Saturday 18 June 2016

Planning for the Summer Ride

Photo from

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!