Day 5 – Kamloops – Rest day

The upper part of Kamloops looks like pretty much every Canadian city: there’s a Staples, Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Starbucks, Chapters. Big box stores and malls abound.

Kamloops from above

But as you climb down the steep hill on Columbia St. Kamloops begins to take on its character: hill lined streets, cafe’s and restaurants, and an expansive Riverside park.

Victoria Street

I don’t like bears, and Harley’s, apologies to the bears

It’s not that I don’t like Harley drivers, they’re perfectly fine, it’s the bikes that annoy me: way too loud.

About the bears. Several people along the way have suggested I should have bear spray. As I was walking down the hill into town I passed an outdoor store. This was my chance. I asked the lady in the camping section if she thought was a good idea, she replied “hell yes, I’d bring my gun too!”. Yes, this is a different part if the country that I’m used to.

Back to the bear spray. You have to sign a waiver that basically says your not going to go around spraying people in the face, or cute little puppies that annoy you. $50 later I was equipped with bear spray and holster. Now I have to think of a neat place to mount it on my bike, like some sort of gun rack thingy but for bicycles. Yah, that’s the ticket.

I really think it’s highly unlikely I’ll need the stuff. I’ll be in the highway for goodness sakes, and there’s lots if traffic and noise. But, what the heck. Besides, it’s bear spray. That’s cool!

A magical history tour

I went to the local museum and learned that Kamloops is a Secwepemc word for “the meeting of the rivers”. Specifically, the Upper Thompson and the main Thompson. What put Kamloops “on the map” was the fur trade. This period of time amazes me. The power the Hudson’s Bay Company had over everything and everyone was astounding. It’s hard to believe that felt hats is the main reason Canada was explored.


Even after the area was all “beavered out”, the HBC retained a fort at Kamloops as this was where the fur trains passed through on the way to the Okanogan. Apparently these “fur trains” we’re a sight to see. Up to 300 horses each carrying two 80lb stacks of beaver pelts. They required a lot of men too: 1 man for every 15 horses.

Bu the way, I found out where the phrase “mad as a hatter” comes from. The process of converting the beaver wool into felt required the use of mercury. Many “hatters” acquired mercury poisoning and slowly went insane.

A new look

I took the time to get my haircut today. Yesterday the wind was whipping hair in my eyes and my face and annoying the heck out of me. After passing over a number of spots I stopped in at a barber shop, complete with the candy striped twirly thing, and somehow I felt this was the right one. The woman who cut my hair was so excited to have someone with long hair I think she used tweezers to style it. She gave me the best cut I’ve ever had. Something she called a “lawyers cut”. Hey, works for me.



With my new look I checked out the local Chinese Buffet and enjoyed some traditional Kamloopian (?) cuisine. The server didn’t even say anything about my new hairstyle, sigh.

Distance travelled: 0 (you haven’t been paying attention have you?)


4 responses to “Day 5 – Kamloops – Rest day

  1. Andrew

    Like the haircut (still don’t know what to think about the twirly thing)..!

  2. Cécile

    Chris, you look cute no matter what…you’ll never, ever look old, you’ll always have a young boy’s look. How luck is that. And by the way, I was paying attention. I knew you would have “0” distance today as you worked so hard the day before to get to Kamloops. Hurry up to get the next story going, can’t wait.

    PS. Love your writing, it’s fun to ready and the writing just flows (with of course those funny remarks in there).

  3. I like the sounds of your rest day 🙂 Kamloops is a great place to kick around and waste some time. Definitely like visiting there. So tell me – have you had occasion to use your bear spray yet?

    Can’t wait to dig around in your blog a little more. Very entertaining. Thanks!

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