PART DUE (that is two in vespa talk)
This should be short. I plan on only 4 or 5 days from Wenatchee, WA to Stewart, BC, Canada. Hyder, Alaska is not big enough to put up 40 riders and support personnel, so we are staying just across the border in Stewart. The Cannonball will start on the dock in Hyder.
The new "Where I am" will show all riders with tracking devices. It is zoomable to you can look close at who is where in the Cannonball. The red dots are the overnights and orange dots are our check points
==============================================Wenatchee May 27
Mom is doing fine and my brother and his wife got to go to Portsmouth Island fishing for the holiday. This had been a planned break for Vicki and I to get together. Instead of touring Oregon, we just met in North Carolina and had a great time there.
So I am now back in Wenatchee, Washington. It is true friends that pick you up in the middle of the night and are smiling about it but there they were, Ed and Jet, when I landed in Wenatchee late last night. Not to mention that Jet had sent me off at 5 AM in the morning when I left.
We went down this morning to Doghouse Motorsport and picked up Big Red. They had installed a new rear wheel and drive belt. The belt was a over abundance of caution as it had another good 50% of life left. But the tire, disappointingly had worn quicker than expected. It had a few hundred more miles of life on it, but I changed it here for convenience. The wear means I will have to do a tire change in a parking lot in the middle of the Cannonball. This is more of an inconvenience than a problem. I like to eliminate any non-emergency maintenance on the Cannonball and just concentrate on riding.
I gave Red a fine bath and we rode around Wenatchee to show him off. Wenatchee is a fine place. Ed and Jet did a lot of research before retiring here and they made a great choice. I think it has everything you need when retired, lots of outdoor activity, great medical care, lots of cultural events, and lots of great people. Unlike the Seattle area, on this side of the mountain the sun shines a lot. Sitting on their balcony up on the side of the hill I commented that it looked a lot like sitting on the side of a hill in Italy looking at the vineyards, as the the straight lines of the orchards in the distance look the same.
|sunrise on portsmouth island nc|
|peggy and a fine catch. that is why i am here so they can be there.|
|red with all those foreign bikes ready for pickup|
|big red helping ed clean jet's car|
Ok, it’s time. You know, when I get up on my soapbox and lecture you people.
This year it is Memorial Day and Veterans. How many of you even know what Memorial Day is for? On Memorial day I traveled on three airlines through three airports. I repeatedly heard through the airport speakers, the gate agents, and the flight attendants all read a corporate prepared speech about “thanking all those that served” and “lets have a big round of applause for our veterans”. Memorial day has nothing to do with those that they were talking about. Memorial day is about those veterans that are dead. That is D-E-A-D! You know, the ones who’s head blew up like a watermelon and showered those around them with brain, blood and bone when the bullet ripped through his skull. The ones who watched their guts fall out after taking shrapnel in the stomach and they tried to stuff them back in until they died. The one whose lower torso was blown off and they laid there watching the dirt around them turn dark as the blood poured out on the ground around them taking their life with it. That is who this holiday is about. We do not get to see the people this holiday is for. You know, the DEAD. The last administration was so afraid that Americans would see even a peek of what war really is that they quit shipping dead soldiers on commercial airplanes after pictures of the flag draped coffins being unloaded at airports made it on the nightly news. They then put these dead heroes on private charter jets so they could more easily hide the fact of war. People DIE. But we don’t get to see that. Every other country in the world welcomes home their soldiers as heros and parades their coffins down the main street. That is one reason they are not as eager as the U.S. to go off and start a war. They know that war costs real lives. Those are the people that memorial day is about. The ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice for you. So, next year when you are at the beach or the lake having a big time, maybe you will at least know what the damn holiday is for.
Veterans and the VA. Yes you are reading this going “tsk, tsk, that is awful” and you go back twitting, texting, emailing, posting on Facebook and talking to your friends. You feel awful about us the veterans. “We really ought to do more”. So, the question is what have you done for a veteran? 99.999% can only reply “nothing”. Yet it is so easy to do something. Take just a minute and twit, text, email and call your congressman and tell them how you feel. Yes, you can make a difference if you just try. And, if you are Republican, one of those flag waving, God Bless America we love our veterans type, how could you sit there and let your Senator, every damn one of the GOP, vote down the last VA benefits bill because it did not have “kill Obama care” and/or “kill the Iran agreement” amendment. They all backed the bill, but not the veterans. Their petty cares would not let them. You can twit, text, email or call them and tell them you are not happy with their vote.
The sad part is, though you all agree with me, not any of you will bother to follow up with a twit, text, or email on this computer. But you will read about Kim and Kanye. That is how much of that guy who watched is life flow away on the ground really means to America of today. Enjoy your holiday hamburger.
Wenatchee to Kamloops, Canada 318 mile
The morning warmed quickly, so I bid good bye to Jet, Ed, Cooper and Elmo Lincoln and Big Red and we wandered out of Wenatchee headed to Canada. Navigation was easy today. Get on US97/BC97 until you are in Kamloops. It was a wonderful ride and despite promises of rain we got almost none, but we did get sunshine all day. It was a fantastic route. US97 follows the Columbia River to Canada. Crossing the border went quickly once they figured out what to do with a relocatable house (house trailer) and got it out of the way. In Canada, I had two choices at Kelowna: east side of Lake Okanangan the fast route or the west side of the lake the fun route. Guess what side I took. We rolled into Kamloops about 4 PM making a good eight hour day.
I have added back the "where I am" page so now you can see lots of riders on the "where we are" and my individual route.
Kamloops to Prince George 322 miles
Today the weather was cold and wet, sunny and almost warm, and stormy with lightning, heavy rain, and wind. Temps ran from 46F to 69F. All of this happened repeatedly every two hours.
The highlight of the day was the best meal I have had on the trip for dinner.
Prince George to Smithers, Canada 231 miles
Last night I stayed in the Econo Lodge, a member of the Choice properties. My usual choice is not to stay at one but I get a great discount and they are offering a $50 gift card for two stays. So it is all about the money. The clientele were very strange. Several rooms had numerous people staying in them and most of the young men had their pants around their knees. I saw some very attractive young women dressed to the nines in high heels that would make a Cuban woman jealous. I expected lots of rowdy behavior through the night but all was calm through the night. In the morning I saw a young gorgeous girl in a slinky silk dress, high high heels, and an old style nurse's cap on her head. She came out of a room with a middle aged gentleman and gave him a peck on cheek as he went one way and she went the other. I was drawing the usual conclusions until I met Floyd and Deb who came out to look at Big Red and get the story. After I told them my story they told me theirs. They were there for their daughters graduation from the University as were all the other young people there. The nurse was giving her father a peck on the cheek. Jumping to conclusions always gets me in trouble.
The ride was great under “brilliant skies”. Traffic up to Prince George had been steady. After Prince George it has been sparse.
|floyd and deb. note the classy looks of the econ lodge|
|a train for you john|
|the sign was correct|
|a great lunch was had in the tea shop, cucumber and gouda cheese sandwich, but no gucci coffee|
|that is one large fishing rod|
Smithers to Hyder AK 209 miles May 31
The last 38 miles made the 4584 miles all worthwhile. I am an old jaded traveler and have seen a lot in my life but riding on Hwy 37c is one of the highlights. Photos or home video will never do it justice.
There is limited internet here in Stewart, Canada across the border from Hyder, so this will be limited for now. More pictures will be posted in the very near future.
In around Stewart, CA and Hyder, AK May 31 to June 3
First order of business yesterday was to stop in Hyder and have fish and chips and a Alaska beer. It was good. I met Julia and Andy who brought their BMW motorcycle from Germany and are traveling Canada and a little of the U.S. for 15 months. During the winter they worked at a ski resort as Canada issues visitor working permits unlike the U.S.. Great talking to them about riding and relationships of two people on a bike living in a tent. Could have been any married couple as she explained when he gets tired at the end of the day and things are not going right he gets a little testy and of course he says she miss doesn’t always pay attention. I think I have seen this couple before and they are me.
Across from the Ripley Inn is the Passion Bakery and Coffee shop were the locals gather when it opens at 6:00. I sat and listened to all the morning news. Half were going out fishing on their boats today and were ribbing each other about their fishing abilities. Then we moved to bears with everyone chiming in about where they are and how many there used to be. The also do not feel as though they are a threat and one gentleman when he won a bear hunting permit, it is a lottery system, never did use his as he felt the bears did not threaten him. They discussed and agreed that the government shooting 20 or 30 bears at a time at the dump was sad but necessary. One gentleman came across a big grizzly on the side of the road and got out with his video. He began walking toward the bear and the light came on his head that he was as stupid as a tourist and got in and drove away. They talked about the population increase and decrease. I geuss there were about thirty draft dodgers in town during the 60’s and 70’s. One told a story of a guy who tried to sneak out of town with someone else’s wife and got stuck in the snow. It was days before they found them. The man had tried to walk out and his feet froze off. It took a snow plow a day and a half to reach the car were the operator was sure he would find the women dead but she was holding on to life by a thread. Then there were various humorous comments at the affair.
Hours later, when I saw the first scooter to appear parked in front of it the Passion I went in to greet Ben and all the same guys were still there. Ben is another true scooterest as he had ridden from San Jose, CA and brought all his gear on his scooter including camping gear. He camped along the way. Hard core.
Sunday I declared a no scooter day, though I did go two blocks for gas. The best restaurant is in Alaska so I walked over there and back. People were surprised. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud and it is only about five miles round trip so it was great for me. And not a bear in sight.