Friday, July 25, 2008

The Overdrive Chronicles - Part 1

a.k.a. Jerry and Bjorn's 2008 sportbike trip.

This trip has become a central focus of my summers. Year 1 we did a 3 day run around Mt. St. Helen, last year it was 5 days through the Kooteney's and this year ... well, you'll have to stay tuned :)

We didn't spend too much time planning the early parts of this trip, we both wanted to head back to Nelson and spend a few days there. The roads heading in were some of the best in BC and there was no way we would stay away this year.

For those of you who don't know, there's Jerry on the 954 following me on the ZX9R.

Jerry had gotten the 954 back together after having a moment on the track shortly after that picture was taken. Both he and the bike suffered some bumps and bruises. Luckily both were ready to ride in time.

We were both going stir crazy Saturday before the trip, so I decided to head over there so we could watch a bit of UFC and drink some beer to take our mind of the fact that we had to wait to leave till the morning. I decided to grab all my gear so that we could leave from his house early in the morning instead of meeting up along the highway.

By 7 am we had the bikes loaded and ready to go.

Jerry had just gotten some new Corsa 3's while I was still on the Michelin Pilot Powers that I'd done the previous years trip on. While they were worn, I thought they'd make the trip.

We rode out to Hwy 1 but stopped for a bit of breakfast. This year I had a goal of taking one picture minimum at every stop so that there would be a much higher percentage of photos.

Breakfast of champions?

By the time we'd gotten to Langley we'd already seen the first (of many) cops.

Next we had our least favorite stretch up Hwy 1 to Hope. Nothing but boring slab. And it got a bit cold too in the early morning shadow of the mountains. Sure enough I missed the exit to Hope 'downtown' but luckily there was another.

Off the highway for some gas and a 'pitstop'. Time to put on the rain jacket to keep the cold air out of the perforated leathers.

I'd washed the 9R the day before. Here she is all shiny :D

From Hope we started the climb into Manning park. It got chilly but it was a gorgeous morning. Coming around one corner we saw a 3 point mule deer buck standing right by the side of the highway. It just shows that you never know when the deer are going to be out.

I was reminded of the story our buddy Steve told me of spending time with a rider who'd had a brutal crash along one of the twisty stretches. It's odd when this pops in your head, but I'm pretty sure that it happened last year just hours after Jerry and I passed by there on our way out to Kooteneys.

We set an easy pace, getting into it a bit in the twisties but keeping it nice and sane. And then we entered the warmth of the Princeton. It got to the point where I had to pull open the raincoat to let some air in. Now it felt like we were really on the road. We'd crossed the first set of mountains and the scenery changed from wet green lush forests to fir forests with their distinct smell in the dry heat of the semi-desert.

The third Chevron of the morning ;)

It was about 27 degrees (Centigrade of course) and I spent some quality time standing in the shade while Jerry talked on the phone to his family. I had a chance to look at my tire in the sun and it sure didn't look like it had all that much tread left. Jerry had a good laugh that it was finally my turn to have the "I wonder if this will really make it to the end" syndrome. Normally that's his domain. No turning back now though, it's time to head on.

We were back on the bikes and heading for Osoyoos. A guy on a Buell went past us and I started using him as a rabbit for a bit, but Jerry was hanging back fairly far so I backed off. No sense anyways, the real fun wasn't going to be starting till tomorrow, today was a commuting day for us.

In Keremeos I broke my rule and we got gas and I didn't get a picture at the stop. But it was a touch hot and I never even took my helmet off. Just outside, yup, one more cop! But I take it easy around these parts as I got a ticket here in 2004 for ... well, lets say that he was very kind and it turned out to be very minor compared to what it could have been.

We warned a bunch of sportbikers of the cop ahead, though I have a feeling they already knew from how nice and slow they were going.

Slurpee's it was once we got into Osoyoos!

I'm not sure what the temperature was at this point, but it wasn't the 35 degrees we had last year. Maybe 30 :D We had some fruit with the slurpees. Life is all about balance, no?! I doused my shirt in some water (I'd taken a 1 liter bottle along for this purpose after riding in 42 degrees last year it's better to be prepared!).

A guy from Alberta stopped on a fully farkled KLR and we chatted. I told him no KLR should look as clean as his did. ;)

After a 1/2 hour or so we jumped back on the bikes and headed up to 'Anarchist'. Last year we had some horrible tar snakes here and the bikes got damn squirrly at 1xx km/h. The strips seemed smaller this year and we were prepared. It was almost fun trying to find the line with the least strips. And one more cop! Luckily we were still in commuting mode.

Then the turn up Hwy 33 in Rock Ridge. The road up the Kettle river valley is beautiful. There was hardly any traffic so we rolled into it a bit more through the corners. I guess we didn't quite back off enough in the straight stretches because in one of the straights a white oncoming car turned out to be an unmarked cop. Bloody Hell!

I hit the brakes and he waved in his windshield in the easy to understand "slow the HELL down" gesture. But, no lights, no tickets, no problem :)

Too close for comfort. Warning #1.

Not too long after I realized the hydration packs were working like a charm. Maybe too well. So we stopped in a bit of a shadowy spot for some 'relief'.

Jerry laughing about our 'close encounter of the cop kind'.

By 3:00 we were in Kelowna.

Turns out the Accent inn is leaving little rubber ducks in every room now. This little rubber duck decided that the laundry is an excellent duck pond. Who am I to argue?!

I also decided to adopt the little fella and take him from the dark bathroom in room 229 on the road trip of his little rubberduck life. Now we had a 3rd companion. If he managed to stay on the bike. I tried to get another one from the front desk and the girl there mentioned to come back after 8, but when I did there were too many people lined up. So only one rubber duck.

We were hungry and thirsty so over to Kelsey's we went (the fact that we got a 10% discount for staying at the hotel helped).

I took a photo of Jerry for his online dating profile...

... or maybe that wasn't it. Who can recall?!

Trip appropriate shirt

We were back in the hotel to watch the AMA superbike race on TV. Good timing on our part. Not that we really needed the inspiration for the ride ahead. We were plenty ready to wear the tires right to the edge.

"Hey Jerry, you tired or something?"

"#@&( %^^"

As you can see from the photo, that's pretty much it for day one. A good day, but, as they say, 'the best is yet to come'.


How do you like your mid corner gravel while at full lean?!
Flashing lights -- F**K!!!
The best highway in BC, now repaved and smoother and faster than before.
Ditches and the people who end up in them.
Nelson, cute brunettes and way too much alcohol.


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