Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BC Nicola Valley Motorcycle Ride

Our return trip from Peachland, BC, led us to the a rest stop at the BC Visitor's Centre in Merritt.  It was there that Jeanette and I decided to extend our ride through Sunday, over returning home on the Saturday night.  That proved to be a good decision.


Leaving the Okanagan Valley for Merritt, BC
The Okanagan Connector highway leads one to very high elevations.  Sudden weather changes can be found en route....but we did not face any issues.  Two years ago, June, it actually snowed when Jeanette and I were towing our 5th wheel over the very same highway.  Good thing for no snow while motorcycling though!
Very high mountain country offering interesting clouds
Traffic was surprisingly light for a late Saturday weekend ride.  Within 60 minutes following our visit with friends, Garry and Aline in Peachland, we arrived in Merritt.  Our decision to find accommodations in the area was quickly made.
Light traffic
My golfing friends and I have golfed the private Sagebrush Golf Resort just east of Merritt, in the Nicola Valley.  We also took rooms at the famous Quilchena Inn; one of the oldest in British Columbia.  I was sure that Jeanette would enjoy an evening there.  One tourist adviser, at the the Merritt Visitor's Centre, was pleased to call the the Quilchena Inn on our behalf.  The Inn could accommodate us. Off we rode!
Arriving at the Quilchena Inn
 
Click on the link above to read all about this famous Inn.  Jeanette was impressed, to say the least, and we quickly settled in for the evening.  There is a very nice restaurant on site as well as a bullet riddled authentic bar that stays open till midnight, on weekends.  

The huge Douglas Lake Ranch - with numerous cowboys who manage 20,000 head of cattle - now own the Quilchena Inn.  The Inn was taken over this past January.  Prior to the purchase, the Inn was owned by another smaller ranch family that herded 4,000 head of cattle and also ran the Inn, a 9 hole golf course and a small RV park.
We had a prime rib dinner in the cozy restaurant.
Our dinner was OK.  Our previous stays - while golfing the area - had us enjoying five star meals.  This time around - and under new ownership - we were left wanting for better food.
Beautifully rustic with authentic furniture from the late 1800's
We changed out of our riding clothes and, with short and runners donned, we walked the grounds around the Inn.  It was beautiful out but the mosquitoes were awful.  We weren't long on that walk before returning to the comfort of the inn.  

Coming from the west coast, we are not accustomed to batting mosquitoes.  That is one tremendous benefit to living on the coast.  One can enjoy the outdoors without constantly swatting bugs and mosquitoes.
Lovely staircase leading up to the guest rooms
Our room was eloquent and very reasonably priced.  We were there before the major tourist season begins in earnest.  We thought the bar and its patrons would create noise till past midnight but that was not the case.  The cowboys were well behaved and we enjoyed a fabulous evening in the grand old dame.
Our room - check out the beautiful head board.
Many rooms do not offer bathrooms.  There are common bathrooms available but the Inn was not busy and we had our choice of taking a room with full bathroom facilities.  Another bonus to staying there before the prime tourist season.
A lovely outdoor setting - directly overlooking Nicola Lake
It was a quiet night.  We slept very well.  Following a hearty breakfast in the dining room on Sunday morning, we were ready for the ride further west from Merritt.  Our motorcycle was packed and we were riding away from this lovely spot by 9:00 a.m.
Monck Provincial Park - One of the most beautiful in the Province of British Columbia
The Quilchena Inn sits on the east side of Nicola Lake.  We knew that the west side was the site of Monck Provincial Park.  As followers of the  BIGDAWG AND FREEWAY** blog, Sue - along with husband Doug - had written a couple of times about their camping times there.  We were curious to check it out for future RV'ing trips to the area.  Well, we were not disappointed.  The sites are numerous, modern and long.  The attendant mentioned several sites that were 65 feet long.  Perfect! There are no on-site services but water is available from several spigots and there is a dump station on the way out.

We rode through the park. It is a standout!  When told that this is likely one of BC's most beautiful Provincial Parks, Jeanette and I agreed as we rolled away from the site.  We can see the attraction for Doug and Sue, and all the other campers who rave about this place.

There are several high end homes that dot this west side of Nicola Lake.  We know one family that own a home here and we rolled further north - on the west side - to check out the home.  Whoa!  Talk about beautiful and huge homes. This area is clearly not cottage country!!!
This park gets very busy during long weekends and during the two summer months.
Overlooking Nicola Lake with the stunning Sagebrush Private Golf Course on the other side.
It may be difficult to see the golf course on the other side of the lake (photo above) but it is the site of the prestigious (and now litigious) site of the private Sagebrush Golf Resort.  (If readers click on any photograph, it will appear in full screen) 

Our golfing group has played four rounds on this course.  We were offered that opportunity when the course designer (and former PGA Tour player) Dick Zokol invited one of our golf members to bring us along to play this private course.  What a treat!  To play with Dick Zokol was an added bonus too.  Click on the link below for more information.


 
Crossing several cattle guards along the west side of Nicola Lake.
Riding into the west side of Nicola Lake meant maneuvering over several cattle guards.  That was not a problem but it does slow one down a bit.  These guards are most effective in this cattle country though.
Heading west towards the Fraser River and Highway 1, from Merritt, BC.
From Nicola Lake, our goal was to head due west from the small city of Merritt. BC, and make our way to the Fraser Canyon and join up with the Trans-Canada Highway 1.
One of several small rivers and creeks that run along side the highway.
Taking a break along side the Fraser River that was raging and running extremely high.
We took a needed break at Spences Bridge, along the mighty Fraser River.  That river was running fast and wild.  Survival in the rushing waters would be tenuous at best.  The snow melt and recent rains created the high waters and speedy flows.
Our connection point to join Highway 1
Not much room before the mighty Fraser River would spill its banks.
Typically, bank-side trees take a beating and several end up rushing downstream as the river makes its way into the Fraser Valley and drains out into the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver and Delta/Richmond, BC.
Train tunnels on the west side of the Fraser River
The Fraser Canyon boiling Fraser River waters
We kept busy waving to other motorcyclists.  The highway was super busy with avid motorcyclists who were enjoying similar experiences to ours.  As it turns out, our friends -  Lucky and Trena - rode northwards while Jeanette and I were riding southwards.  While chatting on the telephone last evening, Lucky told us about their ride and we told them about ours.  Although we did not recognize each other on the road, it was clear that we crossed paths.

We have taken some motorcycle rides with Lucky and Trena while wintering in the Palm Springs area during our winter getaways. We are planning some rides with them in this area too.
One of the numerous tunnels along Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon.
The Fraser River widens extensively at the town of Hope, BC
Our arrival in the town of Hope, BC, signals the beginning of our ride into the Fraser Valley and out of the mountains.  After fueling up in Chilliwack - including a Tim Horton's coffee break - Jeanette and I were in our driveway one hour later.

Well....this closes the impromptu decision to go visit our close friends in Peachland, last Saturday.  Although we had planned to return home last Saturday evening, it's interesting to see how plans can change.  We are glad we did choose to overnight in the Nicola Valley and plan a new ride back for home on Sunday.  It turned out to be a great weekend.

Thanks for dropping by.

10 comments:

  1. Enjoy your riding adventures and the photos are a plus. Beautiful bike country. Thanks for taking us along.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marty and Roz,

    Nice of you to tag along. It truly is great riding country and if you get the chance to ride up here in British Columbia, you will never regret it.

    All the best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rod and Sylvia,

    Next time we go through, we will call you and drop by to say Hello! We knew you were on Vancouver Island this past weekend......

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post Rene...what a great place to ride the Bike! Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  5. John & Judy,
    If you make it out this way, we would gladly take you on some great motorcycle rides.

    ReplyDelete
  6. you visited our 'favourite campground'! thanks for the mention and we sure hope that one day you are able to stay in one of the nicest provincial campgrounds!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great weather, excellent scenery thanks for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great photos Rene and Jeanette! The inn looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Quilchena Inn sure looked like a beautiful place to spend a night.

    Great tour and loved seeing the photos of many familiar spots along your route.

    ReplyDelete