It was a great feeling to be heading south to Vancouver, after our first mini accident on the road and recovering in a local Starbucks (sorry) we cycled through rolling hills and rain showers towards Quesnel.
We set up our camp on the edge of a lake where we ate dinner, watched an otter go back and forth and then attempted to catch a fish with not much luck.
Leaving Quesnel we cycled uphill until we turned off a road that advertised fresh fruit and veg about 30 miles outside of Williams lake, we met the slightly strange owner who offered us some food and his unused caravan to sleep in. Deciding that the guy wasn't totally crazy and not to cycle away (escape) we setup our stuff in the caravan, tied the door shut, watched an episode of the Apprentice (got to keep in the loop) and went to sleep.
Leaving the caravan in the morning, we cycled up hill for about 10 miles before I (Cemal) noticed that something was wrong with my bike, the crank was falling off. We stopped and tried to fix it with our limited selection of tools but didn't have the right size allen key because we ditched it in an attempt to save weight. At this point it started to rain which made everything much better, soaking wet and standing in the road trying to hail down a car for some help were surprisingly upbeat. Martin ran down the road to try and find a house, while I carried on trying to get a car to stop. Eventually a local in a truck stopped and offered us a lift into Williams Lake.
He dropped us off a bike shop in town (Red Shreds) who sorted out my bike troubles free of charge and gave us a great discount of a few other bits, thank you Red Shreds and the kind man who dropped us off in town. We took the afternoon off and spent our time updating the site with what we've been up too since Alaska. Heading down the road the a local campsite we bumped into our first cyclist going the other way, his name was David Wilson, he was headed north to Dawson city in the Yukon. We spent the evening in an ultra seedy bar and then headed back to our campsite where we cooked dinner under our first sighting of the Northern lights which were glowing a faint green and dancing all over the sky!
From Williams lake we cycled on to 100 Mile House, a small town which in the past served as a resting point for gold rush travellers moving between Kamaloops and Fort Alexandria. We camped beside a waterfall and in the morning while eating breakfast had our first encounter with the press, we were interviewed really briefly and had our photograph taken outside our favourite fast food restaurant, A&W'S.
With local fame becoming to much we hit the road and after a day of some long climbs and hot sun we made it 10km outside of Lilloeet. Following advice from a David we camped behind a petrol station which backed onto a canyon and the Fraser river.
That evening we thought it a great idea to go and explore down in the canyon, scaling the loose rock faces we made our way down until it started getting dark, Martin spotted what looked like a black widow spider, we got scared and went back up, a totally exhausting round trip of 2 hours.
In the morning we decided for some reason that we would head down there again and try to do some fishing, this time we took along some rope to help us get back up. Having had no luck with catching the local marine life and baking in the 30 degree heat we made our way back up and made it to Lilloeet proper by the afternoon. Camping once again by ultra noisy white water rapids we prepared ourselves for the next days cycle which would be over a mountain pass towards Pemberton.
Woken by a disgruntled park keeper we packed up and began cycling up the mountain, having been warned by many people of the difficulty of the road ahead we were fully ready for some insanely steep climbs, they weren't kidding, we cycled up 13% inclines for about two hours in the baking sun until luckily it leveled off a bit and we could resume our normal pace. That day we made it to the top of the mountain and decided to stop there and camp. We camped in an open area of grass and low trees which backed onto some dense forest, and beyond that dense forest, duffy lake.
Wanting to try our luck for a second time we ventured into the forest to try and find the lake and catch ourselves a fish; the gps we have gave us our position, a mere 500 yards from the lake, easy we thought, walk through the forest, find the lake, catch a fish. The forest turned out to be almost impossible to get through, parts of it were mixed with small streams and fallen logs making for a sort of assault course. 45 minutes later we made it to what looked like the banks of the lake, trekking through loads of long grass we realized that this wasn't the bank of the lake, it was the lake, ankle deep in smelly water we attempted to fish but lost interest when it started to rain and get dark we ran back our way back and went to sleep.
Stinking of swamp we got up and cycled the last mile or so to the summit of Mt Curie, from there it was all 15% downhill for 12km, with the smell of burning brakes in the air from cars that had gone before us we coasted down at 40mph, easily one of the most impressive/scary downhills of the whole trip. Heading out of the snow capped mountains and down into lush country side we stopped in Pemberton for some lunch and then cycled on to Whistler, home of the 2010 winter olympics. While in Whistler were kindly offered a place to stay with Nina and Nathaniel who showed us around Whistler village that evening which included the insane mountain biking park which takes the place of skiing and snowboarding in the summer months.
Having almost completed the first leg of our journey south we left Whislter and cycled 80 miles down through Squamish and along the most beautiful coast line towards Vancouver. We arrived in Vancouver at 9 pm where we were greeted with beers and food by our college friend Stephen and his house mates on West Broadway.
Vancouver looks beautiful, to see a familiar face after all this time and to be in a city like Vancouver feels great, amazing where several thousand turns of the pedals get you.
08 June, 2013Tweet