It was my fourth visit to the BC rally held every year mid-August in the town of Nakusp. I really enjoy the area; great riding to and from, and the roads, geography and geology of eastern BC are fabulous. Nearby towns are charming; Kaslo, along Kootenay Lake, Revelstoke, a ferry ride across the Columbia and Nakusp itself is right on the water, a quiet, quaint town. The rally is held in the Municipal Campground, a couple of blocks north of “downtown”. And I really appreciate my Canadian friends; wonderful, open people who are welcoming and fun to be around.
I decided to take the ’72 R60/5 that I acquired about a year and a half ago. After going through its systems and sorting everything out, new battery, new tires, etc., I was anxious to stretch its legs on a long roadtrip. I picked up a 22 liter tank in good shape on EBay to have a bit better range than the toaster tank it came with. Even then, running at 5,000 rpm most of the time, mileage wasn’t great. It is fun to ride, comfortable, and very nimble. Now, with 19,000 miles, it is almost broken in.
I usually ride up the 395 corridor and stop the second night at my brother-in-law’s in Joseph, Oregon, about 850 miles along. Besides the opportunity to hang out with him, the Wallowa valley, mountains and lake are incredibly beautiful. He was on a horse packing trip during my trip up so I stopped at Crater Lake NP the first night, then up 97 to Redmond and east on 26 to Mt. Vernon. I had a bit of rain starting there, gassed up and headed up 395 to camp at Ukiah-Dale State Park.
The next morning I planned to get just south of the Canadian border near one of the smaller crossings. I’ve got to say that the section of US395 from Mt. Vernon to Pendleton is just spectacular. I went up through Walla Walla and hit 195 at Colfax, WA. Then an awful section of traffic and stoplights through Spokane. I rejoined 395; the countryside and road now being much more enjoyable and camped at Lake Roosevelt on WA Hwy 25.
I crossed at Patterson, went through Rossland, Trail, over to Salmo and up the west shore of Kootenay Lake from Nelson to Kaslo. North of Kaslo, the lakeshore drive gets pretty rustic and eventually turns to dirt. I stayed at a Provincial Park on the lake’s shore beneath tall, steep mountains. I went for an invigorating swim in the lake to rinse the road sweat off..
I headed back toward Kaslo and onto BC 31A over to New Denver one of the most beautiful stretches of road you’d ever ride, then north up Hwy 6 to Nakusp and the rally.
It was a great rally. The Bee Cee Beemers rent the entire campground for their event so there is lots of good shady camping with showers. Catering by local Deb Guest provided really good meals each of three nights. The Canadian dollar is around 75 cents so the rally fee was a bargain by US comparisons. There were some GS rides, guided tours, a trip to the Hotsprings, bike events, Reinhart’s famous “Kicking Horse” coffee always on tap, and of course my own rides of discovery in the area (watch for deer and bears which are abundant!).
I left for home early on Sunday through Nelway. Getting through Spokane was much easier on Sunday morning, then down to Lewiston, ID. The road from Lewiston to Enterprise, OR is one of my all-time favorites. Going south through Asotin it is WA 129, turning to OR Hay 3 after crossing the Grande Ronde river. From Asotin, you wind up onto a plateau, twist down the river gorge and back up the other side onto the plateau again before descending to Enterprise, which is just north of Joseph, my destination. This road is known a “Rattlesnake Grade” and is one of the best set of twisties in the west.
It was nice to have a place to stay and a shower in Joseph. The next day, I rode into the Hells Canyon Recreation Area on good FS roads, to Imnaha then up to the Hat Point Overlook. It is hot, desolate wilderness, with evidence of past fires and spectacular views back to the Imnaha River valley and Hells Canyon itself to the Snake River far below. It is the deepest river gorge in the US, I came back to Joseph via the FS road south from Imnaha towards Halfway, OR, then up the paved road into town. A good days ride; only 101 miles.
I couldn’t come south of John Day on 395 because of a huge fire in Canyon City, so retraced my route back to SF via 26 and 97. They were fighting a fire that had broken out at the NW corner of Crater Lake; smoke was in the air almost the entire way home.
I would recommend the BC Nakusp rally to everyone. It is one of the best rallies in the west!