RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Meet the New Girl

Meet Heidi. The newest girl in the ever growing stable of bikes found on the RubiKon Ranch

She's lean mean and sports all the latest bike tech including dynamic sports and enduro suspension modes, anti lock bracks, dynamic traction control, rain mode, enduro mode and enduro pro mode. She's a real sweety and a treat to ride.





Will Heidi replace my beloved Gretchen..


Only time will tell, but for the moment, Gretchen has the upper hand. She has a bigger fuel capacity, already fully farkled and most importantly... she has a nose for the north. She has been there so many times, all I have to do is hop on and she will lead the way. Fantastic bike.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Cariboo Back Country Moto Adventure (Trailer)

British Columbia has some of the finest country on the planet. The Caribou Gold Country is another example of the splendor that illustrates that indeed British Columbia is "SUPERNATURAL". Join me, GrizzLee, and my friend Farmer John as we tour this fantastic country on our bikes. Adventure is never far away and so is the scenery that is pleasing to, not only the eyes, but the soul as well. Abandoned gold towns, scenic rivers, mountains, lakes and wildlife are frosting on the cake. As always, it's the journey; not the destination that makes it all worthwhile.

Teaser Trailer

Before the B.C. summer fires started... We were lucky.

Full Production Coming soon.....

Last Ride of 2017... Maybe?

It's the end of September and the 2017 Riding Season is more than likely over for me. I type this up one handed as I am recovering from shoulder surgery. It has been a strange year indeed. We had massive amounts of rain fall followed by the 2nd driest summer on record in Washington State. The story doesn't end there. My second home, British Columbia, set the record for the worst fire season ever. Even now fires are still burning in parts of the Chilcotin country and will probably do so until November when the first heavy snows come. Idaho, Oregon an northern California saw extreme heat and massive fires as well. All-in-all, a horrible year for riding, hiking, canoeing and just about anything else to do with the outdoors in the PacNW.
It was unfortunate, as I acquired a new adventure touring bike early in the summer and got very little time to ride it. It didn't help the matter when I sold the cabin home and moved to a bigger spread a bit farther north. It was an extremely busy year moving and settling into a new home that along with unusually high heat this year made it very interesting and challenging.
Looksha Lori and I did manage a fantastic ride on some new routes before I had to hang up my helmet for the year.

The New Girl - Heidi - A 2017 R1200 GS Rallye whoopee

Lori Coming down the mountain in the dusk evening light

Mt Baker

Skagit river

Heidi and Mt Baker in the background

Skagit River from Finney Road, looking west

Skagit River from Finney Road, looking east


The happy couple in Walker Valley

Lori found some fall huckle berries to eat

Yummmm

Mountain ponds provide fodder for the camera




GrizzLee being himself

View from the saddle

A parking mishap

Samish Lookout

Heidi on some dirt

 Until Next time.....

Friday, May 19, 2017

This Is Us: "A Modern Day Corp of Discoverers" Full Movie

This is Us: A modern day “Corp of Discoverers”
Join Looksha Lori and GrizzLee as they travel in the historical country of the Pacific Northwest and beyond via dual sport motorcycles.  A modern day “Corp of Discovery”, they delve into the plight of the Nez Perce while also revisiting the partial route of Lewis and Clark. Along the way they scout for future trips, ride the infamous Bear tooth Highway, explore Yellowstone and experience the grandeur of the Tetons.

Thanks for Riding Along

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Movie: Tales and Trails of The Chilcotin, Bella Coola and Beyond

This is my story of riding a motorcycle to some of the most extraordinary country on the planet.

Several years ago, I accidentally stumbled on an incredible land known as the Chilcotin. It is magical place of beauty and history. The area contains not only huge rivers and mountains but also contains some of the largest ranches in North America and is home to one of the densest populations of Grizzly bears in Canada. This is the land of the Tsilhqot'in 1st Nations people; a land where one can see true cowboys; a land rich in spirit and adventure. Because of its sparse population, lack of paved roads (you will not find strip malls out here and even petro is sparse) a trip to the Chilcotin is always an adventure and more than that, it is a spiritual affair. 

This video provides my firsthand experience of riding a motorcycle through lowland rain forests, high mountain plateaus, glaciated peaks, wild rivers, crystal clear lakes, arid deserts, high passes and life at the edge of a continent. There is a lifetime of exploration and adventure out there.

I hope you enjoy this slice of adventure from my perspective   ~GrizzLee


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Part 8 (The Finale): Tales and Trails of The Chilcotin, Bella Coola and Beyond

The final day…


The next morning in Clinton, I had to say goodbye to both, Paul and Brent. They had a ferry to catch, or rather I believe that Brent had a ferry to catch. So they left pretty early. I was in no particular hurry, so I after getting my bike ready, I ambled back to the Old Schools Bar and Grill for Breakfast.
Breakfast of champions

Good Food and very nice people
I had the best tasting breakfast on the entire trip here. I fueled up with coffee and surprisingly was able to make a phone call home from here to let the missus know my whereabouts and plans.
My plan was to head slightly north and take the Big Bar Road over to Big Bar Lake. This is a section of the Big Bar Road I have never been on before and always wanted to see the lake.
The ride was not much to see, except for the fact that I could now see the backside of the Marble Range. However, clouds were forming and the forecast was for rain. I was hoping that I could finish up the dirt portion of ride today before hitting the slab and heading south for the border.
I came upon Big Bar Lake and was surprised to find the area more developed than I had imagined. The lake was lined with cabins and the campground was really nice.
As I toured the campground I came across one campsite that was occupied by a bear trap. A nice hunk of meat was hanging inside the trap ready to spring on the unsuspecting bear.  In my travels near this area before I have come across numerous black bears, especially along poison lake road and out toward Canoe Creek. So this was no surprise to me. Apparently one of the buggers was getting too friendly with campers and action had to be taken out.


Bear trap to catch Yogi
Shortly after leaving the lake area, I came to the junction where the Poison Lake road joined the Big Bar Road.  My goal was to head south and take the Big Bar Ferry across the Fraser River and ride the Pavilion Road back to Lillooet. Which I did.
Along the way I passed the Big Bar ranch and numerous pedestrian cattle along the road. At some point I came across an outlaw wanted sign complete with a made up figure (life size) of a fictitious criminal. Now, I must admit, I was looking for this because every year it seems that one of the local ranchers (Big Bar Ranch?) has different criminal displayed with a new wanted sign stating the list of crimes they’ve committed. This year, it was the “Silver Fox” an older gentlemen who was a well known chicken thief. Free bucket of KFC for information leading up to his arrest 
Bike Selfie :-)



Wanted sign
GrizzLee and the Silver Fox
From there I turned at the Big Bar Ferry  junction that headed west down the canyon toward the Fraser River and the ferry crossing.
Survivor
The ride through here is really nice as one gradually drops down from the high plateau area that is fully forested to an aired desert-like gorge… actually more like a miniature grand canyon.
Several years ago I rode through this same area while the locals were finishing up battle with a wildfire. It was interesting to me to see how the land was recovering. In one clearing area, all the brush and trees were completely gone, however, a lone tree stood out; the top burned and the bottom burned, but the middle section seemed to be doing well. I called this tree “survivor” and it serves as a reminder of how mother nature can be fickle in this land.
View from above the river that I must ferry across

Looking up the other side of the Fraser River Canyon

From there I came out of a slot in the canyon that was perpendicular to the Fraser Canyon. The views were stunning as I looked at the road I must travel on the other side. It was quite steep and intimidating looking. Especially for a solo traveler on a large bike, fully loaded for adventure.

Making my way up the steep canyon road
I made my way down to the ferry crossing and waited about 20 minutes before the ferry operator came out and waved me on. We chatted a bit and he apologized for the wait. He assumed that other bikes would soon follow me as he said that it is rare for a single individual to pass through this area. No biggie I said. I could stay here all day and soak up the scenery, except, I knew there was rain on the way.

A bit about the ferries in this parts is in order. This ferry, and a couple of other like along the Fraser River, are “reaction ferries”. Reaction ferries are very efficient when implemented big rivers with fast moving current as they are attached to a cable and utilize the river current to propel them across using a simple concept of redirecting flow on lifting surface (rudders) in the water.



Once across, I began the laborious ascent up the canyon. I won’t lie to you. It was steep with sharp switchbacks and deep ruts in places from all the unusual rains this area has experienced over the summer. More than once I was fearing a tip over, or even worse, having the bike slide off the road after a tip. It would be impossible for me traveling alone to recover my beast from such an incident.


One last look before I clear the pass.
 Once I got out of the steep sections with the loose rocks and ruts, I could rest easy as I knew that rest of the way was relatively benign… at least based upon my previous travels through this area.


Before I completely “summited out” of the canyon, I stopped to reflect on my trip and enjoy the immense beauty this country has to offer. In all my travels north, there is nothing I have seen that compares to the vast, steep, undeveloped country that the Fraser River offers here. It is humbling and foreboding country.




Here’s looking at you kid
 Now that I was high above the canyon floor, I was able to take my time and ponder about all the land around me. One such area offered a deep look into a step narrow river creek drainage. I could see huge cuts in the canyon form glacial flooding and large outcroppings of rock. “Rugged” was the term that came to my mind, time and time again. Beautifully “rugged” country for sure.




Moran Canyon
In any event, as I got closer to Fountain Valley I had my first encounter with people. Two dualsport motos (both Husqvarna’s I believe) passed me. We actually stopped a bit to chat. They had started from Williams Lake early that morning, riding all dirt down to Lillooet. Their plan was to circle out towards Carpenter lake area and return the next day. They however, knew rain was coming and they were none to happy about it.


After our brief encounter, I circled around the mountains and came to the overlook of Fountain Valley. It was at this point that it began to sprinkle. Nearly perfect timing for me. I was nearly off the dirt and would be arriving in Lillooet shortly. As I got closer and closer to Lillooet the rain got more intense. At a pull out I came across a group of German riders that were outfitted with Urals. They, like me were kitted out for an expedition. They had lots of and lots of questions about the road and my trip, but unfortunately for them and me, I don’t speak German and their English was almost non-existent. The best we could do was stand underneath a raincoat and point at the map.
I wished them luck and arrived in Lillooet soon after. I gassed up at the Canadian Petro store there and grabbed a sandwich. The gas station there had a little covered sitting area outside so I was protected from the rain. I called home and checked in with the missus.
Rugged

Ruggedly Beautiful
It was around 4:00 in the afternoon and I knew that it would be tough to get home now with the rain. What I eventually did was ride out to the confluence of where the Fraser river and the Thompson river joined, at a town called Lytton, and rode south along the Fraser River canyon past Hells Gate and the numerous tunnels. I knew this road well. Normally I enjoy this ride, but with the rain and the big trucks spraying mist all over me … not so much.
I ended up spending the night in Hope and making an early start the next morning… in the rain…. Whereby I retraced my route back to Abbotsford via Harrison Mills and the back roads to the Sumas border crossing. I arrived home about noonish, soaked but with a BIG, BIG smile on my face. It was one heck of a ride that I will never forget.
I thank you folks for sticking with me and reading this report and “virtually” riding along with me in my video.
If you are ever in the Seattle area, either passing through on a bike adventure or even want to find out more about my travels north… drop me a note here or on google. All riders are welcome. I will have a beer and bunk waiting for you. As I always say… your only payment is a good travel story.


Take care and safe travels.
-GrizzLee

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Part 7: Tales and Trails of The Chilcotin, Bella Coola and Beyond

The great ride Continues.....

We arrived at Lee’s Corner (officially called Hanceville) and enjoyed a nice lunch. Lee’s Corner Store is somewhat of an oasis and a hub; a meeting place out in the Chilcoton Country. The store is not much… a small cafĂ©, fuel, some hardware, liquor, fishing licenses, a laundromat and a small selection of food items.
However, it is also a place of historical value as the surrounding area was originally named Lee's Corner after Norman Lee one of the early pioneers and legendary cattle ranchers in the Chilcotin Region.
Norman Lee met with bad fate and with little success in his quest to go to the Klondike Gold Fields in the Yukon. I recommend that folks read his book “Klondike Cattle Drive” where his massive undertaking to the Yukon and how the epic journey ended in disastrous consequences.
The terrain and geography around Hanceville is absolutely stunning with river valleys; sandstone carved canyons, rivers cutting and flowing through ancient lava flows, endless graze land and spectacular territorial views.
After lunch we made out way past Riske Creek and over to Farwell Canyon. Farwell canyon is not only stunningly gorgeous it is of historical significance as well. It is known to the local Tsilhqot'in First Nation as Nagwentled - 'place of landslides'. It is a place of important salmon fishing and the spectacular Farwell rapids
The Chilcotin River flows here,
joining the mighty Fraser river just a bit
farther south at Sheep Range Provincial Park.
From a geological standpoint, the glaciers that were once estimated to me nearly 2 miles thick in this region all melted, carving these fantastic canyons as ice dams formed backing up water resulting in lots and lots of glacial silt. As a result, the land is unsteady and one of the reason why heavy rains make driving and riding in this area a real chore and even out right dangerous.
Farwell Canyon
The glacial fed Chilcotin River flows through here


The road winds through the canyon and up the otherside
Sod covered log buildings dotting the countryside
We headed out towards Gang Ranch but first had to pass through the Gaspard Ranch lands.

Along the way we came across old sod covered cabins and a farm. Numerous cattle dotted the roadsides. We even had to negotiate with logging trucks and the dust… oh my gosh. The dust was horrific. I got dust particles in every nook and cranny of my luggage, my riding gear and my bike. We made it a point to ride separated and the 3 of us were at times strung out as far as 2 miles apart to wait for the dust to settle. 

Eventually we made our way to the well known grasslands and the edge of Gang Ranch. The evening sun was stunning on the golden lands. It made for an enjoyable riding experience. Eye candy galore with rolling hills, majestic cliffs and canyons and not a paved road around for miles and miles and miles.
Yep, that is the “Gang Ranch” sitting in the valley below.
After riding through Gang Ranch we dropped dramatically down into the Fraser River gorge and crossed the Fraser River via the Gang Ranch bridge.
Here in the Fraser river canyon, I personally the dramatic scenery to be stunning. It is a drastic and somewhat sudden change from the high plateau country we just crossed. The canyon walls reflecting the late afternoon sunlight is breathtaking to say the least.
Through this section I slowed down a bit, to really soak it all in. It was a time of reflection for me.

My horse
The dramatic cliffs of ancient silt/sandstone along the mighty Fraser
Accidental selfie
Brent, Paul and myself eventually climbed out of the Fraser River canyon and regrouped just outside of a place called “Canoe Creek”. The sun was now setting quickly and I was very pretty excited now as I was hoping to see a bear or two. It seems like there is a 10 mile stretch just south of Canoe Creek where I always see some black bears. In fact, one year, I nearly collided with one here as it was lying in the road (napping?) as I came around a blind corner.  This time was no different. We saw two black bears grazing in a meadow. I presume they were siblings that were kicked out by their mom recently.  I didn’t take any pictures, but I did shoot some more video.
Sunset along Meadow Lake Road
Soon I found myself on a road I have never traveled before. That road being Meadow Lake Road. Paul knew it well however and we were trying to making it to Clinton BC and grab a cheap motel for the night.
Another lake in a meadow along Meadow Lake Road
The evening sun gave way to dusk and soon we found ourselves riding under a moonlit sky among hundreds of cattle which lined the road and much of the rolling hills in the countryside.
At one point Brent lost some luggage and we were talking about having to turn back to retrieve it. However, Paul, who was bringing up the rear saw it and saved us some time.

Riding under the moonlit sky was a special treat for me personally as I have never ridden much at night, especially in country like this. It was very surreal and enjoyable. However, it did have its drawbacks, that being as it got darker, it got increasingly harder to see the cattle and it was a bit dangerous IMHO to ride under such conditions. The cattle seemed less inclined to move out of the way as our lights blinded them. One thing I thought was cool was how the crying (mooing) of the cows echoed through the dark landscape. It added to the ambiance of the ride.

Full moon
 The ride through Meadow Lake road over to hwy 97 took much longer than anticipated and we had a short jaunt over to Clinton BC in the dark. Paul told us about a cheap motel which we are all excited to stay and clean up. However, when we arrived, all the motels were booked full. There was massive highway construction going on and the road crews were using the motels as temporary homes.
We managed to  get the last room but it only had two queen size beds. You can imagine how that went with 3 dusty cowboys and all their gear. I felt like I was back in college on one of my youthful road trips. It was a lot of fun. We did manage to get a nice dinner, as the diner down the street (Old School’s Bar & Grill) was still open at this late hour. Even better, as they catered to bikers and the entire place was decorated with Harley and other biker accessories.

I don’t know about Brent or Paul, but I slept pretty good that night. Still being severely congested, I can only hope that my snoring didn’t keep them awake.  I am sure it did, and they were kind enough not to bring it up. Great guys to ride with and I am happy to call them my friends.

Stay Tuned for the finale to this magnificent ride...