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​Day 8
June 12th, 2004
Revelstoke, British Columbia




Our clocks sounded off early, because we needed to put down some miles today to further our aim of reaching the Bay Area in a few days.
We tuned in for the latest weather report so we could make a final decision on the route to San Francisco.  The coast was belted in rain and clouds.  In other words, it was as about as bad as you could get.  No problem, we went to option 2, which was stay east of the Cascades and enjoy the riding around the eastern foothills, Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood.

The TV reported a big time storm was due to hit Saskatchewan today.  Strong winds, volumes of hard rain, and lightening were on the way.  All that stuff was north of us, and we were heading further south, putting even more distance between us and what was coming.   I guess I couldn’t really complain about yesterday.

We moved our gear down from our 2nd story room, loaded up, and got on the road by 7am.

Again it was cloudy, cool, misty, and rainy looking.  The weather was beginning to wear on me. I was tired of cold mornings, drippy clouds, and misty mountains.  I was yearning for the sun, and the long run outs of the Colorado Front Range.  I whispered to myself, "soon Guy, soon the open land will be yours, and you can ride to a far away blue sky."

Several north bound tour busses shot by us on their way to Jasper or Banff.

I noticed the Enchanted Forest tourist trap and wondered about their gimmick.  It reminded of Rock City on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
Only a few miles into our ride, we came by a dead moose sprawled near the entrance of a driveway.  The thing was HUGE.  The incident must’ve been recent because blood was still staining the road, and the body was being examined by a few rubber neckers. The thought of being taken out by one of these creatures tempered any thought I had of speeding.

We peeled off Trans Canada for Route 97 at Sicamous.  I was glad to be riding south, and picking up a few degrees of warmth on the temp gauge.























              The leaning was good as we followed 97 along the lake.


VJ took over the point position with his less loaded bike.  He is riding very well, especially considering he’s only been riding a few years.
Leaving the mountains, the sun came out.  I could feel its warm rays on my face, and it felt good.  We skipped through green valleys and hills.  It was fun.

In Vernon we spotted a McDonalds and came in for a morning break.  I had a coke and apple pie, and noticed old men sitting around drinking coffee and chatting about the old times, just like they do back home.  I called my wife, made a few notes, and kidded VJ about what HE would do if they outsourced HIS job to back India.  Would he go back? I commented, ‘dang brother just by sending your job back, they could pay ya half what they do now, or worse yet, they could give it to some joker over yonder, and YOU’D be hung out.’  "That ain’t funny," he shot back.

South out of Vernon, highway 97 turned twisty and fun.  I stopped to take a few pictures and lost VJ in a stream of curves and twists.  The 1300 and I skated past a long finger lake, dotted with summer homes.  It was Saturday morning and resort traffic was beginning to build in the area, but it appeared we missed the worst of it.

VJ and I stopped often for pictures in this picturesque setting of fresh water fjords, and wine country vineyards.  It was a beautiful, challenging ride.  Highways like 97 are the reasons you come to British Columbia.





















 Scenes like this mirror lake were common on Route 97


I was following VJ through the vineyards when a small bird swooped up out of nowhere.  He missed VJ by darting right, but didn't have time to compensate for me, he made a valiant effort by shooting up, but he struck my right shoulder, it felt like a light tap, at 70mph he was killed instantly. 

It was lunch time when we pulled in the border.  I was a little concerned we were going to get a little extra at the inspection.  I was right.  I mean, c’mon what is a guy from Alabama doing riding a motorcycle with a joker from India by way of California? And to make it worse, neither can understand the other.  I feared VJ’s mid eastern appearance, and the fact he was with a boy from Alabama might make them suspicious.  It would not be unheard off for to try to buy off a local with millions of dollars to help get a bad guy in the country.  If the guards weren’t extra careful with us, they’d be neglect in their jobs.  Noway were they going to take my word NO amount of money would make me betray my country, I’d die broke first.




















                          VJ dismounts for border inspection.

VJ went in first and they wasted NO time in sending him to what I call the shakedown hut.  The guard waved me in. "ID please."  I fork it over.  I could see VJ and his bike being inspected, and then I saw him going in the office.  "U.S. citizen?"  "Yes."  About this time they usually wave me in.  "Hey that boy y’all got in the shakedown hut is with me, he’s a good guy."  "Is that right?  You can vouch for him?"  "Yeah."  "Well since you’re such good friends you can go join him."  "DAAAAANG."

I pulled the 1300 in the hut. "Unlock everything, empty your pockets here, including cell phone, then go in the office and wait."  I walked over to the office and flung the door open.  My man was sitting in the chair watching, as one custom agent sifted his Darien and another took his passport.  "Dang VJ, I AIN’T ever had any trouble gettin back in MY own country till I hooked up with you."  I remarked chidingly.  He didn’t understand what I just said, so he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

Forty-Five minutes later the dragnet was complete.  "OK, you guys can go.  Sorry for the trouble."  "No problem, y’all are just doin you’re jobs, it’s what we pay ya to do, no trouble at all."

Back in the U.S.A.!  The small border town of Oroville is the first place you find on the way south leaving the border.  It was past lunch time and we were HUNGRY.

Cruising through town we spotted a promising Mexican Cantina called Trino’s.  We parked the Hondas out front and popped in.  The lunch crowd must’ve been over because we were the only patrons in the place.  In fact you could put the WHOLE town in the dining room if needed.

VJ and I tore up a basket of chips and salsa, and then put down a couple of tacos apiece.  They were excellent.  We were finishing up when what looked like the owner walked through.  "You’re Trino?"  "Yes."  "Good tacos brother."  He leaned against a nearby counter, and we discussed our trip and life in Oroville.  "So how long ya been here?"  "Long time, came from California."  "Dang don’t it get cold here?"  "yeah, but we make do."
I called Motel 6 and booked a room in Yakima for later.  I also called Don Cortez and advised out situation.  He said he would be in Medford as planned.
















Trino’s is right on U.S. 97 and we took it south out of Oroville.  The roads and landscape have a different look and feel than those in Canada.  The highway took us by apple orchards, and the hills were gently rolling.  Fearful of wayward deputies out to up quota, we kept our speed around 65.
The valleys were green and we carved the Hondas around the easy sweepers. After the Canadian towns of the past few days, the Washington hamlets looked metropolis. The sun was out, and the temp was in the 70s. It was excellent riding weather.

In Chelan I saw a group boys walking down the street, they all had the same baseball cap on.  I instantly knew they were out of town ballplayers, playing in a local tournament, trying to move on to the next level of play.  They were laughing and having fun, and I took that as I sign they won their last game, and were waiting to see who they played next.  It brought back good memories from my time as a coach.  I always liked the excitement of tournament ball, and the joy of watching my son play.

I applauded our decision to stay out of the rain and congestion of Seattle.

Mountains on the east side of the Cascades are brown.  I found it odd how all the green was on the west side, but that’s where it rains all the time.
My butt was feeling stiff so I signaled for a break and found a gas mart near East Wenatchee.  I bought a Mountain Dew and candy bar and sat on a bench out front.  I called Chris, he reported he had just been formally offered the job at Progressive Insurance as the number 2 man in the Montgomery office.  He said he was going to think about it and let me know later what he was going to do.  He asked what I thought, I told him it sounded like a good opportunity, more money than Wells Fargo, and more responsibility. "The more responsibility they give ya the better chance ya have to shine, never take a job solely on the money, all I will hold up to ya is me and the fire department.  Jokers might have made more money, but they never had as much fun as ME."  "Dad NO one has as much fun as YOU."  "Can you make up your mind before coming out here?" "Yeah, right now I’m leaning toward taking the job.

A young man pulling a boat jumped out and asked.  "Hey check my trailer lights and tell me what’s goin on."  He stepped on the brakes, and his left light was out. "Left brake light is sayonara."  I said.  ‘Dam, I ain’t time to fool it with now, I gotta get on the lake."  "Y’all swim in this cold water?"  "Yeah, I gotta a wetsuit."  He waved and sped off.























The riding really picked up when we entered the Wenatchee Mountains.  VJ moved on ahead.  I can’t lean hard with the load I’m saddled with.  It was causing the 13 to act squirrelly; the rear had a mind of its own.  We were treated to more outstanding scenery.  The road surface was good, and the leaning worthy of a Kenny Roberts visit. Roads like these are the reward for seeking out back roads.

We encountered a number of north bound bikes in the Wenatchee.

VJ was far down the road.  I was more interested in the scenery then the leaning.  The highway rose up out of the valley near Ellsenburg and I studied the farms in the valleys below.  They looked homey, and tidy, and I wished I could drop down to pay one a visit.






















               I spotted this peaceful valley farm near Yakima.

It was late afternoon when U.S. 97 joined up with I-82 for the last few miles to Yakima and the Motel 6.  VJ set a quick pace and we were pulling in the motel parking lot in what seemed like a few minutes after a 480 mile day.

I checked us in to a 2nd floor room.  I think they see VJ and me and automatically give us the 2nd floor, thinking we are capable of moving our stuff up the stairs.  I don't mind they save the 1st floor for the old folks,  it if that's what they really do. 

Supper was a nearby Jack in the Box.  VJ likes his fast food, and it does serve a purpose.

It was a short walk back after supper.  We went to bed early.  Weather is supposed to be good in southern Oregon tomorrow, and I was looking forward to seeing Don Cortez again.  He is meeting in us in Medford for the ride south.  This has truly been a great trip so far.  Great company, good roads, fine motorcycles.




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