2017 Tenth Annual Schnitzel Run – Part 2

Wayne and Rick subtly show the Africa Twin owners' international sign language greeting for 'hello'

Wayne and Rick subtly demonstrate the Africa Twin owners’ international sign language greeting for ‘hello’

Day 2, Cranbrook to Keremeos, BC

After our enormously satisfying Schnitzel-fest at Frank’s Steak & Schnitzel Haus, our group of 20 riders breaks up and head their separate ways.

The main group heads south to Orofino, ID; our trio of riders from Victoria set Nelson, BC as their next destination; and I lead my two Honda Africa Twin – mounted partners to Keremeos, BC to visit an ill friend.

At Salmo (Kootenay Pass Summit, Elev. 1774m), the temperature drops to a chilling 3.5 degrees Celsius, and it’s raining.

The RT is the perfect touring companion for this typically Canadian cold weather riding.  I raise the windscreen higher than normal, just so I can see above the top edge, and turn the BMW’s heated grips to medium-high, just like you’d do for cooking a nice steak.  With toasty warm hands and excellent upper body protection, I don’t even bother turning the heated seat on.

The RT provides a superb, protective cocoon, shielding me from the cold and rain, and occasionally wonder wonder how Rick and Wayne are faring on their Africa Twins with minimal weather protection.

Again, Rick and Wayne let me take the lead, and we cruise along at a conservative sport touring pace.  Despite it being the Victoria Day national statutory holiday weekend, the traffic out of Cranbrook westbound is not annoyingly busy.

The temperature warms up into the high 20s and by time we reach Osoyoos in Canada’s ‘desert’, it’s hot.  In Keremeos, we lodge at the Elks Motel and are happy to find a very clean, nicely renovated motel.  Seven or 8 years ago, I had stayed at the Elks and it was sorely in need of renovation, but the new owners have done a terrific job of updating the rooms, and I highly recommend it.

Friends in Keremeos recommend we dine at the Hitching Post Restaurant in Hedley, BC, some 20 minutes west of Keremeos.  Our supper is not what you’d expect in a small town restaurant.  Prime rib is the special for the evening, and desserts . . . what can you say when you’re from The Big City where $10 dollars is the norm.  At the Hitching Post, desserts start at $4 dollars.

10 oz. prime rib at the Hitching Post Restaurant, Hedley, BC

10 oz. prime rib at the Hitching Post Restaurant, Hedley, BC

Day 3 – Keremeos to Clearwater, BC

The next morning, we take time to visit our ill friend one more time, then ride west via Hwy 3 to Princeton where we exit north on the scenic and twisty Hwy 5A to Merrit.

Leading a group of riders is never easy.  Navigating, maintaining an optimal pace and keeping an eye on the rear view mirrors to ensure the group is intact and nobody is in trouble, takes work.

Being a following rider is a no-brainer; one simply keeps the rider ahead in sight and all’s well.  If you ride in a group, be sure to thank your leader for their much appreciated role.

By the time we reach Merrit, it’s hot, near 30 Celsius.  It’s time to refuel and find lunch.

In Merrit, a tourist driving an SUV is target-fixated on the PetroCan gas station to our left.  With his eyes on the gas station he veers left into the left turn lane where I’m riding.  I lay on the horn but he keeps coming and we all pull into the gas station.  The fifty-something male driver gets out and sheepishly apologizes.  A nice, if not awkward, gesture.

Merrit for lunch

The Grand Pub & Grill, Merrit for lunch

Meat loaf for lunch, a rib-sticking lunch that needs an energy drink chaser to ward off post-lunch drowsiness

Meat loaf for lunch, a rib-sticking lunch that needs an energy drink chaser to ward off post-lunch drowsiness

From Merrit, we run north on Hwy 5A, a nice secondary highway to Kamloops and eventually Clearwater where we stumble upon the Ace Western Motel, another immaculately clean and reasonably priced motel.

The owner recommends two restaurants, one adjacent to the motel.

We walk in that direction and meet an obviously inebriated young guy who points to the restaurant and says something to the effect that if we want drugs, that’s the place to go.  We give the place a pass and walk to a small restaurant on the other side of the highway, which is filled with a bus load of Dutch tourists.  Service is slow, but we’re in no hurry, and we share amicable life stories interjected with a lot of laughter.

Day 4 – Clearwater, BC to Jasper and Edmonton

We’re up early and take breakfast at the nearby Tim Horton’s, fill up and ride north on Hwy 5 through Valemont until we reach the Yellowhead Hwy 16, taking it east to Jasper and finally home to Edmonton.

Our 4-day long weekend trip covered about 2,400 km, and our bikes, my 2014 BMW R1200RT and Rick and Wayne’s pair of Honda Africa Twins performed flawlessly.

This was an enjoyable, easy-going trip, made even more enjoyable because of my travel companions’ agreeable, go-with-the-flow personalities.

It’s a route that was entertaining and we were lucky enough to find some good lodging (Elks Motel, Keremeos and Ace Western Motel, Clearwater) and an exceptional restaurant (The Hitching Post, Hedley, BC.)

This is a tour worth repeating.

End of Part 2 and conclusion.

BMW R1200RT and Honda Africa Twin, north of Merrit, BC

BMW R1200RT and Honda Africa Twin, north of Merrit, BC

 

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