Ooops, travel stupidity. The ride home – Part 2

Rich's Custom Motorcycle Seats in Kingston, WA - where I stupidly left my luggage and passport. Aaargh!

Rich’s Custom Motorcycle Seats in Kingston, WA – where I stupidly left my luggage and passport. Aaargh!

It’s only a short ride from the U.S.-Canada border crossing at Oroville to the small town of Osoyoos, located in B.C.’s wine country.

It’s hot and sunny, a nice change from the cool, wet weather that has dogged us since leaving Edmonton.

I’m thankful to be wearing an Olympia mesh jacket and I’ve got the long, zippered vents of my new Klim waterproof Goretex pants wide open.  Even behind the barn door-size fairing and windshield of the R1200RT, there’s a reasonable amount of air flow, and I’m comfortable.

I pull into an Esso gas station and turn on my cell phone, check my email hoping for a message from Robyn and Ora.  I’d been optimistic that I might have caught up to them after leaving them at the hotel in Burlington, WA and returning to Rich’s to retrieve my pannier liner and passport.  But there are no messages from my travel companions, so I press on, solo.

I rely on the BMW Navigator V gps to route me the fastest way back to Edmonton and it tells me to go directly north, up the Okanagan Valley to Penticton and Kelowna.

It’s a dog’s breakfast riding through Kelowna.  The roadway is being repaved and has been ground down, with grooves, and it’s stop-and-go traffic for as far as the eye can see.  And it’s hot.  The traffic moves ahead a couple of car lengths then comes to a stop.  After a minute or so, we roll ahead a couple of car lengths, then stop again.  And so it goes.  There are a lot of reasons to hate Kelowna, and the gawdawful congested, painfully slow summer traffic is one of them.

Late in the afternoon I get to Salmon Arm and make a beeline for the Best Western Hotel.  I’m exhausted and famished.  I’d ridden through Leavenworth, WA sometime around the lunch hour and only stopped in the vicinity to fuel up, and had skipped lunch.

After checking into the hotel and changing into civilian clothes, I ask the desk clerk for a recommendation for supper.  He points to the casino restaurant across the street.

Chances Casino restaurant, Salmon Arm, BC

Chances Casino restaurant, Salmon Arm, BC

I’m exhausted.  It’s been an 11 or 12 hour day and I drag myself across the street, find the casino’s restaurant on the main floor and get escorted to a table for one.  The restaurant is surprisingly busy for a Wednesday night, and the hostess tells me there’s some kind of weekly ‘special’ that draws in the locals.  I’m too tired to pay attention.

My server arrives, and he’s exactly the personality I do not want to deal with.  I want to sit, alone, drink water to re hydrate, and rest.  But nooooo, my server, a young twenty-something, is being hyper extroverted, wearisomely over friendly, and with a slightly effeminate manner that’s just enough to irk me.

“Well, hellooooo”, he coos.  “Welcome to Chances (or whatever its name is) Restaurant.  How are we tonight?”  I don’t know how ‘we’ are tonight, but I know I’m damn tired and I really want Mr. Wonderful to go away and leave me alone.

I ask him for water, and his niceness is cloying and sugary.  “I’ll get that right for you!“, he promises, and scutters away.


I order a simple burger and fries, and flutters back and forth to my table, dutifully inquiring how ‘we’ are doing.  The burger is nothing special, but an empty stomach and weary body makes the meal taste better than it likely is.

After supper, it’s back to the hotel and lights out.  I have to rest up for the long day ahead, back to Edmonton.

The next morning, I’m ready for an early (for me) start, an make a beeline for the hotel’s continental breakfast in the lobby at 6:00 AM sharp.  I’m the first breakfast ‘customer’ of the day, and am surprised the operator of this particular modest Best Western has chosen to use real dishes and stainless steel cutlery instead of the typical paper plates and plastic utensils.  I make a point to compliment the manager on providing a nice semblance of civility guests, fuel up the bike and ride eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Revelstoke.

I check my email one more time, hoping to hear from Robyn and Ora, but there’s nothing, and I resign myself to riding the final leg of my tour back to Edmonton on my own.

The morning is cool and cloudy, and rain looks imminent.  Traffic through the mountainous switchbacks outside Revelstoke is slow.  It’s a motorcyclist’s or sports car driver’s dream road, but there are simply too many 18-wheelers and holidayers to run this twisty bit of highway with any speed.

Approaching Calgary, the RT’s reserve light comes on.  I fuel up with 23.39 litres of premium unleaded; the BMW has run 492 km from my last fill up in Salmon Arm, and the bike still has (theoretically) 1.61 litres of fuel remaining in its 25 litre capacity gas tank.  I love BMW boxer twins for their fuel efficiency and the RT for its large gas tank.  (That’s 4.75 l/100 km or 59.4 Imp mpg for fuel economy, if you’re wondering.)

At my Calgary fuel stop, there’s a Pizza 73 in the plaza.  It’s almost 2:00 PM and and raining.  Time for a late lunch so I order a pizza and inelegantly wolf it down while sitting on the bench in the waiting room.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m back on the RT heading north for Edmonton.

Just before 5:00 PM, I roll into my driveway and look at the RT’s trip meter – 3,816 kilometres for this little run to Cranbrook, BC, Orofino, ID, out to Seattle (with a few hundred kilometres added back and forth for my impromptu ‘stupidity run’) and back to Edmonton.

And yes, it was fun.

End of Part 2 and conclusion.


1 Comment

  1. Dave Graham says:

    So I take it you will not be retiring to Kelowna.


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