The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jul 22 - Day 19 Vespa 250 - Canada!

T'was a dark and stormy morn....rain came to visit during the night. I'd figured it might so I covered the scooter last night. This morning it was nice and dry but it started to sprinkle again as soon as I rode out..

Bone dry in the morning. Hey, how dry are bones anyway?
In the room I enjoyed the best motel coffee I'd had in a long time, a special brew from Boyd's and it was super.
After getting all my gear packed and ready to load I hustled on over to the restaurant for my freebie breakfast. There were two gals working the shift and I was seated at a window table overlooking the river, one of the best tables there. She said she'd be right back and then must have gone on her break or quit as no one ever showed up again. No coffee, no freebie breakfast, nada. I waited about fifteen minutes, then figured I could grab something on the road and left. On the way out I snarled something at the receptionist desk gals which was about like shooting the messenger but I was feeling pissy and didn't care.

Not looking good
I headed north on Highway 95, then branched over to Highway 1 which took me into Porthill and the border crossing. Light rain continued along the way but nothing really hard. I'd worn my Frogg Toggs rain gear thinking that would be adequate protection. Wrong.
The border guys are always nice at this crossing, unlike some of the busier ones.  
A couple of miles past Rykerts, BC the GPS turned me onto Highway 3 heading west which I would follow the rest of the day. I'd chosen it as it's only a two-lane highway with lots of twisties and scenic too. The rain began in earnest not long into it so I couldn't do a lot of picture taking, only when things settled down for a bit.
Actually I stopped here to eat a candy bar and the sign just presented itself for a photo.
Highway 3 heading west out of  Creston

Mongo like highway 3!

Hey I just came that way...
After about a jillion miles of rain-soaked highway I came to this little town where I happened onto the Dragon Fly Cafe. A couple of gals were having espressos at a sidewalk table and both responded enthusiastically when I asked if the food was good. They also wanted to know if I'd ridden that cute little scooter all the way from Oregon. Now that's always an invitation to have some fun with the answer but I didn't think they'd get my weird sense of humor so I passed. Mr Nice Guy eh? Eh?

The Dragon Fly Cafe

Very hip inside. I'd say "chic" but I sometimes forget and it comes out like chicken

They sell photos done by a local artist, most were priced at $274. Odd number I know but maybe it means something to the photographer. Like his birthday or something? 
Le Menu

I had the Eggs Benedict with spinach and other dead things. It was pretty darn good.
Ah but then the real fun began for I'd done something I never ever do. I left my helmet on the saddle and casually threw my rain jacket on top of it. I'd be inside with everything in plain view so I needn't worry about anyone taking anything. That part I was right about. The part I was dumb about was when I picked up the jacket to put it on and sent the helmet flying into the gravelly street, knocking the visor completely off and adding a dozen more scratches to the paint. 

The paint issues I can live with, it's an old helmet. The real issue was the damn visor, I spent the better part of half an hour fighting with it trying to get it re-installed. Of all the helmets I've ever owned its visor is by far the fussiest one to get locked in so when it was sort of connected I decided to go with it. Wrong. Wrongo. About a mile down the road I had to lift it up to see better and off it came in my hand. Juggling it along with bringing the Vespa to a halt was precarious and I nearly dropped the scooter getting off. I spent another half hour fiddling around with the visor's mechanism and eventually heard the welcome "snap!" as it locked in solidly. Man I hate that thing but at last I was back on the road.

Eventually I ran into a really nasty bit of road construction. Why do these people need to work in the rain? Just so they can watch you sit there on your bike in the drizzle? Buncha sadists.

Sign said expect possible 20-minute delays. Grumble grumble....Actually I only waited 5-mins.
Along about Osoyoos the rain let up and I began to dry out. You know where Osoyoos is, right? It's really an interesting area, vineyards everywhere and tourist traps that go off the scale. There were hundreds of people milling around with that 1000-yard glazed-eyes overloaded tourist look, kinda like zombies.. I'm not a huge fan of crowds, especially zombies, so I made every effort to get through it all as fast as I could. 

BTW did you know that seemingly normal people point at red Vespas and say "Hey lookit that"? Seems kinda weird.

After Osoyoos the next big ticket town is Keremeos where everyone and his nephew appears to be engaged in growing fruit of one sort or another. I passed a couple of fruit stands leading into the settlement and deciding that fresh peaches might make a great snack later on I did a u-turn and headed back to the one I'd just passed.

Yippee! Free peaches!
Inside I asked the gal who seemed to be in charge if I could buy just two peaches as any more would go to waste. She said a number of undecipherable things so I pointed at my helmet and said "Ear plugs...Old guy...Eh?" She either liked that or hoped I might go away so she picked out two specimens that passed her sniff test, bagged them and said with a big smile "No charge, they're ready to eat tonight." I offered to pay for them but she said they were bruised and couldn't be sold. Home run!!!!  

Happy gal. "Hey I'm gonna be in his book!

Who makes up all these strange names anyway?

Further into town there were tractors. Lotsa tractors.

And also red scooters posing,

There must be more fruit stands along this road than anywhere else on Planet Earth
Once I'd escaped the clutches of the fruit stand zombies I nailed it fairly hard trying to make up for the slow progress when it was raining. Traffic along highway 3 was fairly light and the posted speed limit of 100 kmh meant everyone was doing at least seventy mph so I made good progress. Did I mention the GPS can be set to display kilometers with just the push of a display button. How they do that?

Princeton soon showed up on the horizon and since it was late afternoon I decided to bag it for the day. I checked into a place toting itself as "Canada's Best Value Inns". Their prices are guaranteed to make most people scream but I managed to browbeat them down thirty buckaroos which still left them at around the same rate as yesterday's digs. It's not close to being as posh but I'm pooped so I don't care. I'll bet they know that don't they?

Private parking is everything, eh? That's Canadian speak. Eh?

Canadian living room decor? Eh?
Once I'd settled in with the baggage I started thinking about dinner in earnest. That spa tub thing in the living room got me to fantasizing about parking myself in it with a bottle of crisp cold white wine and gobbling fresh peaches at the same time so off I went to see what I could come up with. 

The local grocery store emporium is a lot like Safeway and I soon assembled white cheddar cheese, Triscuits, Arizona Iced Tea, and chewy caramel trail  bars. No wine though, I'd forgotten you have to buy evil suds at their liquor stores. Makes sense, wouldn't want the missus or the kiddies to see you spending the rent money on booze. I decided an extra can of tea would fill in the gap.

Fresh free-for-nothing peaches, the best kind.

Dinner - just check out that scrumptious spread! Mmm...mmm!
Well what the heck, another day flogging along in the rain wasn't so bad. If I'm guessing right I'll probably see more of it tomorrow and maybe the next day too.I'll reach Vancouver sometime in the afternoon and then I'll have to decide which ferry to take if I'm going over to Vancouver Island.

313 miles today, not so bad considering the miserable rain.


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