Travel

2020 – Hits and Misses in a Very Strange Year

September Tour 2020, one great travel experience in a challenging year

2020 will go down in history as one of the strangest, most memorable years we’ll likely experience in our lifetime. The COVID pandemic has affected each of our lives, the activities we participate in, and the social interactions we cherish.

Misses

  1. COVID-19 wreaked havoc with with travel plans for many people. For me, the closure of the United States – Canada border (with ‘essential travel’ exempted) meant that our various motorcycle trips south into Montana, Idaho, Washington and environs were prohibited. That forced us to miss our normal visits to the Konkolville Motel in Orofino, and their offering of home cooked BBQ steaks on their outdoor grills and riding the beautiful, twisting roads nearby. The border closure also prevented my annual sportscar drive in the Shelby GT350 with cousin Terry in his Porsche 911 Turbo to ‘sportscar country’ just on the other side of the border. So, a double-whammy. I can’t wait ’til 2021 to rectify that wrong.
  2. My rotator cuff injury, incurred in February, 2019 forced me to delay my FIRST motorcycle ride of the season until mid-July. That’s the latest start to my riding season in 43 years of motorcycling. The good news is that 10 months later, I’ve recovered to about 95-percent mobilitiy.

Hits

Despite COVID and my shoulder injury, there were some really great things that happened in 2020.

Beef Brisket Dip, Scotch Creek Hub restaurant, Scotch Creek, B.C.
  1. Ride to Shushwap Lake, B.C. The late start in mid-July for a first attempt to ride just to breakfast was to gingerly test my still painful rotator cuff. Weeks later, in August, I rode the Honda DCT Tour Gold Wing and accompanied friend Robyn on his BMW R1200RT to the Shushwap Lake district of southern B.C.. An easy going, 4-day round trip meant I got to test my still healing left shoulder in a low stress way. Not only was the ride terrific, we ‘discovered’ (thanks to Robyn’s brother-in-law, Stan) the Scotch Creek Hub restaurant. See below
  2. Multi-day tour to B.C., September. With my normal ‘gang’ of riding friends (and before Alberta ‘locked down’ the province prohibiting non-essential travel) we spent about a week on the road. See the Travel section for the full story.
  3. Jollibee, Edmonton fast food. I usually avoid fast food restaurants, but when Jollibee opened up, I had to try it. Jollibee is a Filipino fast food chain, specializing in fried chicken, and when it first opened in Edmonton in 2020, the Filipino community lined up in throngs to get a taste of home. These lineups continued for months, so being curious, we tried it. And it’s fantastic. I’ve never been a KFC or Chalet Chicken fan, but Jollibee’s ‘crispy’ (not their much loved ‘spicy’, which is too hot for Ingrid and me) is crispy, moist and perfectly seasoned. We’ve become fans, and could easily make Jollibee a weekly tradition.
  4. Meat Street Pies, Sherwood Park. Our friends Robyn and Ora introduced us to this suburban restaurant in 2020, and it’s a ‘destination diner.’ Robyn raved about their fish and chips, and when Ingrid ordered it, she, who is a fish and chips afficianado, loved it. Arguably the best (and biggest) fish and chips in the city.
  5. Jitter Beans Coffee House, Lumby, B.C. Sometimes when one travels, you walk into an eatery that just strikes you as being plain “right.” For whatever reason, the ambience, decor, layout of food on display, and the demeanor of the staff is cozy, welcoming and a place where you’re happy to spend time. Jitter Beans Coffee House is like that for me. It’s a place I’ll plan to get to the next time I’m out that way.
  6. New gear. 2020 was a good year for testing new motorcycle gear. Some remarkable ‘Black Friday’ sales in late 2019 resulted in me buying boots at deep discounts, new TCX Tour Evo GTX , Forma Hyper Sneakers, and Forma Air3 Outdry mesh. Also purchased to update some older gear were Klim D30 shoulder and elbow protectors, a new pair of Klim K Fifty 1 riding jeans, and finally a Schuberth C4 Pro Carbon modular helmet. (Reviews of the Klim K Fifty 1 riding jeans and Schuberth C4 Pro Carbon helmet coming soon.)

It’s easy to dismiss 2020 with a quick “good riddance.” For sure, it’s been a very disruptive, challenging year. But as I’ve noted, there were plenty of good things to add to our long term memory banks for the year.

2021 will undoubtedly be a ‘better’ year. Here’s hoping!

Happy New Year to all! Stay safe, healthy and we’ll see you on the road soon.

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