Friday, 5 August 2016

Big Guy rides the Left Coast - Day Eleven - Kelowna, BC to Maple Ridge, BC

Day 11 - 370km - 3 and a half hours

After a rest day in Kelowna, visiting my daughter, I headed home from Kelowna.

I've done this journey once before, when I had first bought my BMW, and I was looking forward to the trip.

The first part was along the Okanagan Connector - Highway 97C. I enjoyed this part as there was some wind which made it a bit exciting but not too much traffic and two lanes each was so it was easy to pass other vehicles.

The next part of the journey was along the Coquihalla Highway. It used to have a toll booth but that was removed several years ago. It is an easy riding highway although a little boring so I did find my self pulling over a couple of times to make sure I didn't do the sleepy nod on my bike. Sunshine was the order of the day as I rode along the well kept highway.

At Hope (the jinx-y place where I dropped my bike getting off it for the third time ever in a McDonald's parking lot) I continued on Highway 1, encountering some traffic, and then, finally, home.

4800 km - close to 3000 miles - in 11 days. 

So, upon reflecting, what did I decide?

Did I need to bring everything I did? It was pretty tight once I had packed everything. Did I need to pack it all?

Things I was glad to take. - The SRC system was excellent - I really liked being able to listen to some music - and to the navigation instructions - through the speakers in my helmet. I used the different chargers every night to make sure I had enough juice for everything. I had the right amount of riding gear - I used my rain pants, fleece sweater and even my rain jacket and was glad I had them. I was also very happy with my bright green jacket.  I threw in my winter gloves and I was glad to have them on the hail day. The packing bags were a great idea - the larger one was a real help in making sure I could get everything in the top case. Sunscreen was a good thing - and the day that I forgot to put it on served as an excellent reminder. Windex was a life saver - especially on the buggy day.  I'm glad I brought flip flops and runners - depending on the weather. I also was really happy to get out of my scooter boots at the end of the ride but appreciated them while on the BMW.

Things that I sort of needed - The hydration kit was ok - I kept it in the under seat compartment but I did drink from it on most breaks and, because I filled it with ice every morning, it helped make things like the cheese last longer. I used earplugs the first couple of days but, really, once I was off the Interstate, I didn't feel I needed them.

Things I didn't need but glad to take - I am glad I brought along the tire repair kit and even happier that I didn't need it. Ditto for the space blanket - it hardly took any room but was good to have. The toilet paper was not needed for its intended reason but was helpful when checking the oil. I didn't use the handy wipes but I was glad to have them just in case.

Things I didn't need and just took up room - My watercolour set was not a great idea - I'm just too tired after a long ride to put the creative effort needed for painting. The iPhone holder (looks like an X-Wing craft) was something I never used. I had pretty good confidence that the phone would stay in the holder but I just didn't want to take a chance of looking down at it instead of at the road. Besides, voice navigation was sufficient most of the time. My iPhone tripod was a waste of space since I never took it but, on the other hand, it took very little room.

App of the trip - CoPilot. I have mixed feelings concerning this app. It was usually spot on in directions and one thing it had over Siri was that it gave warnings 2km, 1 km, 500 m and 250 m away from where I had to turn. That way I didn't have to look at the map as I was riding.  It also allowed me to download the maps needed which meant it only had to connect to data for traffic updates. It also tried to vector me around traffic. I was able to select which route I wanted, thus overriding the route that CoPilot chose.

On the other hand, it occasionally took me through some interesting side routes which seemed to not make sense. Also, it would sometimes stop giving me directions, seemingly out of the blue, and when I was in more urban areas. Sometimes, due to traffic or some other reason I found my self taking a different route than I had originally planned.

I would probably stick with it until I see something better come along.

The route of my trip - I loved going down the coast and, if anything, I would try to do even more of it. That means staying on Highway 1 instead of 101 in California. I also would try to cover less ground on the coastal highway so that I had more time to stop.

Coming home through Reno and the middle of the western states was a good call. The amount of travel was absolutely fine and, although there wasn't that much to see, I made good time.

Overall it was a great trip and I was glad I had the time to do it! Now, where to for next summer?.........

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