Our 2010 KTM 990 Adventure easily rolls along the smooth forest service road adjacent to the Columbia Wetlands, the largest of their kind anywhere in the province of British Columbia. This portion of our tour was unplanned, but we did take the advice of our innkeeper the night before to avoid the overly busy Highway 93. And in return, we are rewarded with wonderful vistas and peaceful roads.
This is the first full day of our August tour; it was to be a solo trip with my wife, Grace, and me. Obviously my enthusiasm for this tour was not kept to myself as two of our good friends soon asked if they could join us with their spouses. Overnight, we became three couples on three motorcycles.
Riding High and Slowing Down for Kootenay Lake
After a brief lunch in the small Bavarian community of Kimberley, we head west for the highly anticipated Gray Creek Pass. This relatively short route takes us over the mountains to Kootenay Lake and avoids weekend traffic in the process. As we approach the summit at 6,800 feet, the good gravel gives way to rough, steep switchbacks with 14-percent grades. The descent on the west side proves to be just as steep but with much more impressive views. I wisely keep the heavily-loaded 990 in first gear while feathering the dual front Brembos. Within a few minutes, we are back on the smooth, curvy pavement of Highway 3A North toward the longest free ferry ride in the world. The trip across the lake takes about 35 minutes, and we all take advantage of the cool breeze coming off the water before we gear up for the final leg of the day, which brings us into the charming little town of Kaslo, BC.