• Offseason drive: Duffy Lake Loop

    Left home at 7:30 am this morning. Didn't call Derek because I noticed he was still up at almost 3 in the morning and I didn't want to wake him up too early.

    The drive up to Squamish was a bit cold in a topless car but tolerable, and the pavement was pretty damp. Some spots were quite foggy. About 10 minutes before Whistler, it started to rain, and it got heavier and heavier. Pulled into Husky at Whistler and put the top on. A young guy pulled up behind me and said in a heavy British accent " I haven't seen one of these in a long time. Did you get it from Vancouver Island or did you get it directly from the factory?". Since Caterham Canada is headquartered in Chemainus on the Island, I thought this guy really knows his Caterham. Found out later his uncle builds all the reverse gearboxes used in all the Hyabusa/Caterhams, and Dave SeVille Peck in Chemainus is the sole licensee in building all left hand drive bike motor Caterhams for the world.

    It rained all the way to Permberton but it stopped as I left town. Still a lot of cloud and didn't look too promising so I kept the top on. First half of this road has been repaved but the second half is still pretty bumpy. No pothole, just really bumpy and some sections have ruts in them and would pull one wheel over and the car would jump sideways a foot. The 7 has quite a bit of bump steer and it was a handful in the wet. Knowing the car's tail is not the most stable (found out at PIR last week), and with almost bald tires I took it quite easy. But everything is relative. Taking it easy in a 7 does not mean a Pontiac Sunbird (?) should be able to keep up. Well, about 2/3 of the way to Lillooet, the pavement dried up and the sun came out. I picked up the pace a bit and the Sunbird kept following. This car has been behind me all the way from Pemberton. Eventually, I opened up a bit of a gap and decided to pull over to take the top off. The Sunbird also pulled off the highway and stopped behind me. An old guy (I mean OLD) got out of the car and came over. The first thing he said was "I had one of these in 1959 and I paid $700 for the kit." Turned out he was a member of Sports Car Club of BC and helped built the old Westwood Raceway. He raced vintage cars for many years and he even drove to Knox Mountain to spectate one year in the 7 and hit a rock on the road, didn't realize it scrapped the oil pan and cracked it. Lost all the engine oil and ruined his first motor. I asked him how old is he and he said 86. He couldn't walk very fast, but he sure can drive fast. I think if we switched cars, he would have left me in the dust. It's amazing who you can run into on these trips.



    Map from http://members.shaw.ca/bjs1/duffy_lake_loop.htm

    Lillooet is so small I didn't realize I passed thru town until it was already too late. Decided to drive some more before getting lunch. Highway 12 is much smoother than the section earlier, but when I got back onto Hwy 1 at Layton, all the bump steer disappeared and the two front wheels stopped dancing around like crazy. Took Hwy 7 at Hope and I had never driven this part of the road to Harrison Hot Spring. Got home after 10 hours.

    One advise; don't do this trip with a car that can't eat bumps. The shocks on the 7 got a really good work out. Some sections are very dangerous with thousand feet drop offs. Drive it but don't do stupid things on it, especially when it is wet and/or dark. The section around Duffey Lake for some reasons have small piles of sand in the middle of the road. Other people have told me about the sand also. Maybe there are trucks transporting sand on this road. Many turns start on the downhill side just as you crest over a hill, not nice to find sand piles as you go weightless. Also, big horn sheep (6 of them) standing on the road right after a blind corner could cause some serious damage to a small car.

    There is never a dull moment driving BC's mountain roads.

    Joe
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Duffy Lake Loop started by Carson View original post