Four days. It’s been 96 hours and counting since I set out from Vancouver to St. John’s with nothing but two wheels and my own strength to get me there.
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.)
6 thoughts on “On The Road Again”
Hope you get lots more encouragement along the way; in fellow bikers, beautiful scenery, sunny days, propane tanks that fit. I am thinking of you every day, praying for the strength you need.
Thanks, Arlene! Fortunately, beautiful scenery is abundant, and I’ve since found a proper propane tank. I look forward to some sunny days!
I’m glad you found a fellow biker!
I’m enjoying following your progress, and wish you well; especially on the rainy days! Glad that you found the proper propane tank for your stove. Enjoy the fellow travellers!
Good morning Martin, So nice to see your pics and update – we’ll update your trek this morning during our children’s time. It’s also Annual meeting at church today. Kathy just baked a rhubarb platz – the house smells great – stop on in and we’ll have some together – how do you like your coffee? Blessings, Paul (and Kathy)
Sounds delicious, Paul! I’ll take you up on the rhubarb platz – you’ll just have to give me a couple months :)