Friday, June 30, 2006

DAY 21: Medicine Hat to ?

Total Km's thus far... approx. 95 km

We are now in Saskatchewan!!!! Presently, we are at the vistitor's info just outside Maple Creek.

Our closet campground is 47 k east....we may keep going but are feeling the effects of the heat. Atleast we would have a shorter day to enjoy the celebrations in Swift Current tomorrow.

I guess we were quite a bit slower this morning with a slight headwind, but seems like it is changing direction....

We will try to keep you posted!


Thursday, June 29, 2006

DAY 20: Brooks to Medicine Hat

Total kms today: 105 km

Great tailwinds....and overcast! Excellent for us, but also excellent for the mosquitos. It's hard to believe that they were landing on us and biting while we were riding 30km/hr. Lots of bites.

Arrived safely into town, getting in touch with some media, finding a campsite etc and wondering what we will do for dinner. At the tourist info, they told us that the mosquitos have only become bad in the last couple of days - it is all that rain this spring.

We are hoping to arrive in Swift Current for Canada DAY.

HWY Prairie NEWS

Klara, Alisha and Jennica have begun a cycling tourist choir which specilizes in 'camp' compositions. Today's show included "Found a peanut, " "My eyes are dim," "Hermie the worm," "Great Big Moose," "One day my rooster," and "I love my rooster."

The Cross Canada "Cyclist" composition (sung to the gambler) has been put on hold. Ask the girls about their BC edition of "I like the flowers."


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

DAY 19: Strathmore to Brooks

Total Km's TODAY: 134 km

This was a long day for us, but it wasn't too much of a push because we don't have any mountains to climb! We arrived into town about 4:30 pm

Our morning was excellent; Klara, Alisha and I were out of camp in a record 1.5hrs and on the road by 8AM. We had done 80km by noon. Not many towns to visit, so we made sure to carry extra water for when our bottles went dry.

The afternoon was a bit more of a push because of the heat. I would not doubt that it was 30 degrees + : to prove it?

The nice heat rashes on our thighs.

We really want to avoid the off to bed and hoping to leave by 730 AM tomorrow.

A very special thank you to Donna and Glenn Erixon in Brookes for putting us up in their house. The food, shower, beds and conversations are such a blessing to our tired bodies! Thank you!

Thanks for following us along the way - your support and donations keep us pedaling.

DAY 18: Calgary SW to East Strathmore

Total km's today....approximately 60km
(Getting out of Calgary was its own challenge and took us close on two and a half hours!)

This is my summary - sorry no pics - maybe I should explain.

An adventure like this one does not happen without injuries and pain, which we have already seen in the case of Alisha's accident. Christine has developed Carpal Tunnel syndrome and although she was checked out, treated and decked out with some heavy-duty gloves and handle-bar padding, we all thought it was best if she listened to her body to ensure recovery quickly got underway. As a result, Cam and Christine are resting in Calgary and will be rejoining the crew tomorrow (June 29th) in Medicine Hat.

Oh yah...the explanation? Cam is our digital photographer.

This was our first day of needed adjustment to the prairies - the wind, the heat, the stretches of what-seems-like nothing....

For our first day out, we were pretty unlikely with a strong head wind, keeping us at a pretty slow pace.

We were happy nonetheless that we had reached a reasonable destination, keeping us on track to meet Cam and Christine Thursday.

A perfect little campground right off the highway with showers, toilets and a phone was our home for the night. Bonus? It was only $10! Brett (Klara's friend from Calgary) came out to meet us, and we sat around the camp fire enjoying conversation - an event that seems to happen less than I had anticipated.

My first take on the prairie sky is BEAUTIFUL

(We are however, becoming the mosquitos' favourite dinner....)


Monday, June 26, 2006

DAY 17: OFF in the Big C

kilometers today....ZERO...unless you count walking around the city

Klara and I slept until 930..can't believe it

We made a big breakfast, eggs, fruit salad, toast and hashbrowns..delicious.... you know we are going to be burning a lot of calories relaxing!

Laundry, errands and visiting friends was the essence of the day.

Now frantically packing, organizing and wondering how we leave the normal life once more to return to the cyclist, spandex wearing, calorie consuming, crazy adventerous person that we all love being!

Special Thank you to ...

John Gillis and the crew at the downtwon Calgary Milestones

Brett Jensen for being so gracious and generous to us...driving us around, feeding us and letting us take over his house for 48 hours...


Barb and Eric for the lovely swim in the lake, visit and dinner


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day16: Canmore to Calgary

Sunday June 25

Total Km: 106 km

HWY 1 was busy and a bit tiring..but very smooth and not very hilly in comparison to what we have been doing...

We said goodbye to the, it makes me feel a bit nostalgic leaving the mountains....

Picnic-ed under a tree on long grass. It was very nice to have a bit of shade after this heat on the highway!

First time for many of us to have actual burns! Don't worry moms, we ARE wearing sunscreen! We all put on SPF 30-45 atleast 3 times throughout the day! We are definately learning that is not enough....

Arriving into Calgary pretty early for us about 1530.

We toured the Olympic Park a bit, giving us a chance to stretch our legs and take a photo on the podium!

Our lovely host, a good friend of Klara's, Brett Jensen, picked up a few of us and we all ended up meeting us at his house for showers and laundry! Finally after 3 days of park camping...

The social butterfly that he is, Cam's waitering days have landed him some awesome we all had a dinner on the house at Milestones downtown. Brett said it was hilarious watching us - like we had been out of civilization for 2 weeks or something, or perhaps its the 6hrs of cycling a day... it doesn't matter. He said, "atleast I have entertainment for the night."

Ohh and we got to take out Alisha's stiches!

Finally off to sleep....dreaming about days OFF.....or cycling through the decide

signing out


Day 15: Marble Canyon Campground, Kootney National Park, BC to Canmore, AB

Total Kilometers TODAY: 80 km
Highlights: WE ARE FINALLY IN ALBERTA!!!!! 739 miles later (that is Cam's bike computer for yah...he loves doing the math - he says it keeps his mind active on the road....)

Entered into Banff National Park - lots of photos ops... the continental divide...

infront of Alberta's welcome sign...

Summitted Vermillion Pass : the highest point we have been at, about 1760m, but probably the easiest climb! Only took about an hour!

Huge Osprey nest at Castle Junction, lots of bird, deer, and exhibit signs to read on HWY 1A about the wildlife and surrounding area. We were definately surprised to not see more!!!

Lunch in Banff - very touristy

Super fun ride the last 20km to Canmore, smooth sailing, wide shoulder (but loud traffic!!!) We were probably averaging 30km/hr!!!!

Nice campground, really busy on a sunny weekend...this is the first day of consistent heat....we are noticing a change and recognizing the need to DRINK MORE WATER!


Day 14: Radium to Marble Canyon (Kootney National Park)

June 23rd
Km today: 85km

Highlights: Sinclair Pass 1477m, climbed 11% grades
Crazy Kootney weather again! This morning we woke up to tons of rain so we went back to sleep for another half hour. Bu the time we woke up again, the rain had cleared and it promised to be a nice day. After a quick breakfast and packing up all our stuff, we started up the climbs we previewed the day before.

Climbing up Sinclair Pass was more difficult and longer than expected.

Taking a few quick breaks for snacks and dropping several layers of clothes, we reached the top and saw how challenging the climb actually was.

Lunch was had in McLeod Meadows and we got to enjoy beautiful roads with beautiful shoulders and gorgeous scenery for the rest of the afternoon. Taking breaks to learn the history of the Kootney National Park, we kept our eyes open for wildlife along the road. Unfortunately, all the elk and moose appeared to be hiding and all we saw were some white-tailed deer.

The Rockie Mountains were so majestic! It was awe-inspiring to cycle the valley in between them. I know I will miss the mountains so much as we leave.

Tonight we stopped at Marble Canyon campground for its opening night. It is just before Vermilion Pass so we should be in good stead for tomorrow. Only a few more kilometeres left in BC!


Day:13 Canal Flats to Radium

June 22nd
Distance: 61km
What a great day! This morning we got up and got ready at the hostel/campground in Canal Flats. We woke up to the sound of logging trucks since it is a mill town. Getting up was difficult as we are still trying to get used to the time change. Being on the western side of the time zone, the mornings are darker then we are used to. The ride today was pretty easy with only a few small hills to climb.

Stopping in Fairmont for a snack and a cinnamon bun, we enjoyed some nice weather. However, nice weather was not in the forecast. We outran a storm cloud outside of Windermere only to be rained on as we left Invermere.

We arrived on Radium nice and early and ready to soak our tired muscles in the hot springs. After setting up camp and dropping everything but our bathing suits, we were ready to go. However, we still had climbs to do and a preview for tomorrow as we climbed the hill out of the campsite (why put a campsite in a canyon) and up the 11% hill to the hot springs. A quick ice cream break and we hit the hot springs. They were so nice!

There was a warm pool which was huge, a small hot pool of unfiltered hot spring water and a cool pool (definitely not a cold pool at all, warmer then the swimming pools in Coquitlam). It was a challenge to get out of the water but 2 hours later we managed to do it.

While in the grocery store getting food for the next two days, the rain reappeared. However, Kootney rains are short and by the time we got back to camp, it had stopped and we got to see the most brilliantly bright rainbow I've ever seen!!! Not only did the rain stop but we managed to get a campfire going and even had s'mores! Yum.

We are nearing the end of the BC leg of our trip and are heading towards Alberta. Beef country here we come!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 12: Cranbrook to Canal Flats

km today: 90 km

After our long day yesterday pulling into Cranbrook in two shifts one at 8:45 the other at 10pm Mountain time we decided to take it a little slower this morning.

We ate a hearty breakfast and attempted to satisfy our tummys which currently feel like bottomless pits. Alisha, Jen, Cam and Christine welcomed the break from oatmeal with sunnyside up eggs, peanut butter and toast and a bowl of cereal complimented with a warm cup of tea. I like my oatmeal such a good start to the day, nice and filling. Okay alisha does not share my sentimants... The new ports also had this really cool yogart Chocolate cherry fondue made by source. Uhmmmm delicious. Okay I am talking about food again but when you are cycling up and down hills all day long tugging twice your body weight you work up quite the appetite.

The day after we left Oyooyous the group happened to find a weigh scale that the group cycled over. Rough weights including bike and gear and trailers(cam and jennica):
Alisha-110 kg
Christine-110 kg
Cam-120 kg
So you can only imagine.

Quote of the Day:
" I keep eating but I never feel full...the minute I start eating I just get hungrier"

We packed up our laundry that we had scattered all over the floor at the Newhouse residence. Then headed off to the grocery store for some lunch and dinner supplies then off to Canal Flats we went.

Enroute to Fort Steal Jennica and the gals (Alisha and Klara) began to compose a song to summerize our journey. I will wait till it's done to share the song with you all but it goes to the tune of 'the gambler' by Kenny Rogers.... to be continued...

At Fort Steele we ran in to a group of four girls cycling from Calgary. We are starting to see more cyclists on the road it is getting really exciting.

The shoulder on the road was really good compared to yesterday. (Yesterday there was the "wake-up" groves right beside th ewhite line then by that a lot of rubble over the majority of the trip). Even though the shoulder was better to bike on we somehow managed to get way more honks from vehicals passing by telling us to move over. We try to please the motorists but you can only mover over sooo far.

We stopped at Wasa Lake for a good lunch... meanwhile the mosquitos snacked on us for lunch.

For the evening we found a small hostal and RV campground in Canal Flats Called Columbia Lake Lodge. The place is established in an old school house, with a library attached i one of the old school rooms so here I am to typing away to share todays events with you.

Day 11: Creston to Cranbrook

Km today: 110 km

We began this day a little later than usual since we all had to tour the Kootney Brewery. When are we ever going to be in Creston again?

So after the tour, a short interview with the Creston Advance (newspaper) we headed off to the Chocolate orchard (another bakery/confectionary) for a second breakfast and loaded our bikes with our gear. Then just before we leave the ...Cams hook for his trailer is no where to be found. With some kind help from the managers at th Kozy RV camp a new bolt to hook on Cams trailer is devised and off we go.

A small town called Yahk along the way had a really neat soap shop with goats on the roof!

So we ended up leaving the campground at 12:00pm. Thsi was deffinately a late start for a 110 km day and a time zone change so we pushed our legs hard all day.

The push was definately worth it. Lynne and Steve Newhouse in Cranbrook BC were kind enough to open their doors to us and feed us and provide beds for us to sleep in. Yeah, no mosquito filled campground or tent tonight!

Special Thanks:
Lynne, Steve and Dan thank-you so much for your hospitality.
After 11 days on the road, WOW a warm place to stay is truly appreciated.

Day 9: Castlegar to Nelson to Kootney Bay

Today we cycled out of Castlegar and along the Kootney river to Nelson. We passed about four amazing hydro electric dams along the way. It is interesting to not that everything in this region seems to origionally been developed during the gold rush.

The first dam we passed was called the Brilliant Dam. They are currently in the process of expanding this dam.

As I was sitting at on of the pullouts overlooking a dam, slightly ahead of the group who were taking a picture, an individual pulled over to ask me about the cycling trip. I quickly learned that the man I was speaking to was driving the support vehical for a monk WALKING across the country. I had heard rumors of this monk as Cam had mentioned that he was in the area but non of us had seen him yet. I am amazed this will be the third spiritual walk that this monk has completed. In the past he has started from the BC coast in early April and walked for 6 months straight to end in Cape Horn(apparently this is the farthes point east in Canada) in late October. The driver mentioned that there were some pretty cold days on his last trip. Can you imagine walking in a robe (not sure what the name of these garments are called) in April at 1500 m. Kay I know I with skiing as a kid and various hikes at high elevation in the summer months this can be cold. This time the monk is breaking his walk into two parts due to various engagements along the way. He is walking to Toronto this summer and completing the trip next summer.

A Little bit further along the road I found the monk in bright orange robe and sandles walking along. I coasted beside him for about 10 minutes to ask about his journey and he encouraged us to try to go the extra 12 km to Cape Horn. We wished each other a safe journey and continued on our way to Nelson.

In Nelson we took the afternoon off to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the area. We stoped at an Organic Coffee shop called Grouned for some delicious sandwiched etc. We also found a computer where $2 covered 15 min or longer till the next person came to use the computer. This is where cam managed to post the last set of blog updates.

After a relaxing afternoon in Nelson we headed off for Cinnimon Buns (Since we are always hungery Jennica has coined this trip the Cross Canada Bakery Tour). Then headed off for along the lake to the Balfor Bay Ferry.

Unfortunately, our timing was a little off and we just missed the hourly ferry. So we made dinner as we waited for the 7:50 ferry to Kootney Bay.

Apparently, this ferry ride is the longest free Ferry ride in Canada (35 min). So rather late we pulled into Kootney Bay and found a campground to crash(Pilot Bay Resort-yeah it wasn't an actual resort).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 8: Christina Lake to Castlegar

Six o'clock comes all too early for a tired body.
Even after a day of rest my legs were still stiff and sore, and my back hurt.

But I rested a whole day - I must be fresh right?

We didn't have much time to dust off our 'rested' legs before we had them pounding us up another mountain pass!

The ride was a bit shorter - only about 76 km, and somehow knowing we didn't have too far to go helped motivate me up the hill.

The climb out of Christina Lake to Paulson Summit was our highest peak yet - over 1500 metres. We pounded hard, hoping to make the peak by lunch time.

Hunger eventually got the better of us and we stopped for lunch a couple hundred metres below the summit.

From the Paulson Summit, the descent into Castlegar was our best yet. The roads were smooth, with decent shoulders and it was dry!

It never ceases to amaze me how fast you can come down from a hill that took you nearly 4 hours to climb!

We got to Castlegar nice and early, got some groceries and settled in to camp. It was nice to have some time to see the town before nightfall.

Aside from the hint of pulp-mill smell, Castlegar was a beautiful city full of friendly folks. =)

Day 7:Christina Lake to .... nowhere! DAY OFF!!

After 6 days of solid riding and 5 mountain passes - I think we were all ready for a break.

We crossed our fingers for sunshine for our day off. And we got it..... sort of.

The day started off beautifully. So beautifully that we were compelled to wash almost every article of clothing we had!

By about noon, some mean clouds rolled in but they were moving fast.

For the rest of the day we had 15-20 minute periods of rain, followed by intense sunshine.

Our day off included all the things a day off should: swimming, relaxing and ice cream eating!

But of course it wasn't all fun and games... we made time to get a core workout in on the dock!

Day 6: Kettle River to Christina Lake

Today was our last day of riding with John, our honorary team member for the BC leg of the trip.
We were all sad to say good-bye - but he's a popular guy with many other commitments!

The ride was beautiful through the Kettle Valley and we enjoyed a number of stops in the small towns along the way.

After considerable debate and a subsequent investigation at the local grocery store, we determined that town 'Midway' is named so because it is midway along the Kettle Valley Railway.

Although some townies also claimed it was the exact midpoint of the province - this has yet to be substantiated. Anybody know?

Our trip has developed into an excellent culinary adventure. As of late, we have sampled baked goods from nearly every town in the Boundary Country/Kootenay Region.

Above is a picture of the B4B squad sampling some of the bounty in Greeenwood (the small town where 'Snow Falling on Cedars' was filmed... many of the buildings still have signs saying 'Amity Harbor' on them... but there is no harbour!)

After a great afternoon on the road, we reached Grand Forks where John was to catch his bus back to Vancouver. Alisha popped in to 'Chain Reaction' for some more bike repairs.

We arrived just in time for the weekly group ride for the Grand Forks Cycling Club. They invited us out for a 60 minute sprint workout - but we had a bit too much gear!

After a tearful good-bye to Sir John K. the Fifth, we did some grocery shopping before riding our last 20 km of the day to Christina Lake.

We got to the campground as the sun was going down and prepared to settle in for a couple nights. It was great going to bed knowing that we wouldn't have to be up at 6am to be on our bikes the next day - it was our day off!