23 August 2012 – Today was going to be another relatively easy day, Vernon to Nakusp is only 194kms and should only take 3 hours. There’s a ferry on the route and I like ferries! This ferry is the Needles-Faurquier Ferry across Arrow Lake on Highway 6.
We rolled out of bed, and headed to the attached Denny’s for breakfast. Service wasn’t the best but the food was alright. Packing up took little time and since we had got gas when we had arrived in Vernon, we just turned left on to the road in front of the hotel and road on out of town.
The first part of Highway 6 rolls through farmland and orchards along a railroad track that runs along the valley. There wasn’t much traffic, but there are limited places to pass so we were forced to meander along at a leisurely pace. Eventually we started climbing into the Monashee Mountains and traffic dropped off. This is where the highway became so much more fun! Lots of curves, in trees and along the edge of cliffs – it was a really fun road.
It was this road road where I noticed Louise’s increased confidence in her riding and in the bike. Usually in the curvy bits, I would race on ahead at a good pace, then slow down and wait for Louise on the straight parts, because Louise usually takes a much slower pace through the curves. Today though, as I ripped through a set of curves, I noticed Louise in mirror, not far behind me! At first I was pretty surprised, then I realized that the changes we’d made to the suspension of the bike and the thousands of kilometres she’d put on this summer already, had paid off in her vastly increased pace through the curves. Louise was really enjoying the riding too!
Eventually the highway got straighter and dropped down in elevation to the ferry ramp at Faurquier on the west side of Arrow Lake. We had passed, been passed by and passed again by a couple on a Honda GoldWing, who rolled onto the ferry right behind us.
It’s a little disconcerting rolling onto a little bitty ferry next to a giant 2-trailer semi-truck! But the most important thing is to not be behind it getting off the ferry on the other side!
The rest of Highway 6 to Nakusp is a bit of a let-down after the thrill the highway was on the other side of the lake, but we took it easy and made it into Nakusp mid-afternoon, where we registered for HU Event at the sports complex. Then we headed into the campground to get to our site.
That’s when the human-drama started.
Back in March, when I had registered us for the HU event, I had also emailed the Nakusp town to reserve our favourite site, and I had the email response back confirming it. We rolled into the campsite and I walked up to the office to pay-up. The new folks running things promptly informed me that the spot was reserved for someone else. I responded by informing them that I had reserved the spot in March – when did the others reserve it? The answer was July or something. So I said that a reservation made in March surely trumps one made in July? The Manager looked at me for a moment somewhat flustered, then to her credit decided – yes, a reservation made in March trumps one made in July, especially when I had proof of the reservation. She moved the other folks to some other site and I paid up through Sunday.
So with that crisis averted, we setup camp and waited to see if the VStrom guys would show up. Early in the summer, when I was on the VStrom Run to the Hills ride, I had mentioned that Louise and I were going to Nakusp and if anyone was interested in coming along, we’d be happy to share our campsite.
We were Not sure when the VStrom guys would be arriving, so we were surprised to see Smurf and Pops roll in on their VStroms not long after we had arrived ourselves. They’d been riding around BC, Washington, and Montana and had a short trip from Toad Rock campsite, a couple of hours south of Nakusp.
Later on at dinner, Big-Dan and Rob arrived, Dan on his VStrom and Rob on a Honda Varadero. They had some drama themselves – on the way out from Calgary, Rob’s chain broke, so a trip back to Calgary to get a new chain was needed, then the two of them decided to take a shortcut over the mountains from Invermere to Crawford Bay – which is a barely maintained two-track gravel/dirt road. Back at the campsite, it was dark so the guys put their tents up by headlight.
By evening, we were all registered, had eaten, started drinking and it was all good fun.