Bike tour 1974 to See the West: Canada

June 24th, 11:45 AM
odometer start 1956.5
now 1991.5

Made it to Canada okay, though I'm not really sure how I needed 100 miles of riding to do it in - perhaps my map is confused. I'm now in Penticton and have finally managed to exchange some money, which took a bit of doing, as I was in Oliver at 0830 and the Bank at Okanagan Falls doesn't open til 1200. Oh - I also broke a gear shift cable yesterday where I stopped for supper - convienient? Too crowded in here to write - think I'll move on.

3:31 PM near Summerland
odometer: 2004

I've had a headwind all day, which is a bit surprising since the clouds are still moving north. I may be in a cold front, but I don't know. Yesterday was all tailwind which was fortunate because it was also very hot and sunny. I'm beginning to think I want to skip Yellowstone and stay in Canada to St. Sault - Marie to avoid the heat I'm sure to find in S.Dakota.

It will also shorten the trip, which is okay with me since I'm actually getting a bit tired of riding all day every day when I ought to be taking some more time for sightseeing. Guess I'll wait until I get to Calgary before deciding. That will also give me a chance to see what sort of progress I'm making and see how my funds are holding out.

Right now I'm in a bus stop. I'm going to stop now find a mailbox and push on some more. Looks like the wind is dying, so all I'll have to contend with are the hills.

June 24th, Peachland 74 5:20 PM
odometer 2019.4

Tiring work, fighting headwinds. Apparently I was a little sheltered from the wind when I finished my last letter. From here, the road bends to the right (east) so maybe I'll find some easier going for a while. Kelowna is 15 miles away which may be farther than I want to go tonight. Since finding sleeping places around here is not very easy (this is a "where the mountain ends, the lake begins" sort of area) I may go until I find the first campground and stay there. Can't think of anything else, might as well get going.

June 25th, 7:15 AM Kelowna odometer: 2044.2

I'm currently at a fire supression headquarters just north of Kelowna. While I was looking for a camping spot (aren't any campgrounds near here, I think), the person in charge of this group invited me up for the night, which I quickly accepted. Turns out he has done a lot of touring himself, including a ride across New Zealand.

During the summer, there are about 10 student aged kids here who mostly wait for forest fires. When that's not happening, they supervise slash burns, do ground work, and some road work. Good pay - $592 per month with lots of chances for overtime. Time for breakfast. Better get there.

10:15 AM
odometer: 2065.0

I'm just south of Vernon overlooking the Coldstream valley. Yesterday's winds are pretty much gone now, so its pretty easy riding over the rolling mountains here. One of my suspicions appears to be true - the mountains I thought were fading away are actually fading away only distance-wise. I'm by Kalamalka Lake about 700-800 feet above it. The lake surface is almost at 1300 feet, yet there are 7000-9000 foot mountains nearby, some with snow still on them. Vegetation here is a bit mixed up. On this side of the lake its mostly grassland, while on the other side there's a pretty dense forest. Also, as you go higher up the mountains the tree density gets greater. So, I suspect the area here is just on the borderline between grassland and forest, though it might also be from cutting all the trees around here. (Which I doubt - it doesn't look that way.)

Most of the industry around here is orchard. In Washington I think its all apple, while here its apple, cherry, peach, pear and prunes. There's some farmlands and vinyards, too. Just about the entire area is irrigated, of course, but there's abundant water for it so no problem. In fact, they're probably better off here than in a lot of the U.S. in that respect.

The ranger station I stayed at last night was really neat. Only about half the crew was there, so I got my own room for the night (normally there's 2 to a room) and had a good snack of a couple pieces of pie and lots of milk. Not only did I get breakfast, but the cook also gave me sandwiches, brownies, fruit and orange juice for lunch! Combined with the fruit cocktail I bought expecting to eat last night, I have quite a load today so I've had a couple breaks to nibble away at it already.

Guess I'll get down to Vernon to mail this and continue on. May be up to the Trans-Canada highway by tonight.

June 26th, 9:15 AM
odometer start: 2128.0
now: 2132.1

I'm on the Trans Canada highway in a town called Craigellachie about 25 miles west of Revelstoke. I'm heading up, but following a pretty large river, so its not too hard going. Guess I won't be able to make Rogers Pass tonight, so I'll probably have to camp somewhere in Glacier Natl. Park.

Ran into my first real rain of the trip yesterday evening forcing me to stop a bit sooner than I had wanted. I spent an hour waiting for the storm to come and go in an Esso station and continued for a while longer up to Yard Creek Park where I decided to spend the night because the road surface was wet and was splattering me. Rather neat park - all the camp sites are scattered in the woods so from any site you can only see a couple others. Water, firewood and outhouses are scattered all around, so everything is pretty convienient. The last park I stayed at had sites right by each other and a lot of people had radios - more of a party atmosphere than anything else.

One thing I've been doing all along this trip that really irks me is losing everything in sight. I first lost my pen in San Francisco, then I left my cycling gloves at my second camp (which I finally replaced in Arcata). I almost left a lens by the road in California and my tent poles at the ranger station a couple nights ago. My wash cloth blew away somewhere a couple of days ago and part of the contents of my letter bag started falling away yesterday because I'd forgotten to close the flaps on the Panniers. I thought I had only lost some paper, so I didn't go back looking for it. When I went to mail a couple cards yesterday I found that I hadn't noticed the stamps left too. Oh well.

Better push on to Revelstoke, so that may be the first place I can find a phone to call Intel.

June 27th, 9:20
odometer start: 2209.9
now: 2213.1

I'm at a touristy cafeteria in a touristy hotel that charges touristy ripoff prices which they can get away with because they are located right by Roger's Pass in the Selkirk Mts. The main reason I'm putting up with it is because it's lightly raining out and I'm hoping it might stop soon as the last couple of days have been doing the same sort of thing. It would also be nice if the clouds would at least break up some allowing me to get some decent pictures, but that's probably too much to ask.

Riding in the rain doesn't bother me, what does is the spray from both my wheels and everyone elses, as that will get my legs whereas my cycling poncho will get most of the rain. Guess its getting a little lighter maybe there's hope for the road to dry out a little.

Finally finished roll 7, which has a lot of the Cascades (including the snowbank ecosystem) on it. I'll mail it at Golden. The bear pictures are on roll 8 and will have to wait. Turns out bears (at least this one) are afraid of quickly moving objects like bicycles, which I discovered as he ambled toward me in search for a handout or a hand.

Golden is about 40 miles east, then another 20 - 30 to Kicking Horse Pass in the Rockies. Think I'll try to camp either further from the pass or cross it today in an attempt to avoid the rain. That pass is 1200 ft higher than this, so I'd expect some more rain. Currently, the Cascades stand out as the high point of the trip not only because of better weather, but there was more snow around (none at this pass) but also from the road conditions. The road through the Cascades was a long, pretty easy up followed by a long down. This road is up and down all over - If the pass wasn't marked, I would have missed it! In the Cascades I was always in earshot of the river I was following and could watch it shrink and see the road get correspondingly steeper, finallly leaving the stream to go over the passes on a yet steeper grade. There was also a lot less traffic, possibly due to my crossing on a Saturday (no trucks) while this is the truck route over the mountains. I suspect I 90 carries all the truck traffic in the Cascades since it's 4 lane and open all year (the Cascade highway is generally open only June - October).

Guess I'll try to shave here and head on down the hill.

June 28th, 9:30 AM
odometer start: 2284.8
now: 2301.8

I'm at a dorf called Field at ~4000 feet so I have another 1300 feet to climb to the continental divide. I'm getting a bit low on cash and hope Lake Louise has a bank as Monday is a national holiday and I'll have a bit of trouble reaching Banff before their banks close. Lake Louise is marked in red, but so was Rogers Pass and all they had was a single tourist trap. Guess I could give up eating in restaurants for a few days.

More rain yesterday afternoon. I tried stopping at a warden's house to see if he'd invite me in, but he didn't. A few miles later I saw some buildings by the railroad which was close enough to the road to warrant an access road to it. I found sort of a ghost station - a switching spot that has gone the way of automation. Some vandals had conveniently broken into the bunk house and torn up some cabinets, so I was able to put together a fairly clean surface to setup sleeping pad and bag. By the morning the rain had stopped so things aren't too bad despite temperatures in the forties.

The scenery to this point hasn't been too spectacular, but it shows signs of improving greatly in the next several miles. The morning valley fog is pretty well dissipated, but its still quite cloudy, so I may not be able to get the quality pictures I want.

Better get moving.

Oh - passed a time zone change yesterday. Now that's progress.

June 28th, 7:00 PM
odometer 2359.0

All in all, today hasn't been too bad a day. After Field it was all uphill (one fairly bad stretch) to before Kicking Horse Pass where I took Rt 1-A to the continental divide and continued (uphill!) to the intersection leading to Lake Louise, which was a really wicked hill. A cyclist I met said there was a bank there, and indeed, there was one in the basement of the main Hotel, so I'm all set financially.

Lake Louise is like the source of the Rhone River, but with a smaller river (Louise Creek) and smaller glacier. It does have, however, a very pretty lake which would make the Rhone area really neat.

From Lake Louise, I flew down that wicked hill to 1-A which is equally wicked to 1. 1-A turned off again for 36 miles and I followed that nearly into Banff. 1-A is a pretty poor road, but no traffic and pretty woods. July 1 is Dominion Day, which is Canada's answer to Independence Day so there's a huge amount of traffic into the Parks.

Between 1A and Banff I spotted a Bighorn sheep (goat? - I forget) on the other side of the road, who ambled over to my side either in search of grass or a handout (not hand - they're herbivores, or at least try to be). His crossing did a fine job tying up traffic, of course; in fact, his mere presence did quite well. He was cute (and liked the raisin biscuit I fed him).

If Kicking Horse Pass is 5,416 ft, and Banff is 4,600 ft, where is the rest of the downhill? Calgary is 2,600 (I think), so looks like a ways to go. I suspect that nearly all (85 - 95%) of my downhill was on 1A from Lk. Louise.

1930 Better mosey on and get some groceries before quitting for the night.

June 29th, 3:20 PM
odometer start: 2362.5
now: 2446.8

Didn't get too far. I stopped at a Park Service Hostel for the night - $.50 for a cot, $.50 for a small breakfast. Left around 0900 and blessed with pretty flat land and strong tailwind I'm now just south of Calgary at a MacDonalds. I've decided to go south to Yellowstone and spend a fair amount of time there then get back to Cleveland by bus from there. I currently have $275 and Yellowstone is about a week or less away. Maybe I'll ride some of the plains, maybe not. Maybe I'll leave the bus somewhere short of Cleveland, maybe not.

2009: Yes, $0.50. Yes, that was remarkably cheap for 1974!

I had pretty much decided on this route change a day or two ago, but riding into Calgary I was very tempted to keep going east, as this wind is about as strong as Oregon's and is really easy riding. It's pretty much due west, and I'm not too sure how it will affect my southern riding. Certainly gusts will make for hard steering, but since drag is a function of the square (cube?) of wind speed, any forward component will make for rough going.

Better move on and try to find a place to mail this before the post offices close.

June 30th, 11:00 AM
odometer start: 2500.8
now: ~2525

I spent the night at a free campground at Nanton, where I met a retired couple who said I really should go over Logan Pass in Glacier Natl Park, so I suppose I will. Main problem with it though is that plotting a route for it is a real hassle, but I think I have one: leave my planned route at Glacier to Logan Pass, maybe go to Kalispell to get Gatorade and film, follow 35 and 204 out to 200-271-272-12 and back on planned route. Was thinking of crossing Logan Pass from west to east, but I see no easy way of avoiding interstate 15. I'm a bit concerned about 271 and 272, as they are secondary roads and may be hilly.

These people I talked to suggested I try to make a free campground in the U.S. about 100 miles from where I stayed last night, but the wind has shifted to south ~ 10-15 MPH, so may have trouble. Like to though, as I could make it over the pass tomorrow. These people also said yesterday's wind was a Chinook, which I can believe. I've been doing about 10-12 MPH, so maybe I can do it.

Did 138.3 miles yesterday, and was able to keep up about 15 MPH going south thanks to the northerly component of the wind.

This is probably illegible and incoherent, but I've been writing quickly so I can mail this and get on - Bye.


Last piece of paper, may get cards for a while!

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