8-07-04  Summerland, British Columbia to Yakima, Washington

            I finally caught a break.  The skies were blue, with scattered clouds.  Some to the west looked like they contained rain, but I was going south.

            The land began to dry out.  The road followed a river valley through wine country.

            At Okanagon Falls, there were supposed to be falls.  I couldn't find them, but I did find a narrow, twisty 2 lane road that split off and continued up the mountain towards a winery.  

           At one point, the road perched on the side of the mountain with an overview of the valley, with the river below me and a lake in the distance.


            I parked the bike on the shoulder of a slope.  I was worried about the bike falling over, since the kickstand was resting in damp gravel.  After hurriedly striding over to a clear area to take a photo, the bike was sagging but still up when I returned.  It was a struggle to hoist it back to vertical.
         I rode up the road to the winery and turned around.  The road continued to I don’t know where.  I should go back and find out someday.

           The river was dammed in numerous places.  I still didn't see any falls.

            The '97 started filling with RVs, and lots of weekend riders.

            The rivers and lakes widened enough for water recreation.  I stopped at one of the dams to look and rest.  The cold weather gear came off:  it was getting hot.

            Once again back on the '97,  I had one of my infrequent encounters with an asshole driver.  A car in the back of a line of approaching vehicles pulled out to pass.  As he came closer and closer, there didn't seem to be enough room to complete the pass without me bailing off the side of the road.  I slowed the bike and stood up on the pegs to make myself visible.  At the last second, he dropped back into his lane.  We simultaneously flipped each other off as we passed.  I'm not sure why he was pissed... maybe I was supposed to get out of HIS way.

            The last town before the border was Osoyoos.  I stopped at Smitty’s Restaurant for a late breakfast, my last chance to dine in Canada.  The border was only about a mile past town.

            At the border crossing, I was number five in a line of cars, and when it became my turn, I had my license ready.  The border agent asked about the lack of a plate on the bike, so I showed him my DMV temporary plate.  He asked me for my occupation.  I gulped and said, “Semi-retired?”  I explained about my layoff package.  He asked if getting laid off was a good thing, and I said, “yes.”

            I told him I was on the way back from Inuvik and returning  to San Diego.  He waved me through.

            The '97 continued through Washington.  I was on the highway pegs now for the most part, except where the road was slowed by my passage through one of the small towns dotting the route.  There were also billboards and road signs, something not often seen in Canada.  The '97 took a western turn at Wenatchee and joined the 2.

            The road began climbing into mountains.  It started to get cold.  There was a final crest and the beginning of a smooth downhill.  The road was in excellent shape.  Parts were being repaved, but my lane was clear of construction.

           Down now, and 97 split off the 2 and went back south.  Up to a viewpoint towards the mountains, then down into the Yakima Valley,...

Yakima Valley

            ...and then another long climb back up to another viewpoint overlooking the Yakima Valley.

           The '97 became freeway  82.  I saw an exit for a road I was looking for, the 12, and then a sign for 4 exits into downtown Yakima.  I took the 12 exit but two of three lanes curved slightly right and one curved sharply to the right.  I took the two lanes (wrong) and ended up in a hotel district.  So I shut down for the night.

Hey... no rain!