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My new friend “A” took me along a backroads route from Shawnigan to Skutz falls. Its a nice loop around Waterloo Mtn. Good for a dirt bike or ATV – full size 4×4 might have a bit of a problem on the last section through to Skutz falls.

Access: Ride to the north end of Shawnigan out the Old Port Renfrew Road.

Ride Time:About 4-5 hrs round trip.

Difficulty: The main loggin roads are easy. From the top of S Main (?) to Skutz falls is an old double track that turns to washed out rock and rubble as it goes down into Cowichan river valley.


GPS File:
Shawnigan-Skutz Falls.gpx

Pete’s Pond

Long Lake Dock

Written on November 14th, 2011 , Adventure Ride, Cowichan, dirt bike, KTM 450 EXCR, Shawnigan

In 1944 a Patrol Plane crashed near the top of Mt Boldoc, south of Cowichan Lake, near Gordon River. The plane struck the summit of Mt Bolduc, where the tips of the wings were torn off, it then continued over a gully and crashed into a lower summit.

Access: Go to Cowichan Lake, west of Duncan. Go to the end of the paved lake south road, past Mesachie Lake, past Honeymoon bay – where it turns into a major logging road. Go south on the logging road to Gordon River. Just before Gordon River camp (basically and Orange smashed up car on the side of the road), take the left turn off – this is Harris Main. Go along about 1/2 km to a right hand turn on Mt Boldoc Forest Service Road. Drive up and up as far as you can go, near the top, a spur will take a sharp left, follow this up and around the summit. When the road turns to fresh blast rock keep your eyes peeled for flagging on the left. Ornage and yellow flagging in the trees (see picture below). Pay very close attention – I drove by it twice.

NOTE: if you want to find the wing tips, you will have to go further along the road, near its end. Hike through the slash to the top of the mountain. At the point where the clearcut meets the forest at the gulley, walk into the woods. There are two wing tips, one wigher up almost at the top, and another, a little wasy down into the gulley.

Ride Time: about 1-1/2 to the top from Cowichan Lake. The hike in takes about 5 minutes.

Difficulty: Easy logging roads. Short trail from logging road to the engines and main crash area. If you want to see the wing tips you will have to drive up the road further and hike through slash up to the summit of the mountain.


Here is a map which shows the route from Gordan River. You can get at Gordon River from Cowichan Lake or from Port Renfrew.

GPS File:
Mt Bolduc Plane Crash.gpx

See Also:


Approaching Gordon River Camp. Harris Main is to the left. Gordon River to the right. On Harris Main, there is a sign that says “TR7″, but that’ll probably be blown to bits later this summer.


The Mt Bolduc Turn Off


A view of Mt Bolduc

Written on September 10th, 2011 , Adventure Ride, Cowichan, dirt bike, Hike

Even though the old port renfrew road is completeley grown over, and the old bedspring bridge is long gone, there still is a route from Shawnigan to Port Renfrew. Basically up Fleet Main, and then down Lens Main (East). I made a loop out of it, travelling back along Jordan Ridge to Jordan River, then up JR East Main to the reservoirs. \The whole loop is under 200km.

NOTE: This route is no problem on a street legal bike with knobbies. Anything else, and you might have a bit of a problem (see below).

** UPDATE ** August 27, 2011 A couple of guys from DualSport BC went on the route, and when travelling down East Lens Main (after the blocked bridge), they found a bridge out at coordinates N48 36.367 W124 11.272. I have yet to verify it, so if you go down there, just be prepared to come up and go up to the Harris Creek Road (in other words, bring gas).

** UPDATE 2 ** June 18, 2012 The great guys from DualSport BC (thanks DieselDude and RedPillar) worked in a trail around the old bridge through the creek – they suggest that only the smaller dual sport bikes take the path.

Just start on the Renfrew road at Shawnigan lake.

Ride Time:
Looks like it took me just under eight hours, but I stopped to look at the Red Creek Fir. I also stopped at the Port Renfrew Marina for gas and a (very expensive) hamburger.

Dual sport bike with knobbies. Although I tried to keep paved roads to a minimum, there still is a bunch. on West lens main a bridge is out, and even the adventurous would still have a problem. So you are forced to go down east lens. BUT on east lens, a bridge is blocked because it is unsafe. The is enough room for a motorcycle to go by. The bridge is fine – just ride fast. Also, getting from the reservoirs onto butler main requires riding through some slash. Its pretty well worn in, it just might require knobbies if wet.

ATV you can get part of the way there, but you have to travel on pavement after Lens Main and back to Jordan River. If you are in a truck, you’ll need to avoid lens main altogether and go up to the Harris creek road. If you want to get up past the reservoirs, it better be a short wheel base very high clearance truck with good knobbies.


GPS File:
Shawnigan-Port Renfrew-Jordan River.gpx


Deep in the Sooke hills, up on the San Juan Ridge, exists a pretty little lake called Wye Lake.  Here is a nice loop that you can ride or ATV from Shawnigan or Jordan River (east).  You might even be able to do it in a short wheel base truck, although there are a couple of tough sections. 

If you want to actually go to Wye Lake, be prepared to hike along the Kluhdahk trail for a couple of km.  Nice lake, they have some canoes you can paddle around the lake.

From Shawnigan, you can either head out past Weeks lake along Kapour and return along the San Juan River, or vise versa.

From Jordan River, take the East Mainline up to the reservoirs, cut through the reservoirs to Butler main.  Its locked and gated at Butler Main, but at the bottom of the access is an old road that cuts through slash and pops out onto Butler Main. You might be able to slide your bike under the date too.

Ride Time: 3-4 hrs from Jordan River


Its mostly logging road.  There are two sections that might prove a little difficult to beginners.  The cut through from the reservoirs to Butler main bumps up through some slash.  But its starting to get pretty worn in.  It’d be a pain if its wet and muddy. You might be able to slide your bike under the gate though.  The other part that is a bit challenging is the ridge road that goes up from the San Juan to the top of San Juan Ridge.  Its marked in red on the map.  When arriving at the bottom, there are three roads that split off. A nice one on the level, another nice one that goes down, and a nasty overgrown, rocky one that goes up the ridge.  Take the nasty overgrown, rocky one.  Its only a couple of km long, and then pops out onto loggin road again.



GPS File:

Wye Lake Loop.gpx

See Also:

Backroads map book is sorta useful, but old data.

CRD Atlas is very useful…  http://viewer.crdatlas.ca/public#/Home 



Written on August 2nd, 2011 , Adventure Ride, dirt bike, DR350, Hike, KTM 450 EXCR, Sooke

Southern Vancouver Island sports some of the largest trees in the world. Here are a few of them, and maps/GPS tracks of how to get there. They are all on logging roads and you can get to them by a car, but a truck would be better. Of course a dual sport bike would be the best.


Port Renfrew Area

San Juan Spruce – Right at the San Juan recreation site. Explore along the banks on both sides of the road for many large trees
Red Creek Fir – this road can get muddy 4×4 recommended, go August to Sepmtember
Avatar Grove – either side of Gordon river main
Harris Creek Spruce – a lone giant right along side the new Harris Creek Road
Chester’s Grove (not sure where this is, somewhere around port renfrew)




Carmanah Valley – Huge Spruces, Firs and Cedar Trees
Cheewhat Ceder – supposedly the largest in the world



Shawnigan Lake/Mt Tod

Old Demonstration Forest with a large tree and a sleeping giant


Other Areas

Written on July 29th, 2011 , Adventure Ride, dirt bike, Hike

I was going to use a RAM mount for mounting my new Garmin Montana to the bars of my KTM 450 EXC-R, but it was just too bulky.  So I just fashioned up a heavy aluminum sheet metal with a couple slots for hose clamp.  This then bolts right to the back of the garmin rugged mount.  The rugged mount is rubber mounted as well as the hose clamp, so it all helps to reduce vibration.\

Here are some pics.

Written on July 12th, 2011 , dirt bike, GPS, KTM 450 EXCR

To get the proper fuel-air mixture there are three systems in the carb to consider:

(1) Idle system – this controls the mixture at idle to about 1/8th throttle.

(2) Needle jet – this the needle you see in the carb in combination with the needle jet. From about 1/4-3/4 throttle

(3) Main jet – this is the throttle wide open.

Chart on reading spark plugs

To adjust the idle system

alternate between adjusting the idle speed screw to the lowest RPM and the idle mixture screw to get the highest RPM

For the KTM 450 EXC-R:
(1) turn in the idle mixture screw till it stops. Unscrew it 1.75 turns
(2) run the engine 5 minutes, until warm
(3) turn off the choke
(4) adjust the idle speed to 1600RPM
(5) turn the idle mixture screw clockwise until the idle begins to fall
(6) note the position. Turn the idle mixture screw counter-clockwise until the speed begins to fall
(7) adjust the idle mixture screw between these two positions with the highest RPM
(8) re-adjust the idle speed screw to 1600RPM

To adjust the needle system

ride the bike at 1/2 throttle up a hill for about a minute. Then quickly pull in the clutch, turn off the key and pull over. Remove the spark plug. White plug, move the needle clip down. Black sooty plug, move the clip up. Tanned plug (ready for the beach) – leave it alone.

To adjust the main jet

Ride the bike full throttle up a hill for a minute. Then quickly pull in the clutch, turn off the key and pull over. Remove the spark plug. White plug – bigger jet. Black sooty plug, smaller jet. Tanned plug (ready for the beach) – leave it alone.

Written on June 17th, 2011 , dirt bike, DR350, KTM 450 EXCR, Mechanics

The valve cover and crankcase breather hose connect to each other, then connect to the carb and then route down by the swing arm. That’s bad for a couple of reasons:

a) hot oily air gets into the intake – after the air filter. We want cool clean air.
b) go into a big stream and water can get into the crankcase or engine chamber – not good.

So I capped off the carb connection, then routed the breather hose to a little filter and mounted it up high. That should do the trick.

Click on the picture to see it bigger.

Written on June 17th, 2011 , dirt bike, KTM 450 EXCR, Mechanics

Written on June 15th, 2011 , dirt bike, KTM 450 EXCR, Mechanics

In the middle of the night on Nov 10, 1944, a B-24 took off from Abbotsford Airfield on a routine night navigation mission. It never made it home. While over Vancouver Island the plane crashed into the top of a mountain near Flora Lake. The entire crew was killed.

Flora Lake is halfway between Lake Cowichan and Nitnat. Take either road around Cowichan and make your way to NitNat. When you hit the Bamberton intersection, turn right towards Bamberton. Go north on the Carmanah Mainline. About 8-10km up, turn left over a bridge. Follow the road towards Flora Lake. A few km before the lake an old road veers off to the right, up the mountain.

Ride Time:
A couple of hours from Cowichan to the top.

The road to the base of the mountain are active, well maintained logging roads. The road up the mountain is unused, but in good shape. About half way up, it becomes deactivated, so there are a number of draigage ditches. Dirt Bike and ATV, no problem. Small 4×4 should be able to make it. Alders will keep the paint job on your truck fresh.


GPS File:
Flora Lake Plane Crash Waypoints.gpx



Written on June 5th, 2011 , Adventure Ride, Cowichan, dirt bike

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