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Thursday, 16 May 2019 09:13

2019 – The first adventure of the Big yellow Bike, aka BYB Featured

Big Yellow Bike Big Yellow Bike Lamont French

Lamont French Travelling is a passion of mine, travelling by motorcycle is a calling.  

My name is Lamont French and I ride a 2001 Honda GL 1800 Goldwing, yellow in colour which is knows as the “Big Yellow Bike” or BYB.  It has as of today just over 254,000 kms on it. Over the past few years I have somewhat documented my travels on my Facebook Blog Page – Looking Thru the Lens – A Traveller’s Tale:  By Lamont. Today I take the first step in actually writing a submission or article for a real publication.

My last time writing anything real with travel was last summer when I was part of a ride from coast to coast and in 70 days, I covered just over 25,000 kms.  Today I write about a much shorter adventure in a ride to from Victoria to Kamloops.

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The start to my day and the first adventure of 2019. The mileage is as you see it 253,812 kms 


Leaving Vancouver Island to travel, other than flying is always a bit of a pain, not to mention a cost.  BC Ferry Corp hold control over such travel. The cost for a motorcycle and rider one-way from Swartz Bay (Victoria) to Tsawwassen (Vancouver) is $45.95 for the 1.5 hour sailing.  This is about half price of a car and driver; however; starting this Thursday, 16 May until Wednesday, 4 September 2019, BC Ferries are offering cars only what is called “Sunrise and Sunset Savings” on selected crossings for the cost of $49.00.  This is condition to types of vehicles and sail times, and not I say again not for motorcycles………….oh well such is their business model. One advantage we the motorcycle enthusiast have is we get to go to the front of the line up to be first on, so we can show up just before the sailing and get on even if it is full and there is a sailing wait or two.  Today I grabbed the 7 am sailing and at 6:15 was told it was full………….but I was the first on…………so yippee for me. Mind you every time you go to the front of the line and pass hundreds of other vehicles, sometimes the looks are not the most pleasant. I am okay with that.

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Line up at the ferry. 0615 hrs and the 0700 hrs sailing is full.........but I ride the BYB so I get to go to the front of the line.


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I can live with this rate but really it is too high. 


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Breakfast and a great place to pass away the 1.5 hr sail. 


Travelling near the water always brings me home.  I was born and raised in the small town of Lewisporte, NL and salt water has always been a safety blanket for me.  I find explaining such things to those of you who have not grown up around the water this concept and it seems only us who grew up this way understands this concept.  The sweet salty smell translates to peace and keeps me in my happy place. Wait………………, where was I going with this? Oh yes, crossing over from the island to the mainland if you take the time you can see where the clean (ish) and somewhat pristine blue green salt water meets the dirty brown murky water coming out from the mighty Fraser River.  If you have never seen this, it is quite interesting to see the distinct barrier separating the two. I am trying to create a sense of both sight and smell for all our you out there…………….is it working? If not then I guess it really does not matter, so please keep reading.

Getting around the traffic in Vancouver is interesting and over the past few years they completed the Hwy #17 project which moves four lanes of traffic thru the outer area of Vancouver (Delta and Surrey) unto the TCH, near the Langley area and onwards to points East.  This is the fastest way out of the city area and all which is heavy traffic, but there are others worth travelling which will provide a more “gentile” feeling but take more time. Maybe we can chat on that more another time, but only if you are interested and I get around to writing about it.

It was a straight shot for me to get to Hope, but if you have the time, I would like to suggest you take the time to visit some of the following places between Vancouver and Hope:

  1. Cultus Lake, Chilliwack;
  2. Bridal Veil Falls;
  3. Harrison Hot Springs – but it is a little off the beaten path of this ride; and
  4. Should you want to change up from riding Hwy #1, take a detour onto the Hwy #11 into Abbotsford and then onto Hwy #7/Lougheed Hwy and travel up to the area just North of Hope on the other side of the Fraser River and join back on to the Canyon/#1 – it is well work the extra time.

On the way to Hope, the highway has a feeling of closing in on you with the Fraser getting closer on the left and the mountains on your right.  These are a mixture of the North Shore Mountain, the Cascade mountains, and the Coast Mountains. Which is which and who is who is unknown as on the map I used it is hard to tell where one starts and the other ends, so I give you all three and you are free to make that call yourself.  On the way you pass through the growing area of BC with the Delta Plain and the Abbotsford/Chilliwack Valley where the smell of freshly turn soil, meets the rot of fertilizer, which meets the sweet aroma of what I refer to as the Honey Wagon…………or if you must………the poop pooree (my making fun of the word Potpourri).  It is interesting to note that around the Delta area there were no less that 100 eagles flying and in the fields. I am told this is one of the most densely eagle populations in all of mainland BC. So, doing some investigative work I found out that in the area there is a very large organic waste processing facility and that is what draws them to the area.  Way to go Google, thanks for the assist.

Onwards we ride into the mountain area where the smells quickly become fresh and clear, along with cooler and more refined.  The changes in the sights and smells are so magnified riding it is amazing and so fulfilling. It is one of the things I enjoy the most.  Well, I could do without the Honey Wagon smells to be honest.

Once in Hope you can check out some of the sights and sounds.  If you are a movie buff visit some of the local land marks where the movie Rambo – Fist Blood was filmed back in 1982.  This is where both the Fraser and Coquihalla Rivers meet and still remains a small and quiet place. Nestled in the shadows of the mountain before you start to climb to the inner sanctuary of BC this place is very appealing and makes for a nice break.  Not much is around about the movie, but if you check with the Information Centre, they are happy to share with you some facts. Also, near the current Shell Station you will find the old wooden sign which greeted Rambo entering the town of Hope, this large log sign welcomed you to the “Gateway To Holidayland”.  And of more recent fame Hope is the launching point of the stars who are in “Highway Thru Hell” on Discovery.

Funny when you slow down you get to appreciate what life and the local scenery have to offer.  Sights and sounds take you back to what you know and feel the best with. In this case I go back to when my mom & dad insisted on making sure I knew and was aware of the old traditional 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic).  Well I put a modern travelling version of this into play and that is (R – Riding; R – Reflecting, and R – Relaxing). I am at home on a bike and as such this is truly my happy place. There is nothing quite like “Wind Therapy” and knowing the best route is not a straight line but the twists, turns and curves in the road and not knowing what is around the next corner.

I will be honest and upfront.  As much as I like stopping in Hope, when travelling up the Fraser Canyon, I travel another 20 kms North and stop at the Hope River General Store.  This place is a gem, a place of no real words which can do justice and a must place to stop and check out, have a homecooked meal or homemade snack.  I kid you not, you have to stop here, for real!!!!. Locally owned and operated, it sits on the site of the historic city of Emory just South of Yale, which itself was once the largest town west of Chicago and North of San Francisco.   I love the history of the area and the Hope family who own and run this place are such wonderful folks. Before I head out and onwards, I find the temperature start to rise up to plus 25 and the jacket became history and was stored away.  Yes, sometimes I am not a safety type of rider as I tend to run hot from time to time. Ladies, get your mind out of the gutter…. :)

Just North of Yale you will find the first of seven road tunnels which make the Canyon an interesting ride, that along with the twisties and following both the Fraser and later the Thompson Rivers.  These road tunnels were constructed between 1957 – 1964 (the year of my birth), and are named: Yale, Saddle Rock, Alexandrea; Hell’s Gate, Ferrabee, and China Bar. Why these particular names, I have absolutely no idea, so I suggest you Goggle it.  This time I leave that up to you.

While most of the towns along this route catered to the railway, they have shrunk over the years since the rail needed less services.  I enjoy seeing that on either side of the Fraser there are rail lines which run on each side of the river and at any given time you can see trains with sometimes over 100 cars travelling back and forth, and hearing that long whistle brings back so many childhood memories.  I guess that CN and CP can work in the same area in harmony.

I wanted to take the scenic and less travelled but longer route, so I hoped off the Canyon at Spence’s Bridge and headed South East towards Merritt.  A great ride of about 100 kms of twists and turns and today only about 10 cars on it for the entire time. This route follows the valley and the Nicola River.  Onwards we go into Merritt the town known for the Merritt Mountain Music Festival and claims to be know as the County Music Capital of Canada. The air took another change and this time it was the smell of dryness, desert and heat, which I can only compare to the smell of singed hair.  Like the time I lit the campfire and had my arm too close to the flame.

My final push was to cross over the #5A also know as the Coq Highway and onto the old Hwy #5A.  Again, this route is almost 100 kms long and takes you into the South part of Kamloops thru some of the most majestic ranch lands, lakes and valleys in the area.  This part of the route is the Northern section of what is known as the Princeton-Kamloops Highway. Just outside of Merritt on the shores of Nicola lake you will find the historic (yes, a lot of historic things along the way and I like the word) Quilchena Hotel and General Store.

Onwards to Kamloops and my final destination for the evening and most of the weekend.  Once I got into the city, I needed to gas up, so I made my way to Costco and filled up for $1.34 / 9 a litre, a far cry cheaper than the $1.61 / 9 paid for in Victoria.

I have arrived, travelling just over 530 kms plus the ferry ride to my destination, or rather my stop for now.  Those of us who ride never truly have a destination, we have stops along the way while we enjoy what life has to offer.  Thank you for being a part of this adventure and I hope you enjoyed this chapter of my adventure called life and hope to have you follow more of these in the future.

 Looking Thru the Lens – A Traveller's Tale: By Lamont French

Lamont French

Visit Lamont's FB Group 

Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2019 01:21

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