"Why is Everyone So Nice?"
Tuesday May 30, 2000
Sun Peaks B.C. - Revelstoke B.C.
4:54 driving time - 292 miles
We stayed last night in the Hearthstone Lodge which is either a Radisson Hotel, or used to be one - the people at the desk were not sure. My hunch is that the Radisson corporate marketing suits didn't think the hotel chain name was appropriate for a upscale ski lodge so they thought up "Hearthstone Lodge." (That's why they make the big bucks.) I mention this because when we arrived at the Sun Peaks resort area last night, we were looking for the Radisson (as per the hotel list given to us) and not having much luck matching it with the hotels we saw. Of course, just looking like you MIGHT be lost immediately results in a crowd of people around you being ridiculously helpful. (I'm sure if you expressed the slightest uncertainty that you could follow their directions, they'd gladly lead you to your destination. BC is one place where even a macho-male - genetically programmed to never ever ask directions - could find his way around without a map.).
We had a great dinner last night. It started with a wonderful salad, then our choice of a seafood kabob or steak Diane, and wrapped up with cheesecake.
I've shown pictures of the salad and cheesecake because the presentation was so nice. And the whole shooting match - every course including desert - was washed down with pitcher after pitcher of beer. I don't know if it was the beer talking, but the group at our table got pretty loose and we started sampling each other's food. And this was only the first day. I wonder how our tour hosts feel about food fights?
The places we've stayed the first two nights have been ski lodges so they are up in the mountains. While the views are wonderful, it does mean cold temperatures in the morning - check out the frost on Fritz's seat. Today, Gizmo and I decided that we wanted to do a large loop, south of the much shorter tour group route planned for today. So we skipped the usual 8 AM breakfast and mounted up about 6:30. A cold 6:30.
Big problem: The LT's baggage compartments were frozen shut. (We theorized that RMMH had washed the bikes for us the previous day and the water left on the LT had frozen in the locks.) We fiddled with them for awhile, but finally just pulled the bikes into the sun and let it do its thing. In about 15 minutes, the locks were free. I think we'll pass on the free wash from this point forward. Also, I wonder if BMW should think about a more weatherproof and less finicky lock design. It is funny that the only real mechanical issue we've had with either bike is something you'd never think would be an issue - locks. (Well, not completely true, Fritz has a bit of a drinking problem, consuming about a quart of oil every 1500 miles - I'm hopeful that this will go down as the motor breaks in more.)
on the road, the motorcycling was simply awesome all day long. As I
mentioned earlier, I'm not nearly as adept at taking pictures in motion as
Gizmo, but I have been shooting a few and sometimes you get some nice
effects. Greg caught me in his rearview mirror - pretty cool..
As I said earlier, everyone in BC is extremely gregarious and
friendly. It is virtually impossible to buy gasoline or sit down for a
meal without someone coming up and chatting with you.
At breakfast, a gentleman approached our table and said, "I bet you guys are from the states, right? Yes, I can always tell people from the states, something about them!" When we said we were from Seattle, he immediately launched into a story about how his parents met in Seattle and that he would have been born in Seattle - and been a US citizen - without some quirk of fate.
Next close encounter with the local populace was 30 miles down the road buying gas in Vernon. We had just barely got the bikes turned off before the husband and wife owners were outside talking to us about how cool the BMWs are. The first thing the woman said is, "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles - man, are those beautiful." Then her husband asked where we were going and proceeded to give us detailed directions, including apologizing profusely for only knowing one of the two schedules for the ferries we will be using later in the day. (I wonder what these people think when they travel to New York City and ride on the subway?) The rest of the day as I was riding, I kept wondering why it is that the people are so outgoing. Then it dawned me: It is out of necessity. You can't scratch out a living in these remote and wild parts without the help of your neighbors. Everyone grows up helping everyone else, not cocooning in their house. I bet my revelation is a "duh" for most of you, but it seemed pretty profound on the bike. As most things do. That's why I like motorcycling so much.
Today's loop to the south had us retracing some of the route of Day 3, which was fine by us as this was some of the best riding we'd done and because it involved more ferry riding. We stopped in again at the Spruce Grove Cafe (the one without any phone or grid power) and had pie and coffee. Gizmo and I traded bikes after this for the twisting/turning route down to the ferry. Gizmo's LT was so quiet and smooth I almost forget to shift it a few times. I played with the windshield like a kid with a new motorized toy. One of the other tour participants coined the term "Millennium Falcon" for the bike and we'll see if it sticks. Gizmo enjoyed the handling of Fritz immensely. I'll turn him into a sport bike guy eventually. It is amazing how much his twisty riding has improved during this trip.
After the first ferry, we headed N, only to realize that we were going to have trouble making the second ferry that would take us near Revelstoke. (If we missed the ferry, there was an hour wait.) Quick mental math at a gas stop indicated we needed to travel about 50 Km in 20 minutes, which meant a 150 Km/hr (90 mph) average. But the road was deserted and the corners all had great sight lines, so we pulled the wires tight and reached the ferry dock just as it was loading. We've had three ferry trips during the trip with a sum total wait of about 48 seconds. Are we good, or what?
I could talk about the weather, but you already know it: sun and rain repeated over and over. It's no big deal anymore. We just ride.
The run into Revelstoke was all windy high-speed corners and great fun. Altogether, a wonderful day to be alive and enjoying this wonderful sport.
Our first two contests have been a little flippant, but we've got a serious one for all of you contest fans. I took this shot today of a logging truck up near the Spruce Grove Cafe, one of hundreds we see every day.
The question is: How many logs are on this truck? (Yes, I counted how many.) I'll give you a hint if you want to use it: The total weight of the log load is about 32,000 metric tons, as confirmed by the truck driver.
And to underscore how this is a serious contest, we are going to award a serious prize: An authentic, inaugural-edition Whizmo and Gizmo t-shirt. Now, said shirts are not actually made yet, but it will be high priority when we get back home. And we will be pleased to award shirts to our previous two contest winners.
We'll keep the contest open for at least two days, but get your answer in right now. This is free stuff - what have you got to lose?