We started off by flying into Kelowna then taking the hour and a half long drive out to Cherryville where the Hett Family farm is located. One of the first things you see when you pull up is what I would consider to be a pretty serious Enduro-cross training course in the front yard. Victoria has been part of the Canadian women's team racing in the International 6 day endure race in Mexico in 2010, Germany in 2012, and Argentina in 2014. She comes from a family of really talented riders and she spent her childhood training on the farm and carving tons of trails in the wilderness surrounding their property. She has been riding her entire life and you can definitely tell! Tom was new to riding and had only started about 2 years ago. But, you can instantly tell that he is one of those people that has natural ability and a fearless personality to go along with it. They both RIP!
The family farm is so beautiful and lined up in the drive was was 2 of the 2016 Husqvarna FE 350 S, a FE 501 S and a 701 Enduro. These machines scream “adventure mobile” and I could feel the excitement in my stomach. First thing I did was hop on the 350 to see how tall it was. Definitely could only touch with one foot at a time but hell thats all I really needed… who stops anyway.
The next morning, Day 1, we loaded all of our necessary belongings into our moto luggage by Alt Rider. These packs were perfect for the trip and held everything we needed. See below for a rundown of the gear I brought:
Moto Fleece: ATWYLD
Moto Pants: ATWYLD
Moto Boots: Icon 1,000
As we set out on our journey our first stop was at Riders Edge Suspension in Vernon. This Father and Son team is known to be the the experts in suspension among riders in British Columbia and they were nice enough to give the bikes a once over before we headed out.
Off we went to Penticton for lunch at Salty’s Beachhouse right on the lake. One of the first things I noticed as we got on the road is how many other motorcyclists were out. Motorcycle season had officially started and all were out to enjoy.
Next we decided to do a bit of off-roading and climb to the top of Apex Ski Resort. I have to admit that one of my favorite things about riding in B.C. is that there are not a lot of rules and there are not a lot of people to enforce the few rules that there are. I’m not going to say that there was a bit of out of bounds riding going on there but, I’m also not going to say that there wasn't. It was absolutely beautiful once we reached the top and it really made me appreciate the Canadian landscape. On the way down from Apex we stopped at an amazing spot that over-looked the Similkameen Valley. I kind of could not believe my eyes. It looked like a painting it was so beautiful!
The goal was to end up at the T’sek Hotsprings on the Skookumchuck river that night to camp. To get there we ended up riding until 2am through Hedley, Hope, Hells Gate, Lytton, and Lillooet. At about Midnight we pulled into a gas station in Lillooet and I was about to pitch my tent in the parking lot I was so tired. We had been riding for about 13 hours already pretty much non-stop and we hadn't reached the gnarliest part yet. The next hour was spent going over a mountain pass. I was fucking freezing and I had only brought a tinted bubble shield helmet so I was riding with my clears on and no shield. I would be lying if I said this wasn't one of the lower points on a motorcycle I have experienced. The coldest part of my body were my hands and my face. I couldn't help but think of a trick a friend of mine had taught me a long time ago of how to keep your hands warm when riding in the cold. Rubber gloves under you moto gloves!!! yep it works great!!! sadly…. I didn't have any damn rubber gloves so… I suffered. This also made me think if the other things I need to add to my moto wardrobe like a scarf. Little, easy-to-pack things like this will save your ass!
I could feel the air start to warm as we dropped down in elevation and it could not have come soon enough! I swear I saw frost on the trees at one point up there. We pulled off and guess what… we still had another hour to go on a gravel road. It was about 1am when we hit the dirt and I honestly cannot really tell you much about this part of the trip because I have mentally blocked it out. I have never been so thankful that my tent pops up so damn easy because I was ready for bed! I was exhausted after riding 15 hours on and off-road that day.
We woke up to the sound of a the Skookumchuck river. It is pretty fast-flowing near our camp. First thing we did is head over to the hot springs for a well-deserved soak. The T’sek Hotsprings are located on native land and are considered a sacred place. It was especially sacred to me after the long day of riding we had the previous day.
Destination for Day 2 was Indian Arm Provincial Park outside of Squamish. We stopped for breakfast in Pemberton then headed for a quick ride through whistler before stopping in Squamish for supplies for the night. By the time we reached the dirt road that lead to where we had planned to camp that night I was pretty excited to be off the pavement and playing in the gravel again.
This road in was absolutely beautiful and one of the highlight of the trip for me. It was about an hour and a half through river crossings, rocky hill climbs, mountain views and wooden bridges before we parked our bikes on what has to be the most epic camp spot I have been to to-date. Well its not technically a campsite but whatever,,, its B.C. you can camp anywhere!
We parked our bikes on this little peninsula that is surround by the bay of Indian Arm. Across the water you can see an enormous waterfall barreling down the mountainside and a really neat looking old building that apparently used to be a brothel but is now a yacht club. This was awfully remote for there to be a brothel back in the day but Tom explained to me that this used to be a huge logging area and fishing community so it kind of made sense. We cooked our dinner over the fire and watched as the tide came in and the sun went down.
Day 3 took us over the “sea to sky” highway that ended up over-looking Vancouver. This road is Epic to say the least! We don't get these kind of views along the ocean in Southern California, thats for sure! The route took us back through Hope on our way to Osoyoos which was our destination for the night.
The Hope slide was pretty crazy to see. On January 9, 1965, 47 million cubic metres of pulverized rock, mud and debris fell down the 2,000-metre mountainside due to an earthquake. Just seeing this you can almost picture what a catastrophic event this must have been!
As we wound our way back to the Okanagan Valley from the coast I couldn't help but notice how the landscape reminded me of my hometown on the central coast of California.
Osoyoos is a pretty happenin’ lake town and sits right on the U.S. border. There were lots of bikers in town and we were quite a scene with our matching Huskies with Quebec plates. Lots of people asked us if we had ridden all the way from Quebec. These motos were conversation starters with just about anyone!
Day 4 we road through Rock Creek, Greenwood, and Grand Forks to get to the town of Nelson. This was such a cool little town with an eclectic mix of people. Victoria described it as a place where serious off-road riders, hippies and just about any other kind of person live in harmony. I found it to be really cool and charming and we had a great lunch there before grabbing some supplies and heading on to Kaslo. Victoria knew about this great little beach right on Kootenay Lake where we could set up our tents for the night. The lake was gorgeous and the water felt amazing. We were lucky enough to have some fire wood there that had been leftover from the last campers but we had the entire beach to ourselves.
Day 5 took us from Kaslo through Retallack to Sandon via this beautiful stretch of highway 31A. Sandon was such a cool little ghost town! In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Sandon was a bustling minors town. After silver prices started to fall the town started to die and in 1955, a massive flood of Carpenter Creek occurred, destroying most of the remaining buildings. The town has become a really cool piece of history and vintage trolly busses that were used, in their day, to haul the minors in and out of town now line the streets.
From Sandon we took 17 kilometer ride up the mountain to the top of Idaho Peak. This view was by far the most breathtaking thing I had seen on the journey so far. Had to plow through a little lefterover snow but all I can say is WOW!!!!! The photos don't even do it justice! Leaving Sandon we wen through New Denver then onto the ferry in Fauquier and back to the family farm in Cherryville.
After sleeping in on day 6 we loaded up the bikes and drove up to Revellstoke to do some trail riding. Revellstoke is one of those types of places where people live for the outdoors. Dirt bikes, snowmobiles, skiing, snowboarding etc. You can have a lot of fun in that town. We had a great day riding some single track and watching Victoria and Tom shred around on the enduro-cross park. There was a trials rider out that day as well and watching him really made me want to give it a try.
New goals = enduro-cross and trials!! You can really see how these specialized areas of the sport can help to improve you riding skills across the board. Im looking forward to getting into it pushing myself just a bit outside my comfort zone.
All in all this trip was absolutely amazing. British Columbia is full of the nicest people and some really beautiful terrain. There is an overlying love for the outdoors that you can really feel in the summertime in B.C. I cannot wait to go back! I got to ride each of the different Husqvarna models on the trip. I really loved them all in different ways. The 701 had so much power and handled so well! This bike rules on a and off road but I personally didn't take it through any crazy technical terrain just because of the weight and my ability level. I really dug both the 350 and the 501. They felt pretty similar to me but the 501 had a bit more torque on the bottom end and the top of 6th gear was faster than I really needed to go. Nice to know that its there if you need it though. For me, the 350 was pretty perfect! I would just throw a lowering kit on that thing and be the happiest camper ever. That bikes rules on the road, on the highway, on gravel, on hill climbs, on single track trails, and on a moto X track. I loved it! Thank you so much Husqvarna for such an amazing trip! The total trip was 1921 kilometers which is 1193 miles of FUN! See you soon B.C.!