12 hours and 500km later....
Day trip to Duffy Lake and back Saturday May 19, 2012
I left home on Zena just before 8:30 AM. My plan was to ride to Whistler or Pemberton and then back. I was not sure how much stamina I would have, but knew I could do that much at least.
Highway 99 is commonly known as the Sea Sky highway. It gets a bad rap because of the speeders and crazy motorcyclists.
The road itself is great! If you are ever visiting the area it is worth the drive or ride.
My first stop of the day was to be my usual coffee stop at Galileo Coffee in Britannia. However, when I arrived it was so crowded I left. The one washroom had a long line and the line for the counter service was to the door. You would have thought a tour bus had arrived, except there was no bus.
I then rode to Shannon Falls thinking I could stop in at the washroom there. But there were several tour buses in there and it looked like every passenger was lined up for the washrooms. I did a u-turn and kept going north to Squamish.
I will not go to Starbucks in Squamish. Everybody goes there and it is like a show for the posers.
I stopped in at the Squamish Adventure Centre. It is on the right hand side of the highway as you go north. It has a visitor centre, big clean washrooms, adventure tours and.....Galileo Coffee. I only saw the CAFE sign on my way by which is why I pulled in. I was delighted to find it was Galileo.....same good coffee and baked goods and breakfast...but no crowds. http://www.adventurecentre.ca/
I won’t have to stop in at Britannia Beach for coffee anymore. I’ll go straight to Squamish.
Once I had my coffee and a quiche I pulled in front of the building for my obligatory picture of my bike in front of the building.
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.......and then rode north toward Whistler.
I stopped for a few view points along the way and to get a few snap shots.
This was at Green Lake with Blackcomb and the Horstman glacier in the background.
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Riding along at the speed limit was quite relaxing. Not only is it more relaxing to go the speed limit, but the tank of gas goes farther, too. I stayed in the right lane so the speedy people could go by.
The big lighted overhead sings clearly state....
CAUTION. Wildlife near highway. Do not stop to view or to feed.
It’s a good thing I was paying attention to my surroundings and that I was only riding 80kmh. Suddenly from my right side, a bear cub came darting out of the bushes and across the highway. I braked and downshifted and stopped without any problems. If I had been speeding there was potential to have collided with that bear.
Well...apparently people have no concept of safety on the winding road...as the traffic was humming along nicely; we suddenly came to a grinding halt. There were several vehicles pulled over on the right side.... (And on the other side going south)...the cars were on the curve and some were sticking out into the driving lane. There were also some people carrying camera across the road....I’d guess they spotted a bear....suddenly a black pickup truck turned on its red and blue flashing lights and pulled over to the other side and into the pasture like area. It was a conservation officer.
Due to the appearance of the officer, one of the men with a camera suddenly decided to come back across the road. By now traffic was moving again, but the man just walked out into the moving traffic forcing everyone to brake hard. I guess he wanted to avoid getting a fine, but sheesh....what’s a fine compared to being crushed by a car.
One other stop along the way was to get a view of the river that goes into Nairn Falls.
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I stopped in Pemberton for fuel for the bike and water and a snack for me. I re-set the odometer and decided that since I was still feeling energetic I would ride to Duffy Lake. It has taken me a long time to gain back my riding stamina. There are still days when I don’t ride at all because my back hurts too much or my torso is aching. (I suspect they will be lifelong reminders of the crash), but on days when I am feeling ok, I build up the time and distance. (Of course, Tylenol extra extra strength helps or so do anti inflammatory meds on other days .... and sometimes I might wear a back brace.....I also have to make sure to stop once in a while to get off the bike and walk around a little bit. It helps to prevent getting too stiff.
The cruise along the Lillooet Lake road and to the Duffy Lake road was so nice. At one point not far in front of me a coyote burst from the bushed and across the road. I am of the belief that where there is one wild animal there may be two.....so I slowed down....and sure enough right behind the coyote were two big barking dogs chasing the coyote off their property. They may not have been wild, but the fact that I had anticipated something might be coming was a good thing.
I stopped again for some view shots of mountains and my bike. It was in the middle of nowhere.
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It was silent except for the wind; and the occasional car or motorcycle that went by. Once I had my fill of the magnificence of the area, (suddenly needing to find a private place spurred me into action) I got back on my bike and rode toward Duffy Lake hoping to find a place to pull over. (Where I had been stopped would have been fine except for the fact that it was in the middle of nowhere and every vehicle that went by was looking to make sure I was ok. I figured if I walked away and into the bushes that it might look suspicious to see a motorcycle parked /possible abandoned in the middle of nowhere. ) At least if I could make it to the lake it would look proper to see something parked. There was a pullout for the scenery there.
My situation was getting desperate but there was no place to pull over. The road is a winding highway with gravel shoulders and no place to stop. Finally I came to the opening at the lake and pulled across the highway to park. I left my bike and walked rather briskly some distance away into the bushes. I barely made it on time. I am not prone to uh......um........diarrhea....so this was a shock to me. I felt a bit shaken but much better after.
Once back at my bike, I got my camera out and took a few pictures. I had walked across the highway and stood in the ditch to try to get a good angle.
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I heard the group of motorcyclist coming so I got a grab shot of them.
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Then from the other direction came a Porsche club out driving for the day. There must have been about 20 Porsches that went by.
While I was still standing in the ditch, I heard another motorcycle coming. I tuned my camera his direction hoping to get a picture, but when he saw me standing there he slowed down....I think he thought I was a police officer with a radar gun. LOL. Probably because of my bright vest with the reflective strips on it.
I got back on my bike to ride north a bit more and was going to keep going for a bit more...but....there was a tour bus at the boat launch area...facing south....Hmmmm...I decided that was just the time to turn around and start going south also. I wanted to be ahead of the bus for the winding road.
On my way south the views were different. I stopped a couple of times to take some pictures and then carried on into Pemberton. I rode along some back road in Pemberton for a while before asking someone if they knew how far the road went. I was hoping it would at some point join up with Highway 99 going south. Alas, it did not. It only went for another ten km and then became gravel. I have since looked on a Google map to see the road. That gravel road goes on for miles into the mountains and eventually comes to a dead end. It could be perfect for adventure riders.
I did not stop in Pemberton but kept going. I rode until just past Whistler before stopping. I was getting cold and so stopped to put on my extra layer and my warmer gloves.
I did not stop again until North Vancouver to send a text message to my guy to let him know I was back in town. By the time I was in North Van, I was tired and aching. If only I had not bothered with the back road extra side trip in Pemberton....but...I was almost home at this point so I kept going.
As soon as I got home, I moved my car out of the garage to put my bike in and make room for the Super Ten that was coming over.
I unloaded my bike and went in and made a big cup of tea, ran hot bath and cooked up some food. I felt somewhat revived after that. It didn’t last long though. The tiredness caught up to me. I have to say...I slept well that night.
Oh yes...I basically rode the speed limit most of the day. It was most enjoyable.