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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here in B.C. we had a "Family" day holiday where everybody got the day off work to spend with their family. This year it was sunny and the warmest it has been all year so you know what that means.....TW ride time! I wheeled the bike out of the garage and got it ready for its first start-up of the year. Oil- check, air pressures - check, fuel - check, fuel valve on - check, battery level - check. I pulled the spark plug and splashed a little fuel down the hole for that added kick - reinstalled the plug and hit the starter button. Ahhhh the sound of TW's mighty power plant roared to life. Left the primer at 2nd stage for about three minutes and then raised the idle slightly before pushing the primer knob all the way in.... smooth and steady but as it slowed down to that nice idle my heart was racing as I was looking forward to being back behind the controls. Denice made us a picnic lunch and loaded the backpack for our outing. The big decision was where to go... Rupert Arm was todays choice so we set off for a day of no work and no cell phone calls about someone's boat not starting or sinking at the dock....just us and the TW. Twenty minutes later we were at the logging road that would take us out to Rupert Arm....but snow on the road and 2" of mud made us regroup and change our destination. That's when the old Suquash mine site came to mind, so we doubled back and headed towards the ocean where the snow would be gone and the fresh sea breeze would wash the stink of winter out of our noses. The TW purred along great and the steady rhythm of the piston was music to my ears, but there was a growl and squeaky noise from the back of the bike as we headed down the over grown logging trail to the mine site. This growl got louder as we got closer to the trail head and once I stopped I located its source.....Denice! Seems she remembered that about 20 some odd years ago when I took the girls for a day hike to the Suquash area that there was a cougar that followed us and gave us quite a scare. After assuring her that that cougar probably wasn't still there or that if he was he would be old by now and we could out run him, well at least I could!
We stashed the bike at the trail head and started down the trail to the old site.
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Now as the story goes, this was a coal mine that began it's life in 1849 and started to produce the "black gold" in 1851. It was an under ground mine with small gauge rail carts to bring the coal to the trams that lifted the product to the surface. Today there are still remains from this once proud operation but all has gone quiet and the forest is slowly taking back once what was its own. There are several large pieces of equipment and the foundation of the managers house that once sat in all its glory on the top of the cliff overlooking the water. Here is a pic of how it once looked many years ago.
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And here are a few shots of how it looked today
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Well my morning has slipped away and I have to leave for work now but I will try to finish this up tonight so till then....
 

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You know I like this kind of stuff and can't wait for you to finish. Denice see any Cougars? You write some of the funniest stuff on the forum. Reassure Denice I'm pretty slow runner now these days too. I'm sure I could pick up the pace if a Cougar or Bear was behind me though!:D
 

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Thanks for posting! I enjoy your riding stories and all the familiar North Island names and places I remember from my years living there. Never got out to the Suquash site though, so maybe that's a destination for a future visit :)

Coincidentally, my son is in Port McNeill this week for work. Looks like a stormy wet week in store for him (and you!).
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Ok I am back, but having trouble posting on here tonight. Twice I have written the next part and soon as I try to add the pictures it locks up? And the pics posted earlier aren't coming up correct either. So I will write a bit and post it, then try to edit in pics later.

So we are heading down to the old clearing that once was the Suquash mine..... wait. I just got heck from Denice for writing about her being scared of an old cougar, but I assured her that there are more than a few guys on here that are mighty scared of old "cougars" too! Ok I promised not to make fun of her but its just too damn easy....she is a funny girl and does funny crap that cracks me up like once there was this time..... oh never mind... back to our "family" day outing. Now there is no under brush where the old clearing was, just tall trees and moss cover ground so you can see quite a ways over. I tried to ease Denice's fear by tell her "see honey, you will see a cougar coming from a long ways off". Hmmm that did nothing to help so I led the way forward and helped her over the logs and roots as we progressed towards the old equipment. That's when the large spoke wheel from the tram lift head came into sight so we headed over toward it. Now we were both looking at this large over grown bicycle wheel and never saw the other couple just heading into the clearing behind us. We also certainly didn't see the two large dogs that ran ahead of them silently over the moss covered forest floor! Well I have to give her credit as she didn't scream and I turned just in time to see the approaching "wildlife" but there wasn't time to warn her. I never laughed (least not out loud) but I was kind enough to gently help her down out of the tree. Now no harm came to the dogs, who were quite friendly, but there may have been a little bladder leakage and we will leave it at that. The good that came from this was that with two dogs now on patrol, Denice calmed down and could enjoy the rest of the hike. From there we went over to the remains of the manager's house, which time had reduced to just the cement foundation and two river rock fireplaces with their two storey chimneys towering towards the tree canopy overhead. You can see by the detail in the rock placement that these were works of art produced by a talented craftsman who took pride in his work. Each stone selected to fit exactly into the next and the gaps evenly spaced from the floor to the ceiling. We could picture the fire roaring on a cold winters night and wondered who sat around and what stories they told. This house was built at the top of a cliff that dropped straight down to the flat rock sea bed below, and I mean right at the edge. There wasn't enough room to back up to get the whole place in the shot, however Denice told me there was room for one more step...just one more step! The smaller fireplace was facing out toward the outer veranda and looked like that wrapped around most of the house judging by all the cement columns placed around the outer foundation walls. The view from the deck was spectacular as it look directly over the ocean towards the coastal range.
I am going to stop here for now and try to post the pictures tomorrow as Denice is muttering something about Valentines day and a lack of chocolate. I think I can round up some left over Christmas chocolate if that makes her happy.....doesn't matter what holiday it is, there is always chocolate involved! So till later...goodnight for.

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Beautiful stonework!! Or it was...
 

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I agree with littletommy on the fireplace masonry work. From the shape of the fireplace/chimney, that structure doesn't look like it was just some shack they slapped together in the forest.

I absolutely love your writing humor. :D
 
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