Lillooet overnighter

Although I’m a late developer when it comes to biking, being in the Pacific Northwest certainly helps to make up for missed years of road tripping.

I’ve struggled to get myself in to a road trip high for this short overnighter around to Lillooet loop. Maybe in the murky recesses of my wanderlust mind, an overnighter just isn’t a road trip. I’m only riding about 650 Km and not even leaving BC. Surely that’s just a day trip. Having said that, I do need reminding from time to time that BC is around eight times larger than England and there’s plenty of scope for far more adventurous rides than this. So, an extended day trip it may be, but its still in to new territory.

The few people that I’ve spoken to seem to ride the loop via Whistler. I’ve never asked why, and just to be different I thought I’d ride the route anti-clockwise – backwards. I’m not sure if that means that I get to hear voices in my head. I like to think not.

The start and finish to the trip would be on roads already well ridden so the first part of my journey wouldn’t be the most entertaining. Hope was my first pit stop and rather than hit Highway one, I sat myself on the scenic route and ambled along. There are still moment of jaw-dropping scenery, leaning around a long tree lined curve and ‘bam’ mountains. Glorious.

Hope has always been an edge of town stop off for me. This time I ventured further in and discovered that Hope has a really quaint downtown. A Central Park area fronted by the Main Street was positively buzzing, well at a BC buzzing pace which is rather more tranquil than the south east of England.

Coffee, a very good, Fair Trade coffee, was taken at the Blue Moose. A chance to sit back and people watch for a few minutes whilst filling a hole with a muffin.

Having gassed up it was on to the Trans Canada and in to the Fraser Canyon. I’d previously only driven the canyon as far as Hells Gate, so once past there I would be in uncharted territory.

One of the great things about riding a bike is the total involvement it brings. Every sense is engaged on every km ridden. The body feels the change in temperature as one passes along a shaded stretch of road. Every bump is more keenly felt. Even the smells, be they pollen or barbecue are instantly noticed when there’s nothing between you and the environment you’re traveling through.

The ride soon became mile after mile of river, trees and steep sided rock face. An occasional glimpse of mile long freight trains gave me a sense of scale. The trains were Hornby sized against the vast mountains. I was riding as a 00 gauge miniature.

My first ‘greasy spoon’. Time for a light lunch. I’d arrived at Boston Bar. I left Boston Bar not much else to say.

Decision time approached. At Lytton I could take the direct route to Lillooet or go for the extra 100 plus Km via Cache Creek. I’m on a bike. No decision. Next stop Cache Creek.

Temperatures were rising and I was feeling both the heat and the saddle a bit too much. Despite the spectacular backstop to my ride I needed a break. In fact, such was the despiration that once in Cache Creek, Dairy Queen was screaming at me to overdose on cold, high calorie ice cream.

Core temperature stabilized, Ducati refueled, time to find Highway 99. The map view of my last leg was promising. It looked curvy. And it was. Not seat of pants, pipes scrapping the blacktop curvy, more sweeping, and that was fine by me. It was my last 100 Km and it was possibly the best road of the day. The canyon is a great ride, however, the 99 had just the right mix of open road, great views and enough twisty bits to maintain interest.

After a very easy days ride, I descended in to Lillooet, which is, and I quote, “Guaranteed Rugged”. I guess it’s just as well I didn’t make the trip on the Vespa, I’d have been run out of town for overly diminishing the ruggedness. Day one, 414 Km. Not too shabby.

The final agreeable part to a good day was finding the motel room to be clean and have a hot shower. What else can a less than hardened biker ask for.

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