Friday, June 29, 2007

Day 28: Stuck in Regina

Its not as bad as it sounds we just had a few problems and the wind was very strong so we didn't end up getting very far. We woke around 7.00am and gathered all our gear together and had breakfast in the hostel. The wind wasn't strong early on so we were planning to at least get to Fort Qu'Appelle and camp there for the night. Just as we set off from the hostel one of Agnes' front pannier racks fell off. The screw had snapped and the remainder of it was stuck right in the hole. We walked to a bike shop we had been to the other day and they didn't have the special drill bit that is needed to get the screw out. We decided to try some hardware shops and find the drill bit and then take it back to the bike shop. This was not possible without spending lots of money so after a couple of hours we stopped for a break and had some lunch. Everything in Regina is so spread out we must have walked about 30km.
After lunch we walked to another bike shop which was even more of a walk but it was well worth it. A couple of guys in the shop looked and scratched their chins so we waited for the boss to come back and he whipped the thing out in five minutes. By this time it was 4.30pm and the wind was coming strongly from the east.
To save a few dollars we headed for a campsite 1km out of town. On the way my pedal fell off so I had to push my bike all the way. It served me right as I had been laughing at Agnes for having more bike problems. I was also talking about how my hay fever had gone and on the walk to the campsite it came on very badly. A little bad karma coming my way I feel.
The campsite was excellent though and after a shower and some food we both feel great again. Better luck tomorrow we hope.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 26 & 27: Relaxing in Regina

After five days of cycling and almost 700km we feel we have earned a rest. We were going to take just the one day but we had so much to do on the first day we decided a day of proper rest was needed. Regina is a small city but very nice and friendly. There is a beautiful park area with a man made lake, which I have pictures of and will put them up once we get to a computer that allows us to upload pictures, so maybe when we get to Winnipeg. There was a steel drum band playing on the band stand as part of a Multicultural day and a BBQ going with free hot dogs and burgers for everyone. A bonus for us as this meant we didn't have to go and buy dinner.
So we have mainly been relaxing and eating good food as the hostel has a self catering kitchen. Our legs are feeling great and raring to go. The problem now is the weather forecast is for very strong winds coming from the east. Winds of up to 45kmph with gusts of 6o. We are going to try and make it to Fort Qu'Appelle, which is around 40 - 50km away, but if the winds are as strong as they are forecast then that will be like doing 170km on a good day.

Day 25: Davidson to Regina 144km

Today was to be the last of our five days of long distances and the sun was shining and the wind was at our backs. We didn't set off till 1.30pm as we had laundry to do and we just wanted a little break after yesterday. This was the easiest ride so far as we were just cruising towards Regina at a comfortable speed of 30kmph. We even stopped for over an hour and had a sandwich and some cookies and we still made it into Regina by 8.00pm. We are planning to take 1 day off in Regina for certain but we may take two as we have a lot to do and by backside needs a good rest. We arrived at the hostel in Regina and it was perfect, located downtown and very clean. We hooked up with some other guests in the hostel a guy from Toronto, a guy from Quebec and a Chinese guy and went out for a bar meal and sank a few beers. a very satisfying end to 5 days of decent cycling. A well deserved rest I think. If we had the wind at our backs everyday through the prairies we would be flying. We can't control the weather but i feel we are making great progress and having an excellent time.

Day 24: Outlook to Davidson 94km

The plan for today was to make it to the town of Craik, which is 30km after Davidson but due to crazy weather that wasn't possible. We got up at the usual time of 4.30am and were ready by 6.00am. Today though we decided to go to the restaurant in Outlook for breakfast part 1. Breakfast part 1 is usually fruit and whatever else we have in the cooler. After yesterdays hard ride we treated ourselves to a small breakfast. We hit the road at 7.30am and experienced for me anyway the hardest bit of riding so far.
The wind was directly in our faces and the rain was coming down, not the greatest of combinations. It took us 4 hours to cover 55km and it was the hardest 55km ever. We arrived in the town of Kenaston and of course found a great little restaurant run by a friendly Chinese couple. This may sound like it is becoming repetitive but everyday is so different and each small town has its own character, it is just that all the restaurants are the same and run by Chinese couples.
Anyway after this we waited and waited for the rain to stop but it didn't so we just plugged on and just made it to Davidson soaked to the bone so we stayed in a Inn and dried out for the night. In the restaurant in Davidson an interesting old chap named Elmer gave us 20 dollars for our dinner and is planning to write about us in the local paper. He also owns an organic farm and gave us some information about it. He also told me about his time in England and Germany in the War, which for me was great banter not sure Agnes was to interested though.

Day 23: Kindersley to Outlook 156km

After such a great day we wanted another one but that was not to be. Saskatchewan is not flat, well not yet anyhow or in the area we are in. Many, many people have been telling me how table top flat it is but they haven't tried cycling. The land is flat compared to the mountains obviously but there is always a slight uphill or downhill and sometimes not so slight. The wind was not our friend today and that most certainly didn't help the cause. We were both trying very hard to stay awake and battle with our minds. For me it wasn't the physical part that was hard but the mental part as it was very tough to keep thinking positive thoughts. We got through it in the end and the small town of Outlook was very nice and when I can upload some pictures you can see how nice. The propane we bought back in Drumheller was the wrong sized bottle and we haven't been able to find the right size anywhere since as the towns we are going through are very small and don't have camping shops. So for this reason we are mainly eating in the small gas station restaurants, which are cheap and surprisingly good. The restaurant in Outlook was no different except it wasn't run by a friendly Chinese couple. Our new favourite thing to do on our rides is to have a breakfast part 2 and these types of restaurants have been fantastic and seem to be in every little town.

Day 22: Youngstown to Kindersley 154km

Last night we came to the scary decision that we would get up at 4.30am, yes that is correct 4.30am. Mainly for heat reasons as it has been getting too hot for cycling in the afternoon. I managed to get up just fine and we were ready by 5.50am and on the road. The wind was at our backs and the terrain seemed to be mostly just slightly downhill so we were flying. In just under 2 hours we had already covered 55km which is excellent. We planned to stop at 90km at a town on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan fittingly named Alsask. This part of the ride went even faster and we were flying, probably the most fun bit of riding so far. We arrived at Alsask at 9.30ish and went to a gas station restaurant of course run by a Chinese couple for breakfast part 2. The breakfast was fantastic and we were raring to go an hour later.
The remainder of the ride was just as swift and we arrived in Kindersley at 1.30pm. A very pleasing day with no complications or bad weather just very fast cycling which was so satisfying. We pitched our tent in the only campsite, which was more of an RV park but nothing could wipe the smiles from our faces today. After beers and food we were ready for bed at 8.30pm. I fell asleep straight away of course as we were up at the crazy time of 4.30am but Agnes couldn't sleep as the sun was still shinning and there were a large group of teenage girls shouting and listening to the Backstreet Boys till midnight.

Day 21: Drumheller to Youngstown 129km

After another great day off we got up early at around 5.00am and hit the road by around 7.00am, which was fairly good going. The prairies aren't completely flat yet but the landscape isn't changing much and today's ride was quite boring. We made it to a town called Hanna by 12ish and sat down for lunch and then went to a little greasy spoon for a cup of tea. We didn't take too long for lunch this time but by the time we were ready to set off it was very hot.
We arrived in the very small town of Youngstown at around 4.00pm. From first impressions I thought we were going to have to carry on riding and find another town. It is a very small town with a population of 170 and a lot of very run down houses and an old freaky looking hotel.
We found the village store and after that we were very glad we stayed. The lady running the store Greta was a legend and also Betty her friend who was in there. Greta told us where the campsite was and took our laundry from us to take to her house and bring it back to us later. Betty drove us to her house so that we could use the shower as the campsite didn't have any showers. After this we set up the tent and trotted along to the restaurant, which was run by a very nice Chinese couple as are most restaurants in small towns in Canada. We wolfed down our food and sat around for a while as back at the campsite we would be getting eaten by the mosquito's. When we got back to the tent Greta came round with our laundry washed and folded up smelling like a summers day. this was such a great help and we were so thankful to Greta and Betty. Greta said to us that they might all look like a bunch of hicks but they are a good bunch and that they were.

Day 20: Day off, hahaha

Yes another one but why the hell not. As we planned to go to the museum today we didn't get up until 8.00am as the museum doesn't open till 9.00am. By the time we had everything gathered together it was about 10.00am. Propane was needed so we went to Canadian Tire to buy some which was no bother until we stepped outside of the shop and Agnes' front tire suddenly popped. That is puncture number 4 for Agnes. The sun was already beating down so we pushed the bikes to the other side of town to find some shade outside the tourist information centre. By the time Agnes had fixed it and we had been to a shop to get the correct air pressure put into the tire it was lunch time. We went to a tea shop for sandwiches and cake and as the day was getting later and hotter we thought what the hey another day off it is.
We booked back into the campsite and headed off to the museum. We left our bikes at the campsite and decided to hitch a ride to the museum as it was 6km out of town. We walked 2km and then a family who were on there way to the museum picked us up, result. The museum was great, one of the best museums I think I have been to. I have plenty of pictures which i will put on when we finally get to a internet cafe or library that will allow us to upload pictures. We managed to hitch a ride back to the campsite as a family driving by recognised us from the site, bonus. After that we hit the municipal outdoor pool that a lot of Canadian towns have. Wasn't as refreshing as a cold lake but it did the trick.
I'm very happy we have gone from rain everyday to boiling hot sunshine. My farmers tan is coming on a treat now.

Day 19: Calgary to Drumheller 149km

We woke around 5.00am to get a good start and try and miss the traffic out of Calgary. Basia and Leszek were both already up cooking us breakfast and making sandwiches for our lunch. This was so great I can't express how happy I was at this sight. Again we were fed amazing pancakes and sandwich meats and fruit, fantastic.
Leszeks' brother in law had given us a bike route out of Calgary so that we wouldn't have to go on the highways. The route was perfect and we were flying out of Calgary. The mornings ride went very well and we were at our lunch destination at 11.30, which was in great time. We had lunch in a small town called Beiseker. We settled down in a little picnic spot and devoured the sandwiches Leszek had made for us, it would be great to have sandwiches like that everyday. I decided as we still had plenty of time to phone home and speak to my parents for an hour and Agnes had a sleep. By the time we were ready to hit the road again we had taken 3 hours for lunch, whoops.
The rest of the ride was only 60ishkm so we thought we would be there in no time but how wrong we were. The second part of the day was a nightmare as there was a headwind and roadworks for a stretch of 20km. This stretch must have taken 2 hours as the road surface had been ripped off for the 20km and it was up and down hills.
We finally arrived in Drumheller at around 7ish very tired and very sun burnt. Even setting off at 7.00am wasn't early enough to miss the afternoon heat. Also though we won't always have as crazy roads and winds to deal with I hope.
We found a great place for a burger before we went to the campsite as we just had to eat. I ordered a double burger thinking it would be just the right size but it was huge. I managed it all and we both decided that it was they were the greatest burgers of all time. After the greatest burgers of all time were sunk we set up camp for the night. We are officially in mosquito country now, Agnes is getting bitten everywhere. I'm to busy with my hay fever to pestered with them.
We got talking to a couple at the campsite who were travelling across Canada with their kids in a camper van. As it turned out they have cycled across Canada a couple of years ago so they invited us to the van for a spot of wine followed by a dabble of whiskey. Their names are Cory and Jim and we enjoyed our drinks and chat a lot. Before we went to bed they gave us 20 dollars to go to the museum of paleontology in Drumheller before we left the next day. Drumheller is an old coal mining town now living off tourism and the fact that lots of dinosaur remains have been found in the area. The museum is meant to be well worth a visit.

Day 18: Day off in Calgary

Calgary is the first large city we have been in since leaving Vancouver so we decided a day off would be very useful. The other reason was that we were staying at Leszek Raciborski's house where he lives with his two daughters Basia and Monika and also his wife who was away. They are family friends of Agnes' family and I would like to thank them for their amazing hospitality. They all made sure we had everything we needed at all times, and Basia took us around the city and out for Beers and a game of pool. Also Basia made possibly the best pancakes that I have ever had. They had yogurt, nectarines, cherries and maple syrup in them and were a taste sensation. It was a great day off as I didn't have any hayfever problems which was nice for a change.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 17: Canmore - Calgary 104km

We checked the weather forecast the night before and the outlook was good for the morning and early afternoon anyway. We got up early and had breakfast and got ready to find out that the reception doesn't open till 9.00 and I had to get my 20 dollar deposit back for the room key. We waited around and luckily the sky stayed blue as it does change in a matter of minutes up in the mountains. Today was an incredible ride for me as we left the mountains . As we came out of the Mountains and into flat farmland terrain it felt as though we had been in a 1000km tunnel and now we were free. I can't really explain it but it felt euphoric to me anyway. I forgot to mention that when we cycled into Canmore we reached our first 1000km of the trip, only 7ooo more to go or something around that figure.
We arrived in Calgary at 4.00 and went straight to Agnes ' family friends house where we will spend the night and maybe tomorrow if we decide to take an extra day in Calgary. I know we have had a lot of rest but you have to give your backside time to heal before the next ride. Also we will be going through prairie land for the next 2 weeks so we can make up plenty of time if the wind is on our side.

Day16: Day off due to weather

When we woke this moring our tent was slightly flooded and the rain was coming down hard. We made the decision very early on to book into the hostel and have a relaxing day. The 3km ride to the hostel was the most testing of the trip thus far. It was freezing cold, wet and windy but when we arrived at the hostel the fire was on and there was a sauna downstairs so all was good.
We spent the day taking it very easy and cooking ourselves good food.

Day 15: Lake Louise - Canmore 84km

We decided to give Banff a miss as we have had enough of the tourist traps and wanted to go to a real town. Canmore was a bit of both but was much bigger than we expected and there were huge mountains surrounding the town and I mean huge. We arrived at the Visitor Information centre, which is our usual tactic when we arrive into a new town, it saves a lot of time trying to find things. They directed us to a tent only camp ground around the corner. Great place and a bit alternative, with a total cost per night of 15 dollars, oh yes. The site was packed mainly with hippies and big groups of young people partying. After talking to a few people I found out that most people on the site live there all summer and work in the town. Would be a cool thing to do, maybe next time, ha ha ha.
We decided to eat in town and what a great decision. We hit up a micro brew pub and had possibly the best tasting beer I have had in Canada. The beer we had was called Rutting Elk and was a taste sensation. Every beer I have after a days cycling seems to be a taste sensation though. When we got back to the site a huge black cloud was coming for us and it rained all night. Also the people in the tent next to us were performing some kind of hippie acid party with banging drums all night long, but we managed to get some sleep.

Day 14: Field - Lake Louise 25km

A big pat on our backs today as we have entered Alberta and our first province is completed. I must say I love British Columbia and all the great people I have met over this 2 weeks and over the last 7 months I have spent in Vancouver.
A very short ride today as we have heard so much about Lake Louise and John Worral is trying to hook us up with a free gondola ride. When we woke up this morning we new we were well into the Rockies as it was very cold. Plenty of tea and porridge and we were ready to cycle the full 25km to Lake Louise.
I know a lot of people just love the Rockies and say it is the best place to visit in Canada but I disagree. Yes the landscape is outstanding and you walk around gob smacked most of the time, but it is such a tourist trap. Everything is geared around tourism and if you don't have the money people in hostels, restaurants etc. aren't very warming or as friendly as other parts of Canada. I guess we have been feeling like celebrities in the BC Interior and the small towns we have passed through. But don't get me wrong it is amazing and I have some outstanding pictures. We basically spent a lot more money than we wanted and that put a downer on the Rockies experience for me anyway. We didn't get there in time for the free gondola ride either.

Day 13: Golden - Field 57km

A short distance to cover today but it is a very hard 18km climb out of Golden. We started the day doing laundry and getting our bikes looked over. We had a great success regarding Agnes' bike today as the bike shop guys were actually helpful for once. They fitted a new back cassette so that Agnes could get an extra low gear which will help her a lot over the next few days through the Rockies. The front fork on my bike has been coming loose so I decided today with the advice from the guys at the shop to take some weight from the front and buy a backpack. This way I can take a good amount of weight from the bike. Hopefully it will be comfortable when riding.
We set off at around 3.00 and the 18km climb started straight away and wow was it hard, I most certainly broke a sweat today. When we reached near enough the top we stopped at a lookout point to an applause from various British tourists. We felt like celebrities for a moment. We headed off to Field in the pouring rain of course, it wouldn't feel right otherwise. Field was a very expensive horrible tourist trap of a place but with beautiful surroundings as we are well into the Rockie mountains now. We bought groceries at the village shop for about a million dollars and then headed off to the campsite just outside of town. This was a National Park campsite and more people had tents than RVs so it was great. The site was geared for tents with shelters and bear boxes to keep you food safe from the big bad bears at night. Of course we needed the shelter as it was raining.
I keep complaining about the rain but it isn't that bad, its just good to complain about something as the trip is amazing in every other way, plus it will toughen us up a bit.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day 12: Revelstoke to Golden 150km

Since we haven't really pushed ourselves since day 4 'the day of death' we decided that we had to make it to Golden today. This was to be a tough ride as halfway between the two towns lies Rodgers pass, which is one of the toughest passes of the Rockies. We got off to a late start as Agnes took around 4 hours to get ready this morning, so I caught up on some sleep. We finally got going at around 10.30 and the weather was holding out so all was good. We kept on riding and riding, we were waiting for a sign or something to indicated the start of Rogers pass but nothing showed up. We had decided that we would have lunch at the bottom of the pass to give us some energy to get up. We kept on riding and there were no signs but we were going up that is nothing unusual though. Before we knew it there was a sign saying Rogers pass summit. We had reached the top of the infamous pass that everyone had been talking up without even realising we were on it. It is going to to have to take more than that for me to break a sweat Canada, ha ha ha.
We had lunch at the summit centre as it was freezing and we needed to get inside. The lunch was poor but the cookies we had afterwards were brilliant. The second half of the journey was spectacular as we were riding along lakes but with the Rockie mountains to our right. We ended up in Golden at around 9.30pm wet and tired as it always seems to rain at some point when we cycle. As we entered Golden Agnes got puncture number 3 of the trip. We were very tired so we stayed in a motel for the night and ordered pizza.

DAY 11: Sicamous to Revelstoke 80km

After two very easy days we had to put in a good performance today and cover a respectable distance. We had to get to Revelstoke as we had various errands to run in town and Agnes needed to see a doctor. Hopefully it is nothing serious but she is having problems with her left hand. We have been told that this will be the last leisurely ride before the Rockies. It turned out to be a great day and the day of the first punctures. My bike is still going strong but Agnes had a puncture to both wheels today, ha ha ha. This has to be expected and it didn't bother us too much as it was an excuse for a rest in the sun. I was starting to get very smug that my bike is invincible but then I noticed that the front fork is slightly damaged and the front wheel is flexing under the weight of the panniers. Not laughing so much now. I managed to tighten up the front fork and took some weight from the front, but I will have to have the bike seen to as soon as possible.
We camped out at the lamplighter campground, which consisted of our tent and about 100 huge North American type RV's. Not a single one of them offered us any shelter when it was raining. I have decided that RV types are a shifty lot and not to be trusted, ha ha ha, well just the ones at that site anyway.
Revelstoke was a great town with mountains all around some green others snow capped and a huge river flowing through the middle. It was a very quiet place though and not a lot going on morning or night.
The doctor gave Agnes a few tips so we can carry on. We have a big day planned for tomorrow so an early night is needed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day 10: Shuswap Lake to Sicamous 40km

Today was the first day of Bike problems on the road. We had just set off from Johns and we had to pull over as Agnes' gears decided they didn't want to shift. We spent an hour or so at the side of the road trying this that and the other with no luck. We managed to get the lower gears to work so that we could cycle in to Salmon Arm. The plan before this was to make it to Revelstoke but by the time we got to Salmon Arm and got the bike fixed it was too late in the day. We decided to have a short ride to Sicamous. We managed to cook up our best meal of the trip on the camp stove. Seasoned pork and black bean rice with a special Agnes salad. Even though we aren't racking up as many miles as we would have liked to by this point we have had a great time and really taken in British Columbia. The Rockies await us in two days so I may change my feelings after the many climbs that await.

Day 9: Day off

Well another day off but we are on holiday I guess. John very kindly offered us another days stay at his cabin and Agnes was very keen to stay so we enjoyed a very relaxing day. The cabin is located on the lake shore of shuswap lake and I will post up plenty of pictures of it in due course. I would like to say thank you to John for having us as it was most enjoyable.

Day 8: Kamloops to Shuswap lake 125km

Gordan and Bonita put on a great breakfast for us this morning and many more useful tips for the journey ahead. I would like to thank Gordan and Bonita for their kind hospitality and company.
The first half of the day went well and the rain held off. After lunch on the side of the highway, very scenic, the rain came pouring down and kept on pouring for the rest of the day. We were headed to meet John Worral who as I mentioned is a friend of the Obornes who we stayed with in Merritt. His Cabin was situated 10km west of Salmon Arm and then 20km down a winding lakeside road. The 20km felt like an eternity and we came across the steepest climbs of the trip thus far. When we arrived at the cabin John mentioned that he would have picked us up from the start of that road as it wouldn't have been cheating because it was a detour and not part of the cross Canada route.
The extra 20km of pain was a distant memory as John's cabin was amazing. John had stew in the pot and cold beers in the fridge, so after a hot outdoor shower we tucked into a fine stew and sank a few beers.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Day 7: Merritt to Kamloops 90km

Well the first week has passed and we are still as up for the trip as we were on day 1. We left Catherine and Drach's house in Merritt and headed off on a fine sunny day to Kamloops, which is classed as a city in Canada, but would probably pass as a small town back in the UK. Today's ride was the most beautiful of the week so far. The landscape was a mix of green and desert sand and the road we took went alongside beautiful lakes. We stopped for lunch on the shore of one of the lakes and Agnes went for a 30 second dip as the water was freezing. I wimped out as their was only one thing on my mind at lunch time. The ride today was very flat except for a 4km climb 20km outside of Kamloops. Made it up with no problems and I am now officially feeling confident about my fitness for this trip.
On the way to kamloops we met Bonita who was cycling in the other direction. We started to talk to her and it urned out that she lives in Kamloops and she has cycled across Canada before. Bonita very kindly invited us to stay at her house with her family. We accepted and here I am now writing my blog on her computer.
They are giving us some very useful tips and Gordon is helping us out with a few bike problems.
I'm feeling very lucky at the moment and very happy. We head out to Salmon Arm tomorrow where we will be staying with John who is a friend of Catherine and Darch.

Day 6: Day Off

Yes another day off, but we couldn't say no to Darch, who is a great guy and such a character. He gave us the option of heading off on another days ride or relaxing at his and Catherines house, going for a mountain bike ride on a nearby trail and ending the day with a good meal and a dip in the hottub. Its a hard life cycling across Canada.
They have plenty of Mountain Bikes and all of the gear, so myself, Darch and Agnes went for a taste of Canadian Mountain Biking. The trail was Intermediate level and so much fun. I fell off once and a tree branch stabbed into my neck, but you have to come away with a scar. Agnes wasn't so keen on the downhill aspect but she did her best and a great afternoon was had. As darch said about Mountain Biking everyone comes away with scratches and bruises but also with a great big smile on their face.
A great day off and we ended it in the hottub.

Day 5: Spences Bridge to Merritt 65km

After a great nights sleep in a warm and very comfortable bed we felt refreshed and ready for another days cycle, mainly because it was only 65km. The couple at the Spences Bridge Inn had breakfast ready and waiting when we hobbled down the stairs. There was fresh muffins, homemade bread, fruit, cereal and lots of tea, so as you can imagine I was in my element.
We had a very interesting ride today and it only took us 4hours. It was full of steep climbs but nothing my robo bike couldn't handle. The main excitement of the journey was an animal one. But it wasn't the famous Canadian wildlife it was the 'domestic life', 2 great big guard dogs. The first dog leaped out from nowhere and jut missed Agnes and then before we had time to think his partner in crime jumped out and almost pushed Agnes off the road, but luckily she escaped. This was something I hadn't even considered as when in Canada you usually think of Bears and Cougars. It was a great adrenalin rush though and made a smooth uneventful ride a lot of fun.
We arrived in Merritt and decided to bypass the ghetto campsite and headed straight for the visitors centre and what a great move it turned out to be. We met Catherine Oborne at the centre and she advised us on the best campsite and invited us for dinner at her family home.
We headed off to the campsite Moon Shadows and there we met Roxanne the site manager. She was so good to us, our tent was still wet so she put us up in the laundry/arcade games room, which doesn't sound great but it was the bees knees. Plus the arcade games were free so we happily played bomberman and Mortal Kombat.
At around 6pm Catherine picked us up from the campsite and took us to her family home. There we met Darch her husband, James their son and Claudio an exchange student from Switzerland. We had a great meal (Deer), wine and conversation. I must say this trip is starting out very well, it is very early days but we are both feeling very good about everything.

Day 4: Hope to Spences Bridge 140km

Well the day couldn't have started out any worse. We woke up at 5am, yes 5am, to torrential rain. This was just the start of a very hard day, which I have named the 'day of death'. It was always going to be a very long day but I didn't expect it to take the length of time that it did. We set off at 7.30am, getting faster now, and arrived at Spences Bridge at 7.30pm.
We got off to a great start and we managed to blast through 90km before lunch. This was a mistake and one we will not try again. The terrain was very tough lots of steep and long climbs, but we pushed on through with no problems. Once we climbed Jackass Mountain Pass we were ready to die so we went into a random cafe at the top of the pass. It was ran by a Chinese couple who were very friendly and fed us some great food.
After over an hour and a half of just drinking tea and playing board games we decided to push on. The remainder of the journey took the same amount of time as the first half and once again the campsite was on the ghetto side life. There was an old woman who appeared to live in a shed at this campsite but I couldn't get any sense out of her so we decided to get the hell out of there.We then had to push on another 15km to find a bed for the night. By this stage my legs were jelly, but we had a stroke of luck and stumbled upon the Spences Bridge Inn which turned out to be the best Inn in all of Canada. They served us homemade food, tea and excellent banter. So the day of death ended very well.

Day 3: Day off

Yes it is very early days but we felt like we deserved a day off and we don't want to burn ourselves out for the later challenges of BC. My legs aren't hurting as I thought they would be, so I am very pleased with that.
We met another cross Canada cyclist today. His name is Sam, so hello Sam if you are reading and good luck with producing your tour guide. He is planning to produce a guide book for future cross Canada cyclists, a very tall order as we haven't even had time to go on facebook never mind gathering information for a guide.
Anyway that's about it for today we just chilled out and prepared for a potentially very long day tomorrow.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Day 2: Mission to Hope 75km

This morning I feel very nervous and excited at the same time just thinking about what lies ahead for us. I think that the size of the challenge we have taken on has finally sunk in, oh well no turning back now. The fact that I am getting up at 6am has probably shocked my body slightly, as I usually don't rise for at least another few hours.
The weather is beautiful once again and we were packed up and ready to go at 10am, I think we will become a lot faster at getting ready as the days go on. The days ride could not have gone any better. We arrived for lunch in the small village of Agassiz and sat under a group of trees in a very pleasant park in the centre of the village. We relaxed there for a good hour and a half as the sun was beating down. Once we managed to scramble to our feet we set off for the next half of the day. There were very few hills which I feel we should be thankfull for as the rest of British Columbia will be very tough indeed.
We made it to Hope in great time to set up camp and relax for the evening. We are following a route set up by the tour du canada group so we have a map for everyday and a campsite to stay at. This campsite was the most ghetto campsite I have ever seen and there wasn't a soul around except an old man who warned us never to stay at this campsite (or bad things may happen to you, ha ha ha). We didn't know whether to believe him or not but as he was the only person around we did. Anyway we found a visitor information centre and they directed us to a beautiful campsite to settle down for the evening.

Day 1: Vancouver to Mission 80km

Well hello blog readers the day has finally come to stop all the talk about cycling across Canada and to actually do it, well start it at least.
The date today is Saturday 2nd June. Agnes arrived in Vancouver on tuesday and we have had various complications and dramas with her bike but we have overcome our first challenges and we are ready to start the epic adventure. I would like to say a big thankyou to Nancy and Riley for their amazing hospitality in the lead up days to day 1.
The weather could not have been any better for us, bright blue sky and around 24 degrees. Unfortunetly the smiles on our pretty little faces soon disapeared as cycling out of Vancouver was no walk in the park. It wasn't the hills even though there were a few, it was the fact that we were on huge 2 to 3 lane highways with cars and lorries (trucks for those Canadian readers) hurtling past us at crazy speeds. My whole body was tensed up and heart racing and just when we thought it couldn't get any worse we had to cycle onto a fly over which had no shoulder. After a couple of hours of this we were alive and out of the city and laughing about it so all was good in the end.
The rest of the days ride to Mission was still on a highway but out of the city so it was a lot less intense. We arrived at our campsite the Sun Valley Trout Farm at around 7pm and settled in for the night. The campsite was great and the manager was very friendly, she left the games room open so that we could wash and dry some of our gear, which was a great help. We had chicken fajitas and rice for dinner, played some ping pong and put our heads down for the night.