8 Summits

Day 12 – Cherryville to Falkland, BC – 110 kms

$35.00 motel, hard to resist! And it was too damn hot to camp anyway! Actually I checked out the municipal campground in Falkland – it wasn’t too appealing. That’s why a cool room with a shower and TV made much more sense!

The ride was rolling countryside with some long slow climbs thrown in for good luck. The traffic volume increased considerably, the closer that I rode to Vernon, and the shoulder of the road diminished proportionately – why is that?
I shouldn’t have mentioned logging trucks in the previous day’s report, for I saw enough to last me a lifetime on this day’s ride, and some I saw from an intimate distance! I was hoping that after Kamloops, when I would switch from Highway 97 to Highway 5A, the traffic volume would decrease.

On the road to Vernon

On the road to Vernon

I stopped for a second breakfast, in Lumby, at a nice cafe that actually had vegetarian sausage on the menu, made locally and very tasty! After that I was ready for anything!
Lots of beautiful scenery to gawp at, as I rode past large farms and ranches. I couldn’t believe how many places were for sale though. It seemed that every other farm that I passed, there was a “For Sale” sign on the gatepost. I could only assume that farming and ranching were obviously not very lucrative propositions anymore, or have they ever been?
Once I reached Vernon, I stopped for a while and finally found a spare tire that was the correct size, I even managed to trade in the one I bought in Nelson that wouldn’t fit (too wide for my fenders). Long story, but suffice to say that one should always check the size of tire by reading the sidewall of the tire, instead of just reading the tag that the bike shop attaches. I ended up with a 38mm instead of a 32mm! I thought that it looked big! Anyway, thanks to the Olympia Cycle and Ski Shop in Vernon all was well. Good bike shop! The other bike shop on the main street in Vernon was not very helpful and the rest of downtown Vernon was not impressive either, lots of traffic with no regard for cyclists.

Leaving Vernon

Leaving Vernon

Falkland was just another small town, with the main highway running through it for a main street, but the surrounding area made it a nice locale. After settling my bike and gear in the motel room, I had a refreshing shower and was ready to brave the world – I decided to go out for Pizza and a beer – downtown Falkland!

 

Day 13 – Falkland to Knutsford, BC – 88 kms

If you’re looking for Knutsford on a map, you likely won’t find it! It’s a small rural hamlet 7 kms south of Kamloops on Highway 5A. Not much there except for a few farms and houses, and the campground that I stayed at. Nice place but expensive for tenting at $18.00 plus another loonie for a five minute shower; I took the full five minutes too! This seemed to be the only place, camping-wise, until Merritt, another 85 kms down the road. A little too far to ride on this day.

Better Road Down to Monte Creek

Better Road Down to Monte Creek

From Falkland Highway 97 was a zoo! Hardly any shoulder in lots of places with really fast moving traffic. I was glad to leave it at Monte Creek and join the Trans Canada Highway 1 for about 25 kms to Kamloops. Even though the TCH was also busy, I had a nice smooth, wide shoulder to ride on and felt much safer. The shoulders on Highway 97 had been sporadic and when there very rough. Barring the light head wind, the ride itself to Kamloops was easy and I made good time. Kamloops is in a valley, so I had some nice long downhills. Of course for all the downhills, I knew that I would have to pay!

[2003 Update… Heading east, Highway 97 has been repaved starting a few kilometres east of Falkland. It now sports nice smooth asphalt and wide shoulders all the way to Monte Creek.]

Fortunately, I didn’t have to venture into downtown Kamloops, but did some shopping and had lunch at a plaza just east of the city.
Then I paid for the downhills! Riding by and leaving Kamloops is one looooong uphill, not too steep, but seemingly never ending! About a quarter of the way up the hill, there was a sign stating “No Bicycles.” Yeah, right, what was I supposed to do? There was no exit so I carried on, on the supposed “Freeway.” Regardless, I had lots of room on the nice wide shoulder and found it no different than riding the other 25 kms on the TCH. After a few miles of the hill I found the the exit for Highway 5A, then I found myself with a few more miles of uphill!

Coyote at the Roadside

Coyote at the Roadside

I eventually arrived at the campground in Knutsford and figured that I’d still have about 1 km of hill left when I left the campground in the morning, but that’s all that I could see though, and I’d been wrong before!

The weather had been cooler until noon and by then I had covered most of my ground. The weather man was threatening thunderstorms for the evening with a chance of showers on the next day, and rain for the following day. It was hard to believe that this was almost the end of July with the weather being so changeable. Usually in this part of BC, at this time of the year, the weather is hot and dry. I reckoned that it would probably improve by the time I finished my trip! The cool mornings were nice to ride in though, but I could have done without any more wet stuff.
I saw another touring cyclist heading east on the TCH, and that’s the only one since I saw the couple entering New Denver as I was leaving. So much for meeting lots of other cyclists back in Canada! I also saw another coyote on the previous day’s ride and a pair on this day. I managed to snap a photo of one of them, but I think that it was too far away; hard to tell on the small LCD screen of the digital camera.

I was expecting a bigger ride the following day to Aspen Grove and I was keeping my fingers crossed that the rains would stays away!

Day 14 – Knutsford to Kentucky – Alleyne PP – 139 kms

Whitecaps on Nicola Lake

Whitecaps on Nicola Lake

What a day! Big miles and hard ones at that. My first 95 kms on this morning were bucking 30 to 40 km/hr headwinds, not fun at all! I was in wide open ranch land terrain, with no trees to provide any sort of windbreak. It was really too bad, because the road was perfect for cycling, but every time I stopped pedalling the bike would stop, even on a downhill! The wind was so strong that when I reached Nicola Lake, whitecaps were forming on the waves of the lake. There was a small campground and store just at the head of the lake and a little further on there was a gift store with an heritage (read – expensive) hotel/restaurant at Quilchena. Other than that, there weren’t any towns or convenient cafes, in fact almost nothing until I arrived in Merritt exhausted from the battle with the headwind! On the plus side I had very little traffic to contend with on this road, especially of the large logging truck variety! I was once again glad of my mirror, as the headwind whistling through past my ears blocked out any sound of traffic approaching from the rear.

Empire of Grass

Empire of Grass

In Merritt, I did some grocery shopping and devoured a sub for my lunch. I thought that I only had 24 kms more to ride to Aspen Grove from Merritt, so I took off again. Horror of horrors! The 7% grade hill out of Merritt was 12 kms long; thankfully the wind had lessened a bit and almost seemed to be behind me. What a grind as tired as I was! I was contemplating turning round and finding a motel in Merritt for the night, but then I’d have to start the damn hill all over again!
Anyway I made it, and then what? The kilometres were adding up and I soon realised that I had quite a bit further than 24 kms to go from Merritt! In fact, I had 38 kms to ride before the turnoff for the park and then the place was another 6 kms on a rough tar and chip road. I might mention that I also encountered 7 kms of road works whilst travelling from Merritt. In some places, the road crews had dug away the shoulder of the road, leaving a 6ft drop-off next to where I was riding. And of course I was sharing the road with morons who didn’t want to share the road! Some drivers are real jerks – I think that they expected me to ride, 6ft down in the ditch or something!
As you can see, it was a good day for expressing profanities to the wind, and to reckless drivers!

Grasslands

Grasslands

While I made and ate my dinner, I planned for a shorter day’s ride next but was hoping more for lack of headwinds on the next day’s travel. It was still windy in the park at 7:00 p.m. though, but I was optimistic that perhaps the winds would abate overnight – one could only hope!
By the way, to cover the 139 kms on this day, I was in the saddle for 8 1/2 hours; one tough grind!

The extra 6 kms into the park were worth it though, as this park was in a beautiful setting on the two shores of Kentucky Lake and Alleyne Lake. The park ranger must have thought that he was doing me a favour when I asked if he any sites left. He said that he could put me in the overflow area, a gravel area next to a boat launch ramp! I checked it out and it was an awful place to try and pitch a tent, and the ranger said that he’d have to charge me the same price as a regular spot that had a fire pit, picnic table and decent pitch. After some discussion, I coaxed out of him that the park wasn’t actually full and that he actually did have some decent sites left – I moved into one! Did I look stupid or something? As it would have cost the same for a patch of gravel as a regular site. I still can’t figure why he was guiding me to his “overflow area?” Did I smell that bad?
What was good on this day? Cloudy, but no rain… And a bad day on the bike was still way better than a good day at work!

Day 15 – Kentucky-Alleyne PP to Princeton, BC – 69 kms

What’s up? Only 69 kms! Well, it was nice to have a short day after the previous day’s hardships – this WAS a holiday after all!
It rained during the night, so I had to pack up my tent wet. The road to Princeton was a pleasant ride with minimal traffic. It’s hard to believe that this was the main route before the Coquihalla Highway was built. My map showed the distance to be farther than I actually cycled, but it was also in error on the previous day – the opposite way – so I wasn’t arguing.
The rain showers were sporadic and short throughout the ride. The road, for the most part, had no shoulder, but with the low traffic volume, this was not a problem.

On arriving in Princeton, I had a big, late, second breakfast while watching another rain shower. By the look of the sky, I thought that these showers would continue for the rest of the day and I didn’t fancy getting wet and dry all day at a campground, so I checked at the visitor’s info with regard to the price of motels. Best deal yet! I found a riverside log cabin for $30.00! It was hard to refuse at that price, especially as the campground that I had planned to stay at was $15.00. – and perhaps extra for the showers?

Cozy Cabin

Cozy Cabin

Once I got cleaned up and did some minor laundry, I noticed that the sun had peeked out, so I dried my tent fly outside my cabin. With the sun and a warm breeze this took no time at all. I just managed to pack it away before another rain shower rolled in! When that one stopped, I ventured downtown Princeton, for some sightseeing and for food, what else? Oh I guess a cold one managed to find its way into my grasp too!

But early to bed though as I had to look forward to mountain pass number 7 on the next day, actually there were two to cross – Sunday Summit (1282m) and Allison Pass (1352m) – but I wouldn’t actually peak Allison Pass until the day after, shortly after leaving Manning Park (where I had planned to stay, maybe?).
So I settled in early, with TV etc., only had 12 channels, but that’s twelve more than the campground would have had – had I tented there!

Continued on Page 5…

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