The Rest of BC - Heading South

September 12 - 16, 2012

I again appologize, some of these are not in order. Hopefully soon I'll have time to go fix that!

So, when I last posted, I was leaving Whitehorse, Yukon, I had replaced the worn out chain and sprockets, and I was on my way south, to BC. Good, so here we go!

I made it back to Fort Nelson, BC, and all was going well. I noticed the rear tire was getting pretty worn, but now that I was back on good roads, I hoped I could make it down to my Dad's house, in Wenatchee, Washington. I wanted to change the tire at my Dad's for a few reasons. I was planning to stay there a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, and get some time to catch up on maintenance on the bike. And the tire would be a lot cheaper there too!

I stopped at the same A&W (and the same gas station too, actually!) that I stopped at on the way north. Got the gas first, then the next block was the A&W for some good burgers, a root beer float, onion rings, and then a chicken burger or something like that. Was a nice break from the chili & tuna routine!

As I was getting ready to get on the bike, I noticed it wasn't really sitting right. There had been a couple times I just couldn't get it to balance, but I wasn't really thinking about it, I wanted to get on the road and go find a camp site.

As I was pulling out of town, I got that familiar weird wiggle feeling... sure enough, flat tire, rear. Again. That would explain the problem with it balancing! Sigh... Ok, unload half the bike, get it up on the center stand, pull the wheel, as its getting dark, and start the process. I'm kind of getting good at it by now!

Tire change went really quite well, since it wasn't raining, so life was really pretty good. That is, until I went to pump it up and couldn't get it to hold air. Sound familiar? See, the time I changed the tire in the NWT on the way to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway, I had problems too. So now, here I was, wondering if my tire still had a leak, after I'd patched it, or if maybe my air compressor was dead. It made noise, blew some air...

The same as before, I had plenty of people stopping to check me out. Finally, I'd had enough of messing with the pump, so the next guy to stop, I asked if he had an air compressor. Turns out he was a heavy equipment mechanic, who had a shop not too far away. So I had him take the tire back to his shop, while I stayed with the bike. Just a few minutes later, he returns with the tire all blown up and life is good. This is great for a few reasons. I knew the tire was good, and I knew without a doubt that my air compressor was crap. At least now I know for sure!

He stayed and gave me a hand for a while, got the tire back on, and everything put together, and then I thanked him and sent him on his way. By now its very dark, I'm getting tired, and was hoping to find a campground near by. As it turned out, about 20 minutes further from town (Fort Nelson) I see a sign, but when I turn off, the campground was another 20 minutes from the highway, on a bumpy gravel road. Oh well, the place was nearly deserted, nice and quiet, and since it was clear, I slept under the stars again.

The next day I made it into Fort St. John, BC, where I stopped at a Canadian Tire store (For those of you not familiar with the finer things in life, Canadian Tire is a department store that has a huge selection of car parts, accessories, and of course, tires! Plus other household stuff too.) I might have gotten a bit carried away here, but I found a great tire pump, just like the one that Pete, my Kiwi (New Zealander) friend had back on the Dempster Highway. And I got some tire slime, some tire patch kits, and some other odds and ends. In all, something like $90 worth of tire fixing stuff!

Then I back tracked a bit, and took a little highway, BC 29 South, from Ft. St. John back toward the huge WAC Bennett Dam (which is near Hudson's Hope). I'd toured the dam when I was a kid, and really had no idea where it even was! So when I saw the sign, I knew I had to check it out. But it was getting late, again, and I needed to stop for the night.

Side note here, the BC 29 South, from Fort St. John toward Hudson's Hope, is AWESOME for motorcycles! Nice twisties, some up and downs, and great scenery too! I ended up "wild camping" close to the Peace River, in an old gravel pit that looked like it might have been a campground at one time. There was lots of old dead brush and trees to scavange for firewood, which I took advantage of. Again, I camped under the stars, and was just blown away by how clear it was. This was probably the first time I had so many stars, that I honestly couldn't find any constellations. There was zero light polution, the air was cold and clear, and the Milky Way lived up to its name. So many stars, all so bright, that I couldn't even find the Big Dipper! It was crazy!

Perspective. Its all about perspective. Now the motorcycle looks kind of small again! I'm sure that sign says something about don't park your motorcycle here...

Next day I got to the W. A. C. Bennett Dam. Bennett Dam, located near Hudson's Hope, BC, is a huge hydro electric dam which supplies much of the power used BC and Alberta. I got the typical pictures of the dam, a big turbine exhibit, lots of water, etc. But since it was out of season, the visitors center was closed, and I had to sign in with the security guards to get into the area.

One reason I wanted to stop at Bennett Dam was I figured there would be a restroom in the visitor center. Sadly, none were available. I might be too civilized, but I kind of like the idea of actually something to sit on, when I'm taking a poop. Its the little things in life I guess! Since I'd camped "in the wild" last night, there were no restroom facilities there either. Hmmm...

Lots of water. Kind of makes you wish there was a restroom nearby!

As I was rolling through Hudson's Hope, I saw a city park with a picnic area. Thought it would be good to stop and check out the facilities. Wow, running water... and, dare I say, hot running water even? Flush toilets, toilet paper... jack pot! hehe

So, here's the thing. I was soon to find out its practically impossible to perform a civilized poop while wearing motorcycle gear. Normally I'd have this taken care of before getting all dressed up. You probably don't need the visual, but here goes anyway. Fox racing boots that go up nearly to the knee. Motorcycle pants, with pads built in. Jeans. There is no way to push all those layers down enough to actually sit on the toilet! The floor was a bit wet, so I didn't want to take the boots off, but I did find if I unzipped the leg zippers on the riding pants, everything else worked out well enough. Whew!

Ok, all zipped up and back on the road, life is happy again!

Later on that evening, I roll into, and through Prince George, BC. Stopped at a gas station that had an A&W, those are kind of hard to resist!

I'd gotten kind of used to the Yukon, there were camp sites all over the place, and I had a map of where they were even. Now that I was in BC, I wasn't too sure what to look for, and I was in a more developed area, so I didn't want to take a chance on camping in someone's back yard! Finally about the time it was getting dark, I saw a sign for a rest area. You're not supposed to actually camp at these, but I didn't actually see the sign at this one. And I was really tired by now, so I decided to take a chance.

Since setting up a tent would look a lot like camping, I slept under the stars again. I'm actually liking this option, I put down the ground cloth, my air mattress, sleeping bag, and then just pull the tent over me like a tarp. If it should rain, I'll just pull the tent over my head, and I'm in great shape.

Well, apparently I wasn't the only one with this idea, because when I woke up, there were several other people parked there too.

Including a truck pulling a trailer with some donkeys, or mules. When I looked over just around sunrise, they were all tied up outside the trailer. Then I heard the driver shoveling, so I assumed he was picking up the "mule muffins" like a responsible farmer. Later on, after he'd gone, I got up and saw he'd just shoveled them all into the grass. Now I have to really look the next time I go camping, not just for doggy doo, but Mule Muffins too!

I already wrote a whole blog post that covers the Kelowna area of BC, if you read "Re-Tire-ment_in_the_Okanagan" you've seen it, if not, click on this link: (but first read the rest of the post here, well, what ever, you can do what ever you want, really!)


If you missed it, or just want a quick recap, I had a bath in a stream. Naked, water not too cold, sunny day. Then I had another flat tire. So I slimed the tire, aired it up, and drove it to Kelowna BC. Then I camped a few days at a RV Park with internet, showers, and electricity. Next to a Wal-Mart. Got the tire replaced.

End of Recap!

After getting the tire replaced, I went on into Kelowna and saw my cousins Shane and Sheldon again for a few hours, then headed out on highway 97 again. It was kind of funny riding my motorcycle through Kelowna, fully loaded as it was. I mean, a bike like that in Yukon or Alaska seems kind of normal, lots of people do that. But not so much down town I guess. Had a few people look, smile and wave, honk, and roll down the windows at stop lights.

From Kelowna to the US Border at Osoyoos is a pretty quick ride, which went really easily.

I'll save the border crossing and the leg into Wenatchee, Washington state for the next post.

See you there!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2012-10-9