I posted this ride a couple weeks ago, but the weather was not cooperative. The sun has finally arrived, so for those looking for an alternative to crossing the border and doing the Winthrop ride with Roger, et al, it's time to 'do this'!
The plan is, I leave home at 6am. Brief rendevous at Chevron at 1st and Rupert (for any VCR and NV riders) at 6:10, away 6:15. Chevron 200th and freeway 6:40, away 6:45. Fuel in Hope (but NOT breakfast - have a snack at home first - brfst waits till Princeton - frankly, the objective is to get outa the lower mainland BEFORE the patrol cars hit the streets! - there'll be plenty of lollygagging time later in the day) - on the way again before 8am.
We'll be into Princeton well before 9:30, and a nice greasy sit-down breakfast at Billy's awaits (blue and white place on the N side just as you hit the flats in town). So we're fueled and ready (and so are the bikes) by about 10:30...
Then comes the fun: there are 3 fine rides out of Princeton, each 30km to 45kms one way, all entertaining ridden out and back. Each takes an hour to an hour and a half or so return, including some photo time and a 'chill break' at the end. The 3 are:
1. Old Hedley Rd - E of Princeton, along the N side of the Similkameen, paralleling Hwy 3 to the south. 30km to the junction with 3. There are some farms and houses and camping areas intermittently along the way, so this is not a total 'rip' (PLEASE don't ride like a brain-dead adrenaline junkie and fzck this up for everyone), but a lovely winding road on mostly good pavement thru beautiful countryside, sometimes right beside the river. Can return via hwy 3, or rewind OHR... [Note: according to Redhawk, this was undergoing some repaving/patching a cpl weeks back, and may be 'gravelly', so might get dropped.]
2. So then it's 11:30... Refuel. Quick snack. Next up, Bankier Rd, NE of town (towards Summerland). 45kms to end of pavement just beyond Otter Lk. Long deserted stretches, but cabins along a couple lakesides. You know what to do...
3. Now it's 1:30, and we've refueled again and had another bite - "lunch" comes later... The final outing is the Coalmont / Tulameen / Otter Lk Rd NW of Princeton. 35kms to end of pavement. This road has the tightest curves, (in a few places) the worst pavement, often some gravel in corners, some camper and boat-trailer traffic, and certainly the highest potential for trouble, which is why I've scheduled it last, after everyone has settled in nicely and several hours of riding have soothed most of the aggression.
By 3pm, we're back in Princeton, and then comes the decision on how to get home. Those who have obligations or who have had enough can have a bite to eat, ride Manning Park and Hope and the freeway and be back by 6. Myself, I'm thinking of snacking, then riding 5A north to Merritt, then the Coldwater Rd and the Coq back in - probably back to Vanc at 8. Heavy duty keeners could ride 8 west from Merritt to Spences Bridge, then do the canyon home, or even hit Lillooet and the Duffey (certainly do-able), but that'd almost certainly see you back in VCR at 9 or even 10.
I don't care whether this is a small group or a large one, cuz if it's large we'll simply split up and do the 'out-rides' in smaller groups, then re-assemble in Princeton after each leg.
I wouldn't call this totally 'newbie friendly' (we're probably gonna be pretty 'brisk' thru parts of Manning on the way out), but given the out-and-back nature of the side-trips, you don't have to be Mr. Rossi to arrive at the same place at the same time as everyone else, that place being, of course, Princeton, back where you started!
One final point: after an unfortunate experience on a group ride a couple years back, please don't be offended if I ask for your name and cell number if I don't already have that. It's important to me to know who I'm riding with...