|Day six – Pritchard – 144k
I was on morning kitchen duty so I was unable to ride out with Old Bob O. He ended up missing the turn and took the wrong highway to Kamloops. He was on the Coquihalla with the steep climb. The route we took was the old highway which meanders through the Nicola Valley. A most enjoyable ride.
We were the last ones to leave camp. Besides hanging around to clean up, the kitchen crew is also responsible to be the last ones on the road and make sure that no one is left on the route in need of help.
There were three from my kitchen crew; Keith, Rosie and myself. Three others decided to join us as the rear watch. I ended up cycling with Ron who is from Darmouth, Nova Scotia. We were both keen on photographing this cycling trip. He would stop and take a shot behind him, where he had come from, and then take a shot in front of him, where he would be going to.
The old highway was a wonderful ride. The road surface was good, the traffic light, and the scenery exceptional. We were cycling past a group of farm buildings off to the right. Just before the tableau was obscured by trees I thought I saw a space shuttle.
Finally the trees broke and I could see a space shuttle and a castle. I yelled at Ron to stop and he turned back to have a look. Information garnered at a retail store down the road, revealed that the place was owned by a local doctor who liked collecting eccentric things. And no one that we talked to saw this place. And that is the reason why I go slow(er).
The road continued winding through the valley. Occasionally semis would pass by but with little traffic on the road they would give us lots of room. There was a breeze at our back, the sun was out. This was fun.
As I said earlier, one of the duties of the kitchen crew is to do sweeping. We came across Cindy who was suffering from a bad cold. We gathered her up and a short distance later stopped at a view overlooking Pioneer Lake. When we would start up again, Keith would stay with Cindy and the rest of us went ahead to the fork in the road where an optional route to camp was available.
The optional route to Pritchard was on a hard packed road which would eventually become paved in about ten k. It shortened the route to our stay for the night by twenty kilometers and avoided a climb. Everyone in our group wanted to do the shorter route. I told them that as sweeps we were bound to do both routes and that I would take the longer, with steep climb, route. We waved each other off and headed down out respective trails.
Yeah it was a steep climb but it was over in three kilometers and then it was flat until the drop into Kamloops. Then it was down and down and down we go. The traffic was disconcerting after the quiet of the old highway but most of the vehicles let me have the lane as I matched their speed coming down. A few stops to check the map and then I was out of Kamloops heading east with a strong tail wind.
And the other guys didn’t fare as well. The road became gravelly and noisy with traffic. They got to camp maybe thirty minutes before I did.