Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Cranbrook and raining.........

Yes, the usual. Three days of work and then rain again. Are now in Cranbrook after a longish day in the saddle yesterday: a record (for us) 109 kms and crossing a time zone. Today rain and we are finally looking for decent rain gear so that we can save some money on motels. Looking forward to crossing into Alberta in the next few days and anticipate being able to start camping so that we do not arrive destitute at the other end. If you see cyclists begging cap in hand on the side of the road spare us a thought...Yesterday the hills were a lot flatter than we were used to, 2 to 3 degrees and we could get a decent average. We did have some rain but dried out after the rain stopped. The weather has been atrocious.

We anticipate saddling up again tomorrow, rain or shine and expect the Crowsnest pass in two days.









as you can see it was not raining.......

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Argenta, BC

Just 11 kms short of the first 1'000! I was briefly thinking of just going around in circles to make up the 11 kms but thought that a little immature. Left Revelstoke after a day's rain delay (Revelstuck?) and caught the noon ferry across the lake.

Just before the crossing we had a black bear encounter: the bear was just looking at the traffic on the road and minding his own business. Brigitte was suddenly doing 83 km an hour  and we arrived at the ferry with 20 minutes to spare...needless to say we did not stop, dig for the camera and ask the bear to say "cheese", so no picture, sorry.

Once on the ferry B did ask a motorist (who had stopped and taken pictures) to please email us one.....  and here it is!!!!!

On the other side we walked the bikes uphill and then proceeded to Halcyon Hot Springs where, at a price, we recovered in the pools and watched the Canucks win their second game.
Then on to Nakusp and New Denver. ARE THERE NO FLAT ROADS IN BC??? Brother, 85 kms of up and down. We were pretty bushed after climbing to 800 meters at Summit Lake and a sneaky little hille just 4 kms befor New Denver.


Yesterday Bruce and Cottie thankfully picked up our luggage in the morning after which Cottie led the way along a backroad trail, cutting off part of the uphill on the way to Kaslo. The trail is an old railway track which used to run past the silver mines. The trail builders had an interesting way of crossing a river... Then on to the top at 1072 meters, the high point of the trip...and lunch with our hosts. The downhill was delightfull: 37 kms of uninterrupted descending road.



In Kaslo we visited the oldest stern paddle wheeler in Canada, taken out of service in 1957 and now beached, left the bikes in Kaslo and were driven to Argenta for a day's r&r.










We have spent this morning repacking and deciding what we don't really need after all. Hans was right: we are sending about 7 kilos home (to Lars and Sharon), after dragging it through most of BC. Tomorrow we start the last leg of BC, to Creston and Cranbrook and The Crow. Should take about six days (said he and the gods were rolling in the isles with laughter).

Monday, 16 May 2011

Revelstoke

May 16
After disengaging ourselves, with difficulty, from the warm embrace of Otto and Hanna we left for Chase. (O&H are both a bit camera-shy!!)

We had a hard time finding the way out of town. We were prohibited from riding on the TransCanada but, in the usual way of bureaucrats, no alternative was indicated. Thankfully three ladies in a InfoTourism trailer had heard this complaint before and pointed us in the right direction. Fifteen kms later we were allowed to rejoin the highway. The rest of the ride was a piece of cake: downhill false flats all the way.







The next day a steep climb out of town got our attention immediately. The rest was up and down, but nothing too serious and we cranked 85 kms without too much trouble and we watched the first hockey game between Vancouver and San Jose (Vancouver won, Canada rocks!!!).

Today was a different story. Rain was forecast, but the roads were dry when we started out.
With a little tailwind things were fine and we visited the site of the last spike on the CP railroad (one of several...). The the rains came. The semis (trucks and trailers), of which there are many on the TCan, are not usually a huge problem, but when it starts raining things get a little hairy. The bridges are narrow and you have to wait for a break in traffic as these fellows need the entire width of their lane and don't slow down at all (time is money, and all that). Not only that, but visibility is reduced to near zero as they zip by you and throw up a curtain of water. At one point a semi coming the other way needed to pass another and this wasn't funny either. We arrived in Revelstoke cold and soaking wet and our clothes have been in the dryer for two hours already. Thankfully the motel has a hottub where we spent an hour getting warm and our fingers have loosened enough from the deathgrip on the handlebars to dig a credit card out of our wallet to keep the front desk happy. Tomorrow we will head south on the Nr. 23 into the Kootenays where the traffic should be much reduced and the forecast also looks a little better. We have been in touch with Sharon's parents and they will pick up our luggage in New Denver in two days so that we can cross the mountain range to Kazlo (1000 meters) without all that weight. We will stay with Cottie and Bruce a day or two before the last bits to the Crow's Nest pass and out of BC.
Well, this is "tomorrow" and we woke up to more of the same.......after some hard thinking we decided that within no time we would be as wet as yesterday and hence G visited the front desk again and we are staying put!!! Tomorrow, Wednesday is suppose to be a much better day! We shall see..... in the meantime B managed to download some pictures and add some coor to the blog!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Half Way through BC (we think)

Made it to Kamploops yesterday May 12 and are staying with Hanna and Otto, friends from way back when in Montreal. They've been around and have done things too, so it was interesting to catch up with them. Five days of cycling from via Chilliwack, once the rains stopped, via Yale (beyond Hope...), where we were invited to stay in (another) Otto's trailer overnight, then Boston Bar, Spences Bridge, Cache Creek and to Kamloops. There are seven tunnels after Yale: you are sent across the road and are invited to bike or walk along a narrow sidewalk, without railings, muddy and full of debris, while the semis roar by in both directions. Pretty intimidating and dangerous: people get killed every year. BC does itself no favours by not improving the lot of cyclists along this stretch of the Trans Canada. Two of the tunnels have lights, activated by means of a button, to warn traffic that there are cyclists in the tunnel, but only one set of lights worked.

The Fraser Valley has train tracks on boths sides: Both CN and CP operate huge trainsets, up to 180 wagons, pushed and pulled by three or more locomotives, go up and down the valley on the way into the prairies from the coast and the other way around.

The stretch to Kamloops was a little strange: the maps said that, yes, you are going up but you go down into Kamloops. Turns out that the downhill comes just before Kamloops and to get to Otto and Hanna's you have to climb another 150 meters. Thankfully Otto picked up our luggage at the bottom, as the day was hard enough with about 800 vertical meters up and the first serious headwinds of the trip. We had an interesting conversation with a cafe owner in Savona, who told us that the sockeye salmon come all the way up here from the Pacific coast. They swim up the Thompson, then the North Thompson all the way to the Columbia Icefields to spawn. Apparently it is quite a sight.

After a day's rest (and laundry!) we will attack the second half: three or so days to Revelstoke, then down to Cranston and the Crowsnest pass into Alberta. We should be well clear of the hardest part of the trip, BC, a few days before the end of the month. We've covered 560 kms and are averaging 70 kms per day, when not held up by weather.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

On the Road...

This past Monday it rained of course. What with the crappy spring Victoria has had this did not surprise us. The Brentwood Bay ferry had stopped running at midnight the day before and thus was not an option to bypass the dangerous Malahat. Lars offered to drive us past the pass on his way to his cob house building site and dropped us in Duncan. We waited for the worst of the rain to stop and got busy. Sixty five kms along the busy Trans Canada later we arrived at Bob and Marion's, old friends from our Kanata days. We spent an evening in their wonderful home as well as the following day, well some of it as they drove us around the northern end of Vancouver Island.

Visited Mount Washington, hoping for a hike, but the 18 meters (!!!) of snow they had was still largely present and the trails were still buried. On Monday we watched the election results and were pleased with the Conservative majority as well as with Elisabeth May's election, whose presence, we are sure, will change the politics in the House. The Bloc is gone, which is okay for a party which, with Federal funds, advocates the breakup of Canada. Anywhere else this would be called seditious!.Bob and Marion insisted on getting up at 06:30 the next morning to see us off.



Thanks again for your hospitality!

Enjoying a real German meal in Port Aberni





We made the 08:30 ferry to the mainland, which was a good thing, as we had lots of trouble finding our way through hilly Vancouver on our way to Langley. Arrived at Trix and Hans' at 17:45 as promised... Tough day, with full luggage. Trix made spaghetti and the four of us had a long and animated chat about our experiences. They are avid long distance (also across Canada!) tandem riders and have ridden as well as hike the trail to Santiago. They are of Dutch origins as well and emigrated around the same time as I did. Hans rode out in the rain this morning to point us in the right direction. Thanks guys!!

Riding along 0 Ave, along the border with our paranoid friends to the south was a little unnerving, what with border patrols and cameras. Now we are at the lovely B&B of Lynne and Jim resting after another day of 80 kms.