The day starts with overpriced coffee ($2.35 medium) and a Frappuccino ($5 medium) at Starbucks and some grocery store donuts :-o. We decided not to make our own coffee and breakfast again in order to get an earlier start. We wanted to get back home before the heat really kicked in and, of course, to avoid rush hour traffic.
As mentioned yesterday, since we had a long ride ahead of us we were anxious to get on the road and out of the motel so we skipped our normal breakfast and took off. Early start or not, once we make it out of the mountains of Tonopah and get closer to Beatty, NV the temperature keeps steadily climbing reaching 100F shortly after we leave Beatty.
Dirt or interstate. Those were the choices this morning to get to state route 305 as we are working our way south through Nevada. Both Google maps as well as the GPS had no problems routing us onto dirt roads although we had added that to the avoidance list. We chose interstate.
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.
Central Washington. Farming, especially what seems to be wheat, is prevalent. The wheat fields along highway 21 were still partially green when we left Coulee Dam but the farther south we rode the more consistently golden they became, a sea of wheat with the occasional bare spot where it had already been harvested.
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.