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!