Ride Report: Chilliwack -> Kamloops -> Chilliwack

This past weekend was my birthday (“Happy Birthday!” “Thanks!” There. We’ve gotten that out of the way) and I had originally planned on doing this ride with Kim but as she has apparently lost her mind, I had to do it on my own. 🙂

Even though I’ve put tens of thousands of kilometers on my 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES Sport Tourer, it was all (except for a ride to Vancouver Island last summer) on Lower Mainland roads so I’d been itching to “get out of town” on a long ride.

I’d heard from several fellow riders that the “Duffy Lake Loop” was a real treat so I made that part of my goal. As I didn’t have anywhere else to be, I decided to make it an overnight trip so I could do the route as leisurely as I’d like.

Now, for you non-motorcyclists, the trip from where I live to Kamloops is 254kms (158 miles) and Google Maps says it would take a little under 3 hours. But that would be *boring*. I decided I’d make my route Chilliwack -> Squamish -> Pemberton -> Lillooet -> Cache Creek -> Spences Bridge -> Merritt -> Kamloops. Eight hours and 640kms (400 miles).

The trip from Chilliwack -> Squamish was uneventful. I’d done it many times before. I *thought* I was on a leisurely pace until I got to the Starbucks in Squamish and realized I’d gotten there in only 90 minutes. Ooops…in my defense, those of you who have ridden the new(ish) Sea To Sky Highway, with its smooth roads and big sweepy curves will understand.

I met this beautiful fella outside the Starbucks:
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Next stop would be in Pemberton to fill up on gas. Unbeknownst to me (I’d never been past Whistler), this is where the real fun would begin. If you’ve never been, Pemberton is quite pretty.
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I saw a group of local Gold Wing riders at the gas station and stopped to chat with them, mostly on behalf of my new Gold Wing riding buddy Terry:
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Typical of riders in general, they were full of useful information and tips on the route I was about to take. They kindly offered to let me join up with them but, as I really didn’t have much of a plan and was thinking I’d stop frequently, I declined. Plus, I didn’t have the heart to tell them I planned on traveling at speeds a little higher than they were likely to be going. 🙂 (not a knock on Wings or Wingers. I know they can ride better and faster than I can but they were in a group and I was solo so…)

The Pemberton -> Lillooet road, 100kms (60 miles) is absolute nirvana. Beautiful (and highly distracting!) scenery, pretty good roads (only a couple of short construction areas), wonderful sweeping curves and not much traffic. It was *glorious*.
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Next was the ride to the Horstings Farm Market in Cache Creek that had been recommended by a fellow rider. I will say, it was disappointing. Boring sandwich and bland, mushy blueberry pie.

My plan was to then go to Spences Bridge but, as I have the worst sense of direction in the world, I got lost even while using a GPS! 😦 But, “lost” is the wrong word to use when you don’t care where you are or where you’re going. 🙂

There’s a fork in the road out of Cache Creek – one way goes to Spences Bridge, the other goes to Logan Lake. As is pretty typical of my life, whenever I come to a fork in the road, I inevitably take the *wrong* one. 🙂 I didn’t know I was even going in the “wrong” direction (I was headed to Merritt so I would have gotten there eventually regardless of the route I took) until I stopped by this weird “lake” near Logan Lake (anyone know what this is?):ShawnKing_2016-May-07
and talked to a couple of fellow riders who told me Spences Bridge was *behind* me. Oh well.

What was really interesting was how much the scenery changed from the Pemberton area (typical west coast trees and mountains) to the “almost desert” of the Logan Lake area.

I made it to Merritt with no problems and fueled up. I was meeting friends in Kamloops for a birthday dinner and didn’t want them to have to wait on me so I took the Coquihalla from Merritt to Kamloops. Ugh. What an awful, boring road on a motorcycle.

The only downside was, on a high speed stretch, I was following a SUV when suddenly, they swerved across the yellow line. I thought, “WTF are they doing!” as I braked. But there was no danger obvious – until I looked about 10 yards in front of the bike.

There was momma duck staring at me. Six baby ducks in a row, crossing the highway. One baby duck straggling behind.

There wasn’t enough time to get aggressive on the brakes but there was a gap between the six in a row and the straggler so I went for it…and the straggler ran in front of the bike….:(

“NO!” I screamed in my helmet. “YOU WERE OK WHERE YOU WERE!” I felt the small “bump, bump” under my tires. Poor little fellow. I felt awful about it but, as I explained to my non-riding friends over dinner, there are two obstacles on the road – “Squishables” and “Non-squishables”. You never lay your bike down for a squishable.

Once I got into Kamloops, I got lost a couple more times (my TomTom GPS, while OK, frequently can’t find addresses or know about roads that have been in place for *years*) before I made it to my perfectly ordinary but cheap hotel. Dinner with great friends from college and in bed by 9am, exhausted but happy.
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I was up bright and early the next morning….even though I didn’t want to be. I have no idea why the Hospitality Inn staff decided to, while putting me at the very end of the building, also put a family of five in the room next to me. So the “Crying Baby Alarm Clock” I didn’t need went off at 3am….and 5am…and 7am….Oh, screw it – I’ll just get up…

The best part of my morning was, while I was at Starbucks, my mom, sister and niece back in Nova Scotia called and wished me a happy birthday. Always great talking to family.

I was in no hurry to get home so I wanted to make sure I at least found out where Spences Bridge was so, after coffee, I headed to Merritt via Highway 5A.IMG_7929
OH. MY. GOD. That sign should be amended to “Motorcyclists: Speed Up in Curves”! It was AMAZING. If you ever see a motorcyclist on the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Kamloops, THEY ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD. 5A was spectacular. Wonderful big sweeping curves, great scenery, no traffic. I couldn’t have had more fun. Until I got on Highway 8 to Spences Bridge!
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It was just as much fun as 5A. Needless to say, I had an absolutely fantastic time on those roads.

After Spences Bridge (which, BTW, isn’t even there any more), it’s a pretty familiar trip back home. And the scenery got even *better*:
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On the Trans-Canada headed home, I hit a personal milestone:
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I haven’t been riding long (I got my M/C license 11 years ago but have only owned a bike for about half that time), so putting 40K kms (25,000 miles) on any one bike is a pretty big deal. Even more so, I’ve only had this bike for 18 months. 🙂IMG_7934

It might have been because of Mothers Day but there was very little traffic on the road and most of it was easy to pass. But I wasn’t in much of a hurry so I stopped often to enjoy the scenery and take pictures. There was only one section (about a kilometer long) that had this:
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That sign tends to get your attention and slow you down on the bike! I stopped a few times (only when it was safe to do so!) to take pics of some of the various tunnels along the route:IMG_7937

Before finally making it home. Grand total was two days, 14 hours on the bike, 1300 kms (807 miles), great weather, great friends, and a great bike all mean it was the best birthday weekend I’ve ever had.IMG_7941

The Presse by Bobble

I love coffee and, while I’m not nearly the coffee snob some people are, I love a good cup of coffee. I know enough about coffee to know that different brewing methods make for different kinds, tastes and flavors of coffee. I’m also a fan of gadgets in general.

Every morning, I make a pot of coffee using a regular old (crappy) Black and Decker cheap coffee maker. The first cup is pretty good but, because it sits on a heating pad, it eventually heats the coffee up so that the last couple of cups are awful. So I’m always on the look out for a different (and inexpensive) way to make coffee.

I saw this online yesterday:

It’s The Presse by Bobble. It looked kinda cool so I thought I’d treat myself and buy it. After adding it to my shopping cart, I found that the company doesn’t ship to Canada – DAMMIT!

Well, this morning on Twitter, I saw this:

@ShawnKing give @welldotca a try! https://t.co/JNxK13QCRw

— bobble (@bobble) March 3, 2016

WOO HOO! And, even better, it’s cheaper on the Canadian site! So in 6-8 days, I’ll be making coffee in my new The Presse by Bobble! I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Macworld Expo is Dead

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Regardless of the spin IDG is trying to put on this, this is not a hiatus. Regardless of the hopes of attendees, Macworld Expo, Macworld/iWorld in any incarnation is well and truly dead.

No one thing killed the show. It was a death of a thousand cuts, starting with Apple abandoning the show (and, I maintain, abandoning the community that supported it for so many years) and the strength of various other outlets to get Apple’s and the vendors message out. IDG’s inability to pivot the show to “something else” also contributed, along with their inability to work with and convince vendors and attendees the show still had value.

I have been and will continue to be pilloried for my criticism of IDG and their, quite frankly, botching of so many aspects of the show. For their “fudging” of attendance figures and for their bullying of the media and vendors, among many other things. Make no mistake – a great deal of any blame for the failure of the show lies directly at the feet of IDG and their management.

But the on the floor staff of any particular Macworld Expo was always amazing. Whether it was the wonderfully bubbly Sarah Hindmarsh (now Harvey – congratulations!), the dedicated and devoted Kathy Moran or the hardest working guy at the show, Paul Kent. They did the best they could with what little IDG gave them. And their best was often better than anything anyone else could even imagine.

Jon Seff:

“That’s what I’ll miss the most—an event that drew together people I read online or communicated with on Twitter into meatspace for a few days.”

There is no trade show I’m aware of that had the constituencies of a Macworld Expo – everything from brand new users to grizzled old veterans. Artists and techies. IT pros and their customers. Shareware developers (remember those?) And huge multibillion dollar corporations. Paul Kent and his staff (and others before them) had an absolute bear of a time trying to serve all those different groups and, for the most part until Apple left, served them well.

I’ve always said the Expo wasn’t about Apple or the show floor or the vendors or the media or the announcements – although all those things were important and the show wouldn’t be a success without them – but about the people and the community. Friends, new and old. Listeners, readers, developers, colleagues, bartenders, taxi drivers, waiters. And all the fun you had with them.

I remember very few of the products or pamphlets or buttons I got at any individual Expo (hell, I went to 30+ of them around the world over the years) but I always remember the people I met and every year, looked forward to the shows to seeing them again.

I’ll miss that the most.

The “Macumentary”


Way back in the mists of (internet) time, I did a show out of a professional studio in White Rock, BC with a crew of old school radio guys. I found a co-host at a MUG meeting and “The Mac Show” was born. I’d been doing a “broadcast” for several years before meeting these guys but it was definitely not as good as what it eventually became.

We had a great time and the radio guys taught me a lot about how to do things properly. It’s a real shame the relationship fell apart.

A show listener and professional videographer, Adam Tinkoff, pitched the idea of this “macumentary” to us and MacAddict magazine. This video was included on the magazine’s CD-Rom (remember when magazines would give those out?) in August 2001.