Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thunder, Lightning, Lakes and Desert

...that about sums up our weekend of which began innocently with a few sprinkles of rain and became a deluge that found us under tall cedars trying to keep warm.

Visors blurred, roads awash, fingers pruning...we pressed on to our motel in Nakusp. I tried to find my happy place in the memory of Westside Road and the swaying esses of the yellow line.

Drying out proved to be a weekend goal as leather, socks and gloves were saturated. Foraging at the local grocery store for comfort food and sugar and then on to try to binge watch a drama was too much for me. I lasted through the intros before I was dreaming of dry tarmac.


The next morning was only slightly brighter....I suppressed my sighs as I donned wet gear and damp boots.
I was torn between having a meltdown and sucking it up. I was cold and couldn't use heated grips because of my battery issues. The conversation in my head was colourful, and yet my resolve at knowing that irritations have a way of producing something much better than expected, I subdued the oppressive force and chose to notice the blue peeping through in the distance.

It was typical riding at that point. Traffic, passing, others passing me...nothing remarkable...and yet as my tunes kicked up, my mood lightened. We were now at the point of no return and pressing on was logical as the sky was more promising.

We roll into Nelson, a quaint town that is new to us. The classic main street is highlighted by the Selkirk mountains that envelope the town. Knowing exactly one person from there it was fate that they should emerge from their perch at a coffee shop to say hello as we are parked less than 10 meters from them.

We press on to the ferry across Kootenay Lake, lunching at the pub


And then... heaven opened and before us was the perfect groove of road for more than 70 kilometers to Creston. We could not have planned it better had we called ahead. Nothing impeded carving corners, enjoying vistas or playing cat and mouse alone on the stretch of snaky roller coaster road.

We arrived at our B&B at peace with the world, having spent all our adrenaline in tempering the bikes.

I love Creston and would have bought a building on the main street if I didn't have such a great family around me at home.
How quaint is that? And the price is less than a bachelor pad in the far outskirts of Vancouver!

Rising early we set out while the heat was still at bay. Heading towards Grand Forks then Osoyoos and finally back to our starting place of Summerland. We have a fair distance to travel full of  peaks and valleys, curves and flora that can only be described in superlatives.

The ice had not yet liquefied from the top of the mountain, and we were into road repairs on the descent to Grand Forks...the terrain was spectacular with eagles racing through currents, deer grazing and little creatures scurrying to safety.

Filling gas tanks and tea cups (yes - even in the heat), we attempt to leave Grand Forks to meet friends when the man could find no power. Having jimmied an emergency set of jumper cables out of wires and alligator clips my bike jumped his...Yes - the bike that I was having battery trouble with!!  Fate didn't take us far though and we turned around to a local supplier, found the rare 12V battery he needed and lunched at a local pub waiting for it to charge.

We were glad we were prepped with cables...even if I didn't need them!

Leaving over an hour later and in the heat of the day we were bound for Osoyoos. The ride now was about distance, though as the terrain changed to desert and scrub land it was hard not linger at the sites and revel at all that was new.

It was around now that my throttle hand was trying to find more and going 80k was a struggle. I knew I was tired and now my bike was personifying me. I struggled up hills like a marathoner on mile 25. We sputtered and geared down trying to find a sweet spot. It wasn't until I reached the
crest of the hill into the valley of Osoyoos that my machine felt back to normal and able to keep up with the man.

Navigating chicanes on the downhill while stretching to behold the heart-stopping artistry of the symmetry of vineyards pressed against hills surrounding a pristine lake is distracting. You need to watch the road, the gravel, the person in front of you...and yet, in that moment I want to stop and breathe and take it all in.

He presses on, no photo op for social media. Instead we go around and as the sun is ebbing we press on toward Keremos and Green Mountain Road.  It is the long way, as my dad points out with a frown. "You could have saved so much time!" he chastises. A memory grazes my brain of long car rides holding my bladder or my growling stomach fighting for my real estate in the back seat with my brothers.

"The long way, the twisty way, the mountain road with no shoulder, the wild horses, the lack of signs and lines is the purpose dad."

He shakes his head, having never understood the journey was the point. Not the destination.