Riding home isn't always part of the adventure. At least, unless you are with Ken. We head out through the First Nations territories on the road from Penticton to Keremos. We are the sole occupants of the asphalt that has warning signs of No Trespassing Private Road every half a kilometer. We both mention our notice of the other signs....one, a horse at full speed..the other is of a mountain goat. It is a nice journey of easy curves within sloping hills, rusting cars and sage brush. When we hit Hwy 3 it is all about getting home and becomes like a game of Diddykong Racing, collecting points each time we pass a car.
When we turn onto Old Hedley Hwy, we are back to touring the countryside. Old Hedley Hwy runs along the river, in parts peeking over to Hwy 3. It is a gentle ride pitting rider against road. We encounter only one car and one bike the entire trip - at least 20 minutes. We both note that there are no breaks in the yellow line. There is no safe place to pass because once you are finished your left you are preparing for a right.
As I drink in the scene, I think of days gone by, and how it might have looked. I see adits, camouflaged by flora, giving hint to the origin of the settlements we have passed today. Farms that were once self-sufficient, now are strewn with motor-homes and weeds. Fruit country is just coming alive with stands beginning to open as holiday traffic begins. Diners pop up along the way to nourish truckers and adventurers.
We are back on Hwy 3 and we notice another change in temperature. We hit Manning Park and stop to don sweaters and rain gear. It is not raining hard, but we want to be prepared. When we stop we see tourists kneeling down feeding groundhogs. There are holes strewn throughout the park grass, and they are completely unafraid at the hand that feeds them. One sneaks up and scares a guy from behind. Everyone has a camera and a nut to offer and the little guys are all posers. I cannot imagine that in yesteryear it would even be thought of as novel to see anything burrow from a hole, let alone want to spend time communing with it unless it was on the other end of a gun.
It was a break before the dreaded Hope home drive. We hit light rain but we hardly notice and continue on our way. After Chilliwack we are back in the Diddykong game, though mostly sticking to our only little group that moves in the left lane. Every now and the group catches up to someone and it takes a minute or two for them to realize they need to move. If there is much hesitation, the group begins to go around...one by one. Once again back in formation, we sail on. The Hwy back was not as hard as usual. Perhaps because we had many great rides, maybe we are just used to sticking this part out. We are down the driveway with Ken's usual "We made it" out. Until next ride.....