We're taking a rest day today, figured our knees and legs could use the rest. There's not much in the way of semi-large cities between here and Kamloops.
Once I have a bit more time I'll write a more detailed update :-)
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Tue Apr 30, 2002 - An update - finally!
Ok, so here we are, sitting at an internet cafe in Hope, BC. Yesterday was a trying day, about 30 minutes after starting out I noticed my back tire was a little flat. Replaced the tube (lots of fun, since that required unpacking the bike, and repacking afterwards). Picked out a few pieces of rock and glass that were embedded in the tire, probably should do that each night. We got going at a nice clip for awhile, a few hills, but nothing major. Just after lunch, Jeff managed to get a flat (Just after saying that carrying 3 spare tubes was probably overkill, heh). We got going again, and not 2 minutes later we hear a loud *bang*. That was Jeff's tube bursting. I can still hear my ear ringing it was so damn loud. Ended up biking about 55km or so into Hope.
We're taking a rest day today, figured our knees and legs could use the rest. There's not much in the way of semi-large cities between here and Kamloops.
Once I have a bit more time I'll write a more detailed update :-)
Wed May 1, 2002 - Hope -> Lytton BC: 118km
Well, after a nice rest day in Hope, we felt like we could tackle a mountain, and so we did! (well, almost). Biking up the Frasier canyon is a beautiful ride, although some of the climbs are killers. Most of them we had to walk up, when you're carrying 60 pounds of gear, biking uphill for 2 or 3kms is rather difficult!
We left around 8am so it was refreshingly cold out. Nice biking temperature. It quickly became an extremely hot day though, so we took our time. Arrived in Lytton around 6pm. Today was the tunnel day, where we biked through 7 tunnels varrying from 100 metres to the longest which is around 700 metres long. There's no shoulder in the tunnels, so one option is to walk your bike along the pedestrian walkway, but that's about 3 feet wide which makes it really difficult to walk your bike. We opted to bike through most of them, and were a little worried about the longest tunnel where we wouldn't be able to see the other side to wait for a break in the traffic. As luck would have it, there was maintence work being done on the tunnels, so only one lane of traffic was being let through. We pulled up to the front of a huge line of traffic waiting at the mouth of the tunnel, and as soon as we arrived, it was the north bound lanes turn to go through! So we managed to get a head of most of the traffic going through the tunnel.
The traffic on the Trans-Canada is pretty light on this section, and the trucks are usually pretty nice to us, moving over to the oncoming lane if they can to give us more room. Luckily there's usually a lot of shoulder to ride on. At the end of the day we were pretty tired, so it was nice to set up the tent at a BC Parks campground, cook dinner (Stew, PBJ sandwhiches) and relax. The BC Parks campground was pretty empty, so we had a nice quiet evening to get lots of sleep. It's up early tomorrow to head to Cache Creek!
Thu May 2, 2002 - Lytton -> Cache Creek BC: 80km
Up early again at 6am or so, the mornings keep getting colder. Brr! The change of scenery over the span of about 20 kms is amazing, we're now entering a desert like area, very stark and barren in sections. I had no idea BC was like this!
I hit a piece of wood yesterday (was paying too much attention to the scenery, and not the road in front of me, oops!), so my back wheel needs truing. Hopefully there will be a bike store of a decent size in Kamloops. Other than that, the bikes have been amazing.
A few steep climbs today, which we once again walked up. We were up to 520 metres above sea level at one point. It's really tough to tell if you're biking uphill sometimes, since there's no good point of reference. We'll be biking along thinking it's flat and wondering why it takes so much effort! When you look back you realize that you've really been going up a slight incline all the way. There's almost no flat sections at all, either you're climbing, or going downhill. The Trans-Canada is cut into the side of the mountains at some point, a little scary! We thought we were going to get rained on, the clouds to the south looked pretty menacing, but we seem to have outrun them for now. It doesn't look like it rains much in this part of BC anyhow.
We got into Cache Creek fairly early around 2pm. There was a nice tail wind all day which helped is along, really ups the average speed quite a bit! Just a little while after setting up the tent, we look outside and see massive storm clouds rolling in. The wind was insane, almost thought the tent would be blown away! The temperature dropped about 20 degrees in a short amount of time. Well, I guess that's what you get for being in the mountains in early May!
We're off to Kamloops tomorrow, where we'll take another rest day. Getting used to carrying all our gear is taking awhile, but I think we're almost there.
Fri May 3, 2002 - Cache Creek -> Kamloops BC: 80km
Heh, they call this section of BC plateau, yeah right! There's more hills here then in the mountains! Climbed up to over 700 metres at times. We walked up more hills today then the previous two days combined! Overall a pretty good ride though. The air is slightly thinner at 700 metres then we're used to, took us awhile to figure that out, and to breath more deeply. We were wondering why we were having such a tough time of it!
We stopped for much needed food at Savona, as luck would have it there was a nice bakery so we had some sort of apple cinnamon pastry which was incredibly good! Speaking of food, almost anything tastes really good when you're hungry! The canned stew we've been eating tastes like the best stew I've ever had!
Quite a few cars (and some trucks) have been honking at us, makes us wonder if they have seen us biking on a previous day. It's a little unnerving though when a car honks right beside you, makes you lose a bit of concentration especially when you're biking uphill!
We've gone through a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jam since Hope, so it's time to stock up again. Usually we eat about a loaf of bread a day. Plus Power bars, apples, or some sort of fruit. Subway has been a good place to eat as well :-)
The rest day in Kamloops will be much needed, it took us much longer to get anywhere today, muscles are getting a little tired :-) So far we've biked about 560kms, not bad at all!!
Sat May 4, 2002 - Kamloops - Ahhh, Rest Day!!
We're enjoying a day off in Kamloops, give our leg muscles a much needed break before the Rocky Mountain passes. Have to get my rear bike tire trued as well, and it's in the shop as I type. It was slightly bent due to that silly piece of wood on the road that I accidently biked over a few days back. It's probably a good idea to get the bikes checked out before the real mountains begin as well.
There's new pictures up as well, so have a look! Some of them turned out really good! Probably won't be able to update the site for awhile after this, the next major town is Revelstoke, and I doubt they'll have an internet cafe, so the next place is probably Calgary. Talk to y'all then! :-)
Wed May 15, 2002 - Maple Creek - Sask.
Only biked about 93km today. It was a little rainy in the morning, quite cold. Winds are still against us, we keep hoping they will change! The campground was a long way south of the Trans-Canada, and it was too late to continue on to the next town, so we found a cheap, run-down motel on the highway. At least we can catch up on the news tonight! Aparently there's a 'boil-water' advisory, so we'll have to buy some bottled water for tomorrow. (When we got to Swift Current, there really wasn't a 'boil-water' advisory, so we think the motel was just trying to sell bottled water).
The praries are quite a bit more hilly then I expected out here, although it will get flatter towards Winnipeg. Some parts are quite nice, some other parts are really dry, and they need rain badly.
Thu May 16, 2002 - Swift Current - Saskatchewan
Woke up to strong winds again, considering we have a 129km ride ahead of us, it could be a long day! After about 70km we started drafting each other, should have done this a long time ago! The first 70k were pretty hard, but the last 50k went by much much faster. Met up with the 2 cyclists we met earlier, they were a few minutes behind us. We'll probably meet them again at the camp ground in Swift Current. I think we pushed it a little too hard for the last 2 hours though, one of the muscles on my left leg is pretty sore. Nothing a rest day can't fix though!
Fri May 17, 2002 - Rest day in Swift Current - Saskatchewan
We haven't been near internet in so long, and we have only a short time at the library here, which means not much of an update. We'll update the site at the next chance we get hopefully.
Everything has been going well for the most part, the weather has been fairly cooperative, although we had a bit of rain a few days ago. The wind however is really slowing us down. Usually it blows from the west across the praries, but we've only seen crosswinds, or east winds so far. Despite that, we made it from Calgary to here in 4 days, which is about 520 kilometres. Jeff broke another spoke, and we don't have the tool to take the gears off, so we were hoping there'd be a bike shop here. Heh, yeah right, this is a pure ghetto town. The only internet cafe was shut down awhile ago, since the old folk didn't like it. There's no book stores either. Anyways, we're heading off to Moose Jaw tomorrow, about 170k away, lets hope the wind changes a bit!
Sat May 18, 2002 - Herbert Sask.
Well, we only biked 45km today, the wind was incredible! It's been blowing from the South East for quite a few days now, slowing us down quite a bit. We were pretty tired when we rolled into Herbert around 3:30pm, so we had to do some serious thinking. At this pace we wouldn't make our graduation on June 15th, so we'd have to take a bus from wherever we were at the time. The second option was to take the bus from Herbert to Winnipeg, skip about half the praries (which aren't incredibly interesting along the Trans-Canada highway anyway), which would give us more time in Northern Ontario. After much discussion, we decided to take the bus to Winnipeg. It seemed easy enough, but it proved to be quite the adventure! We intended to catch the 5:00pm bus, not realizing that our bikes would need to be in boxes before Greyhound would carry them. So missed that bus. Where does one find bike boxes in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan? At the gas station of course! The guys at the Co-op gas station were incredibly helpful, they managed to scrouge up some boxes which we could tape together to make a decent size bike box (Yay Duct tape!). The final result looks pretty interesting, we took a few pictures which should be up by now. The gas station even let us pitch our tent in the back to wait for the 4:15am bus. So off we went, made some dinner, and got a bit of sleep. Woke up at 3am to pack everything up. 4:15 rolls around, no bus. 4:30 - no bus. By 4:45 we were getting pretty cold, and pretty annoyed at Greyhound. Turns out somewhere they made a mistake, and there was no 4:14am bus. Oh well, what can ya do! At this point, we didn't want to set the tent back up, so we layed down the ground sheet, unrolled our sleeping bags, and slept under the stars! It was quite an experience. Thankfully, the 8:37am bus did show up, and we're on our way to Winnipeg!!
Tue May 21, 2002 - Winnipeg, woohoo!
We're here! Well, we've been here for 2 days now, getting some rest. Winnipeg is a really nice city! We're staying with my relatives, Catherine and Sid, who have been amazing! Had the whole tour of the city yesterday, and we've been doing some admistrative stuff today (fix bike, update website, etc).
Tomorrow we're heading out again, all of Northern Ontario is before us, and we're really looking forward to it! It'll be nice to see some hills again (never thought I'd hear myself say that!). We expect around 2 weeks to the Soo from here. Take a look at the pictures, some of them are pretty good! We'll be putting descriptions on all the pictures after the trip is over, we have them all written down, but no time to type them in right now.
Tue Jun 4, 2002 - Sault. Ste. Marie
While Jeff has been busy writing, I've been busy socializing, so sorry for the lack up updates!! When I get back to Pickering I'll have lots of time to write everything down. For now Jeff's journal will have to do
After a rest day here we're feeling quite a bit more rested. We've biked 1400km from Winnipeg with only 1 rest day in between, so it was quite the ride! Only a week or so until we're back home, it'll be nice to sleep in a real bed again! Biking through northern Ontario wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined, although some of the hills were defintely challenging. The scenery is wonderful, especially through Lake Superior provincial park. Saw quite a few moose through that area, something I hadn't seen before.
This is the first major city where we haven't had to visit a bike shop. The bikes are holding up extremely well, and we're quite happy with them. We're especially happy with the tires, I haven't had a flat since before Calgary, and Jeff hasn't had one since before Hope BC. That's awesome for road tires!
Look back for updates in a week and a half or so! I promise I'll make time to get everything written down
Sun Jun 23, 2002 - The wheels on the bike go round and round....
Yes, Jeff and I are heading out bright and early tomorrow morning. We're well fed and rested after our 2 week vacation, so we're looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!!
These past 2 weeks have been pretty busy, visited Waterloo for a bit, saw some friends from Pickering that I hadn't seen in ages, and somewhere in there I graduated. Whew! All in all a fun time. But it'll be nice to get back on the road for a couple more weeks! We'll keep you posted on all our adventures, so stay tuned!!
Thu Jun 27, 2002 - Ottawa (167km)
Our longest day yet! We left Virgina's around 8:15 or so, hoping to avoid the heat of the day. Environment Canada was calling for Thunderstorms later in the afternoon, and while we welcome the rain to cool us off, lightning is not something we want be around. Many rest stops were needed to cool off, and to refil our water supply. Today was the first day I actually need to use the water in my canteen to refill my water bottles.
We stopped around noon for half an hour or so, but decided to keep biking. Not soon after we found some shade beside a church, so we stopped for some PBJ sandwhiches. While we were stopped however, a thunderstorm had sneaked up behind us, so we had to get moving! The wind for once was behind us, pushing us along at 35km/h. Amazing! We got rained on a bit, which was even better. We kept that pace up for about 20k or so, managing to get to Smith Falls ahead of the storm. Hid out in the local Tim Hortons for the storm to pass, which it did quite quickly. By this point it was about 3 o'clock, and we were just over halfway to Ottawa.
That last stretch of the ride was grueling, we're still not back into the shape we were before arriving in Toronto, but the thought of an air-conditioned apartment kept us going
After that we had an uneventful finish to the day, traffic was fairly light except for a few sections nearer towards Ottawa.
Route: Hwy 15 to Smith Falls, then the 4, to the 6 to the 73 up to Ottawa.
Sat Jul 6, 2002 - St. Barthelemy (128k)
We got off to a slow start today, taking a 10k dead end. Well, we thought we could take a highway that cyclists were not allowed on, oops! So we backtracked and followed the Tour du Canada route once again. It seems every time we detour from their route, something goes wrong, so we've learned to stick to it
We followed the Richelieu river almost all the way from Montreal to Sorel which is right on the St. Lawrence river. The entire length of the Richelieu is lined with houses, and boats were out on the river enjoying the afternoon. We stopped for a break in a small town where an art exhibit was taking place. A little while later in another town, we had a "conversation" with another cyclist, although he seemed to be speaking Italian, and of course, we only speak english! We compared our bike computers to see how far we'd gone, he was around 3500k, so pretty impressive! We crossed the St. Lawrence on a ferry at Sorel, picked up some dinner in the town immediatly across the river, and made our way to the campground. What we didn't realize was the campground was 8k off the highway! It turned out to be a decent campground, more of a resort really. They had lots of "social" events for familes, and so on. There was another cyclist staying at the campground, heading east towards Quebec as we are. We didn't catch her name though, so we arbitrarily named her Anne.
Sun Jul 7, 2002 - Portneuf (130k)
A pretty uneventful day. Anne (see previous entry) left an hour before us, but we caught up to her fairly quickly. A helpful west wind was pushing us along at about 30km/h. Arrived at another "resort" campground. The guy next to us insisted on playing his music quite loudly, and we were woken up by noisy children the next morning. It'll be nice to go to some quieter campgrounds!
Mon Jul 8, 2002 - Quebec (60k)
One of our shortest days yet, but there's too much smoke in the air to make it worth biking. You can barely see across the St. Lawrence! Combine that with some nasty allergies, and we didn't feel too good.
We're staying at Laval University residences, which is a welcome change over our tent. A good nights rest is in order! Quebec City has a fairly extensive bike path network, once again proving that Toronto really needs to work on their bike paths!
Tue Jul 9, 2002 - Quebec City
I woke up this morning quite refreshed! Both of us needed a good sleep after the past few days. Allergies combined with not so comfortable bumpy ground has prevented us from sleeping very well. On the agenda today was tour around Old Quebec, update the website, and do a bit of maintenance on our bikes.
Quebec is blanketed in smoke from the fires burning north of Montreal. At times visibility is a couple kilometers at most, you can barely see across the St. Lawrence river from the boardwalk in front of Chateau Frontenac. The smoke appeared a few days ago, which at first we thought was smog due to humidity. We didn't find out it was a fire until later on when reading a newspaper (which was in french, so we only had a rough idea of what was going on).
Wed Jul 10, 2002 - St. Jean - Port Joli (118k)
This was by far our strangest day yet! First off we had to figure out how to cross the St. Lawrence. With only 2 bridges, one of which we can bike on, you'd think it would be easy, right? Nope! It wasn't well marked, so it took us a while to figure out where to go. The bridge is huge steel monstrousity that doesn't feel safe at all. In fact the middle section has fallen out once before. The pedestrian walkway was just wide enough to allow for a single bike. Once on the south shore, we pointed our bikes east, and started cycling. We didn't get very far before we witnessed the first car accident of the trip, indirectly caused by us! Here's the scoop: We were biking through an intersection on a green light. An oncoming truck was making a left-hand turn across our path, but he ran a red light making that turn. Halfway through the intersection, he noticed us, and stopped. A few seconds later, a white Honda Civic heading the same direction as us plowed into the side of the truck. There wasn't much damage, the truck was unharmed, and the Civic had it's left headlight taken out. What we can't figure out was how the Civic didn't notice the truck sitting in the middle of the intersection! Obviously the driver wasn't paying attention to the road in front of him. We ate a bit of lunch while we waited for the police to show up. When the officer finally got around to talking to us, our statement consisted of "The light was green". By this time it was 2pm, and we're barely out of Quebec City, so we had to get a move on!
About 4:30 we met a guy walking from Ottawa to the East coast, so we chatted to him for a bit. Jeff just checked his website though, and he appears to be way ahead of us, so he must have cheated a bit and hitched a ride somewhere.
Arrived at the campground quite late, just as it was getting dark. This is by far the most beautiful camp site yet! It's right on the St. Lawrence, which at this point is probably at least 5 or 10k across. Very nice view of the mountains on the other side.
Thu Jul 11, 2002 - Riviere-Du-Loup (95k)
Riviere-Du-Loup means River of the Wolf or so I'm told. Thankfully we didn't see any wolves though! This was an incredibly scenic day! The highway runs right along the St. Lawrence, giving us an awesome view of the mountains on the other side. This side of the river is gentle rolling hills, mostly farmland in-between forests. The weather couldn't be any better, a mix of sun and cloud, and a perfect temperature for biking.
We met up with 2 other pairs of cyclists at the campground, so it was nice to chat for a bit, and compare stories. One of the pair was from Montreal, and the other was from somewhere in North Eastern Quebec (can't rememeber exactly where at the moment). We saw another pair of cyclists earlier in the day, but they didn't stay at this campground.
Fri Jul 12, 2002 - Saybec (190k)
Yes, that's really a 190 up there! Our longest day yet by far. We had a strong west wind to help us along, crusing usually over 30kph. I broke my max speed for the trip, hitting 77kph down a hill. Biking at that speed is incredible! The roads however, leave much to be desired. Sometimes there's a shoulder to ride on, more often there's not. A lot of the time the road is riddled with pot-holes, and we have no choice but to ride through them. My back rim took quite a beating, and needs to be trued badly, or else rebuilt with new spokes.
We saw the pair of cyclists from yesterday (the ones who didn't stay at our campground). We caught up to them, passed them, and they caught up to us a couple times when we stopped for a break. Nothing like some friendly competition to keep us going <grin>. We arrived in Mont. Joli in mid-afternoon, not bad for 140k. I was quite prepared to call it a day, but Jeff had energy to burn, and so did I as it turned out, so we continued on. A few km's down the road, we looked back to see huge black rain clouds blowing in from the north. The race was on! Unfortunately we lost, and got rather soaked. The terrain changed from almost perfectly flat to extremely hilly, making the last 50k to Saybec quite difficult. Our tent site for the night was quite silly. It was a patch of freshly sodded grass so small it would barely fit our tent. Keep in mind that we have a 2 person tent which isn't large to begin with! So we weren't too happy about that, not to mention being wet and tired. Overall it was a really good day though, I doubt we'll break 190k on the rest of the trip!
Sat Jul 13, 2002 - Campbellton - NB (136k)
Our seventh province! Whoohoo! Well, after cycling 190k yesterday, we turned around and did another 130k today! Our muscles are complaining rather loudly however, and some rest is defintely in order. It rained pretty much all day, and yet it was sunny for most of the day as well, go figure. I think a rain cloud had nothing better to do except follow us around all day <grin>. We followed the Matepedia river and the landscape is quite impressive. Just like the mountains of BC, but on a much smaller scale.
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