The day started out with a hearty breakfast with Edward and his son Jason. Jay took a picture of me and Edward with assorted Allstream paraphernalia. Right afterwards I dropped my iPad on the asphalt driveway. No harm done, unlike poor Armand who dropped his on the Golden Gate bridge and the screen looks like a spider’s web.
Edward and me (never hold your iPad this way!)
I crossed over the Golden Eye bridge get to The Loughheed Hwy (#7). The view from the bridge is amazing. It’s very new and they constructed a wide path along the road for cyclists. The best part is that cyclists don’t have to pay the toll. See, another reason why biking is the only way to go!
The Loughheed Hwy first goes through the pretty little town of Haney. The shoulder is very wide and the roadway is new. Next take the rolling hills to Mission. As you ride a long the Fraser river you vpcan smell you can smell the cedar mulch mills (what would you call them?). Pass the Stave River Hydro electric park with is a national park.
I stopped at a great fruit market just before arriving a mission and picked up apples, bananas, apricots and water. I planned to stop in mission and find a nice park bench to sit on and enjoy my snack. Unfortunately, mission is completely void of anywhere for someone to sit.
Seven kilometers out side of mission the road turns to the right, crosses the CP tracks and then curves back east. This is a completely flat part of the Lougheed but there’s not much of a shoulder so I rode mainly on the road. I’ve discovered that the safest thing is to pull over to the right when a stream of cars are coming in the opposite direction, especially if I see vehicles coming up behind me. It’s easy riding and you can see mountains all around you.
After a while the road turns left, crosses the tracks and then turns eastward again. The next section of highest probably the best road I have ever cycled. The view is stunning, with white capped mountains all around. The shoulder is a good 5ft wide and it’s smooth and clean. There’s one 120M climb and a second 80M climb just before hope. Nether will gave me any trouble. A primer for what’s up ahead. It’s also a thrill screaming down the other side at 50kms. I had to slow down so that I kept within the speed limit.
I have to say the only thing I didn’t like about the trip was the Harley’s. There’re too damn loud and couple of them passed me a little too close for comfort.
I stopped for lunch at the Sasquatch Inn which had amazing burgers but also seemed to be a haven for bikers (not the self propelled variety). They were out for what they kept calling The Ride which raises money for charity. It was hilarious listening to the two tough looking bikers in leathers and all the gear talks about how great Google maps was on their iPhone.
This area has some of the best cycling you could possibly experience: excellent roads, incredible scenery. The only hard part is trying not to stop every 2 mins to take photos.
Stunning views around every bend
At Agasez I stopped at a Hazelnut farm and bought a supply of hazelnut bark, chocolate covered hazelnuts, and beer flavored candied… you guessed it… hazelnuts. There are hazelnut farms all over the place and they taste nothing like the ones you get out of the can. They’re soft and sweet, not dry and woody.
Making new friends
As I approached Hope I met Casie and Arnie who had just come from a one day cycling trip from Agasez to Hope and back. There’s noting to special about that except that these to we’re in their seventies!. They were such an inspiration. That’s what I hope Vicki and I are like when we reach that age.
I me two groups of cyclists at the campsite in Hope. One group of 5 from Quebec City and 2 gentleman from France who had met each other on the flight to Vancouver. I expected to meet other cyclists but this was a nice surprise. I had a Spaghetti dinner with the Quebec group. I contributed a hazelnut appetizer and an extra stove and pot. They’re headed the same way I am so there’s a good chance I’ll see them again.
I was trying to explain to the two from France what raccoons were. They had no idea what I was talking about. Finally I googled a photo of one and they had a good laugh. Anyway, I checked with the owner of the campsite and she ensured there weren’t any animals around. There used to be a couple of raccoons but they had an unfortunate accident crossing the road. So I’m going to leave my food pack out. That makes things a lot easier.
A fork in the road
The decision of what highway to take out of Hope had been keeping me awake for days. The blog I’ve been following recommended the Cocahaula Hwy (check sp.). But that highway is 120kms of wilderness and since the BC government constructed it as a short cut to the interior there’s a climb like none other. As well, I was also told there’s still snow on the Cocahaula.
The second route, Hwy 3, goes south over Manning Park pass, which is also a climb, but nothing like the Cocahuala. The problem is it’s very winding and its a huge detour. But it is the CCA recommended route.
The third route is the Trans Canada which follows the Fraser Canyon and other then a few killer climbs is relatively flat and very scenic. Plus I love white water and can’t wait to see Hells Gate. So that’s the one I’m taking. Plus Casie and Marnie gave me pointers about what to expect after hope and they know both routes and suggested the Trans Canada Hwy north because it’s flatter and more scenic.
I’m writing this post sitting on a picnic table over looking the fast mighty Fraser River. The sound of the waves splashing against the shore is soothing, Venus is shining just above a mountain top, amd my stomach’s full. Life is good. Time to settle down for the night.
The moon setting over the mountains
Stats for the day
Distance covered: 120kms
Max speed: 60kms
Moving avg: 21lms
Max elevation: 130M