Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 6

Photo of Highway 97 between Merritt and Kelowna, BC

Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna, BC

Today was an amazing ride in the Rocky Mountains. I rode into a bit of rain late in the day, but other than that, I couldn’t have asked for a better day of riding.

The day started off with a few hours of riding north on Highway 5. Not very exciting, but it helped shorten the day. At Bellingham I headed east on Highway 542, the Mount Baker Highway. The Mount Baker Highway is supposed to be very scenic once you get into the Rockies, but I turned north on Highway 9 before getting that far. Despite that, both Highway 542 and Highway 9 were very nice rides. Mostly winding roads, rolling hills, forested areas, and farmland. As I approached the Sumas/Abbotsford border crossing I could see the Rockies in the distance.

From Abbotsford, I took the Trans Canada Highway 1 east into the Rockies. Very scenic, although I was back onto a superslab highway with lots of traffic. Fortunately, that didn’t last very long before I once again headed onto smaller highways toward Kelowna.

I stopped for lunch in a little rest area near Hope, British Columbia. I bought a BBQ’d hotdog cooked on a Hibachi in the back of a van. Not fine dining, but it was good. It turned out that I was quite lucky. I had planned to continue riding along the Trans Canada Highway, but I couldn’t remember my next exit. So, I decided to stop here for lunch, and to check my map. As it turned out, this was my exit.


 

This was my day for lucky mistakes. Looking at a large poster map in the rest area, I saw the two possible routes. My friend in Kelowna had told me that Highway 3 was very scenic, but Highway 5 was shorter. The map gave distances from Hope to Kelowna for both the Highway 3 and Highway 5 routes, which were 342 and 249, respectively. Of course I was still thinking miles. There was no way I was going to get to Kelowna by 5:00 pm with 342 miles of riding left to go. So I decided to take Highway 5, still thinking it was a lot further than I had expected. About a 1/4 mile along Highway 5, I realized the distances were in kilometers. I only had 150 miles left to go. That felt much better, and I now relaxed knowing I would reach Kelowna in a few hours.

The ride along Highway 5 was very nice. Beautiful mountains, nice highway, not much traffic. I reached Merritt, BC at 4:00 pm, less than an hour from Kelowna. I called my friend to give her an update on my position, and arrange to meet. From Merritt, it’s a relatively short ride along Highway 97C to Kelowna. I had a little rain along the way, but nothing to eventful. By 5:00 pm, just as predicted, I arrived in Kelowna. It was nice to be on plan for once.

 

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