Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(Day 36) On riding with the change...

Almost two weeks on the road and only my second night in the tent.  I am spoiled.  Thankfully I slept much better in the tent this night as opposed to my first night.  I had power and I had the use of my sleep apnea machine.

I awoke well rested to a valley bathed in the soft light of sun bending around mountains and poking through clouds. There was thunder in the distance.  But the little meadow I had called home last night was dry and peaceful.

I broke camp wondering what the day would bring, what was going on at home.  I tried to call... NO SERVICE... such would be the case for much of the day.

I was on the road by 6 AM heading north on Highway #6.  Twenty kilometers  out of Winlaw I ran into rain.  Forty kilometers out of Winlaw the rain turned into hail as I climbed out of the valley.  Fifty minutes out of Winlaw I had every motorcyclist worst nightmare... a deer danced across the road in front of my headlight.  He was past before I could even react.  I pulled over to the side of the road and sat there in the rain - my heart beating in time with the driving rain.

As my heart slowed and my mind computed just how random life can be, I did all I could do - breathe, and drink in the beauty of all that surrounded me: clouds hanging below the mountain tops, a sun that refused to give into the rain, trees that stood tall on steep mountainsides and water that flowed from stream to lake and rushed in rivers alongside the ribbon of pavement.

With resolve to be even more vigilant I set off once again.  My first goal of the morning would be Nakusp.  I travelled along the side of Slocan Lake for almost 50 kilometers and was treated again and again to glimpses of the lake through curtains of trees.

At Nakusp the road bends south as it follows the Columbia River.  Highway #6 is a motorcyclist dream!  Sweeping corners, tight S turns, elevation changes, and scenery that fills the senses: sight, sound and taste!  The only drawback is the wildlife.

By the time I left Highway #6 at Vernon I had seen seven deer, one moose, one bear (I think it was a Grizzly) and a few Caribou or Elk (don't know how to tell the difference).  The deer were the worst.  Not mentioning the one that danced in front of me again... two of the little buggers as I passed by them very slow poked their heads out of the ditch and looked at me with suicide eyes... I gave them a wide berth!!  I did stop once and try and get a picture... before I could snap the shutter, all I saw was a white-tail disappearing over the next rise.

At the Needles - Fauquer Ferry I crossed the Columbia and continued on the #6 north out of the gorge and west to Cherryville along some of the most engaging roads I have riden in a long time!  Living in BC would ensure that all of my motorcycle tires get used all the way around - and not just on the top from going in straight times!!

At Vernon the weather changed.  The sun was coming out and it was warming up - as a result I was drying out!

I stopped for brunch at Gatzke's Orchards.  A three egg omelette with summer sausage and mushrooms with home fries, toast and blueberry and peach jam filled my belly and gave me energy for the next leg of the journey!!

South on  #97 to the #3.  At Oyama they were chipping away at the mountain to make it safer for travellers... Canada's Economic Action Plan!  If I had $10 for everyone of these signs I have seen on this trip I would have enough money for gas to do the trip again!!

Through Kelowna, past Peachland with a stop in Keremos.

I needed a break and every twenty feet there was a sign for cherries... local cherries... fresh cherries... u-pick cherries... I stopped.  Not at one of commercial fruit stand/gift-shop, but at an orchard with a hand-painted sign: Commercial and Retail: Fruit For Sale.  On the side of the house was another sign: Blow Your Horn.

Before I had my helmet off Carimma (not sure of the spelling) greeted me and asked what I would like.  I told her I just wanted a snack as I took a break from the road.  She took me down to their sorting building where she sold me three pounds of cherries for $5, washed them and then explained to me how the cherries are picked, sorted and prepared for shipping.  As we walked back to the driveway I mentioned the mini-bike - it belonged to her son and isn't working.  He is sad that he cannot drive around the orchard.  We spoke briefly of our children, her two have gone away to university and don't want to come back and work on the farm.  She told me how hard it is to find harvesters for the orchard and how much she enjoys the difficult work.  As our conversation ended I still had two pounds of cherries!  Where to put them?  Thank goodness for expandable tank bags!!

Leaving Keremos heading west on #3 the road again drew me in.  Through arid valleys, topping out on windswept hills.  Through Princeton and southward, up and down switchbacks and into Manning Park.

Coming on 4PM and it was time for coffee.   Pulling off into one of the little picnic areas led me through a grove of Western Hemlock!  What majestic trees.  Wandering the interpretative trail gave me opportunity to eat some more of the cherries and ponder the majesty and mystery of such biodiversity!

Returning from my little walk I met Shaun and Laura - heading to the Manning Lodge in a neat little red Fiat!!  Too cute!!  They were intrigued with my journey and wished me well.   By this time I had eaten my fill of cherries and offered the remaining pound or so to them.  They were quite grateful  NIce to meet you both.

Back on the road I headed for Hope.

The GPS was telling me that I would be in Fort Langley at 4PM.  That wouldn't do.  I had arranged to meet Dwight after supper so I needed to pass some time... hmmm... what to do..?  I know!!  Explore back way into Fort Langley!

I set the GPS to: avoid highways and avoid gravel roads and let it do its work.  Soon I was travelling alongside the Frazer River on the #7, passing Harrison Lake, through Agassi and Mission, across McMilan Island to Fort Langley.

Parked on the side of the road pondering where to eat, a man walks up to me saying, "New Brunswick.  New Brunswick.  I'm from Newcastle."  Turns out he works for Correctional Services and came out here as part of a career move.  Nice to meet you and thanks for the recommendation!!  A block down the road I park myself at the Fort Pub and Grill.  Special of the day: Burger and Fries, $3.99 and a Pint of Alexander Keith for $5.25.  Yeah I know I should have had something local... but in honour of Newcastle - I had a Keith's!!

With the food eaten and the beer consumed I headed off to Dwight's place where he welcomed me and pointed me to the shower!  After 800+ KM a shower does sure feel good!

A coffee and a chat about prisons, politics and plans for tomorrow left me with some time to update the blog.  Tomorrow it is off the the Regional CSC Psychiatric Facility for meetings in the morning and then to Gibson Landing (home of the Beachcombers), just across Horeshoe Bay  where Dwight and his wife Faith and I will do some planning for the upcoming IPCA meeting in London, England and some work on the IPCA website.

It was a day of change!

 Change in weather.
  Change in elevations.
   Change in directions.
    Change in planned routes.
     Change in timing.

Sometimes all you can do is ride with it.

...on the Sabbath Road...

May of Day 36

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