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DAY 2 – Midway to Nakusp

Total Day: 363.6

Total Trip: 713.9

There was a large thunderstorm that went through just before we went to bed last night. RRP, who has far larger touring boxes on his bike, and is a bit more particular about things, brings a bike cover with him on our trips… but the storm caught us by surprise, and he wasn’t able to put the cover on in time. The storm was explosive and loud, with lightning strikes quite close by, but likely enough rain to prevent a new fire from starting.

We woke up to a beautiful day: sun, everything dry, and fairly moderate temperatures. Packing was a breeze – gather the electronics we charged up, load them on the bike put back anything else that we brought in for safety, and we were ready. A lovely breakfast at the restaruant next door, with the greatest coffee cups (mine said “Hello darkness, my old friend”, and I drink it black; RRP’s said “Too much Monday, not enough coffee”), then a quick fuel stop, and we were off.

We were off at 9:00 am. Today was such a pretty ride. Sweeping mountain roads, mostly limited to 80 or 90 km/h, close trees, gorgeous views. Visor up, and the wind blowing through as we went through the small towns of Christina Lake, and Rossland, and Slocan, and the bigger towns of Grand Forks and Castlegar, on our way along Highway 3, then Highway 6, all the way up to Nakusp. The scent of the pine forests in the air, the feel of the change in temperature with the change in elevation, the vivid greens and browns of the pines and the barren scrub, all added to my sense of freedom – I was leaving work behind, with every mile we put on, and the competing voices from competing priorities were all getting dimmer and quieter. There was also a significant smoke haze throughout the ride, due to the sheer number of forest fires in the area. We stopped in Castlegar and New Denver along the way.

Nakusp is a destination for riding. It’s somewhat well known in the motorcycle community as a destination to plunk yourself at and do some amazing rides. We were here last year for the BCBeemers Rally, and between the ADV bikes and the Harley Davidson’s that rolled through, all the gas stations ran out of gas. It is a stunner of a location to ride around, and should be on every Canadian rider’s list of places to go. I did a lot of riding here last year, and we had a good plan for some excellent rides on our way out of here on Sunday. Last year, there was construction on the last stretch of Highway 6 getting into Nakusp, and this year it was smooth, dark, unblemished tarmac, and a delight to ride.

We arrived in Nakusp at about 2:00 pm and made our way to the Nakusp Municipal Campground, which is an great place. There are 30 or 35 designated spots, but as a lot of people are tenting, it’s just put your tent up anywhere flat. They have a central washroom with flush toilets and showers, and while it’s a bit of an older building, it does just fine. We circled the lot a couple of times, and then a kind woman (Robyn) waved us up to a site we had gone past twice – a large concrete pad to park the bikes, and a nice flat area for two tents. So, we set up there – and she further befriended us by bringing us a radler to quench our thirst.

Once camp was set, including our camp chairs, she brought hers over and we hung out for a while. She had a Mercedes Sprinter van kitted out as a camp vehicle, and was waiting for her parents (Ted and Diane) to show up in a similar vehicle, towing both her and her dad’s bike. We decided it was a good time to check in for the real reason we came here – the Horizons Unlimited Canwest Meeting – so we wandered over to the arena and did so. It turns out her parents were working the check-in table, and as we walked out we saw her parent’s Sprinter van, and the two bikes. More about Horizon’s Unlimited in later posts.

A quick walk into town for some supplies (coffee and beer and snacks) and we came back and hung out until dinner. We had pre-purchased dinners, and purchased breakfasts when we checked in. Dinner tonight was enchiladas, and was pretty good. On the way to the arena (again) for dinner, we saw a big doe… then after saw her with her fawns nursing. It was pretty special, as they were only a few meters away each time.

When we got back to our site, we were greeted by our new friends, plus some others (Craig and Neil) that were also camping in the same area. We had a great time up until the 10pm quiet hours, when RRP and I took the opportunity to turn in. A lovely day of riding, and some new friends – this will be something that repeats throughout our journey.

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