Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Big Guy rides the Left Coast - Day Two - Seaside OR to Crescent City, CA

Day 2 - 570 kms - 10 hours travel time

Today was a fantastic day for touring! There is so much to see on the Oregon coast. I could have easily spent a week going down what took me about 10 hours of total travel time. Lots of photos in this post!

I had a fairly good night's sleep but was rudely awoken with a 5:35 wake up call - one that I hadn't requested! After a quick bath (shower didn't work) I left Motel Gulag 6, hopefully forever.
View from Oswald State Park

Standing in Oswald State Park - photo taken by a friendly passerby.

Now class, an estuary is where the freshwater river meets the salt water....

The estuary but Rockaway Beach.
I made a couple of stops along the way for some nice seaside photos. Great curves and bends in the road making it much more enjoyable for riding. I was away from the Great Slab and doing what I wanted to be doing!

Once I got to Tilamook, the famous cheese factory, I had a really nice visit. There was a self guided tour, a cheese shop where I bought some cheese cubes (which ended up lasting several days), a nice, clean bathroom, and a restaurant where I ordered a brekky sandwich and a late 

Beach view near Cloverdale, OR

Some people climbing the rocks near Lincoln City, OR

One of my favourite shots in Depoe Bay.

Waves at Beverly Beach State Park.
 Unlike yesterday, where I had tunes cranked on my Schuberth helmet SRC, today I enjoyed the sounds of the wind and the waves. Riding on a smaller highway is much more relaxing and is not nearly as loud as riding on the Interstate. 

Interesting rocks at Seal Rock

Beach explorers at Seal Rock

BMW Scooterist at Seal Rock!

Near Florence

Lunch break at a park in Port Orford

The BMW having a well deserved break at a Port Orford park.
I bought a broccoli salad af Rays Food Palace in Bandonn and the found a quiet windy park to eat it in Port Orford.  I chatted with a friendly old guy in the park on a bicycle. He rode off, leaving me with the crows who wanted my lunch.

Found this photo on the web of the painted street sign.

This was the ocean view that the sign painted in the street pointed to. 

An even better ocean view from Port Orford.

One last exhilarating ocean view from Port Orford.

Next stop was just a few streets away - on a street leaving the highway there were giant letters on the road saying "Ocean View" so I had to take a look and some photos. 

Bridge on the way to Gold Beach

Ocean views by Cape Sebastian Park, near Gold Beach. 

Ocean views by Cape Sebastian Park, near Gold Beach. 

Ahh, the helmet is off for a break, near Gold Beach. 

There were other scenic stops on the way - lots of scenery and the highway runs right by the road! It was sometimes a bit difficult to goggle at the scenery and ride safely but I did manage. I did not ride really fast by any means and stopped whenever I needed to. 

I finally rode into Crescent City.  I pulled over to the side of the road and checked my reservations and then checked the Co-Pilot app. Although the map showed exactly where I was and where the motel was, the distance was apparently 73kms! Crescent city just ain't that big! It was my first indication that the CoPilot app wasn't perfect - and there would be others that would test my patience with the app as the trip continued along. 

The motel was America's Best Value Inn - another untried chain. After last night's Spartan accommodations I was a bit worried - however the room turned out to be much nicer! The bathroom was rather grotty but at least it was 1 for 2..... And the girl at the front desk was very nice, even if she didn't get my sense of humour....

After recommendations of the girl at the front desk ,I walked close to an hour to the pier (yes, yet another motel that is located far from any conveniences) where she recommended two different seafood restaurants and encouraged me to enjoy the mob of barking sea lions! Well, as it turned out, one of the restaurants was closed, the other had an hour wait, and the seals were not on the pier, barking, as promised!

I ended up at another seafood restaurant where I ordered the pan fried shrimp because it was healthier. Of course, it was served in a bowl of melted butter. Sigh.

While finishing my dinner, there was some excitement demonstrated by the staff. Apparently there had just occurred an earthquake! It measured 3 on the Richter scale so it was fairly minor - I think you had to have been standing to feel it - or not have sat on a scooter seat for the past ten hours...

After dinner and two glasses of wine I made it back to the motel, watched a little TV, and then had an enormously satisfying sleep.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Big Guy rides the Left Coast - Day One - Maple Ridge, BC to Seaside OR

Day 1 - 530km - 8 hours travel time

After having a fairly decent sleep - I was pretty excited, after all, I I got up around 6:30am and made my last preparations for my ride. 

Today was Great Slab Day. I've done this part of Washington a bunch of times so I decided to take big concrete I-5 most of the way.  It's not that exciting a ride but it is fast. 

First, however, I had to make a stop at Bruce's Market to pick up some smoked salmon for my friend in California. I know he really likes their salmon jerky but it just doesn't travel that well - I have no cooler on my scoot!

I got to the border in fairly good time with no wait. The guard at the border was actually pretty friendly and didn't ask too many impertinent questions. Now the challenge is keeping my passport safe for the next 9 days.

First stop was supposed to be Colophon Cafe in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham but it was closed as I was too early! I wandered around until I found an open coffee shop and stopped at Tony's Coffeehouse

The shop had great character as with most of Fairhaven. I had a cheddar dill scone for my late breakfast (9:30) and a latté. Interestingly, everyone seemed to be by themselves and were all either on their mobile device or reading the paper. Not an unfriendly place, people were just into reading.

After a stop at a rest stop north of Seattle, I had lunch at the Subway in Puyallup. I quite like their $6 deal - 6 inch sub, drink and chips. I think it's $6 just for the drink in Canada!

I'm using an app called CoPilot GPS for its combo of downloaded maps (free) and live traffic updates ($1.39 for a month). It did a good job of getting me where I wanted to go, avoiding most traffic issues, and showing me some interesting parts of cities like Olympia.

A brief stop on the Olympic Highway

I made sure that I stopped when I was feeling a bit tired or crampy. I have some issues with my hips but the range of places to put my feet on the floorboard of the scooter went a long way to mitigating any problems. Like anything, you have to listen to your body and take a break when called for. 

I was also able to take some nice photos as I did of the Chehalis River, not far from my rest break. Despite the grey skies, it was reasonably warm enough for riding and the rain held, for the most part. 

Two stops I didn't make - one was Artic - after all these years of correcting kids there is a place where they spell it without the letter 'c' after the 'r'!  Also, there was Dixon Road but I was following s pilot truck through construction at the time. Following pilot trucks through construction, I would soon find out, would be a regular occurrence in this trip!

Stopped for a desperately needed espresso in South Bend and then visited this memorial to a World War II medical corpsman named Robert E. Bush. He was  very brave man when facing Japanese attackers, holding a medical bottle (IV?) in one hand while shooting at the enemy soldiers with his other hand. 

The gentlemen in the hat in the photo and I had a nice chat as we were both impressed by the hero's story. The gentlemen did voice his concerns that younger people had no respect or understanding of the sacrifices made by these people that fought for freedom. 

The crossing from Washington State to Oregon over the Columbia River is via the Astoria Bridge. It was called "The Bridge to Nowhere" by some when it was built in 1962 but is a popular bridge that is an important link on the west coast. The day I went over, it was quite windy and very exciting to cross! What a fun ride!

As this is a scooter blog, I should probably talk a little bit about the scoot! My BMW performed flawlessly today. The I-5 is not a technically difficult ride but it does require some zip when passing people. I tried to stay mostly in the middle lanes so that I wasn't worrying about people merging all of the time but I also could focus on what was ahead, and not worry so much about speedsters behind me wanting me to get out of the way. 

I tried both with and without earplugs today and settled on using earplugs for most of the ride. Just being on I-5 is so noisy and, with music cranked to avoid boredom, it was important to save my ears. 

I arrived in Seaside and checked into the Motel 6.. I do like to be frugal with my motels on my scooter trips but I also want a decent place. I'm not sure if all Motel 6s are like this - but it felt more like Motel Gulag 6.  - It was very spartan - there was not a single photo or picture on the wall, nor was there a clock radio. To their credit, the staff had cleaned the room but the bathroom was a bit grotty and, as I found out the next day, the show didn't work! I don't think I'll be staying at Motel 6 again!

Another downside to Motel Gulag 6 was that it was on the outskirts of town - Seaside isn't that big but the motel was pretty far from everything. That was OK, because my legs needed a stretch, and I made the 30 minute walk to downtown stopping at the beach for a few snaps. The beach looked very nice and there were lots of groups of people hanging out as the sun went down. 

The downtown itself was busy but seemed very touristy. That made it difficult to choose a place to eat dinner because every restaurant seemed to offer 50 things on their menu, the mark of trying to please too many tastes without having really good food.

I finally settled on Finn's Fish House.  It's always kind of weird for me to dine by myself because I rarely do so. I also find that the quality of service makes a much bigger impact on your dining experience because that's usually the only person you are speaking with. 

My waiter was polite but not terribly friendly The fish and chips came in 2 or 4 piece sizes and when I asked him about the size of the fish, he said each piece was about the size of a small potato. Forgetting I was in the US, I ordered 4 pieces and ended up with 4 giant slabs of fish - far too much for me to eat, let alone the vast bed of fries. I ate what I could - probably too much - and guiltily left the rest. 

After dinner, I wandered back to my cell - I mean, room, and slept surprisingly well, as the combination of greasy fish, salty fries, and a pint of porter sloshed around in my stomach.

Monday, 11 July 2016

One more day.....!

There she waits, my BMW, for me to take her on an epic adventure.

At least, that's how I feel!

With one day left until I leave for my trip to California, I am very excited! Of course, there are a couple of things to attend to....

First, on Saturday, I decided to relax with a bowl of popcorn while I watched Netflix. When I reached for the very last handful, and put it in my mouth, an unsatisfying 'crunch' sounded in my mouth - and a part of a tooth cracked off of my molar.

You would think that I know better as I have cracked teeth a number of times thanks to popcorn. My popcorn consumption has definitely reduced over time ( I first cracked a tooth on popcorn at age 24 when I was in a youth hostel in Stockholm)  but I still take a risk every now and then.

As a result, one of my jobs today is to wait for the dentist to call so I can get an emergency filling this evening before I leave for my trip.

Second, I am still working on breaking in my fancy motorcycle shoes. About a month ago, I ordered these shoes from Revzilla - TCX - X Street Waterproof Shoes - that are waterproof and have some of the safety features that you would want in a motorcycle shoe - certainly more than my running shoes. There is reinforcement for the ankle, heel and toes so that's a good thing.

The problem is - well, it's my problem. I have bunions (I think it's familial - thanks, Dad) and have to be really careful about shoes rubbing them because it irritates my foot. When I first picked them up in Blaine (saved myself $50 by having them delivered to the US), I put them on and rode home. They were a bit tight around my bunion, so I took them to my local shoe store and they stretched them. Then they stretched them again. (Girl at counter: "I stretched the crap out of them this time.")

Then I realized that, although there was room in the shoe, the hard leather of the shoe still irritated my foot. So I bought these bunion protectors - silicon pads that you stick over you big toe and line up on your bunion. It is supposed to protect your bunion from rubbing,

Still with me? Really? I'm impressed!

This morning, I went to go for a nice long walk with my boots and it went pretty well - I think they are almost broken in. I do have a pair of running shoes that I am taking with me so I will have an alternative. Still need a shoehorn, though....

Finally, I need to do that last minute packing check - including my gadgets, rudimentary tools, safety stuff, passport, medicine, reservations, and clothes. Surprisingly, it looks like everything will fit in my top case or under my seat with room to spare so I will be bringing along my watercolour set.

About the only thing I didn't do was silkscreen a T-Shirt with "West Coast Scooter Tour 2016" or something like that. Didn't think it was a great idea for just one person!

Everything else ready - electronics are charged up (iPad, iPhone, GoPro, SRC), my trail mix for the road is ready, and I will just have to pack one or two things before I leave in the morning tomorrow.

Happy trails!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Riding List - HELP NEEDED!

Back from my fishing trip, I am now counting down the last few days until my trip.

I have done a TON of research online for ideas of what to bring along for an eleven day trip that spans a few thousand kilometres. Other than the regular clothing, etc., here are the items that I think are important to bring. Please tell me if you can think of anymore!

MEC Packing bags

Little Bag to fit on top of top case - my GIVI top case is like a clam shell - so the stuff in the top half tends to fall out when I open the case - unless it is perfectly balanced. I found some good, cheap packing bags at Mountain Equipment Coop and the larger one should do the trick.

iPhone Tripod and remote looks something like this.

Little iPhone tripod - this is something my brother gave me last year for my birthday. The tripod easily holds the phone. There is also a remote and dongle so you can take photos remotely but I think I'll just take the tripod and use the timer.

Sunscreen - Can't burn my face....

Toilet paper - You never know...

Foam earplugs - for both riding (so I don't go deaf and so the tunes in my helmet aren[t too tinny) and for at night if it a motel room a really loud

Handy wipes - For my hands - could be used to clean windscreen or lights, in a pinch.

1.5 litre Camelback bladder

Hydration (Camelback) bladder - I'll put this in a small backpack and sip on it on really hot days. It holds 1.5L which might be a bit small - we'll see.

Chargers (iPhone, iPad, SRC, GoPro) - Ah, electronics! So many things to charge and keep track of! I'm also able to charge either the SRC (for the helmet) or the phone with the charger port om my BMW.

Rain jacket - I already have a waterproof lining for my jacket but I want to have an extra layer just in case.

Windex in a little spray bottle - For cleaning the windscreen - and lights.

Spare tire repair kit - Just purchased!

I might bring my watercolour travel set but I'm thinking that I probably won't because of the lack of room.

There's also obvious things like polar fleece, flip flops, spare gloves, swim suit, GoPro camera, iPhone, iPad, etc Anything else? Anything I should leave behind?

Leaving Tuesday - can't wait!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Another item - emergency tire repair kit

In anticipation of my impending trip down to California, I have been going over some of my supplies that I will be taking along. Some are fine (cell phone charger), some are not needed (three bungee cords) and some have to be replaced. One such item was my emergency tire repair.

Wayyyy back, when I had my Vespa LX50, I bought a spray can that supposedly will both fill your tire with goo and inflate it all at the same time. I recall that I couldn't find one for a motorcycle so I just bought one for a car. Luckily, I never had the chance to try it out.

On my upcoming trip, I may be in some pretty isolated places so I thought, even though I am not that mechanically minded, I could always figure out how to repair and re-inflate my tire. And I didn't think the 'spare-in-a-can' idea was a very good one - so I put that item in the trunk of the family car!

After much research, I found a kit where you basically plug of the hole after reaming it out and then inflate the tire using compressed gas (I have one of the compressed gas things for my bicycle0.  I found some in Canada (way too expensive) and looked at different ones in the US until I found one from J and P motorcycles for a mere $17.99 plus shipping!

If you are interested in how they work, check this video.

Today I went down to my package store in Blaine and picked up the item.

I have often commented on the differences between Americans and Canadians on my blog, especially, like most Canadians, I live fairly close to the border. Today is no exception.

I found the woman at the package place to be quite friendly - about what I'd expect in Canada. But then I went to the Subway and the girl there was REALLY friendly! She engaged me in a conversation about weather and summer - not too personal but quite intelligent. The Subway servers in Canada often seem on their way to becoming zombies....  Maybe Canadians are more polite but Americans are friendlier?

Another difference is, when we were talking about the weather, she referred to the area as the Pacific Northwest. We tend to call it the West Coast so I found this an interesting difference, especially as I was less than an hour north of Blaine (well, maybe longer, as there was a big lineup!).

Any way, that's another tick off of my 'to get' list - and I am closer - in fact a week way - to going on a fantastic road trip!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Planning for the Summer Ride

Photo from http://whyweride.com

Due to an interesting development, I have a little time on my hands this summer.....

My father-in-law is taking my wife on a cruise this summer - very nice for her - and that has freed up a bunch of time for me to tour in the summer! Of course, there's visits with the kids and a fishing trip but there is also time to take a longer scooter trip than I usually take. 

The total trip will take about 11 days and I am REALLY looking forward to it. I hopefully haven't planned too many really long days or bitten off more than I can chew.... I would LOVE to read any comments you have on my route as I have never done this before. Anyway, here's the plan:

Day 1 - Maple Ridge to Seaside, Oregon. 525km
I have taken minor highways all the way to Longview before, on my Vespa 250, and that's almost at the Washington/Oregon border. The plan on this day is to blast down the I-5 until Olympia and then cut over to the coastal highway until Seaside. It's not a particularly pretty ride but it will get me there rather quickly. That way I can check into my fancy hotel (with a number '6' in it) and then have a beverage and look at the ocean. I plan to leave around 7am so hopefully that will give me plenty of time to get there.

Day 2 - Seaside to Crescent City, California 642km
This may be a REALLY long day, but I hope that I will be fresh and energetic (as it is the beginning of the trip) and able to handle the time. There's a ton to see so I will have my GoPro camera on for part of the way and have the tunes cranked on my helmet SRC. There's espresso places, cheese factories, lots of viewpoints, kites, more cheese and more viewpoints! I don't intend to stop at every place - that would take forever - but certainly at some to see what I can see. Again, I will start early and I don't know if there's a lot to see at Crescent City (maybe a big crescent wrench?) so I will probably just crash at my hotel when I get there and rest up for the next day.

Day 3 - Crescent City to Mendocino, California 367km
Finally, a shorter day! I actually was originally going to go from Crescent City to San Francisco in one day but realized that I was doing days that were too long and I needed a break so I broke up the day in two. Again, a ton to see including more cheese, viewpoints, redwoods, and a giant totem pole. If I start early on this day - and I don't see why I wouldn't - it will give me some time to explore Mendocino - as well as stop at the occasional place on the way down. 

Day 4 - Mendocino to El Granada, California 281 km
Maybe this will be a lie in day! Not a long trip at all, although going through San Francisco is bound to be nerve-wracking! Happily, there are still lots of things to see on the way (although no cheese factories) and I can actually take it easy. The reason that I'm going to El Granada is that I will be staying with my friend, Mike, who I met in Japan over 30 years ago, and his partner, Shirley. We stayed with them and visited San Fran a few years ago and had a fantastic time. We also stayed with them on St. Martin, in the Caribbean, when they invited us to a time share - and that was also another absolute great time! I had originally planned to stay a bit longer with them but, as I looked at the giant distances I was attempting, I realized I had to add a couple more travel days. Looking forward to seeing them!

Day 5 - El Granada - Visiting!

Day 6 - El Granada to San Luis Obispo, California 363km
This is the only day that I have a bit of a time crunch. On the way down the coast, I have a reservation to stop at Hearst Castle for 3pm. I'm sort of guessing on the time so I will need to leave early enough that I don't miss my reservation but late enough so I won't be sitting outside the castle for 3 hours. Some nice scenery including Carmel and the whole road down through Big Sur sounds wonderful! After visiting the castle, I hope to spend a little time in San Luis Obispo before turning in.

Day 7 San Luis Obispo to Lodi, California 412 km
The route I'm taking takes me away from the soul-sucking Interstate and onto hopefully quieter highways. Again, I originally was going to go all the way to Reno but realized that I was trying to do too much in a day so I split it in two. Cheese, nuts, and a Swedish town await my possible inspection on the way to Lodi, where I can sing, CCR-like, how I am stuck in Lodi again (even though it will be my first time).

Day 8 Lodi to Reno, Nevada 277km
Ok, maybe the real reason I decided to split up the trip was to give myself time to play blackjack at the tables. I am staying in the Eldorado - the same hotel I stayed in when I took a trip while going to UBC back in 1980. Wonder if it looks any different? There's a gold rush town as well as Virginia City to see on the way so there are a couple spots to see. 

Day 9 Reno to Klamath Falls, Oregon 409km
I'm not sure if there's anything to see here. Trees? Lakes? Mountains? I guess I'll find out. Hopefully some good craft beer in Klamath Falls.....

Day 10 Klamath Falls to Yakima, Washington 581km
I used to have an excellent bike rack for my bicycles that fit my old VW Golf. It was called a Yakima - not sure if that was the model or if that was the company that made it. Anyway, it will be interesting to make my way to Yakima. Again, I'm not sure if there is a lot to see as I had a hard time finding any information on the internet. There is some sort of Stonehenge recreation in Biggs so I am thrilled to be seeing that! If anyone can assist me with anymore information for the Day 9, 10 or 11, it would be greatly appreciated!

Day 11 Yakima - Kelowna, BC 512km
The last blast of the trip will take me through the American Okanogon (I think that's how you spell it in the US) which is a bit of an overlap from last summer. Other than than, I guess I'll see some trees, some desert-y land, and some lakes and mountains.

Why Kelowna? Because my eldest lives there, of course! Eventually I will work my way back to Maple Ridge. 

It might be a bit of an ambitious trip but I think I will be ok. I've got hotels/motels booked the whole way and they are all cancellable if things go pear shaped. I'm working on my packing list and my exercise program for when I arrive at each destination right now. I will go into that in another blog entry.

Any suggestions, blogosphere?

Monday, 13 June 2016

Harassment Ride - Glen Valley

Today's route

My friend, Dale, is harassing me.

No, not that kind of harassment!

Since he has bought his motorcycle, he texts me, sometimes several times a day, to go for a ride!

I DO enjoy riding with him, but I do have some semblance of a life outside of my scooter!

Anyway, we went on Sunday for two reasons; one, the rain had stopped and two, he broke down my resistance!

Due to time constraints, Dale couldn't go until 2:30pm and I had to be back by 5pm so we went for a very enjoyable but all too short ride.

First, out to Mission, stopping at Silverdale to fill up with cheap ($1.21 / litre for premium) gas. Then across the river to Abbotsford and then onto enjoyable country roads.

Luckily, Dale was leading because he had a much better idea of which direction the route was. I think the last time I had been on this route was part of a bicycling trip about ten years ago! Or maybe one of the rides on my Vespa LX50!

It is a great ride - not very much traffic - and the two thirds point was Glen Valley Regional Park. In fact, the area is referred to as Glen Valley.

Two fine two wheelers, parked in Glen Valley Park

We stopped there and had to actually take off our jackets as it was quite warm. We met a fella there that had a big 1300cc Yamaha bike and was testing out a magnetic tank bag. The thing looked almost a bit comical because it was so tall that it obscured the gauges when you are riding! The guy was testing it out because his wife and he were heading on a trip that started east to Saskatchewan, then south to Mt. Rushmore and then back to the west coast through the states. Quite the trip!

After our pleasant visit, we headed on back to Langley and then over the Golden Ears bridge and home. I was back for 5pm and parked my scoot, happy to have been harassed sufficiently to go for a ride!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Scooter Season Begins

I't been such a long time.

Makes me think of one of the bands of my youth, Boston, whose song, Long Time, began with those lyrics.

Life just gets too damned busy and, also,  I find that throughout the non-summer months, I just don't have a ton to write about. Better to say nothing than to babble-blog. But things have been happening over the past year and I will get to them over the next few weeks.

But first, today's ride.

My friend Dale has a Honda CTX 700 - he had a 300, but as soon as I bought my BMW 650, I guess he had to out-cc me!

Anyway, Dale suggested going for a ride today as it was a beautiful summer-like day with summer temperatures and wonderful clear skies.

We met up at Bruce's Market in Maple Ridge and headed east on the Lougheed Highway. We both have nice super high viz green jackets now - I bought mine at the Abbotsford Motorcycle Show a few months ago - and had all of the liners out. It was a bit chilly at 8:30 in the morning but that definitely wouldn't last. After gassing up in Silverdale, we made our way to the Ricky's Restaurant in Mission for a filling breakfast.

I've done all this reading about how you should eat light when going on a longer ride so that you don't get sleepy so I'm not sure what happened when my farmer's sausage skillet arrived at the table. I did leave a fair bit behind but still.... We recalled that the last time we were in this particular restaurant was after cycling to Mission about 7 or 8 years ago....

After breakfast we continued east on the Lougheed Highway (7) until Hope. There were a TON of motorcyclists out there on every sort and type of bike. Other riders in fluorescent green always waved, most others did as well, but some of the leather vest and tiny helmet crowd just ignored us when we gave them the motorcyclist wave. The ride was enjoyable although we hit some super strong wind gusts just before Hope.

From Hope we took the freeway and stopped off at the Hope Slide for a break. The Hope Slide is Canada's largest landslide - ever. It came down in January, 1965.  Two cars and a truck were buried under the slide - 47 million cubic metres (that's a lot!) of rocks killed four people.  Luckily, a Greyhound bus filled with passengers felt an earthquake and turned around just before the slide happened, saving many people.

I remember stopping at the Hope Slide as a kid - it was a lot more recent when I was young, I guess - and I still enjoy taking a look at what mother nature can do. Unfortunately, my photos are more focussed on my friend and our shiny bikes than on the slide!

After our break, we continued down the road on Highway 3 - the Hope-Princeton. This is one of my favourite highways for even driving a car - lots of nature, nice windy roads, good condition, and not packed with vehicles. It's a bit of a slower road - perfect for riding.

While enjoying the road, I must admit that I had my tunes playing in my helmet. When I bought my BMW scooter almost a year ago, I also bought a fancy Schuberth helmet. It came with pre-installed speakers and a mic. Last month, I bought the electronics (called an SRC) so I could connect with my iPhone. While the music certainly isn't blaring away, I can hear it over the wind and road noise - and it makes riding wonderful! I still can hear other vehicles, still am focussed on the road, but a layer of enjoyment has been laid on top of my already bountiful enjoyment!

Our next stop was Manning Park. This is a provincial park that has ski lifts, camping, hiking and a lodge. When we got to the lodge, we took a road on the opposite side of the highway for the 8km climb to Citadel Viewpoint.

The road was one that my wife would hate, what with all the nasty edges, but I enjoyed the great views on the way up. We passed a guy on his bicycle - man, it would be a grind up that hill!

At the top was the viewpoint which was very nice. There was a sign with a bunch of metal arrows that showed you where different mountains were but, unfortunately, I didn't recognize any of the names. By this time it was quite hot and we enjoy the break from being on the hot pavement.

Heading back always seems faster and this trip was no exceptions. We basically retraced our route and it was similar except hotter - my scoot showed a high of 36° C. - in the upper nineties, I believe, in ol' fashioned Fahrenheit. We rode our way back through the same lovely roads until we got to Hope and then gassed up. At the gas station was a mini A&W so I bought s small root beer to supplement my water.

That brings me to another purchase. I had already purchased a small backpack (counts as a second carry on item) when we went to Arizona in March. Last month, I bought a Camelbak bladder and tube to stick in it for riding. Several blogs I have read said that this was a good thing to do. Unfortunately, I only lasted until Mission with the backpack because a) it was hot and b) I had to run the tube under my helmet strap - otherwise it would flap around and be inaccessible. This bothered my face as the tube tended to rub. Luckily I had room under my seat for the back pack and I just grabbed a drink whenever I stopped. I had filled it with ice in the morning and topped up with water. The good news - even at the end of the trip, the water was still cold.

By this time it was way past lunch but neither of us were that hungry. We decided to stop at the Sasquatch Cafe for a beer (one only) and some chicken wings.

Not my photo - and about 40 more bikes.

The Sasquatch Cafe or Inn is in Harrison Mills on Highway 7. We pulled into the rather large parking lot and.... it was full of bikes. Not a single scooter and I don't know if we saw another Japanese bike, either! It was definitely Harley-ville with a few others, such as Nortons. I parked beside a beast of a bike with a tiny helmet emblazoned with several version of the F-word emblazoned all over the helmet. We took off our bright green jackets (no other green jackets were in evidence) and attempted to cooly walk to the cafe.

There we had a beer and their amazing chicken wings. It was a great break and the cold beer was a welcome relief. I wish I had taken some photos there but it was a bit intimidating to be surrounded by the Harley crowd. No problems, though!

After our refreshments, we headed back, diverting onto Dewdney Trunk Road in the east part of Mission. We wended our way home, arriving around 4:00pm. Total mileage, 370 kms.

A great ride - and a great restart to my blog!