WeSTOC Day 2 – New Denver/Kaslo Loop

Today was the first day of riding for the sake of riding, instead of riding to get somewhere. I met up with Guy and some of his folks at breakfast, and after deciding on doing the New Denver / Kaslo (with a side of Meadow Lake) loop, we made arrangements to meet outside for a departure at 930am.

Before heading back to my room, I stopped by the Motoport display to check out gloves again. I had tried on a couple of sizes the night before and the XL seemed to fit. I guess I have long thumbs, because while a large size fits my hand, the thumb, especially on the right (throttle) hand gets crunched into the end of the thumb part of the glove and after a couple of hours used to hurt like hell. My current gloves are size XL and my thumbs fit just fine. But the current ones are kinda cheap and I wouldn’t mind getting a really good pair. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy them, but nope, no sale. It turns out that they only brought one pair of each size with them and they wouldn’t be able to sell them until Thursday night when they were leaving. So I passed.

Back in the room, I figured I’d have a few minutes to get the blog and the tracking link squared away, so I sat down at the laptop and plunked away for a bit. I was watching the clock and figured that I had time, until it was 925am. I slipped into my riding suit and headed down to the bike. Once I got to the parking lot, I saw Guy waving at me to get a move on! So much for thinking I had time! I raced back up to the room, gathered my helmet and the rest of what I wanted to take and raced back down. We all needed to get gas, so I just met them at the gas station just up the road.

With the four of us tanked up, we headed out of town west on the 6 to Crescent Valley, where we headed north on the 6 towards Slocan, Silverton and New Denver. This road is one of the Destination Highways roads, number 25 of more than 70 roads and it was full of sweepers with some twisty bits. It was also a bit early yet, so there wasn’t much traffic out. I did see a few deer by the side of the road, but they didn’t pop up onto the road.

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We stopped at a little cafe for coffee and bio breaks, and in behind us came another half dozen or so ST1300s who must have left Nelson a little behind us.

After our coffee break, headed east on Highway 31A along the Kaslo river to the town of Kaslo. This is another Destination Highway, number 5, with lots of long sweepers and some great views of the roaring rapids of the Kaslo River right beside the road and mountains with plenty of snow still on the peaks. One sight that was not welcome was a burned out tree trunk that the high water of the river weakened enough that it toppled almost onto the road in our lane. It was about 6feet into the roadway at about a 60deg angle! Would have made a heck of a mess of a bike and rider if they had hit it – it was just at the right height.

At Kaslo, we turned north and headed to a little place called Meadow Creek near Duncan Dam. This section of Highway 31 north of Kaslo is also a Destination Highway, number 33. There’s not much there, the pavement ends at the dam, so I took a couple of pictures, then we turned around and headed back to the promise of lunch at Kaslo.
20110621-222921.jpgOn the way up to Meadow Creek, I was following Guy when a deer jumped up onto the road just behind his bike, then just as quickly, jumped back into the woods. He was out and back into the woods so quick that I didn’t need to slow down. On the way back down to Kaslo, I was behind Rod, an ST1300 rider, when (maybe) the same deer jumped out and came within inches of hitting the back of Rod’s bike. This time though, instead of right away bounding back into the woods, the stupid deer took a few bounds down the road straight towards me! I hit the brakes hard to slow down, and started trying to second guess the stupid deer as to whether he’d go left or right, so I could dodge the other way. The deer decided to jump to my right back into the woods, before I had to try and dodge him, thankfully.

This road is very different going out versus coming back. Many of the twisties are much tighter coming back to Kaslo because your riding on the inside, whereas going out from Kaso, you’re on the outside of the curve. It seemed like a way harder, much more technical ride coming back down which was very surprising! The chicken strips on my tires are only millimeters wide, and the feelers on the tips of the foot pegs are scraped up now! It’s a pretty physical workout too, because in some of the S curve sections, you really have to push the bike over to get the necessary lean angle to make the curve, then pick it up vertical again, only to push it over the other way to make the next curve.

Back in Kaslo, we had lunch at the Kaslo Hotel and Pub, where we sat at the patio that looked out onto Kootenay Lake and the mountains beyond. Excellent backdrop for a really good meal of chicken fingers.
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With lunch under our belts, we saddled up again to head back to Nelson via another Destination Highway, number 60, Highway 31 to Balfour, and then the 3A into Nelson. The highway to Balfour was fun, except for the slowpoke cars, motorhomes, and cars pulling trailers with boats on the trailers! One of the best parts of Highway 31 is a really tight hairpin at Coffee Creek (I think), that was totally wrecked by all three of the above slowpokes. We crawled through there at a walking pace because the car in the head of the line up was scared to death.

It was mid-afternoon and traffic was substantially heavier, especially as we got closer to Nelson. So that sucked the fun out the last road of the day. We crossed the Nelson Bridge and made our way to the hotel, just in time for the next attraction!

Tim Graham, one of the organizers of WeSTOC, had arranged to have a helicopter fly by with a photographer on board, to get some aerial shots of the bikes and people in the parking lot. By 4pm or just after, everyone was on hand and milling around, then the chopper showed up.

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I consciously left my distinctive blue Aerostich riding suit on, and for fun put my blue Yamaha cap on. Thankfully the Honda enforcers weren’t there so I didn’t get beat up for wearing my Yamaha hat at a Honda event! So when I get the aerial photo, I should be able to quickly spot myself.

Back in the room, I changed out of the riding gear, washed out my LD Comfort Shorts (like biking shorts, only without the padding in the bum), and sat down at the computer to get the Spot tracking links figured out and to update the blog. With that done, I headed out to get some dinner. Along the way, I managed to acquire a WeSTOC t-shirt, a WeSTOC poster, and a white Honda cap! Tim the organizer, his wife Diana and few other folks he knows hadn’t had dinner yet, so I joined them outside on the patio for a pretty Halibut burger. Service was very slow though, there were lots of bikers all ordering dinner at the same time, as well as about 50 or so Red Hat Society ladies, more info on the Red Hat Society can be found here .

After, dinner, I was done, so back in the room, I called Louise, wrote this up and off to bed.

Ian

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