2012 Nakusp HU Trip – Day 9

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.

That’s Pops, and Pops’ and Smurf’s 2 hammocks

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.

2012 Nakusp HU Trip – Day 8

22 August 2012 – Today we were heading for Vernon, BC. It would be another easy day – only 240kms and probably about 4 hours on the road. For some reason we didn’t take too many pictures this day.

First we got got packed up and then decided to have breakfast at the KOA Restaurant.

We were pretty much the only ones in there, but maybe we came after the rush … or maybe it was this guy guarding the front entrance …

Since we filled up yesterday when we arrived, all we had to do was roll … wait, we decided to check the tire pressure, which turned out to take quite a while.

We had trouble with the pressure gauge, the compressor, where the valve stems were on the wheel … seems like it took an hour to simply get four tires up to the right pressure.

Anyway, we got it figured out and headed off down the highway, towards Kamloops. At Kamloops we’d turn east and travel down the TransCanada for ways until turning south to Vernon.

There was another way that I was considering that came out to the TransCanada at Salmon Arm, but the road looked pretty twisty and might have been gravel so we decided to stick to the highway.

We arrived in Vernon mid-afternoon in the blazing heat and stopped at a gas station to fill up with gas, chug some water and figure out where to stay. We also happened to chat with a couple of folks going in and out.

Usually Sandman Hotels have been good, we’ve stayed at a few in BC now. We’ve also stayed at a variety of Holiday Inns and BestWesterns, but for some reason I decided to go to the Sandman.

It turned out to be in dire need of a renovation … with a bulldozer. The folks there are nice, but the building(s) are pretty old and certainly don’t fit the image of the other Sandman Hotels in the chain. The worst things? No hot-tub – just a pool; and the room was really tiny.

After showering up and unpacking, we headed off to find a restaurant for dinner, two-up on my FJR, and wound up at Original Joe’s. I had spotted a Starbucks on the way to the restaurant, so we stopped for a Latte on the way back. MMMMM it was good.

Back at the hotel, we parked the bike …
and went to sleep.

Tomorrow we would be arriving at Nakusp!