I woke up wanting to go home. I had barely slept that night. I was so cold that I couldn’t stop shivering and had to curl into a ball in order to get warm enough to fall asleep. I had only packed a 0 degree sleeping bag and it must have been about 4 or 5 degrees out. The thing with sleeping bag ratings is that they base them off what will keep you alive, not comfortable.
Getting out of my tent I noticed that everything I had was either damp or soaked through. So I rung out what I could and packed everything up. The guys I had camped next to were still out cold and I left without saying goodbye. Maybe they’ll think I was just a drunken illusion.
The plan for the day was to get to Kamloops for lunch at 12. I was meeting an old boss and mentor, Josef, from a summer job I had at TRIUMF a few years ago. I took a FSR between the Coquihalla and the Merritt -Princeton highway through the Kane Valley area. The sun made an appearance and it wasn’t too cold, I could feel the negativity from last night starting to fade away. It was a beautiful area that has lots of cross country skiing during the winter.
I traveled through without incident but found out that while riding semi-aggressively off-road, the 690’s fuel range is only about 165 km before the reserve light came on, what the hell KTM? As I was heading into Merritt I was flagged down by a French guy on a Yamaha R1. He had run out of fuel about 3 km away from the fuel station. I carry three 1L fuel bottles with me just in case and gave him one. He really wanted to pay me for it but I told him to just keep passing the karma along. He seemed satisfied with that. He was fairly worse for wear, having ridden in from Chilliwack that morning through torrential downpour. As we were refueling him, a newer F350 (diesel of course) pulled up about 5 car lengths behind us. Turns out he had run out of fuel too which if I remember correctly really sucks on a diesel as they need a fuel system bleed to get all the air out and get it running again. Unfortunately, spare diesel isn’t something I typically carry with me.
By the time I had Mr. French fueled up and stopped for my own refuel in Merritt it was about 11AM. Kamloops is about 100 km away so I knew that I wasn’t going to get a chance to take any back roads if I wanted to meet Josef in time. I opted to take the 5A which is a curvy, more scenic route than the Coquihalla. This road was so much fun I didn’t have any interest in stopping for photos and just enjoyed the high speed twisties. About 30 km away from Kamloops I hit the rain, or rather the rain smacked me. I got completely soaked through and was shivering so badly I could barely keep my bike on the road. By the time I got into Kamloops I was again wanting to go home.
I managed to meet up with Josef for 12 on the dot and we got caught up and had a great lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years but it didn’t seem as though we had missed a beat. He was able to tell that I was having a pretty tough time so far and kindly offered for me to crash at his place for the night, have a hot meal, and dry out my gear. It turns out that his place was near Savona, which was on my route and at this point I was not excited about spending another night in the cold and wet so I accepted his offer.
When I arrived at Josef’s place I was warmly greeted by him, his wife Janna, and their little dog Toby. They were super accommodating and I can’t thank them enough for getting my trip back on track. I realized how incredible unprepared I was for the weather and navigation, so we all spent the evening sorting out my GPS, the SPOT tracker (which
hadn’t been taking logs properly), and Josef even found me an old warm vest to wear under my jacket so I wouldn’t get hypothermia and die. They also had an orange cat that reminds me of my own, except that their cat isn’t a little shit.
I’m incredibly humbled at how my cockiness going into the trip almost cut it short. My big take away from this is to be more prepared for a long trip that you know is already going to be hard enough on its own.
I was given my own room with a super warm, comfy, and dry bed. I fell asleep almost instantly. Life is good.