Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 8 - Salmon Arm to Revelstoke

106.2 km - Total so far 729.39 km

  • The forecast for today was sunny and warm and with that in mind we left Salmon Arm at 7:18 a.m. headed for Revelstoke. We planned an intermediate stop at the information center in Sicamous since the one in Salmon Arm was closed when we arrived the day before. We aimed to be there at 9 a.m., just as it opens. Well guess what, the place is only open Monday to Friday, 9 to 4 pm (today is Sunday). I cannot repeat here the words used by Hélène when we found this out.
  • The view for the first 40 or so kilometer was essentially a two lane road with tall trees on either side and the occasional glimpse of a lake. At about 45 km the two lane road became just like Hwy 417, 4 lanes of high speed moving traffic and we finally got something to look at in the distance, the white caps of the Rocky Mountains. It was magnificent. The road continued to alternate between two lanes and four lanes for the next 55 km.
    Finally "White Caps"
  • We stopped for a quick lunch at Craigellachie, where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven on November 7, 1885. "Not only did this spike represent the completion of the trans-continental railway, but it also meant an important step in the founding of a nation." (Last Spike Times, published by the Revelstoke Railway Museum). 
The striking of the spike that united a nation
  • Today the shoulder was littered with all sorts of goodies. I passed many a rubber bungee strap that I use in all sort of situations from attaching stuff to bicycle racks, to putting up clothes lines, etc. We also found a small wrench which I absolutely had to pick up. I was limited to one item a week I can pick up, so I might have to make tough decisions as the trip progresses.
  • We finally got to our campsite, Lamplighter Campground at about 4 pm. It was a long day in the saddle and as soon as the tent was setup, we sat in our camp chairs for a well deserved treat of cold beer and Cheezies and chips. We absolutely have to replace fluids and salts.
  • Many of the segments of the ride involved some nice down hill runs, with one being almost 8 kilometer long. Because of the gentle slope, we are able to coast at about 35 to 40 km an hour and just enjoy the ride. We don't have to use the brakes at all. So much fun and we get to enjoy the scenery as well. As the speed increases beyond that, we have to become ever so alert for holes and debris on the shoulder and cars on the road. Often we can swerve around stuff but once in a while we have to get on the roadway with the cars. Those descents are very demanding and there is just no way we can take our eyes of the shoulder and enjoy the scenery.
  • Tomorrow is going to be a rest day of sorts. We will leave Revelstoke around 8:30 am after a short visit to the downtown and pedal 35 km uphill to Canyon Hot Springs. This rest day will get us ready for the next challenge, the 115 km climb to Golden, BC. After Golden, its Rogers Pass. 
  • As we neared Revelstoke, we came across many a waterfall and/or stream. Because of the headwind, we were able to feel the cold coming from the rushing water long before we saw anything. You cannot experience that in a car!

Snowballs on the last day of May

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 7 - Kelowna to Salmon Arm

97.94 km - Total so far 633.09 km

One half of our campsite neighbors 
  • Another glorious day in the saddle. We tried something different this morning and had breakfast at the Tim Horton's just up the road from the campsite. The goal for today was Salmon Arm. We also did everything we could to avoid Hwy 97 that was especially busy with weekend traffic. The old road is still accessible but not always marked on newer maps. 
    Vineyard/orchard along Lake Kalamlaka

  • There was a horrible climb as we got to Vernon but we were fortunate enough to run into another cyclist on a training run. He told us how to avoid the hill and still get to Vernon. He told us about the bike path across Hwy 97 that would get us safely to the information center. The detour took us on a road that passed by a gated community with huge homes as well as a look out that overlooks the City of Vernon. Vernon is on the water at the bottom of a large valley. Once again the scenery was spectacular. We finally made it to the Information Center to find out that it was closed. The signs announcing it are still up. That happens a lot in BC. We passed by an old National Defence training camp that was used during both world wars. The place is now used as an Army Cadet Summer Camps and has been as far back as I can remember.
The old road appears as a lighter line running from bottom right of the picture

  • We finally stumbled on the open information center. After intensive questioning by Hélène, the staff there were able to assist us with finding a route to Salmon Arm. Instead of using Hwy 97, we opted to ride the old Kamloops Hwy and then follow the Salmon River Road. Before leaving Vernon we had our second breakfast of the day at the Bean To Cup Coffee House.  A few climbs on the Salmon River Road but nevertheless we ended up riding down a beautiful and narrow valley with little traffic and going mostly down hill. Cyclists can resupply as halfway to Salmon Arm, there is a general store at Silver Creek. 
Horses at one of the many ranches in the Salmon River Valley
  • We finally got to the information center at 4:05 p.m. to find it closed. It seems that every provincial information centers have their own operating days and hours. Not sure they deliver the service expected, help tourists and support local businesses. That seems to be the opinion of many small business operators we spoke too. 
  • The goal for tomorrow is Revelstoke.  To note, it is also the start of week 2.
The multi purpose quilt being used to support radio in order to get best reception possible

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 6 - Penticton to Kelowna

102.7 kms - Total so far 535.15 kms

Daniel is still traumatized over the loss of his jet pack/bear belt that he will take a night off blogging. Therefore I will write, Hélène.

Tonight will be a short update since we had a long day.  We has a glorious morning, we packed up in the sun, all the gear was dry when we left.  Cycling the Okanagan Valley was breathtaking, our words and pictures cannot do it justice.
Vineyard on Okanagan Lake before Peachland

As I was cycling down from Summerland it hit me that I'm actually doing this trip and that everything will work out considering we have put so much effort and preparation into it.  I got all emotional as I was cycling, Daniel was cycling ahead of me and I could not have been any happier.  I'm so glad I could share this trip with the man I love.  I know it's all sounding mushy, it's usually not my style, what can I say.

Since yesterday the scenery has changed a lot, we are no longer in bear country but instead enjoying the sights of vineyards and fruit orchards.  In Peachland, we cycled through downtown which was very pretty and we had a picnic for lunch.
Only on a picnic do I allow myself to eat straight out of the pot

Cycling through Kelowna was stressful and difficult, street lights and stop signs take a lot of energy for us to get going after each stop.
The only safe place to ride in Kelowna, the bridge

Happy couple having a stay-cation

For the gang in Building 34, thinking about you! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 5 - Princeton to Pentincton

100.51 kms - Total so far 432.45 kms

  • Another glorious day weather wise. We left Princeton at 7:20 and once again we got to go downhill for a while. We followed the Similkamin that is a fairly slowly flowing river. Instead of thunderous river sounds today we were treated to bird songs. I swear some of those birds have a song that sounds like the cycling whistles that we have. Hélène and I use the whistles to communicate when separated. One whistle is stop. A few times Hélène having heard what she thought was my whistle did as agreed and stopped. We will be reviewing our signalling plan tonight.
  • At about 10ish, we stopped at Hedly for our second breakfast of the day. Breakfast is turning out to be our favorite meal. at the restaurant, we ran into Kyle who was on his way to Osoyoos. It would appear that he is taking the southern route over the Kootenay Pass (elevation 1774 m) whereas we are heading further north and going through Rogers Pass (elevation 1327 m). Then again at Osoyoos, he can swing North up to Penticton.
    It is not uniquely the scenery that commands attention in BC
  • We made it to Keremeos, a small town on the way to Penticton, well before lunch and spent a while at the tourist information and confirmed our route to Penticton. The lady mentioned that it was a fairly easy ride with just one climb and after the climb it was downhill to Penticton. She also told us about the best place to get ice cream, on the left right after the climb. She was very accurate on all counts. They have 31 varieties of hard ice cream and we got ourselves a large bowl of Peacan and Cream that we mixed with our own bluebrries that by then had 80 km of bouncing in the saddle bags. It was marvelouuuuuuuuuuus. 
    Downton Keremeos and the storm that has been causing havoc in the area
  • We got to the campground, located 5 km South of Penticton at about 5 pm. At the beginning, we used to leave in the rain and arrive under sunny conditions, now is just the opposite. We were hit by a nasty little storm and had to set up tent in the rain. We are getting very good at doing that. Now the storm has passed, it remains pretty windy but the sun is out.
    Yellow Lake and just like Pink Lake back home it is low on oxygen
  • Overall it was a good day. It was a test to cycle in the heat in the afternoon and we need to carry more water than the three bottles we have. Rest stops in BC don't always have potable drinking water. 
    Leaving the two leg bike stand at home might not have been a wise decision. Keeping the bikes of the ground is a challenge!
  • Today I forgot my bear spray and belt in a washroom in Keremeos. The darn thing is really comfortable and you can easily forget you have it on, or in my case forget it altogether. At some distance down the road, I reached around for it and realized it was not there. When you are 14 km down the road and before you turn around you gotta ask yourself two questions: "Is the item critical?" and "Can it be replaced?". We chose not to turn around. 
  • We are both getting stronger on the bikes and the plan is to continue increasing our daily mileage. 
    Working on our blog, after tent goes up but before bike maintenance and supper

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 4 - Manning Park to Princeton

73.22 km - Total so far 331.94 km -

  • Today was a most excellent day! We were on the bikes at 7:30 and unlike the previous days it was not raining. The sun was out and shined on us the entire day. On leaving Manning Park, we had the good fortune of a 20 km ride down a most gentle slope and it was divine. A nice reward after the climb yesterday.
  • We had one climb today on our way to Princeton, Sunday Summit.  It required a solid effort but not nearly as much effort as what we had to muster yesterday. We spent a few minutes taking the customary pictures at the top and got on the bikes for the fun downhill to the next rise. About 10 km away we got to the top of Mine Hill where we stopped and closely examined the signs warning truck drivers. Although the sign warns of steep descents and run away lanes, it does not convey just how scary this ride downhill actually is. It was Cape Breton Cabot Trail scary. On the Cabot Trail on crazy descents you can pull off the road nearly every km and rest, here we decided to rest just past the runaway lane, 3 km away. Hélène's forearms were burning and applying the brakes became extremely difficult. You can almost feel a hand on your back pushing and making you go faster!
    The descent was not nearly as pleasant as the sign would lead you to believe!
  • Taking advantage of the sun, we took out the lounge chairs and had ourselves a nice picnic by the side of the road. We could see in the distance snow on the mountain peaks. Had we had more time, we would have taken out the BBQ instead of the one burner stove. As we were relaxing, we caught a glimpse Kyle, who waved to us and raced up the hill. 
Never leave home without your lounge chairs, ever.
  • As you can see on the GPS data, we had one last descent to Princeton. This descent had a much gentler slope and we just let it go, no brakes. On the descent, we noticed a billboard for "Bill's All Day Breakfast" and off we were for meal #3.
  • At Bill's, we ran into Millon, who we introduced yesterday. Turns out this young man is a much more experienced cyclist that we are. While this is our first long distance trip, he already has a solo trip down the Pacific Coast of the US under his belt. He shared with us many of his lessons learned on that trip for that, we are most grateful. Much has been written about the life changing experience of doing the Camino the Santiago but I would think that doing a solo long distance bicycle trip should not be overlooked as a character building exercise. Climbing up to Allison Pass on a loaded touring bike in the rain and by yourself no less, shows a lot of intestinal fortitude and mental strength. 
    Millon with his Canadian made Brodie touring bike.
  • Today I managed to snap a picture of Hélène's jet pack. You can see it's shiny bottom near her waist. No it is not really a jet pack but a large can of bear spray that we both carry everywhere. After yesterday's bear sighting, we don't mind the additional weight around the waist.
    Hélène's jet pack. In the background the huge trucks we share this small road with.
  • This message is for the folks in the basement of Building 34 and from Hélène's "Yes, I want to be part of the lottery pool."
    Our humble abode overlooking the Similkameen River

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 3 - Hope to Manning Park

66.32 kms - Total so far 258.72 kms

  • The bike training is officially over! We are now in the Rocky Mountains having climbed from Hope up to Allison Pass (altitude 1342 m). Loaded as we are it was a tough go. No drafting today but a schedule of 50 minutes cycling and a 10 minute rest on the hour. We did try to keep to the schedule but we also had to find a wall to rest the bicycles on.
    Let the cycle touring begin
  • Once again at 8 a.m.this morning, we had superb climbing conditions set as overcast and a comfortable 12 degrees. By 8:05 a.m., just like the day before it started to rain. Not as hard as yesterday but that nasty light rain that just won't stop. As long as we were climbing, we were comfortable but it got cold awful quick when we stopped for a break.
  • We met up with another cyclist, Millon from Campbell River, BC who was on his way to the Maritimes and plans to cycle the Cabot Trail. He is certainly gonna have the legs for the Cabot Trail but he will find that the climbs although shorter are much steeper. Part of the climb today was 7% for 6 km when on the Cabot Trail it can be 13% over the same distance.
  • The picture taking at the Allison Pass sign did not occur as casually as planned. About 200 meters earlier, Hélène spotted a large bear and we had to make a quick get away. We don't as a matter of course just dart across 4 highway lanes to see what is on the other side but we do to get away from a large bear. Hélène was keeping an eye out for Yogi the bear as I snapped the picture.
    No time to savor the moment grrrrr darn bear!
  • The GPS issue was resolved last night with the help of our Dutch campground neighbors. Over the next three weeks they are driving around BC in an RV. To Lauren s, Walter, Marloes and Joyce we wish you a safe and fulfilling holiday in Canada and should you wish to someday continue your "Canadian Dream" in Central Canada (Ontario/Quebec) email us.
  • Some of you might wonder why we put ourselves through this. Touring on bicycles is all about the sights, sounds, smells and yes, sometimes the snacking that you will never experience when inside an automobile. Although it rained and it was tough for most of the day we were entertained by the lovely sound of the mighty Skagit River.  

Skagit River, BC

  • BTW, first thing we do in the morning is check your comments.  Thank you keep coming.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 2 - Mission to Hope

84 km - Total so far 192.4 km - No GPS recording :(

  • The day started nice enough at 7 a.m, it was overcast, about 12 degrees and no wind ideal for cycling. At 7:05, it started to pour and it did so for the next 3 hours. Nothing focuses your attention like rain when cycling down a steep (11%) hill and everything is wet and slippery. On a positive note, it rains so hard that you can't see anything! We came across an Eastie-Westie cyclist with a huge grin as he was nearing the end of his trip and had a nice breeze pushing him along.
  • We stopped in Agassiz at the Horn of Plenty Cafe for our second breakfast. When cycling we found that we needed four meals a day to fuel the engine. The place was packed and with only one waitress the service was exceptionally slow. Slow service was great as it gave us a chance to dry a bit. Another cyclist walked into the restaurant and after a few words we were pleased to discover that Kyle was one of our people, a Westie-Eastie. He is cycling by himself from Victoria to St-John's and hopes to be done by end August. Good speed Kyle.
    Kyle on his Surly LHT
  • By the time our leisurely breakfast was over, it had finally stopped raining. We would continue drying as we easily pedal along the wide shoulder. We stopped for a quick snack (yes we eat a lot) and were joined once again by Kyle. We had planned a selfie but we got a proper picture taken. We also got to check out his bicycle. He rides a Surly LHT just like we do.
    All wet and still smiling
  • By the time we got to Hope at 13:30, the sun was smiling upon us. We stopped in on the information center and to our surprise, it was actually open. Information centers that we had stopped at so far had all been closed and that is why I had to ask for directions at the liquor store yesterday.
  • Hope is a lovely little town surrounded by mountains. I am sure you all remember Hope from the movie Rambo: First Blood, filmed here 30 years ago. There is a walking site tour one can take but with camp set up, blog updates and bike maintenance we just have not got time. We will have to comeback some other time.
    I am sure we all recognize the building from Rambo: First Blood
  • There is no GPS ride data today as we had a user issue this morning with the Garmin GPS unit. It will be sorted for our climb up Allison Pass.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day 1 - Vancouver to Mission

22.8 km - Stanley Park fun ride

92.5 km - Total trip mileage 108.5 km (excludes fun rides)

  • After a quiet breakfast on the YMCA hotel patio, we headed out for our early morning (7 a.m.) ride through downtown Vancouver and to Stanley Park. It is amazing to see the cycling infrastructure in Vancouver's downtown, Many of the major streets have dedicated two way bicycle lanes complete with their own signal lights. Not much traffic to contend with at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning but I can see how re-assuring this would be on a busy week day ride to work.
    Start of Seawall and our ride
  •  There was the customary series of pictures at the start of the Seawall path and off we went. The path is divided with the raise portion for cyclists and roller bladders and the lower portion nearer the water for pedestrians. When you hit Stanley Park per say, the bicycle path becomes one way counter clock wise, with speed limited to 15 km. We were not able to completely go around the path as it was closed off by Vancouver police and so we had to turn around. We took to the road closest to the path and enjoyed a nice climb up to and over the road leading to Lion' Gate bridge. Had it not been for this detour, we would have missed the magnificent old growth trees in the park.
    Having to turn around
    We were back at the hotel by 9 a.m. and immediately got ourselves ready to hit the road. It takes a few minutes to hang the luggage on the bikes.
    So much luggage and the last luggage picture - promise!
  • The exit from Vancouver is straight forward, so we thought. Everything went as planned in Vancouver but got off the rails as we hit our first bike detour in Burnaby, At the beginning the construction detour was well marked and easy to follow and then, nothing. Had it not been for Sharon and Mark, we might still be riding in circles in Burnaby. The two of them deviated from their planned ride and escorted us back to the Lougheed Highway and back on track! Sharon good luck to you and your daughter on your upcoming Whistler Grand Fondo. 
  • We were reminded today that we are but just another vehicle on the road. As such, we should only follow roads that appears on road maps and ignore those that don't. In Coquitlam we chose to follow bike routes and ended up taking a very long tour of Coquitlam without getting any closer to Mission. Lesson learned.
  • This link takes you to a map of Coquitlam that shows the Lougheed Highway and the Pitt River Bridge you have to cross and continue onto Pitt Meadows, Hwy #7 and beyond to Mission.
  • Hélène had issues with her gears and we stopped in for help at Cap's Westwood Cycles in Burnaby. Within minutes, they had the bike up on the maintenance stand and performed a few adjustments. Some adjustments that take a few minutes when properly equipped take for ever by the side of the road.
  • As we got near Mission, we saw a small canal just covered in nenuphar (waterlily) and were both reminded of last year's Grand Tour 2014, in the Niagara Region. Nos amis Encadreur(e)! vont se rappeler comment il pleuvait ce jour la. Contrary to that day last summer, it was not pouring rain today.
    Best place to ask for information and they sell refreshments to boot!  
  • We are comfortably settled in for the night and despite the extra mileage, we feel privileged to have met so many warm and helpful people. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Departure Day - Vancouver airport to YMCA

15.9 kms - Total so far 15.9 kms -

  • Our big day has finally arrived. Hélène and I showed up at the airport in Ottawa at 4:30 a.m. to pick up the bikes and be first in line. Check in was uneventful and painless. We spent the better part of 15 minutes going through the x-ray of the two bags containing the panniers and going through the bicycle boxes. Nothing on the airline website mentioned that the boxes would be open for inspection. My fantastic taping job on the bike boxes was all for naught.
    The bikes, luggage and the start of the Cross Canada trip beard
  • We arrived in Vancouver 10 minutes ahead of schedule and were able to quickly pick up the bike boxes at the oversize luggage counter. Within minutes of getting the boxes we set up shop in a quiet section of the arrival lounge.
    Our workshop at Vancouver Airport. 
    The assembly of the bikes took a lot longer than anticipated. One does not realize how precious a bicycle maintenance stand is until you find yourself at the airport without one. Attaching fenders front and rear as well as luggage racks front and rear took for ever. The Timmys dark roast coffee (the coffee that taste like McDonalds) breaks did not help. Three hours after landing we were ready to hit the road and head out to the Vancouver YMCA Hotel.
    The Official "Beginning of Ride Picture"
  • It would have been a quick 16 km had it not been for the folks chatting with us at stop lights, or the folks riding along or the many others that chatted with us both inside and outside the Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) store. We had to make a quick stop at Doctor Bike on Robson Street to get a replacement for the rear skewer nut that was damaged. The item was most likely damaged when the bike box fell off the cart in \Ottawa. This was self inflicted. The bicycle boxes arrived in Vancouver undamaged.
  • We have a nice and reasonably priced room at the YMCA hotel and secure storage for the bikes. The YMCA Hotel is right downtown across from BC place and near Robson Street. It started to rain so we postponed our ride of Stanley Park and opted to go grocery shopping instead. 
  • I can't tell how nice it is to now tell people we are cycling home to Ottawa instead of we are training for an upcoming trip.
  • We were happily surprised to discover that the local IGA sells the Hawkins Cheezies Triple Pack . There is a Santa Claus!

Friday, May 22, 2015

1 Day to Departure

May 2015
  • The bikes have been taken to the airport along with the majority of our luggage.
  • Reading one of the 3 or 4 blogs dedicated to cycling across Canada, we found out that as cyclists you pick up a moniker based on the direction of travel. You are either a Westie-easters (BC to Eastern Canada) or Eastie-westers (Eastern Canada to BC). Most of our friends who have done the trip are like us, Westie-easters and only one is Eastie-wester. This Easter-wester made a very compelling case as to why we should be heading WEST from Ottawa. He told us how magnificent it was to finally reach the Rockies and enjoy every climb and descent. Whereas when heading EAST, once over the Rockies its all about just getting home. We will see and who knows, we might just have to give it a try in the other direction someday. That's what we did when we cycled the Cabot Trail, and had an even better time going around the other way. 
  • We tried out our bear spray the other night. If it does not work when we absolutely need it too, then not only will we be facing a hungry bear but also a very angry one. I got a bit of that pepper spray on my face and boy does it sting. 
  • We also tried hanging the bag of food and utensils from a high branch to keep it away from bears and such big critters. The 'bear bag' was to heavy and the rope cut into the bark just like piano wire making it difficult to raise the bag, causing the rope to bind and the bags to just hang there. We opted to get another rope and now we hope that hanging two smaller bags instead of one big one will do the trick. 
  • Daily blog updates will occur forthwith daily after 6 pm. 
  • Just a reminder, you are strongly encouraged to leave comments. 
  • The next post will be from Vancouver. A good night to all!

The start of Hope Slide on the way to Allison Pass...looks easy enough!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

3 Days to Departure

May 2015

Turtles perched on their mounts 
  • The two new team members getting themselves acquainted with their respective rides. They are turtle puppets named 'GrandmaRoux' and 'Grambo' after the bike owners. Those are the names given to us by the grand kids. It will be interesting to see in August who or what made the biggest impression with the grand kids, ours or the turtles great cycling adventure. 
Drafting Savings
  • During our training rides not only were we focused on improving our endurance and stamina but we also worked on how we would travel on the flat. We will ride closely(12 to 16 inches) one behind the other using the same technique used by bicycle racers, drafting. We were fairly comfortable riding this way on our light road bikes, but it took some effort to get as comfortable with 100 + lbs of loaded touring bikes. As the picture indicates, drafting offers an energy savings to the second cyclist of as much as 26%. To the lead cyclist having someone directly behind them slightly reduces the effects of drag and makes pedaling a tiny bit easier. The effect happens at all speeds but is more noticeable the faster you ride. We also determined how often we would change from 'lead' to getting a break in the rear with the beer. Every 2 km, when the GPS beep is heard: lead(cyclist) pulls out, slows down and tucks in behind the new lead. We found this distance to be best for us under all wind conditions. So every 2 km, we can take in the scenery before dropping back to attentively stare at someone's back wheel. See the video below explaining all this.  

  • Yesterday we stopped in on Yasmin and Zuher Karimjee at the Ottawa Sewing Center to show them our quilt bags and 1/2 half of our Ray Way quilt. They seemed to be genuinely impressed with what we had accomplished. The four hours they gave us on December 31st gave us the confidence to tackle this, our first sewing project. The chat quickly moved from sewing to travel and now we might just include Tanzania on our list of places to cycle. 

Turtles resting after packing bikes. GrandmaRoux on the smaller box

Sunday, May 17, 2015

6 Days to Departure

May 2015
  • Just to give you an idea of how much gear we have, take a look at the the fully loaded trunk of a Mazda 3. Everything packed in the bags is what we consider to be 'essential' equipment and that includes folding chairs!
    Trunk of Mazda 3
  • On our ride to Champlain Lookout on Sunday May 10th, we were stopped by a Belgian living in Ottawa for pictures and an interview. This individual told us that he hosted a cycle touring website encouraging Belgians to travel to Canada and pedal. We gave him a business card and he promised to send us a link to his website by the end of the day. To this day, we have not heard from him and figure that it is because he is almost done (90% complete).  
    Champlain Lookout - Gatineau Park
  • On the same ride, on the way home as we meandered through Gatineau we were yelled at and chased by an individual on a bike. When yelled at, it is usually by someone in a pick up truck with a set of balls hanging from the trailer hitch - you know the type. We stopped. Turns out that our yell'er was an older gentleman who wanted to help us find accommodations for the night. We thanked him for his concern and got on our way. 
  • During our training rides, we were amazed to discover just how warm and friendly people are to cyclists on fully loaded touring bikes. We got many a wave, thumbs up and smiles from folks in cars and trucks and with most, also giving us a wide berth when passing. It would be nice if that was the reaction to all cyclists that share the road with them. 
  • In the kitchen, we built an aluminium foil wind screen for the stove. Version 1 was made of aluminium only and had difficulty staying up. It was quickly poo-pooed by the trip leader. On the second attempt, four cardboard panels were inserted making it significantly more rigid and able to support a heavier pan. We are just hoping the cardboard in Version 2 doesn't catch on fire. Just in case, we are bringing both versions. BTW, we also got a deeper frying seen below on the left. We broke the 'don't bring untested gear on a major trip' rule.       
    Version II on the right!
  • The bikes are clean, packed in their boxes and ready to travel to the airport. 
  • In the next post we will introduce two new members of the team...'GO TEAM GO!'

Monday, May 11, 2015

12 Days to Departure

May 2015

Hélène's bike taking a break halfway up the hill.

  • The training continues. We are fortunate to live close to the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains and have quick access to hilly and scenic terrain. As of today, we have reached our minimum goal of 1,000 km with still a few more days of riding planned. We averaged an elevation of 857 m on each our training rides. 

The view halfway up the hill.
  • Our Saturday ride on May 9th started in Thurso, QC which is the birth place of a very famous Montreal Canadian player; le Numéro 10, le Démon Blond (the Blond Devil), Guy Lafleur. The Town of Thurso put up a impressive bronze statue that really captures his prowess as a hockey player. The team responsible for the work was lead by an Encadreur(e)! friend of ours, Jean-Raymond Goyer. Jean-Raymond is a well known Quebec sculptor who also collaborated to the statue of Maurice Richard, located in Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau.  As coincidence would have it, Jean-Raymond is the individual pictured with his thumb up in the Encadreur(e)! link. 
    Le Diable Blond (Thurso, QC)
  • Meal planning and kitchen equipment has also received much attention. We found during our Gaspe trip last year, that much time was wasted walking down the grocery store isles trying to decide what we were going to have for supper that night. Now Hélène has come up with yet another 'list' that greatly facilitates 'on the fly' meal planning.We can now hit the grocery stores with the speed and efficiency of two bank robbers: in quickly, grab what we need and out even quicker. We are still working on improving our slow as molasses get away! We will include the list under 'Equipment'.
  • We made some of our own condiments from recipes found in the book "Ultralight Backpackin' Tips" by Mike Clelland. We now have jars of Powdered Pesto Sauce and Spiced Olive Oil. We have tried both with pasta and found the combination to be yummy. This book is full of awesome tips and should be on every one's bookshelf. 
    The kitchen 
  • To cut down on the time and fuel needed to cook, we made 'insulating cozies" for our pots. Some of our our foods will continue to cook inside the
    Pot cozy (top) and
    kettle cozy (bottom)
    cozy when the stove is off and also keep the food warmer. When shopping we now pay much more attention to the label cooking time on the package.

Not as much fun as pedalling
  • On Sunday May 10th we had two interesting and unusual encounters but we we will save the details for next time.