Our last weeks in Canada: Cycling to Vancouver

Welcome to Summerland

Summerland! Please, when can I permanently move in?

Our last weeks in Canada: Cycling to Vancouver

Country: Canada

From Revelstoke to Vancouver

Lesson learned: You need a pump to fix your tube

Laughed about: Miniature horse chariot race

Most wonderful miracle: Little Rieboldt Park

Greatest challenge: Fixing a tube during a train robbery

Days on the bike: 9

Kilometers cycled: 668

Average Kilometers per day: 74.22

Total Kilometers cycled till Vancouver: 23,156

Cycling to Vancouver. 

Missed the last entry? Here it comes: Cycling the Trans-Canada Highway

Deutsche Version hier: Mit dem Rad nach Vancouver

After days of rain we left Revelstoke on a dry day with well rested legs. The Trans-Canada Highway was busy as ever, but at least the ride wasn’t too hilly or wet.

Camping at Mara Lake

Our home for tonight

It was a quick 70 kilometer’s ride, then we took a left and continued on a much calmer road. We pitched the tent on a rest area by the Mara Lake. It was rainy for most of the night, but dry next morning.

Camping Mara Lake

Nice view into Mara Lake

We decided to follow the slightly longer but more scenic road through fields, the forest, and farms, but took a wrong turn and ended up cycling up and down the wrong road for 13 kilometers. Well, at least it was a pretty ride.

Pretty ride through Canada

Pretty ride through Canada

After some 60 Kilometers we were stopped by a nice cyclist named Tom. He was on the way to meet tonight’s cycling guests Claudia and Peter. Claudia and Peter? The Austrian couple on a recumbent tandem?

Biking Company

Biking Company

We had met them just two days ago in Revelstoke! Tom spontaneously invited us to stay at his place as well and the five of us biked through the pretty countryside roads that we would have never found on our own.

Tom pretty much picked us up on the highway. Claudia and Peter soon joined us

Tom pretty much picked us up on the highway. Claudia and Peter soon joined us

Tom and his wife Sandra lived in a beautiful modern house up on the “Turtle Hill” of Vernon. Sandra had prepared a very delicious dinner and we spent a great evening with our four new friends.

Tom and Sandra

Tom and Sandra

Sandra and Tom invited us all to spend another night at theirs, because the annual interior provincial exhibition. Farmers, animals, country-life and shows? This was certainly something for us.

Pretty chicken

Is this guy pretty enough to win a prize?

Milking the cardboard cow at the annual interior provincial exhibition in Vernon

Milking the cardboard cow

Paper cow for milking training

This is how a cow looks like from the inside 🙂

Miniature Horse Chariot Race

The race is on!

Alpaca

Cute fluffy guy

Kids napping with cows

Reminds me of my kindergarten-best-friend and her riding cow!

We had a great afternoon with award-winning breeding pulls, beauty-contest winning hens and roosters, and even a miniature horse chariot race!

Our friends were early risers and everybody was ready for breakfast by 7am and on the bikes by 8.40am. Roberto started the day with a bad puncture. He had somehow managed to cycle right through a 3 cm long double nail. Fixing the flat took a while but at least it was a dry day.

Fixing a flat

Fixing a flat

Kelowna was the biggest town since Edmonton. It wasn’t easy to make our way downtown, because several “bike route” signs sent us off the main road and onto secondary roads, where they disappeared after a while, leaving us somewhere off the map without a clue how to get downtown.

Bad bike path signage

So we decided to follow the bike signs. And where did they get us?

We ended up in the bushes under a bridge, and on a long and hilly road (called Longhill road), before we decided to just ignore the “bike route” signs.

Lost in Kelowna

Well … never mind. We’ll find our way.

We stopped for a picnic in the park before we crossed the bridge to West Kelowna. The cold wind blew into our faces. “Usually it’s pretty hot this time of the year”, the locals told us.

Break in the city park.

Picnic in the city park.

Claudia and Peter had taken a different route, we met them again just after the bridge. They were on the way to today’s couchsurfing host’s place. I don’t know how they make it, but these two stay with locals pretty much every single night.

Claudia and Peter with their bike "Loki"

Claudia and Peter with their bike “Loki” and Sandra and Tom

We continued until Peachland, where a nice lady explained us the way to the two (full) campgrounds between here and Summerland. It was a pretty ride along the lake and we stopped at the first of the campgrounds trying to find an empty spot for a little tent and two bikes. Nothing. Some spots were empty, but reserved. What a waste.

Peachland. Yummi!

Peachland. Yummi!

Cycling to Vancouver

Pretty ride along the lake

We decided to be bold and simply asked another young couple if they would like to share their spot and the costs with us. Kei and Kim from Vancouver were happy to share and soon we found ourselves sitting around their campfire, drinking our leftover wine and talking about Game of Thrones.

Kim and Kei

Our lovely neighbors Kim and Kei

Cycling Canada

We were surrounded by water most of the time

It was a short but quite hilly ride to Summerland, where we fixed ourselves some sandwiches. Now that we passed at least one town per day, we didn’t need to stock up our food as much, and we could finally eat fresh. Today we had sandwiches with spinach and avocado.

Welcome to Summerland

Summerland! Please, when can I permanently move in?

Organic fruits, veges, honey and delicacies in Summerland

Organic fruits, veges, honey, jams and delicacies in Summerland

It was a long and steep climb to the start of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. At first the trail went parallel to the rails and after only two kilometers my tire was flat. This was when I realized that I had forgotten to pack our pump after the last flat! How should we fix a tire with no pump?

Cycling the KVC - Kettle Valley Railtrail

Cycling the KVC – Kettle Valley Railtrail

We decided to simply wait for other cyclists, when two ladies in cowboy outfits walked by.

“There will be a train robbery happening here in about ten minutes!”

“Oooooh!” I was rather confused and really didn’t know anything better to answer than this.

“We have twenty horses and cowboys and gunshots and you will have to leave this place!”

Train robbery on the KVR

Preparing for the train robbery

We tried to explain that we would also rather leave than stay but that due to a flat tire we were stuck here. The ladies’ tones changed quickly. Angrily they started lengthy explanations on why it was absolutely essential for us to disappear from their scene, so that the tourists inside the tourist train would be able to enjoy a nearly “real” train robbery and get the feeling to have travelled back in time. And with two cyclists in the scene, this was not possible.

Cycling to Vancouver

Great support! In the end we all hid in the bushes until the robbery was over.

We carried all our stuff behind a big tree trunk, where we hid and waited for the train. A nice family on bikes stopped for us and helped me out with their cartridge pump. We stayed for the robbery (best views and no entry fee!), fixed the tire, thanked the family and headed off. The man even gave us the cartridge pump, in case we would have another flat tire. There wouldn’t be much of a town for a day and a half.

Company on the Kettle Valley Railtrail

Company on the Kettle Valley Railtrail

The rail trail soon continued on the flat area where the rails had been. It was late in the afternoon and there were only two cyclists and a couple of quad drivers on the trail. We spent the night on a free very simple campspot with one picnic table and one outhouse.

Bumpy KVR

Soon it would turn into a rather bumpy ride. The KVR would be heaps of fun on a mountainbike!

It was a cold morning, but my tire remained only halfway inflated and I was all sweaty at 6°C after five minutes on the bike. The trail had an easy gradient, but it was so bumpy that after two hours and 20 kilometers we decided to continue on the parallel gravel road. It was a bit hillier here, but there weren’t any rocks or sandy areas.

Cycling through Canada

Beautiful scenery

Our average speed remained on about 10 km/h, but I didn’t want to fully inflate my tire, because I feared we might need our pump in case of another flat tire. After some 50 Kilometers Roberto decided that it was time to take the risk and we stopped and inflated my tire.

Canada by bike

Deer on the way. No bears though.

Finally we reached the highest point and from here on continued on a paved road. The ride down to Princeton was quite easy, but some three kilometers before town Roberto’s rear tire was flat. I just couldn’t help telling him that “I told you so!”

Slow the Truck down

Hehehe

We were lucky. A pick-up truck stopped and driver Ross gave Roberto a ride to the town’s gas station, where I found two pieces of wire and two pieces of glass in the tire. We spent the night on a very cheap private campground with showers and Wi-Fi.

Mit dem Rad durch Kanada

Lovely Canadian countryside is ever changing

Our camping sleeping rhythm woke us up by sunrise. We got ourselves some sandwich ingredients and a new pump before we left town. The rail trail would have been much shorter, but most other cyclists told us that this section was in very bad shape and more suitable for mountain bikes.

Bear warning in Canada

Bear warning signs all over the place. It’s just before sunset. What shall we do?

Instead we followed Highway 5, usually a quite busy road, but today, the day after Labor Day, we had much of the road for ourselves. That was good because we needed some space to climb up to 1280 meters, roll back down and climb again onto 1300 meter. Most of the Provincial Park’s campgrounds were closed, so we biked on and on.

There were several bear warnings and we decided to keep on cycling until we had at least reached the end of the park. The sun set and we biked faster and faster, but the gate was still not in sight. In the end after more than 8 hours of biking for 112 kilometers, we just pitched the tent on a narrow strip of moss and grass right on the side of the road. This was neither the most scenic campspot, nor the quietest one, but it was still better than biking through the night on a windy road.

Road camping

Not our favorite spot, but after sunset any place will do.

We were wide awake by 6 am and back on the bikes only half an hour later. Less than 700 meters further, on the other end of the curve, we saw the park’s gate with a parking ground and picnic tables.

The descent into Hope was an easy ride and we biked 27 kilometers in no more than an hour. Of course we ran into Claudia and Peter again, who had just left Hilary’s and Peter’s house. Hilary and Peter are Hope’s only warmshowers hosts and they are quite famous with the Canadian bike touring community. And being situated only 150 kilometers east of Vancouver on the crossroads of pretty much all highways nearby, their house was busy most of the year.

Hilary and Peter from Hope

Hilary and Peter from Hope

They try not to decline anybody and ended up hosting more than 50 cyclists during the last summer! Roberto and I are happy we came so early, because this gave us the chance to cook some Mexican food for our hosts and the other guest Stephan.

warmshowers in Hope, Canada

Stephan, Hilary and Peter at dinnertime

We left Hope on some calm and flat country roads that reminded me a lot of home. The air smelled like grass and silage, there were curious cows and horses (also miniature ones) all around us, it was a flat ride and there was little traffic and much wind.

Dreaming of the Chariots

Dreaming of the Chariots

But eventually the traffic got heavier and when we reached Maple Ridge, we decided that this was enough for today. We had more than half way done, but couldn’t seem to find any good spot for the tent. So we went back to basic and asked pedestrians if they knew of some field or park that we could make our home for tonight.

Rieboldt Park Camping

Comfy Camping at Sharon’s and Buck’s

A man with a dig sent us to ask Sharon and Buck, the local park’s caretakers. The Rieboldt Park was small and incredibly beautiful. Sharon and Buck have put a lot of love and effort in making and keeping the place a fairytale forest. There were little baskets in the trees, small figures on the ground and several nature based ornaments. Even the toilet was decorated with flowers, framed pictures and little figures.

Rieboldt Park Bathroom

Sharon puts so much effort and love in details!

There was no way we could camp inside the park, the law forbade it, and also there were four adult and three young black bears who made the park their home. But Sharon and Buck decided that their own yard, although situated in the park, was their private property, and that their fence was safe enough with the bears. These two knew their bears like none other. And we didn’t worry at all and slept great.

A walk in the park with Buck

A walk in the park with Buck

Buck awaited us with a big cup of coffee next morning and took us out for another stroll through the park. He knew how to read the tracks on the ground, the scratches in the trees and all the excrements. That’s how he was able to tell that we hadn’t been alone tonight. But the bears had always respected Sharon’s and Buck’s garden as human territory and stayed outside the fence.

Look at this!

Look at this!

Later Buck picked up a little ball that looked like hard poop, peeled some parts off and found a little mouse skull with teeth and everything. This guy knows where the owls live and what their favorite dinner is. We listened to several more of his stories during breakfast and eventually headed out to bike the remaining 50 kilometers of the day.

Cycling to Vancouver

Cycling to Vancouver

I can’t say that biking through the city is much fun, but we’ve had worse days. At least we left after rush hour. A couple of hills and hours later we arrived at Joanna’s and Kenji’s home. They were some of Roberto’s best friends and had moved to Vancouver nine years ago.

Joanna, Kin, Kenji and Yoshi

Joanna, Kin, Kenji and Yoshi celebrating the Mexican Independence Day in Vancouver

Yoshi and her son Kenji

Yoshi and her son Kenji

We spent ten days with Kenji, Joanna, Kenji’s mother Yoshi and the two-month old and incredibly cute baby boy Kin. Monday through Friday we accompanied Kenji to his office and on the weekends we went out for walks, picnics, and a party.

One big family!

One big family!

Cuddling with Baby Kin

Cuddling with Baby Kin

And we ate so well and so much that I gained two kilos in ten days. It was a great time with a brand new family and a perfect ending for our wonderful Canada trip.

Now it was time to head on. USA here we come.

In the office from nine to five and walking the parks on the weekends. We had a great time with these awesome friends!

In the office from nine to five and walking the parks on the weekends. We had a great time with these awesome friends!

A truly international family of "Japanexicans" with US citizenship an a Canadian son.

A truly international family of “Japanexicans” with US citizenship an a Canadian son.

Want to see how we like the US? Check our next blog! So many bike paths! Cycling Washington State from Vancouver to Portland

5296 Total Views 1 Views Today
  1. Pingback: Die letzten Wochen in Kanada: Mit dem Rad nach Vancouver - Tasting Travels | Tasting the cultures of the world by bike

  2. Great post and thank you for sharing again. Each time we read your post it makes us want to get back out there and see more. Safe travels.

    ron y petra
    holiday, fl

  3. Tom Seifert says:

    Great Stories Annika! Nice pics too! We really enjoyed hosting you guys, and glad I stopped you on the hiway and invited you in. It was a great experience. Wishing you both the best as you carry on. Tom & Sandra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*