Ride Report: Chilliwack -> Kamloops -> Chilliwack

This past weekend was my birthday (“Happy Birthday!” “Thanks!” There. We’ve gotten that out of the way) and I had originally planned on doing this ride with Kim but as she has apparently lost her mind, I had to do it on my own.:)

Even though I’ve put tens of thousands of kilometers on my 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES Sport Tourer, it was all (except for a ride to Vancouver Island last summer) on Lower Mainland roads so I’d been itching to “get out of town” on a long ride.

I’d heard from several fellow riders that the “Duffy Lake Loop” was a real treat so I made that part of my goal. As I didn’t have anywhere else to be, I decided to make it an overnight trip so I could do the route as leisurely as I’d like.

Now, for you non-motorcyclists, the trip from where I live to Kamloops is 254kms (158 miles) and Google Maps says it would take a little under 3 hours. But that would be *boring*. I decided I’d make my route Chilliwack -> Squamish -> Pemberton -> Lillooet -> Cache Creek -> Spences Bridge -> Merritt -> Kamloops. Eight hours and 640kms (400 miles).

The trip from Chilliwack -> Squamish was uneventful. I’d done it many times before. I *thought* I was on a leisurely pace until I got to the Starbucks in Squamish and realized I’d gotten there in only 90 minutes. Ooops…in my defense, those of you who have ridden the new(ish) Sea To Sky Highway, with its smooth roads and big sweepy curves will understand.

I met this beautiful fella outside the Starbucks:
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Next stop would be in Pemberton to fill up on gas. Unbeknownst to me (I’d never been past Whistler), this is where the real fun would begin. If you’ve never been, Pemberton is quite pretty.
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I saw a group of local Gold Wing riders at the gas station and stopped to chat with them, mostly on behalf of my new Gold Wing riding buddy Terry:
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Typical of riders in general, they were full of useful information and tips on the route I was about to take. They kindly offered to let me join up with them but, as I really didn’t have much of a plan and was thinking I’d stop frequently, I declined. Plus, I didn’t have the heart to tell them I planned on traveling at speeds a little higher than they were likely to be going.:) (not a knock on Wings or Wingers. I know they can ride better and faster than I can but they were in a group and I was solo so…)

The Pemberton -> Lillooet road, 100kms (60 miles) is absolute nirvana. Beautiful (and highly distracting!) scenery, pretty good roads (only a couple of short construction areas), wonderful sweeping curves and not much traffic. It was *glorious*.
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Next was the ride to the Horstings Farm Market in Cache Creek that had been recommended by a fellow rider. I will say, it was disappointing. Boring sandwich and bland, mushy blueberry pie.

My plan was to then go to Spences Bridge but, as I have the worst sense of direction in the world, I got lost even while using a GPS!😦 But, “lost” is the wrong word to use when you don’t care where you are or where you’re going.:)

There’s a fork in the road out of Cache Creek – one way goes to Spences Bridge, the other goes to Logan Lake. As is pretty typical of my life, whenever I come to a fork in the road, I inevitably take the *wrong* one.:) I didn’t know I was even going in the “wrong” direction (I was headed to Merritt so I would have gotten there eventually regardless of the route I took) until I stopped by this weird “lake” near Logan Lake (anyone know what this is?):ShawnKing_2016-May-07
and talked to a couple of fellow riders who told me Spences Bridge was *behind* me. Oh well.

What was really interesting was how much the scenery changed from the Pemberton area (typical west coast trees and mountains) to the “almost desert” of the Logan Lake area.

I made it to Merritt with no problems and fueled up. I was meeting friends in Kamloops for a birthday dinner and didn’t want them to have to wait on me so I took the Coquihalla from Merritt to Kamloops. Ugh. What an awful, boring road on a motorcycle.

The only downside was, on a high speed stretch, I was following a SUV when suddenly, they swerved across the yellow line. I thought, “WTF are they doing!” as I braked. But there was no danger obvious – until I looked about 10 yards in front of the bike.

There was momma duck staring at me. Six baby ducks in a row, crossing the highway. One baby duck straggling behind.

There wasn’t enough time to get aggressive on the brakes but there was a gap between the six in a row and the straggler so I went for it…and the straggler ran in front of the bike….:(

“NO!” I screamed in my helmet. “YOU WERE OK WHERE YOU WERE!” I felt the small “bump, bump” under my tires. Poor little fellow. I felt awful about it but, as I explained to my non-riding friends over dinner, there are two obstacles on the road – “Squishables” and “Non-squishables”. You never lay your bike down for a squishable.

Once I got into Kamloops, I got lost a couple more times (my TomTom GPS, while OK, frequently can’t find addresses or know about roads that have been in place for *years*) before I made it to my perfectly ordinary but cheap hotel. Dinner with great friends from college and in bed by 9am, exhausted but happy.
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I was up bright and early the next morning….even though I didn’t want to be. I have no idea why the Hospitality Inn staff decided to, while putting me at the very end of the building, also put a family of five in the room next to me. So the “Crying Baby Alarm Clock” I didn’t need went off at 3am….and 5am…and 7am….Oh, screw it – I’ll just get up…

The best part of my morning was, while I was at Starbucks, my mom, sister and niece back in Nova Scotia called and wished me a happy birthday. Always great talking to family.

I was in no hurry to get home so I wanted to make sure I at least found out where Spences Bridge was so, after coffee, I headed to Merritt via Highway 5A.IMG_7929
OH. MY. GOD. That sign should be amended to “Motorcyclists: Speed Up in Curves”! It was AMAZING. If you ever see a motorcyclist on the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Kamloops, THEY ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD. 5A was spectacular. Wonderful big sweeping curves, great scenery, no traffic. I couldn’t have had more fun. Until I got on Highway 8 to Spences Bridge!
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It was just as much fun as 5A. Needless to say, I had an absolutely fantastic time on those roads.

After Spences Bridge (which, BTW, isn’t even there any more), it’s a pretty familiar trip back home. And the scenery got even *better*:
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On the Trans-Canada headed home, I hit a personal milestone:
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I haven’t been riding long (I got my M/C license 11 years ago but have only owned a bike for about half that time), so putting 40K kms (25,000 miles) on any one bike is a pretty big deal. Even more so, I’ve only had this bike for 18 months.:)IMG_7934

It might have been because of Mothers Day but there was very little traffic on the road and most of it was easy to pass. But I wasn’t in much of a hurry so I stopped often to enjoy the scenery and take pictures. There was only one section (about a kilometer long) that had this:
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That sign tends to get your attention and slow you down on the bike! I stopped a few times (only when it was safe to do so!) to take pics of some of the various tunnels along the route:IMG_7937

Before finally making it home. Grand total was two days, 14 hours on the bike, 1300 kms (807 miles), great weather, great friends, and a great bike all mean it was the best birthday weekend I’ve ever had.IMG_7941

I Raced A Harley Today

From Michael J. Costa on Facebook:

I raced a Harley today but, after some really hard riding, I managed to PASS the guy. I was riding on one of those really, really twisting parts of a canyon road with no straight sections to speak of and where most of the curves have warning signs that say “15 MPH”.

I knew if I was going to pass one of those monsters with those big cubic-inch motors, it would have to be a place like this where handling and rider skill are more important than horsepower alone.

I saw the guy up ahead as I exited one of the turns and knew I could catch him, but it wouldn’t be easy. I concentrated on my braking and cornering. Three corners later, I was on his fender. Catching him was one thing; passing him would prove to be another.

Two corners later, I pulled up next to him as we sailed down the mountain. I think he was shocked to see me next to him, as I nearly got by him before he could recover. Next corner, same thing. I’d manage to pull up next to him as
we started to enter the corners but when we came out he’d get on the throttle and outpower me. His horsepower was almost too much to overcome, but this only made me more determined than ever.

My only hope was to outbrake him. I held off squeezing the lever until the last instant. I kept my nerve while he lost his. In an instant, I was by him. Corner after corner, I could hear the roar of his engine as he struggled to
keep up.

Three more miles to go before the road straightens out and he would pass me for good.

But now I was in front and he would no longer hold me back. I stretched out my lead and, by the time we reached the bottom of the canyon, he was more than a full corner behind. I could no longer see him in my rear-view mirror.

Once the road did straighten out, it seemed like it took miles before he passed me, but it was probably just a few hundred yards. I was no match for that kind of horsepower, but it was done. In the tightest section of road, where bravery and skill count for more than horsepower and deep pockets, I had passed him. Though it was not easy, I had won the race to the bottom of the canyon and I had preserved the proud tradition of one of the best bits of Brit Iron.

I will always remember that moment. I don’t think I’ve ever pedalled so hard in my life. Some of the credit must go to Raleigh Cycles, as well. They really make a great bicycle.
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Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version) Only $8!

The restored version of Lawrence of Arabia (affiliate link) is only $8 on the US Apple store right now!
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One of the screen’s grandest epics, this monumental story recounts the true-life experiences of T.E. Lawrence, better known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia. A young, idealistic British officer in WWI, Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is assigned to the camp of Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness), an Arab tribal chieftain and leader in a revolt against the Turks. In a series of brilliant tactical maneuvers, Lawrence leads fifty of Feisal’s men in a tortured three-week crossing of the Nefud Desert to attack the strategic Turkish-held port of Aqaba. And following his successful raids against Turkish troops and trains, Lawrence’s triumphant leadership and unyielding courage gain him nearly god-like status among his Arab brothers.

If you’ve never seen this movie, BUY IT NOW. One of the most incredible films of all time – acting, directing, cinematography – you can not watch a better movie than this.

Cut Off in Traffic? Don’t Do This


This is a great example of, “It doesn’t matter if you’re right if you’re dead”.

See if you can spot what the motorcycle rider did wrong (several things, actually).

1) The rider wasn’t watching his mirrors. At the 58 second mark, you can see in his right mirror the (asshole) in the car come up on him. The rider should have seen this coming.

2) He challenged the (asshole) in the car and wasn’t ready for the asshole to brake check him.

There’s no doubt the (asshole) in the car is completely in the wrong in this situation and I hope the rider reports him to the police. That being said, once you get the license plate number of the vehicle, back off. A motorcycle will never win in a physical confrontation with a car.

Burt Reynolds Unveils New ‘Bandit Edition’ Trans Am And It Sounds Incredible


Burt Reynolds Unveils New ‘Bandit Edition’ Trans Am
“The Pontiac Trans Am was originally manufactured by General Motors from 1967 to 2002 but with the folding of the Pontiac brand back in 2009, it seemed like we’d never the badass car again. However, that all changed when a company called Trans Am Depot licensed the name and badge.”

Is it just me or is this….disappointing? While I like the paint and the engine (840 horsepower!), the body style isn’t anywhere near as cool as the original. And, if you’re going to update the car, why not update the transmission, too? I mean, an automatic? Lame! (To be fair, the original was an automatic – only thing I hated about it).

I’d still take an original 1977 Bandit Trans-Am over this.

The Presse by Bobble

I love coffee and, while I’m not nearly the coffee snob some people are, I love a good cup of coffee. I know enough about coffee to know that different brewing methods make for different kinds, tastes and flavors of coffee. I’m also a fan of gadgets in general.

Every morning, I make a pot of coffee using a regular old (crappy) Black and Decker cheap coffee maker. The first cup is pretty good but, because it sits on a heating pad, it eventually heats the coffee up so that the last couple of cups are awful. So I’m always on the look out for a different (and inexpensive) way to make coffee.

I saw this online yesterday:

It’s The Presse by Bobble. It looked kinda cool so I thought I’d treat myself and buy it. After adding it to my shopping cart, I found that the company doesn’t ship to Canada – DAMMIT!

Well, this morning on Twitter, I saw this:

@ShawnKing give @welldotca a try! https://t.co/JNxK13QCRw

— bobble (@bobble) March 3, 2016

WOO HOO! And, even better, it’s cheaper on the Canadian site! So in 6-8 days, I’ll be making coffee in my new The Presse by Bobble! I’ll let you know how it goes.:)