August 08, 2011

The Loop

It's been a long time coming! I had planned the ride many times before as day trip or weekend trip but it never happened. But today is the day!

As I plan to get up very early in the morning, I pack my rucksack the evening before:
Additional gear: Rain pants (serves as lucky charm), silk gloves, spare gloves, balaclava, ear plugs, a pair of thin socks
Food: Bananas, energy bars, gum, water, energy drinks, sandwiches
Tools 'n' stuff: Tire pressure gauge, mini air compressor, tire repair set, Leatherman, First Aid kit, fuel bottle (full), zip ties, duct tape, oil, bungee net
5:30 AM Filled up Rover's peanut tank for the first leg of the journey, and hit the Sea-to-Sky highway. The sun is just coming up, and traffic is almost non existent.
Yes, please!
As the sun rises higher the beauty of the scenery unfolds. The temperature drops to 9C (48F), and I pull out my silk liners and the balaclava.
Warming up and snacking at Green Lake (past Whistler).
150km later the mountain road takes its toll: The peanut tank is drained. I am almost running on empty before Pemberton, and have to make use of my fuel bottle.
No gas for the next 98 km on Duffey Lake Road. I refill the bottle... just in case.
We find our rhythm and wave through the twisties. The 'mind-meld' begins, and motorcycle and human become one entity.
Just your average roadside waterfall. I drive by, and have to turn around. Transposition manoeuvres with the Sporty are not as easy as with the Vespa. I almost dump Rover, when slipping on the gravel.
Around 11AM the weather gods take pity on me. It is getting warmer, and I swap the balaclava against the do-rag, and lose the silk gloves and the woolen socks.
Calm reflections at Duffey Lake
Where the road follows the river.
It is getting warmer, and the fleece shirt can be tossed now. The landscape changes, and becomes desert-like.
After refreshment the inner layer of the mesh jacket has to go. The temperatures are close to 30C (86F).
Sometimes it becomes difficult to concentrate on the road with all those spectacular vistas around. A few times I overestimate my skills, miscalculate the different physics of the Sporty, and take a turn 'too hot'. Nothing serious, but a reminder to keep eyes and mind focused on the road.
There is a bus-load of tourists at the Teton lake view point. So, I wait until they are gone, and have lunch, while enjoying the view.
I top up on fuel in Lillooet, and turn South on Highway 12 following the Fraser River.
The vistas are different now, but no less stunning.
It is high noon, and the sun burns holes in my helmet.
I have to stop every so often to re-hydrate myself. Water and sport drinks do wonders and keep me refreshed.
Lytton, at the conflux of the mud coloured Fraser River and the turquoise Thompson River is the self proclaimed hot-spot Canada's, the temperatures hit 34C (93F), and I tend to believe it.
At Boston Bar I put five bucks worth of fuel in the tank for the home run through Fraser Canyon, now following Highway 1 to Hope, before I get on to my home stretch on Highway 7 through Fraser Valley.

A gorgeous day comes to an end.
575km (375 mi.) 
Ten hours of bliss.

Life is a highway scenic byway
I want to ride it all night day long
(and that's exactly what I did today)


  1. Now THAT'S a great ride Sonja and fabulous pictures too. My personal favourite is your bike in the parking lot!

    Are you going to do a "personal feelings" comparison between Nella and Rover anytime soon? I'm always interested in personal insights so please, please.....

  2. That shot of the Sportster in the morning is beautiful. Only after reading Geoff's comment do I recognize it as a parking lot. Beautiful photos and it looks like a great trip as well.

    After riding a Sportster, I knew I was looking for something with more range.

  3. @Geoff: Yeah, the light was amazing when the sun touched the mountain peaks. A review of the Sporty is in the make but I need a few more 'experiments' ;-)

    @RichardM: The limited range can be a bit annoying at times but it gets you off the bike more often to stretch your legs...

  4. Great ride report SonjaM, is a bigger tank an option for that HD?


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  5. You folks on the west coast are truly blessed by Mother Nature. Loved the photos, and I agree with Geoff that the picture in the parking lot is very striking.

  6. Great ride report Sonja. I am glad you and Rover were able to get out for a nice long ride. And such beautiful views. There is a reason it is called Beautiful British Columbia. I miss it sometimes.

  7. @Charlie6: Thanks, Dom. Looking into the bigger tank option

    @David Masse: Yeah, can't complain too much. Thanks for visiting, David.

    @Trobairitz: Yes, if the weather is great, BC can truly be called The Beautiful.. come visit ;-)

  8. Looks like a beautiful ride! I'm jealous ... getting cabin fever right now, especially looking at your photos!

  9. @Guido: Thank you, not meant to make you jealous, just meant to inspire, glad you enjoyed. I had a blast!

  10. Great pictures and nice looking ride. You almost have enough gear to camp, add a tent, bed roll and sleeping bag and you'll be doubling those miles, err kilometres.
    Have you looked into a fatbob tank for Rover?

  11. Wonderful looking day! Love the scenery. But I am amazed by the range of temperatures. What a run of clothing options required. :)

    You might be able to get the bigger tank to go on that one.

    Can you send me an email at loveofamotorbike (at) gmail (dot) com? We have a part or two from Oilburners old 883. Have an HD rear light cover that we were wondering if you wanted. Gift of course to the new bike. ;)

  12. What a wonderful ride and report! Now if I only had a weekend off from teaching. Sigh.....

  13. Cool report! Was this your first long trip on the Harley? How big is the gas tank? Beautiful scenery as always, and you've done a nice job of capturing it with the camera.

  14. Brings back memories, I have a photo taken exactly the same spot Duffey Lake 9 years ago albeit touring by car not motorcycle. I must make a plan to return to the wonderful BC roads.

  15. Sonja - A most excellent ride report with beautiful pictures too!

    You should consider writing for touring mags. ;-)


  16. @Troubadour: Bradley, looking into that bigger tank option for sure.

    @Beemergirl: Lori, that is mighty generous of you, you've got mail ;-)

    @irondad: Dan, somebody needs to make good riders. Working weekend sucks nevertheless, I hear you.

    @bluekat: Indeed that was the first longer ride, and I need to refill every 150km on this 2 1/2 Gallon tank.

    @Iron Chef: Same here, I had done the road in a car, but it is so much different, and even more fun on the bike.

    @Lucky: Thanks a lot, I wish... alas, my writing skills are not good enough, it is just merely enough to maintain a blog. Nice idea though ;-)

  17. Looks like a great ride. You packed plenty of things to take with you, but you forgot the most important item when riding long distance. A spare pair of underpants! Just in case.....

  18. @Chillertek: I had it with me... I just failed to mention it ;-) Thanks for visiting!

  19. Beautiful pics. Especially love the "reflections of Duffey Lake." Makes me wish I was there riiiiiight now.