[think I might have posted his twice now – struggling with the technology!]
Have made it over the border successfully, so am now in the land of weirdly low loos with weirdly big gaps at the side of the cubicle doors, and burgers. And my cousin – hello Michael!
I got here faster than I expected, 2 days ahead of how the book maps it out, both as a result of saving a day with quad bike-gate and the fact I took the Fernie Alternate route rather than, as per outlined in the book, the Grizzly Bear Highway. The GBH is so-named as it has the highest concentration of Grizzlies in Canada. It’s also 40 miles longer than the Fernie Alternate and starts with a 12 mile climb. The decision was a really, really tough one and it took me almost as much as a nanosecond to choose to go via Fernie (which was a good one as it’s a really lovely little resort town). As I’m writing this, I’m realising it doesn’t sound like I’m doing much cycling but I am – nearly 50 miles yesterday which was my longest day yet!
I’m now at comparatively low altitude so the landscape looks very different – farmland rather than the plush forests and glacial streams of the Canadian stretch (although think that’ll return when I get back up high again). There’s locusts everywhere and, whilst I used to weave round them, I’m afraid to say I no longer bother and ‘show them the rubber’ before ending it all with a crisp packet-like crunch.
In many ways, I’m probably doing them a favour as it’s ABSOLUTELY BAKING and they’re probably getting a little grouchy in this heat. Every time I look at the weather forecast it’s 5 days of 32 degrees, a sun symbol for the following day and thunderstorms after that but these storms never seem to materialise (apart from the odd flash of lightening in the distance at night). There were a few drops of rain in Elkford and the sun once passed behind a cloud a few miles south of the border which was quite exciting, but the rest of the time it’s constantly beating down. Still, thinking of the tan scale, I’ve not been this colour since an ill-advised experiment with olive oil in the back garden circa summer of 1990. Need to correct the horrendous tan lines though so the pink short-shorts will be making an appearance soon – watch out Eureka!
Eureka is the town I’m currently squatting in, with a nice patch in the park down by the river where people come to swim. The loos are the type I wouldn’t normally enter unless in full Hazmat suit but it’s free so can’t complain! As with most of the other ‘towns’ on the map, it’s really just a collection of a few houses and it’s easy to ride straight through thinking ‘right, the main bit of town must be coming up…oh, that was it’ and having to turn around. The need to rest my temple and let my legs recover plus, moreover, do some washing, means I’m having a day off. Parrrrrr-tayyyyyy! The quilt festival was yesterday so I’ve missed that unfortunately but maybe something equally raucous will be lined up for later today.
The animal-spotting is going well, with creature and excitement scale points as below:
1 x Grizzly bear – 7 points (it was running off and I think you need eye contact or for it to do a fake- charge for 8 or above)
1 x wolverine – 8 points (they’re quite rare I think and have a cool name so score highly)
3 x elk-type things – 4 points ( basically just over-sized deer)
1 x snake – 5 points (it lost 5 points by being dead but from the sinister looks of it markings, it once had potential to score a full house)
1 x Bald eagle – 6 points (scoring boosted by their rarity but not reaching upper echelons as it didn’t do a lot bar fly to a different branch)
1 x cat – nil points (it was momentarily a 10 when I thought I’d seen a cougar cub but it was quickly stripped of its points when I realised its domestic credentials)
Off into the wilds again tomorrow which I’m looking forward to!