Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On The Same Page

    A lifetime ago, before I came to the hot spring property, I became known for restoring and collecting old motorcycles which became a passion of mine for a number of years, a passion I was more than willing to share with anyone whom showed the slightest interest. Considerable time and effort was put into procuring parts and wore out old heaps to bring back to life. This was back in the days before Internet, and searching was done the old fashion way, by word of mouth, and the weekly Buy + Sell. The fat BC edition would come out on Wednesday but it seemed to me it took until the weekend before it made its way to the news stand in this small interior town.
   One thing I always looked forward to was to go for a Sunday morning steak and egg breakfast at the local hotel, where I was known as 'the guy from the motorbike shop'.  I'd spread my new Buy + Sell out in front of me and have a close study of the extensive motorcycle sections from the big city, looking for my next project. For some reason, whether it worked out alphabetically or what I don't know, the vintage motorcycle section was included in the last section, lumped in there with all the personal ads. The lonely, desperate, and depraved, relegated to the final pull out section. I'm not sure what type of people read the personals, but I always made an effort to quickly flip over to the real estate section when the waitress came around.
   One particular day, there was the new gal on shift at the Longhorn Cafe. Outgoing and eager, and not having acquired the apathy for the job present in the other serving staff she appeared promptly at my table, surprising me in her waitress outfit with a sudden offer of coffee. She leaned over filling my cup, and of course just had to look down at what I was reading, probably hoping to make a little small town chit chat before taking my order back to the kitchen. Her attention was immediately taken by the colorful big city ads from escort agencies, massage parlours, and rows and rows of classified personal ads, and does a double take.
"Find anything interesting there??" she giggles, with a cheeky 'gotcha!' grin.
 I figured she wanted to talk about old motorcycles, and began to fill her in on a recent purchase I had made of a wore out old heap.
   "As a matter of fact, I have." I stated as she prepared to take my order.
She reacted like maybe that wasn't the answer she was expecting, but was all ears.
"This ones a little older than I like, I prefer 'em in the sixties." I said with a big smile.
The poor waitress stood there batting her eye-lashes, seemingly stuck for an answer.
My interest was early Japanese bikes, but this particular heap was from England.
"A Brit" I said, adding, "...funny, I usually go for the Asians".
Her smile drooped off on one side, so I knew she was thinking hard.
   The relic was scratched and faded and in need of some serious TLC.
"Needs some work on her in the cosmetic department." I told her.
"And don't we all..." she joked, fingering her hair trying to move the awkward conversation along.
   The old clunker was in need of a cylinder rebore and larger pistons, I figured she might be curious.
"Going to get the old girl a new set of jugs too!" I told her excitedly, using the Brit bike vernacular.
"New jugs..." repeated the waitress, like she didn't quite hear me right.
"Oversize ones!" I said with a big grin.
"I see, of course..., and have you had a chance to look at our menu sir?"
   Common with old bikes, it burned oil, leaked oil, and had ignition problems.
"She stutters and smokes, and left a puddle on the floor. Her lights are on but she's not firing on all cylinders, if you know what I mean."
"Oh my..., would you like to hear about our special?" she asked hopefully.
   The carb dripped fuel and there was a knock from what was probably a crank bearing.
I put it as delicately as I could.
"The old girl had a bad gas leak, and made strange noises." I stated.
"...Strange noises?" she asked flatly, staring straight ahead.
"Ya" I said, "From the bottom end!"
   She was holding her pad and pencil up close in front of her face, and not asking any more questions I noticed, so I told her I would take my steak medium rare, my eggs over easy, and my toast white.
Breakfast took longer than usual to arrive, and I noticed they didn't seat anyone else in my section for some reason.
Come to think of it, since that day, the manager always came and took my order.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Motorcycle Madness

    I received a message back awhile on one of the hot spring facebook sites from a party seeking information about current conditions at the T'sek campsite. First timers sounded like, asking the usual questions like if the hot spring was open this time of year, and the rate to camp. She casually mentioned they would be attempting to ride their motorcycles up from the south via the rugged pioneer road strung into the mountains along Harrison Lake. 
"Good lord", I think I said to myself, it was the middle of January, it was still hovering at the freezing point at best during the day, and no one really seemed to know what the condition of the road out the south was in, or even if it was open.
I do know a thing or two about motorcycles, and a fun weekend ride like this is going to sort out the serious riders from the less inclined pretty quickly. I wrote back in a thinly veiled attempt to dissuade them from such a harebrained idea, but added that in the off chance her and her friends on their motorbikes actually make it this far, any survivors would be welcome to use the guest cabin.
   Can't say I was completely surprised when no one showed up Saturday afternoon. Probably turned around at the first ice patch and warming their hands over a pitcher of beer down at the Sasquatch Inn was my guess. Once the sun went down and ice crystals began to form outside I had almost forgotten about them when I look and see two headlights coming down the driveway. They parked under the light out front and shut down, turned off the satellite navigation gear and unplugged their heated underwear. Turns out it wasn't much of a ride at all for this adventure seeking brother and sister duo.
I had a better look at them the next morning in the light. They had been up early for a soak down at the hot spring and were eager to fire up the bikes and explore new territory. I sent them up the logging road that goes up the mountain behind me where they eventually had to dig themselves out of the snow and it is a wonder they still talked to me when they got back. They decided to scoot into Pemberton for lunch. Being an hour and a half away and several hundred feet higher than here, it looked a little more like Winter there at that end of the valley.  They stopped at one of the local eateries and the waitress made sure they got the table closest to the wood stove.
They arrived back here at the lodge shortly before sundown, ready to leave on their journey down the rugged West Harrison trail. I could do a witty write up about their entire weekend adventure, but I would just be plagiarising from their entertaining account of the trip. You can go see here....