Total Kilometres: 650 (404 miles)
High/Low Temp: 20 Celcius and as high as 35 Celcius
Total Riding Time: 9:30am MST – 7:30pm PST
got to sleep in a bit today, had breakfast with our gracious host tony and my travelling companions for this leg – paul whom i rode out from calgary with, and craig from vancouver.
we had a hearty homemade breakfast courtesy of tony (vfr – didit) and made our way out of town around 9:30 am.
we took highway 33 south from kelowna and crossed the border at danville. really great riding on highway 33, nice long sweeping corners – a few big trucks and motorhomes (road maggots) slowed things down, but a great trip to the border. no issues at the border we wisked through the routine questions and were on our way south through washington.
kettle river and highway 21 south was fantastic. a few rough patches here and there but generally good road conditions and very little traffic. first sight across the border was literally a bald eagle swooping across the highway – pretty symbolic that the first to greet us was none other than the national symbol, very cool. there were lots of signs warning “fallen rock” as i happened to pass one the tunes on the ipod started playing twisted sisters – i wanna rock – irony, not so much, as i’d prefer not to have any rocks on the highway while riding.
at malo, there was an old chinook helicopter, likely now being used by the US forestry service as a water bomber for fighting forest fires. they used to land near our house at mount royal college in calgary, apparently canada no longer owns any chinook aircraft and has sold them to the US gov’t.
what was particularly sad about this stretch was the number of household/domestic animals that met their maker on the highway. tens of animals hit by cars. someone’s family pet let loose only to get hit by passing traffic on the highway. kinda sad that these people fail to look after the little buggers.
also sad is the abject poverty in some of the small towns. people literally living in beaten old trailers or houses that honestly look ready for wrecking or to be condemned.
at the junction of highway 21 south and 20 west we headed across to tonasket for lunch. once again well maintained, quiet roads that allow a good pace without traffic and long sweeping bends one after another, after another. really fun stuff. holy frickin’ hot too batman! it was 35 celcius all the way past Omak.
from Omak, highway 97 to just outside wenatchee. winding along the columbia river, and holy frickin’ windy batman! gusts that would literally move the entire bike about 2 feet. the columbia is unlike any river in the calgary area, it’s just massive. in parts it looks like a lake it is so wide.
highway 97 winds up to blewett pass, which is less than spectacular as there is no view, but it’s a fun road to ride. the washington gov’t spent $380 million dollars repaving the road and it’s like glass – perfectly smooth and winds up and over the pass. again a fun area to ride with large wide shoulders and great corners with plenty of places to pass slow moving vehicles on the ascent.
the gem of the ride today was highway 821 from ellensburg to yakima. 3-4,000 ft mountains that are carved from the yakima river eroding the landscape over what i’d assume was tens of thousands of years. the road winds along the yakima river at the feet of these old worn out giants. they are spectacularly picturesque (more on that in a minute) with greenish yellow almost lichen-like colours in the rocks combined with redish ocre and rust rock with scrubby desert-like plant life. this is well worth the trip if you’re in the area. only about 45 miles but absolutely stunning.
the canyon route (highway 821) led us right to yakima and our hotel.
as for photos, ugh. one of the things with group riding is you get to have company, but often don’t choose the pace or the scenery, along with little input into places for photos. well, the guys i’m riding with are, well, really focused on riding, not so much on the scenery or capturing the surroundings for posterity. so needless to say the only photos i have are from tony’s house, and absolutely nothing from an entire trip through the vast amount that is washington’s east and north east. a bit disappointing. after the PNW meet this weekend i’ll be on my own and will be spending much more time “seeing” and much less riding.
thus ends the marathon rides of day’s 1 and 2. another 540 miles today (870 kilometres).
equipment notes – the ipod remote works swimmingly, makes adjusting volume or pausing for quick conversations really easy. well worth the purchase. the throttle rocker, or poor man’s cruise control, on the other hand is a bit of a pain in the ass. it takes up space on the throttle side and gets in the way of control. it’s fine on long straight boring highways but when you arrive at roads more challenging it just makes things cluttered. i’ll only use it again on the interstates if need be. my riding pants are very comfortable but are quickly acquiring a ‘funk’, rather intense stench, much like old hockey equipment. they’ll need to be washed on one of my stopover days in oregon or california.