Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Calm before the Storm

Summer's only been gone for about a week and this is our 1st full weekend of Fall.  Temperatures have fallen a lot.  It has barely gotten higher than 11°c all weekend with lows around 7°c.   I head into the sun each way on my commute to work so I can't ride, as I am blinded by the sun

Vancouver is built around hills and you cannot avoid them.  Here is a particularly bad section for me as the sun is right at road level as you approach the top.    Your sun visor is of no use at this angle.  You are in the shadow of the dip in the road and then you are blinded as you near the top.  Luckily we don't get that many sunny days during the Winter.   It has been raining nearly every day since last week and this is just the lull before another storm makes it's way here

I stop to snap a photo of these dark clouds.   I have the same problem on my way home with the low setting sun on my evening commute.   I am stuck in heavy traffic and it is hard to see.  It's only 6:38 pm and I still haven't made it home

Our worst day of the weekend was forecast to be Saturday.  It started raining late Friday night with rain expected every day until next Wednesday

I had some errands to do and when it rains, our traffic slows down to a crawl.    The sun managed to make a short appearance around sunset but I was too late to get a good vantage point

I just missed the reflected glow off the buildings by mere minutes . . .

the buildings now look cold and lifeless as the light slowly ebbs away

and the dark clouds only forshadow what was to be . . .

The rain came down so hard it was like being under a waterfall.   We had so much water our city drains could not handle the downpour so there was pooling water everywhere with minor flooding.  The winds caused power outages all over town

And this is only our first weekend of our new Fall season

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

North, South, East & West in Steveston, BC

It's amazing how fast our weather has deteriorated.   I managed to take two vacation days just a week ago in Lillooet, BC  (read about it here) when the weather was like summer.  It was hot and sunny.  Temperatures were close to 30c ((86F) and now it barely reaches 16c (61F), a big difference in such a short time.   My summer attire consists of a T-shirt, sandals or sandal-less (which I prefer)

When I am on vacation I don't bring shoes either and I never brought a pair on my transcontinental trip  so you can imagine how I felt last Sunday when I had to forgo my shorts and dress for the wet weather

Saturday brought me to Steveston and I was early for breakfast with the guys

So I headed over to the boardwalk.  Not many people around this early and the shops are not yet open.  I walked down to see what the fishing boats had for sale

On these Harbour docks, you are only allowed to sell what you have caught so the crews of these fishing boats were busy displaying their catch(es).    I was standing at the end of one float and looked at the rising sun

    Looking  EAST

then I looked to my right

   Looking   SOUTH

and then I decided to show you the other two directions

    Looking  WEST

and finally . . .

    Looking   NORTH

and here are some more snaps as I was walking back to our breakfast cafe

There are lots of shrimp for sale, and you can barter "a bit"

or you may prefer some fish

they seem to have a good variety to choose from today

Excuse the "fast" panning.  I know that the Vendors are uneasy when they know you are "filming".  The seafood is being sold right off their fishing boats

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Red dirt of PEI: Prince Edward Island

July 25, 2013:    We arrived on the Island of PEI, I wrote about it here.    We spent a few days exploring and relaxing and one day we also got rained out and could not ride the North Cape Loop, which has the highest concentration of lighthouses in North America and a spectacular coastline.  Just one more reason to go back . . .

    North Rustico Harbour

A storm was brewing and expected to hit the North Cape the next morning so we decided to stay put and not ride anywhere.  Good thing too as a funnel cloud hit Summerside, PEI and created a deluge of water and flooding and it was right along our intended route.   Since the weather was iffy, VstarLady decided to go for a long walk and I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep pace so I put on my wet weather gear and went exploring . . .

David asked about the red dust/dirt so I thought I would provide a few photos.  The next one I may have posted before.

Most of the local roads have a reddish colour.  Probably due to the inclusion of the red sand.  Most of the parking areas are dirt or gravel and when wet they are as slippery as talcum powder.  That's why you notice that I parked on the asphalt and not on the dirt portion

While this parking area appears to be paved, it isn't.  Many cars and trucks have trampled the ground, over time, which gives the appearance that it has been paved.  It is not completely flat and there are puddles everywhere

I am not a fan of riding in mud or gravel but I stopped for a photo because of the name.  I mean, how can I resist ?

Notice that while they were experiencing record temperatures back home in Vancouver with no rain for days, we are here under overcast skies and threatening rain, hardly seems like July

I decided to spend some time here, walking about, visiting the gift store and snapping a few photos of the old lighthouse and then I decided to head south for a few miles and explore the countryside.  I am not in a rush to go anywhere.  Eventually I head back to Cavendish to have a snack, find Karen and head back to camp

Notice that they have red dirt roads here too.   Our time was too limited and it would have been nice to stay a few more days but the weather was not on our side

The next day we (Karen) decided that we should go to Wood Island

The plan was to park on pavement and walk the short distance on the red dirt.   I look at how far it was and decided to just ride .   The walk would have killed me . . .

    BMW R1200R with the Wood Island Lighthouse

Here's a short video of our off-road adventure

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Confederation Bridge: NB to PEI

I left Vancouver on July 10th, 2013 and a mere 16 days later I found myself in Pocologan, New Brunswick.  My tour guide and myself packed up early from our  accommodations with a view of the Bay of Fundy

It was exciting to think that we would soon be riding over the famous Confederation Bridge which connects New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island

Vstar*Lady had an important family matter to attend to so I waited patiently and played with my camera.  As I think about it now, it seems like a dream that never happened.   We had finally reached the destination of our tour this year, to spend a few days on PEI

and ride over THE bridge.   A few hours later we finally arrived . . .

Here is a bird's eye view of the 12.9 kilometer bridge as it looks from the handlebars of my BMW R1200R.  You can just notice PEI in the background

We had been talking about riding our bikes over the Conferation Bridge ever since we were planning this trip, and now we are doing it

There are not that many vantage points available to pose your bike

At the time this bridge was constructed, it was the longest bridge over open water.  It is now know as the longest bridge over ice covered water.

Here is a video to show you how long it felt . . .   VstarLady is in front but I hung back a bit to try and show you a clear road ahead

I was having so much lobster I think I was turning into one

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Arun Nangla: A rider from London, UK arrives in Lillooet, BC

I had just finished setting up camp for the night and I still had a couple of hours before sunset with nothing to do except to just sit and stare at the sky.   My original plan was to head north and snap some photos of the Canyon but I also wanted to relax and do nothing

There are not many people here so I decided to just sit on top of the picnic table and enjoy the warmth of the sun contemplating my next move.  I already had a terrible meal in town and I was just waiting for sunset so I could call it a day and go to sleep for the night .   Sometimes it's not so easy to travel alone.

Before long I heard the sounds of a motorcycle coming my way.   The rider must have noticed my bike and rode right over

Meet Arun with his BMW GS1150.   I think he had a long day and rode from Prince George, BC.    He wanted to grap a spot with WiFi and I told him there was NO  WiFi here and he nearly rode away but in the end he decided to stay and share my campsite with me

He had his GS shipped from London, UK to Anchorage, AK.   From there he rode to Prudhoe Bay, north of the Arctic Circle

and now he is here, just in time to keep me company.   It turns out that he is a professional photographer in London .    Here is his   website   (click here)     He has been riding Royal Enfields for over 20 years and only recently purchased his GS1150 so he could make this trip

Photography has been my hobby for over 50 years so we seemed to have a lot in common talking about Sinars, Toyos & Hasselblads, and also GoPro Hero3 action cameras as he was given one to document his travels.   We talked the night away.   He is on his way to Ushuaia, Argentina at the tip of South America

He told me that he has already been on the road for about 7 months.   He had his bike shipped from London, UK to New Delhi, India and spent a month riding around the country which included the highest motorable pass in India and then he rode his bike back to London where he reshipped his bike to North America

Morning came too soon.  I was up at 6am, my usual time but the sun was not up yet so I waited a bit until it got a bit brighter.

Then we both started to dismantle our tents and pack our bikes and Arun made a strong cup of espresso coffee to kickstart his day.   While we were packing up we were visited by another camper and one of her dogs

Soon we were ready to roll.   We decided to have breakfast together before we headed our separate ways

Since Lillooet is a small town it was not hard to find parking right in front

We talk a bit more and then our meals arrive.   I don't like to ride on an empty stomach

Soon it was time for us to leave.  Arun wanted to end up in Oregon by nightfall . . .

I think Arun was planning to be on the road for another 6 months.   He has not posted a ride report anywhere but he does have a facebook page    (Click HERE)     I am sure he would be thrilled to hear from you

Arun, safe travels and arrive home safely.  It was very nice to meet you

our meeting was meant to be . . .

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Short Get-a-way to Lillooet, BC

It all started last week when I decided to "seal" the threads on my Marmot tent.

There were torrential rains and flash flood warnings last July when we were in Bar Harbor, Maine and my tent had some minor leakage on the lower seams.   It turns out that the seams are not sealed on any tent from the factory so I bought some stuff to make them a bit more water resistant

I have methyl hydrate so I soaked a paper rag and cleaned up the threads before applying this seam stuff.  I let it cure for about half a day before I packed up my tent again

It looks shiney but it is dry and no longer tacking.  It's not the neatest job but as long as it works then I will be satisfied

Now that my tent was ready I was anxious to try it out and go camping one more time this year.  I never had much of a chance to relax on my cross country trip as I was riding long days and usually arrived at my destination for the night at sunset.   My original plan was to stop during the early afternoon and just relax for a few hours before sunset, but this was mostly not possible.   This time I wanted to pick a place a few short hours away and set up camp early and just enjoy the sun and relax

Early last week the long range forecast was for excellent weather.   Sunny and hot for this time of year with no rain in sight for a few days.   I still had a few vacation days left and I have to use them up by a certain time so I was able to book two days  on very short notice.

Last Thursday I left home around 8am and headed over the Lions Gate Bridge

and took the Upper Levels highway (hwy 401) and headed up the Sea-to-Sky highway.  No photos during this stretch but I stopped in Squamish for a quick breakfast sandwich and then headed past Whistler up to Pemberton and arrived in the native community of Mount Currie

I wanted to show you the Lil'Wat Gas Station & General Store

I wanted to show you the Stop Sign.   T'allec must mean stop.

I arrive at the junction and before long I was headed towards the famous Duffey Lake Road

There is nothing besided trees and bears until you get to Lillooet.  I did see a bear on the side of the road but I was going too fast to snap a photo.  He looked at me and smiled as I whizzed by on my Beemer.  Since I am riding alone I don't like to ride too fast

It is hard to see but the Lake is on the left side.  There is not much traffic along this stretch this morning

I eventually ride to the North end of Duffey Lake and stop to admire the blue water.   I continue on my way and as I approach Lillooet the terrain changes from flat and forest to arrid and mountainous.   I am riding to enjoy the scenery and I let all the aggressive drivers pass but soon I come upon another rider who was also riding at scenic pace so I just kept behind and followed

Eventually this rider pulled over at a scenic viewpoint so I pulled over too

Meet Alex riding his new Honda CBF1000 who is from North Vancouver.  We chat for a while and soon I am on my way again and stop at Seton Lake

From this point there are a series of switchbacks leading to water level

Soon I am walking the main street of Lillooet, BC.  I forgot my sunhat and I have to be careful to keep the sun off my head but I find one at one of the local stores

Hard to believe that I left home around 8am and after only 300 kms I only arrived here just after 2pm.  I mean it only took me 6 hours to do a 3 hour ride.   I still had lots of time to set up camp and relax but now the decision is to determine where to stay.

I think I am getting better at finding a home for the night.  There is hardly anyone else here and this campground is self registration

I think I am getting better at finding a home for the night.  There is hardly anyone here and this campground is on the honour system.  I set up my inflatable sleeping pad and sleeping bag and settle in for the rest of the day

So there is nothing more to do except to wait for the sun to go down . . .  there is no one to talk to.   I decided to just sit on the picnic table and ponder what to do and it was not long before I heard the sounds of another Motorcyclist heading my way . . .