Homecoming Leg: Vancouver to Vernon!
Thursday, July 15th, Day Fifty-Four: I woke up this day feeling good abut what I had done, and what I still had left to do. The bike was boxed up, I did it the night before after a huge victory dinner, so all that was left was to pack up the rest of my stuff. First, though, I wanted a picture in the ocean to finish my trip. When I visited the Sierra Club Atlantic office to check my email however, everyone decided it was time for a good office lunch, so we all went down to eat. It was a good meal, and it was nice to really be introduced to everyone and just relax with like-minded individuals. By the time it was over however, I had to rush home to do my packing, since the guy who was going to take me to my plane was due to arrive by about 4:00 PM. Another nice guy, we had lots to talk about on the way to the airport. I was disappointed that I had to pay an oversize fee for my bike, but luckily my Mom and Dad had given me a little extra cash for the trip home, so I was okay to pay. The flight itself was quite pleasant. I had plenty of snacks and a good book, plus there were TVs in all the seats. I was really impressed. A quick stopover in Calgary and I was back in the air, to arrive (late) in Vancouver, at about 12:30 AM. My good friend Bron Johnson met me at the Skytrain terminal, and we headed back to his place.
Friday, July 16th, Day Fifty-five: A productive rest day, I went and got a spoke fixed on my rear tire after I put my bike back together. The rest of the day I FINALLY uploaded the rest of my trip pictures, which included everything from Saskatchewan onwards. So I was done with computers by the end of that. Later on that evening, when Bron got home from work, we both went to a 24 hr bakery then headed to a friend's house to visit. I didn't end up getting to sleep until 3:30 AM, which made the next day's 6:45 AM wake up time all that much more awful.
Saturday, July 17th, Day Fifty-Six: Despite running on only three hours sleep, I was out the door by 8:30: my usual start time! I didn't make the same mistake I have made in the past and try to take the Trans-Canada out of Vancouver. Instead, this time I just rode the Fraser Highway to Abbotsford, where I had a quick visit with my Opa and Oma, then got out on the freeway to Hope. It was all very familiar to me, the entire area felt like home, even though I was still like 500 Km away from Vernon. I rode into Hope at around 5:30 on a flat tire (again!) and proceeded to quickly set up my tent then head down to the pool, which is sort of become a tradition whenever I take a bike trip through there. The hot tub was awesome, and I felt totally relaxed in the steam room. Afterward, I made dinner then put a patch on the flat front tire, since I didn't want to use my last inner tube because I might have needed it next day in the mountains. I pumped the tire up and went to bed, hoping it would not be flat in the morning
Sunday, July 18th, Day Fifty-Seven: It was of course flat. I didn't even bother with trying a new patch, jut tore it out, and put in my last inner-tube. the person whose backyard I was camped in offered to let me take her spare tire, but it was the wrong size, so instead she just sent me off with some more patches, which I was grateful for, because I had used my last the night before. I was feeling less than super-human leaving town that morning, I started out dragging my butt up the hills. Quickly however, I got into a rhythm and was astonished to find myself at Allison Pass, the highest pass in the Coastal Mountains, at 12 noon. I took a couple pics there, then got lunch to celebrate at the Manning Park Resort. It was far from over that day though, there were lots more hills to come. Up and down the road went, until finally I reached the last HUGE downhill into Princeton, where I intended to stop for the night. When I got there though, I didn't even skip a beat before heading back out to keep going. The sun was high still and the wind was at my back as I followed the Similkameen River down towards Keremeos, which was my NEXT destination. After a quick dinner at Subway however, I made the executive decision to keep going. It was starting to get dusky, and it was about 7:30, but I really wanted to make Penticton that night, So I could visit my GF Sam the next day in Kelowna. Thankfully it was almost all downhill from Keremeos to Pentiction, although I was sure I remembered there being a big uphill beforehand. In anycase, I made Pentiction about 9:30, and headed to a campsite. They wanted to charge me THIRTY DOLLARS for tenting though, so I ditched that plan and headed to the hostel, which I made just in time before the office closed at 10:00. I was stoked at what I had accomplished as I went to sleep that night: 225 Km, over the Coastal Mountains.
Monday, July 19th, Day Fifty-eight: I got to sleep in this day, and when I stepped outside at around 9:00, it was a beautiful sunny Okanagan day; I felt like I was home. The ride that day was....challenging, as my legs were in terrible condition after all that hill riding the day before, but I pushed grimly on, thinking always of how close I was to seeing Samantha. We met in Kelowna at the mall at 12:30. She was stunning, I hadn't seen her at all in nearly two months, so I couldn't stop staring; I had forgotten how beautiful she is. Anyway, we went and grabbed lunch, then spent the rest of the day hanging out at the hotel we were staying at; relaxing poolside or in our room. I was so happy to not just see a friendly face again, but to see one which was so happy to see mine!
Tuesday, July 20th, Day Fifty-Nine:Homecoming: We slept in until almost noon this day, just cuddling and whispering how happy we were to see each other. Then she left to go see who she could rally to meet at the beach for my arrival, and I packed my bike, threw on my Canada Flag as a cape, and got out on the highway. At first I paced myself, since I had told everyone to be there at 3 o'clock. However just outside of Winfield, I got a flat tire, this one from a long piece of metal in my back tire. I had no inner tubes left that weren't patched though, so I put the new one from the front into the rear tire, then put the crappy patched tube back into the front. I was skeptical, but it only had to get me another 30 Km. It really took the last of both myself and the bike to get into Vernon, but it was a righteous feeling to be coming down that huge hill into town. When I arrived at the beach, I was disappointed at the turnout. Although it was appropriate to my fan base on the trip: My mom, my girlfriend, and her mom. After a bit, my fiends started to show up one by one, and all wished me congratulations, but I still felt...unfulfilled. All journeys must have an end however, and mine was then and there. I rode over to and stayed at Sam's house that night, and started the task of winding down immediately.
So that is my trip! Truth be told, I am happy it is over. I am happy to have finished this second last blog post so I can be done with blogging (which is hard work!) And I am glad to have posted it, because now I feel as though I can move on with my life. I have not done much between getting back and this point, but that is going to change. I have rested from my trip long enough methinks, and I am ready to get back to finding my footing after rolling for so long!
As always, stay safe!