Clouds were already building in the distance as we were packing up our campsite this morning :-(. Forecast hadn’t called for rain but reality said otherwise.
Our route today, US highway 395, didn’t look that interesting on the paper map but we were soon treated to an excellent ride through the forest and high mountain meadows. We passed through the Battle Mountain and Ukiah-Dale Scenic Corridors. The road just kept going and going with lots of twisties to keep it interesting. What a cool hidden gem! That route should have black dots next to it on the AAA map!
Diane found the road more challenging (tight twisties) as she also encountered a deer crossing in front of her but she was fine taking her time while I left her in the dust. 😉 She said she was just starting to gain confidence but leaving the town of John Day the speed limit sign showed 55mph followed immediately by marked 30mph curves where her tires caught on some tar snakes causing some wobbles that made her leary the rest of the way.
We liked the campground (quiet), weather (warm) and company (Jim and David) so much that we decided to stay another day and just relax.
Jim, David and I rode to Grand Coulee Dam to attend a tour of the dam. Lots of information was provided, only a few of which I remember. The dam is the biggest concrete structure in the U.S. Water from the dam is pumped into an aqueduct that irrigates 671,000 acres in central Washington. At peak output, the electricity generated by the dam can power both Seattle and Portland :-o.
After the tour we spent the day hanging out with drinks served at Jim’s RV later in the afternoon.
Leaving Penticton, BC we ride the wine and fruit route south to Osoyoos and the border crossing back into the U.S. Orchards and wineries line the highway as traffic slowly makes its way south. We spend some of our remaining Canadian cash to buy cherries at one of the numerous fruit stands.
Before leaving the campsite in Little Fort I called the Suzuki dealer in Kamloops and asked about an oil change. To change the oil on my motorcycle takes maybe 15 minutes if you go slow. It involves removing one bolt, draining 2.5 quarts of oil, reinstalling the bolt and adding new oil. It’s super easy and fast. The dealer quoted me 45 minutes of shop time at $107CAD an hour plus parts. He said it would come to about $200 CAD … but they could fit me in. Hell, at that profit margin I’d make time as well. I nearly passed out when he told me the price.
We are coming back down highway 97 heading south towards Kamloops. The reason we picked Kamloops is that my motorcycle needs an oil change and Kamloops has a Suzuki dealership. More on that later.
The famous ALCAN and we are riding it. We wouldn’t make it all the way to Ft. Nelson so found a lodge/campground about 100km east of Ft. Nelson. However, before leaving Watson Lake we had to check out the Signpost Forest. The forest reflects the international attraction the Yukon and Alaska hold with travelers coming long distances to see this part of the world.
Lots of dew over night made for a wet tent to pack up. Given the chilly temperature in the morning other campers were probably wondering, “what are those two guys doing, holding their coffee/tea mugs and standing like statues in the sun?” – trying to warm up since the campsites are usually shaded in the AM and ours was no exception.
We were greeted to blue skies and sunshine when leaving Smithers this morning. Absolutely beautiful riding weather though heated gear was still called for. We continued on Highway 16 as the road wound it’s way along a river to Kitwanga where we took highway 37, also know as the Cassiar Highway, north.
After six days of riding, setting up camp then taking down the camp, we are taking a day off and staying two nights in Osoyoos, BC. It’s nice to not have to pack up the tent in the morning and to take a break from the routine. The weather isn’t great (overcast and windy) but at least it’s not as cold as where we came from. Thankfully, the campsite has a nice shelter so we are out of the wind.