Saturday, July 28, 2012

When you Fall off the Horse....

Last year, on the July long weekend, my Son Ian and I rode the Routledge run put on by the Vancouver Motorcycle Club.  That  weekend ended up being a disaster in terms of my riding plans. Two surgeries later, I just began to ride my bike again in late October for a week or two before Winter hit.  I purposively booked the Routledge Ride again, because I need to have the confidence that both my foot and my bike can recover and ride without incident.

I have been camping in Princeton for the past few days, riding around the area on my own, and visiting sites which I would not normally do on a straight run from the Okanagan through to Vancouver.  The A&W seems to be the local hangout for boomers and their rides, and I have met some interesting characters.

I can readily see myself becoming a car Eddy.  I am really good at taking things apart, and not nearly as good at putting them together.  I would love to have a rebuilt 1949 Ford to tool around in.  I need to remember to keep buying Lotto tickets if that is to happen.

We started the run today along the Kettle Valley Railroad bed for a little bit, and then headed up into the backcountry, circling through Forest Service Roads and eventually ending up in Sumerland at lunch.  Ironies of Ironies, I fueled up Blondie at the same Esso station that I rolled into last summer, complete with broken foot and completely dazed and bewildered.  I ended up making it to Penticton where I recognized that neither bike nor I were going any further.   Another year, and better results.

After Summerland, we travelled by more back roads back to Princeton.  It is amazing to me how much timber is being taken off the hills of BC.  It only becomes apparent when you get beyond the visual corridors.  Unfortunately, it is the mining and the lumber industry which are keeping BC  going, as the rest of the province is not doing that well, in my view.

The number of people attending was down a bit, but everybody had a good time and there were not any huge foulups, other than one guy drowning his KTM.

It is clear that the dualsport boys had a good time and certainly got dirty riding the single-track runs.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Deju Vu and then Some..

Last night I decided that I would head for Cathedral Park, which is south of Keromes.  There was a little rain last night, but the tarp and fly kept the water out and the bugs down, so I had a good sleep, and was ready for coffee by 8:00 AM, at a Princeton coffee shop which opens at 4:30 AM.  Between the cowboy coffee and the free wi-fi, I was set for the day.
I decided to head over towards Cathedral Park via the Old Hedly Hiway, on the North side of the Similkimeen.  It is a great ride of 30 Km or so, and I was astounded at the number of homes, ranches and farms which are buried along the route.  I had to stop at the cafe in Hedly and have another coffee and muffin, and fill up with fuel, as I did not have any idea how far in the road would take me.

While coffeeing up, this rig went by.  I was not quick enough with the camera, but did find it parked down the street a few blocks.  Again, this set up reminded me of the Model A that Dad had, although I think that he had a pickup.  This rig was a Plymouth, and I thought that whomever was transporting this setup had found himself a real gem.  There was still air in the tires, and paint on the wooden rims.  I imagine someone will pay big time for this antique. I would guess that it is somewhere in the early '30's.

The rig was parked outside of a shop? with the an eclectic collection of antiques and junk spread out all over the place.  The owner, or someone with a sense of humour had also mounted some moto art on the wall of the building.

After fuelling up, I headed towards Keromeos and the Cathedral Parks turnoff.  I soon came upon it, and certain features again became familiar.  I had ridden across this covered bridge about two years ago, when the BCBig Traillie ended in Keromeos.

I had stopped on the side of the hiway to say hello to a mother Osprey just before the bridge.

About 25 years ago, I had taken my sons on a long weekend campout from Chilliwack.  We had spent a day wandering around Lytton, and then made our way up towards the Okanagan.  I remember making this turn off, and ending up spending a few hours watching a Pow-Wow under this arbor.  I don't know if the boys remember that experience or not. It would be nice if they did, considering I drove from the Island to spend some time with them.  Anyways, the arbor still stands.

I carried on up the Ashanola Valley, which became narrower and narrower the further south I travelled.  The river was a beautiful tea colour, and I was convinced that it was full of brook trout.

About 25 km in, I stopped at a opening beside the road and took a break.  It looked like someone had set up a pretty serious camp at one point.  Not soon after, I passed what I took to be the trail head for the Cathedral Parks.  I continued on for another hour or so, until I reached a fork in the road.  Mr. Garmin was not of much help.  It looked as if the road was petering out, and the other road to the right seemed to climb into the cliffs.  I consulted the available signes, and decided that this road was not going to carry through to any highway, and that i would be better off, (and smarter) to  turn around and head back the way that i came.

I had turned around, and was heading back whence I had come, when this fellow passed me. I stopped, and he stopped, and we ended up bsing for about two hours.  KLR Vince was from Osyoos, and was heading up the road to the left, the one that I did not take.  He said that it got into the snow, and definitely above the treeline.  We talked bikes, travelling to Mexico, and being long-haired kids in the 60's.  Just like me, Vince is a retired straight arrow now, and he has over 200,000 km on two KLR's.  We had a good discussion about the pros and cons of riding in Mexico and the advantages of each of our bikes.  We talked about our youth in BC and how things had changed considerably.  I think that both of us recognized a kindred spirit of sort, and also probably acknowledged, at least to ourselves, that we were grateful to be alive and able to enjoy retirement.  It was one of those chance meetings of strangers that one has, and it was encouraging for me, in that my plans for travelling south were more or  less affirmed by Vince, who has travelled quite extensively in Mexico.    After our bs session, he decided to ride out with me, and we rode back over the original trail to the covered bridge.

View Larger Map

I wandered back to Hedly for another coffee and muffin, and had a good chat with a couple of old-timers, one of whom was a former hard rock miner.  He told me stories about riding to Sturgis and riding in 135 degree heat on the Prairies.   He also said that there were 500,000 bikes when he visited Sturgis.    On my way back to Princeton, I ran into a couple of thunderstorms, which cooled me and Blondie down.  They have paved the road between Hedly and Keremeos, and all of the tar-snakes from   other days are now gone.  As I was rolling into Princeton, two guys were pulling a bambi off of the road. I guess they had creamed it with their car.

There are a lot of the buggers around, and I am extra careful about the jumpers, as they can do serious damage..

I don't care if they are Canadian deer or not, they are still stupid.

My son Ian will remember this building, which is the remanents of a defunct cement factory from the early 1900's.  The resort is spread out over 108 acres, and is a good venue  and base for this ride coming up.