From Toad Rock straight to Vancouver. Road #3 went through Okanagan Valley and the weather there was hot as hell. But opportunity to swim in Shaka Lake in Penticton and watch landing airplanes was worth it. Less pleasant was ascent from Kelowna to west on road 97C. With my 5.5 horsepower motorcycle it took my more than one hour on first gear to get up the hill. Sooo fascinating…
On the other hand, downhill from Coquihalla Pass to Hope was quarter hour long trip running around 70 km/h on neutral. If I had proper tailwind I could go more than 100 km/h which would be record, because construction speed of my CZ is 85 km/h 🙂
I used #7 to get to the Rain City and when the traffic was getting heavier I know I am in the city. I got one advice only – do not visit East Hastings Street. Why I realized when I saw S.W.A.T team, ten police cars and homeless everywhere. That was the moment when I realized I am on Hastings Street. Hups.
To rest from the bike I spent few days with my host Petr and his girlfriend Marie, usually in the centre and Stanley Park relaxing and enjoying sun which I heard is pretty much rare to see, especially in winter. Relax and maintenance, I got flat on rear tire again.
West end of my trip is getting closer. So I thought at least. Ferry to Nanaimo and for a change, I got another flat tire. On a rear wheel. Oh man… I could not find the reason, but I had another spare tube, so it was fast and painless this time.
I chose Tofino as my most west destination due to several reasons. First as a movie and show reference, Joshua Jackson ended his journey here in One Week movie and also Charlie Boorman decided to finish his show Extreme Frontier on the pier with the view on the Pacific Ocean. Second, I got ton of recommendations Tofino is beautiful, nature is gorgeous and it is perfect place to relax. And I must agree.
Little problem was with accommodation, everything was full. That could not stop me, I grabbed my sleeping bag and went to sleep on Tonquin Beach. Sunset and sunrise there was awesome. Little bit cold due to dew and uncomfortable because of big amount of mosquitos, but hey, totally worth it!
Going home? Not yet. There are places along the route to Victoria worth to visit. Pacific Rim National Park and rainforest, down the road river with natural fun park where you can do cliff jumping or relax in whirlpool or MacMillan Cathedral Grove with giant Douglas-firs.
Capital city of British Columbia and reunion with Steve. As former owner of dealership he showed me backstage of true big motorcycle shop. I felt like in one of the episodes of America Chopper. With all the pictures, old bikes and Steve’s stories, you could feel the motorcycle enthusiasm in there and in Steve’s soul.
I missed mountains already and the one place close enough is Mount Douglas. Perfect view on Victoria, Strait of Juan de Fuca and States far away. Sunset there must be ideal for taking pictures. Awesome place also are Butchart Gardens with all kinds of flowers, shrubs and trees, in different styles and colours. I would like to describe to you more but I could recognize roses and Japanese garden only, so…
Back to Vancouver during rush hour which is always fun for my nerves and for bike’s air-cooled engine. Once I hit Sea to Sky Hwy 99 I was in paradise again although this highway was nicer from Whistler to Lillooet because, obviously, I could not see the Sea behind my back.
Whistler is sport centre for all adrenaline junkies and if somebody will recommend to you hike to Wedgemount Lake do not listen to him. It is beautiful view from there and its good experience, but it will take you whole day and without proper practice your knee will be cursing you. But hey, if you want to take one of the nicest hikes in Whistler, go ahead.
End of Hwy 99 was the place of decision. Left up north to Yukon or right to Kamloops and to the end in Edmonton? I got time so Yukon it is! Shorter and nicer road should be #37, let’s take that. And it was long, sometimes interesting, sometimes boring and for most of the time, cold. It took me about 5 days to get to Whitehorse and for about 3 and 1/2 days I was going nuts in rain. Yes, Gore-Tex clothing is working pretty well, but shoes and gloves will sucks water anyway and even though you are dry, all the water is freezing through the fabric. Coffee stops were more frequent than usual.
Despite the rain I was lucky to see several black bears, deers, reindeers or buffalos, had a chat with people from First Nations and not paying them theirs surcharges, or exchanging experiences with other crazy travellers, such as four cyclists riding from Alaska to Florida. It was almost winter and they just started their journey. Good luck guys!
In Whitehorse it was getting stranger. Out of nowhere I started to hear weird noise on 3rd gear from somewhere near engine and drive chain. First suggestion was loose chain so I tighten it little bit however it did not remove the weird noise. Looked like something with gearbox, which I hope is not true. Engine worked except the noise, so I just continued slowly and carefully to middle of nowhere.
The next morning just before Carmacks, suddenly weird noise appeared on 2nd gear as well, clutch refused to work and all of sudden the engine died. Clutch is not working anymore, kickstarter refused to listen…
Great, according all the symptoms, clutch plates cracked and died. And of course I do not have any spare one nor anything related to clutch. To make this even better, I ruined two out six bolt heads on the clutch cover, so any slight chance to fix the main problem on the road was gone.
Advantage of this mess in the middle of nowhere in Canada is you will get help in short time. And true, maybe in 15 minutes I hitchhiked a guy in old GMC pickup and he was kind enough to put the bike onto his pick up bed and drove me all the way back to Whitehorse. Thanks Ken!
The plan? After two and half months on the road, I was exhausted already and all this was the last straw. Yes, I wanted to have that Sourtoe Cocktail in Dawson City, but you cannot have everything you want. At least I have reason to come back again one day. So I enjoyed Whitehorse hospitality for a day, took some pictures of northern lights and rented Dodge truck to Edmonton. Bike was attached and resting in the back, so Alaska Highway, here we go!
It was cool to move faster than 70 km/h for a change and I was in Watson Lake in a moment. Sign Park is amazing place with more than 80k signs, labels and other marks from all over the world. And you can put there your license plate as well if you want and have enough money to get a new one. Liard River Hot Springs are worth to visit as well, great way to relax after several hours of holding round nonsense in front of you instead of proper handlebars. And the throttle is on the floor rather in my right palm, Jesus… :o)
Dawson Creek and mandatory stop and picture in front of the Zero Mile Marker of Alaska Hwy and after two days, I successfully arrived to my new home. So what was wrong with the bike?
After removing damaged bolts and revealing clutch, I could not see any damage. Clutch was ok. However, primary chain was tight as sh*t and I could move with clutch basket… Long story short, all the bearings on the main clutch shaft were broken, some of the balls were crushed to the dust, some of them laying on the bottom. One of the teeth wheel on the 3rd gear was pretty squeezed and scuffed and it needed replacement as well. However, what was the main reason of this mess, I cannot say. Maybe old original and after 60 years insufficient bearings. Maybe something completely different. I will never know.
Bike is up and running again and I can hit the road again. Where next? I am not sure yet but I do know we will both together enjoy proper Canadian winter. But that is another story…
- 73 days on the road
- 12103 km traveled
- 612 litres of gas and 18 litres of oil burned, the average consumption would be 5L per 100 km
- 4x flat of the rear wheel, two broken spokes on rear wheel, three broken clutch wires, two crushed bearings. That’s all folks!