I’m staying the night in Princeton — the kind of town where the grocery store cashier knows you’re not from around the way because she’s never seen you before. Still, in a town of less than 3,000, it’s amazing how close to home you can get: the man behind me in the checkout line spent his teenage years living in New Hamburg.
It was the rain that brought me here — ironic, because Princeton is known as a generally dry and sunny place. (Ironic, too, because mere hours after my drenched arrival, the warm sun returned.) The rain has followed me since I arrived in Hope, often no more than a gentle drizzle, but today, a chilling rain — the kind that gets under your skin and begs for a warm shower and a bed.
It’s been a year since I returned from my last adventure. I’ve missed the freedom of endless opportunity and the constant sense of wonder. Last time, it was all planes, trains, and automobiles. This time, it’s a little more challenging of a journey — but with challenges come rewards.
I met a fellow cyclist already: Evan, from Meaford, Ontario. We crossed paths on Day 3 and conquered Allison Pass together before going our separate ways. It’s amazing what a difference the company of others can make when you’re alone on the road. I hope it’s the first encounter of many — with Evan, and with other cyclists and hosts.
For now, it’s just me, my bike, and the road.
A few quick observations:
1. After sitting on a saddle for six hours a day, I’ve developed a new understanding of the term “numb-nuts.”
2. I’ve got a ways to improve in this whole “camping” thing. On my first night, as I went to attach my borrowed mini stove to the propane tank I’d bought, I realized it didn’t fit. Lesson learned: sometimes it pays to sweat the details.
Things I’ve seen:
Lots of highway shoulders and passing cars, but thankfully, some moments of wonder in between.
1. Roadside oases.
This one came as I travelled down the Lougheed Highway towards Mission. I followed a railroad track for a good stretch of the ride, and several times past Maple Ridge, the road skirted the edge of the Fraser River. Right around this moment, I was so desperate for a swim, I was ready to hop in the water.
2. Different perspectives.
looked for something to do in explored Princeton, I came across this view looking over the Tulameen River. When the rainclouds part, it’s a pretty beautiful place.
Distance travelled: 315 km
Bears spotted: Just one, and it was Smokey Bear telling me “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.” Unexciting, perhaps, but also probably safer that way.
(Note: You might be wondering about what it’s been like going through the Rockies. That update will come in a few days.)