British Columbia

Day 0. (29-June-2009). It was a 23-hour trip from Ljubljana to Vancouver. During the flight some interesting documentaries were on the program: about building an airplane which imitates bird's flight by flapping its wings, producing artificial spider web from the milk of genetically transformed goats and about David Ogilvy, the pioneer in advertising. Iik liked David Ogilvy's unusual idea of getting people's attention: he made a fortune by advertising a shirt-making company by posters of a man wearing company's shirts and a black patch over his eye.
Dave, an internet acquaintance from Vancouver, came to pick up Mr. Iik from the airport and drove him to his home. Thanks Dave!

Day 1: 207 km. The morning ride starts promising, with good flat road and huge tailwind Mr. Iik made excellent progress on #7 (Broadway, then Lougheed Highway) up to Hope, then he turned on #3 (Crow's nest HWY) which climbs up to Hope landslide, makes a fast descent to Sunshine Valley and climbs again to Allison pass. Just a few km before the top of the pass Mr. Iik finds a piece of flat ground between the road and a creek and decides to put up a tent. The high temperatures and the climbs of that day left him water-less and thirsty (weight saving measures reduces his capacity to only one bottle cage with 1l water bottle). The cold creek water looks perfectly clean and is tempting to drink, but there is a risk of giardia, so he filters the water by sucking it through the straw water-filter (light at 20 grams) and transferring mouthful by mouthful of it to the water bottle.

Day 2: 174 km. Mr. Iik's ambition, 'Osoyoos in two days', did not realize. 25 km short of that town he spotted a good camping place, close to the road but perfectly hidden and another chance of free wild camp won over an hour or two of riding on difficult roller-coaster type of road. Too much ups and downs of this day made him rather exhausted.

Day 3: 132 km. Today is Canada Independence Day. Back in Vancouver Dave is giving party for 400 people. Last night was a hot one. It was quite comfortable to sleep with sleeping bag unzipped. What a difference from the morning before when Iik found a patch of ice on his tent, indicating that the night temperature must have dropped close to 0 degrees C. The undulating road from yesterday continues in the morning up to the summit with a curious salt lake (unfortunately closed for visitors) and then steep 7 km downhill to Osoyoos.
Eastward from Osoyoos there is a big climb with the summit at Anarchist pass. It was not on the itinerary of this trip (the plan is to go north on #97 to Kelowna), but the name of the pass was too tempting, so Mr. Iik went up to the summit (or close to it) and came back to Osoyoos just in time for lunch special at Husky petrol station. For the rest of the day he had headwind and too much traffic on #97. Worth mentioning was a cherry break. He picked up a pound and a half of cherries which the owner of the orchard gave him for free. 'The higher you go the better they are' is a phrase worth remembering, at least when picking cherries. In Penticton he checked into a motel after bargaining the price a bit. You can do that with the owners of Chinese or Indian origin, if you try it with Canadians, you'll get a blank stare.

Along Okanagan Lake.
Day 4: 182 km. A great day. It went on up and down following a number of lakes in rather hot weather (up to 32 deg C) which is said to be common in this Okanagan valley renown as one of the best vine growing regions of Canada.
In Vernon Mr. Iik left the traffic congested #97 and followed #6 through Lumby and Cherryville - a peaceful idyllic road dotted with farms which looked like two centuries ago. At the end of the day he found a friendly campground for $15 which included armful of firewood and Coco-Chanel, a female rotweiler guard dog to protect him from the bears during the night. The 180 km made today didn't particularly tire him, although we will see if his back side will have to say something about it tomorrow.

Day 5: 135 km. There was a pass or two to cross today, but most of the climbing was done yesterday, so much of the day Mr. Iik enjoyed coasting down the smooth empty road surrounded by multitude of streams, rivers and dark lakes. It was the undisturbed wilderness as he imagined it to be in British Columbia. He took a dip in the refreshing dark waters of Lost Lake which felt like a return to blue lagoon. On the tree trunk by the picnic table where he parked the bike there were traces of bear claws. Territorial marking, obviously. The claws cuts were a bit higher then his head. It made him feel a bit vulnerable, especially as he was naked coming out from the water. He would confront the bear more readily if he had his clothes on.
One of the Arrow Lakes.
There was some further climbing after the Lost Lake and after he reached an unnamed pass that was recorded on his card at altitude 1250 m, the huge long downhill followed all the way to the ferry crossing of Lower Arrow Lake. The road on the other side of the lake was deserted, except when a dozen of cars passed at regular ½ hour intervals of the ferry crossings. In Naksup he found a room in a hotel with adjacent pub where he joined a rock'n'roll friday night party to celebrate this Deliverance day. The only down side to this great day was his sore back side. It was giving him a bit of trouble from the morning and as he observed it in his bicycle mirror there was a nasty looking wound on the left side. He did put a plaster on it, but was a bit worried if that would solve the problem. He was still at the beginning of the trip. A wound on his arse might be fatal for the conclusion of this journey.

A tributary to Upper Arrow Lake.
Day 6: 141 km. A continuation of good days. It was the first cloudy morning but it soon clears up. On mostly deserted roads with the usual amount of ups and downs, Mr. Iik finally gets to Revelstoke and civilization. He hangs an hour or so in a restaurant and a pub, reflecting upon good times he had in the last couple of days. He concludes regrettably that the peace, the good sights and the best part of the trip is already behind him. After shedding a tear for the good old times, he then moves on to Trans-Canada Highway.
On smooth wide shoulder he makes another 35 km to the Hot springs camp. There he finds out that the price for a camping site is the same whether you have a bicycle, a car or a motor-home, and it's even the same if there are four of you or just one. Outraged by this shameless concession to already disturbingly high volume of motorized tourists, he boycotts the campground and finds his free place for the night behind a shed with road gravel.

Rogers Pass.
Day 7: 120 km. Climbing to Rogers pass was easy. In the middle of it a cyclist overtakes Mr. Iik. He is from the group that had camped in the Hot springs camp. They are riding Canada coast-to-coast, from Victoria to Halifax, unloaded and supported. Mr. Iik meets a couple of other touring cyclists, but it seems it is not customary here to stop and chat. Just a nod with the head or a wave of the hand is enough.
Just before Golden he stops at the petrol station to refill his water bottle. A cars stops near and a lady struggles out of the passanger seat. One look of Mr. Iik's trained eye of light-weight addict is enough to assess her weight: 145 kg. The lady throws a painfull look at Iik and proclaims, refering to the way he travels: "I never imagined that someone would want to suffer so much".
Mr. Iik arrives in Golden in early afternoon and feels somewhat lazy to continue further. He also thinks a half day of rest would do good for his sore back side. While he waits for his lunch a power goes off in the restaurant. To his surprise the power came back only late that evening. A rather embarrassing fact for a G8 member like Canada, isn't it? They are quicker to restore the power in Pakistan.

In the morning near Lake Louise.
Day 8: 97 km. In the morning Mr. Iik listens to bad weather forecast on TV in his motel room. There will be rain all day, with possible improvement tomorrow. He looks outside and the forecast seems right. He ponders over the possibility to take a rest that day. There is nothing worse than riding in rain. On the other hand a rest day this early in the trip might ruin his planned schedule. He goes outside and takes a look on the cloud cover. It doesn't look that bad, there is even a hint of clearing up in the east. Then he decides to move on. Half an hour later the rain starts, lightly at first but then there is a real downpour. He puts his overshoes and rain jacket in a hurry and continues riding. It is not long that he is soaked from the waist down. His rain pants are worthless, it's better not wearing them at all. When he comes to a rest area he goes to a restroom and puts on his tyvec suit. The rain is not that hard now, so the tyvec suit provides good protection. It is highly visible and has good ventilation. When he comes to Fields, which is mid way to Lake Louise, Mr. Iik is already convinced that tyvec suit is the magic formula for the rain that he was searching for a number of years. But there is another downpour before he reaches Lake Louise, which leaves him totally soaked, so he is not that sure any more. Accommodation in Lake Louise is ridiculously expensive, so he rides back 14 km to a motel where he saw a sign for room for $49. By the time he checks in the sun is already shining. His bike is dirty as a pig and so is most of his wet clothes. As he inspects the bike he notices that the rear brake pad on one side of the rim had rotated and it appeared it had worn the rim beyond the breaking surface. A very bad day, it seemed, but after cleaning the bike, a shower, a change of clothes and a dinner he couldn't find much motivation to be angry. 97 km in a rainy day isn't that bad after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment