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!


SonjaM said...

Hello Dave, welcome back to the bloggersphere. What a lovely outing... my home turf, well my past home turf actually. I visited Hope many times, and also the hope slide. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us. Wishing you many miles and smiles on your Beemer scoot.
Cheers from the Black Forest (Germany), SonjaM

Dave Dixon said...

Thanks, Sonja! I will have to catch up with your blog on your adventures in Germany! I've already seen some beautiful photos on your blog! Happy riding to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave. Sounds like a great trip. Would love to see a picture of your friend's Honda CTX 700!