Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finn Slough, Steveston, BC

It was a sunny cool day. We decided to go to Steveston for brunch. Steveston is a small, waterfront community just south of Vancouver, I would say about an half hours drive. It has been evolving for a few years and more people are discovering the small town charm and many townhouses and condominum projects have brought in many thousands of new residents


There are a few waterfront restaurants scattered along the public pier and often there are fishing boats selling; fish, prawns, shrimps and other assorted seafoods. There are also a few "government" piers on both sides of the town where are anchored hundreds of fishing vessels.

(see the new condominiums in the background)

Since there is quick access to "open" water, the auxilliary coast guard also make there appearance in their powerful "zodiac" type rescue craft

(the main boardwalk area with restaurants overlooking the water)

While it appeared to be a great sunny day, it was too cool in our opinion to take an outside table. We stayed inside warm and cosy and looked out while we ate our scrumptious meal served along with their world renown Fish Chowder.


During the summer when the temperature is warmer the town is filled with local tourists and you will find it hard to obtain parking. It is a little oasis where you are able to escape the hussle-bussle of a hurried urban centre to find relaxation for a few hours

After lunch I was looking for some photo opportunities and I often head east to an area known as FINN SLOUGH


Finn Slough is located on the south arm of the Fraser River on a surge channel along a dyke surrounded by farmland


It is a very picturesque area for photos but there is a long term controversy regarding the settlers/residents of this area who are squatting on this public land owned by the Municipality of Richmond.


I would say that most of the residents are probably Fishermen and part their vessels in the surge channel which goes up and down with the tide. Right now the tide is low


Most of the "homes" (shacks) are made from re-cycled materials, while a few are very nicely constructed, as that home on floats


There are homes on both sides of this channel


Access to the homes on the other side of the channel is by a shaky, run down foot bridge with NO railings


You are able to walk over the bridge at your own risk


While the residents (are squatters) and have no legal right to be on this property and I assume pay no taxes I wonder how they managed to get electricity or phone service, and also I presume, managed to obtain house numbers from the post office for mail delivery.


I think you have to be very careful to not fall of the bridge or I think you may come up with some nasty infections. I am not sure if they have "city" water, but there are no sewer facilities that I can see


I would imagine that during the present economic situation they aren't too worried about their house prices


It is definitely a different lifestyle for some if you are of the self sufficient type. I can't imagine living under these conditions and I am sure not many of the locals in this large metropolitan area are even aware of Finn Slough's existance. (if you google Finn Slough you will find additional information)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sandon, BC

Did I mention that we like to travel along the backroads of British Columbia to experience the life and times of days gone by. We started our quest nearly 2 decades ago travelling to places not usually found on modern maps. Names of places such as Phoenix where there was a town on the top of a mountain, or Coalmont with a name like that you would expect that it had something to do with coal. Well, Coalmont was a whistle stop along the defunct Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). Or course all the tracks have been removed but they have turned the railbeds into a highway for cyclists. The steam engines used to stop at Coalmont to fill up with coal before their long trek through the mountains on their way to the Coast. There's not much there now except for a few crumbling buildings and an Old hotel/pub still used by the locals .
Sandon was one of those places that was nestled between 2 narrow mountains.

(access via a short 6 km gravel road)

Geographically Sandon is north of Creston. It is about a 12-14 hour drive from Vancouver in the Kootenays OR 4-5 hours East of Kelowna off Hwy 31A via the cable ferry at Needles.

(5 km marker)

Within this area are some of the best motorcycle roads in British Columbia. There is a very large BMW rally in Nakusp hosted by the BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club


The Sandon townsite is now privately owned, by a mining company I believe. At one time the population of Sandon was 5,000 residents. There were hotels, saloons and this was one of the first towns to have electricity.

(Sandon, main street)

There are still some residents living here but not much else is going on.

(business opportunity waiting for a buyer)

There is a preservation group working towards restoring some of the buildings. The museum was closed but generally open during the two summer months (tourist season).

(former: Japanese Tea House)

The winters are very harsh in this area due to this narrow valley. It is only about 1 km wide and during the winter months, with the low angle of the sun, makes for a very short window for sunshine to build up any heat. You were lucky to get 1 hour of sun daily, that is, if the sun came out at all. Sandon was a designated Japanese Interment Camp during the War. The Japanese were rounded up and taken to these camps away from the coast as a security measure. This building was used as their Tea House while they were here.

(another view showing the road up the mountain)

If you travel up the road near the top of the mountain, there is a hiking trail that will take you to the top with a commanding view of Slocan Lake.

(Museum: Sandon, BC)

Sandon was built up on both sides of the River. Actually the town was actually built "on top" of the river. There was a boardwalk over the river and buildings to both sides with foundations on the 'dirt' . This boardwalk was the "Main Street" which you see and hear the water flowing below.

(looking north)

This could be a fast moving river, at certain times of the year.

(looking south)

Imagine walking on the boardwalk over the river, sort of like a main street with stores on both sides with a population of 5,000. people

link here: <--- click for more info

One winter some beavers upstream built a dam which blocked the water flow. It was during the night and the residents didn't have any warning when the dam was holding back too much water and finally broke. The resulting rush of water created a sort of tidal wave which "wiped out" the town destroying everything.


Sandon was used as an Internment Camp for only ONE year as the winters were too severe

You can find more info here:

It is an interesting place and if you are in the area try to allow time for a visit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

VMS: Vancouver Motorcycle Show, addendum

A while ago I was reading one of my favourite BLOGS (Key West Diary) where conchscooter was making a comparison between a BMW and a Bonneville, not really a review but more impressionistic, and there was some chitter-chatter in the comments:

"Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:11:00 AM EST
Conchscooter said...
Sieg Heil! I thought Bruno Ganz as Hitler in "Downfall" was masterful. And this version was absolutely hilarious!!Of course it would have been off the charts for Hitler to ride a Brough or a I guess a VFR from the Axis was the best he could permit himself...
Jack, when you get to Key West I will lay in the parking lot and you can ride over me with your water buffalo"

"Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:23:00 PM EST
irondad said...
This was a thoughtful review. I'd choose the Triumph to ride. Can identify with both bikes.

I've been called "not much to look at but functional". BMW

My outsides are looking more aged but the insides are a finely tuned machine. Bonneville"

I have a journalistic style of photography, not humourous in the journalistic style of my colleague Jack Riepe of Twisted Roads of whom I admire for his light-hearted way he looks at the world but journalistic in the way my photography has been tempered by my many years of shooting photos on the streets of East Vancouver ("street photography"). I am trying to say that I take a lot of photos and you only get to see a small portion of them. While at the VMS this year there was a static display of vintage bikes

(Triumph, Vancouver Motorcycle Show, Vancouver, BC January, 2009)

I can't really see the gauges from my angle and I am unsure whether or not Tachometers are standard equipment or not. I have had numerous motorcycles in my riding career (since the late 60's) and I cannot think of any bike I have ever owned which did not come with a Tach as standard equipment. Cruisers I can understand as they are not performance machines but I have never owned a cruiser . The closest thing I had that resembled a cruiser was my Suzuki GS1100L which I purchased new back in 1981 but it was really a sport bike with "laid back" handlebars.

(Triumph "955")

If you squint you can see TWO round gauge clusters which would appear to have a Speedometer AND a TACHometer, and an OIL cooler too

(Triumph Bonneville "750")

Now here's a shot of the Bonneville "750" and you can clearly see TWO round gauges, so this one should have a TACH and SPEEDO . Notice that these old machines have a KICK STARTER. I wished my bike had a manual kick starter. I wonder if Jack Riepe's 75 year old K75 has a manual Kick Starter. I guess that's why it's called a K75. Like fine wine it has to be aged in order to achieve perfection. I know that Jack has been riding for a very long time, perhaps Kick starters hadn't been invented yet ? I'm sure he will chime in soon to let us know.


You learn something new every day. Did you know that the 1969 Trimph Trident 750 held the land speed record ? I didn't. The record was set during September 2008. I don't know how come it took 39 years

(1969 Triumph Trident "750" body #240)

Here it is "in the flesh" so to speak. I wanted to touch it but it was behind a roped area and on a rotating pedestal. When I saw it I immediately thought of my colleague down in KW (Key West) and snapped this photo. Something like this would be perfect down on the roads in KW where all the roads are straight and there are barely any twisties in sight.


(Triumph TRW, circa 1950's)

This TRW also had a "spring cushioned" seat and canvas saddle bags. (Note: it was hard to take a full view due to the crowds and narrow isles)

Take a look at the following, can you guess what it is ? Looks like a "gear shift" handle . . .

(1924 Brough Superior "SS80")


Here's a close-up view of the engine, A thing of beauty and complicated.

(Engine: Brough Superior "SS80")

Now I didn't know it at the time but Irondad just made a post about Police Bikes The RCMP had a police display at the motorcyle show

(RCMP:IRSU Police Bike)

It's a Harley, something or other. (I know nothing about HD models)


We asked the people at the booth what IRSU meant and everyone was scrambling to find out for us. It's not an easy acronym to decipher. Wish my name ended in "Riepe" for I know he will devise something appropriate. Finally after much searching she came back and said that IRSU stands for: Integrated Road Safety Unit.

(Brough Superior "ss80")

I just love the look of old technology, but if it broke it would be a door stop, UNLESS of course, I belonged to the MAC-PAC "Eating & Wrenching Society" . I could give that famous Harp Seal Sorry look and Brian Curry will come to my rescue.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunshine Coast: Hwy 101 North

We had a few sunny days, without fog, and the cool northern air returned. Frosty mornings and today a bit of Snow in some areas of Vancouver, and nothing in others, which makes for dicey riding. Our colleague down in KW, FL often makes fun of us Northerners who have to endure these frigid temperatures to which he is not accustomed. He mocks us on nearly every post with his la-di-da T-shirt and Short pants weather. (his blog is here) As if our temperatures don't reach as high as 14C several times during the year.
As if he didn't know that Vancouver, BC is the Key West of Canada where it seldom snows and temperatures seldom go below Zero, but this year has been an exception. We have had the worst weather in nearly 40 years. And while we would be riding our Motorcycles and scooters all year round, this winter they have been parked longer than normal. Over the years we have built friendships with other riders and I remember a ride we took a year or so ago in the Fall

(scooters enroute on a BC Ferries headed for Gibsons, BC)

One brisk day in October a few of us decided to take a ride over to the Sunshine Coast. I say brisk since it was a cool, cloudy day and the temps were expected to reach around 16C later in the afternoon. We met early and took the lower level road (Marine Drive) to Horseshoe Bay. Pay our fares and hop onto a BC Ferries over to Gibsons, BC. We continued northward up Hwy 101 to Sechelt and decided to take Porpoise Bay Road (North east) until we reached a small cove.

(one of many bed and breakfasts along the Sunshine Coast)

This area is fairly secluded and your rooms look out over the ocean. There is little traffic on this stretch and there are other private cabins. It sure would be nice to own a hideaway up here.


This private road winds its way along the water and we found this peaceful cove where we stopped for some photo opps

(our five scoots lined up in formation)

We headed back to Sechelt where we found a small oceanview pub to have lunch and warm up.


Here is a group shot of the five of us waiting for our meal

(Mark, Robert, Emelia, Yvonne & Myself, not shown)

After lunch we gathered along the pier and took a few more pictures

(Government Pier, Sechelt, BC)

After lunch we headed north on Hwy 101 up to Halfmoon Bay. This is a small community approx half way between Gibsons and Earl's Cove, a short stop to stretch our legs and visit the local store for a snack

(Halfmoon Bay general store)

(some where along the coast south of Halfmoon Bay, BC)

This is an essential part of any ride

(washroom break)

Yes, it was a great day for a ride. Beautiful water views all day, sort of like KW except the roads aren't straight. Lots of twisties to challenge your abilities, and traffic was light. The Sunshine Coast is only accessible by Ferries from both directions as you cannot drive there due to the geographical locations of the mountains and the water. From the beginning of the day until we arrived home was nearly 12 hours. The Ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Gibsons is nearly 1 hour each way, plus waiting times. At this time of year the ferries leave every 2 hours and there were lots of vehicular traffic but we were lucky as scooters and motorcycles get assured loading with the BC Ferries Corporation. You get to pass all the Cagers and ride to "the front of the line" to load on the "next sailing" .
Your 2 wheeled machine is first on and first off without having to make any reservations.

(our Group, Government Pier, Sechelt, BC)

Another great day, with friends and doing what we like to do. Spring is just around the corner and a new year of riding and memories will begin. We can't wait . . .