Monday, August 25, 2014

Sturgis North, Canada's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Festival, Merrit, BC - Part 2 - Motorcycling Pemberton to Lillouett, Lyton, Ashcroft, Logan Lake, and finally Meritt

What a glorious day in Paradise.  I woke to the wet alarm clock of a cockapoo insisting that it was our normal 7 am time for rising.  I quickly dressed and took him for a walk along the river trail out back of Pemberton Valley Lodge.
I was glad to get an early start looking forward to the spectacular ride through Mount Currie and up along the so called Duffy Lake Road.  I’ve hunted through here for a couple of decades as well as camped and fished. Joffre Lakes, a favourite hiking and fishing destination is just before Duffy Lake.  Lots of wildlife.  Deer in abundance.   Beautiful wild flowers. The road has been asphalted so it’s hugely improved over the difficult road of a few years back. I loved the ride letting Gilbert run about at Duffy Lake while I took some pictures. The tough section for a biker was coming down hill still before Lillouett, still some ruts coupled with sharp turns.  Nothing terrible just has to be taken seriously.
The town of Lillouett is a really sweet place. I’ve stopped other times and enjoyed their market as well as the little restaurant.  This time Gilbert and I kept right on going.  I had to use the iPhone GPS and map or I’d have continued on to Cache Creek. As it was I missed the turn to Merritt at Lyton and ended up going up to Ashcroft, something I that added a few miles to the journey.  It was such a perfect ride with little traffic, sunshine and great roads and views.  BC Interior after the coast is kind of Arizona like in some ways. Then the trip up the Thompson River is amazing.  We actually got to see the train go through those picturesque carved tunnels along the river.
I’ve passed Ashcroft dozens of times on the way north but this time drove through the town and enjoyed stopping at the bakery.  Really pleasant little place with a lot of gentile history.  It’s still a popular retirement place and the hotel is known for it’s week and month stays for tourists wanting to explore this remarkable region.
It had been a long time since I’d driven down to Logan Lake. I forgot all the major industrial work in the area.  A few deer were kind enough to come out and look at Gilbert and I. One actually waited till I got a nice photograph. Lots of motorcycles along this stretch. As we got closer to Merrit more and more large groups.
The Sturges North Veterans Run occurred that morning and I think I may have been passed by some of the stragglers coming back from wherever the riders had got off too.  With rallies also a lot of riders just take advantage of the central place from which to ride around the neighbourhood. Lots of gas sales were happening in Merrit.
It sure felt good coming into town.  Gilbert was such a great trooper.  We stopped at the A&W so I could have a burger and he could have a burger paddy. He deserved a treat. Other bikers there told me where the venue was. Down by Moonshadow Campground. Moonshadow is one of my favourite places for camping. We;ve come up a few times even left the old RV up here as a place to come one fall.  A cool creek runs along the campground. The Sturges North Festival was along the gravel road from Moonshadow, along the creek.
First there was the big MainStage with lots of nearby kiosks for a variety of food and tents selling leather and tshirts.  Further along were other stages and finally the campground.  Entrance for the whole event was $300 but a day was a hundred and something with $25 for camping.
 I specifically asked if Gilbert was welcome and was told that he certainly was.  Later when I’d be told by security that he couldn’t be present I explained that I’d been specifically told he could accompany in all events.  I explained that he was a ‘pet therapist’ and that he was really well behaved and safe around people and other dogs. It’s okay then, ‘he’s your therapist and you have to have him with you”.  That wasn’t quite what I said, but it seemed to work.  I might well be violent without the calming influence of Gilbert.
We got a great place for the tent by the cool creek. Lots of Harley sound.  People were riding their Harleys from the tenting area to the venue area.  It was picturesque and everything was just great. We were here. Sturgis North.  This is the third year and we’d so loved the first one Salmon Arm with Steppenwolf. Only there I’d taken the truck and trailer with the Honda 250 enduro motorcycle having no place to bring the Harley. This time Gilbert and I  arrived on our big bike.  It was terrific.
After the vague seeding of an idea with Dave, and wondering if Gilbert could tolerate a long ride, here I was arriving  by bike with a tent and  ready to rock and roll.  This, after a spectacular ride through some of BC’s most awesome motorcycle country.  I was really stoked setting up my tent. Gilbert was happy to just roll in the old cow manure that dotted the field.
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