This morning is was much warmer than any of the previous mornings and I only needed two shirts and a wind breaker. However it was much also much smokier. The tour is now directly north of the Washington state forest fires. There are a lot of web pages which seem to indicate that these fires are the largest fires on record. It is really no wonder considering the record hot summer coupled with a lack of rain. The tour is going to have to be diverted around one of the major fires in Washington as the area is closed and on fire. All of these fires and the smoke is really kind of scary.
So we loaded up camp and there were lots of sad farewells as I was now on my way home and would not see the riders again or at least until the next tour. You always wind up meeting them somewhere as this is a small community. Sean promised me a free weeks ride in the future and although I was sad to go that was a very generous parting gift and one I fully intend to hold him to.
The drive out of camp and back to the highway was pretty uneventful and I found my car exactly as I had left it in Elko one week before. I went into the store where the car was parked and found the owner and thanked him for storing my car. He just couldn’t imagine riding a bicycle from Banff to Apache Wells New Mexico. Just plain crazy to use his words.
The seven hour drive from Elko to Kelowna turned out to be close to nine as there was so much traffic on the road and there were a lot of delays due to highway construction. I think that every bridge along the Rogers Pass is being worked on. At one spot I was stopped behind this little car which had this huge dog in it. The window was down and this huge dog head would appear. It was pretty funny.
As I got closer to home the smoke just kept getting thicker and thicker. Going through the Roger’s Pass you could not see the mountains and in Revelstoke you could not see the other side of the river. The radio was calling Kelowna the Smokanagan rather than the Okanagan.
Although I have run a few of my own tours this was really my first tour where I was strictly a crew member. It was a pile of really hard work and really long days. However watching the riders coming in with great big smiles on their faces made it lots of fun and a great experience. So I want to thank Rob from Bike Dreams and Sean from Bike Adventures for giving me this fun trip. I also want to wish all of the riders a successful tour to Apache Wells.