O.K., I’ll admit it. I’m having so much fun that I know it must be sinful and I’m sure I’m going to be punished in the after life. We have just completed another spectacular day on the road wondering how it can get much better. Yet, I have talked with several other Goldwing riders today and they tell me if I haven’t done the road to Jasper from Banff, I’ve got to go. Well, maybe next year. I’m doing just fine right now and there’s no time for another diversion.
We left Princeton early with the morning sun in our eyes. We hadn’t traveled that far out of town when it became apparent that today was going to be a repeat of yesterday’s fantastic scenery. Actually, I do believe today was even better, but if so, it has to be a matter of degrees.
As we leaned into a right hand turn, the road opened up with the sun just coming over the mountaintop. This put the mountain and trees into deep shadow while the sun reflected off the river below, winding it’s way from peak to valley. The first thing that came to mind was a Thomas Kincaid painting, you know, that fellow they call the painter of light. I know his paintings are of the “ideal,” nature setting, but this moment in time was as close to the ideal as I’m going to get. A minute or two later it’s gone and you’re in another part of the mountain range.
Now before you think I’m getting too rapturous, let me also confess that many parts of Hwy 3 take you through small mountain communities with the entire infrastructure that a small town requires, like storage areas for industrial supplies, old trucks lined up in a row, and piles of materials scattered hither and yon. You never see that in a Thomas Kincaid painting or he would be known as the painter of junk.
As we continued east, the land became drier and the day developed into a routine that was to last most of the 295 miles we would travel today. First the road would climb and then open up and drop into a beautiful valley with meadows and a river (photos 1, 2, 3 & 4). Linda and I found ourselves saying things like, “Wow, look at that valley” or “Geez, aren’t those mountains beautiful the way they step off into the distance?” Then we would descend into the valley and start the climb all over again. After repeating this pattern several times, we were soon anticipating the next valley and river setting. Would it be as nice as the last, or less so, and how long would this continue?
Eventually, we were in high desert country and as we coasted down one more mountain, we could see the town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake tucked into a large valley below and off to our left. We stopped at the local rest stop (photos 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9), and talked with a very nice lady who couldn’t say enough nice things about the town she lived in. She called it the Palm Springs of British Columbia and said it was growing by leaps and bounds since it was only five miles from the U.S. border. She informed us the lake was twelve miles long and ran into the state of Washington.
She also congratulated us on being retired and mentioned that she and her late husband had been retired together for thirty years and had traveled all over the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe. She encouraged us to travel while we were still in good health and to enjoy each other. We plan to take her advice. After leaving, Linda let me know that this was one place she wanted to live. Oh, oh.
An hour or so later, we were in the town of Grand Forks for gas and something to eat, and discovered an American favorite of ours, Subway Sandwiches! After lunch, a young couple, Brent and Valerie, and their two young children stopped to talk to us in the parking lot. They asked us about our trip and Valerie told us about her parents who had a Goldwing they rode all over the country for several years. What a friendly couple. They were another example of how a motorcycle generates enjoyable encounters with complete strangers and makes this riding across the country even more fun.
After leaving Grand Forks, we were soon climbing again and after one large sweeping turn to the left, we came upon Christina Lake. Now Christina Lake sounds like the name of some movie star, but the actual Lake was much more glamorous than that (photos 10 & 11). Flat smooth, and tucked into the mountains, this emerald green jewel invited us to stop and enjoy its pleasures. It reminded us that there are just too many places to stop and so little time to do so, even for retired people. We vowed to come back.
As we started up the mountain again, we saw a black Ford Mustang off to the side of the road with a man and two teen-age girls standing outside the car. We pulled over to render assistance. It appeared that he had blown an engine and needed to get back to Christina Lake. We offered our cell phone but there was no signal in these mountains. We were in the middle of trying to determine the best way to solve his problem, when a local friend of his stopped and solved his transportation problem. I felt much better leaving knowing he would soon be off the road. Nice fellow.
After being on the bike for another hour, I decided to pull off the road for something to drink. We happened to be right beside a trout stream and, since this seemed pretty typical of the surrounding countryside, Linda and I took turns taking some pictures (photos 12, 13, & 14).
As we got closer to Creston, B.C, we were passing over one more bridge, when Linda said to me, “Just another beautiful river”, and I responded, “Surrounded by another spectacular mountain, then she picked up the cue, and said, “Near one more fantastic lake, and I finished with, “In one more beautiful valley.” I think that kind of summed up the day.
At about 3:40, we pulled into Creston and found a small, but nice place to stay the night (photo 15). We went to have dinner at “Granny’s Place” because it said, “Food just like Granny made.” Ah, the power of advertising. I loved my Granny and she never made anything quite as bland as that meal. What the heck, I can’t complain, it only cost about $15 U.S. and I can’t remember the last time I had dinner for two for only $15. By the time we returned from dinner, there were five Goldwings and two Harleys who had joined us at the motel. This must be the motel of choice for those on two wheels. Don was a rider from Arizona and Idaho; there were two couples from Seattle, and Walt and his wife from Vancouver. All a bunch of nice folks seeing the country from the saddle of a bike.
Oh yeah, as we were walking back to the motel, we saw a AAA tow vehicle rendering assistance to an AAA member (photo 16). It looked like he had the problem well in hand. Tomorrow we should knock off the second thousand miles in this eleven thousand mile adventure. I hope the scenery holds.