly beautiful. Mostly twisty. Some rough sections. But nice enough that I could maintain a good 75-90 mph pace. I passed the truck guys a ways up, and gave them a friendly wave. On down the road, I needed a pit stop, and saw a nice lake on the side of the road, so I stopped there:






A few minutes after I got there, the truck guys rolled up. They jumped out and came over. Comments about how fast I had been going when I passed them, and how fun that looked. Yes, it's fun. That bike can really go fast. Yes, it can

The guy in the background of the last pic was broken down. Nice place to be broken down - next to a lake. 3 of the 5 lugs on his right rear wheel had broken off. Somehow he had heard them rattling around in the hub cover and stopped before the wheel let go completely. He had friends on the way with parts, and seemed to be having a good time fishing. Or maybe he just wanted to be fishing and the broken stud story was just a cover for his wife . . .

The truck guys clambered down to see the lake, and mrs grommet went by in the car, so I took off again. The rest of the ride to the end of the Cassiar was mostly uneventful. I saw a bear on the side of the road. I didn't stop to play with it or take pictures.

Just south of the north end of the Cassiar, the road crosses the border between British Columbia and Yukon Territory. I stopped there and took a couple of pics of the signs. No big deal, just showing where I was:







A couple miles further up and the Cassiar dead ends into the Alcan. We wanted to make some time so as not to get into Haines too late, so we loaded up the bike and started our very first drive on the Alaska Highway. That's got to be a life milestone.

While we were there, the truck guys pulled up again. We'd be parting ways as they were going farther north before heading to Anchorage, so we shook hands and wished them well.

The run up to Haines Junction through Whitehorse was uneventful. I rode again from the junction down to Haines. It had become cold, very windy, and misty, so I got wet a bit. The good thing about that was that I got this cool photo of a rainbow up against the mountains in the distance:



(for reference this photo was taken around 9:15pm.)

We got into Haines without further incident. No problems at the border. It was nice to have a comfortable bed waiting.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:07 AM   #27
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A little commentary about the beauty of this ride -

Imagine yourself on a decent twisty road in very nice country. 149 near Lake City in Colorado. 28 near Deal's Gap. 16 in Arkansas.

Now imagine riding that road the same distance as from Phoenix to Boston. That's what this ride has been like.
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:14 AM   #28
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:14 PM   #29
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I live in Alberta and the roads here are very boring. I have done a 10 - 15 day bike trip in BC for the past 10 years and have been on pretty much every paved road in the provance including Vancouver island. The roads you were on are just the tip of the iceberg. I actually avoid most the roads you were on due to the heavy traffic and tourists.

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Old 07-13-2018, 12:20 PM   #30
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I live in Alberta and the roads here are very boring. I have done a 10 - 15 day bike trip in BC for the past 10 years and have been on pretty much every paved road in the provance including Victoria island. The roads you were on are just the tip of the iceberg. I actually avoid most the roads you were on due to the heavy traffic and tourists.


If you have some better recommendations for heading back south I'd love to hear them.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:55 PM   #31
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Grommet.... this is making me drool. Amazing....
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:21 PM   #32
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If you have some better recommendations for heading back south I'd love to hear them.
When you get to Prince George head south on Hwy 97. Just after Clinton take Hwy 99 south to Vancouver. Hwy 99 is spectacular, incredable sceanery and everything from slow sweepers to hairpins. Hwy 99 turns into Hwy 1 when you get to Vancouver stay on Hwy 1, stay on this Hwy through the city and stay on it till you hit Hwy 3. East on Hwy 3, there are lots of Hwys that head south to the US from Hwy 3 that will take you into Washington, Idaho, or Montana depending how far east you want to go. Hwy 3 is also very scenic and fun on a bike.

Ride safe and above all have fun on your trip.

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Old 07-13-2018, 06:52 PM   #33
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Fantastic. Bringing back the memories.
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:32 AM   #34
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Hwy 93 is fantastic. Best riding I've experienced in BC is in the interior, Nakusp-Vernon-Kaslo-Creston area. Unbelievable.

I'm also from Calgary. Happen to be holidaying in Greece right now and sure wish I had a motorbike as the coastal highways near Leonidio are amazing. Just driving the rental car is a hoot.
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:35 AM   #35
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I should add, be careful in BC. I'm glad you haven't seen many police but if you are stopped for exceeding speed limit by 40 km per hr or more they confiscate your vehicle, no joke.
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:23 AM   #36
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Fantastic. Bringing back the memories.
I bet. If this is going to be an annual event, I may have to join our friend next year. The thought of riding to Glacier next month returns.

Great report Patrick. We are all jealous!
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:51 AM   #37
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Hwy 93 is fantastic. Best riding I've experienced in BC is in the interior, Nakusp-Vernon-Kaslo-Creston area. Unbelievable.

I'm also from Calgary. Happen to be holidaying in Greece right now and sure wish I had a motorbike as the coastal highways near Leonidio are amazing. Just driving the rental car is a hoot.
We will be hitting all those areas again this year, so much fun on a bike. My favorite is Hwy 99.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:56 AM   #38
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I should add, be careful in BC. I'm glad you haven't seen many police but if you are stopped for exceeding speed limit by 40 km per hr or more they confiscate your vehicle, no joke.
Noted. Thank you for the heads up.

It seems like almost everyone is going way above the posted limit. Maybe the 40km over is the ceiling.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:37 AM   #39
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Enjoying the trip report Patrick! Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:39 AM   #40
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Looking at the routes suggested by 9Lives, I came up with this for the trip home:

https://goo.gl/maps/67sdiFzV4cR2



Looks like some very good roads in there. Plus I'll finally get to go through RMNP in Colorado.

Looking forward to it
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