Eastwards and Far


Landslides, jam, and hot tubs


What, a day.

A gruelling 14 mile uphill section with rapidly depleting energy reserves followed our decision to keep riding out of Hope, after we’d ridden 60 miles to get there.

Several breaks for food (and for me, mild despair) were necessary to keep energy levels up, to the point where we both felt sick from the amount of oatcakes and jam we’d crammed into ourselves. The body machine is relentless in its demand for food, regardless of how full you are.

Part of the appeal (and bragging rights) of cycle touring is being able to eat way more than usual and not have to worry about developing a paunch. In Italy this means gelato, pizza and cheese, and it’s great. Today it is less glamorous: oats, oat cakes, jam, peanut butter, five apples, and plain rice.

(We have made a note to pilfer some salt and pepper sachets from the next available eatery so that future rice needn’t be plain).

After dinner at Hope Slide Lookout, fate tested my claim that day 2 in Vancouver was the ‘trials and tribulations’ phase with a series of miscalculations and mishaps.

Firstly we had the exhilarating experience of easing our laden bikes down a steep scree slope to get them to the area we planned to camp in. During this ordeal my pannier strap wound itself almost inextricably round my wheel, locking it in place.

Then, after scree-slope bike repair, futile searching for a camp spot ensued. We realised the site of the largest landslide ever recorded in Canada probably wasn’t the best place to camp, for two reasons: the whole area is uneven rock and a bastard to sleep on, and another landslide may presumably occur, burying us and our bikes and our adventurous spirits forever.

Disheartened, we had to push our bikes back up the scree slope. Kristian’s assertion that this would be easier than the descent, “because we’ve got our weight behind the bikes”, was false.

At the top, just for good measure, my chain fell off.

Such shenanigans are all part of the fun though, and I really mean that (although I did have to give Kristian the disclaimer “sorry if I moan, I am still always enjoying it”). The occasional failed and frustrated attempt to find a campsite is more than offset by the Anne and Vics of this world. Where those experiences are remembered, the frustrations are quickly forgotten and give way to their own relative successes.

For example: we ended up sleeping in an RV park in Sunshine Valley where we paid $10 between us for flat, soft grass to sleep on, access to a laundromat, showers, and, perhaps the best sentence ever, “free hot tubs“.


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