We took a week long motorcycle trip from Calgary through Fernie, Castlegar, Osoyoos, Vernon and back to Calgary. In total we added 1700km to the odometer on the bike.
The first highlight on the trip was Franks Slide which is a small mining town where the side of the mountain came crashing down filling the valley and covering the town in rubble – killing nearly everyone. It was actually quite shocking to drive through. The amount of material was staggering and the distance it spread was hard to imagine.
We camped outside Castlegar. It’s still kind of cool that we can fit two people and enough food/clothing and camping supplies to tent on the motorcycle. The interesting thing about the campground was that it was a free for all. There was nobody working at the entrance. You just drove in picked a spot that wasn’t taken and waited until the evening when they would come around to collect the fees and sell wood. In the morning, after breakfast, the rain came in so we hit the road.
It was mostly a cold wet ride until we got to Osoyoos with an unexpected sunny stop for lunch at a fruit stand.
In Osoyoos we opted for a hotel room to warm up and dry off. We took a 4 hour wine tour through 6 wineries in and around Osoyoos and Oliver. They were all very good spots. the whole region is spectacular. The road into Osoyoos down the mountain has some incredible switchbacks.
The lake there was fantastic.
We rode along the lakes through Oliver, Penticton, Kelowna and on to Vernon stopping at a couple wineries along the way to taste. At Dirty Laundry winery we had our first motorcycle trouble. I forgot to turn off the lights while we had a picnic lunch and the battery had died by the time I got back. After a failed attempt to jump start the bike by rolling down a hill I managed to get boost from a nice taxi driver and we were on our way.
There was a close call for running out of gas heading into Golden. There was a stretch of highway there with no gas stations for 156km and I was driving on a blinking empty for at least 50km. Good to know there’s a bit of reserve there just in case, but it was stressful for sure.
It was a great trip and a cool drive. It was interesting to see the landscape change as we drove first from prairies into the mountains and then to the desert and then driving north it changed to back to dense alpine forests. We saw lots of deer, one moose and llamas along the way. Experiencing it on a motorcycle made it all the more enjoyable.