Travelling by motorcycle is all about pushing your boundaries, your comfort levels. You learn a lot about yourself when it comes to the physical excesses you are willing to expose yourself to alongside the uncertainty around your skills. Skills are improved through practice and doing, physical prowess is improved through good diet and exercise (which I’m guilty of ignoring). But there are other boundaries to push that are less obvious and, to some, not even boundaries at all. For NMBL and me that boundary push was travelling with others.
Our trip this July included two wonderful, talented people who were brave enough to take a chance on the two of us while we pushed the mental boundary of being just a husband-and-wife team. Kudos to CG and JS for joining in on our weirdness over four days. That takes a pair of reproductive organs.
JS was supposed to join us last year for our Hurley hurtle but broke is ankle a few weeks prior to the trip. That pretty much put him out of commission for the rest of the season. We did go on an over-night trek on the east side of Harrison earlier this year which gave the three of us a low commitment opportunity to yay-or-nay a longer trip. In that time we were able to convert him to hammock camping, convincing him of the benefits of packing less crap on a motorcycle. A third burrito was born.
I work alongside CG and we got to talking about our various adventures, her in a Range Rover and me & NMBL on our bikes. We figured we’d be a good fit for a camping trip as our ideas of camping meshed well. She knows a lot of the FSR’s in the area having grown up in Pemberton and gone 4x4ing with her brothers. While she sleeps in the Range Rover CG is definitely a burrito in training. We had four burritos and time to travel. Sweet!
Plans A, B, & C
British Columbia has been cursed with fires this year. The heat dome in June combined with dry weather after has turned the Province into a tinderbox. The town of Lytton, only a couple hours from us, was wiped out 15 minutes after a fire started nearby. The BC fire service is reporting new fires daily, most started by lightning. These fires are so plentiful and big that they’re creating weather patterns which include pyrocumulus clouds. Literally fire clouds. Damn.
Our initial plan was to head to the Gold Bridge/Gun Lake area again as we loved the ride last year. This year we also wanted to head along the High Line coming out of Seton Portage. But of course the fire maps were showing us the area, close to Lytton, had a few fires of note. As JS pointed out to all of us, going to an area where there were limited evacuation routes was not a good idea. Plan A was scuttled for now.
Plan B was to head into the Southern Interior through Merritt, down to Toulameen, Coalmont, and Princeton, then heading towards the South Okanagan. Sure it meant more slab riding but it was looking like a good trip. But as we got closer to our go-day fires were erupting throughout the area with large communities under evacuation alerts or orders. We weren’t going to go into all that… so Plan C?
The Sunshine Coast makes a great Plan C, right? Sure. But the ferries weren’t exciting us all that much. People are chomping at the bit to travel right now as BC has opened up since our Covid numbers are declining. BC Ferries are packed and while motorcycles usually get priority boarding we had a “support vehicle” with us on this one. CG’s Range Rover was going to be a bit more difficult to get on the ferries without a reservation. Plus who wants to be loaded onto a packed ferry full of people?? Ew!
Fortunately for us Plan A opened back up. The fires in the area were brought under control (Huzzah BC Fire Services!) giving us the chance to do our dream-loop. Lady luck was riding with us.
The Four Vehicle Coddiwomple
Adventure bikes are faster than Range Rovers. I know, right? Who knew?? Well, it’s really not that they’re faster; it’s that they tend to corner a bit better at speed since bikes don’t have this big square box plunked on top of a chassis. But that’s all OK. Us bikers had our coms going and the trailing bike kept CG in sight at all times. No adventurer left behind!
This was the first time for all of us travelling in a convoy. And we weren’t hauling hogs. While we were on slab it was a bit tougher sticking together but once we got to dirt we were able to tighten up a bit more. The bikes went first to reduce the amount of dust we ate and the trailer did lose site of CG in her RR from time to time. Overall the dirt was a better situation travelling as a team. And the whole team travel was great! The only thing we’d change is getting a headset for the cager and that is something NMBL and I are looking to do as Cardo has just launched their headset system.
We trekked through some of the most beautiful country BC has to offer. From coastal rain forest to semi-arid mountain shadow regions, past ocean and lakes, rivers and reservoirs, we were in awe of the raw beauty. It just never gets old travelling around BC.
We decided to take a day to relax at Gun Lake. It didn’t take much convincing as we all needed to decompress a bit from being in the rat-race. NMBL and CG did some paddle-boarding while JS and I sat at camp and chilled. Of course we made friends with our neighbouring campers, in particular the dirt biker beside us who happened to be going riding with Claude, the local we met last year! Small world.
The next morning we went into Gold Bridge to fuel up before tackling the Mission Pass and heading down into Seton Portage. NMBL and I had travelled this route last year but for our companions this was their first time. Judging by their unrelenting joyful talk about the scenery they both liked the trek! And what’s not to like? We get to freely travel through some of the most beautiful areas in the world. People come from all over the globe to spend a few days here… and it’s our back yard. We’re so privileged!
Once we were in Seton Portage it was new track for all. Last year the High Line was impassable due to a slide but this year it was clear. We stopped at Anderson Lake to take a moment to cool off, charge cooling vests, and mentally prepare for an unknown road. Single lane dirt road. That winds way up high along the mountainside. Should be fine.
None of us was prepared for the absolute beauty of that stretch of the journey. The photos just don’t do the area justice, but enjoy them anyway. We have CG to thank for those as she snapped pics while driving the road. That takes guts… it was a bloody narrow path with some soft shoulders! And a long drop to the lake below. We’ll take chutzpah like that any day. My only wish for this part of the roads travelled was that it was longer. Thirty km’s is just not enough. Maybe we can ask someone to stretch Anderson Lake a bit? If you’ve got a hookup let us know.
The end of the High Line is a lovely little town called D’Arcy. We didn’t stay but I would mind going through again with a bit more time to check it out. As we had decided earlier to make our way to Lillooet Lake for camping at Strawberry Point we continued to push through to Mt Currie for dinner then on to the lake. Dinner didn’t end up working out for us (we weren’t inclined to wait in a lineup) so we motored on, checked out Strawberry Point, and finding it too busy, rode forth to Twin One Creek campground. It wasn’t as crowded and we found a coupe of good spots. Or so we thought.
One thing you have to know about the area we were in was that it was heavily affected by the June heat dome we suffered through in BC. But not in the way that you’d think. Much of the area around Pemberton and Mt Currie suffered flooding when the melt was sped up due to extreme heat. The high water made for excellent mosquito nurseries. Once we stopped at our selected camp sites the welcoming committee of the mosquito horde greeted us with their blood-sucking fervour. The little bastards were relentless! Kill two and five took their places. And that wasn’t the worst of it!
Upon pulling into camp JS pulled up beside NMBL and lost balance on his bike. He ended up dropping it, banging his windscreen against the crash-bars of NMBL’s V-Strom. It turns out windscreens aren’t meant to be hit on their edge and JS’s broke into three pieces. That plus the mosquito’s was bad enough right at the end of an otherwise great trip. But wait, there’s more. I was convinced to join the others in the lake, which was turbid as heck from the aforementioned flooding. It was also incredibly rocky on the bottom making footing tough. I slammed my big toe (shifting foot) into a small boulder. My toe gave way and the rock did not. It turns out I broke it but didn’t figure that out until after getting home the next day. So we managed to back-load our bad luck on the end of the trip. Ah well… c’est la vie.
Great Experience, Would Buy Again
One irksome evening aside (we had a great sunset to watch so that made things better) this was one great trip made better by the shared experience with amazing people. It turns out that good travelling companions are not hard to find. Both JS and CG were game for exploring new territory while putting up with dust, dirt, and bugs. NMBL and I are both looking forward to travelling with them again. And thanks to both of them for some great pics! This post wouldn’t be complete without those.
And we will be adventuring with JS again very soon as we’re going to meet him at the Horizons Unlimited CanWest event in Nakusp, BC late August. Maybe we can convince CG to come along as well. Perhaps we’ll even see a few of you there as well. And, spoiler alert, NMBL and I will be presenting two talks on hammock camping for motorcyclists! Check out the HU website (linked above) for more info.
Until next time,