Sunday, August 12, 2012

On the Road Again

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.

It was good to see a working boat in the midst of the summer cruising crowd.

I saw that there was a bit of a gathering of passengers on the foredeck of the deck where the bikes were parked, and I wondered what the hullabaloo was all about, and it turned to be all about this little girl, who was only 9 lbs, and fully grown.  She was a long way from being the king of the dogs, but she sure was cute, and was not at all intiimidated by the Rhodesian Ridgeback that she took on in a playfight.  Nothing like dogs and bikes to bring people into conversation.

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.

Early the next morning, my son was up for work, and he even packed a lunch for the old mans' journey down the road.  I headed out early towards the interior of BC, and managed to stop at a few different Timmies as I moved further inland.  I travelled up the Fraser Canyon because that road intrigues me in that it is representative of early BC history, and I am also interested in the different First Nations groups which have called the Canyon home for many years.

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.

 Unfortunately,my friend Dave ended his ride too quickly,with a broken fibula.  I really hope he recovers quickly.
 Some folks came to the meet with all of the amenities.
 A couple of the few BMW's at the meet

 A refreshing stop at Monte Lake, early in the morning and only about 100Km into our ride

 Blondie is starting to get a wee bit dusty, and has lost her shine.  By this time, I was very hot, and getting tired.  We are navigating our way up to the top of the ski hill at Sun Peaks

This shot does not do the amount of dust justice, but gives one an idea of the conditions..

I was so tired at the end of the ride that I left Blondie dirty and dishelveled, and after a quick steak dinner I crashed for 10 hours of heavy sleep.  My neighbours asked me how many ex-wives I had, which is always a good sign that my snoring has been noiser than usual.  I have tried to give up having a complex about my snoring, as I did get my broken septum realigned, but that doesn't seem to help the problem.
Here's Blondie after a repacking job and just before I headed out for Armstong to see my neice and her husband and little guy.  I had a great afternoon sitting on the river and enjoying some sunshine and cool water, a sharp contrast to the dusty riding of the day before.  It was great to spend time with this growing family, and to be part of their  network.  Their boy, who has just turned two, has decided to call me "motorcycle uncle", which has usurped his real uncle.  Perhaps in a few months we will clarify the two distinctions, or he will  begin adding "great" to my appellation.   I am waiting to see the day when he jumps on his strider bike and takes off down the driveway.  Hopefully he will have his helmet on.

My neice has forbade me from posting pictures of her bathing suit, which apparently has stripes going the wrong way.  I suspect it has something to do with the next addition coming to this family, in a few weeks.  I think that she won't mind this reminder of her status in a few years.

It was great to reconnect with family members, and if I had a side car, I know that Jasper the BLAB would be riding with me for the next few months.  I am off to Calgary to see if I can talk my sister and brother in law into riding the Road to the Sun..