A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Mark to accompany him on a ride. He knows that I usually ride everyday except Sundays, which is my family day but he had taken the week off and he had a Saturday free. It would probably be the only Saturday he would be able to book off for the year. He wanted to do the LOOP. I told him that I would prefer to do an overnighter for then we could do the butterfly route and take in all the good roads. The plan was to leave early in the morning and be back in time for dinner.
(Meet at the gas station in Langley, BC for 7am departure)
I set my alarm for 5am and got my bike ready the night before. All I had to do was to load my camera equipment. I also performed my pre-flight checklist and topped up the front tire which was down a few pounds
I mentioned that I wanted to stop at all the viewpoints in order to take photos along the way. I would take up the rear and if I dropped off they would pull over at the next safe spot and wait up for me. So this was not a group ride in the sense that we had a set agenda, nor did we have a timetable to keep on schedule . The plan was to have no plan. We decided ahead of time that we would have a quick meeting everytime the highway allowed for a different direction . It takes an hour for me to get to Langley to reach the meeting point.
I prefer secondary roads but today we had to make time and travel east by the fastest route. We headed into the sunrise along Hwy 1 eventually reaching Hope, BC where we had a quick breakfast and refuelled. At the gas station I noticed this nice red H-D and spoke to the owner
(Meet Al Bijou from Saskatchewan)
He had ridden half way across Canada from Saskatchewan and was heading to Mission, BC for the Ride for Dad for Prostate Cancer. He says he attends every year. He is contemplating moving to Salmon Arm . He maintains a website www.sklonewolves.com and requested that we register and login.
True to our plan we had a choice of proceeding different directions. Hope, BC is the Junction of 3 highways. We could head north on the Coquihalla mountain highway, OR we could go up the Fraser Canyon to Spences Bridge, OR we could continue East towards Princeton. We looked at the map and made our decision to head east
The plan was to have no plan but I wanted to stop at the site of the Hope slide for some photos. The air was brisk. It was 10c when I left Vancouver but now the sun has appeared the temps have gone up to 14c
It is hard to believe that in 1965 half the mountain collapsed and buried this valley with up to 200 ft of rock and rubble and filled in a large lake.
We posed our bikes for a group photo and I noticed a Victory (thanks Canajun) beside us and I asked if they would like me to snap their photo
(Monty & his daughter)
Monty is heading to Oliver for the weekend to visit his brother. We were to cross paths many times along our way. He has a very distinctive paint scheme which is hard to ignore. They actually passed us an hour back on the freeway as we were trying to stay closer to the posted speed.
We were having a great time zigging and zagging our way East and we were entering Manning Park
so of course we had to stop for another photo. We were not in a rush and wanted to enjoy our time together . Even though we had entered the Western boundary of the park it was still 40 kms to get to the main Lodge
It is normal practice to stop and use the facilities. I have found that it requires 2 washroom breaks for every refuelling stop, especially if you are not a younger rider. In order to not have to disconnect all of our accessories we decided the one of us would stay with the bikes and stand guard and rotate when we came back
Princeton, BC is a small town about 2 hours east of Hope along a windy single (1 lane each way) road
(main street, Princeton, BC)
We refuelled and decided to head north along Hwy 5a towards Merritt. This is a very nice road which winds its way gently through rolling hills and many lakes. From Vancouver all the best roads are 4 hours away. After you cross over the mountains you get into a more arid ecosystem which is desert-like.
I wanted to stop and take some photos of the landscape but it was not really possible. The roads are narrow with gravel shoulders that slant the wrong angle. There are very few pull-outs which are also gravel. I had some problems in gravel before so I have learned my lesson. No use having a spill over a photo.
We eventually reach the junction for the Coquihalla connector and head West where I found a paved shoulder for another photo opp
So far the weather has been good but little did we know . . . look at the manacing clouds to the left. We were heading into a storm. For now we were content as it was just past noon and we had a date with our sit down lunch
We finally reached the restaurant
While we were at Manning Park another rider came over to speak to us. He rides a Suzuki Bandit 1200 but today he was driving his Toyota Matrix. I think he goes on a lot of solo rides and today he was showing his wife where he goes. Anyway, when we were at the gas station in Princeton he was there too and he came over again. He was heading the same way so I asked him where would be a good place to have a meal and he said the Home Restaurant on the north side of town.
When we arrived and parked I noticed that it was now very overcast with dark clouds overhead.
We prefer to frequent local eateries rather than the large chains as their food is usually better and less expensive
(Home Restaurant, Merritt, BC)
When we went inside it was nearly full so I thought to myself that this must be a good place. I used to come to Merritt frequently over the years and would usually head directly to the ABC Country Restaurant, but it burned down due to a suspicious fire. The last few times we had gone to the hamburger place attached to the gas station. It was great to find a new eatery.
Here is my pot roast dinner with a side of Cream of Broccoli & cheese soup on the way
We had a pleasant relaxing meal pondering our next move. We were surrounded with dark clouds so we were all using our smart phones to check the weather forecasts in the area. This was part of our plan to make a decision at every junction
OH, OH. We paid for our meals and headed outside to our bikes to find that it was already raining. It seemed that some of the droplets had turned to hail or slush. There were dark clouds in every direction
It's not a good feeling to know that you are 180 miles (300 kms) from home and heavy rain is forecast for mid afternoon in every direction . Time to make another decision
I have an automotive Garmin which is not waterproof, but I carry ziplock bags for this purpose. It seems to work and I have never had a problem with water and you can still operate the touchscreen.
While I was waterproofing my GPS, Mark and Jeff were donning their wet weather gear under the overhang
to be continued . . .
I managed to grab this image while the sun was still shining . While I have had my Canon G10 for over a year I have never really used the RAW mode. I will be taking a trip soon where I wanted to take some higher quality photos so I finally installed the Canon Software CPP (RAW converter). Now this software has already been updated and I wanted the latest version, CPP 3.8 . I had CPP 3.5 which came with my camera . I frequent many photo forums and there was one thread where there was a link explaining how to do the upgrade. This is not the first time where I could not find a download link on the Canon USA website. I had to go to Canon Europe where they offer this support for no charge. I was playing around with the light curve and pumped up the contrast and saturation.
(Lake near Merritt, BC)