From The Archives – Part 1 – Motorcycle Ride August 30 – September 4, 2004
Editors Note: I was Blogging before Blogging was cool. On the former jounhurlbut.com I had a number of stories posted that were in a blog like format, but it was long before WordPress or anything like it. This was posted in September of 2004. This is Part 1 of 4. I’m going to slowly bring those posts back to this blog so I don’t lose them.
Spanaway, WA – Kamloops, BC – Castlegar, BC –
Leavenworth, WA – Spanaway, WA
OK, This trip ranks REALLY high on my “Damn that was fun” list. I want to acknowledge some folks before I begin my report. The acknowledgements always come at the end, and I know you won’t still be reading it then, so I’ll get them out of the way here:
To Teri for encouraging me to go on this trip, thanks hon, you rock!
To Brandon for making it an AWESOME time and showing me the ropes. To the Kawasaki R&D team for making an absolutely kick ass motorcycle in the ZZR-1200. To the authors and publishers of the Destination Highways books for giving us the 411 on the best rides in BC and WA. And finally, to Bret & Chrisie Tkacs of Puget Sound Safety for helping me out in everything motorcycle and giving me the pre-trip checkup.
Day 1 – Spanaway, WA – Kamloops, BC – 427 Miles
Before I begin, I’ll mention a few things. First you should know that this report is geared more towards the folks that may be contemplating such a journey, and not necessarily for entertainment purposes. Although, there will be a few funny comments here and there, so most of you should enjoy reading it. I’ll break it down by day, and throughout the day you’ll see mention of rides like “DH-2” this specifically relates to a ride out of the Destination Highways books. If you ride a motorcycle in Washington or BC, you cannot live without these indespensible manuals. Go buy them now. I will proide copies of the routes we rode in the DH manuals here, but really don’t use them, go buy the book(s). You won’t regret it.
OK, So prior to the trip, I was running around like a mad man looking for all the stuff I was to pack in my saddlebags, tail bag, and tank bag. I think I finally got everything loaded up Sunday night around 10. Monday morning I woke up and removed the upper section of my tank bag and repacked everything in the lower section. I finally headed out around 8:30. I reached Brandon’s by about 9:15 and by 9:30 we were on our way north.
The initial leg of our journey was simply a straight slog up I-5 through rush hour traffic. Nothing really exciting. We had decided to stop in Bellingham so that we could re-fuel prior to crossing the border into Canada. After asking some quick directions from a friendly postman, we were on our way on Highway 542 to Highway 9 to cross the border at Sumas. We pulled up next to a guy on an Elite 80 at a stop light, and being the asshole that I am, I gave a quick twist on the throttle. Brandon got a chuckle out of it and apparently that’s the cue the guy needed to talk to us. He thought he was being cute when he asked what kind of gas mileage we got since he got 35MPG. Brandon replied that he too gets about 35MPG. Had I heard him I would have mentioned that I get around 42MPG and can go as fast as he can in 1st gear with 5 left over.
The border crossing was pretty uneventful, however if you are crossing, make note to NOT get behind a U-Haul. Murphy’s law prevailed and we were in the slowest line. I would have taken a pic of the U-Haul but didn’t want to be suspected of being a terrorist!
After crossing the border, we hit TC-1 heading east. Our next stop was in Hope, BC for gas and lunch. We ate at a little “Family Restaurant” which provided decent sustenance to allow us to continue. Up to this point, we really hadn’t hit all that many fun roads, but that was about to change. Continuing on Route 5 north to Merritt, we got to go through a toll booth! $5.00 CDN was all it cost for each bike and rider to pass, it was just a minor inconvenience. Now heading north on Route 5, we were starting to get into some pretty spectacular scenery. However, the trip being what it was, you won’t get to see any because we didn’t really want to stop to take pictures. But I will say this . . . the further north into BC we got, it reminded me of what Washington must have looked like 50 or 60 years ago. Towns spread really far apart, with really low population density.
Our next stop was in Merritt, and this would be where we’d find our first DH ride of the trip. DH-31 in the BC book. Couple of notes about the DH rides, they are organized by a rating system. 100 points would be a perfect ride. They give 30 possible points for twistieness, 20 for pavement condition, 10 each for Engineering and Remoteness, and 15 each for Scenery and Character. After rating each of those categories for a particular ride, the ride gets a total. Then the totals are arranged from higest to lowest to assign the DH number. e.g. DH-1 would have a hgiher score than DH-10. So This being DH-31 it had an overall score of 67.4 of 100. This was a great warmup ride for some of the rides we were to do the following day. The posted speed limit on the road was 90 KPH, and we cruised along at about 70 MPH for most of the way. The route took us by quite a few pretty lakes, the largest being Nicola Lake. It was just twisty enough to keep us interested, but not so twisty so we couldn’t enjoy the scenery. There was one spot where I wanted to take a picture . . . at the beginning of this route, we drove by a flock of sheep off to the right and the next road was named Coyote Valley. I got a chucle out of it. Speaking of wildlife, we saw quite a bit on this trip. Also along this route we saw a Ram off to the side of the road having a bit of a sanack.
The end of this route took us into downtown Kamloops. We pulled off into a parking lot to try and figure out where we’d stay for the night. We asked an RV’er where a good private campground might be, but he didn’t really know. So we drove around a bit looking for a couple. We ended up at a Provincial Park just north of Kamloops called Paul Lake. Neat spot. On the way there, I was introduced to Cattle Guards . . basically big metal grates in the road to keep cattle from wandering too far. Not a whole lot of fun on two wheels, but approach them as you would RR tracks and you’ll be fine. Along this stretch of road we saw a little black bear scrambling to get up the hill on the other side of the road. The twisties on the way to the campsite were surprisingly cool as well. We set up camp and rode back into Kamloops for groceries for dinner and breakfast. After nearly lighting the picnic table on fire with my stove, we had a great feast and headed off to bed around 10:30 . . . LONG day . . . fortunately the others wouldn’t be as long.