August 1, 2013. Vancouver, British Columbia
I have been in Canada for 10 years, but I never left the Toronto area. Now it was my time to explore this country. I decided not to visit the mile 0 marker of the Trans-Canada Highway in Victoria, I'm headed straight for the mountains.
I camped near the train tracks last night, but didn’t find that out until I heard the loud horn at 2am. A few hours later and I learned that if the grass is nice and green, there are sprinklers...
Today I found out what riding the mountains would be like: a 23km climb at an average 15% grade. Vehicles passing me in both directions have that burning smell, either from the engine or if going downhill—from the brakes. The three hours I spent toiling up to this mountain pass made me wonder if this cycling across Canada business is for me...
But on the other hand, I had made it to the top. Mist engulfed the lower Joffre lake and this was an ideal spot for lunch.
“Here. Take that, you may need it.”
A woman came back from her van with an emergency blanket. That tiny silvery square will later save my life. She was in her fifties and had a van filled with what appeared to be all her belongings. A traveling musician, she spent her time between towns and playing piano at various events.
Did I mention that I am terrified of bears?
I had never seen one in my life and while seeing one during the day would be exciting, at night I knew this would be a different story. All wrapped up and comfy in my sleeping bag, I couldn’t help but feel like a human taco.
Paul had been cycling from Alaska. He gave me a lot of tips but the one that stood out was, “Don’t forget to enjoy the trip.”
And so I did...
I stopped looking at my speed, my distance, and the time. Instead the time was “now”, I woke up when I felt like it and started looking for a place to sleep when the sun turned red.
At Prince George I met Kevin from Ireland, a musician and an inspiration. He has been on the road for 16 months.