Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Des(s)ert

Sandwiches a la Mont Tremblant
The next BC story takes us from Merritt up the 5A, the first 90km of which can be unscientifically be called a desert.  No potable water, no shade, not even any stores.  There were lakes, but they were unfortunately unswimmable.  The picture to the right of Tyler making Mont Tremblant sandwiches on that tiny outcrop of rock is some of the only shade we found for the entire morning.  We carried full capacity (12+L) of water, and ran it really low, but we were aware of Kamloops and timed it perfectly.

As we approached Kamloops in the heat of the day, there was another 10+km hill at 10+% grade, which was difficult, but a welcome challenge.  At the top that hill, we finally get satellite reception for the first time since Merritt (sorry for the lack of tweets that day!), which leads to another surprise.

What the guys know is that Holeshot is coming all the way from Guelph to shoot us for the next two days in the mountains.  What they don't know is that along with Doug, we are also getting a visit from Lindsay!  If you don't know Lindsay by now, she is our guardian angel in Waterloo.  She looks out for us from the office, making calls, arrangements, and managing our online profile (including this blog!).  We could do it without her, but it wouldn't be easy, and you probably wouldn't be reading this!  I kept the surprise on the down low for the past week, so as to preserve the surprise.  At the moment when Lindsay and I both have reception at the same time, Doug and Lindsay have been driving all morning from Vancouver, and I make hilltop arrangements to meet them at a Dairy Queen in east Kamloops.  Ice cream after desert?  Yes.
DQ surprise

And the day takes a sudden turn.  We FLY some serious downhill into Kamloops, meet with some friendly faces, and Doug buys us ice cream!  They take our panniers, and we are able to make excellent time back on the Trans Canada eastward.  It's great to be back on wide, paved shoulders, cycling with hopeful eastward winds, and looking at some impressive mountains.  We are able to ultimately make it to Chase, about 15km ahead of schedule.  This will help us prepare for the coming days, because we really don't know what to expect in the Rockies.

To end the day, we have another mixed bag of surprises.  First, the bad: we notice my rack has broken.  This will be a time-consuming fix, and without our support, we would have had to stop in Kamloops, already 40km behind schedule.  But with our incredible support team, we will be able to make it to Salmon Arm tomorrow without bags - more on that tomorrow.  The next, most incredible surprise of Baumanesque proportion, is Kyle's coworker Angela just drives by us on the highway.  She is in Kamloops visiting her son, as spots three cyclists wearing blue cycling about 55kms east of that city.  Crazy!  Thanks for saying hi, Angela!  (And please send the pic :p)

But the last and most important surprise is this: Kyle's aunt Elaine and cousin Monica meet up with us in Chase, in a decked-out support vehicle.  This story is deserving of it's own blog, so you will have to wait for that!

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