8-06-04  Quesnel, British Columbia to Summerland, British Columbia 

            I departed Quesnel at 8:30 AM.  The skies were gray and the air was cool.  My regular gloves, a pair of Harley Davidson leathers, were still wet, so I dug out my winter gloves.  I didn't like them:  they were too tight and diminished my feel of the throttle.  I put the wet gloves back on and rode through Williams Lake and the 100 Mile House area, which became more populated with farms the further I drove south.  Services became spaced closer together, and the traffic was getting heavier.

            Coming into Cache Creek, the terrain abruptly changed to desert sage and brown hills.  I stopped for lunch, gas and money.  For my last time in Canada, I stopped at a bank and pulled $60 Canadian to last ‘til the U.S.border.

            97C split off from the 97 at Cache Creek, towards Merritt.  Once I transferred onto 97C, the traffic instantly dropped to a sole vehicle, which I passed on a 2-lane, hilly road.

           The terrain also changed as I climbed, back to forested mountains.  I climbed quite high, into the first splatters of rain.  The road crested near a large copper mine complex and began a descent to Merrill.  The rain was still sporadic.

Strip mine

          At Merritt, the 97C turned into a limited access highway, with a posted speed limit of 110 kph.  I began climbing steadily, and rain increased to a hard downpour.  It was foggy in places, and signs warned of snow and ice.  I crested.  On the downhill, the rain increased and water piled up on the roadway.  The bike began to buck and sputter.  I backed off the throttle and pulled in the clutch.  As the rain began to lessen, the engine steadied.  I assumed the carb breather tube, which sat low on the bike's frame, had sucked in some water.            

          The roadway rejoined the 97, and traffic increased.  I reached the outskirts of the town of Peachland and looked for a hotel.  I passed a gas station at the north end of town going south, which turned out to be my only opportunity for buying gas in Peachland.  There was a long wait for construction at the south end of town.  Also, some kind of festival was going on near the lake bordering the town, which added to the heavy traffic.  It was a slow ride through town.  On the 97 at the end of town, I hit more construction.  I started worrying about gas.  I had not checked the map and had no idea where the next town was.

              The next town turned out to be Summerland and not that far away.  I took the first gas station and the first hotel.  The owner of the hotel used to ride a BMW.  He had lots of questions about the KLR and the trip.  He asked me how I had put together the time for my trip ( a common question, to which the answer is, "Get laid off or fired!").

            He was an artist. and was starting to get requests for his work for magazine covers.  His artwork was displayed on the wall behind him.  He said he was lucky; his hobby also generated income.

            He gave me his card:

Will Enns



Summerland hotel

          Will gave me a good deal on a good room.  I parked the bike out of the rain, under the awning in front of my door.

Hotel room

            The pizza was reasonably good at the restaurant across the street.  There was a football game on – maybe I'd get some TV time tonight.  The owner of restaurant followed me out the door and across the parking lot, stopped me, and asked if I had enjoyed his food.  What could I say?  Anyone showing enough of a concern for the quality of his product to chase me down deserves a positive recommendation.            

            The after dinner drink of limited choice was "enhanced" (8% alcohol) cheap cans of Carling Black Label beer, highway chilled.  Guh!

            After a few of the Carlings,  (The first tastes the worst.  The following get progressively better.)  I was ready to telephone the government of British Columbia to demand a commission for my assistance in dousing the many fires in the region.  I am the rainmaker, baby!

            The weather was supposed to clear tomorrow.

            I was about an hour from the border.

Night shot