(This post documents the 3 day cycling trip and contains no knitting so feel free to click away. We'll return to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.)
Earlier this year, one of the guys suggested an extended bike ride. Of course, not being one to resist a challenge (and the opportunity to buy yet another expensive bicycle), hubby agreed to go. The Tour de Toll Booth was born.
Fast forward to Wed Sept 12th. After many months of training, the guys are ready to go. Sarah and I are the support team. We have a van load of food, water, spare parts, tool kits, first aid stuff, and butt butter (it's exactly as it sounds).
Day 1 - Home to beyond Hope; 160kms (100 miles)
The first leg involves mostly city riding and it's pretty slow going in the van. Sarah and I squeezed in a 20 min shopping trip at Quilt Essential in Abbotsford. I bought a charm pack of monkey fabrics and Sarah bought some fabric of cats being bad. At the 2.5hr mark, we meet the guys in a pub parking lot in Mission. Everyone is doing well. They load up on food, water, sports drink, and sunscreen. I have a coupla really good pictures for Ass Watch Wednesday.
Sarah and I have a lot of time to kill between Mission and the next stop. We drive over to Harrison Mills and stop at the Kilby General Store. Sadly, it's closed Tues and Wed so we make a mental note to stop in on the way home. We kept going and followed some signs to the Kilby park/campground/boat launch where we spent almost an hour sitting on the beach and eating/knitting/reading. Then we packed up the van and headed out to the next pit stop - a gas station just west of Agassiz. The boys rolled in and ate/drank/reloaded and headed out for the last leg.
Sarah and I drove straight to Hope, checked into the motel, unloaded/unpacked, and went in search of a grocery store to pick up some soy drink and chocolate milk. We spotted a used book store and a yarn sign and made notes to visit them the following day.
The guys rode past Hope and doubled back so that they could say they rode "a century" (100 miles). They eventually showed up exhausted and filthy but in one piece and in good spirits. We ate supper at the Home Restaurant and I ordered the Mountain Mushroom Burger (I love mushroom burgers). The menu says that it doesn't come with fries because "you couldn't eat them anyway!" The plate showed up and all your could see were mushrooms. It was perfect. I eventually found the meat and bun but didn't manage to eat it all because it was so huge. It was totally worth it. Tony got a leg cramp during supper and kicked me under the table while trying to stretch it out.
When we got back to the motel, the boys wandered off for a soak in the hot tub and I parked myself in front of the tube (we don't have cable TV at home so if there's cable, I have to watch) and knit the Little Coriolis sock and stayed up way too late to finish it.
Day 2 - Hope to the Toll Booth and back; 100kms (60 miles); sea level to 1244m (3700 feet)
Sarah and I slept in while the boys got up early to have breakfast. After they left, Sarah went out to get a newspaper and just after she got back, I got a call saying that the boys were ahead of schedule and could we be at the first pit stop a little earlier? Yikes! We quickly packed the van and headed out to Carolin Mines. It's in the middle of nowhere and after pulling off the highway, the paved part of the road ends. That's how desolate it is. There was someone else at the stop - they were loading a big piece of machinery (front end loader?) onto a trailer and hooking the trailer to a semi-truck.
When the guys showed up, Tony (who works in sales for a truck trailer company) reaches into the van for a business card, a pair of gloves with the company logo, and clip clops down the hill to do a little selling. LOL! That's dedication to your job.
After the guys left, Sarah and I headed off to the next pit stop. We pulled into the brake check just after the Portia exit and had unloaded our chairs/books/knitting when the guys pulled in. We were kinda confused. The hubby's instructions were wrong. His notes tell us to meet them at the brake check after Portia but before the snow shed. There are 2 brake checks. We stopped at the first one. Hubby meant the second one - Box Canyon. Doh! Ok - fine. We pack up and drive there. We had a bit of a wait since it's a long climb up there.
During this pit stop, the boys decided that they wanted another break before the Toll Booth. So we agreed to meet them at Zopkios. After a morning of teeny tiny pull-outs (no public facilities anywhere unless bushes count - it sucks being female), it was a relief (literally!) to pull into Zopkios. It was a fully furnished rest area complete with ice cream vendor! I had a frozen fudge malt and Sarah got a berry smoothy and ice cream on a stick. After we finished our goodies, we had just started the engine to return to the other side of the highway when Sarah spotted the cyclists coming out from the underpass. So much for moving the van. The guys were getting quite tired and there was still a bit of a climb to the summit and the toll booth.
At this point, we were supposed to head back to Hope. But the guys wanted an escort down the hill and through the snow shed on their ride back. So we agreed to meet them at Zopkios again. Off they went to their final destination - first the summit and then the toll booth.
Sarah and I left Zopkios and drove to Falls Lake (the last chance to u-turn before the toll booth). At Falls Lake, we found a path for a 1km hike and we decided to go for a walk. About 15 mins later, we reached the lake.
Aside from ourselves, there was a lone fly fisherman. We sat in the sun and soaked up the beautiful scenery. Not wanting to be late, we only stayed about 10 mins. When we got back to Zopkios, the boys were already there waiting for us. They overestimated the amount of time it would take to turn around. All of us pulled out onto the road and headed downhill with the cyclists ahead of us.
Tony's top speed was almost 90km/h and hubby's top speed was 84km/h. Once we got through the long, dark snow shed, we zipped past them and headed for Hope. We went to the yarn store but it was very empty. Then we stopped at the used book store. Sarah didn't buy anything but I bought Valhalla by Tom Holt and I picked up a few vintage knitting magazines. The boys showed up shortly afterwards. Tony had a flat tire that delayed them 15 mins. We had supper at a greek restaurant and the boys had their soak in the hot tub afterwards. Graham's tire was flat when we got back to the hotel room so he had to change it. Everyone was feeling mostly ok. Hubby developed a hot spot at the base of his left thumb so I cut a little piece of moleskin to put over it for Day 3. Graham was complaining about his left knee. They all had sore bums.
Day 3 Hope to Home; 130kms (80 miles)
Yay - we get to go home. We got on the road early to avoid the afternoon traffic. We met them at the gas station again. When the boys showed up, they were covered in bug grease. It was so gross! I had to wipe off hubby's face before I let him eat his orange.
Sarah and I stopped at the Kilby store. As we were pulling into the parking lot, there was a convoy of old Fords pulling out. We quickly parked and jumped out to take some pictures.
We went inside the store and asked about the cars. They had started out in Mission and were driving all the way out to Chillwack and then back to Mission. Some cars came from as far away as Salem, Oregon. What a treat to see them! I just love the horns - arooooooga!
The Kilby store is pretty neat - lots of local handicrafts. I bought a jar of Blubarb jam for myself, a jar of strawberry and ginger jam for my Mom (who was cat sitting for us), and a jar of honey with Bailey's. We didn't have time to visit the museum or the farm so we headed out. We stopped at a veggie stand and picked up some peaches'n cream corn (freshly picked!) and a basket of plums.
We passed the guys several times and I snapped some great pictures of them from the van:
We arrived in Mission early so we decided to stop at a park for lunch. Neilson Park is very nice and has a great view of Hatzic Lake.
We met the guys at the pub parking lot and after they left, we sat there waiting for the phone call telling us that they'd made it safely onto the Albion ferry. And then we headed for home. Traffic was sluggish so we barely made it home before they did. I was unloading the van so I missed their triumphant return and I didn't get any pictures. I made hubby ride back up the hill and come down so that I could snap a few (yeah, I'm mean).
So here are some stats:
Distance travelled: 400kms (250 miles)
Elevation reached: 1244m (3700 feet)
Steepest grade: 11%
Litres of water consumed: over 36
Bananas eaten: 11 pounds
Energy bars consumed: approx 27
Sore bums: 3