I’ve started using a new innovation today – a map! (Paul Whitehouse voice) “Aren’t maps brilliant?” Unfortunately I put the first pin mark in the wrong place. Can’t get the hang of this new technology. Just FYI, the starting point today should be under the first “i” of Chilliwack. The name Chilliwack reminds me of an initiation ceremony that our Jacob had to go through when he was working with a tribe in the Amazon this Jan/Feb (Gup Yaah!). They put chilli juice under his eyelids. Ow. You’ve been Chilliwacked. The second pin mark is where I am right now, and it’s not where I had planned to be either.
- Today’s Distance (miles): 35
- Time in saddle: 2h 30
- Max/min temp (°c): 20°/14°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 829 / 646
- Calories used: 1,754
- Cafe time: 1h 30
But that’s getting ahead of myself. Back to the start of the day – I woke up well rested at 5am (which appears to be my new personal alarm setting) and after a bit of the usual pannier-packing I went to check out breakfast. As I’m sure you know, in the US & Canada the hotels rarely do breakfast (it’s normally some free muffins and coffee in the lobby) so when you get one that does, enjoy it! There was so much food to chose from that I could hardly close my backpack. Sorry Hannah & Paul! Do you think you’ll be able to put it down as a charitable donation??
The forecast was confidently predicting heavy rain today but for how long? I only had a shortish ride today, saving myself for a long day tomorrow. My plan to camp out in Hope was starting to look like exactly that. I got kitted out with as much rain gear as worth bothering about (shoe covers/gloves/jacket). If it rains, you’re going to get wet. No amount of GoreTex or whatever will change that. The good news is that we don’t leak, normally. I’m much more concerned that my panniers and handlebar bag shouldn’t leak, which is why I spent a ton more money on them than I did on myself! I’m glad to be able to tell you that the Canadian Weather Service did a good job today – this is the view of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) from under a bridge (so I could get a photo). Fairly quiet but very wet.
I made crazily quick progress for my bike set-up as the bike lane surface is pretty smooth (apart from the grit) and much of the journey was slightly downhill. I stopped off at Bridal Falls (recc. by the hotel) for a break and to try to see the falls. The mountains on the right are dramatically steep, and I could see the water that would form the falls cascading off a precipice way up above, then disappearing into the high forest again. Once I’d got off the highway I had to cycle up a short but very steep hill to a rest area where I propped my bike up against an ancient tree. Here I’d like to share two Signs That AREN’T Funny. Firstly, my first proper bear-alert signage:
I spoke to the 1st Nation guy clearing up at the rest area and he said yes, they had had some “issues”. He said it was less than 15 minutes but he wouldn’t risk it. He said “You could run up, you’re young”. I told him I wasn’t and he said “How old are you then?” I said 53 and he looked a bit disappointed. “Oh. 53. Mmm. Better not risk it”. I think the “issue” is being so close to the TCH. He said he was 64 so of course I sang “When I get older” and he said “Yes, I used to always sing that to my wife, and now it’s true!”
It was a pity but I couldn’t carry my panniers up too, so I just settled for a walk around the deserted (apart from all the pannier-thieves hiding behind the trees) and beautiful lower park.
As I rode the next 20-mile stretch towards Hope, the rain really stated up again, and I thought of the Ruskin quote, “There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”. He also had great faith in the power and importance of observation, and thought that in order to understand something all you needed to do was to look at it closely enough, for long enough, to really see it. If I paraphrase his quote about seeing I’ll mess it up, so by the marvel of the internet, here’s the whole thing:
“To be taught to read—what is the use of that, if you know not whether what you read is false or true? To be taught to write or to speak—but what is the use of speaking, if you have nothing to say? To be taught to think—nay, what is the use of being able to think, if you have nothing to think of? But to be taught to see is to gain word and thought at once, and both true.”
― John Ruskin, The Works of John Ruskin
I thought of Andrew Knowlman again, friend-of-the-blog, whom I mentioned in a previous post, and how much pleasure he conveyed without needing language in watching his daughter Valentina play her violin so beautifully the other day. Andrew, I hope you know that I’m inspired by you to keep my adventure in perspective. I’m just glad to be doing it, and am not looking for anything more. Here’s a picture of John Ruskin having a good hard look at a photographer.
Luckily I’m the managing director of my trip, so if I decide that the rain is not going to stop and that the motel I’m standing outside looks warm and dry, BAM! Camping is cancelled for the day. I booked their cheapest room, which turned out to be on the 2nd floor (can’t get the bike up there), so they gave me a much bigger one with a kitchen on the ground floor for the same price.
Today’s Signs That Are Funny (hooray):
How can nature ever compare with the grandeur and the majesty of a fibreglass duck, on a rubber ring, riding a big wave? See the feeble falls in the background? Small potatoes.
I think that HAS to be a good thing, doesn’t it?
And lastly, not an actual sign, but related to one: I’m assuming that the owner of this Lost Shoe is from the Ucluelet area of Vancouver Isalnd (see Day 1)
Today’s What Is It, Sam? is, wait for it Sam, take a deep breath…..MOSS! Huzzaaah! If you thought moss was just moss, well I’m ashamed to call you a friend-of-the-blog. I’ve seen whole books about moss. The weird black thing is my gloved finger for scale as usual. Not my best photo I’m afraid – there was a huge expanse of it beside an exit from the highway, a beautiful emerald green carpet on a dull wet day.
And finally, my Tune Stuck In Head Whilst Cycling today is (REALLY stuck this one, don’t know why):
James Taylor’s Valentine’s Day