8 Summits

Day 16 – Princeton to Hope, BC – 141 kms

I guess that I was in the mood for riding, as I made it over the two mountain passes and all the way to Hope. And on the next day, I would be “beyond Hope!” Hee-hee, just had to say that!
I had a cool day for riding just about the whole way. I stopped at Manning Park restaurant for some hot soup and a sandwich; it was cool there. In fact my main reason for not staying at Manning Park as planned, was that it was only 10°C there at noon. I didn’t really fancy spending an afternoon and evening there all bundled up like it was fall or something. Everyone I met was saying how unseasonably cool our summer was this year. I then decided to carry on to Hope.

As I came out of the restaurant, I saw that Basil had found a friend…

Squirrel Attack!

Squirrel Attack!

The wind picked up again in the afternoon, so I had strong headwinds once more. Fortunately, I was over the summits by that time, but it still slowed me down on some of the lesser downhill grades though.
The road was without a shoulder to speak of for many miles. Once again repaving had taken place and smooth asphalt has been replaced with heavy chip and tar surface. At the road edges, or mini-shoulders, where the coarse aggregate had not been rolled out properly, it resembled riding on a rumble strip! The climb up to Sunday Summit at 1282 metres was uneventful and not too tedious. Then I had a nice downhill run before beginning the lesser grade climb up to to Manning Park and Allison Pass at 1342 metres.

Sunday Summit - 1282m

Sunday Summit – 1282m

Allison Pass - 1342m

Allison Pass – 1342m

Traffic was very light until noon and then I guess all the RVers decided to go home from the campgrounds – hundreds of them. Some of them didn’t seem to realise that what they were towing was wider than the vehicle that they were towing with! I used my mirror extensively to try and see where the rearward approaching vehicle or trailer wheels were. Hard to do when you’re going down a steep grade at speed though. Not many big trucks out on this day though, perhaps because it was Sunday?
For the most part though, all through my trip, drivers were very courteous when they were passing me, and they did try to give me lots of room. It was just the odd idiot that I’d have to watch out for. Good ones to watch were the rent-a-truck drivers, they didn’t seem to have a clue as to the width of their rental vehicle (or trailer) and were passing me as if they were in a small car. As soon as I saw “U-Haul” or “Budget” in my mirror, I’d slow down and head for the gravel shoulder!

The Hope Slide east of Hope

The Hope Slide east of Hope

I think that I saw more touring cyclists on the road from Princeton to Hope than in the whole trip. All but one were heading east, so I couldn’t converse with them. However I did come across one guy who was resting on one of the climbs out of Princeton. He was from Holland and I asked where he had stayed on the previous night. He said that he slept in the bush – he sure looked like it too! He seemed to be having his breakfast of Coke and a bag of potato chips! His English was sketchy (my Dutch was non-existent) but he did relay that coming from flat Holland, he found the mountain passes quite daunting. He thought that there was only one pass on the way to Hope. I set him straight there with the information that he had two passes to ride – made his day, didn’t I?

I checked out the Nicolum River Provincial Park, just before arriving in Hope, and it was pretty basic for $12.00 – it reminded me of the KIA car commercial, “Welcome to da swamp!” So I cycled into Hope and found a nice campground right on the riverside, run by First Nations people, $10.00 (for cyclists) with free showers – and no swamp! There was a Dairy Queen just down the street, at which I had already partaken prior to finding the campground so I planned to go there for dessert too!
The next day’s plan was to stay in Abbotsford for the night. I would be leaving Hope on the Trans Canada Highway 1 and then planned to be taking back roads as soon as possible, through some familiar territory that I ride each year on the BC Lung Association TREK for Life and Breath.

Day 17 – Hope to Fort Langley, BC – 125 kms

Another easy ride – until the headwinds kicked up at around 11:00 a.m. from the SSW again, the direction that I was heading into! Nevertheless I was in Abbotsford by about noon, but I didn’t like the location of the campsite there – very close to the TCH, lots of traffic noise and no amenities nearby to speak of. Hence I decided to ride on to a familiar campground in Fort Langley. Also killing some extra miles would contribute to a shorter ride on the next day, my last day of the tour.

Leaving Hope Behind

Leaving Hope Behind

After leaving Hope – you know, I was “beyond Hope!” – I rode on TCH 1 until Rosevale and then journeyed on quite a few back roads through to Chilliwack and Abbotsford. As I rode out from Hope there was some really nice views of the surrounding mountains and countryside…

Leaving Hope on Highway 1

Leaving Hope on Highway 1

My decision to continue on to Fort Langley, led me to ride through the town (city?) of Abbotsford and I was very surprised at the size of the place, it’s a suburb of Vancouver now, with shopping malls and even some high-rises. I had always imagined Abbotsford as a small town! After a quick lunch there, I once again found some nice quiet back roads all the way to Fort Langley.
Nothing to complain about, even the sun was out from early morning.

I meant to mention, that on my previous night in Hope, a couple in a camper pulled in late, around 11:00 p.m., and parked next to me. In the morning, my neighbour was up at the same time as I was and very apologetic that he might have woken me on the previous evening. He didn’t, but he still had a coffee ready for me when I poked my head out of the tent at 6:30 a.m. and offered a breakfast to me – yes, I took up the offer! You do meet the nicest people at campsites!
As this was my last night camping and the trip was to end on the next day, I decided that there would be no cooking and headed to downtown Fort Langley for some food and a beer. The local pub did me proud!

Day 18 – Fort Langley to Sidney, BC – 61 kms

I finally made it home, after 1812 kms, a far cry from my estimated 1568 kms!…
In the morning, I left the campground at Fort Langley in search of a good breakfast – and cycled on Glover Road (Highway 10) with it’s good shoulder into Langley. As soon as I reached the bypass, the traffic volume increased dramatically. Just after crossing the lights at the Fraser Highway, I saw an IHOP and pulled in there for a feast of pancakes, and to wait out the rush of traffic… perhaps.
The traffic volume didn’t seem to alter, so after stalling for as long as I could, I rode off again. I had ridden this section of Highway 10 west a few times before, and believe me, it is not for the faint-hearted. The shoulder disappears as one leaves Langley heading for Cloverdale, and turns into a high curb with sidewalk. Also, there are large catchment drains to steer around – this is all on an up and over hill – and it seems that every other vehicle is a large truck. I thought that I’d be smart this time and ride the hardly used sidewalk (not one of my common practices) until I reached the top of hill. Although the sidewalk insulated me somewhat from the traffic, I had to ride very slowly and keep my eyes peeled for the constant litter of broken glass that was strewn all over the sidewalk. At the top of the hill I rejoined the roadway and tried to keep my speed up, while dodging the drains on the downhill to avoid any conflicts with passing vehicles. Once into Cloverdale, traffic slows down a bit, making it less harrying for us cyclists.

The narrow shoulder leaving Cloverdale is cracked and uneven, with traffic still passing closely by. After this rough section, the shoulder widens and smoothes out as one enters the municipality of Surrey – thankfully! The rest of the ride to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen was uneventful, barring once again, strong headwinds as soon as I turned southwest onto Highway 17. I arrived at the terminal in plenty of time for the 11:00 a.m. sailing.
Once on board, I watched all the tourists scurrying about and wondered what their travels had entailed? Probably nothing like my adventure, and as I reclined back in a comfortable chair, I had time to reflect on my journey.

Summary…

Quite a trip to say the least, I averaged just over 100 kms a day, not bad for fully loaded touring. It was tougher than I imagined, and rightly so with 8 major mountain passes – and many minor ones! Quite the tour of diverse terrain too, starting at the Washington side of the Cascade Mountain Range, then through the Southern BC Interior, with its rangeland of farms and huge cattle ranches; returning back through the Canadian side of the Cascades at Allison Pass.

 Also, I encountered quite varied weather, especially for July, even in BC! The constant barrage of headwinds ever since Kamloops was also very wearing. Setting out early in the morning had helped, as on most days the winds did not kick up until late morning; I did say most days didn’t I? Not always, that’s for sure. However, I’m hoping that the same westerly winds will help me next year on my, west to east, cross-Canada tour, we’ll have to wait and see!

Boy, it’s nice to type on a full-size keyboard again 🙂

Say Goodnight Basil!

Finis!

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