On day four we need to make it out to the coast and Prince Rupert with a distance of around 500 kms (310 miles) to cover. There is also a good helping of interesting vehicle finds.
Here is the map.
Since the sun rose so early we left Burns Lake much earlier than usual in the morning. The scenery along the road generally looks like this. Lots of trees, some hills. We were lucky enough to spy a few moose and elk on this day.
After a time we came to Smithers, BC which is the largest place along the route. We had noticed one of the two large bolts holding the kickstand on the V-Strom had fallen out and been lost on route. The V-Strom is a big and heavy bike so we felt we needed to source a replacement. The bolt in question is a big metric one which could be hard to find so we visited several hardware stores and a semi truck service shop without any luck. We were pointed to an old school bike shop as a potential source.
Yesterday was a little slim on the curbside classic count but spied this 6×6 right away.
At the bike shop they did not have the bolt but recommended the Toyota dealership who did have a suitable one in their pile of spare bolts. The bike shop then installed it nice and tightly. Outside was another customer on this BMW motorcycle. He was a real character with long, wild red hair and a braided beard. He had ridden his bike from up from Kentucky and was heading to Alaska to fish for salmon for two months. Given all that he was traveling extremely light. Surprisingly he was rough camping at the side of the road but without even a tent. He told us he did not use tents anymore after a squirrel got into his sometime back and he was now afraid of squirrels (and tents apparently). I am still not clear on how the lack of a tent protects you from squirrels but it obviously works for him.
The mountain climbs meant running full throttle a significant portion of the time so I popped into Canadian Tire to get some top up oil for my bike. As luck would have it this 1992 Mercedes Benz 310 van was in the parking lot.
The interior is definitely no frills.
I believe this is somewhere near New Hazelton which is the most northern point on our journey. Just above the southern most tip of Alaska.
I fueled up yet again as gas stations were becoming harder and harder to find. This one sits at the entrance to the Alaska highway. We came across the Mercedes van again which looked well outfitted for a journey up that road. We also meet a few Americans that were heading north in their RVs. They had ridden bikes this way years before and were interested in my bike particularly. The retro looks of the TU250X certainly attracts attention. One of the guys had a Suzuki VanVan 200 mounted to the front of his RV and couldn’t believe I had ridden something with an engine only a little bigger this far.
Speaking of bikes there were tons of adventure bikes around with their ubiquitous aluminum square box luggage. We later heard that there had been a fatality not too far up the Alaska highway that day.
The gas station was rather … errr … rugged.
The scenery changed to more mountainous again.
We came across another old growth forest but with much less massive trees.
Here we took another short hike and proved to be very popular with the local and hungry mosquito population.
As we were traveling beside the Skeena River heading into Prince Rupert it was amazingly windy. I was having to use full throttle and only achieving 90km/h (56 mph) and as a result my gas mileage was rather poor. The reserve light came on (the TU250X does not have a gas gauge) and it would touch and go if I would even make the next gas station 60 kms (37 miles) away.
We were both riding on fumes at this point so we detoured to Port Edward to add a splash of fuel. A gas station has never looked so good.
Also in Port Edward was the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village which is one of British Columbia’s oldest surviving salmon canneries.
I have never been to Prince Rupert and unfortunately saw only a portion this time but it is an interesting place with lots of older buildings including this church.
Some building are maintained better than others.
We were getting a ferry the next morning and needed to be up by 5am so we decided to splurge on a hotel but oddly they were almost all full. We later found out Justin Trudeau (our Prime Minister) was in town.
The Highliner Inn was recommended to us but my riding partner felt like we would get murdered there by the looks of it. It is the tallest building in town for what that is worth.
Instead we found this place which looked nice enough. Plus it had an older Jaguar parked out front so it had to be good. The main floor had a subtle smoke smell to it and oddly we got a stern lecture that no smoking was allowed in the rooms upstairs.
The room itself was nice and clean if a little old lady-ish in decor. We needed to get some laundry done in a bad way otherwise we would risk recycling underwear and socks. The front desk lady happily informed us there was a laundry facilities downstairs. Downstairs? There was some of a residence housing down there which was where the smoke smell was coming from. I am not sure what kind of residence it was but could have been for folks working on boats or a halfway house. Either way we did manage to get some laundry done and grabbed a bite to eat in the bar with a variety of locals.
As a unexpected bonus we had a fantastic view from our room.
That evening there was time for a short curbside classic hunt on foot as I had ridden enough for one day. We may as well start with the 1990 Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign out front.
A rare to see Chrysler LeBaron coupe was parked right across the street. It sported a for sale sign and I suspect a quick wash would revel a very solid body.
An Eighties era Ford Ranger pickup truck 4×4 was nearby as well. Someone has put some work into this one including a raised stance, cut fenders and aftermarket bumper.
The differential says “Ranger #2 Eats More Bush”.
Speaking of eating, we did not eat at this old International school bus turned restaurant.
The oldest vehicle I found on my short walk was this F-series pickup.
I did have more but annoyingly when I got home my phone seems to have lost about half an hours worth of photos. In the next installment we wake up early and take to the ocean.
The full trip log: