23.7.08

Reliving Days 5-9



A couple days ago I had to pick up our vehicle in BC and drive it to Red Deer. The trip took me on much much of the road that I cycled five years ago when I crossed Canada. It was the first time back on this section and the memories just flooded back. I was amazed at how nothing on the road was unfamiliar; there was a preternatural knowledge of every hill and twist.

We had already finished the first four days of our journey, having conquered our doubts about traveling on the highway and then beating the Coquihala. On day 5 it was a sunny day and we rode from Kamloops to a look out (photo above) about 8 kms west of Sycamous. We fed on corn and rode the furthest any of us had ever ridden in one day. Will and Saison had their famous collision and Judy spilled apple sauce throughout the common area of the camper.

The next day was also beautiful. I rode with Eric, an Australian who was dating my cousin. We talked most of the morning. When Jess (my cousin) got back on her bike in the afternoon after giving her bad knee a rest all morning, he rode with her. I never did get a chance to ride alone with Jess - the only one from the whole group. 

We passed through Revelstoke where some of us had hoped to eat at a restaurant someone in Edmonton had recommended, but it was closed. Judy had severe sinus pain and spent some time addressing that. 

We set up camp in another pullout hoping to repeat what we had done the night before. Moments after setting up our tents and having just sat down to eat supper, a ranger came by and told us we must move to the campground some 18 kms up the road. We took the motorhome and backtracked the next morning. Most of us watched About Schmidt that night. I don't think they liked it. I did though.


On day 7 we climbed the Rogers Pass in the rain - one of our only rainy days. It was cold too. Will and I had a spat after I waited for him upon departure as we didn't want anyone riding alone at the tail and then he left me after 10 km. Our spat lasted until the Saskatchewan border and Saison took the brunt of it as she began riding almost exclusively with Will from that day on and she is my sister.



We proved ourselves again after reaching Golden, we climbed up to Yoho Nat'l Park on some incredibly steep road. 



Bernd and Kurt weren't able to meet up with the motorhome for lunch and so they arrived in Golden ahead of everyone else and were exhausted. Kurt thought Bernd had died.



We spent the night at a wonderful campground with a hot tub. Will and Landon went down to the river to do some mischief and Bernd gave them a shout pretending he was a ranger. They thought it was a ranger and bolted back to the campsite via an alternative route. We told them weeks later that it was only Bernd but they didn't believe us.



The next day we crossed the Alberta border and spent the night in Banff. The road was up and down, but nothing too severe and with the excitement of finishing B.C., everyone had a great ride. When we arrived in Banff, the feeling was electric - Landon and Kurt couldn't stop giggling. A man we met invited us to camp on his lawn (and livingroom). Some of our group thought he was strange, but I thought he was quite generous.



It took us nine days to reach Calgary. The last day was the most exhausting yet, not because of any major hills (there were some very long foothills), but because of the headwind, something we hadn't experienced yet. We were also exhausted from not having had a rest day yet - the first was in Calgary.

Amber hit the wall on this leg of the trip. I waited with her for quite a while under an overpass and while she struggled with her will to go on, I just stared at the mountains and couldn't believe we had gotten this far. 

It would be another 33 days of riding before we reached the Atlantic Ocean.

1 comment:

dawn said...

A great commentary on your trip through BC. I can relate to what you are talking about, seeing everything so differently than had you not taken the bike. As you know, I did that trip in the opposite direction, but didn't go the Coquihala but did the Princeton Hope highway. It is truly amazing when travelling the route again, everything has such a familiarity about it. Thanks for sharing your memories and spurring some of my own.