DAY 4 HOPE TO SPENCES BRIDGE
DISTANCE TRAVELLED 134 km RUNNING TIME 6 hrs
AVERAGE SPEED 22.3 km/hr
DISTANCE PLANNED 124 km TOTAL TIME 8 hrs 45 mins
Beautiful hot sunny day - fair tail wind - temperature got to 45 deg by 3 pm. We got an early start (7:15) knowing that it was forecasted to get very hot. Turned out to be a good strategy - since we were on the east side of the canyon & due to the mountains on both sides and the large trees we were in the cool shade until well past 10 am. Evidence of the dryer climate was that the tent was absolutely dry when I took it down at 630 this morning - no moisture or condensation. This was in sharp contrast to yesterday in Mission - the outside of tent & the tent fly were totally soaked.
Travelled north through the spectacular Fraser Canyon; most tourists now travel the shortcut to Kamloops along the Coquihalla highway - a very long hill through two mountain passes.
The whole day was spent going up & down the mountain/canyon passes: we climbed over 1500 meters.
The scenery is incredible, and biking you get to see & hear a lot of extras: eagles & their nests, small deep canyon creeks feeding the Fraser, the sound of the trains on both lines(CNR, CPR) on each side of the river, the high eddies and fast flowing river, the springs on the side of the road and just so many different angles of the river & mountains (see pics - but you just have to be there).
We passed through 6 tunnels along the highway (see pics) - a horrendous experience while you are in a tunnel & a semi enters & down shifts - the first time it happens you think the tunnel is about to collapse. Very interesting innovation they have introduced at the two "curved" tunnels - flashing lights warning of cyclists in the tunnels - activated by pushing a button before entering the tunnels (see pic). And Elvis is alive & hiding in the Canyon (see pic).
One of the main attractions along the route was Hells Gate Canyon - the road is 150 meters above the river, the river narrows at this point and is 80 meters deep - the flow of water at this point is twice the flow over the Niagara Falls ! A few of the group took the hour to explore the tram to the bottom of the canyon.
Knew that we were well into our journey when we looked back and could see the coastal mountains behind us. The terrain changed dramatically as we got further north, from the heavy forested hills to a very dry landscape - fewer trees , smaller and lost of tumble weed - very arid country side. At Lytton, the Fraser continues to flow in from the north & we veer off to the north-east and follow the Thompson River towards Spences Bridge. Interesting evening in Spences Bridge, camped within 100 meters of one railway & the other just across the river. Trains of 100 to 200 train-cars passing ever couple of hours. Ear plugs were recommended for sleeping. Most did not need the plugs - we were tired enough after the hot , hilly, dry day. Consumed about 4-5 litres of water-beverage during the trip.
Travelled today with a good crew of 6 to 8 - we made good time drafting. Lots of stops for water and to take a rest from the heat. Most groups were not until after 6PM, a few stopped extra long to wait out the heat & arrived after 8pm - a long day.
Lots of cold iced beverages a the end of the day. Since Wednesday is to be a short day - we decided to visit the local pub - "Log Cabin pub" - a beautiful large log cabin that caters to the country folk and the motorcyclists. Tuesday was a very slow day and only a few others in the place. The comic point of the day happened when one of the group approached the lady bartender and asked "may a have a pina-colada ?", at which point she answered with out hesitation "NOPE! - .... I could probably make one - but we don't serve those drinks here - only beer and liquor." He ordered rye & ginger ale. A portrait of the true character of the local area...