Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Enderby to Kelowna

July 8, 2015

Enderby to Kelowna

The ride home was only 80 kms so we had a 6:00 Am alarm this morning and were rolling by 7:20 Am.  The smoke haze of yesterday had abated somewhat and we had a brilliant blue sky.   It was already starting to get warm so we just took it easy.

The shoulder of the road through the town of Enderby was terrible.  It was narrow and all broken up.  This coupled with a lot of traffic made the couple of kms through Enderby torturous.  After we got out of town the shoulder widen out but it was full of sink holes which were 2-3 feet wide and 4 -8 inches deep.  So a person had to steer around them and sometimes it was just pick the lest bumpy route through them.   It was only 35 kms down to Vernon and so we were soon past the bad road conditions.  From Vernon south to Kelowna the traffic volume tripled. Fortunately we were able to get on to a bike path for a few kms and two sections of the old highway for a few more and a side road.  This reduced the amount of time on the busy highway.  On the way we stopped at a very nice little bike shop where I found two super lite bottle holders for only $10 each.

The final challenge was the hill in front of my house.  It is one kms long and is 11- 16%. 

What a great bike trip.  It was 1770 kms long with 16 ride days and 19 total days.  Lots of great climbs, lots of great rides.   Great to be home.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Revelstoke to Enderby

July 7, 2015

Revelstoke to Enderby

The ride to day was a very easy ride as it was only 110 kms and there was almost no climb. In fact it was primarily downhill.   We got up early as the forecast was for 36C.  When we rolled it was only 12 C so getting away early was paramount. 

The ride out of Revelstoke took us down the TransCanada Highway which is a really busy road.  So being on the road before all of the tourist traffic was essential.   The views along the highway are really spectacular even though a lot of the mountains are obscured by smoke haze from all of the forest fires.  This heat wave has just turned the country into a tinder box.  

At Sciamous we turned off the TransCanada Highway and headed south towards Enderby on Hwy 97.  This road is narrow and windy with really bad and narrow shoulders and of course all of the traffic headed towards Kelowna.  It was really a nerve jangling experience, even though it is very pretty.  Rock walls one the one side and the lake where we are on the other.  The only fortunate thing was is that it was only about 40 kms.

The camp at Enderby is quite large and there is an accordion festival happening.  

Tomorrow is the last day of the ride.  I will be sad to see the ride end even though it will be great to be home after a 19 day ride.  I miss Agnes and the big dog.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Nakusp to Revelstoke

July 6, 2015    

Nakusp to Revelstoke

Yesterday for supper we had our meal in the Leland Hotel and sat outside on the patio overlooking the Arrowhead Lake.  The Leland is the oldest continously operating hotel in British Columbia.  It first opened in 1892.  It was absolutely stunning looking down the lake watching the sail boats. The food and service was excellent. 

The campsite on the other hand was somewhat iffy and I had to get up at 11:30Pm and yell at some drunken and loud campers to shut up and go to bed.  Surprisingly they did and exactly that, and I lay there wondering why I had not done that an hour and a half earlier.  It made the 5:30 am alarm really early and I usually wake up from the sounds of one of the other campers opening zippers up not today I slept right to the alarm.

After a quick breakfast we were on the road. It was a short day of just 100 kms with 1650 meters of climbing so the incentive was to beat the heat.  It was 16 C but forecast to reach 34 C.   From Nakusp it was 50 kms to the ferry which crosses the lake at Galena to Shelter Bay.  The was a lot of smoke haze in the morning air from all of the forest fires.  However getting away early had the additional benefit of having the road to ourselves.  We made the 50 kms by 9:00 am so we had half an hour to wait for the ferry ride which is approximately 30 minutes.  Being on the lake was really refreshing and the ferry ride was a nice break from the road.  Once we were on the Shelter Bay side we let all the traffic go and then had the road to ourselves again for an entire hour as there are no other roads on the north side of the lake.  It was great not having vehicles passing you.  Sure enough an hour later we were passed by the next ferry load again had the road to ourselves.    There was a huge downhill coming into Revelstoke which ended the fun for the day. 

We were in camp just after 12:00 Pm so we had our picnic in camp and then I lay down for a well-deserved nap.  We are here in the Lamplighter Campground where we have stayed on all of the Rockies tours.  It is so nice and green and so very well cared for. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kaslo to Naksup.

July 5, 2015

Kaslo to Naksup.

Today was a great day.  It was really nice and cool to start, and the road was almost totally vehicle free. The total ride was only 100.5 kms and 1200 meters of climbing.

I rolled out to camp and had the opportunity to get a free a big screen TV. Unfortunately Ken yelled “Mine” first so I had to yield it to him.  We had a devil of a time getting it secured to the back of his bike but once it was loaded Ken was able to ride off with his brand new TV. 

We were camped 5 kms south of Kaslo and once were at Kaslo we turned west towards New Denver.  There was one Km of about 8% grade right out of Kaslo and then there was another 30 kms of 2%.  There wasn’t a car anywhere and we had the road to ourselves.  The road was beautiful pavement with lots of curves and followed a stream up the valley.  It was so peaceful and serene.  The sounds of the creek, the fresh smell of the pines and not a breath of wind anywhere, all added to the great ride.  At the summit we stopped for a quick snack  and then to the downhill to New Denver.  This downhill was about 16 kms long and covered the same elevation as we just road up. 

At New Denver Jos and I stopped off for a coffee in a really cute cafĂ©.  Ed and Ken rode on ahead.  Ed had his hearing aid switched to “selective hearing” (turned off).  So he didn’t hear the instructions to go for coffee. 

After coffee we only had a further 49 kms to ride so Jos and I easy pedaled it in.  Along the way I found a beautiful red tea kettle.  It matches my bike very well.  I am so happy to have found this kettle as I will now be able to stop for tea any time I choose. 

Sometimes you think you have found the most beautiful ride ever and then you realize the ride you are on is the best one.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Castlegar to Kaslo (Mirror Lake)

July 4, 2015    

Castlegar to Kaslo (Mirror Lake)

Today’s ride was definitely one of the best rides on the trip.   It wasn’t too hilly.  It wasn’t too long. It wasn’t windy.  It wasn’t too hot, or at least the majority of the trip wasn’t.  It was incredibly beautiful.  Kind of one of those Goldie Locks kind of rides I guess. The day is was really hazy as there are a lot of forest fires burning  due to the extreme heat wave the province is experiencing.    There is a province wide ban on camp fire and burning of any kind.  It didn’t really smell smokey until later  in the day when the wind picked up.  The ride was actually 109 kms and had 1300 meters of climbing.  All of the climbs were short and although there were a couple which were in 7-10% range, most were in the 1-3% range, and they were all under a 10 kms so they went by quickly. 

We were following the Kootney river until we got to Balfour and then we followed the Kootney Lake North to Kaslo.  We had picnic at Balfour just up from the ferry dock which takes cars across the lake.  We were all at picnic wondering where Earnie was when he rolled in with a broken spoke.  He said his derailer hit the spoke when he down shifted but I am not sure how that would happen.  I think his spoke just broke as this is a brand new bike and one spoke was probably over tight or faulty.  Julie loaded  Earnie and his bike onto the van and drove him back to Nelson which was 40 kms back.  The rest of us continued north to Kaslo.  It was only 35 kms so we didn’t need support for such a short distance.  We just made sure our water bottles were full and we were off.

We got into camp and decided to ride into Kaslo which was another 5 kms for  something cold to drink and maybe something to eat.  About half way in Jos got a call from Julie saying she was in camp.  Earnie had gotten his wheel fixed in 15 minutes at the Nelson bike shop and decided to ride the last 35 kms into camp. 

The high light of the day for me was seeing an eagles nest on top of a railway bridge just off of the highway.  The eagles were both in the nest as I rolled up one took off and the other one stayed along with the two chicks.  I took a couple of pictures and the eagle put on a good show for me. 

Pizza tonight in Kaslo  --  Yummy


Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3, 2015

Rest Day in Castlegar

The campground in Castlegar is absolutely beautiful.  We have a wonderful site to spread out in and with great grass to put tents on.   This peace and tranquility was not the scene last night as about 10:00 Pm a domestic fight broke out from one of the campers.  Yelling screaming, vehicles roaring around.  Finally the entertainment was broken up with the arrival of the police.  The story revolved around a man who was out camping with his girlfriend who was his son’s wife (daughter inlaw).  His ex-wife and son arrived and then fireworks started. 

I lay in bed until 8:00 Am.  It was great.  A quick breakfast, and we were off to do chores.  We got groceries for the week, washed clothes and washed the van. 

Back at the campground we went down to the beach.  It was so wonderful just sitting enjoying the wonderful park.  It was so peace and quiet. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.  I don’t know when I have had a more relaxing day off.

Today is Ken’s birthday so we are going off to the Lion’s Head Pub and Steak House.  It is situated right below a huge out crop of rock which looks like a lion’s head.   We also have chocolate truffle cake in the cooler for later.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

Grand Forks to Castlegar

Last night’s campground was right beside the highway and I mean right beside the highway.  I bet that my tent was less than 20 feet from the shoulder of the road.  Not only that but we were at the start of an uphill grade.  So every truck coming into town would be gearing down and every truck heading out of town would be stepping down on the gas.  Sometimes you would think a truck was coming right into the tent.  To say it was less than rest full sleep would not be an exaggeration.  I guess that is the danger of doing an un-scouted trip.

We were up and on the road at the usual time, and I was  glad to be rolling but my legs just didn’t seem to have any power.  There route today was low rolling ups and downs for the first 30 kms past Christina Lake.  It was nice and cool and the lake was so pretty  peeking  through the trees.  At the 30 km mark we started the big climb of the day through Bonanza pass.   It was 28 kms long and averaged 3.5 percent.  By now it is around 30 C so it is a tough climb.   Julie was stopping the van every 3-5 kms to hand out water.  Just before the summit there was a mountain stream beside the road so I stopped and poured water over myself.  That water was no more than 5 C.  Boy was it cold but it felt great.  The summit is called Paulson Summit even though the pass is called Bonanza Pass. It is at 1535 meters.  We had lunch at the summit and then started the big downhill into Castlegar.  Not an incrediblely steep down hill but the same 3.5 percent we had on the uphill.  The remaining 32 kms went by pretty quick and we were rolling in to Castlegar with a metric century on the speedometers.  A stop at the local DQ for a milkshake topped the day off. 

Tomorrow is a rest day.  Ken, Ed, Julie and myself elected to camp but Earnie and Jos took a hotel room.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lake Bonaparte to Grande Forks

July 1, 2015    

Lake Bonaparte to Grande Forks

The loons were calling at 4:30 Am this morning.  Ducks started a few minutes later.  The ground squirrels were busy rummaging the campsite all night.  They chewed the bite valve off of  Earnie’s camelback during the night. 

We started the ride just after 7:00 AM and headed off down the backroad.   It was a tree lined lane and the sun shining through the leaves made beautiful speckled color.  However it was probably not the color or the lack of cars but the fact that it was a 7% down grade which made it a beautiful ride.   We earned the downhill from yesterday’s climb. About 3 kms down the road we came to an unmarked Y.  Luckily a car came by and gave us directions.  The downhill continued all the way to the town of Curlew which was 45 kms.   From there we had 20 kms to the Canadian border and then only 10 km into Grand Forks. 

An easy day and all set up by 11:00 Am. 


Winthrop to Lake Bonaparte WA

June 30, 2015

Winthrop to Lake Bonaparte WA

This was the second day of 153 kms per day.  I had originally planned a slightly different route which would have avoided the two back to back long days however just a few days before we left something happened at the campsite and they cancelled my reservation.  A quick scramble and we wound up with two long days followed by a short day.  It all would have worked out however we are 20 C above normal so it made the two days almost impossible.

To day was forecast to be a real cooker and we were not disappointed.   We got on the road at the normal time of 7:00 Am, while it was still a little cooler. We had a short down hill followed by 15 kms of 4%.  It was a brutal climb as the temperatures are now approaching 32 C.  This was followed by a 20 km downhill which took us into Okanagan WA where highway 20 merges with highway 97 .  Highway 97 is a very busy road and right out in the middle of the heat of the valley it was 38C.  We had 50 kms to grind up to the turn off  at Tonasket.  As soon as we made the corner we were face with a 10-20 kms headwind which felt like it was right out of the blast furnace.  Ed and I ground along until we were within 24 kms of the turn when Julie came along so we jumped in the van.  Ed and I hung out at Tonasket until everyone was there.  Julie sagged Earnie up to the campsite and the rest of us set off. It was 43 kms east of town and with the exception of a few kms in the middle almost all of it was up hill.  At least the head wind had shifted and was now a tailwind.  Not that it was much help as we were grinding along at 8-12 kms/hour.   We got to within 14 kms of the campsite before Julie got back with an empty van and we all jumped in.   We got into camp at right around 4:30 pm making it a 9.5 hr day. 

The camp at Lake Bonaparte is a little fishing camp. Not at all upmarket but cute as anything.  A fish camp right out of the story books.  Loons calling across the lake, sassy ducks leading their brood, stuffed fish in the office, row boats and canoes tied to a tiny wharf. The camp restaurant is really funky and smells great. I am really looking forward to supper.