Canada 2013

Day 11

June 25

  Since I had a pretty good supper last night, I take advantage of the 'light' breakfast they have at the hotel since it is open early. It's already raining so I don't want to suit up in full rain gear, then have to go dripping into some restaurant.  
  I've got a ferry to catch so it's full rain gear and away we go.  
  After what seems like hours and hours, I at last get a little glimpse of blue and hope it portends of more pleasant things to come.  
  Sure enough, the liquid sunshine stops and the real deal shows up. And with it, this perfect reflection of the cloud filled heavens.  
  The weather seems to be moving out so I hope it stays that way for a while  
  Highway 97 is a lovely road that wanders south through British Columbia toward the US Border.  
  As I enter the 100 Mile District, I notice that it is the 'Handcrafted Log Home Capital Of North America'. That's an interesting fact to file away later for a trivia game.  
  When I get to the village of Clinton, it's about time for a fuel and defuel break. This is a pretty nicely equipped grocery store with pumps outside so it suits me well.  
  The clouds start getting dark again, but I can still see some blue so hope springs eternal for a dry ride.  
  A little further along I see this strange rock formation. My eyes do a double take, and then I realize it is a mining site which explains the terraces.  
  This is what it looks like before the mining process changes it a bit!  
  Soon I come to the junction of highway 97 and highway 99. Either one will take to where I am going, but highway 99 looked a lot better on the map. It runs down by the Whistler Ski Resort area so there should be some serious elevation changes...  
  and there are. For the first fifteen miles it is a real joy to ride - not much traffic ...  
  and some pretty fair twisties. And every now and then you come upon ...  
  ... a really strange looking bridge.  
  It is a very enjoyable scenic stretch of road and I decide that I made a good choice by coming this way.  
  The mountains are pretty as their peaks play hide and seek with the clouds.  
  And the road runs alongside the river for a good section down in the valley.  
  And to add to the visual beauty, there's a waterfall every now and them.  
  It's just another enjoyable ride where the scenery is fascinating.  
  The dark looming clouds are warning me of what is happening down the road a piece.  
  I figure I need one more gas stop before the ferry, so I pull in to this place for a quick gas up. As it turns out, the pump reader refuses to read my card. In my experience, the chances of this happening rise exponentially when a feller is in a hurry. And since my card will not work. I get to go in and out twice.  
  When I get to Whistler, the fun pretty much stops. I hit lots of traffic and it is quite obvious that is is a very heavily patrolled tourist trap. And to add to the joy ...  
  it begins seriously raining and I get stuck behind a log truck. But I figure it still beats a good day at work.  
  As I near the ferry, the rain stops and for that I am thankful. It's kind of a strange approach to get there with twists and turns, but Dave, my trusty GPS, guides me right to it - with a little help from the local signs.  
  I'm a little too late to catch the earlier ferry, so I pull up to where other motorcycles are parked. Some are going to WeSToc like me. Once we are on board, they give us these funny looking wood blocks without an explanation. I figure (wrongly) that they are wheel chocks and put mine behind my rear wheel. Fortunately, their proper usage will be explained to me on my next ferry ride.  
  I'm on the Queen of Oak Bay Ferry and it's a nice one.  
  I go up to the upper deck so I can enjoy the lovely views.  
  As is my usual habit on board a ship, I check out the location and condition of their safety equipment. Better to know where it is and not need it, then to need it and not know where it is.  
  There's a float plane that is making the rounds above us. I wonder if there is a pilot in training, as it continues to follow the same circuit.  
  It's hard to tell if it's raining on the island, so I keep my rain suit handy just in case.  
  I can tell as we come into dock, that this ain't the pilot's first rodeo. There's not even much of a bump when we finally land.  
  The other riders have to stop for fuel, but I'm in good shape so I head straight for Sooke.  
  After eleven days on the road, I'm glad to see this banner. For the next few days I'll just be kicking back and relaxing before I take the long ride back to the Holler.  
  Keith Hooper, my dear UK friend, has been watching my progress from my Spot transmitter. He is walking out to help me as I am walking in. And being the gentleman that he is, he helps me tote my stuff into the hotel. He is one of the main reasons I decided to make this trip, as he has been instrumental in getting me to go to New Zealand next year. He does quite a bit of touring, and his adventures can be found at Right Way Around.  
  And not only does he tote my stuff, he also saves me a hamburger from the grill downstairs before the other ravening wolves can consume it. We go into the opening WeSToc meeting and I see many folks I've known for years scattered about the meeting area. WeSToc is the largest meeting of ST folks that is held in North America.  
  It's all interesting stuff, but this old boy is a tired puppy dog. I am past ready to check my eyelids for holes so I wish Keith and Miss Ellen a good evening then find my way back to my chambers. With as much practice as I have, it does not take me long to confirm that there are indeed no holes in my eyelids ...