My older brother is in a nursing home in Vancouver. I hadn't seen him for a few years, so I thought I'd ride down, visit a bit, then see another old motorcycling friend for a couple of hours before heading back to another riding friend in Chilliwack for dinner and a bunk, before riding back to Kelowna....
Wednesday dawned overcast, showery, so I left home wearing my new "AEROMOTO" hi-vis rain suit over mesh gear (ATGATT, of course!) altho' it was quite cool as forecast temps for Thursday were to be warm.
Recently the BC gov't had a series of meetings w/ the public about speed limits, as historically the limits here have been artificially LOW, causing people traveling at safe speeds to be subject to speeding tickets from the RCMP who act as the BC provincial police, ALSO increasing insurance rates thru our gov't run insurance corp, ICBC. (
I responded, along w/ MANY others, and referenced the "85th percentile" method of setting those speed limits.
I guess I wasn't the ONLY one, and - lo-and-behold if BC didn't set NEW limits on many roads, using the "85th percentile" method to establish limits, going as high as 120 km/hr in places (74.4 mph), the HIGHEST speed limits in Canada! And the roads I was taking to Vancouver are among them...!
Well, the rain held off, but the AEROMOTO suit kept the wind out, keeping me warmer as I set my speed AROUND 120 km/hr (..
..) heading west. Out of Kelowna we have a road called the "Connector" which connects to the Coquahalla, the fast way down to the "Lower Mainland", but about 20 kms before the junction there's a dirt road heading W connecting both legs of a big "U", so I took it. Probably saved me 25 kms, while costing me an additional 20 minutes. GOOD trade, tho'...
Check the first pic.
Not a lot of opportunities to take pics traveling fast (along w/ the low cloud) as my camera was in the tank-bag, and when the road sort of levels off near Hope, the rain started. Stopped in Chilliwack to see if my friend wanted to ride in w/ me.... "NO freakin' way!" said he, so off I went, fueling-up on the way. My 'dash' had given me 19km/L (53.6 mpgImperial, 43 mpgUS), and I bucked the traffic for an hour in the rain to see my bro.
Rain had pretty much stopped when I left the nursing home to ride to Richmond to see Mitch, an old riding buddy from my home town of Edmonton. Mitch has ridden in the "Motocross de Nations" back in the '60s, owned a Honda bike shop in Vancouver, owned bikes as disparate as a street-legal Manx Norton, THE actual Vincent Black Shadow featured in the first North American road tests of Vincents (in the '50s), a Scott 'Flying Squirrel', an MV4 (Matchless V-4), and a very rare Vellocette road racing KTT, among others.
Mitch STILL rides his "Mitchisse" - a Metisse framed scrambler w/ a 1937 Triumph 250 engine he's raced since I met him in the early '60s (see pic 2), and he's working on a 500cc AJS that was bored out to 650 (pic 3), but w/ stock 500 heads, so VERY high compression, and he's machining some Husky compression releases into it so it can be easily started (Mitch is 84!!!). After a GOOD visit I saddled up, still wearing rain-gear for the wind-breaking, and headed to Norm's in Chilliwack. For those who're active (or WERE) on KLR650 forums, he's THE Norm Keller of all those GREAT technical articles on modding KLRs. GREAT visit!
Thursday morning was overcast, so I left in rain-gear, filled up (23 kms/L for that tank), then E into rain to Hope, where I turned N onto Hwy 1 and the Fraser Canyon, as the skies lifted. Shortly (at Boston Bar) I removed the rain stuff, continuing in sunny warmth. The Fraser Canyon has a lot of rail traffic including the original Canadian National RR, so I took a few pics of tunnels, trains and trestles,
, as well as the abandoned train station I photo'd at Boston Bar.
At Lytton I turned NE toward Spences Bridge, past the Indian encampment in the third last pic (fishing for Sockeye salmon in the Thompson River?), then SE from there to Merritt, BOTH stretches of twisties-on-twisties - GREAT motorcycling roads!
Merritt is the western end of the "Connector" to Kelowna, storm clouds showing as I started the climb, so I pulled over to suit-up (LAST of my pics). Back onto the highway, rain visible up ahead, skies blackening, speed set at AROUND (
) 120 km/hr, I saw something UNUSUAL coming up fast. I could see three wheels, set-up like the Can-Ams, but DIFFERENT.... It passed me, two people waving, obviously expensive but I could NOT make out its brand because the skies OPENED-UP, VERY heavy rain just after it got by. They headed for the shoulder where several cars and a couple of H-Ds had already stopped. The rain was so heavy that it 'stung' my chest thru the stuff I was wearing, rivulets of rain running down the road, but I could see just fine, I was DRY, so I kept going. The rain cut back to merely moderate as the road descends into the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna, down to a drizzle as I gassed up (20 km/L for the 'run' from Chilliwack), then continued home.
Getting home I noted that the GPS trip mileage was 966.2 kms, my odometer 951.6 for the two days, and that the GPS had my average moving speed as 85.8 km/hr (53 mph!), NOT bad considering how much city-congestion I rode thru at a "walking-pace"....