Monday, August 30, 2010

Hope-Princeton-Merritt Loop

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 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)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ladner Village Market

I find lately that I am enjoying my solitude rides. It was another warm day, and I was at home wondering what to do. I think we work hard enough during the week without wasting the weekends by staying home . Ladner is a small community south of Vancouver along the banks of the Fraser River. Heading down Hwy it is the first exit from the Deas Island Tunnel about a short 30 minute ride from home and we are there


I go to my favourite secret parking spot and find that it has been commandeered for Handicapped parking. I have to circle around and eventually find a spot to squeeze my bike in


It is still a fairly warm day and it takes a few moments to doff my riding gear. I wear shorts under my riding pants and get rid of my riding boots. I find it more comfortable to wear sandals while walking about and savour the sweet aroma of cooking food


I think they do this on purpose to get your taste buds excited . I just love carmelized anything, from burgers to fried onions but today I had will power


I think burgers are more exotic when served in small quantities and these bite-sized tidbits were hard to ignore as I continued on my way down the street


There were food concessions everywhere with a selection of beverages from which to choose. I was thirsty but decided to walk over to the supermarket and purchase a small bottle of ice tea . I'm not sure what they mean by Flying Falafels, perhaps they throw them to you when they are ready


It was quite crowded as I made my way along the street, in stark contrast to the market down in Gainsville, FL

I noticed that there we a few photographers here with their big lenses.


Ladner is a small town with a sense of community. During the summer they close off the main streets and host this market which brings out the local artists and craftspeople to display their handiwork . It is held every couple of weeks or so throughout the summer months

It was warm in the sun and it was a relief to finally get some shade under the trees


this next photo is for Jack "what's his name"


I think having one of these delicacies will make you forget you even own a K75 . If you happen to have a free Sunday with nothing planned, then this would be a great place to spend a few hours, have a beverage and a meal and walk about to view all the things for sale


there's nothing like the smell of freshly baked goods


or fresh vegetables and fruits direct from your local farmer


One thing I find annoying is the unkind glances I receive from the photographers who have images on display. They cost more if you refer to them as images rather than just photos. Everyone of them told me not to take photos of their work, I mean if I want a photo, err Image, I would take it myself. I told one that I would never purchase an image from someone else to hang on my wall when I have professional cameras and can do it myself. I eventually went to my 3rd image maker and he saw me with my camera. His work is similiar to mine and I recognized where many had been taken. His work was rather stunning. Highly saturated colours and ultra high constrast made his images have an unreal look to them. He purchased a large format printer Epson 38xx something or other and they look better than a pro lab


We instantly bonded and he allowed me to take this photo. We chatted for some time and eventually I decided to leave


I am not a botanist and like that curmudgeon down in KW I do not know the names of any flowers that pop out of the ground, but I noticed some bright flashes of colour coming out of the street planters so I decided to give it a try and take a shot of this "Yellow" flower. (YELLOW being a technical term)

So for BlueKat and Eve . . . here you are

(Canon G10: 1/250 f4.0 iso 160 macro mode)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An innocent peek

I don't know where the time is going. I've been busy for the past month or so. I'm so far behind I don't know where to start and when the weather co-operates I leave it all behind and go for a ride. We have to make hay while the sun shines for soon we will be into the cooler weather. Rainy season is coming.

Misfortunes all started a couple of months ago. First my tooth broke, then my roof decided it need replacing and I would have preferred to purchase one of these


instead of for the repairs. Every time I look up at my roof I imagine that I am riding my new bike. I'm not fussy, could be a Thruxton or Street Triple. I love the sound of a screaming triple engine.


A quick glance of the cockpit reveals that Triumph decided to install the Tach as standard equipment.

Climate change has made our summers warmer than usual. Being on the Wet Coast of Canada we are subjected to the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean. Temperatures along the coast are generally much cooler than inland. There is often more than 10c degrees difference in temperatures so riding with full riding gear has not been pleasant. A few weekends ago it was another hot day so I decided it would be more pleasant to visit an independant dealer whom specializes in Beemers .


Just look at the classic lines of the "R" type bike. There is just something magical at looking at these works of art from the past which seem more suited to be displayed in a museum rather than being exposed to the elements one encounters on the road.

it's so titillating to see these huge jugs hanging off each side .


Here is the dash of the bike parked to the right. This one has a Tach


I think the cylinders are so photogenic, unlike the utilitatian "K" models


this bike also has a Tach


and a shaft drive


I am not a mechanic but I asked what maintenance had to be performed on this shaft and they said that you had to lube the output shaft every 15K miles, and also the splines, I think. He said they charge $250. to do this service.


they did have a few bikes for sale which I believe were consignment bikes. There is no warranty on consignments but I would imagine that they had been serviced regularly by this reputable dealer. They had an R80/7 , an R65LS and a R100RT . All were affordable but today I was just looking.

Not that I am going to be making any rash decisions . I know, it starts with a look, then you have to touch one and now I have an urge to sit on a few . If only I lived closer to West Chester, PA. There is a nice K75 which is hardly ever ridden. I am sure the owner wouldn't even miss it if one night I decided to roll it out of the garage without him knowing

They are also an Ural dealer. If I lived closer to Centennial, CO I would consider purchasing one but it has to be Redleg approved and modified first


They also sell new Royal Enfields.


most of you will probably not know that Yellow is my favourite colour (not necessarily PINK). On the other side of the showroom this caught my eye.


it was like a sports car and also sported a shaft drive. I wanted to try it on for size but it was on the center stand and I didn't wish to roll it off in case it fell the wrong way.

but I put myself in hover mode and leaned over as if I was riding just to feel the sensation of the wind in my face .


From the rider's seat you can see the huge jugs jutting out the sides. It makes me smile

Am am growing an affection for Airheads, they are so erotic looking, err . . . I mean exotic looking

(More JUG porn)

At the last BBQ bike night, I noticed this R80G/S PD


I am trying to find the phone number for BMW Anonymous. It can't be happening. It started with a photo, then I touched one and now I want to sit on one. Please help . . .

I can't keep my eyes off their JUGS

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our last day together

Our short vacation to the IMBC2010 in Bend, OR is on its final day . We left Tumwater around 8:30am and headed north along I-5 towards Seattle. We did not want to take the freeway but looking at our maps we decided that we had no other alternative, but our plan was to keep it to a bare minimum and take exit 142 Federal way. We took the old Pacific Highway all the way into Seattle. Soon we arrive at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

(a Mike Simmons shadow inspired image of Sonja's F650GS at Pike Place)

I knew that Chuck was going to be at the market today as we had been texting each other all morning


Today was Market Wednesday and they eliminated all the parking on the South side of the street for these tents. The heat was building up and parking was scarce


We were not the only ones searching for parking. There are some steep hills which makes bike parking difficult or impossible due to the severe lean angles

Sonja was very lucky to snag this spot right at the entrance just as a van was leaving. I had already overshot the space and had to park at the end of the block


On the news we heard that Seattle was fogged in . You can see the remnants of the fog in the background as the sun made its appearance.


We made our way inside the market (on the main street level)


and tried to sneek up on Chuck at the end of this corridor . I try to make it a practice to stop in everytime I visit Seattle. The past two times he was not here, but today he came out to admire the Beemer


Chuck wasn't the least bit interested to visit my Wee which was parked at the other end of the block. It was too far away and too hot. I imagine that when I get to his age I would wish to limit my walking too


Today my Wee would have to be content to park beside this classic looking Triumph . It is difficult to see the faded lines painted on the bricks but these are 3 dedicated motorcycle parking spots and there was no charge for parking there.

As we are not shoppers, nor were we looking for anything. Our visit was just to socialize and have Sonja meet with Chuck. We managed to drag Chuck away from his strenuous job and take a coffee break across the street at his favourite coffee shop


Here is Chuck pretending he is the barista du jour behind the counter. It almost seemed that he was in charge of this place . As it was nearing lunch time we decided to have a snack while the three of us chatted for a bit . It was a relaxing half hour.



It was soon time for us to depart for our final stretch back to Canada

(Waterfront view fro Pike Place Market, looking West)

the Market is a lively place with musicians playing their tunes

From the Market we headed up Aurora (Hwy 99) all the way up to Everett/Marysville then onto Hwy 9 as was our desire to avoid I-5 at all costs, stopping for a brief intermission at Cycle Barn in Lynnood. Sonja was looking for another riding jacket and kevlar type jeans. Traffic was slow and heavy and the heat was relentless in our riding outfits. After we passed Smokey Point we could finally make some time along Hwy 9. I wanted to make a short stop in Bellingham so we stopped at this pullout to say our goodbyes


For weeks we had been making our plans. We had a terrific 6 days and we did not wish it to end. During this time we had ridden nearly 2,100 kms together, we had become a riding team. We had met friends, new and old. We are bringing home new memories of good times and wondering when we can do it again


And here we are, somewhere just east of Bellingham on Hwy 9, a mere 100 kms from home and we are saying our goodbyes by the side of the road.


Sonja has mounted her bike, started the engine on her Beemer and is leaving me behind. We had been together, watching out for each other, looking into our rear view mirrors the whole time making sure each other was safe and now we were both alone. Heading in opposite directions, her north and myself West

I watch as she rolls down the road, then out of sight. I am now alone


and as I head towards Bellingham along the shores of Lake Whatcom I listen to the sweet sounds of my V twin engine and think that life can't get any better than this .