The End :(

Trip Start May 17, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
Aunt Norma & Uncle Juergen in Cloverdale

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, September 4, 2010

I know you've probably eagerly been awating this entry.  Uncle Juergen has wanted to read the last one, and we're here with him!

So here it goes...our final days!

The rest day we took in Keremeos was a VERY smart decision.  Turns out that getting to Manning Pass is hard.  Hardest pass we've had to do and, basically since Creston, we've had to climb everyday so this rest was very much needed.  The road was actually in pretty good condition and quite a nice ride but what happens is you go up to Sunday Summit, come back down about 1000ft and then climb back up to Allison Summit.  In between the two summits is a lot of rolling and steep hills (incl 9% for 4km) and then a fairly nice flat once you get to Manning Park.  However, Alison Summit is actually about another 10km after the park so we actually didn't complete the full climb until the next morning
Not only was this climb physically tough on us, it was absolutely miserably cold.  We woke up in Princeton to drizzly, cold (6 or 7 degrees), and overcast weather.  We hope Randy was alright!  We did stop at the coffee shop in a hope that it would warm up around 9am but, alas, it was not meant to be.  On a side note, we were talking to a couple and the husband is going on a practice ride with his friend down the west coast.  This is to gauge how the friend's 6-month cycle tour of the world will be.  Neither of us could believe it.  6 months to see the world?  Seriously?  It's taken us 3 months to see Canada, and we still haven't seen all of it!  WHY, or why would you want to rush something like that?  It just made us realize what a good decision we made with not having a real timeline or need to rush this trip.  We know we wouldn't be able to enjoy a rushed trip like that.
Anyway, we made it to Manning Park around 3pm and still had not stopped for lunch yet so we hit the lodge there (Manning Park is a ski resort in winter, camping in summer) for a hot bowl of soup to warm up and some food.  We really did not relish the idea of pitching tent in this weather plus:  it was our last mountain climb, our trip's almost over, it was still early which means we'd both be cranky in a tent for a long period of time, and we've only had a handful of hotels on this trip.  Unfortunately, the lodge only allows pets in the cabins which start at $189 and that was definitely over our budget.  But the hostel would allow us.  At $30/psn it was still pretty steep but we decided to go for it and it was such a great decision.  There was only one other person, Doug, in the hostel and we got to chatting with him and got some info on what to expect plus it's just fun talking to other cyclists.  And so we had a hot shower and warm bed for the night.  Wonderful.

The next morning was a bit weird for us.  We had mentally kind of decided that Hope is the end for us as, afterwards, it's just a matter of getting to the Pacific but you're having to go through cities which neither of us have any desire to bike through.  So we were excited but sad...the time is winding down and we just can't believe we made it.  We can, but at the same time it's completely surreal.  But more time for reflection later as we still had to get on the road.  And the lodge had an all you can eat breafast buffet for $9.95...*sigh* ok...!  Lesson learned (albeit late):  NEVER have an all you can eat breakfast when you have to cycle.  It was not a good idea!  We didn't get on the road until 11am as we just couldn't move (we did get our $9,95 worth though!).  Not a big deal getting on so late as it was pretty much a 70km downhill to Hope :) and we had a warmshowers set up as well!  We made it up to Allison Summit, stopped and put on our rain pants for a bit of warmth, and hit the down!!!  YIPPEE!  Going down is fun, hee hee!
Around 2:30pm we called Carla and got directions to her place.  Dinner was Awesome Biscuits (Adam's name) and Thai Slop (Carla & Angela's name).  Fantastic!  They were great company and, again, we're just so excited to meet people who want to go cycling, hiking, or kayaking with us!  It's great being out here, and we don't even live here yet!

The next morning dawned and we knew we had to be on the road in good time as it was about 120km into Cloverdale (Aunt Norma & Uncle Juergen).  Mission was our first goal and we got there, approx 80km, in decent time and had lunch before hitting the road.   It wwas not all easy though getting to Mission.  We have made it through ALL of BC without having to unclip and walk our bikes.  We had to unclip a couple of times (Cape George) at the beginning of our trip, and that's it!  It was supposed to be flat all the way from Hope.  Well, it was mostly flat until the road decided to hit an 11% grade for 2km.  11%!  it beat us and we unclipped about half way up.  We were just angry that our last day did that to us! Grrrr!  But then we rememberd Doug mentioning that the road out to Tofino has 18% grades!  What the heck does 18% look like?!  Thank goodness we had decided not to go that way and thank you to every cyclist that warned us about that road! 
We crossed the river and headed towards N & J's along a beautiful road, fairly quiet and through farmland.  But the farmland was rolly.  It was very reminiscent of NS actually!  We had been wondering how much we've improved throughout this trip and joked of going back to the eastern shore to compare, well, we can confidently say we've improved dramatically!  Mostly in our recovery time and not needing to stop at the top of every hill to catch our breath, I, however, seemed to be the only one really appreciating it as Adam was having trouble with his gears shifting which resulted in having to walk up one hill...and his FLAT (first of the trip on his bike) made him walk up another one!  HAHAHAHAHHAHA  I know he was ANGRY but, man, I couldn't help laughing!  About time!  It was a bit of a rough day for Adam, needless to say.  But we made it to our destination and so very happy that we have this place to rest, renew, and reorganize for the next steps in our life.  Best part?  Mom Howse was able to make it out :)  Thanks!

Well, I know I keep referencing our trip being over but, technically, it wasn't over until we hit the Pacific.  So the next a.m., although we could have slept in and been lazy, we decided to head out to White Rock to dip the bikes.  We had thought it would have been approx 25km but it was only a 17km ride in and, again, we were able to take back roads and really enjoy/procrastinate the end of the trip.  We crested a hill into White Rock and got our first view of the Ocean, at which point 2 ladies happened to be walking by and insisted they take a picture of us (I guess we looked pretty excited!) and the welcomed us and congratulated us.  It's nice to have that picture - it's a truly emotional one!

I wish I could tell you there was a big, climactic finish but there just wasn't.  We had some time before Mom Howse showed up with the truck to pick us up (HEY!  We just cycled across Canada and we're DONE...we weren't cycling back!!) and we just kind of sat there staring at the ocean.  I thought I'd cry, I'd become prone to random eye-leakages while biking when I'd just be overwhelmed with emotion, but I didn't and couldn't.  We were both still dazed, I think, and still are.  We're in a big transition point right now, hopefully we have that apartment in Rossland, and are a wee bit broke which is kinda hard getting used to!!  Once we get a chance to go through all of our pictures, print some off, etc, it's going to be just incredible to re-live it.  We figure that since, the whole trip, we had broken it down into manageable sized chunks, it hasn't sunk in that we biked the whole country, only just 100km/day.  But it's still so cool.

And, last but not least, we can not thank EVERYONE enough for helping us.  Physically being present and providing us with food/shower/drink or just letting your presence known through this blog was huge and, honestly, without all of this support I don't know if we would have made it.  You guys helped us out and we THANK YOU for everything.  You've done more than you could ever know.

Thanks everyone!  Love you and miss you!
Tara, Adam, and don't forget Shasta!  

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Sharon & Jamie on

Hey guys! Congrats on finishing! What a great experience for you three (including Shasta). This blog has been awesome! We wouldn't be able to 'follow across canada' without it!
Sharon & Jamie

Bev & Wayne on

Hey Tara, Adam and Shasta,

It has been great following your blog as you went after your dream trip...hope everything works out for you on the West coast and make sure not to forget us Manitobans and if you are ever back in the great white North, make sure to look us up.

Take care.

Mom C. on

Congratulations.....& what an amazing accomplishment and memories you have made....

Helen on

For saying how desperate you were for the flattest possible route through the Rockies a while ago you've tackled some big hills and done so well! Don't worry about walking bits. I thought I'd gotten over that as well but walked little bits on the Icefields Parkway when it got to 12%. In the UK there are 20% hills!!

I'm so sad that it's over for you but it sounds like things are coming together for yor move. Keep me posted.

Neil & Kathleen on

Congrats on your amazing journey. Didn't catch all your posts but great way to keep in touch and share some photos along the way. Don't know how you can top this vacation exoerience but certainly you'll remember this one for a lifetime. Best wishes to the three of you in your new province.

Mom K. on

Once again, congratulations to all three of you on your HUGE accomplishment! I've really enjoyed your travel blog and the pictures make it all the more interesting (as do the videos).

It may be the "end" of this adventure, but I'm sure it's just the start of the next one. Enjoy your 'new beginnings' in BC, complete with all that wonderful fruit that's still in season for you to enjoy. Keep safe.

Randy Ball on

Yeah!!! Good going guys.

Sure enjoyed your stay with us and hearing about your great journey. I think there must have been something in the coffee we had in Princeton. I took off from there and didn't stop until Abbotsford the next day around 1pm. I don't advise riding at night, but I got up into the Hope Princeton pass ,the moon was shinning and I had the whole mountain to myself. So kept the flashers going and got to hope around 6am. ( I could count the number of cars that passed by on one hand) I didn't have to ride the shoulders but noticed they looked pretty rough in places. Was thinking of you guys coming through the next day and hoping you'd make out okay. Anyway, after a big breakfast in Hope I enjoyed a rainy ride along the north side of the river and then crossed at Mission into Abbotsford. Congratulation on completing you cross country adventure. Enjoy a well deserved break. Drop us a line when you get to Rossland and we'll check out a coffee shop or two.

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