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Bicycle from Kamloops to Revelstoke via Fauquier, and then back


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joie de vivre 3 years ago

joie de vivrephotos

I will add a photo for each entry, and then will mark this goal complete. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 7 - back to Kamloops - 72 miles

For perhaps the first time of the tour, we had the prospect of a sunny day, all day.

We got up, bicycled off to the Pentacostal Church for breakfast, and we were off. It was a pleasant ride up and then through some forests, and then we dropped back to where we had eaten the ice cream Day 1. We then got back on Route 97, heading now west and north, instead of east and south. We had lunch again at the Route 97 Diner, the same place we had lunch on Day 1.

The climb to Monte Lake was easy and gradual, and then it was mostly easy and gradual away from it. There was a water stop at the brake check area, which gives you an idea of what was coming up next. We had a nice, long, steep descent, and for the entirety of it, no cars. Whee! We then rejoined Highway 1, and again had the unpleasantness of pedalling along a major highway with a ton of traffic.

I was very happy for us to turn off it after a few miles, and be on a farm/ranching road that paralleled the 1 on the other side of the river. There were a million (ok, only 15) cattleguards, which were a pain in the ass. We generally dismount for cattleguards, so we’d just build up a head of steam, be riding along, and then it would be stop, dismount, walk, and get back on the bike again. It was also hot and sunny, something I would not complain about after so many miles in the rain.

Finally, that ranch road turned into a road leading into town, and then we were in Kamloops. There was a long, miserable, steep climb back up to the University were we had parked our cars. The sun was beating down on us as we ground up, up, up. But we did make it to the top. Then it was the usual insanity – pick up the luggage, get to the car, load everything up…took the end of the ride pictures – we were done.

We walked next door to the rec center and took showers and changed into street clothes. Then it was the long drive back on the Yellowhead Highway, back to the US border, dinner, and then home. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 6 - to Armstrong - 83 miles

After leaving Revelstoke, we started out on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. Motor vehicle traffic was very heavy and loud. We generally had a nice broad shoulder, but still, the press of cars and trucks was relentless.

We had a rest stop at about 25 miles along, where they pounded in the spike to connect the trans-Canada railway, and then got back on the highway. There were some brief sections of riding on what was the old highway, and then getting back on the main trunk again.

We finally turned off, and it was still a ways off until lunch. I asked David to stop the bike so I could pee and reapply some chamois butt’r. David probably got bitten by 15 mosquitos while he waited for me.

Then we rode alongside Lake Mara, a long beautiful lake that is heavily under development, sort of like Lake Chelan in our own state. After a good 50 miles into the ride, we were finally stopping for lunch, and were ready for it.

Even after consuming it, I felt like it wasn’t quite enough, or maybe the break wasn’t long enough. I had some ice cream hankerings, but decided not to ask for a break at a convenience store – we would soldier on. We got into Enderby, where we had had a rest stop on Day 2, and had some snacks.

Then, it was sort of a straggle into Armstrong. We were on backroads for a lot of it, but we took frequent breaks. When we finally got close to town, there was massive road construction, which we had to cope with, and finally got to our motel.

We had talked about having a dinner outside the tour that evening, but Armstrong’s gourmet offerings were few. Instead, after a shower and a change of clothes, David went off in search of a wee snack of burger, fries, and a coke before dinner. Me, I went to a cafe and finally filled that ice cream jones, along with a big cup of tea.

Another cyclist who had his wife driving along with the tour gave us a ride to the church where dinner was served, so we didn’t have to either walk the mile to get there nor ride our bikes. We also got the luxury of a ride back. After that many miles in the saddle, that was just fine. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 5 to Revelstoke 63 miles

I realize I had better write this stuff while it still is in my memory.

We woke up in Nakusp, and despite the previous night’s sunset, it was now overcast, raining, and in the 50s. The views of the Monashee mountains should have been spectacular, but they were mostly peek-a-boo, at best, through the clouds. The road was mostly vacant except for logging trucks.

Several times I thought we were further than we were, mainly because it was not an easy ride, which went from simply raining, to absolutely pouring. When we made it to the water stop, we had a very limit agenda of what we were to do, because it was so wet. The risk of really getting chilled was high.

From the water stop, it was a big climb, and then another huge drop down to the ferry. David handled it well. I was glad our bike stayed ahead of an oversized load carrying a large bulldozer. We pulled into the ferry, and waited with several other cyclists, and then the oversized load came in. I chatted briefly with the driver, who had one of the thickest Canadian accents I’ve heard in some time. Since there was a wait, I also took other photos from the ferry dock.

By the time the ferry arrived, the rain had stopped, but I was worried about David getting too chilled. He was shivering on the boat, and I worried about hypothermia. The ladies’ room was heated and had a nice flush toilet, the first I’d seen in a while. Several cyclists gathered in an “crew only” alcove where hot air was blowing up from below, unzipping and then holding their jackets out like bird wings, to dry.

By the time we arrived at the other side of the lake, the sun was out. Our lunch stop was just at the park at the terminal, and we all spread ourselves out on the already-dried blacktop, eating lunch and basking in the sun.

After lunch, we shed our wet coats and warmers, and rode out into the sunshine. It was a pleasant up and down, and we had a nice stop near Blanket Creek. But you could see the clouds forming; clearly more bad weather was on the way.

As we headed into Revelstoke, the signs increased. The sky grew darker and darker; cars coming the other way had their headlights on. The pavement in front of us was full of rain. Maybe, we thought, we might just miss it. Maybe, somehow, it had come and went, and we’d somehow skirt around it.

And then it hit. I don’t know if it was the heaviest, hardest rain I’ve ever felt, or if it was hail. But it hit us at full force. Bam-a-da-bam-a-da-bam-a-da-bam! Under conditions like these, it’s good to have the weight and stability of a big bike like our tandem. Maybe only 15 miles left or so into Revelstoke, but it was coming down relentlessly.

After so many miles without even a side road off (other than into Blanket Creek park), we were getting closer to town. We came to what I thought would be our turn-off. There was a pub. After a minor stoker/captain squabble, we dismounted and walked into the establishment, and determined that yes, we were in the right place, yes, we were nearly into town, yes, we were nearly there.

David’s patience with misdirection was thin, so I worked hard to memorize what the pubkeeper had said in addition to my map and guidebook. We took no wrong turns, but came to our motel, no problem.

Then it was hot showers, a change of clothes, and we went into the motel’s adjacent pub. We ordered a couple of pints of Tall Timber and a huge plate of fried foods.

The Tall Timber, I remember as having a nice copper brown color with a ruby red hue, nutty, with toffee and caramel malts coming through as the most prominent scents, with a bit of a mocha finish. It went down buttery smooth.

We ate some of the fried foods, then shared them with other cyclists as they came into the bar. We moved to a larger lounge, and swapped stories of the day. Then the Tour De France came on, and while some of them settled in for the long haul, we split. As it had stopped raining completely and the sun was out again, we walked around the center of town, and visited the small historical museum.

There was some snafu over dinner, and we didn’t get served until 6:45. Lucky we had had the snacks and bevs, so we didn’t suffer as much as others. That sort of bad weather cycling really takes it out of you mentally as well as physically, and you can really be hurting if you’re not properly fed on time.

David decided not to stick around for whenever the desserts came out. I walked around, took some evening photos, and came back to go to bed. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 4 - to Nakusp - 36 miles

This was our rest day, so we didn’t get breakfast until relatively late, around 9:00.

The ladies of Fauquier did not disappoint us. There was toast with three different types of homemade preserves, freshly picked local huckleberries (gone very quick), a large variety of cold cereal (including puffed quinoa for the celiac rider) and hot oatmeal, eggs, smoked sausages and bacon, hash browns, and heated croissants. Thus fortified, we headed out on the road again.

While it had rained overnight, it wasn’t raining that morning. It was mostly upsies-downsies along scenic Arrow Lake, which is just the Columbia River fattened by a dam. We saw an osprey nest (with a chick sitting in it) and several ospreys hunting along the lake. The day cleared and brightened, and by the time we arrived in Nakusp, it was sunny. The motel was not fancy, but was well-kept. We ate lunch at the senior center, and then packed up for the shuttle to the Nakusp Hot Springs.

We sat for about an hour in the hot springs. I was surprised how few cyclists chose to go, as it was just the perfect thing after all those days of riding. I felt so mellow when we were done. The senior center made us a Greek dinner, showing up Lumby once again, with tahini and hummous, pitas, greek salad, and skewers of roasted chicken – and cheesecake for dessert.

After dinner, as the sun was setting, David and I strolled along the city park that runs along the lake shore. Flower gardens and benches invite you to sit, and take in the mountains that tower up on all sides. It was peaceful and beautiful. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 3 - to Fauquier (70 miles)

It rained overnight, and the campers were shaking out their tents in the morning. We got up and returned to the Legion Hall for breakfast, where we had the ham and potatoes of the previous night’s dinner baked with eggs into a “frittata”, with squares of American cheese melted on top.

We then took off for the Monashee mountains, under cloudy skies. The road through the trees was nearly deserted. The traffic was mostly full logging trucks on the other side of the road, headed to Lumby’s mills. We had occasional logging trucks pass us on our side of the road, but they were empty, headed back into the hills for more felled trees. The road climbed along the beautiful Shuswap River to Cherryville. There we had our water stop, and our last view of any sort of civilization.

After Cherryville, we turned away from the river, and the road climbed and climbed, some sections quite steep. It was deeply forested. The neighboring mountains were mostly shrouded in mist.

We had made it more or less to the top, when we took a little break. While David was eating or drinking or peeing or some other task, the bicycle started to fall, and it fell upon the finger I jammed three weeks ago in yoga class. I fell to the forest floor and howled in pain, and didn’t stop. Three ladies pedaled by and asked if I was OK. I could not reply, as I was still screaming inarticulately, but David said, “she’s fine”. She’s fine??! FINE??!!! (His excuse – if I wasn’t fine, I would have told him I wasn’t. The rolling on the forest duff, uncontrollably shrieking didn’t give him a CLUE What was he waiting for, a facebook status update? “I’m current experiencing agony”) The pain went down to where I was instead merely sobbing uncontrollably. Then, it went down enough that I was able to say to David that he needed to flag down the next cyclist pedaling by and tell him or her to get Sunette (our medic) from the lunch stop because I would need a splint.

While we hunted around for sticks to splint my finger in the meantime, the pain went down further, and I said we could probably ride to the lunch stop without one. We got back on the bike, and while I whimpered a little over every bump in the road, we pulled into the lunch stop just as Sunette was ready to leave to get to us. I got the finger splinted, and it felt better to be immobilized. I was lucky to be riding stoker as I don’t need my fingers to shift or brake, and I felt I’d be OK to ride.

We then ate lunches catered by the Lumby ladies of the Legion Hall: the thinnest piece of pressed chicken that you can imagine, transparent in its thickness, one layer, a tiny piece of lettuce, mayo, and a single slice of American cheese. Boxed juice and a granola bar. No fruit, no chips, nothing more. We had just done this enormous climb, and this was all they had. Further, I heard from slower riders, because this fare was so meager, faster riders took more than one granola bar, and so the slower riders had none – just these pathetic excuses for a sandwich. Well, we were there early enough to at least get the granola bar.

As we left lunch, it started to rain. The pavement for most of the downhill had been prepared for chipsealing – it had been pressed, but it had not yet been sealed. The bike vibrated intensely as we ran over the gravelly surface. Down, down, swooping up and then down. Logging trucks. The rain intensified. More logging trucks. The final descent was an 8% grade steepening to 10%. A lumber mill, then down, down, and brakes squealing as we came to a halt at the shore of Arrow Lake and the ferry dock.

We were the third bike in; one car was also waiting. I ate the other half of an energy bar David had started earlier in the ride, which was ambrosial, which then lead me to unwrap and then consume another entire bar. More and more cyclists gathered. The rain slacked, then stopped. The ferry arrived, and we all piled on, with a dozen cars and several semi trucks.

After completing the crossing, we arrived in Fauquier. Fauquier consists of: a general store, a community center building, a private campgrounds, and maybe six houses “in town” and probably another dozen scattered about. The tour’s arrival about doubled the town’s official population. The motel has long been defunct, and the total non-camping official accommodations was a B&B with two rooms, long since reserved by cyclists on the tour. David had heard from the tour director, since we weren’t able to get the B&B, that we were to go to the general store and ask for Judy, and that we would be put up somewhere. So, we went to the general store, asked for Judy, and were directed to a woman in a duck-bill hat smoking a cigarette at the picnic table out front. Judy directed us to what was labeled “the bunkhouse”, and after a wrong turn, we found ourselves there.

The bunkhouse was an outbuilding on Judy’s property, fixed up to some level of habitability. The floor was concrete, but there was a functional bathroom with shower, several rooms with beds and linens, and a common area with a TV (no reception). Upon arrival, cycling shoes and gloves were arrayed by other guests around a space heater going full blast, and we added ours. The bunkhouse was spartan, but it was dry, the shower gave good pressure of lots of hot water, and we were able to return to clean clothes and feelings of general humanity.

We packed up all our dirty wet cycling laundry, and walked to the general store. The general store functions as the town center. In addition to selling food, liquor, and gas, it has a laundromat. A section of the somewhat ramshackle building has three computers wired up to the internet, free, for anyone’s use. If you feel like having tea or coffee, there’s a kettle and a coffee maker and you can have a hot beverage (again, free) and hang out as long as you’d like.

So, we started a load going, and I drank tea, and we chatted with other cyclists, and checked out things on line. By the time the clothes were washed, dried, and folded, and returned to the bunkhouse, it was time for dinner.

After our disappointing food in Lumby (ten times the population of Fauquier), we might have been apprehensive about what supper awaited us in the Community Hall. Instead, wow. An enormous array of different salads, platters of fruit, baked or mashed potatoes, and roast beef with hot gravy awaited us. They had a chocolate fountain and enormous piles of fresh local strawberries to dip in the chocolate, plus angel food cake and vanilla ice cream.

We ate, and ate, and ate. The guy who labelled our previous supper in Lumby “prison food” led a standing ovation for the women who made this feast – they came out of the kitchen and blushed as we accoladed their cooking.

We waddled out of the community hall and went back to the bunkhouse. David and I played a few hands of cards in the common room and talked to one of the other cyclists, Karel. Then, as we listened to the rain fall again, we fell asleep. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 2 To Lumby - 68 miles

We woke up to pouring rain. Rather than go to the campsite, we had a $4.99 special breakfast in town. The rain showed no signs of slacking. Various leather-clad bikers also hung out at the diner, looking glumly at the rain.

Since it showed no signs of slacking, we got out there on the bike. The traffic on the Trans-Canada was hellish, and flithy road-gritty cold water was repeatedly slooshed over my legs and feet. At the top of an enormous hill we finally got to turn off the highway, only to be greeted with more hill and a road resurfacing project. Only at the very top did the construction stop and the pavement become OK.

This treat of riding on side roads came to an end, and we were put back out on a highway, but at least not the Trans-Canada. Then, thankfully, we returned to country roads. We had a nice long downhill into the town of Armstrong, maxing at about 43 mph. We took some wrong turns finding the water stop there, but finally happened upon it, standing under the shelter of the tent and eating fruit. After leaving the water stop, the rain lessened, and then finally quit.

We shed jackets.

After riding through ranches and farms, we got on the 6. I was not a huge fan of the 6, as it had a lot of logging trucks. The shoulder narrowed. Nearly to Lumby, we got to turn off, and saw the first of three enormous saw mills, explaining the many lumber trucks.

While the miles were shorter than the previous day’s, we were pretty tired, and happy to see the town of Lumby. Our motel was the most tawdry of the trip, but not completely repulsive, and Lumby had no other lodging, anyway. We walked over to camp next door, and then through town.

At the Legion Hall, we had the worst dinner of the trip: pressed ham, canned green beans and boiled carrots, potatoes, pressed ham, and strawberries in gelatin. Our tablemate said that he felt like it was prison food, which is an exageration. But at the very least it showed no imagination and had few choices.

We came back to the motel and this time managed to stay up until 8:30 until crashing. 3 years ago

joie de vivreDay 0 and Day 1

Day 0

We packed, and left town rather leisurely in the morning. It was pouring rain as we headed north up I-5.

We exited the freeway, and then looked for lunch. It’s been a long time – probably more than a year or more – since I have had any sort of fast food meal, and I made the mistake of thinking, sure, I could eat a burger and fries. It was so gross. I can’t believe some people eat that every day. Bleh. As we continued along the country highway, I had David turn off down a country lane to an organic farm stand, where I had some snap peas (raw) and a basket of strawberries. I still felt gross, but at least I felt like something decent was in my body too.

The way to the Sumas border crossing is far from direct, and we had several turns before we finally arrived. It’s not a busy crossing, and we were over in a few minutes, and in Canada.

We drove through the Fraiser Valley, where we had ridden last year. Then, we took the Coquihalla Highway, which cuts out hours from the old TransCanada route of my youth. As we got to the top of the pass, the forest changed to more pines, and the rain slacked. We drove into Merritt, saw a ton of motorcycles, and I got some tea to go.

We got to the check-in for the tour, turned in last minute paperwork and got the bike inspected. Then we found our motel in Kamloops. An enormous electrical storm hit. It pounded rain. We had some Indian food near the motel (not bad, but service was glacial) and after final packing and organizing, went to bed.

Day 1 – to Salmon Arm (82 miles plus about 8 additional riding around)

The morning was overcast but dry. We ate an early buffet breakfast at the motel, then loaded our bags onto the luggage truck, parked and secured the car for the week, and took off.

We rode through suburbs, then exurbs, and then the roads ran out on to the main highway. We turned off, and immediately the strong scent of sage dominated as we climbed into the hills. The sagebrush turned to pines, and then we were on top of the plateau, among small ranches and horse farms. The road was narrow, pitted and cracked, but there were few cars.

When we left this road to go onto the 97, I felt vaguely cheated: we were now back to shoulder riding – country lanes, no matter how bad the pavement, are nicer. We had an easy ride up to Monte Lake, and then down into lunch at the Route 97 Diner. It was a few more kms down the highway, and then finally we turned off onto another country road. We saw many more motorcyclists now. At a roadside convenience store we had a rest stop, and David and I got ice cream.

It was only about 20 flat miles to Salmon Arm from there, but it seemed to take forever. Finally we got to the Trans-Canada, 50 trillion cars and semi-trucks, and the turn-off into town. After a lot of backing and forthing, we located our motel. Salmon Arm is apparently “Sturgis North” and they were having their huge motorcycle festival that weekend. After showers and clean clothes, we hunted down some beers and bar snacks, and found that prices were jacked up for the thousands of bikers. We had a couple of pints and some ribs anyway.

After that, we got back on the bike, which was less painful than I would have thought. We pedalled back down the Trans-Canada and to the campground where the rest of the tour was staying. We had a fine dinner of lasagna, and then rode back into down before dusk. I fell asleep three times on my crossword puzzle before David finally turned out the lights at 8:00. 3 years ago

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