Did you know that Canada has only double the population of the Netherlands but is 267 times as big!
Garmin (GPS), Google maps and local visitors centres are recommending to follow the highway going North but we want to skip as much as possible the noise and fumes. Talking and listening to local people has given us some great new discoveries this week.
Canada is not a country with a lot of biking yet (not in BC anyway). You do see some mountain bikers around the cities, but almost no bikes in the city and definitely no long distance biking or biking routes like we have in the Netherlands (knooppunten). We are also meeting a lot of people who want to know the details of our bikes and the route we will follow!
Discoveries of this week.
After Keremeos we stopped at Twin Lake and from there back-country discovery started.
First an amazing route on the White Lake road where at one moment we had to switch off all electronics as we passed the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. Here they follow all intergalactic and solar activities and have impressive antennas to pick up the slightest changes. http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/solutions/facilities/drao.html
Back on the Highway we disliked the traffic and noise and decided to try to follow the lake; where by coincidence we discovered the KVR trail. An old railroad which was converted to walking/biking trail. Benefit: max ascend or descend is 2,2%. http://www.kettlevalleyrailway.ca/
The Kettle Valley Rail was constructed between 1910 and 1914 to transport Silver and Copper between West Kootenays and the coast. In 1960 the need of the railroad declined and by 1978 all rails and logs were removed. Luckily there was local ownership in 1995 to create the KVR trail for recreational use.
The day we discovered the KVR was a strange day: warm, bright, amazing morning on the White Lake Road, lots of energy when we arrived around noon at Penticton. So when we talked with Garry and Robin and later with a lady called Van Oss, and Ian (owner of Liquidifier vineyard) they all raved about the KVR trail going up to Chute Lake, which would only be 30 km from Penticton. In our eagerness and because of the bright day, we decided at 14:30 to still take off.
But we totally underestimated the climb and road conditions. First part was still in good condition but the higher we came the more loose rocks and white sand. We can tell you that even an ascend of 2,2% with these road conditions and when it is dark are more than enough. Yes it was dark as in total it was 45 km and going from 300 m above sea level to 1250 m above sea level. Including some photo stops it resulted in arriving in total darkness at Chute Lake at 22:30. We ensured to make enough noise so bears or cougars were aware of our approach in the dark.
With a total of 85 km covered we decided to spend an extra night in a real bed and treat ourselves on breakfasts and having dinner cooked for us. Relax at the lake and yes, swim in it! It is an amazing place. If you are ever close to this place take the time to bike-up and spend more than a few hours there, so the magic of the place can get under your skin, discover all materials she has collected over the years, enjoy the luxury of years ago which is now seen as basic. Enjoy mrs Dorien as the perfect host. http://www.chutelakeresort.com/
Going down the mountain to Kelowna we had the second bear spotting, was it a real bear? As another guest had pointed out that they really had been very close to a bear with two cubs, we were very alert going down and with everything we saw which was big and brown we slowed down unit it disappeared in the bush. So it could also have been another big animal.
Another challenge were the puddles of knee deep water. Some went well, others tested our waterproof panniers.
We decided to do an extra detour and bike the 18 trestles of the Myra canyon over a length of 10 km. What an amazing ride, what an engineering feat, what a work done by + 2.000 people in the early 20th century. To keep the elevation on a max of 2,2% they build 18 trestles, varying between 20-220 meter long and 5-55 meter high.
At the end of the park we met some great Dutch entrepreneurship: Myra Canyon Bike Rental. Now 8 years in business and providing the perfect solutions for people who only want to bike the 10 km Myra canyon. With a total of 150 bikes and on site maintenance and guides you can start at either site of the canyon on a perfect bike and enjoy a ride. http://www.myracanyonrental.com/
Thanks Jeroen for the great tip of staying with Lesley at Canyon Farms. THX Lesley for having us, the great eggs and the perfect guidance on getting through and out of Kelowna! www.canyonfarmsrv.com
After some shopping in Kelowna we start with the Okanaga trail (also old rail road trail) but around Lake Country it starts to rain very hard with very cold wind, so that made us decide to find a hotel/motel/B&B, but all was full or too far away. So we ended in another twilight Inn. Rated with an 1,3 on tripadvisor but the only possibility of a roof over our head we decide to take the leap and stay at this Inn. Very run down lobby, with the owner asleep when we entered. But warm welcome with wise words: when you emigrate: don’t try to change the country which is welcoming you but you change to the habits of the country! He had come here 40 years ago.
He is so friendly to even give us an apartment with kitchen and it looks like a kind of renovated room, so of the bedbugs which were described on internet (and of which I only read after we had checked in and paid) we did not see any.
Rest of the week we paddled to Vernon, stayed at Swan lake, saw Osprey Hawks dive for fish and sang a birthdaysong via whatsapp for our dear nephew Victor. Strange to miss the birthday party and missing fathers-day!
Biking through some back-roads there was some further show of entrepreneurship by Weston. He was waving people down to offer treats for passers by, including thirsty bikers. Weston is 5 and is doing an awesome job together with his sister Eva. Thanks Weston for showing how well your dad has been building the yurts and preparing for tenting, we would have loved to stay but needed to cover some miles. Troy, thanks for describing the back-roads: it was again so different from the other days.
Now staying in Enderby, no camping as it was again raining and cold and there were motels.
What a week, what a difference every day. And how strange that already 4 weeks have passed.
Did you know Canada is celebrating 150 years of being Canada!
PS 1 Now Wi-Fi is suddenly very slow and uploading of photos is no longer working. We promise to post separate as of Chute Lake.
PS 2 Finally found some cotton to crochet so I started to make Wheels to give away 🙂 Still working on perfecting it, will make separate chapter for this.
PS 3 Will also make separate chapter on successful camping dishes.