It's been one of those weeks, I left Vancouver on a relatively normal day, it was trying to be sunny, I checked the weather forecast for the next week in the Okanagan Valley and it seemed like it could get cool, but I wanted to try out some of the new gear as it would be used when I was off road. I packed pretty light, just wore a icebreaker base layer, some grey outdoor research hiking pants and my outer shell in case it rained but also to break the wind a little and my favorite hoorag to stop my neck and face getting cold. I had opted not to wear my full face helmet with the integrated headset for GPS and music, I picked up my dual sport helmet forgetting that I didnt have ear plugs which was a bad idea.
I rode without really thinking too much on what I would be doing whilst out there, my initial plan was to just get there, catch up with Jen, do some riding around and see what happened. I didnt know what was in store really and have enjoyed the freedom recently of not planning too much. Usually I meticulously plan my trips, at the moment I am just heading in one direction and seeing where I end up. Although it can be stressful, its actually proving excellent for the simple reason I dont expect too much. Recently I have had a string of bad luck trying to get people I meet to commit to anything and it's been really frustrating. So I think this approach was well over-due.
I got in touch with Sara , a friend from Dunsborough (back home) and we had made a loose plan to catch up as her and RB were back in Nelson and I had just missed them whilst out on Vancouver Island. I mentioned it to Jen when I got to Vernon and we set about heading in that direction when she had some time off work. Originally we had talked about doing some hiking and climbing or something if we had 4 days but Jen had picked up some needed extra shifts and would only allow us to have a quick 2 day trip around the Kootenays. It turned out to be ample time to get a taste and remember why I fell in love with the area a couple of years ago. It reminded me why I moved there and couldnt leave. We packed up her jeep and hit the highways out of Vernon, made the little needles ferry across the lake and got out to Nelson in time to share a meal with RB's family who welcomed us into their home, and provided us with such an awesome place to stay!! Tri (his step dad) had been a candle stick maker for years and converted an old bus into a touring vehicle. Now it remained parked up in the yard but was such a cool experience being able to set up and enjoy a fire there then retire to the comfort of a bus on a cool evening, it was bliss.
We got spoiled to pancakes in the morning and then we chilled out in the hot springs nearby before stopping for lunch on the lake. Just as we finished though the heavens opened up again and we hiked back up the path in the rain, we all laughed it off though and was sad to say goodbye to our little adopted family. I cant wait to see Sara and RB again in Indonesia and get some waves with those two crazy kids! I'm sure we'll be back out there hanging with his folks when I make it to Nelson next time too.
When I got back to Vernon there was a cool campsite out at Ellison, but it was so full we had to get the last place we could. A young couple on harleys came by and instantly bonded with them so I spent the next couple of days doing some short day trips around the Okanagan and made them coffee in the mornings. It turns out, Mark actually had shared my post that went viral a long time ago without knowing or recognising it was me and messaged me yesterday laughing about it. Small world! Lani said she was riding back to Vancouver on the Monday, so I stayed an extra night in Vernon to ride back together which was the first time Ive ridden any distance with someone else in a long time. I do miss it. We had no real issues, only a tiny bit of rain but once we reached the Coquhalla pass the temperature dropped right off and apparently was 1/2 degrees celsius. We had to pull over at one point and layer up a bit, I lent her my other gloves to put on over the top and we rolled on through to Merritt for the worlds longest coffee at starbucks !!
I'm back in Vancouver now and have been enjoying a couple of days off the bike, as well as planning parts of the next adventure. Its tough to enjoy the moment and live in the future at the same time whilst traveling, riding and documenting everything. Im not bitching about it, I just never realised it took all this energy to do it and be organised. Maybe I need a better system. But Chris and Tim took me in and have offered me a air mattress here in North Van for a couple days and allowed me the freedom to catch up on a few things, do washing, get sleep on a bed, shower, charge my batteries on all my electrical stuff and organise my thoughts and the truck! haha.
Tomorrow I head south, I have no idea where I will end up, I dont have a plan or a destination or even a map to look at .. I do recall seeing some roads a while back down in Washington which looked pretty awesome, I think the 101 highway was one of them, so I may head in that general direction and just kind of see where I end up. I want to be back in BC by the end of the month to catch up with Cristobal Ruiz, a photographer and film maker I met recently through Erin, so we can go on a little adventure, make a short film and take some shots out in the back country and hopefully do a bit of riding and hiking along the way. Im excited about heading south into new territory, but also a bit worried. I know I will have to get another US sim card so I can use data this week while off roading, I havnt got around to buying a GPS ( I couldnt decide on one so it hasnt happened) and without a map or anything, I guess the mature , rational me thinks of what may happen. But, for now, this is going to be called "the blank cheque tour"... a first of many in the series of unplanned adventures. I am sure of one thing, it will be packed full of adventure, and I will be fine (MUM haha).