Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boston Bar to Ashcroft

Here are the stats of the day. Lots and lots of climbing. Lots and lots of BIG hills, but all very doable. I am quite happy with how my body is accepting this challenge.

Stats - Day Three

Everyone likes to get an early start. The first riders were out by 7 AM. These guys are focused to say the least and they arrived in camp by NOON. Then they got to sit around all afternoon. I guess if they were blogging they would have LOTS of time to do that.

Anyway we left before 8 AM and had a TAILWIND for most of the day - a STRONG tail wind which was AWESOME and most welcome. We made pretty good time.
I realized with my video camera that I had somehow turned it on and the battery was dead. So after charging it up I THINK I got video today. At one point, I was putting it on my helmet and I stopped to do that and there was a deer in the ditch right beside me. Hmmmmm =- who was going to move first??????   She was VERY close.

Deer in the ditch when I stopped to put my camera on my helmet. I wasn't quick enough to get video of the deer as it crossed the road.

We stopped in Lynton for cinnamon buns. Oh they were delicious - I only had half a one, but it was awesome.

Nice treat and NO GUILT!!!!!  even thought I only had half.
Wher the Fraser River (muddy one in the back) meets the Thompson River (clearer in the front). Apparently the Thompson was quite muddy for this time of year.

Then back on the bike and other than seeing some great country side and a very definite change in the scenery and some amazing trains scenes, it was just another day of cycling through the mountains.

Yes - that is a train right through the middle of the picture. Sorry - but the pictures DO NOT do justice to the scenery.

Here the train is snaking around several bends - look close in the distance - that is the SAME train.

At one point we were riding and you can see these rocky outcrops just hanging!!!!   Actually you hear the small rocks rolling down the hill to the barrier beside the road (just visible in the bottom right). Amazing that those rocky crags stay where they are!!!!   I am sure that they do fall and that is what causes landslides!!!!

Great view of the mountains. Again - camera does NOT do justice!!!!
Diane, Ev, Anna and myself were all escorted by BIG Larry!!!!   But since we all ride somewhat the same - it makes it more interesting to stay together and ride in a group.

However I do ride ahead and then wait for them. I don't mind, although sometimes it is hard to get back on the bike and make those legs work.

We had a decent climb today up Jackass Pass.

Me at the summit at Jackass Pass

Some of the group at the Jackass Pass Lookout
Having lunch by the side of the Thompson River. We chomped down our sandwiches by the side of the road, not realizing that there was a restaurant just 1 K down the road!!!!   We did get to the see the rafters go by though!
Crazy Dave by the Thompson River at lunch
Sign post for the Last Spike. This was up a pass called Oregon Jack. Another decent climb, but only about 7 K long. This sign was half way up - a good place to stop.

Anna and Larry arriving at the top of Oregan Jack pass.

Then we had a wild descent into Ashcroft. Steep, twisting and roads not in the best of shape. While the descent was OK, I was thinking about how we were going to get out of the valley the next morning.

The Thompson River beside our camp ground. Boy this river was moving FAST. In the distance you can see the GRAD signs from the local high school over a number of years.

Close up of Grad signs!!!!!!

Note in the wash room - look at LAST line

View from the women's wash room where the sign in the previous picture was taken. AHA - the sprinklers were NOT on this night!!!!!

Evening Pilates class run by Anna. That is my big butt on the right!!!!!   Those stretches HURT, but we sure feel good in the morning.

Helping hands for Pilates!!!!  Mike is mildly entertained by the event!!!!

Anna stretching!!!!!  And good thing I bought that tarp at Zeller's - it has become our exercise mat!!!!

Big Larry playing horseshoes with the boys.

Travis and Jim doing dishes so our cooks could play horseshoes!!!!   Hey - these guys do dishes at home so no big deal for them!!!!

My camp booties - kept my feet warm on a couple of cool evenings!!!!!   Thanks to Liz who introduced them to me last year.

This is what the back of the van looks like just before they close the doors. Those are the bags that contain our tents!!!!!

Well it is now 5:30 PM and after an amazing descent into Ashcroft which means that we have an AMAZING ascent to start the day - I had better run and get a shower because dinner will be served soon.

Have a great day!!!!!


Aggassiz to Boston Bar

First the stats (and for the quilters among you - read on - there is a HUGE surprise)

Stats - Day 2

I think the maximum speed is INCORRECT. No we were never going that fast!!!!

I was pretty tired yesterday afternoon after I blogged. No wonder - I had NOT slept well the last three nights and the first day of riding pretty much did me in. Ever have one of those days when you are so tired you cannot sleep. That was me - I was trying to read in my newly acquired lawn chair. I wasn't comfortable so I moved to the picnic table so I could lay my head on the table and try to sleep. Didn't want to hit the tent just yet!!!!! I may have dozed, but not for long.

And this fashion show was happening right beside me!!!   Have a look at this cool sleeping bag.

Bernice and her cool sleeping bag with an open bottom and arms (all zip shut), but should you need to go potty in the night - this is the sleeping bag to have!!!!
Ev trying out Bernice's air mattress.

Dinner was interesting. Rainbow trout! Now while most people would appreciate a nice fresh trout, I was a tad leery. Why you ask??? Well I don't like to see fish with the head still on and yup - these fish had the head still on. So Steve ripped the head off and ate the cheeks??? and I got a yummy tasty fish.

Is the head still on??????

Oh yeah!!!!   Where is Jeffrey when you need him!!!!! 

After dinner it started to rain on and off and eventually everyone was in bed by NINE PM. Not much partying going on!!!! Then it rained and rained and rained some more all night. Even though there was the ubitiquious train tracks close by - there was no need for them to TOOT the horn so we had a very peaceful sleep, although I was awake very early. Still adjusting to the time I think.  Since it was still raining - I was NOT going to get out of the tent until I absolutely had to.

Up - got dressed, tent down and it wasn't raining much - more mist. Then we started and yup - it was raining. What a pain. But I had chosen my rain gear right and I was nice and comfy all day except for the wet feet. And the dirty legs.
Just waiting for the rest of our group to assemble
Riding in the rain - oh joy!!!!!

Clouds in the moutains - very low!!!

Rain hat - I meant to purchase one of these BEFORE I left and forgot, so I slogged it out in the rain.

How dirty do you think that leg really is?????
Yep - that dirty!!!!!!

We stopped in Hope for coffee and I had a hot chocolate. Not a Tim's hot chocolate but a great one with whip cream on top. Then back on the road. Lots of climbing today. The steepest grade was 8% so very manageable. I have to say that I am EXTREMELY happy with my riding so far. Good speed on the down hills, good speed on the uphills and I'm not tired or sore. Thank you BROOKS SADDLES.

Hope - the chainsaw carving capital of the world. Here I am with a "buddy". Yes - my arms look very fat - the vents in my sleeves were open!!!!

We went through a number of tunnels today. The first one we followed the rules and walked on the sidewalk, but good grief that was a sissy way to ride through. The next couple were fairly short and you could see right through them - so I poured on the gas and looked for traffic (mostly big trucks and RVs) and hustled my little (Oh how I wish) butt through those babies!!!! I was riding with Anna, Larry, Ev and Diane. They all pushed through as well.

One of the SEVEN tunnels we rode through this day

Then we hit a couple of smaller tunnels and rode right through. A couple of the longer ones had a button that you push and that set off flashing lights that notified motorists that cyclists were in the tunnel. No problem. That last one - China Bar was fairly long, curved and a tad uphill. Diane and I sprinted through that one - glad when we got to the end with an RV and two cars hot on our tail!!!!!

Lunch - there are few towns around to stop. Anna and Ev were doing a few stretches at lunch.

All the highway signs are hanging and they creak in the wind!!!!

Duct tape - very useful for anything. Here it is protecting Diane's leg from rubbing!!
Hell's Gate - we stopped to look, but did NOT go down the tram. We were on a mission to get to camp!!!!

Lots of climbing, lots of downhills. It was a great day. And now we are enscouned at Green Canyon Motel where we are camping. I'm hungry since I forgot to take extra food with me - only had that peanut butter sandwich and the hot chocolate. I've already eaten THREE apples since we arrived.

Settling into a routine - arrive in camp - set up tent (in this case - make sure tent is completely dry BEFORE setting up), get clothes organized (OK - so I haven't quite got that part down yet), clean the bike, get food and THEN you can have a shower.

Oh yes - I meant to take video of the ride through the tunnels and for some reason my camera wasn't working. I don't know whether when I tested it that I ran the battery down????? I am going to plug it in and see what happens.

And the world is small. Do you want to know what Jim's wife does??????? Why she owns a quilt store!!!!!! And where is said quilt store?????? Why in Moose Jaw where Jim lives. And this is one of my favourite quilt stores!!!!!! The Quilt Patch - oh yes - I am planning to get there when we are back in the prairies (well that's much later!!!!) I need to ask for a BIG discount with having to put up with Jim!!!  Then as we got chatting after dinner - it turns out that Bernice is also a quilter!!!!!   What are the chances!!!!!!!!   OK - that was my big quilting surprise.

Dinner should be ready soon - I CAN'T wait. No internet tonight, no cell service. I mean we are in the middle of the mountains. It is beautiful, but no services????? Well how can one survive without communication.

Oh yes - the weather the rest of the day - it rained fairly hard for the first two hours, then it sort of cleared up, then the sun would shine briefly at which time we could still feel rain drops. Then it got warm and the sun actually came out for a bit. All in all - it was a pretty decent ride weather wise!

It was BIG Larry's birthday today and we had a delicious black forest cake. He did an excellent job of cutting it.

Big Larry cutting his birthday cake

Big Larry's birthday cake

The campfire on the banks of the Fraser River
Remember the gadgets????  Well we had NO internet this evening and we were trying to figure out the weather for the next day. Turns out Travis brought a short wave radio!!!   GO figure. Here is Big Larry attempting to find the weather. Looks more like he is playing video games.

Tarn Avenue - remember I said that there were other tents like mine, only the 3 person version. Turns out there are THREE of the bigger tents (same colour as mine) and one other tent (same as mine - just different colour). My tent is the second from the left. Jim managed to get on our street (that imposter yellow one in the back). The Tarn must be a popular model!!!!!

We used two rooms in the motel as our shower/toilet facilities so wasn't so bad until we ran out of toilet paper. That is NOT good. But I had brought my own private stash so I was fine!!!!!  Hey - you only get burned once - then you come prepared!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fort Langley to Aggassis

We congregated at the train station in Fort Langley.

Tour Pacific Group 2011
(me - front row - third from right)
 We had to wait for a couple of people, I think someone had a technical problem. At last we all arrive and Fred's wife took the group shot. Then in a light mist we were off!!!!!!   Lots of nerves, although no one said much (but we all compared notes later to find that a lot of us were experiencing the same feelings!!!!)

Larry - telling jokes while we waited for the pictures taking before we started on DAY ONE

Data from Day 1

Have a look at the elevation chart. That first hump was in fact that STEEP. The grade went as high as 25% - it was an icky hill to say the least and many of us walked part of the way and even then, my heart was pounding so hard it was a good thing my heart rate monitor wasn't working  - I am sure it would have blown a fuse!!!!

Bernice AFTER the BIG hill - everyone was SWEATING a tad

Have a look at the SECOND bump - going up that was much more gradual and very nice indeed. That descent was something else - I hit 62.6 KM a hour. Yikes - I meant to video tape that descent and I completely forgot about it. I will try to remember for another day.

Anyway - things are going well despite the fact that BC seems to be governed by the railroads. Not a bad thing except that the railroads are RIGHT BESIDE the camp grounds. Have you ever tried to sleep with a freight train TOOTING its' horn at all hours of the night????????   And how many freight trains can there be in one day anyway???????   There are a LOT!!!!!!   And how long are those damn things?????

And did I mention the snoring??????   I seemed to have gotten stuck between two snorers last night - snoring in stero - YEAH!!!!   Just what I wanted. But it was fine - I did have ear plugs and used them, but they didn't seem to make much difference.

Did I mention the mosquitos???????   Holy cow - it is like there is a mosquito convention happening and EVERY mosquito in Canada got invited!!!!!!  I put the DEET on - I don't care if I die - I'd rather die in comfort than to be eaten alive!!!!!!!

Despite all those issues - we are having a great time - well I am at least. The group is excellent - lots of friendly people and once we got out of Mission - 6 of us set up a pretty good pace line and we booted along. Didn't stop to take many pictures, but I did get some "action" shots from the bike.



Anna - coming

Anna - going!!!

Anna - going again!!!!

Oh yes - what about that construction on the bridge at Mission. The sidewalk on our side of the bridge was closed so we made a quick detour back and took the sidewalk on the opposite side of the bridge. But then the fun began as we tried to get back on the road going in the right direction. A tad of a challenge, but it worked out OK.

Ev suggested we stop for coffee and look what was right there - TIM'S. What a welcome sight and I DID NOT have a hot chocolate. Instead I had an apple juice and a peanut butter cookie. You would think knowing that I was going to have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch that I would have something else, but I like peanut butter.

Then back on the road and this is where we got our pace line going. Gosh - I think we were averaging about 27 K an hour for a while. Then my leg was getting tired and it was time for lunch so we stopped at this small store just because there was a parking lot there. The owner came out and chatted with us - totally amazed that we were biking all the way to Calgary. She went in and brought back some apples that she had sliced up. Hit the spot.

Right now - I am sitting at an outdoor desk!!!!!   A huge tree stump and a smaller stump for a chair and internet access. How cool is that!!!!!!!! 

My "desk" at camp

I am not sure how someone can enjoy camping for just a night or two. Me - it takes several days to get the bugs worked out as to what to bring into the tent. How to get organized is VERY important. But I am in much better shape this year than last. While I don't need the extra room of the three person tent, you have to be organized otherwise there is not space in the two person tent. And how could two people sleep in this tent anyway. Absolutely NO gear in the tent if a second person gets in. Here is a picture of ME in my tent.

Inside my tent - how cozy!!!!   I can't even take the picture without me being in it!!!!!!

So while I FORGOT to take video today - Lynn remembered.

Check this out (Lynn is a very strong cyclist - watch the entire video - and turn up the volume!!!!!)

Climbing the steep hill

She also took video of the descent which I will try and find the link to.

Have a great day!!!!!