June 15, 2008

6/15/08 Secamous, BC

119.8km/660km

One aspect bike touring that you don't hear much about is nature's alarm clock, the birds. Birds seem to want to do the entire day's worth of communicating usually an hour before you want to even start thinking of waking up. This morning was no different. About 4am, a loud obnoxious feathered friend was squawking and flapping his wings outside my tent. I know it wasn't just my imagination because I could hear George say from inside his tent "What kind of bird is that!"

A little chilly still this morning so while George was packing, I went to one of the sunny tent sites and did my morning meditation. I smiled as you could hear all the 'waking up' sounds in the campground.

Now it was time to tackle the long steep climb out of the campground. It took us thirty minutes to climb the three kilometers up the switchbacks to the main road. I'm glad it seemed shorter than I was expecting.

We had more roller-coaster climbing until we got closer to the end of the lake. That in itself seems crazy, that it took us three days to ride past Okanagan Lake. By now the temperature was reaching the 80's, so it was time to take off the windbreakers and put on the sunscreen.

More great views of Okanagan Lake

Just past the lake, our route joined Hwy-97A which was pretty busy, but we had a good shoulder to ride on. And for the most part it was fairly flat. Taking a quick break at a gas station, a Sihk father with his daughter came out to talk to us. From behind her dad's leg, the little girl thought Mike's trailer was a baby bicycle. He said that traffic shouldn't be too bad until July 1st when the summer season really would be at it's hight. Since we were making good time, we stopped for an early lunch in Armstrong.

Sharing the road

One thing that surprised me was the many cyclists we saw out for a Sunday training ride. We must have seen a dozen. One, Karen, showed us shortcut off the main highway following a great farm road for fifteen kilometers. The nice thing about seeing other local cyclists is that means that motorists are at least familiar with bikes on the road. The only downer was a car drove past and threw a full drink of some kind at us, splattering between George and me. Lucky for me their aim was bad as I'm sure it would have hurt and been quite messy.

The best scenery of the day wasn't the mountains or the lakes or streams, but the clouds. All afternoon we could see a wonderful 'Maxfield Parrish' cloud-scape. Just amazing but I didn't get a picture. Bummer.

Eventually we were biking alongside Mara Lake which was almost glass-smooth, good news for us because that meant almost no wind. After buying dinner supplies we started out of town, but first Mike needed to get fuel. Who should ride up but Megan and Lisa. They sounded as if they were having fun and heading the same direction as us. They were going to stay somewhere in town, so we said our goodbyes. It would be great to see them again before they reach Ottawa.

We went another five kilometers now on Hwy-1 which had a ton more semi traffic. Our goal was the Holiday Homestead RV Campground. We went to check out our tent sites and were covered with a fog of mosquitoes. It would not have been a fun camp, especially when we had to cook. But to George, it was too much. He took off back to town to get a motel room.

I talked with the owner to get our refund. He said this was a bad mosquito control area and because of the wetter than normal spring, the mosquito abatement hadn't started yet. To an RVer, it wouldn't have been that bad as they can do everything inside their RV. But to us, we would have been giant pin cushions for these hungry insects.

Just outside of Sicamous, we got a motel room with a kitchenette because none of us wanted to carry all our dinner fixin's another day on the road. Mike and George also took the opportunity to call their dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day.