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  1. #1
    MC MasterShake
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    MTB Trip advice needed

    I'm organizing a trip out west for me and my buds. The plan is to fly into Seattle, get RV's, and drive north. Our plan is to hit Whistler, The North Shore, Pemberton, and Squamish (not in that order). We're planning on getting a super early flight that should get us to seattle around 1-ish. We'd like to get a ride in on that day before we make our way up north. We'd also like to get a ride in on our way back before we turn the RV's in. This brings up some questions.

    > How long is the drive to Whistler from the Seattle airport?
    > What options do we have for riding on our way up north, considering there is about 10+ of us and we'll have 2 RV's? I was thinking Galbreath.
    > Any recommended camping in the Bellingham area?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
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    So many "depends" in this request it could be a commercial for products we hope never to have to use.

    Galby is a good one, as are ACFL, and Blanchard which are along the way. Depends on whether you are only bringing the big bikes though. ACFL and Blanchard are more "XC". The trip can be loooong "depending" on what time of day you want to cross the border and where you cross. The farther East you go, typically, the shorter lines. 4-5 hours is a safe bet. Camping? Depends on whether you want to just camp in the parking lot overnight or actually go to a camp ground. You have an RV so anywhere you can park is good.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    So many "depends" in this request it could be a commercial for products we hope never to have to use.

    Galby is a good one, as are ACFL, and Blanchard which are along the way. Depends on whether you are only bringing the big bikes though. ACFL and Blanchard are more "XC". The trip can be loooong "depending" on what time of day you want to cross the border and where you cross. The farther East you go, typically, the shorter lines. 4-5 hours is a safe bet. Camping? Depends on whether you want to just camp in the parking lot overnight or actually go to a camp ground. You have an RV so anywhere you can park is good.

    We'll be bringing 6x6 AM/light FR bikes with single ply and a set of DH tires so we don't mind peddling.

    We'll be bringing our lights to further extend riding possibilities.

    When I say camping I mean a place to park our RV's where we won't get kicked out and we can have a fire. RV park/campsite is actually a last resort in my eyes.

    I'm thinking the 1st day will be a bit of a rush so it'd probably be a short ride. Basically looking for the most hassle-free (i.e. easy to get to, not too long of a drive, food close by, camping close by) situation for Day1. It'd also have to be fairly easy to navigate as we don't want to get lost on our 1st day.

    I didn't even think of the border crossing and related traffic. We'll be coming over there in September. Day1 will either be a Friday or Saturday. That means we'd be crossing the border either Saturday or Sunday a.m. Any advice on the easiest way to get across?

  4. #4
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    Borneo got it all right.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    I didn't even think of the border crossing and related traffic. We'll be coming over there in September. Day1 will either be a Friday or Saturday. That means we'd be crossing the border either Saturday or Sunday a.m. Any advice on the easiest way to get across?
    As you are going up I-5 near Bellingham there are electronic signs that indicate the wait times at the various crossings. You can also find them on the Washington State DOT website. Bookmark the page on your smartphone and have a map with you so that you can jump off I-5 (if necessary) to one of the alternate crossings.

    Don't forget your passports.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Tomac, can I copy/paste that for all my responses here?

    As far as the border crossing goes, the earlier in the day or the later in the day, the better. And, the further east as well.
    Heck you may want to loop around and hit Maple Ridge (The Woodlot) and Seymour and Fromme as well. All are awesome and perfect for those bikes and you can even get a shuttle for Seymour. Fromme is simply amazing. Look up some vids of those places.

    ACFL is the closest and flattest but has very cool scenary. Especially around Whistle lake. Galby is more FR/AM oriented but with plenty of XC. Look up Unemployment Line there to get your pre-Whistler A-Line on.

    As for camping, Larrabee on the coast by Blanchard is probably the go-to. The 'ham'ers will know more about off the beaten path places.

  7. #7
    Just roll it......
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    Larabee State park for Bellingham camping. You are at the base of Chuckanut and can ride those trails without ever getting in a car. You can also ride to Galby from there, but it's a bit more effort. Not terrible, but you gotta climb up a fairly long hill. A big chunk of that ride is on gravel/interurban trails though.

    EB

  8. #8
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    Make sure your RV rental covers crossing the boarder.

    If you head up I-5, take the truck crossing, this is an exit about a 1/2 mile prior to the main I-5 crossing. it's not only is faster, it heads you up the right direction to get up to North Vancouver. anything after about 7PM gets really light traffic.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Larabee State park for Bellingham camping. You are at the base of Chuckanut and can ride those trails without ever getting in a car. You can also ride to Galby from there, but it's a bit more effort. Not terrible, but you gotta climb up a fairly long hill. A big chunk of that ride is on gravel/interurban trails though.

    EB
    Sounds like a winner. How far from the airport would you say that is? Let's say we get out of the city around 2 p.m.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Thanks Tomac, can I copy/paste that for all my responses here?

    As far as the border crossing goes, the earlier in the day or the later in the day, the better. And, the further east as well.
    Heck you may want to loop around and hit Maple Ridge (The Woodlot) and Seymour and Fromme as well. All are awesome and perfect for those bikes and you can even get a shuttle for Seymour. Fromme is simply amazing. Look up some vids of those places.

    ACFL is the closest and flattest but has very cool scenary. Especially around Whistle lake. Galby is more FR/AM oriented but with plenty of XC. Look up Unemployment Line there to get your pre-Whistler A-Line on.

    As for camping, Larrabee on the coast by Blanchard is probably the go-to. The 'ham'ers will know more about off the beaten path places.
    Yeah, we were planning on hitting up Seymour and Fromme after Whistler. Based on my research and advice from locals here is how I see it going down.

    Day1 - Airport>RV>Larrabee>Setup bikes and get a short ride in.
    Day2 - Crack of dawn border crossing>Drive to Squammish>Ride>Guzzle>Camp
    Day3 - Drive to Whistler>Ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day4 - Whistler or Pemberton > Camp/Guzzle
    Day5 - DisneyLand Heli-drop ride or Whistler AM/XC ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day6 - Drive to Seymour/From area > ride > Camp/guzzle
    Day7 - Ride Seymour/Fromme > Border Crossing > Larabee
    Day8 - Ride Galby or elsewhere > turn RV's in > Take redeye back to Boston.

    How does that sound? Missing anything?

  11. #11
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    From SeaTac, about 1 1/2 hours with not too much traffic.

  12. #12
    Just roll it......
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    Quick thoughts:
    1. Time of year. Think about a mid-July timeframe to ensure that the upper mountain trails are open. Last year, they had to dig out the trails up top before Crankworx because there was such a heavy Spring snowpack.
    2. Good call on the Shore post Whistler. It will be far more enjoyable that way.
    3. plan for 2+ hours from Sea Tac to Bham/Larabee. You can never underestimate Seattle traffic! Still even with that, it won't be dark until 9'ish....so plenty of time for a ride.
    4. Disneyland will require someone that's ridden and knows the route well. Paid guides like Smoke are not supposed to take bikers up there anymore. Basically, those are trials motorcycle trails and those dudes weren't stoked on helicoptors full of tourists riding their trails.
    5. There's an RV park up near Greenlake in Whistler (google it). That's probably your best bet for parking the RV in whistler and you can ride into the village or to any of the trails from there. The old days of posting up in Lots 4 or 5 for days (or weeks) on end are mostly over. If it were just you and a buddy, that'd be one thing because you could be more discrete, but if you've got a crew and have lawn chairs and beers out, you can expect to be asked to move or you might get ticketed for overnight camping.


    Cheers,
    EB

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    Yeah, we were planning on hitting up Seymour and Fromme after Whistler. Based on my research and advice from locals here is how I see it going down.

    Day1 - Airport>RV>Larrabee>Setup bikes and get a short ride in.
    Day2 - Crack of dawn border crossing>Drive to Squammish>Ride>Guzzle>Camp
    Day3 - Drive to Whistler>Ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day4 - Whistler or Pemberton > Camp/Guzzle
    Day5 - DisneyLand Heli-drop ride or Whistler AM/XC ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day6 - Drive to Seymour/From area > ride > Camp/guzzle
    Day7 - Ride Seymour/Fromme > Border Crossing > Larabee
    Day8 - Ride Galby or elsewhere > turn RV's in > Take redeye back to Boston.

    How does that sound? Missing anything?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    Yeah, we were planning on hitting up Seymour and Fromme after Whistler. Based on my research and advice from locals here is how I see it going down.

    Day1 - Airport>RV>Larrabee>Setup bikes and get a short ride in.
    Day2 - Crack of dawn border crossing>Drive to Squammish>Ride>Guzzle>Camp
    Day3 - Drive to Whistler>Ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day4 - Whistler or Pemberton > Camp/Guzzle
    Day5 - DisneyLand Heli-drop ride or Whistler AM/XC ride>Camp/Guzzle
    Day6 - Drive to Seymour/From area > ride > Camp/guzzle
    Day7 - Ride Seymour/Fromme > Border Crossing > Larabee
    Day8 - Ride Galby or elsewhere > turn RV's in > Take redeye back to Boston.

    How does that sound? Missing anything?
    You're missing the part where days 6-8 all change to "Riding at Whistler". So much goodness. Have fun!

  14. #14
    MC MasterShake
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    1. We were thinking Mid-September to avoid the summer mobs.
    2. Yeah, I heard that from a bunch of folks.
    3. How late does it stay dark in September?
    4. Hmmm. I was thinking guides and chopper. I didn't realize that Trials bikers had that much pull. Any other recommendations for a full day backcountry epic style ride?
    5. Thanks! I'll check that place out. I was figuring we'd have to get an official site as we got closer to Whistler.

    Thanks a bunch for the info! I now I'm kinda early on the planning but I want to make sure I have time to get everything booked up way ahead of time.

  15. #15
    MC MasterShake
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navigator View Post
    You're missing the part where days 6-8 all change to "Riding at Whistler". So much goodness. Have fun!
    That thought had crossed my mind, but the crew I'm with wouldn't stand for it. I'm the only one with any real bike park experience. Plus, I've been dying to check out BC/NorthShore riding for as long as I've been riding. Completely stoked on this trip already.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    That thought had crossed my mind, but the crew I'm with wouldn't stand for it. I'm the only one with any real bike park experience. Plus, I've been dying to check out BC/NorthShore riding for as long as I've been riding. Completely stoked on this trip already.
    Sorry Navigator. I couldn't agree more woodyak. Whistler is fun for a day on in the park but get's too repetitive for me. There is so much more in the valley like Kill Me and Comfortably and also missing out on the 'shore for an extra day of lift served when you may not be back would be a true shame. Fromme is just a giant piece of trail art at it's finest.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    1. We were thinking Mid-September to avoid the summer mobs.
    2. Yeah, I heard that from a bunch of folks.
    3. How late does it stay dark in September?
    4. Hmmm. I was thinking guides and chopper. I didn't realize that Trials bikers had that much pull. Any other recommendations for a full day epic style ride?
    5. Thanks! I'll check that place out. I was figuring we'd have to get an official site as we got closer to Whistler.

    Thanks a bunch for the info! I now I'm kinda early on the planning but I want to make sure I have time to get everything booked up way ahead of time.
    September timing is good for less crowds and overall conditions. Bring your lights as it 'll get dark earlier. Not sure on exact sunset times. Say 6:30'ish??

    You can do a heli-drop down Rainbow Mountain which is across from Whistler/Blackcomb. Easier logistically for sure and all of the guiding services lead that route. Let's just say some of the folks that were guiding down Disneyland got some very stern messages. You are in BFE on that trail and those guys did all of the work to create it (including building a rad hut), so yes they do have enough clout to tell guides to F off.

    From a non-guided experience, I think Khyber Pass to Babylon by Bike to Tunnel Vision is still a rad day with mostly descending. You can combine that with some park riding before or after as well (it's way easier to get there from the park, so you'd probably buy a lift ticket either way). Brian Finestone has a great Whistler guide book that you might want to pick up if you consider that.

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