Valkyrie Road Trip Day 1, August 21st, 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia to Spokane, Washington
On the very first day of my highly anticipated Valkyrie road trip to Colorado, I awoke to
a dismal weather report. The weather had been perfect and suuny for countless
weeks, and I had hoped to head directly south into Washington, and into the Cascade
Mountains, but on August 21st, the entire northwest coast was predicted to be very
wet so I decided to head directly east into the B.C. interior, and then head south from
there, hopefully avoiding a lot of rain. After coffee at Melriche’s in Vancouver with
Andrew and Adam, I mounted my trusty Valkyrie as a gentle rain began to spit on
me. I had my half helmet on, and two long sleeved t-shirts under my leather, with its
thinsulate lining snapped in. On my hands I wore my summer riding gloves, velcro’d
firmly around the cuffs of my riding jacket.. I headed east on Highway 1, the
TransCanada, towards Hope, Princeton and finally Osoyus, where I headed south
into the U.S. The rain never quite materialized 100%. Although I did ride through
quite a few showers, it was never enough to warrant changing into my hardcore rain
gear. My riding apparel choice for the day turned out to be perfect. I did a lot of
happy swerving to and fro on the Valkyrie, partly just for the fun of it, but I also
thought it would be best to wear my front tire in a little bit, as it was brand new, and
would be slippery if turning sharp on a wet road. From Hope I headed east on
highway 3 towards Princeton. I love the road from Hope to Princeton. Pretty
scenery, some very fast wide opened sections and some really nice tight, twisty
sections too. I made good time to Osoyus,
and headed south to begin my United States adventure.
Osoyoos British Columbia
The U.S. Customs officials decided to make my day. At the drive-through, after
being asked to provide proof of Canadian citizenship in the way of my passport, I
was handed a blue slip and told to park off to the side and report to a customs
official inside the adjacent building. When I presented the slip to a man behind the
counter, he rolled his eyes and said “Uh Oh!” with great relish, as if to imply that
something was seriously wrong. He made no conversation with me whatsoever, did
not make any eye contact, but instead told me to take a seat, went back to his desk
with the apparently offensive blue slip, and began to poke at his computer. He left
me sitting on the bench for forty minutes, where I could feel myself being observed
through the cameras, which were everywhere. Obviously, I had triggered their
suspicions, being a longhaired ‘biker’ type character. Profiling at its best! As I sat
there politely trying to be patient with this utter nonsense, I began to wonder if there
was perhaps an outstanding traffic ticket from back in Florida, which had turned into
an arrest warrant over time. Completely innocent of any wrong doing, I still
managed to start feeling guilty. Then the customs officer interrupted my guilty
musings to ask me if I was wearing a long sleeved shirt under my leather jacket.
“No” I replied. “Take off your jacket please, and show me your arms”, said the
customs official. Amazingly, he thought he had better check me for tattoos. Of
course! I might be a Hells Angel, or worse even, and surely such a thug would bear
tattoos of his clan, n’est ce pas? So I dutifully rolled my sleeves up over my
shoulders, showing off my profusion of freckles. He shrugged and went back to his
computer for another ten minutes or so. Finally, he called me over and said “You
can go”. No explanation for the delay, no apology, no smile, no conversation,
nothing. Oh well. Off I went, still wondering about unpaid traffic tickets in Florida.
South I rode, into the belly of the beast called the United States of America.
Welcome to the United States of America!
From the border crossing I headed south to the town of Tonasket, where I headed
east on route 20 through Republic, and east towards Kettle Falls. Route 20 winds
through the Okanogan State Forest, which is really very pretty country. I followed a
very large woman in filthy looking leathers who was riding an equally filthy Harley
Davidson Road King. She looked like a pretty rough gal! She turned off up a small
side road and we honked and waved to each other. Leading into Kettle Falls, a very
high bridge spans the Columbia River, which at this point in its long winding path
through Washington State is a reservoir lake, very long and quite wide, called
Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake. From there I headed south on route 395 towards
Spokane, riding through the towns of Blue Creek and Chewelah along the way.
Reasonably pretty, but pretty unremarkable scenery most of the way. Nothing stood
out especially, and the weather was ho hum, threatening to rain but not quite
materializing. I road into Spokane around sundown and got a room at a Quality Inn.
I was extremely restless, and sleep didn’t come easy.
I was filled with anticipation of the riding yet to come…..
The Columbia River
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