June 12, 2008

6/12/08 Stemwinder Park, BC

103.7km/358km

Slept pretty good but I still worry that I might wake the other guys with my snoring. It looked to be a very crisp morning with a cloudy sky. I ended up putting on a lot of layers, hoping that as the day went, I would get to peel them off.

We set off in pretty good spirits. We had a good nights sleep and our clothes were clean and dry. Every kilometer we rode, the skies became clearer and clearer. By the time we reached the end of Manning Park, the sun was shinning and we had blue skies as far as the eye could see ahead.

Even when our big climb of the day arrived, with the sun overhead, we didn't care. It was just great to be out and riding. The road still had a pretty good shoulder, so we just kept on pedaling up another 500m (1640ft) to Sunday Summit (that's how they name the passes in Canada). After that we had some roller-coaster hills till we neared Princeton.

The scenery was on a grand scale with mountains so tall compared to other places I had ridden in the past. We saw deer, marmot and ground squirrels. You could still see a bit of snow at the peaks. The river roar was a constant sound for almost the whole way, only interrupted by the occasional semi coming up behind us. Just a great day.

The sign said "8% Grade next 7km". Woopie!!! I'm not a big fan of steep descents but for the most part it was pretty fun. I hit a max speed of 68kph (42mph). Even when the steepest was past, it still was a screamer riding down into Princeton.

Had a great lunch at Billy's Family Restaurant before heading out again. From here, we followed the Similkameen River. What a ride, downhill with a tailwind. We made it to the campground in no time flat.

We're camped right on the river bank in the Stemwinder Provincial Park (which is like out State Parks in the USA). The campground is really made for RV's and campers as there is not any soft ground to put up tents like the one's used by us cyclists. But there is water (but needs to be boiled) and pit toilets. Ah, home sweet home.

After dinner, George took a short ride down the road to the Riverhaven RV Park to check it out. The owners Bill and Lorrie told us we should have stayed with them. For only a few dollars more, we could have had grass to tent on, hot showers no charge, free wifi for the computers and there was even free firewood for a night time fire if we wanted. Oh, and they had water so pure they could sell it. Too bad we already paid at the other campground. But they were nice enough to let us fill our water bottles.

Starting to get into a routine. I know it's a little hard with three of us touring together for any 'alone' time, but I was able to get in a little Technopipe (electronic bagpipe) practice. And then spent some time down on the river meditating as the sun set, just listening to the rushing water. A great ending to a great day.

A beautiful sunset to end a beautiful day