June 10, 2008

6/10/08 Hope, BC

94.0km / 185km

This morning the roads were mainly dry but the sky was still overcast. But when we headed out, we were hopeful that today wouldn't be a repeat of yesterday.

With our concentration not solely needed for survival like during yesterday's rain, you could begin to appreciate the countryside we were riding through. We all thought it reminded us a lot of New Zealand. The flat valley filled with farms that we rode through was blocked in on both sides by incredible mountains.

Soon our shoulder became non-existent but the traffic lightened up a lot too. One farmer stopped and asked us to complain to the authorities that the shoulder needed to be widened both for the visiting cyclists and the locals that use these roads all the time. He was fearful that someday, someone would be killed.

Taking a break

We made good time as we reached Agassiz, so decided to stop for lunch at MPM Pizza House. Mr Pang, also known as Mr Pizza Man, was the owner, waiter, cook and busboy. He said business had been real bad so he couldn't afford to hire anyone. He was difficult to understand because his accent was so heavy but he seemed like he was a bit lonely. We all had a good cesar salad, garlic bread and baked lasagna. Mmm, good.

But as we got back onto our bikes, the rain started up again. Not a heavy downpour like yesterday, just raining hard enough to make us stop and put on our rain gear. The good thing about the route after Agassiz was the shoulder got larger, but also the speed limit. On the whole, most drivers, truck drivers included, gave us a lot of room. Still, with the rain, we did get sprayed a lot.

Lots of snow on the upper elevations

We made it into Hope on the heels of another group of three cyclists who turned out to be from Bavaria in Germany. They were just going from Vancouver to Calgary. Even though the weather wasn't as bad as yesterday, they had decided to spend tonight in a hotel. We met another cyclist at the visitors center who was riding from his hometown of Calgary to Anchorage Alaska then on to Tierra del Fuego at the southern most tip of South America. The girl at the visitor center said that there were a lot of cyclists just ahead of us.

We're at Coquihalla Campground just on the edge of town. There are two other women cyclists camped here but we haven't met them. Tonight was the first time I got a chance to try out my alcohol stove. Getting fuel was a bit difficult (it's called methyl hydrate in Canada) but it all worked out. My 'Atomic' stove by MiniBull Designs worked great, bringing a bot of water to a rolling boil in no time at all. The only tricky thing is to know how much fuel to use as there is no on/off switch.

Mike made a comment on how many days it takes to get into a routine. He thinks it's only three of four days. Me, I think it's longer. I have a lot of things that I could do but it's taking time to figure out how to fit them in our routine.

Tomorrow we hit the hardest climb of the entire Canada trip. Not that there isn't more climbing, just that this bit is the worst.