A fairly direct route. We began at Panda Express in Bellingham to eat and decide a route. Two weeks ago we turned back from the Diablo Lake campground and this time we would get there earlier with a direct route.
The campground said it was full but a ride-through showed empty hike-in access and a beautiful overflow area near the gate offering the most hours of light and no noise. After setup and some laughs below a ceiling of stars a motorcyclist rolled in escaping an angry situation bottle in hand ready to kick it up a notch. When it was time to sleep we offered a hand setting him up but he was just going to sleep on the table.
In the morning the rider was gone but the bottle remained - A gift from our a wandering windy way whiskey brotherly bourbon Baccus.
While the azure lake is beautiful from the lookout the morning offers a mineral surface film, shore haze and bubbling waters.
I wouldn't recommend a 6am start in the middle of the cascades after a couple cool days as it may be 5 degrees and quite chilly for travel. The roads were empty and a pleasure to ride towards Winthrop where some places ran on generator while most sat closed.
East of Winthrop smoke could be seen in the distance followed by a charred landscape, dead standing trees and downed power lines. The barrier alongside the road held by many wooden poles was twisted and collapsed as we headed into Omak.
Republic hosted a BMW rider's rally on the fairgrounds filled with tents and riders travelling the area. Any stop we made caused a filtering of riders filled with stories, questions and recommendations of where to ride. We received confirmation California is a place all riders should experience.
Highway 20 offers 3 passes heading east from Omak offering a variety of curves and views. While it's not was windy as the inchellium route currently filled with gravel it's decent. Turning north off 20 we took a side-route along Sullivan lake and stopped before heading north. I couldn't believe the GPS visual of the road below us.
A small town below had a smooth concrete paved access road ripe for the picking a few times before returning to Canada.
We opted to ride through Nelson instead of taking the Kootenay lake ferry to try something new and have time to visit Ainsworth Hot Springs. When we stopped in Nelson where locals recommended a viewpoint giving a variety of directions. Ignoring warnings I placed it on the GPS and took a rediculously steep route to a beautiful viewpoint at Gyro Park.
We arrived at Toad Rock Motorcycle Campground early to setup and continue to the Hot Springs. Toad Rock has a social area everyone gathers around including a few guitarists playing into the night. We met a half dozen or so riders out of Vernon there for the first time. They managed to haul a full cooler of drinks while we shared the story of our cascade bottle swapping stories and lies way too late into the night.
The final day of the trip began with Kaslo to Nakusp and man is it sweet. Towards the end I was coming up on a motorcyclist in the distance that disappeared after a corner. It took a second to pull over wondering what happened only to watch a goldwing full-stop before a turn, drop the bike to rush off-road. The previous rider had gone down and luckily first response was in enforcement for decades and organized those first to stop to take care of the situation. The bike appeared destroyed and the rider conscious.
If this solo rider had gone down somewhere un-seen I hate to think what would happen. If you ride alone in remote locations as I have especially pushing limits consider a fail-safe although costly it may cause something preventing a minor situation turning into a threat.
We proceeded with caution towards Vernon for fuel where we spoke with a rider mentioning an alternative to westside road and the highway to access Kelowna. The road along the water is now paved and full of multi-million dollar homes, multi-million dollar views and no traffic (yet) winding along an interesting road.
After Kelowna the return through manning park, a traffic bypass from one lane closed in Chilliwack was decent. Two weekends ago was extremely hot, one week prior was chilly and with an average in the mid-20's this ride was perfect.
Looking forward to the next ride.