Southern British Columbia
on an Aprilia Shiver


I took a trip to Southern B.C. on July 1st, 2009, and met my friend Phil in Osoyoos where they were celebrating Canada Day with fireworks. The Google map below shows the approximate route I took, though you'll have to zoom out about 4 levels and re-center it a bit. Much of the route was Destination Highway stuff...

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Zoom out about 4 levels and recenter to see the whole route...

The bike: an '08 Aprilia Shiver, a Italian 750cc V-twin which I've modified a bit — dropped a tooth on the countershaft sprocket, added a real loud horn, replaced the stock Sachs rear shock with a fully adjustable Penske, and had the front forks rebuilt to suit me (as they are non-adjustable).

This was at a lunch stop along the Columbia River in Washington. I used a Cortech tankbag with a Passport 8500 (radar detector) inside, and a Garmin 276C (GPS) mounted on the front. The red/black thing on the ground is an Ogio No Drag backpack designed for motorcyclists (with my 13" MacBook Pro inside). I'd started out with an Aprilia tailbag, but it interfered with the backpack, so I left it and some stuff at home.

I crossed into Canada about Noon, and headed here via Hwy 3A where there's a great scenic view of Osoyoos, BC to the west-northwest with a bit of the road showing in the right side of the shot.

Here's the first of the switchbacks that descend 3000' to the lake from where I shot the previous photo. It's marked 20kph, but 25mph worked pretty well. It was cool and pleasant here, but pretty hot in Osoyoos (in the 90's).

Here's a tighter shot of Osoyoos. We stayed at the Avalon Inn on the west side, just 4 blocks or so from the lake. It was a nice place, across the street from a gas station, a 1/2 block from the best restaurant in town, and 2 blocks from "downtown". I walked down to the package store and bought a 6-pack of Okanagan Pear Cider which Phil and I consumed fairly quickly (he arrived about an hour after I did). Phil rode from Seattle.

It was Canada Day, so, of course, there were fireworks. Phil and I packed only our tiny point-and-shoot cameras, ironically a Nikon for me and a Canon for Phil. We both have digital SLRs (Phil's is a Nikon and mine a Canon) but they require luggage space we didn't have. Acceptable shots, given the camera and the fact that I was hand-holding a 1+ second exposure.

The next day Phil and I rode back the way I came to Rock Creek, then took Hwy 33 up to Kelona, a favorite road we've both ridden before. We stopped here in Beaverdell for coffee. The weather was spectacular the whole 4 days, often with pure blue skies, sometimes with a few clouds. It was warm enough we didn't need our heated gear (which was a Good Thing™ because we packed too light to bring it).

Phil was on his '01 KLR650 with just a tankbag and a large tailbag. We both averaged over 50mpg, so finding fuel was never an issue, though it could be for bikes with less than a 200 mile range.

We took the "Westside Road" up Okanagan Lake north of Kelowna, and about 1/2 up found this resort where we had lunch. It was gorgeous, and this shot reminds me of Italy. The road was super twisty and would be huge fun but for the moderate (and slow) traffic and the sometimes poor pavement condition. Nevertheless, it was one of our favorite roads of the trip.

After turning south at Salmon Arm and spending the night in Vernon, we took Hwy 6 to the ferry across lower Arrow Lake and up to Nakusp where we had a nice lunch downtown. Then down to New Denver where we rode past this place, and I had to turn around to get a shot of it.

Phil went inside to check it out but didn't find anyone in the office. It's mostly small rooms with shared baths, and one of the domes is a huge empty room with hardwood floors and no furniture — it looked like a yoga practice room to me. We talked about bringing our wives there to spend the night sometime.

Hwy 31A between New Denver and Kaslo has been a favorite ride since I found it in the 80's. It ranks pretty high on Destination Highways' rating scale too. The spectacular scenery includes a couple waterfalls and lots of wildflowers.


In Kaslo we stopped for a cool drink and parked near this old steam stern-wheeler. Built in Nelson in 1898 to provide transportation on Kootenay Lake, but apparently retired now, as it sits about 10' above the water.

Heading south towards the ferry at Balfour, the main tourist attraction is Ainsworth Hot Springs. I've sat in the hot springs there and crawled a ways into the cave where the spring emerges, but I've never noticed this mineral deposit before. It's right along side the highway under some large trees.

I wouldn't have noticed it this time either but for seeing a motorcyclist parked on the other side of the highway taking a photo. Quite something, isn't it? Phil took this shot of me with my camera.

At Balfour, we decided to take the free ferry across Kootenay Lake to Crawford Bay, so we could ride Hwy 3A down to Creston. This is the larger of the two ferries that make the run with a departure about once an hour — I think it's the longest free ferry ride in Canada.

Destination Highways says Hwy 3A down the east side of Kootenay Lake is the best motorcycle road in southern B.C. They're right. Phil and I were among the first off the ferry, and we quickly dispatched the few cages in front of us. The upper 25 miles have recently been repaved, and we enjoyed tilting the horizon all the way to Creston while encountering only 2 cars the whole way (both easily and safely passed).

We spent night #3 in Creston, at the Valley View motel, one of those old family-run motels in the trees on the hillside below Creston. Fairly cheap, but nice — Phil and I had our own separate bedrooms, a living room/kitchen, and a huge lawn with chairs from which to watch the sunset.

The 4th of July we rode over the Selkirk Mts. (almost 6000') and up towards Salmo, BC. The shot above is of the Salmo River just south of town. From there we rode together to Rossland, where Phil headed towards Seattle (he got home about 7pm), and I headed home arriving there about 1pm. This is the kind of mental picture I form when I think of Canada!

All in all, a fine 4 days ride, totaling about 1,100 miles for me. Easy days, enjoyable nights, good company...

Copyright © 2009, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.