Aug 9 2017 Kelowna To Elko
I was meeting Ken down in Elko today so I had to get on the road early. Not real early but by 8:00 Am so I was up early loading bags and worrying everything. There are a lot of forest fires in British Columbia this year and a lot of them have resulted in road closures. So I had to make sure my route was open and the smoke was so heavy that it was like driving in a dense fog. I had somehow thought it was only about 3.5 hours down to Elko but when I looked on Google the night before I found out that it was really closer to 7 hours. Good thing I looked. So I was out on the road by 7:45 and there was very little traffic so I made good time. Being a two lane mountain road there are very few passing opportunities so I was thankful for the light traffic. It was an interesting drive as a lot of the route was one we had cycled when we did the Rockies III ride a few years before. The big bridge was neat, the Paulson Pass did not seem nearly so high and the big downhill into Castlegar not nearly as much fun in the car. Generally it was a pretty uneventful trip which is exactly what you want from any driving trip. The smoke had made my eyes sore by time I arrived. Ken had 3:40 drive down so I expected he would be at the campground before me. I was quite surprised to have beaten him in and phoned him to find out where he was. He was pulling into the campground. It wasn’t much of a campground just a bit of dried out grass and a few bird speckled tables in a field. So we drove into Fernie for great burgers for supper and lots of catching up on things as we had not seen each other in some time. No internet so not posting but not much to post.
Aug 10 2017 Elko to Canmore
During the night a fierce wind storm came in and blew almost all of the smoke away. So when we got up it was almost a perfect blue sky day. There was only a little bit of smoke haze remaining and by time it was 10:00 am all the smoke was gone. Ken had been planning ahead and had pack granola, yogurt and orange juice so we had a good breakfast in camp. It took two of us to roll up tents as the wind was still pretty stiff and the tents were flapping pretty wildly in the wind as we rolled them up. We hung around waiting for a call from Sean who is the Bike Dreams guide we were to meet at the border so when he called we had to jump in the car and hurry down the last 38 kms to the border. As this is a commercial business they need to employ Canadians to drive in Canada. So Ken and I are the drivers for the week. By now it is close to 12:00 Pm so we head back to Elko to store my car and Ken’s truck. We had lunch in the Cranbrook Tim Hortons which was Sean’s first “Timmies” experience. On the way up we passed by the big Radium fire which had closed the highway for the last couple of months. However it is under control now and is only a few smoking patches. Never the less it was pretty impressive and when it was a big roaring monster it must have been really something. When we arrived in Canmore it was around 6:30 Pm and everyone was keen to get rolling on getting the equipment set up so we wound up working until 9:30 PM and had not had supper. We rolled in from supper around 11:30 and I was way too tired to post a blog. ‘
Aug 11, 2017 Canmore Work progresses
We were downstairs at 8:00 am and ready to go. However as the breakfast room was jammed we walked down the street and found some bagels which were great. We were back half an hour later and started into sorting and all of the groceries and supplies that Rob has bought for the tour. There are mountians of boxes of bars, hundreds of rolls of TP, boat loads of spices and a thousand other items which needed sorting and putting away. By noon a lot of the sorting was done and Ken and I started washing the dishes and camp cooking equipment. There is a mountain of stuff to wash. It is surprising how many plates and bowls and spoons and forks and knives and pots and on and on you need when you are cooking for a tour of 30 riders and 6 staff. It wasn’t until around 5:30 when we were finished. The crew went out for supper at 7:00 to a pub which was absolutely great. I am really impressed with the crew which has been put together for this tour. We have two highly qualified chefs, a skilled bike mechanic, and a very experienced lunch van driver. This does not include Sean and Rob who are the two Bike Dream guides. Or the two Canadian drivers eh.