Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh goodness gracious! Misha, Francis, Diane, Louise, Sonia, Aunt Margret, Svetlana, Tim, Jim, Meredith, Janis, Jeremy, Rick, Maureen, & Andrea - we loved you being there at Mile 0!
Thank you all so much. Thank you also to pals the Atwells plus the Adams and Reids who were out of town sending us well wishes! We love you all! Sharing our Canada Day cake and flying kites was such fun (thx Sonia and Tim)!
Misha's welcome home sign brought tears to Y's eyes (thx little bud!). We were up early and ended up riding smartly due to a deadline of the 11am ferry to the Island. Lucky we did leave extra time, as we lost our route at one point due to a temporarily stopped train over our route, so we were led astray, and only were able to recover our route by "riding the rails" for a stretch and then re-tracing our tracks along the rail bed to the road we were needing. Whew! The train started moving, but at a pace slower than ours so we made it back across the tracks before the "mile and a half" train needed to roll through.
We still looked in good shape to arrive at the predicted 11am ferry by 10am, but then a sharp stone pierced Y's rear (dang-it) tire, so we needed to stop on the Whiterock to Tsawwassen dyke to change a rear flat (15 min delay/rest). We then were lost in a new housing development in Tsawwassen for a few minutes but were directed by locals to the new ferry route and were happily there by 10:30 - pretty close to when expected.
We rode in from Swartz Bay via Y's Papa's home in Sidney, the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose to downtown Victoria, via the pedestrian crowded Victoria Causeway and Douglas Street and arriving at Mile 0 pretty much at 4pm on Saturday, July 1st, Canada Day, 2017, Canada's 150th B-Day!
We stopped on the Blenkinsop Lake  Bridge to record 7,000Kms since St. John's Newfoundland and continued on the pleasant trail. We were met at Mile 0 by the above mentioned special people and then went ... home!

Friday, June 30, 2017

We left Harrison Hot Springs a bit earlier than expected due to our ride mate (for the next two days) Rick McDougall, B's elder brother, being super eager to get going. What fun!

We had such a nice day, and a great and interesting ride due to Rick being with us. Thx bro! Y loved the ride as she usually doesn't get to ride so fast! We also got a few photos of ourselves that we don't usually get, as there was a third person there.

Our destination was brother Rick and wife Maureen's house and a McDougall family dinner, so speed was of the essence. It was also a perfect ride day, with a breeze at our back and a lovely downhill along the river ride. We arrived at our destination about an hour before expected (so, time for a nap before dinner).
We were happy to see nephews Sean and Matt and, niece by Matt, Kari (and pup Ellie) for a fun "Canada Day Eve" dinner. We are so excited for our final leg tomorrow into Mile 0 in Victoria.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

From Manning Park to Hope was a lot of downhill gliding, but we needed to be on constant alert due to long sections of broken asphalt shoulders. Y was able to keep a slow, steady pace, even on the 9% grades due to her parachute raincoat. It works so well that she did not need to use her bicycle brakes for the speedy 40 or so Kms downhill (except for two full stops for water).

Our break in Hope was restful and we were happy to see the nice communities we went through on our way into and out of Hope as we normally just drive past en route to somewhere else. Our Hope lunch stop was Blue Moose and it was fantastic and busy!

From Hope to Harrison Hot Springs was a great bicycle along the mighty Fraser River, so slightly downhill almost all the way. Even though there were 30K wind gusts at us from the West, the downhill made the ride flow along at close to 20Kms/hr!
We arrived at Harrison an hour and a half ahead of what we expected and were thrilled to be greeted at check-in by B's brother Rick and wife Maureen! Rick is riding the 95Kms to PoCo with us Friday, and the 115Kms to Victoria with us on Saturday, and Maureen will ride the 35Kms from Swartz Bay with us, through Sidney, the Lockside Trail and the Goose to Mile 0! We were in touch with sister Sonia about our Canada Day cake, which we ordered a couple of days ago, once we were pretty sure we would make it home on Canada Day. We also looked at a schedule of some of the Canada Day events activities at the Inner Harbour in Victoria and see that a First Nations Program starts at 3:00pm and Valdy is singing Oh Canada! at 3:50pm, pretty much when we think we will be rolling by en route to Mile 0. Then, there is more music and 10:15pm fireworks (a bit past our bedtime, but we might have energy to stay up for them)!
Tonight was a gorgeous sunset evening and we even danced to "heard it on the grapevine" in the Copper Room's famous dance floor at Harrison Hot Springs.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We are confirmed "hillists"! We truly enjoyed our ride up from Princeton to Manning Park. It was short, but over 1,300 meters elevation gain, so, quite possibly our most significant hill ride of our entire riding experience!
Plus, with road construction delays (for the cars and trucks, but not us) we were once again flying along without any traffic for significant intervals. Before we left Princeton, B picked up fresh batteries for our rear flashers and Y found handfuls of Canadian flags, pins, and maple "kisses".
At a break for cold beverages, Y tried out her new hairband double-flag on a display tractor (due to too much mucking about, she dropped her ice cream in the dust - oh well, likely best that way!).
At another break for apples and pepperoni, we watched a crane load concrete barrier sections onto a flatbed, and the worker told us he would not be needing our "lunch table", the concrete barrier on which we had perched our things. B lost another inner tube to road shrapnel, and we changed it on the road shoulder and enjoyed the break. The Copper Mountain mine was visible from many angles on different sections of the highway - we had no idea that it would be so enormous! We were happy to arrive in Manning Park, which feels very close to home.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

No Kms Monday;
118.4Kms Tuesday
Our day off in Osoyoos was not a play day after all due to bike care and laundry needs for B and administrative work for Y. The break was great, especially as the wind from the West was picking up all day and by nightfall there were rollers off Osoyoos Lake onto the beach.

Tuesday was windy all day, but there was reprieve in the undulating landscape and meandering roadway. A super highlight Tuesday was a visit to "Farmers Dotter" in Cawston, just East of Keremeos, and our pals Yve and Morris. We plan to get back to see them again soon, as our brief, surreal hello was a surprise stop-by. They are in the process of expanding their operations to include accommodation - so stay tuned. Yve bakes sourdough (dozens at a time in her outdoor oven - 77 is her record) for the Penticton Saturday market and she was creating a scape / salt / mustard pair of projects (which we didn't have time to learn about) when we dropped by. We rode along and twice crossed the beautiful Similkemene River en route between Cawston and Princeton.
The valley was narrow and long, with wind mostly from the West, but occassionally from other points - the Valley of Four Winds, Yve had told us earlier. In addition to fruit orchards, there were many established and new vineyards, with ties to famed BC labels - the tillable hillside benches were orderly and thriving.
We decided today that we will indeed make it for Canada Day in Victoria, so we ordered a Canada Day flag cake from Thrifty Foods for our arrival at Mile 0 on July 1st! Princeton has more business activity than we expected, and we enjoyed our walk to town and dinner.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A sense of well-being was with us all day today. We left Midway en route to gorgeous Osoyoos with some level ground for the first ~15Kms.
Then we had two big hills up and then the longest downhill into Osoyoos until the 50Kms we will glide from Manning Park to Hope. B quipped to Y at one point that he was fine with the pace pedaling behind her, as it kept him "motor-vated" and in fact he was drafting, didn't she know!
We passed through the pretty community of Rock Creek, which we had not noticed on drives previously through this area. On the ~15Km switch-back downhill into Osoyoos, Y again deployed her orange parachute raincoat and it again worked like a charm as she only had to break twice on two particularly tight hair-pin corners.

After a catch-up nap at our Poplars Motel accommodation on Osoyoos Lake, we walked 1.5Km to the grocery store in town to provision for the next two days. We waded in the still cool lake below the motel and then settled in to choose photos and text for yesterday's and today's Blogs.