Day 7 - Merritt to Prichard
30 Jun 2006
|DAY 7 MERRITT TO PRICHARD
DISTANCE TRAVELLED 136.4 km RUNNING TIME 5 hrs 15 mins
AVERAGE SPEED 26km/hr
DISTANCE PLANNED 66km TOTAL TIME 7 hrs
Brother Rick dropped me off a the campsite before 7 am & he and Anne continued onto Vancouver & Nanaimo for some vacation. Sleeping in a real bed for 2 nights was a nice break...
Another gorgeous hot sunny day about 24 deg - winds light mostly head winds .
Travelled east from Merritt than north through the Nicola Valley along Nicola Lake & River.
This is the old highway (now 5A) from Merritt to Kamloops. The new highway is part of the Coquihalla Hwy and climbs steadily for almost 40 km to a summit then descends for another 35kms into Kamloops. The 5A follows the river and has relatively easy rolling hills.
The Nicola Valley is very scenic & is range country - the largest operating range in Canada. Lots of hay fields for winterfeeding and lots of free range cattle areas. (see pics) . Saw many hawks and bald eagles (pics). This area is quite arid and if the vegetation is green by late June it is because it is watered - even the hay fields are regularly watered.
At the north end of the valley we decided to take a gravel road short cut - bypass Kamloops and cut off 10 kms. At the entrance to the road is a "western gate" or "cattle gate" (see pic): It has wide gaps that prevent cattle from crossing. These gates are quite prevalent along the back roads & the free ranging areas to control the movement of the cattle. Also a gate to cyclists, as we must dismount to cross safely - several carry their bikes over- a waking skill for those with plastic coated biking shoes.. We cross 6 more of the gates in the 12km dirt road bypass. One group of cyclists were chased by the cattle- the cyclists won & got away without incident.
The detour brought us out in the middle of the Kamloops Valley where we once again picked up the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 & the Thompson River. The terrain was once again very arid .
Made good time cycling despite the head winds; being very hot we took frequent breaks and lots of fluid.
The days are becoming more routine. Most of the group are up shortly after 6, some gone by 7 am . I am usually gone by 7:15 -7:30. On these hot days it is nice to get in 50 -75 kms before it gets really hot. Also with going to bed by dark (930-1000) & a 4 -4:30 sunrise - a 6 am get-up follows naturally.
In Prichard, it was our galley crews first turn for cooking: spaghetti with tomatoe sauce and two side dishes- sausages for those preferring meat & marinated/fried tofu for the veggies; & as always salad on the side.
After supper we had our first informal get together - introductions: name, home & what inspired us all to this epic experience...Introductions
Don - West Vancouver
Mike - Vancouver
Alan - Australia
Tom - Australia
Don - Sudbury
Margot - St John's
Merv - Victoria
Pete - Port Moody
Mark - USA
Donna - St. Shott's NFLD
Mary - Cornwall
Bob - Ottawa
Edmond & Maryse - Levis
Lara Lynn - Toronto
Staurt - Nepean
Mike - England
Lara - St. Catharines
Robert - Pembroke
Alex - Penticton
Jim - Ottawa
Carolyn - Toronto
Carol-Anne & Peter - Australia
Lewis & Carolyn - Toronto
John - Woodstock &
our driver and provider - Meagan - Pickering
Why Tour du Canada?
- experience the country - personal challenge - challenge for my work environment - love cycling & want to more - because I can ( physically fit now ) - between jobs - - to see this great country of ours - I like doing different things - we do 2-3 bicycle tours per year ( this is by far the longest)
A lot of very interewsting & enthisiastic people. We all seemed to get along quite well. Everyone clearly demonstrates that team work and helping others is one way to help ensure that we all complete the trip together.