(211/366) Duffey Lake Log Jam

July 29, 2012 – Flexible decision making is always the best way of spending a sunny Sunday.

We’d thought we’d do the Duffey Lake loop today (about a 600km ride), and a fellow I knew from high school was on a ride that might mean we’d pass on the road. When we woke up we thought we’d like to take a side trip into the community of D’Arcy, where we’d never been before. We both really dislike the ride from Chilliwack back into Vancouver, so we thought we’d just head for Whistler for lunch, into D’Arcy, and then back down home again.

Lunch at Whistler was perfect. The ride into Pemberton was nice, but warm. We topped off the tanks and headed out to Mount Currie and on into D’Arcy. The scenery was nice, but the road was so-so and we agreed that it was a “been there done that” kind of ride. It was a weird road, challenging, but it doesn’t seem like it should be. I think it may be because none of the corners have any banking to them, and it’s a bit rough in patches. And the fact that a motorhome came barrelling around a blind corner right down the middle of the road, and failed to make any attempt to correct his positioning as I dove for the edge (praying that I’d miss the gravel) left me a little gun-shy on that bit of road.

We sat by the lake for a bit and cooled off, before heading back out. The weather really was spectacular, and the meadows were filled with blooming wildflowers of every colour. Re-emerging into Mount Currie at around 3pm, we figured, what the heck continue on to Lillooet and then make a decision on which way to go once we got there.

The road from Mt. Currie to about 35km before Lillooet is a dream. And then the last 35km is a nightmare. That’s the only way to describe it. That last chunk – anything loose on your bike just won’t be there anymore after you ride it. It’s bumpy, rutted, and there is a groove that runs down the middle of the road that will grab you and toss you around if you dare to cross it. We were both weaving from side to side in our lane, trying to find the least difficult path, and almost being launched at various places. It’s hard to ride on a sportbike, and by the time we got to Lillooet we almost fell off the bikes.

So we stopped for an ice cream, re-filled the tanks, and picked the lesser of two evils for the return trip. In other words, we did it again in reverse. Masochists!

Seriously, for that 35km you literally just hang on, and we came to the conclusion that the next time we ride the Duffey it will be North Van until 60 km out of Pemberton, just past the log jam, and then turn around and come back, because from the bridge past the log jam, on is just plain nasty. And the ride into Chilliwack and home is just a pain for other reasons – too much traffic, riding into the sun which is not only painful to the eyes, but it means that riders are almost invisible to drivers. And then of course the freeway is straight and oh-so-boring to ride. So back down the Duffey we went.

A minute down the road and a swallow dove across the road at me and shot just off my front end. Like some crazed and suicidal kamikaze. I could see Kirk shaking his head behind me. Birds just seem to dive bomb me when I ride. He says I only see a fraction of them. I don’t know why, but I seem to be a target for birds, it’s only a matter of time before I finally hit one I’m sure.

Out of Lillooet we kept to just above the speed limit, any faster and control on the bashed up road would be less than ideal, and within moments there was a jerk in a Mercedes riding up Kirk’s back wheel and honking his horn. He tried to pass on the inside of a crazy 30km/hr hairpin corner and Kirk held him off of me to make sure he couldn’t. Shortly after that a massive pickup truck started riding the bumper of the Mercedes and apparently he didn’t like that and, according to Kirk, backed off. Guess it was OK for him to do it to another, but not so good when someone did it to him. I’d never wish harm on another, but I wouldn’t have been sad to see that jerk in a ditch after he blew by us illegally shortly thereafter. At least they were both gone. I’d like to put people like that on a bike on a road like that and see how they’d do. Would it even phase them that sometimes riding a bike takes a bit of work? Or are they so self centred in their driving that they think the road was put there for their enjoyment. I don’t know. But it’s frustrating sometimes.

After we crossed that bridge again we were back to real riding rather than just hanging on. Damn that’s a fine stretch of road until Mt. Currie! Around one croner a deer wandered onto the middle of the pavement and as we slowed to let it cross, it just stopped, paused, and posed as it looked at us. Reminded me of that Madonna song, Vogue – “Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it, vogue, vogue.” I was humming that for the next few miles. The creature just seemed so darned unconcerned as it struck its pose and watched us, before finally finishing its passage across. Other than suicidal birds, a few raptors hunting in the fields, and some loose horses, that was it for wildlife.

We pulled off a few times to stretch, and admire the scenery, then straight on through Whistler with a coffee break at Squamish where we admired our collection of bug guts on helmet visors, jackets, and windscreens. Kirk even discovered bug parts inside his jacket when he went inside to use the washroom. He’d taken something large and painful in the throat one the way out of D’Arcy, and when he went to the washroom and undid his jacket, he said a collection of bug parts – wings, legs, etc – fluttered to the floor.

We did the final run home in the dark, only a few more drivers tried to actively kill us, but they all failed, so the day was a success.

585km. Nice trip. Love those days.