When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Homeward Bound

We left Dave and Maureen's home early on a bright sunny morning.  This is a lot different than when we arrived.  There was a huge thunder storm arriving just as we unpacked and went into the house.  The bike was parked in the garage and we were in the house about one minute before it opened up and drowned the countryside with immense rain, hail and high winds.  The winds in Calgary (which we had left only 2 hours ago) made an overhead road sign bend and break off in traffic. (Click here for a YouTube video of it.)  We were so busy staring out the windows at it that we didn't think to take any pictures.



But now two days later we are leaving in bright sunshine and clear sky.  The Rocky Mountains are clearly visible to the west.

We are headed south and will cross into those mountains at the Crowfoot Pass on Canada 3.  The most southern of the highways across the Rockies.

We are finally headed for the last three of our 20 checkpoints for the Grand Tour.  The next stop if Fernie, BC.



But first we must stop at Sparwood, BC to look at what is billed as "The Largest Truck in the World."  We had stopped here with Dirk and Hetty after our Alaska trip with them.



We didn't stay long and were soon on the road again.  We made a quick stop at the Fernie Stanford Resort, the checkpoint, and went somewhere else to eat.  The resort's restaurant was closed.  In fact, the whole place had a run down look with peeling paint and weed choked landscaping.



We re-entered the USA at a small entry leading to Idaho.  We are headed to Bonners Ferry, ID and going to do it by a road we have not travelled before.









The real reason for this road is that it travels most of its length through the Bitterroot Mountains and alongside a lake.

It is very scenic, the traffic is low, and the road good.








We camped for the night and the next morning went on to Bonners Ferry for breakfast at our checkpoint.

I think I have mentioned before that we try to eat at the checkpoints and support them as a thank-you for supporting the Grand Tour.  Yesterday we had planned to eat lunch at the resort but they looked like they were dying.

We now only have one checkpoint left to collect.  It is in Roslyn in the center of Washington State.





We leave Bonners Ferry and head west on Highway 20 leading through more mountains, along rivers and through the woods.  When we reach Highway 97 we turn south and follow along the Columbia River as far as Wenatchee.

We could have gone south to Spokane and taken I-90 right to it, but that would have been no fun.  I-90 runs through the wheat and prairie land of Washington State.  We wanted mountains, lakes trees and rivers!





At Wenatchee the highway turns southwest and crosses over Swauk Pass,  But there is also the old road that goes over Blewett Pass.  This road was, at one time, two-lane but a definite lack of maintenance has made most of it only one-lane.  But it winds its way along the hillside like a snake making it a fun road, if one can miss all the rocks and potholes in the road.







On way down the south side of the pass and approaching I-90 we saw the wildland fire that so many people had been talking about.  The were evacuations and the highway was closed for a while, but the was two days earlier.  Now the road is open and clear.








We easily made it to the last checkpoint.  They are closed so we went across the street and had lunch in a cafe there.

The rules of the checkpoints allows a picture if the checkpoint is closed.  So we each took a picture of the other to print and put in our checkpoint books.

But when we were done with lunch the Roslyn cafe was open, so we got the books stamped before we left town.  They just did not get our business for lunch.

A heat advisory was in effect for the east side of the Cascade Mountains.  We had planned to continue south on Highway 97 to the border with Oregon and then turn west towards home.  But this advisory changed our minds and we took I-90 over the Cascade Mountains and to a campground near Seattle.

The following day we turned south on I-5 and rode it home.  About 30 miles from home we felt a rhythmic vibration in the bike but couldn't decide if it was the bike or the road.  When we got home I looked at the rear tire and found this.  I was regularly checking on the tire because I knew we would need a new one when we got home.  Having a tread split was not good news.

Two days later I rode it very carefully to Cycle Specialties in Portland, Oregon and got a new one.

That brings us to the end of the rides for the Rose City Motorcycle Club's Grand Tour.  We have mailed our books in to the club and will attend the dinner at the end of October.  At the dinner they will place all the tickets for everyone into the drum and draw for prizes.  The prizes range in value from a couple of dollars for a can of polish to hundreds of dollars for a riding jacket or helmet.  We have completed all 20 checkpoints so this should give us 16 tickets each in the drawings.  They have 100 or more prizes so that should give us a pretty good chance at getting something.

Last year we won a free entry to the OR-250, the club's 250 mile ride on a Sunday in April.  Check back in November, I'll try to remember to post, on this page, what we win at the dinner, if anything.

We have one more planned ride but it has nothing to do with the Grand Tour.  It is a benefit ride to support the Oregon Humane Society and its shelters.  The ride starts at Cycle Specialties on the 16th of September.  Please join us it you are near enough.

Thanks for riding along with us on our adventures this year!

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