Ride Across Canada – Day 1

Day’s distance: 301 miles

The day started a little after 8am.

Temperatures started in the low 60s with some cloud cover, but it was a day of varied conditions.

After my latte stop near Burlington, the temperature and cloud cover dropped. It didn’t rain but drops of water accumulated on my visor and windscreen from the mist and fog. As I continued through the Skagit Valley, it cleared up again. This pattern would repeat itself again later in the day.

I used the Lynden–Aldergrove Border Crossing. When I arrived, there was no wait. I pulled right up and was asked only three questions. I didn’t have to remove my helmet and was finished and on my way again in under one minute – easily the fastest border crossing I’ve ever experienced.

Heading north from Aldergrove, my GPS was telling me to take Hwy 1 west. I knew that was wrong and turned east towards Hope, BC. The GPS quickly recalculated and we were once again in sync. Sometimes I think my GPS is completely retarded. 🙂

From Hwy 1, I took Hwy 5 north and headed into the mountains. I could see the clouds get darker and soon was in the mist. At the Coquihalla Summit, elevation 4,081 feet, it was raining off and on and the temperature had dropped to 51.

For years, I’ve considered the speed limits in British Columbia to be some of the most conservative. But today, on Hwy 5, the limit was often 120 kph, or 75mph. That was clearly not conservative and, given the conditions, I ended up doing about 65mph most of the time.

Once out of the higher elevations, the temperatures warmed up again. I stopped for fuel and lunch in Merritt, a small town about 60 miles south of Kamloops.

I paid 1.43CAD per liter of fuel for 89 octane. That works out to about $4.11/gallon. Compare that to the 92 octane I filled up with earlier near Burlington that cost $3.19. In Seattle, I usually end up paying somewhere around $3.85/gal, not much different than in Merritt.

From Merritt, instead of staying on Hwy 5, the main thoroughfare to Kamloops, I chose to take Hwy 5A, one of the roads I traveled this spring on my ride to Desolation Sound. It’s a two lane road with virtually no traffic -my kind of road.

Just prior to reaching Kamloops, I came across a traffic safety stop. The primary reason for the stop was to have large trucks check their brakes before proceeding down the steep hill into town. I was surprised when I was given the signal to stop by the safety officer.

I was initially asked to show my license, but the guy quickly said that since I was on a BMW and he rode BMWs, I didn’t have to bother digging it out of my pocket. We talked about riding and motorcycles for roughly 5 minutes before any other cars showed up and he had to get back to work.

That was likely the most enjoyable traffic stop ever. Along with the quickest border crossing, this was turning out to be a day of “best-evers.”

I arrived at my hotel before 4pm. I worked out in the gym and took a quick swim in the pool. One of my goals on this trip is to incorporate stretching and working out into my travel. I’ve been working with my trainer for a year now with great results. I don’t want to lose ground because I’m on the road.

Tomorrow, I head up into the Canadian Rockies. I’m looking forward to the ride!

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