West Coast G-amboree 2005 Recce
Friday May 20th through to the 23th
Pre Trip Description:
Pre trip inspections are always a good idea, better if you give yourself more than a week to fix any problems encountered. Oh well, the truck lives outside and the fuel tank leak wasn't large enough to actually drip on the driveway. A local radiator shop patched up the perforation in the fuel tank seam and pressure tested things with two days to spare. The tank itself is looking like it may well be on its last legs (the actual leak didn't really look like the worst spot on the tank). The skid plate is pretty much completely gone as can be expected. The rear edge of the fuel tank skid plate should include a lip that holds the fuel pump in place (this I knew was missing). The missing lip means that the fuel pump waggles around on the fuel lines, with the original fuel pump this isn't too bad because the pump itself has a thick rubber housing to insulate it from bumps. Since I had to put the tank back in it seemed like a good time to replace all the rubber lines, the main breather line over the tank and the fuel pump for good measure (I had soldered the electrics directly to the pump as part of an earlier repair because the studs had pretty much corroded away). New fuel pumps have the same diameter as the old pump with the thick rubber housing so it seemed much more important to actually secure the pump in place. Fortunately there was enough skid plate left in the middle to secure a bit of bent plate.
Since the tank went back in two days before we left, the night before we left I drilled and installed the jack mounts on the rack and the morning we left I drilled (and zap strapped) the jerry can holders. Carrying an extra 40 litres of fuel under normal circumstances could be considered overkill but then again I just put in five new hoses, eleven hose clamps and a couple of copper crush washers.
As a quick aside, a replacement fuel tank from mercedes is ~ 840 and the conversion kit that allows you to mount the tank is about another 1500 bucks. At least you can get one with a 10 day turnaround, I guess.
Surrey - Spencer's - Harrison
After waking up early slinging the gear in the truck and mounting the jerry can holders we hit the road. Met up at Spencer's house. To start we had Chris, Bini, Angus and Erin in the G-wagen and Spencer, Alison, Aiden, Heidi and Genevieve in the Isuzu. After getting the Isuzu loaded up we made a quick stop at the Canadian Tire for light bulbs and a fire extinguisher (see the comments about my fuel tank repair above) then we were off.
The drive to harrison was uneventful with the slight exception of me being unclear and Spencer trying to drive up the wrong side of the lake (radios are handy things).
Harrison - Clear Creek
Head off pavement at 1:25 already 80km into our tank.
1:45pm Gorgeous Waterfall at Bridge. Slolicum Creek. Fuel sender seems to have packed it in. Erin says "Too Bumpy" and needs to fall asleep.
2:15pm Bear Creek Rec Site, Full.
2:30pm Cogburn Beach, Full.
3:00pm Silver River delta, nearly Full. We stop at the beach for lunch, Angus manages to fall into the lake in less than 30 seconds. Lots of mud on the way to the campground/beach.
3:30pm Hit the road, Spencer wants to tackle a pretty substantial mud bog at the campground. I am dubious as it looks to be up to his door handles. Bini wades in and checks, Blub blub...
4:00pm Start heading up the Clear Creek FSR. Steep but uneventful.
Hot Springs and Camp
5:00pm Arrive at the hot springs. Very nice spot with room for 7-8 tents right on the river. The hot springs aren't as nice as sloquet but perhaps more "finished" since there is a bit of a change room and they are hot tubs fed by hoses from the springs rather than just pools.
Fortune smiled briefly, we were the only ones at the campsite.... until 7:30 when someone arrived and almost immediately started ayologizing (a bad sign). The rhythm for the rest of the evening (until about 4:00am) was fall asleep, new arrival, explore the depths of sound available from random car stereos and bagged mufflers, see how much fogs and highbeams can brighten up a campsite, drink heavily, fall asleep, rinse, repeat (the final expected total was about 30 yahoos). Man I'm getting old. But it's all ok because Aiden will be doing this at pretty much exactly the age when the people who were there will be bringing their kids to the hot springs. Ahh the cycle of life.
11:45am Late start we set out to find out how close you can get from Clear Creek to the Spuzzum Creek FSR.
12:00pm Answer: Not very close. There is a pretty substantial stream running across where the road was and it has created a surprisingly deep mini-canyon. All around here are skidder tracks and open areas. I'm thinking that if you are getting old this may be much nicer camping than the hot springs themselves. The area looks pretty lightly traveled.
12:15pm pass a side road that Spencer assures us is great fun and will turn two minutes of driving into 20 easily. Since we are running late and meeting Charles and Mako in Boston Bar, we neglect to take the diversion today.
12:50pm Back down to the mainline, There is a large area of deep loose sand waiting for those who desire it here.
Harrison East - Shovel Creek
1:00pm Back on the road. At the 14km marker you pass through an old logging camp you are looking for the small gap in the trees at the other side. Loose rocks and a bit of an incline but not too bad.
1:45pm Pass a side road with a broken bridge. Looks like a nice camping spot.
2:00pm Bridge on right with helpfully spray painted directions.
Shovel Creek - Kookipi Creek
2:15pm Spade Creek, the bridge is fine but the creek has managed to wash away the road leading up to it on the one side. This isn't too big a deal if you have decent bulk clearance or don't mind shining up the bottom of your truck. Stopped for lunch here.
3:00pm Back on the road.
Kookipi Creek - Boston Bar - Camp
Lots of elevation gain (about 600m) in short order to get up along the ridge. Nice driving, very scenic and good roads.
3:50pm Hit the Nahatlatch river. Lots of traffic including a substantial number of river rafts.
4:20pm Hit Boston Bar. Charles and Mako only manage to beat us by 15 minutes despite our being several hours late. Turns out there was an accident and they had to get to Boston Bar via Merritt.
5:00pm Gassed up and leave Boston Bar. We head back up past Nahatlatch.
5:35pm Find a nice spot to camp. Alison makes a yummy stew.
Camp - Westside FSR
10:00am Hit the road.
10:35am Pass Kwoiek Creek.
11:00am The sidwall of Spencer's tire is ripped open by a branch. Turns out that the spare doesn't fit on the rear axle hardly at all. Remove the rear caliper, use a U bolt to keep the brakes happy and use some zap straps and bailing wire to hold the caliper to the leaf springs. Bodgetastic.
12:30pm Off again after a snack. Lots of cows.
1:00pm take the cable ferry across to Lytton.
Lytton - Lillooet
Turns out that Lytton doesn't have a tire place, the closest place is the Kal tire in Boston Bar. Bah. We go to the city.
2:15pm Arrive at Lilloette. Phone the Kal tire guy. Great guy, he lets us reattach the caliper on his lift and use his tools to put stuff back together, he even offers us a freebie rim if we can find one that actually fits. Unfortunately no dice. We get Spencer's vehicle all sorted and off we go.
4:00pm Off we go.
Lillooet - Camp
4:30pm Texas Creek FSR, There's a big sign saying the road is closed. A few hundred meters further along there is a big sign saying the bridge is closed. We take a walk on the bridge, considering the four logs holding the bridge up are a minimum of 2-3 feet in diameter each, the bridge seems to be very bouncy. This bridge is a pretty short span given how bouncy it is. Charles wisely suggests that we would look kinda foolish floating down the Fraser after driving over a condemned bridge on a closed road. There is a bypass beside the bridge but the water is door handle high and moving at a pretty good clip.
Spencer's truck is handling kinda funny so we stop, after a short discussion we suggest that since the new tires are an inch taller than the old ones (he wanted the new tires for his pathfinder, the isusu will get the cast offs) that perhaps four wheel drive is best saved until the road is a bit more iffy.
6:00pm We hit the Stein Valley. It looks like any reasonable camping is a bit of a hike in. The parking is on a bit of a plateau above the river and the wind was just whistling across it.
6:20pm Back to the Lytton Ferry turn off. This is the junction of North Spencer and South Spencer Road, obvious photo op.
6:40pm Back to the Cows, and there are Horses now too.
We take the turn off to Kwoiek Creek, Scaring a good sized black bear in the process.
8:00pm Make camp at Kwoiek Lake.
Camp - Home
Break camp, toddle up a logging spur to get a view of the valley and head home.
Ignoring the highway driving to Harrison and from Boston Bar we traveled 430km, used about 2 tanks of gas, averaged about 30km/h and covered and area of about 100,000 hectares.