old molsonThere are many great motorcycle rides in the Okanagan area one of my favorite day rides is just south of the border in Washington. The roads are great and there are a couple of interesting stops along the way. The town of Chesaw (apparently named after a Chinese settler) makes for an interesting destination ride through some great back country.

This is the route I like to take. From Kelowna take Hwy. 33 over to Rock Creek. Take Hwy. 3 East until you reach Midway, there's a small border crossing at Midway that's open (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM). There is also a great campground in Midway. Once you cross the border (you will need a passport) the road follows the Kettle River south, you want to follow the signs to Curlew on West Kettle River Road. Once you reach Curlew take Highway 21 South to the town of Republic, a small western themed town with all services.

Watch for the HWY 20 West signs in town and head for Wauconda. Don't be looking for a large settlement at Wauconda, there isn't one, but this is where you exit and take Toroda Creek Road to Chesaw. You will pass by the ghost town of Bodie where a few log buildings remain and shortly after make a left onto Oroville-Toroda Creek Road toward Chesaw. Follow this route and you will wind your way to the community of Chesaw. There's great old saloon and general store worth investigating. Chesaw hosts a major rodeo each summer.

As you leave Chesaw and head west there is one more interesting side trip (if you like old ghost towns). Watch for Molson Rd. on your right this leads to the ghost town of Molson (No Services) there's a great museum in the old school house. If your on a road bike you will probably return the way you came in as the road is paved. There appears to be a back way out on gravel if you're into a little exploring. Once you're back on Chesaw Rd. head west towards Oroville and Hwy 97 North back to Osoyoos and Canada.

There's another interesting route in Oroville. Watch for the road to Loomis (Orville-Loomis Rd.). The road loops around past Palmer Lake and will connect back on 97 south of Oroville.

Jeff Kumagai
Freelance Motorcycle Rider