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Diary 9

17 Aug.

Goodness - Diary 10 - how time flies when your writing nonsense ...

Woke up this morning to rain and low clouds.
I checked WeatherNetwork.com (the Canadian equivalent of Weather.com) and it's saying that tomorrow and the day after will be lovely. The roads I'm planning to ride from here are reportedly a) excellent bike roads b) stunning views so wet roads & low clouds are not the time to ride them.

Nelson is a kinda cool town.
The Canadian Glastonbury - and feels a lot friendlier than Woodstock.
The shops smell the same but unlike Woodstock it's not near any major cities - you have to travel to get here.
Being in somewhere like this without my long hair does feel a little weird, but I have been that scruffy, smelly, poor, travelling itinerant in my past and I enjoyed it then. It's not who I am now - not that my core values have changed (well not much) just that I'm travelling further, faster and seeing more places.

So I hit a book shop and spent the day hanging out, drinking coffee & water and reading 'Get Shorty'.

18 Aug.

A very good day.

Good roads, good food, good scenery and great weather.
This is what the trip is all about.
And I'm glad I stayed the extra day in Nelson, these roads wouldn't have been half as much fun the the rain & low clouds.

My riding is different here as well.
These roads are a lot like the ones in Scotland so I'm riding harder and faster, more like I do at home (Well OK - I'm still not riding that fast, but certainly faster & with more confidence than I did on the practice trip to Scotland in the spring).
Still haven't scraped a peg but I'm getting rid of the chicken strips.

From Nelson I wandered north round 31A then 6 to Naksup and Vernon.
In Naksup there were loads of BMWs, apparently there's a rally there this weekend.
I left.

19 Aug.

Another good day - almost as good as yesterday.

Mostly good roads, OK food, but I had to deal with the US border crossing.

This area of Canada is the Okanagan area - and is beautiful.
It has long hot summers and being the the rain shadow of some pretty big hills, is very dry.

Took 33 south to get away from the traffic on 97 - which luckily allowed be to arrive in Osoyoos from the east.
The view down into the valley is stunning - and the town looks quite the resort with the two huge sand bars jutting into the lake.
The large number of girls wandering round in bikinis helps.

On the hill down to Osoyoos there was a sign that said "Slow trucks use 4 way flashers".
I assume they mean the hazard warning, both indicators on at the same time.
But 4 way ?
I get right and left but what are the other 2 ways ?
They would have to be either up and down or forwards and backwards.
I love signs.

Time to face up to US immigration.
When I first came into the US I got a 90 day green card. This lasted till Sep 19th. Unfortunately I won't be leaving the US till Oct 6th so I had to get a new one. When I arrived in Canada this last time I got them to remove the card. This theoretically meant that I could get a new 90 day card starting from today - but as the old one hadn't run out I wasn't sure how this would work.
I told no lies !
"Why did they remove the old card" - "I expected to spend longer in Canada - but the weather up north was lousy"

Once across the border - having paid the $6 for the new green card (till Nov 18th) I headed south into Washington State.
I swear that the temperature was 5 degrees warmer south of the border.
From 26 straight to 31 (75 to 88).
Back into the mesh jacket tomorrow.

Something new is biting me.
I don't know what it is but it's not mosquito. I know what their bites are like.
These come up about the size of a penny (that works in UK, US & Canada).

Started organising shipping the bike to NZ.
I have to deliver the bike a week before the flight & drain the petrol, oil and radiator - and the battery cell.
I think it will be easier just to remove & replace the battery.
If I have to be apart from the bike for a week I don't think I'll stay in LA - I'll rent a car & take off.

20 Aug.

Not well.
Did nothing.
Stayed in bed and slept most of the day away.

21 Aug.

One of the problems with sleeping all day yesterday was that I only got 2 hours sleep last night.
I'm still not 100% - and not eating anything yesterday doesn't help.

After two breakfasts in Omak I headed over the Northern Cascades.
This is a lovely road - scenic, good surface, good corners and where all the sports bike riders from Seattle come to play on a Sunday. Me - I didn't even know it was Sunday.
I have seen more litre sports bikes today that the rest of the trip put together.
Most days the percentage of bikes I see that are cruisers is over 95%, today it must have been around 50%.
'Blades, R1s, GSXRs, 999s and even a few Milles.

At one viewpoint I got chatting to a guy on a TL and he suggested that when I hit the coast I ferry across to the Olympic State Park area and explore there. I told him to explore the Nelson area in BC. We both changed our route plans in that exchange. It's nice not having a set defined plan.

When I got to the ferry to Pt. Townsend there was a mile long queue.
I'd been planning to cross and find a motel - but with that much of a queue I'll ferry early tomorrow.

22 Aug.

Maybe I should have ferried last night.
If I had then the channel wouldn't have been fog bound & I would have been able to see some sort of view.
Also I wouldn't have met the police man that busted me for speeding.

4 or 5 miles out of Oak Harbor (where I'd stayed) and a police car going in the opposite direction put his lights on and u-turned.
I hadn't even realised that I'd been speeding.
62 in a 50 limit.
This was open road through the country side. At home that's almost always 60, but here they keep varying the limit.
Damn it.

He wrote me up for 60 - which is a smaller fine, and as I have a UK licence I don't believe they can put points on it.
Well I hope not.

Most of the ferry journey was fog bound - till we were almost there and the Olympic Peninsula came out of the mist.
Getting busted kinda put a damper on the day.

Wandered round the peninsula.

23 Aug.

No internet access tonight - so probably more writing and less 'cursing the police on e-groups'.

Left the coast & headed inland.
I kinda hoped the weather would pick up - as this is the third day with fleece & leather jacket.
The sky didn't look to hopeful - loads of big heavy clouds.

Headed for Mount Rainier National Park.

It's kinda strange - my usual west coast US holiday is Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon.
These are all holes in the ground.
Don't get me wrong, they are big, impressive and occasionally beautiful holes in the ground, but they are still down.

This part of the trip has been mostly up.

Black hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Mount Rainier.
Hills and waterfalls.
Wonderful - and very different from previous trips.

I will be doing the south Utah, north Arizona bit later so don't worry.

Mount Rainier rivals Glacier - well I think it does - I didn't see anything of the second half of Glacier because of the clouds and I didn't see anything of the top of Mount Rainier because of clouds - but what I did see was pretty spectacular.
Huge channels for the glacial run off with small rivers in them (at this time of year - bet it's something special in the spring).

Out the other side & down to Yakima.
The temperature was certainly nicer - but the wind almost had me over at a stop light.

Another laundry going on - I wish I'd realised earlier that most motels have guest laundries

24 Aug.

Another route change mid day.
This one because a 'town' on the map was a place of 25 people and no petrol station so I had to head to a 'metropolis'

Where am I headed.
I'm not entirely sure.

Spent most of today in open plains with big snow covered mountains in the distance.
Mt. Rainier (the one that was cloud covered yesterday), Hood and Jefferson showing themselves in the distance.

Also stopped at 'Stonehenge' which was a little strange as my house is 5 miles from Stonehenge.

Sorry this is brief - I need to sort out the LA - NZ shipping details.


Diary 11