May the wind be always at your back.

DAY 7 78 KMS 466 M

DAY 8 46 KMS 650 M

Day 9 86 KMS. 1441 M

TOTAL TO DATE: 674 KMS


Best seniors pick up line, overheard at A&W as we enjoyed The Great Canadian Breakfast: “Why don’t you come sit here with me, I need a hearing aid, but I can still hear a bit, so why don’t you join me?”

Final decision made on Kettle Valley – went south instead, found an amazing backroad, The Old Hedley Road, took 14 videos of sky or bike spokes before I got this that gives just a taste of this amazing road!

The Old Hedley Road – ps not sure if this is working, hoping it is lack of bandwidth here…

Day 7. Downhill with a tail wind on a great back road. Stopped in Keremeos at the charming Secret Garden Cafe, where we chatted with Toy and Toon from Thailand. Stop here if you ever travel through.

Toon and Toy

Stayed at Crowsnest Winery in Cawston for 4 star dinner with just the right amount of their own wine. We joined Cheryl and Blair from Similkameen Apiaries for conversation and “just one more”. Learned a tiny bit about the complicated business of beekeeping and pollinating. If Steve K and Dave S were there, we would still be talking about queens, pollination and other bee stuff. At the next table was Sue from my Thursday ski lesson in Fernie. Small world. Cheryl and Blair chased us down in their truck (not that hard to do) the next morning to deliver some of their finest honey! Okay, actually they left us a jar of honey at their farm so we could pick it up in the morning, but we couldn’t find the honey so we left a note. Okay, so we actually left the note in the neighbour’s yard after wandering around there looking for honey. Jay would love to blame this on Garmin, but this time he had a paper map.

Anyways, we loved our brief meet up and hope our paths will cross again soon. Love the honey. We’re eating it by the spoonful as suggested by Cheryl, Can’t believe we didn’t get a pic of you both.

Some delicious unoaked Chardonnay and Cuvée 8. Sorry mom, no Pinot.

Day 8 Short day to Osoyoos. The Similkaleen Valley is spectacular with river, orchards and mountains. Wondering if the Similkaleen River is navigable in a canoe following Mike and Terese’ wisely chosen path…

Day 9. Early start (for us) as we tackled the 29 km 1233 meter Anarchist Pass out of Osoyoos and enjoyed the well earned downhill into Rock Creek for lunch. A delicious and unexpected treat especially appreciated as it had become quite cold. There was light snow on the ground. Tried for Grand Forks but ended our day in the megalopolis of Greenwood. After climbing another 300 meters on the very sandy and very slow Kettle Valley Trail, it was apparent the Evening Star was home for the night. Friendly and helpful JP was delightful, and the room is clean – if you ever find yourself stuck in Greenwood with no vehicle to take you anywhere else, this is the premium option.

Left the Similkaleen trees, rivers and mountains behind for more pasture and rolling hills of the West Kootenay.

Our weather has been great, cold mornings and evenings, but we manage that by turning the thermostat up in our hotel rooms. We have had mostly tailwinds, until later each day when I am getting tired, then it switches to a head wind, and I quietly tuck in behind Jay to draft and grumble. We seem to have snow behind us and ahead of us, let’s hope it stays that way.

We have decided that this adventure has become our own Backroads Guided Cycle trip (except they would have driven us out of Greenwood) so we bought M&M peanuts today – the standard snack. As the lead Backroads Guide, I am thinking to ditch the tent, sleeping bags and stove for my hair straightener.

First Century Ride (Km’s). First mountain pass. First Bear Sighting.

Ride Day 4: 100.1 kms

Ride Day 5: 63.0 kms Vertical: 915 m

Ride Day 6: 114 kms Vertical: 1636

Total to date: 464.1 kms

Day4 Took a while to get out of Abbotsford with many twists and turns, then joined the TCT and headed towards Hope. Bike paths, closed roads, and quiet country roads through farmland, bright red barns, blueberry fields, and friendly farmers all in the sunshine.

Other than a daring dash across the mind numbing narrow bridge into Agassiz, riding was spectacular! Over 37 of the 100 kms I’m sure were circling around the tiny (population 77) but quaint town of Agassiz (Jay was navigating) – we can confirm that there is no where to stay here – so don’t even try. Added an extra out of the way 7kms to go to Harrison Hot Springs. Fortunately for Jay, it is beautiful here. A bit like Banff – this is the best time to be here – rates are lower (still expensive), great restaurants are empty, and the water front is quiet.

Speaking of navigating, we continue to struggle with Garmin and find our phones difficult to see when we have sunglasses on. Add in road signs like this and we may never make it to the east coast!

Jay Rant – We have 2 Garmin Explores. Garmin is an excellent tracking device. That is to say it works well if you know your precise route and stick to that route. Of course you have to go through the days/weeks of mental anguish to figure out how in the hell to actually transpose a route on to Garmin Connect. But if you have the mental stamina to do that and you actually follow that route, then Garmin is happy and provides you with a whole bunch of statistics such as distance, vertical ascent and descent, average speed, max speed, heart rate, the number of times you blinked your eyes, your flatulation rate per hour and all kinds of other useless stuff that only your mother would pretend to enjoy. But here’s the thing. If you deviate from your route then Garmin objects wildly and becomes the most user unfriendly, satanic, hostile instrument you will ever encounter. And of course when you are bikepacking, you always are deviating from your route for various reasons. When you deviate from your route Garmin simply signs “off route” but other than that it does nothing about it. It does not show you back to your route where you last left it. It might ask you if you want to be re-routed back to the START of your route (whether that is 1km or 100kms back). And yes, we’ve fallen for that one. So for a GPS navigation tool on a bike packing trip, Garmin does nothing more than track your ride. You need to have backup from an IPhone, as we do. We run RIDE WITH GPS and also an app called GAIA, which Steve suggested we try. GAIA is an excellent off road trail and bike app that you can actually down load maps to so you don’t have to be within phone range. But the down side with running both Garmin and IPhones is you need power. So we have 2, 10,000 mAH battery banks to serve our daily requirements. If you use Garmin as a navigation tool on a bike packing trip, you will go mad. That’s all I’m saying.

Just what these bikes were made for.
Hope we can make it across Canada on paths like this.
Harrison Lake
Harrison has a thing for Sasquatches – this one reminded us of Joe – mischievous eyes.

Day 5 Leaving Harrison we sang our way to Hope on a relatively flat road with our new speaker. Song of the day “Together – Having a Ball”. Despite how sweetly appropriate this song is, who puts the Partridge Family theme song on their “Fav” playlist? Certainly not DJ Sue or I.

A wonderful picnic lunch in Hope

We chose to skip the Kettle Valley Trail from Hope, as all local advice so far led us to believe that it would be epic – think lots of vertical, sandy and washed out areas that could be unpassable. We don’t need extra epic. Will try again from Princeton.

All of today’s 915 vertical meters came after Hope to our lovely cabin in Sunny Valley. Although it was sunny, the name is disturbingly deceiving, shouldn’t you go down to a “Valley”?

Good news is we managed to split the Hope Princeton vertical into 2 days by staying in this tiniest of middle of nowhere spots, so we ONLY have 1700 vertical meters and 112 Kilometers to Princeton.

Day6. First pass was Allison Pass at 1342 meters, long but doable climb with MY playlist rockin’ and we reached the Manning Park resort just in time for lunch! Perfect.

We may have been less prepared for the afternoon. 66kms to Princeton. Sunday Summit was only 60 meters less that Allison Summit, missed that mental preparation note on my Garmin!

Rolled into Penticton with enough time to eat and get to bed.

By the way, don’t worry about the bear sighting – he heard Keith Partridge and ran.

Progress eastward…then not.

Cycling day 2. Salt Spring to White Rock. 70 kms

Cycling day 3. White Rock to Abbotsford. 45 kms

Total to date: 187kms

Said farewell to our delightful hosts, cycled down to Fulford Ferry terminal, over to Swartz Bay and returned to the mainland.

Steve, Diana and grand nephew Gabe

After a spectacular ride along the Boundary Bay Dyke Pathway from the ferry terminal, a noisy crank (on the bike) had us pull off in WhiteRock and search for a bike store that is open on Easter Monday. Found one store open, who, after cycling 20kms to their shop told us they would not be able to look at it for 3 – 7 days. We cycled on to Abbotsford in the rain to hopefully find someone on Tuesday.

Met the loveliest couple on the bike path in Vancouver, Ray and Agnes. They called us later to see if they could help us in any way. Found wonder bike mechanic Chris at No Hype Bikes who took apart Jay’s crank and diagnosed some minor issues and assured us that it would be fine over the upcoming passes. Chris is a bike mechanic’s bike mechanic. Very knowledgeable and generous with his skill. We are grateful. We keep learning more about our carbon Kona Libre gravel bikes – maybe more than I want to know. Looks like we are ready to ride!

By far the highlight of the trip so far was presenting Nathan, Mark and Mohammed with a brand new Freedom Concept bike. Mark had never ridden a bike before and was beyond thrilled to do an independent lap of the hallway. Magical. Nathan had some experience riding, but nothing like this. He took off down the hallway negotiating tight corners and laughing the whole time. He described that when his class goes outside for a gym class run, he will now be able to keep up on his bike. Mohammed also pedalled away with a little help from his friends. It’s hard to describe the Joy we got from watching these guys today.

Is it fair that we got as much joy from this visit as these young men got from riding?

This is tough…

12kms (to and from dinner)

Thank you for all your kind thoughts regarding our Scout, it is appreciated. Today we woke up to this view.

Met an old friend from GM today, Jeremy. We have been out of contact for 25 some years – And yet we stepped into our old banter like it was yesterday. He asked if we would perhaps like to go for a sail, we managed to fit it into our tight schedule.

Beautiful day on the water

At this blistering speed, we should make Newfoundland by my 60th (to be clear this is a LONG way away)

Rough Start

Day 1 Riding

Victoria to Salt Spring Island

50.4 Km’s

Rain stopped, took the obligatory photo at mile 0! We are off – and then it poured…remote for camera didn’t work; bent derailer, call from our dog sitter that our beloved puppy Scout died quietly in the night.

With broken hearts we slowly cycled bike paths towards Saltspring, had a comfort meal of a delicious local burger along the way.

Bike path all the way up Vancouver Island

Steve and Diana greeted us and hosted us on the beautiful island of Salt Spring – our first visit here! We imposed on their family Easter weekend and chilled in their friends (Sue and Weiland) palatial home. Thank you! Salt Spring was great therapy thanks to you.

Scout had the biggest turkey feed ever just a few days ago.

Pre Cycling

First equipment fail – bike tire blew the night before we left Fernie – fortunately it was filled with tire goo which exploded from ceiling to rug in our basement equipment room (also known as a bedroom). No damage to rim or tire, nor any explanation as to cause….

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We rented a cavernous mini van to load all our gear into – could have fit in a Smart Car.

Spectacular drive – surprisingly hilly in BC. Who knew? I was encouraged with the daffodils in Castlegar, less excited with the snow on the Hope Princeton highway. Sure wish someone (MIKE HILL) had warned me about this area. We are uncertain we will be able to ride the Kettle Valley Trail and Highway 3 looked like a good alternative for riding (shoulders, warm, limited traffic…) until here.

Great visit with Riley and Josh in Vancouver, caught up on all things wedding and app development.

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Forecast looks wet and cool – rethinking the order of riding – why not fly to locations with good weather – currently sunny and 17 in Winnipeg

Sadly said farewell to our motorized transportation today. Serious FOMGPT (Fear of missing gas powered transportation).

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Enjoyed a walk around Victoria – I have never been to the capital of BC! Made it back to hotel in time for the heartbreaking Jets game. Go Jets Go (although it would be less complicated if we didn’t have to worry about game day TV access)

Tomorrow we ride. Heading to Salt Spring to visit friends

Somewhat intimidated by the number of insomniacs following our adventures, I hope we can help.