Monday, August 25, 2014

Sturgis North, Canada's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Festival, Merritt, BC - part 1 - Driving up to Pemberton

Dave and Amery came by. He’s always walking Amery and Gilbert loves to visit his pal.   Dave drives a Harley.  Amery, his black and white little dog rides in the back of his motorcycle like Gilbert rides on the back of mine.. Dave's very beautiful girlfriend has her own motorcycle.  Amery likes it that way.
“Are you riding to  Sturgis North?” I asked casually.
“I’ll probably ride by. Don’t know if I’ll go to the actual venue?"
“I thought I might to. I’d love to hear Burton Cummings.  He went to my high school and played at our high school dance."
We talked some more about bikes and dogs and previous biker festivals.  Dave’s been riding a lot longer than I have and growing up here knows a lot of the local history. That was the seed of an idea though.  Him saying he thought he might and me voicing how much I’d like to hear Burton Cummings again.  That man has one of the greatest voices in the history of music.  The older I get too, the more I appreciate what a great songwriter he was.  Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings are by far Canada’s John Lennon and Paul McCartney but thank God nobody shot either of ours.
Come Friday I’d packed my motorcycle and Gilbert and I rode to work in downtown Vancouver ready to hit the road early afternoon.  All I had to pick up was my tent and camp cooking supplies at the storage locker on the way out of town.  Unfortunately I was hit with an emergency at the very last minute and had to spend the whole afternoon and most of the weekend consulting specialists to solve the unexpected crisis.  Thank god for cell phones.  Still I didn’t get out of the office till 6 pm completing the final editing as well on my new book “Psychiatry and Addiction: Personal Perspectives’. I’m hoping to get it to the printers Monday or Tuesday next week.
That said, Gilbert, the biker dog was really enthusiastic about the ride. He jumps right up on the the seat. Then he crawls onto the box where his bum and hind quarters must go down inside. He doesn’t like that part so I have to guide him in until he acquiesces. He can’t understand why he can’t just lie on top of the box.  He’s not particular about the harness he wears or the two clasps that tie him to the motorcycle dog box.  The box itself is strapped down on four sides to the roll bars and the front of the box has a strap that fits over my back seat.  All’s snug.
We picked up the tent with lots of light still . The traffic wasn’t that bad either considering it was Friday night.
The Sea to Sky Highway is one of the greatest rides imaginable, great winding easy uphill climb along the coast. Magnificent views.

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Normally I’d stop at the Squamish Starbucks where all us motorcyclists stop but I was wanting to make time before dark so kept right on trekking. Filling for gas I made a last minute reservation for the Pemberton Lodge. $250 with a $45 charge for Gilbert.  It had been a very long day of work. I had another hour or more of driving and my mind was not tranquil after the day at work. The morning had been fine but the only positive thing in the afternoon had been my friend Aim taking me for lunch at Chill Wilson to celebrate and announce her being accepted for a tenured professorship in Asian Political Science.  There is no one more deserving.  She really wouldn’t let me pay for the excellent burger but I am taking her husband and her to  Russell Peters, the comedian, when he comes to Vancouver.
I just didn’t feel like setting up a tent in the dark when I was already stressed and ornery.  Passing Whistler and arriving in Pemberton I was glad I’d decided to splurge on luxury. I prefer their off season rates and normally would have loved sitting in the hot tub, but Gilbert needed a walk and I needed chinese food.  Naturally Gilbert slept on the bed.  Sweet dreams.
I’d worried Gilbert wouldn’t tolerate a longer ride. The longest he’d ridden with me had been to Harrison’s when Laura came along on her Honda 250 after dropping her bike and hurting her elbow.  He was restless that trip, unhappy for Laura and generally unhappy with having to stay in the box. Once we’d got to Harrison’s he’d been happy as he ever is in one of Canada’s best resort towns, a place we so love to visit.
We love Pemberton too. The town has really blossomed like Squamish has into a real tourist mecca. Lots of cycling and hiking and rock climbing.  Whistler is more the glamor spot now with all the real trekkers and outdoor folk heading onto Pemberton. I remember a couple of decades back when I first came up here it had a kind of farming community cross Deliverance cross Indian Reserce feel. There was just a hotel bar and drinking back then but now it’s totally diversified. No more deliverance feel. The hunters and fisherman get the best of  gear in one of the top sports stores in BC, Spud Valley Sports. They’ve got everything for the outdoors experience.  They guide as well. Then the looker grocer has begun catering to the increasingly sophisticated tastes of the increasing condo and cottage set that have moved here in the last decade or so.  There was always western riding in the valley.  The cowboy outfitting stores have the very best in western fashion and the finest in sturdy gear.  Mount Currie Indian Reserve is where a world champion Indian Broncho rider, Wayne Andrews came from.  The whole valley is equestrian now and one of the best places to go trail riding.
IMG 6256Breathing the great air of the valley Gilbert and I slept the sleep of kings at Pemberton Lodge.

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