leaving the Okanogan, into the Rockies!
21.05.2008 - 25.05.2008
When I left off last entry, we had just settled into Kelly's in Summerland for our first day off. Whatta day. Waking up to the smell of Kelly's delicious granola, warm and wafting the message "you don't have to make breakfast!!" - and being able to sleep in! luxury. It was gorgeous and sunny by mid-afternoon, and we went for a walk along the shores of Okanagan lake. It's a stark kind of beauty, dry - muted browns and greens, orange rocks and blue skies. Fruit stands are EVERYWHERE! I've decided to start just putting my pictures on facebook and using a public link for them (that you can see even if you don't have a facebook account) - putting pictures up twice is really time consuming, and not what I would like to spend time on on my day off!
Our from Summerland to Vernon (Coldstream, really) was our longest yet during the tour - 102.7 km. That's Mary Anne's longest day ever! It was hot, so the first time I've ever been mildly glad of a headwind, which dried the sweat off of us before we could complain about the heat. What a beautiful ride it was - halfway along the shores of the Okanagan lake, up and down through little towns like Peachland and Oyama, (As we were exiting Oyama up a hill I said to Mary Anne, "Oyama biking machine!!!" -- I know, terrible.) and views of the like and the dry hills as far as you could see. Make sure to check out the pictures! Unfortunately, the whole ride was on a busy highway, and the sound of cars rushing by me all day puts me on edge - they are so loud, my heart starts pumping and I start to feel like I'm in flight mode - I bike faster, my heart beats faster, and I am just exhausted when the day is done. Hopefully I'll get used to it. Mostly, the cars and trucks have been really good about giving us the room we need, with a few notable exceptions (to the trucker in Kelowna: I don't FIT in a space 2 feet wide between you and a raised sidewalk with those paniers!!)
Since Chris and Sarah Brown (friends of the family who now live in Vernon) were going to feed us a delicious dinner, Mary Anne and I didn't need to grocery shop and decided to treat ourselves to the lunch buffet at Pizza Hut in Kelowna. I'm sure that if we weren't wearing our biking gear, people would have wondered how these two fairly slim girls manage to KEEP slim, as we both ate about 5 slices of pizza, not including dessert pizza, and two or three helpings of salad. Mmmm-mmm.
Staying with Chris and Sarah in Coldstream that night was a real treat - beds and dinner, and even a (gasp!) drive to the post office and grocery store. I really appreciate being in a car after that much biking.
The next day, we biked from Coldstream to 13 km past Sicamous - another long day, 97 km. Mid-day we stopped for lunch a hundred meters off the highway on a small farming road where we could at least get a little rest from the sound of rushing cars (although the highway was much less busy than the day before) and enjoy the view of snowy mountains. We had forgotten our daily application of "Chamois butter" (to avoid chafing and saddle sores on your poor, overused bum) and ended up just standing on this road, bike shorts around our thighs, smearing gooey white stuff all over our bums and laughing ourselves silly as the traffic passed by on HWY-97... we narrowly missed being seen by several cars coming down our little road sporting men in cowboy hats. You know you are close to Alberta when you start seeing people actually wearing cowboy hats?? And you're not near a bar?
We tried 2 campsites before finding a place to spend the night - first one no showers, second one too expensive - and found the perfect little campsite, complete with wooded trails, mountain-stream fed river, and best of all, close proximity to the bathroom and showers! We spent a very peaceful evening reading and reflecting by the river, with those snow-capped mountains off in the distance, whispering to us about hills to climb in the days to come...
The next morning we got up for our ride to Revelstoke and made ourselves the most massive pot of oatmeal so far. We keep overestimating the amount of cereal we need, but this was just outrageous. Please check out the pictures on facebook of our "too much oatmealllll" faces.
We were both really glad to have done an extra bit of distance the day before, because although the ride was fairly flat for most of the ways into Revelstoke, the last few hills into town just killed me. Thank goodness for Mary Anne's willingness to let me draft behind her the last 10 km into Revelstoke.
Revelstoke is a beautiful, beautiful town with snow-capped, glacier-tipped mountains surrounding it and neat little shops and nice bike paths all over the place. We are staying with my aunt and uncle Sarah and Rory. Sooo good to see Chester, the dog we took care of for a year while my aunt and uncle were on a bike trip in Europe for a year, and great to get to play with my two little cousins Alexandra and Nelson. Pretty funny, yesterday after we had unpacked (and what I actually mean is - exploded all of our stuff on the floor) we went outside to find about 6 or 7 small, naked children running around the yard, playing on a trampoline and in a dirtpile waiting to be part of a garden. It was like fairyland!
So, tomorrow, weather permitting, Mary Anne and I will climb Roger's Pass, which promises a climb of about 1300 m in 70 km. It's the highest mountain summit on our trip, and we should see some breathtaking scenery!!