Friday, July 3, 2015

The Sunny Okanagan Valley

Mick first scored a world title with OSSA before moving to Yamaha

You Know, when I was a kid growing up in Edmonton, then later having moved to a small northern town (Fort Mac) beyond the wilds of Alberta, to a population of 2500 odd people... I spent much time in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

Osoyoos, Oliver, and Penticton became my second home.  I spent many a happy summer holidays frolicking on the beach, building crappy sand castles, pretending to swim, then graduating to ogling girls even eventually buying a home there, which we never lived in. 

Years ago I rode my BMW, then the XS 750, RD 400 and others, back and forth from work in FM to leisure at my folks place they built for their retirement.  I remember most of those trips fondly.  Once south at the left turn in Sicamous, on 97, I felt home.  I'd pack the saddlebags and ride with my wife or later blitz the curvaceous roads on 2 lane blacktop along side lakes of emerald green at elevated speeds.  Kelowna was a sleepy little town with no traffic jams (unlike today) Peachland was a few houses along two streets following the shoreline and Summerland barely a village.  South of Penticton you were into fruit and orchard groves with stalls along the highway selling their wares from baskets.

During my adult years I often came back to the desert like little valley that irrigation made fertile.  I always thought I would move there and start a bike shop.

Lake side... cool and calm (like me)
I didn't.

I moved to PEI and cranked up Freedom Cycle, and made three stores out of my passion.

Rusty and Dor's view!

Well, I'm back, no not to stay but to visit family and friends, to ride the twisty roads, to soak up some sun.  On all three counts I've been blessed.

Duck pond.

After several days with Ron in the Kamloops district, he led the Savage and I to Vernon, where he picked up some things for his newest acquisition, the DL 650.

With a wave we parted company and I headed across town to Coldstream and a visit with long time friend Rusty and Dorothy in their new home overlooking a fabulous Lake Kalamalka.  Rusty and I went to school together.  Well NAIT in actual fact where both of us were motorcycle riding budding machinists.

How gorgeous is this eh!

Rusty had a Mick Andrews 250 OSSA and I had at the time a pair of TY 175 trials bikes.  Over the intervening years we crossed paths a few times but of course life takes you in various directions, sometimes by choice, other times by necessity.  Rusty showed me around his new hood while the blistering summer weather made the a/c of his Toyota very welcome.

Local history.
We caught up on each others lives, talked about disappointments and future plans.  Even though we live 5000km distant, in today's technically advanced age, there are many ways of keeping in touch.  Rusty and I agreed to do that.

After two nights we bid each other farewell and saddlebags packed once again I wound my way south to Keremeos, where my sister and BiL now live.

Once a very common sight, now weeds in many places.

The heat was relentless and wouldn't abate for several days.

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