This is a ride I do often and I have to admit one of the main reasons is for food, Mexican food that is, even if you chose not to stop and eat at Rancho Chico’s in Tonasket you will still experience some great roads south of the border. The highlight of this ride (other than Rancho Chico’s) are the roads West of 97 and just south of the border. You can cross the border at Osoyoos or Nighthawk, I prefer heading south from Kelowna towards Keremeos and if time permits take Green Mountain Road, one of the local favorites. When you get to Keremeos head east on Highway 3 and watch for the on the road to TonasketNighthawk border crossing signs. This crossing is only open during regular hours so watch your time. Be patient as these smaller crossings seem to take more time even though there’s less traffic.

Once you’re through the crossing continue to the first intersection which is Loomis-Oroville Road and turn right. This road winds through some beautiful back country and passes Palmer Lake (there’s a good rest stop there). Continue along and enjoy the area don’t plan on gassing up or eating in Loomis. If you’re on an adventure bike there’s a great back road out of Loomis, but to continue your quest for a more Mexican experience just stay on the pavement. Eventually you will come to an intersection, you want to stay right on #7 but keep that intersection in mind as you will want to go the other direction (North) if you heading back to Kelowna. To find Tonasket just watch for the next intersection where you can make a left and cross over the river into town. Hwy 97 is a couple of blocks ahead after the bridge when you reach it turn left and just as you’re heading out of town you will see Rancho Chico's on your right. The service is always excellent, the food is great and usually very fast so it won’t take away much of your riding time. A word of caution, in U.S. towns they take their 25mph speed limits seriously, watch your speed.

For you ride back you can just stay on highway 97 North to the border, but if you remember your way back to the intersection across the river, mentioned earlier, I like this route better as it takes you on the west side of the river to Oroville and it’s more interesting than the highway. When you reach Oroville you can head for the border and home. If you crave some more curves, when you’re in Oroville turn left on Loomis-Oroville road and follow it back to the Nighthawk crossing. You can see on the map you can still take Hwy 3 to Osoyoos and head north completing a great riding loop. You will need the better part of a day to complete this ride.

Jeff Kumagai
Freelance Motorcycle Rider