Yesterday's forecast here in Kelowna was for 20C (70F) and partly cloudy, two of my friends were 'in', so we had planned a pretty good ride to explore some dirt areas on the interior plateau an hour's west (as the crow flies..., about two hours by road). John rides a BMW Dakar 650, while George a Suzuki DR650.
John's a neighbor who moved here from Saskatchewan recently, while George and I rode FIM enduros near Montreal, 30 to 40 years back (he was a factory rider for Hercules, riding their 125s, EXPERT rated - I only got to OPEN class, SENIOR).
I returned from church at 1030, as expected, finding the two sitting in my shop, "telling lies" -
-, so I got busy changing to MX boots and a Kilimanjaro jacket, (which turned out to be a VG choice, as it turned out) so we were off by 1045.
We rode along Lake Okanagan to Vernon (a ride I've written-up a few times, VERY twisty), some showers showing up on the west side of the lake, MORE clouds north. Then we transitioned to BC 97 from the "Old Kamloops Rd", west thru Falkland to our 'jumping-off' point of Westwold.
About half way between the two towns the western skies turned overcast, with lots of showers ahead, so I added rain-gear to what I was wearing, then we transitioned to a back road (called, suitably, "BACK ROAD" on both my map and GPS) where the road gave indications of what was ahead for us (see pic #1). George, unable to 'contain' himself, blasted by John and me to attack the wet dirt for a few miles, then would motion us by till another good opportunity presented itself - then WFO again! (At one of these I saw that his rear tire looked "low", so I asked him if he had 'aired-down', but I think he misunderstood what I'd said.) He's STILL pretty fast for a guy over 74...! -
I had suggested that a good lunch stop would be at an old abandoned house up ahead, but I could see that George was probably going to blow right past despite the rain, so I added a "bit" of throttle, up on the 'pegs, LOTS of throttle, gravel spitting from my rear Tourance, trying to catch his attention, but as I got close he just added MORE throttle (question: How do you "add" throttle when you're ALREADY WFO...? -
-), and as we blew past the old house noticed it's now being renovated (???). I was able to catch sight that my speedo was at 113 kms/hr - 70 mph.... A bit excessive, maybe???
A bit further along I got beside him, and indicated to pull over, right alongside Salmon Lake, MANY boats out there fishing. John joined us a few minutes later, making comments about riding in a 'hazardous fashion' as we broke out our sandwiches to eat lunch, time being about 1300. As we chatted we noticed that George's rear tire was quite low - asked him if he had a patching kit. He answered "Nope", and John and I discussed what WE had. His BMW is on tubes, so he carries patching gear, tire-irons, pump and bead-breaker, while I have tubeless patching gear w/ a 12v pump, but NOT the bottle of "Slime" I thought I had.
John pumped the DR's tire up to 25 psi, then we finished lunch, still raining. Checked the pressure again - 10 psi, so I got my 12v pump out. We told George to "gear-up" so that as soon as we filled his tire, he could start out, stopping when his back-end started getting 'squirrelly' as the air bled out, and we would put stuff away then follow to wherever he'd be stopped, refill as necessary.
He left, John and I put stuff away, then 'took a leak' as we noticed a distant jogger coming up the road (in the rain, middle of nowhere!). Pic #2 was taken here, just after George left.
I took notice of my odometer as we started down the road toward the Douglas Ranch at Douglas lake. Our intended route had been SE on dirt roads from there, ultimately to the Bear Creek FSR (forestry service road) till it got to civilization, but we'd told George to head towards Merritt where we MIGHT be able to fix his problem....
- The dirt turned to paved a few miles W of the ranch, STILL no sign of George or his DR. Then a STOP as that road intersects w/ BC 5A, then SW on it towards Merritt. About two or three miles down 5A we saw buildings in the distance, a man and a bike by the shoulder. Check pics 3, 4 and 5. We had gone 50 kms (30 miles!!!), and I had doubts about that tire and tube, BUT we soon had it up to 25 psi and George headed out, followed a minute later by John's BMW, while I put my pump away, telling me they'd be at the Wal-Mart store there.
I got there to find the two bikes, but no George (he was inside looking for Slime), till he arrived carrying something to fix car/ truck tires as they'd had no Slime. John read the instructions, and told George it was WAY too much for his tire, so the decision was made for me to ride over to the Canadian Tire store to get a bottle of Slime, IF they had it! I'd already found a surveyor's stake that we could use to position the swingarm high enough to spin the tire once the Slime was in.
I returned (w/ Slime!) via a little 'single-track' down the hill from the freeway, then over a 12" curb - to find that the wheel was being taken off. While I was gone they searched and discovered a nail, so made the decision to pull the tube and patch it (the rain had stopped a few kms after Douglas Ranch). Finally the wheel was off, and John began to remove that little nut holding the tube tight to the rim (a VERY bad idea, as it WILL cause the stem to rip out of the tube IF the tire slips on the rim), discovering that it HAD ripped off and we needed a tube.
- See pics #6 and 7.
Back over to Canadian Tire for a refund for the Slime, and, HOPEFULLY, a tube. Got the refund, but the ONLY tubes they had were for ATVs or wheelbarrows....
Back to Wally world w/ the news, and John decided to ride around the town, looking for a yard w/ a motorcycle, so he could ask if he could buy a tube.
While we waited, a fellow who worked at Walmart came out and offered George space in his 'storage-unit' so he could leave it, then return later in his van to pick it up. I suggested he get estimates on charges to get a 'wrecker' to transport it the (roughly) 150 kms (93 miles) back to Kelowna. At the co$t of $800 that the dispatcher gave him, the decision was reached to 'storage-unit' the DR if John didn't find a tube, which is what occurred.
We got the tire back onto the rim, the wheel back onto the DR as George would have to ride there, the BMW leading, me following w/ our 4-way flashers going. I cautioned George to go slowly, but he was up to about 40 kms/hr (24 mph) immediately, till we arrived at the storage facility and got the bike "tucked-away" by about 1800.
The decision was made for George to ride pillion on the GREEN HORNET, so we started E up the BC 97C (Connector) which goes to close-to 6,000' ASL, and I was glad I'd worn the Kilimanjaro jacket (tho' I WISHED I'd also worn my heated jacket-liner...!). The temps ratcheted down as we climbed, and w/ GREAT relief we saw the sign that Kelowna was 33 kms ahead, as now we began descending to warmer weather, and AT LEAST it wasn't raining any more.
I dropped George off at his home (w/ his plans to drive back this AM in his shop van to get the DR back), then pulled into my garage at 1945, about eight hours after our start. The last pic is my GPS to show the 'stats' for our trip, and I DON'T think the highest speed of 122 kms/hr was on the dirt... but it MIGHT have been....