Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bungalow Motel Cabins, Harrison Lake and the new Honda 500 Pioneer Side by Side ATV

I love Bungalow Motel at Harrison Lake.  They are a set of rustic cabins off the main drag in Harrison going towards the East Harrison Road across from the Church, right beside the boat launch. I’ve been staying here now for a quarter century, every year.  Some years I can get away more other years work has won out and I’ve only been able to get there for an overnight.  Every time has been special.  The owners are magnificent.
I purchased a Honda 500 Pioneer Side by Side ATV trading in my former quad.  With the new machine, Laura would be able to sit beside me and Gilbert, my dog, had a place to sit on a blanket at her feet.  We’d not all three been able to ride the quad and after Gilbert hurt his back last year I didn’t want him jumping up and down as before.  My hunting friend’s all approve of the ‘side by side’ seating arrangement because none of them wanted to ride in the quad’s  ‘bitch’ seat.  I’ve done it and frankly by the time we'd untangled and dismounted and got our rifles out  the game we’d seen was long gone.  The ‘side by side’ is simply the best way to go if you’re not always planning on being alone.
We drove the short ride from Vancouver to Harrison’s Friday night after picking up my new Honda from the awesome folk at Honda Centre at Boundary and First. I’ve been doing business with them for a decade at least and buying Honda for my back woods off the grid camping, hunting and exploring needs or for off shore sailing use for at least a quarter of a century too. I’ve had outboards, generators, scooters and motorcycles and now this incredible Honda 500 Pioneer. The beauty of the machine is that it’s narrow enough to sit in the truck box like a regular quad.  The minor disadvantage for hauling purposes is that like a ski doo, the length requires the gate of the truck to be down.  That’s going to affect how I hitch the RV to the truck when the Honda Pioneer is on board though it will fit in my RV Toyhauler’s garage.
Laura loves the Bungalow Motel.  When we arrived it was about 7 pm. We’d stopped in A&W in Mission where there was 50’s hot rod car rally with Elvis music going on.  We ate burgers and onion rings as we drove up the beautiful #7 highway to Harrison. Gilbert loves getting the A&W beef paddy though his favourite is MacDonald’s.  .
The particular cabin we were put up in this time has the best view of all.  It looked out on the park where Canada Geese had collected and beyond to Harrison Lake where the BC Sailing races were going on all weekend.  At the other end of the town by the Harrison Resort, the Dragonboat Festival was taking place as well.  Harrison Lake is a hopping place in the summer with bikinis galore and all the muscle men out, along with a full array of outdoor activities going on.  It’s the most interesting place that way, with a near by provincial park that caters to the outdoorsy set, the marina for sailors and all the fishing and guiding activities, and nearby backwoods. Meanwhile there are luxury hotels for those who just want to drinkie poo on balconies in the sun.  The Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa we enjoy most mid winter for the ‘waters’ is always a going concern.   The town has really built up since I began coming here in the 80’s.  The golf course is especially popular now and there are so many great restaurants.
Laura and I like the Bungalow Cabins for the rustic charm. Each has a little patio and we enjoyed sitting outside reading and drinking coffee.
After arriving and settling in and eating pizza we walked Gilbert in the park and had a fairly early night in the ultimate quiet of the surroundings. Outside the sky had cleared and the billions of stars were radiant without the city lights obscuring them.  I love sitting outside at Harrison Lake and looking across the great expanse of water to the mountains beyond.  It’s the most meditative place.
In the morning Gilbert, as usual, got me up so I took him for a walk in the park.  He loves all the scents and was the happiest I’ve seen him in months this weekend.  
Then we  walked the short distance to the down town mall where Chuck and Kitty’s cafe is. They serve the best morning coffee and egg cheese and bacon buns to die for.  I carried all this back. The dragon boat folk were gathering at this early  hour while those who’d danced up a storm in the pub were probably sleeping in.
Bringing a beautiful girl breakfast in bed definitely gets one brownie points.  It was about 11 am before we got ourselves organized to head back country.  I’d brought my Ruger Mini 14 semi auto 223 shell rifle for back woods target practice so confirmed with the "in the know” Bungalow Motel folk that the top of the lake would be the best for off the grid 4x4 ing. There’s a whole lot of logging roads up there with gravel pits where you can set up targets without fear of disturbing vegetarians.
We drove the Ford F350 with Honda Pioneer in the back past the Sasquatch Provincial Camp and the Bear Creek Camp and the Cobalt Point campsites. They were all full of young people and I remember when years past I had the last, a long beech area, all to my self, mid summer. Now they’re all full and I believe some have to booked ahead.  They all even have facilities and there’s lots of picnic tables that never existed years ago.  The Harrison east road is gravel but so good that all manner of cars and trucks and bikes had ridden up there parking along the road to access the beach.
We found a great hill to off load the Honda Pioneer at. I am always anxious at the loading and off loading phase where there’s that moment of commitment when I can’t help but fear I’m going to fall off the end of the truck or flip somehow.  I love ‘terra firms’.  As always, the unloading went just fine.  We then locked up the truck and Laura and Gilbert and I set out to explore.
What a glorious little machine!!!.  There’s an advertisement Honda uses of a man and woman, admittedly half our age, really enjoying driving along a narrow wooded trail in their Pioneer 500..  Despite their perfect hair and teeth, I thought we looked just like them and definitely were having twice the fun.  Honda’s advertising really is truthful.     I looked over at Laura and she was beaming.  I just loved driving this little mini jeep and it’s perkiness.  Lots of gears.  Great clearance.   Gilbert had lots of room on a blanket at Laura’s feet.
We even had a couple of doe cross the road in front us and I had time to find my iPhone in the pouches set under the roof and get a shot with the camera. This machine is going to be a great hunting platform for my friend and I come fall.
After driving for a bit on the main logging road we took a sketchy little road off to the beach.   Laura squealed when we slid sideways in a muddy stretched.  I noticed she had her seat belt on and at times had a hand on the bars holding herself in on turns.  This was a truly off the grid place where what we think of as kids had set up tents and were quadding and off road motorcycle camping along the beach.
“We’re not old people police! Continue what you’re doing.  We’re just stopping for coffee”.  I called out to this group of 20 year old whose youth space we’d obviously invaded.  They laughed, but clearly were at ease with the idea we’d not be staying.  At the end of the beach we stopped and pointed the Honda at the lake. I got out a thermos of coffee while Laura shared some cheese slices with Gilbert.  I sat in that perfect little Honda Pioneer 4x4 side by side looking at this most wonderful of lakes with the sky clearing, a beautiful girl beside me and Gilbert chasing bits of wood in the sand.  Life doesn’t get any better.
We drove back to the main road and took some side roads before heading up into the mountains where we found a narrow bridge which could only be crossed by ATV’s.  We were off the grid there and had a lovely drive up in  the hills. We picked berries along the road and the wild flowers were lovely   We crossed a little mountain stream by a waterfall and stopped for selfies.  Then I  set up targets and got out the Ruger Mini 14.  We’d earlier seen bear scat and as usual Laura was concerned so I’d said she needn’t be because I had the rifle.
Well, it turned out the rifle was jammed and it took me all of 10 to 15 minutes to get it working.  Naturally Laura figured a bear would have had more than enough time to eat her so I had to reassure that  Gilbert would have protected her as bear hate barking little dogs.
While we were driving up there she’d suddenly started flailing about with her hands. I stopped to see if she was alright and she said . “A great black spider landed on me.”  We couldn’t find any evidence of this hallucination but when I put on my Sturges North Hoodie I felt a crawly in my sleeve.  I won’t say I flailed about but rather that I had the hoodie off with some alacrity.  It turned out that our guest was not a big black spider but rather a very large black cricket.
We both admitted we loved crickets and enjoyed watching it fly away.  I’d turned the vehicle around using the reverse several times in the day but suddenly without any warning the reverse function didn’t work.  Laura got out and helped me push the little thousand pound machine around so I could drive a hundred yards back from the targets. I couldn’t think of any reason the reverse wouldn’t work as all the other gears did and didn’t figure on figuring out backwoods repairs. The lovely little machine would still get us back to the truck.
So I shot off 20 or 30 rounds till I was getting a good grouping in the centre of the target all the while Gilbert was ecstatically hoping that grouse would start dropping out of the skies.  Gilbert absolutely loves grouse hunting. While I was practising target shooting he was practicing sniffing and weaving and pointing. Laura was waiting patiently while the boys were having all the fun.
On the way down we had to cross the bridge.  While the one side was an easy rise the return side was a steep ramp.  Laura and Gilbert got out and I gunned it.  I remembered hearing the word ‘commitment’ from the Gaylor at Honda and from the owner of Bungalow Cabins when we’d discussed steep ramps.  I gave her and Laura said it was a thing of beauty.  “You were air born and landed perfectly.” My heart was in my throat but I only could have been a foot off the ground yet being as it was over a roaring river it all had lots of psychological significance. I swaggered with my chest out after that maneuver though it was something I’d done countless times and with much more air on my former quad. This is just what my friend Dave lives for when he goes quadding. I was even thinking of backing up the steep except with the loss of reverse I had little choice and could see nowhere to look my winch too. In for a penny in for a pound. I committed. And it was glorious!.
We drove down the mountain from there  and got the Honda Pioneer situated on the little hill for loading, having to adjust the truck to the quad because without reverse,  I couldn’t position the quad. Laura shouted directions to me watching for alignment and it was good.
With the Honda Pioneer on the back of the Ford F350 I just had to tie it down.  Then we drove back to Bungalow Motel.  We’d been riding about for maybe 6 or 7 hours and I was exhausted.  I loved the shower and Laura ordered pizza.
There was nothing on TV even though they had cable.  Both of us read and we all loved the ‘meat lovers’ pizza with cold coca colas.  Gilbert thought we’d chosen well.
We slept in.  My body is still aching.  We packed up and headed home after another magnificent weekend at Harrison’s.  I’ll get my Honda fixed this week and maybe next weekend we can do it all over again.  We were lucky to get into Bungalow with a few days notice because of a cancellation.  I can’t wait to return.  I always feel like I’m in one of those grand little places I stayed at near Boston or outside of San Francisco where movies are made of  artists who go to get close to nature.
They have an outdoor swimming pool we’ve enjoyed in the past getting a bit of that Palm Spring lying around in the sun  pool experience. It was really hot this weekend.  I did think of walking over to the beech and diving into the lake. The water is perfect this time of the year.  But there’s never enough time to do all the things you want to, as the Jim Croce song goes. I didn’t even get to the hot spring pool in town like I usually do.  It such a Gordon Lightfoot John Denver getaway.  The town is definitely becoming more a Beach Boys scene.
Back in Vancouver I feel rather than two nights away  like I’ve been away for a week. Heaven would be staying there for a week or two.   Bit I have to get back to work having had the very best of breaks.  It’s hard to believe it’s only an hour a way.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you meet the nicest people on a honda