Day 11 – Sicamous to Canyon Hot Springs. Having started to wish that the heat, though lovely and summery, would break, this morning it obliged. I was sent scurrying about collecting valuables in the downpour and setting up under the campground gazebo to wait out the worst of it. Once it quietened down, I was on my way again, towards the mighty Rockies.
- Today’s Distance (miles): 65
- Time in saddle: 5h 51
- Max/min temp (°c): 29°/14°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 4,952 / 1,356
- Calories used: 2,989
- Cafe time: 3h
After a few miles I passed the spot where in 1885 the final spike in the Cross-Canada rail network was hammered in. Amazing that no one has taken the hammer. The gift shop had Thomas the Tank Engine books which made me think of home, but also I had a bit of an inner flinch “Oh no, not that tune stuck in my head, please no”. As it turned out I was spared, a dodged musical bullet. I did pick up two new stickers for my uke though.
Brant had warned me this morning about the miles of road construction going on. Funny that we call it “roadworks” and Canadians say “construction”. So much more positive, and true. They mostly re-lay the whole surface, rather our miserable habit of patching up faults, and on a bike you’re waved through at the stop signs, to cycle for many happy miles all alone on a perfect new surface. I always get into a state of euphoria zipping along these sections, or even crawling up a hill, knowing that no vehicle will suddenly appear behind me (they alternate down just one lane and we cyclists are trusted to use the fresh stuff). The people controlling the start and finish of each section are often women, again something that you would very rarely see in the UK. I always get such friendly waves and shout-outs from the construction crews. Even the guy carefully driving his roller right at the edge looks up and says “Hi!”, “How y’doin?” or “Good job, man!”
I followed a really long descent on this surface to the river bridge that leads into Revelstoke.
I stopped for lunch here at an A&W burger place, where they serve root beer in pint glasses, free refills. This is my second pint. I tried calling home (no luck), and decided to wait for around 20 minutes to catch the first Exit Poll from the General Election in the UK. I remember thinking how nice it was to be sitting still for a bit, and 2 seconds later I was fast asleep. The restaurant was so peaceful and no-one disturbed me, so I dozed for several minutes before opening my eyes and thinking “Where on earth am I?”! Time to get moving.
If I’d known the weather that was awaiting me for the last 22 miles of my day, I think I might have stayed in Revelstoke, or perhaps just slept at the A&W. As I climbed the first hill out of town, the rain started in earnest and kept up non-stop. I was travelling through Mt Revelstoke National Park, but when the stunning views appeared, I was in no shape to stop and take snaps, which is a shame. After an hour or so I decided that a management-level decision was called for, and camping was abandoned. Management felt that given the new business environment vis-a-vis it raining so much, the priority was to try to find a motel or cabin at Canyon Hot Springs. This thought kept me going through hill after hill, with rain coming down the hills like a river, and I mused on how happy I was with the current top-down structure of CrossingCanada2017.wordress.com
I’m now writing this in the cosy cafe of this cabins & camping (accidental collection of Cs!) resort, and chatting mid-typing to Agnes, the Korean owner of this place. She has two kids at University in Victoria and Calgary and runs this place with a merry and positive attitude, smiling all the time and full of interest in her customers. I’ve got the heater on full in the cabin to dry out my clothes, and when I’m done here I’m going to have a quick supper then come back up to use the (included) Hot Springs pool, where I’m planning a hot-tub muscle therapy session!
Home sweet home for tonight:
Update – Agnes (below with her friend’s son) just said “Ben – you want some soup?” Then served it to me and said “no charge”. That kind of gesture is so touching after a long day. I was telling Agnes about my many concert tours to Seoul, where she’s from, and about the amazing eating. I asked her if she missed kimchi? “No! I’ve got it! If you come for breakfast tomorrow, $13.99, eggs and bacon, maybe I’ll bring you some kimchi!”
I’m sure you’ll understand the lack of signage today since I didn’t want to take my phone out in the downpour. I did manage to see one Sign That Was Funny during a lull:
“What Is It, Sam?” I can tell you what it is, it’s blurry. Sorry. Any ideas?
I thought I’d escaped the lure of this song when cycling, but no, it’s back: Shut Up & Dance With Me, and I can’t even remember who it’s by. Over and over again, as the rain poured. I think its a rhythm thing and certain songs fit to your pace and just get stuck.
One last update – no hot tub session tonight, it’s raining so hard again. I may get up tomorrow morning before kimchi.