Thursday, 4 August 2016

Big Guy rides the Left Coast - Day Ten - Yakima, WA to Kelowna, BC

Day 10 - 530 km - 7 hours

If yesterday was Buggy Day, then today was Insane Weather Day.

I left Yakima after a great breakfast at the motel and had a fairly early start. That gave me lots of time to cope with my day.
Beautiful view near Ellensburg, WA

It was beautiful when I left Yakima and I thought that it would be a wonderful day. Pictured above is a view near Ellensburg.

I made a brief stop at Cashmere - the same place I had stopped last year, and picked up some Aplets and Cotlets (Liberty Orchards)  - basically fruit mixed with gelatin and sugar - what's not to like! The nice weather continued as I headed north.

 It was a bit windy, though.

Now, usually I like a little wind. The wind on the Okanagan Connector, for example, creeps up on you and gives you a wind smack that certainly gets the adrenalin going. When that happens, I usually exclaim, "Whoa!" or "Wow!" and continue on, albeit with a stronger grip on the scoot.

The wind I started to encounter was stronger than that. I found myself being pushed in the direction of the wind. Instead of staying on the left or right side of the road, I planted myself right in the middle so when the wind hit, I ended up on the side of the lane, not off the road or in incoming traffic.

The wind was bad enough as I struggled with my riding (and my hands started to cramp after all of the death gripping) but then, up ahead, I saw lightning!

Ahh! I didn't think stopping was a good idea as there was no ground cover. I continued on, battling the wind, and keeping an eye on the lightning storm.

Then the rains came. I first put in my liner as I thought that it would probably pass fairly quickly. Within minutes, the rain turned to a monsoon, and I pulled over to put on my rain pants.

While I struggled to put on my rain paints,  the rain turned to hail - thankfully not golf ball sized but still big enough to sting and lots of it! I then reached into my under seat compartment and brought out the rain jacket that I had packed for just an eventuality. The hail beat down harder and I was terribly exposed.

I got back on that scooter and slowly rode - about 20 km/hour - along the side of the highway with my emergency flashers on. I could barely see anything at all but I was extremely exposed and there wasn't anywhere to wait out the storm on the side of the road. I had to keep on doing my slow ride.

Some time later (it could have been five minutes, it could have been fifty minutes), I came upon a town - sorry, I can't remember which one - that had a couple of restaurants. The McDonald's was closed to walk-in traffic but the Subway, part of a supermarket, was open. It was packed with people and, after I had ordered a sandwich, I was stuck standing up and eating beside the napkin dispenser as there were no seats. However, it was dry and warm and that's what I needed at that point.

Finally, the rain started to let up and I continued to make my way north.

Drag racing in Tonasket

By the time I got to Tonasket, it was better weather! There I saw a short drag racing demo right on the highway! They had closed about three blocks of the main highway and drag race cars were slowly burning up their rubber. I watched for a bit while I refuelled and had a nice chat with an old-timer (with a very long beard!) about my BMW.

I continued on north until Oroville - the last stop before the Canadian border. After making a small purchase at the duty free store, I headed to the border - with a line up of two cars! The border guard was quite friendly and it took all of two minutes to get through.

From the border was the last two and a half hour blast up highway 97 until Kelowna.

Fun fact - did you know that the highway in the US is called highway 97 and is still called highway 97 in Canada? That's interesting! I don't think that it is that common! Usually the name changes over the border. I wonder how the two countries could agree to that - maybe there is hope for NAFTA continuing, after all!

View from Brian's patio near UBC Okanagan

I arrived in Kelowna and met up with my daughter who was house sitting for a relative. I took this photo from the balcony before we sat down to a nice dinner and some story telling on my part of my trip.

One more day - then back to Vancouver!


Khloe said...

Hope you are enjoying your trip! Thanks for the share!

SonjaM said...

Cross winds are often an issue with scooters. We had similar conditions while riding through the Columbia river gorge and my hubby was not amused on his Burgy. Glad you made it through.