One thing beneficial about being a BC Senior is that one gets a break on the BC Ferry system. I was sure to use my Gold Card as I hit the ferry kiosk on my way to the Fraser Valley. A problem with riding a moto and dealing with credit cards and ticket takers is that you need to be able to operate the clutch and brakes on the bikes with your hands while you are moving forward. The BC Ferries lady was none too pleased that I had placed the two cards between my teeth as I drove up to the booth. I told her that I had not kissed a frog, but that did not bring a smile to her, so I guess it was going to be a long day for her.
I don't know how many times that I have travelled between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Lots of times it has been at night, and lots of times I have simply slept in my car, viewing the crossing as another time waster in the process of getting on or off the island. This time, I decided to take a few pics and wander about the ferry.
After the ferry ride, I made my way to the far end of the Fraser Valley, and managed to get myself invited to my daughter-in-laws' birthday party. She is still coming down from her wedding, and I think that the small family celebration was a good opportunity for her readjust to the reality of married and working life.
I stopped in Lytton for a coffee and a wander around town. I bought some baked goods from a lady selling her wares on on the street in a little market area, and talked at some length with a First Nations artist who turned out to be a third cousin of a lady who I went on teacher training courses with. I was impressed with his work and the amount of marketting that he was carrying out in order to get his material out to the public. I like this little town, and the people who live there.
Just up the road, I stopped to yak with the fireboss of a fire suppression crew. It was lucky that the young guy rode a KTM 990, and got why I was stopping in the middle of an impromptu airport to check out helicopters and talk about Forest Service Roads.
Further down the road, I stopped at a church that I have noticed from the road on a number of my rides. It sits on a small reserve at the entrance to Spences' Bridge. The patina of the green couloured shakes and the setting of the little church represents to me a part of BC that is disappearing. I decided that I had enough time to take a bit of a side trip, and not travel directly to Kamloops, which was my destination for the night. I took a side road, Highway 8, down to Merritt. This was a great ride, and a very interesting one. The highway follows the Nicola river, and and winds down the valley towards Merritt. On the outskirts of Lower Nicola, I saw what I knew was a First Nations out-door pavillion, with a circle being the prime feature of the open air building. I hear drums, and I thought that I had stumbled upon a pow-wow. I passed some uniformed firemen, and a firetruck, and thought little of that until I rolled up to the ceremony and realized that it was a funereal.
I did not want to show disrespect to the process, so I dismounted, and stood and watched the proceedings, along with citizens from Lower Nicola. The singing and the drumming from the folks who had encircled the deceased in the simple pine casket were powerful and very moving. Whether it be a birth, a wedding, or a death, all of the stages of life should be celebrated and recognized as stages in the lives that we live. The fact that this particular First Nations performed the ceremony to recognize this individuals' life in an open air amphitheater with drumming and singing made the passage of the individual into the next world even more powerful and emblematic of this First Nation set in the hot dry desert area of British Columbia. I stood my ground and paid my respect to the process and to the individual, and went beyond the stares from the few young native people who appeared to resent the presence of a strange white dude in their church. Interestingly enough, I did not get any bad vibes from the elders who possibly recognize another elder, and not necessarily an intruder.
After fuelling up in Merrit, I headed for Kamloops, and my date with other dualsport riders. I spent a hot night on an open field, and rode over 300 kilometers on Saturday, throughout the Kamloops area. I saw many areas that I had never rode before, and discovered a whole new region of BC that needs to be further explored. I met up with friends that I have ridded with in other BC dualsport rides, and I had a great but very dusty day.