Saturday, June 24, 2017

We had borscht in Grand Forks, and shared one enormous perogie at Borscht Bowl (even though it was only 10:30am, but we just had to!). 
The wildflowers are abundant and resplendent now, though they are difficult to capture on camera. There were hills in our day, so our total Kms for the day are not long, but we are loving the hills vs. the AB wind, as hills tend to eventually go down.
Lovely, vibrant BC town after town is so uplifting! And, each one with plans for Canada Day 2017 - 150yrs. Pancake Breakfasts. Hot dog BBQs. Dances. We wish we could time travel back to them all.
We ate a late lunch in Greenwood at Copper Eagle Cafe, which is celebrating 20yrs in operation with a community dance - wish we could be there! We arrived in Midway and had a very fun dinner with a lovely server at Mile 0 cafe at Mile 0 Motel. If this was a piece of fiction, that would be a foreshadow (fingers crossed)!

Friday, June 23, 2017

No Kms Thursday;
71.7Kms Friday
Our day off in Castlegar seemed like three, as we'd bicycled 587Kms in five days since Lethbridge and the day off seemed so very still. Y did administrative work and B did bike care, between naps. We then pedaled to a laundromat and saw another Canada Day display (this one with painted bikes!).
We reflected about how much fun we had on Doug's Nelson to Castlegar ride yesterday. Comparing that elevation gain to our Castlegar to Christina Lake options makes us confident we can do the steeper route. B made a fabulous lasagna and salad dinner and we set up our packs for the morning time. With only a short ride Friday (though relatively a lot of elevation gain) we left at a leisurely pace up out of Castlegar (FYI: the highway, steeper route won the coin toss). The day was blue sky with light flickering through green mountain trees. With not a puff of cloud in the sky, and with a breeze at our back, we assended successfully to the Paulson Pass summit. At one point, B pulled out the surgical face masks to stop the bugs from filling our mouths and nostrils - that must have been a laugh for passing motorists, but we were more comfortable.
Wow! We were ready for this "hump", as the locals call it. En route we saw Cedar Waxwings and a Western Tanager and Turkey Vultures - no bear, but we did have our bear spray handy, just in case. The 30Kms downhill from the summit were fantastic!
Y deployed her parachute raincoat and so she did not even need her brakes most of the way! Also, due to road construction on a washout, there was alternating 30min traffic near the top, so, once through the traffic jam, for most of our glide to Christina Lake we had the lane to ourselves!
We stopped for a lunch picnic above Christina Lake and a young couple took our photo and we took theirs. We are on the edge of vacationlandBC and can feel and see it everywhere: Ice Cream, Boat Rentals, Flip-flops and tan lines, as well as little café stops and tapas restaurants (we walked 2Kms had dinner at one - Babalooz, Tapas by the Lake). In two days, we will be in Osoyoos, with a day to play before our final five days to Victoria!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The 9am ferry crossing from Kootenay Bay to Balfour was on The Osprey and in a shoreline treetop an osprey called a morning greeting as the vessel pulled away from the dock. It was a gorgeous blue sky day, with perfectly white clouds (though they did darken and sprinkle in the early evening as we pedaled into Castlegar).

On board The Osprey, we met a young man from Sherbrooke and another woman from Washington state who were also tour biking. Email and phone communications with two UBC classmates of B's resulted in a coffee stop in Balfour, just near the ferry. Keegan, elder son of Pete Schuh made his famous masala type coffee for us and it was extraordinary. Keegan also told us of his interesting editor job and his plans for music school. We rode into Nelson along the undulating, curving road along the lakeshore and arrived in Nelson for a visit with B's classmate Doug Kelly. It was a brief but nice hello and Doug told us about his recent return from a Chile bike trip that he and wife Karen had done. Doug also told us about a back road route from Nelson to Castlegar and after a v.garlic lunch in Nelson we took Doug's suggested route and loved it (Blewett and Pass Creek Roads, for those in the know).

The Blewett Road section went high up the mountain to the Southeast of Nelson and then whizzed so far down again to the dammed Kootenay River (where we saw rainbows in the mist). On the other side of the Kootenay River, we joined the Pass Creek Road, which passes many rushing creeks. Both sections were fantastic! Just before we reached Castlegar, we encountered Pete Schuh again, en route to visit a pal and Pete was surprised to see us on this back road!
This was a great day of riding and visiting and we feel comfortable at The Flamingo Hotel in Castlegar and have picked up grocery supplies at Safeway for tomorrow's admin/bike-care day, and the next big day of bicycling to Christina Lake.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Today is the start of Summer, with Solstice tonight! As we rode through Creston, we saw signs of the start of the produce market season and the end of the school year. Fresh Strawberries Today! Moooving into Summer! And, ice cream pail sunflowers at the Erickson Elementary School.

Our bicycle ride today was a joyful, undulating, curving swish along the Kootenay Lake East shore to Crawford Bay.

It was beautiful! At our picnic lunch stop mid-way along the lake, we watched summer boaters launch their slick machines. B recounted his three summers with his family as a boy in Kaslo on the North end of this lake.
We also saw the Glass House, which we think was moved here from Vancouver Island. We've settled in for the night in Crawford Bay, with plans to take the 9am Kootenay Ferry to Balfour and to visit two of B's UBC classmates in Nelson before cycling to Castlegar for a day of bike care, laundry and administrative work before tackling the Paulson Pass to Christina Lake.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Today we reached the 6,000Km point since leaving St. John's Newfoundland on our three-part bicycle ride across Canada.

We are half way on this third section from Regina to Victoria and we are loving the hills and curves, forest and mountain vistas and roadside flora and fauna of BC! Even when the wind is at us there is reprieve in rounding a corner or sidling up to a bluff. It was sometimes brutal being hit by wind through Alberta, with no where to turn, literally. Today we saw mountain goat, deer and many birds we know well.
In BC, we've been pleased to see that the little towns almost all seem to have things going on. Glenn from the Piapot saloon had commented that the highway straight across the Prairies and changing technology in train shipping had undermined little Prairie towns, but that Ontario and BC had not been so hard hit due to geography.
We've been seeing the outcomes of the highway changes across Canada and have commented on this in previous posts, so we are now seeing the relative well-being of small-town BC. Y also takes pleasure in seeing the lumber yards and also the trains, which we've encounter frequently in all parts of Canada, but more so in the past day and a half in BC. Y's father's father was manager of a saw mill in Austria and she has treasured memories (and photos) from there.

Trains. Well, who doesn't like the whistle and thunder as they arrive, to watch as the cars go by, to imagine what they are carrying and to wonder about the interesting culture of train car graffiti. We really enjoyed our day of riding in the mountains today and ending up in Yahk, BC in plenty of time for Y to participate in a 7pm business telephone conference (a yak from Yahk) to Victoria.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Reid's checked in with us about 7:30am and then were on their way and we moved our gear to the Bedside Manor cookhouse porch, made eggs, cleaned up, and then loaded our bikes up with gear.

As our ride this day was long, but only 1/3 uphill, we left at 9am, knowing we'd be in Elko, BC by about 6pm. We were pleased to reach Crows Nest Pass and the area of the Frank Slide.

Even more exciting was reaching the Alberta / BC border! As we crested the Divide, we were surprisingly pushed from behind by a gust of wind from the East, "a pat on the back from BC" said B. We are happy to be in the mountains and found the hills comfortable to climb, even with wind at us. In Sparwood, the "gateway to BC" we posed with the world's largest mining dump truck "Titan".

From Sparwood to Elko was mostly downhill, or flat, so the Kms clicked by quickly, and today was the first day since leaving Regina on June 8th that we not only glided but also used brakes on a downhill, and went through a mountain tunnel.

We met more West to East riders today, including a couple from New Zealand, Hamish and Joan, who told us about some of their bike trips and we all plan to keep in touch.