Canada 2015. Days 11 & 12 (Aug 9 & 10, 2015). On day 11 we woke up early at Emerald Lake Lodge and got coffee from the thermos at the reception. We had a long day ahead of us; lots of riding. It was a crisp but gorgeous morning. The lodge shuttle took us to the overnight parking lot where we secured our luggage to the bikes. We left in the direction of Golden on following Route 1. We took the last exit before Golden to take the Golden Donald Upper Road. Craig had suggested this route to avoid the town of Golden and get closer to nature. The road is quite nice; a mix of asphalt and gravel. After approximately 18 kilometers on the Golden Donald Upper Road we turned left onto the Blaeberry School Road to get back to Route 1. We continued west for 40 kilometers to enter the beautiful Glacier National Park (the Canadian one). From the road you can appreciate several glacier-bearing high peaks of the Columbia Mountains. We made a bathroom and picture stop at Rogers Pass (1330 meters) and then moved onto Revelstoke where we turned south to take Route 23 in the direction of Nakusp, BC. At Shelter Bay we had to take a ferry to cross the Upper Arrow Lake of the Columbia River. The Columbia is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. There are 14 hydroelectric power dams on the river proper and many more on its tributaries. The dams turn many stretches of the Columbia into a series of long lakes. The ferry ride was quite pleasant. We stop at Nakusp for gas and Gatorade and then continued south to the Fauquier to Needles ferry crossing. This is a smaller ferry so we did not fit on the boat and had to wait for it to come back. Thankfully the lake is narrow at that point so it did not take too long. From Needles we followed Route 6 to Vernon, BC. This is a gorgeous, winding road traversing beautiful conifer forests. We stop to get hydra from a little lake (large pond?) by the road.
From Vernon we took Route 97 in the direction of Kamloops, BC. The road goes through fertile farmland and a series of little towns. One of them is called Falkland. We stop to take a picture of Adrián wearing the Argentine football jersey. Dear Canadians, you seem to have a very close relationship with Queen Elisabeth II, whose portrait appears in all your currency. Would you mind reminding her—perhaps through her representative the Governor General of Canada—that colonialism (like slavery) is a thing of the past. It is time for the UK to return the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Las Malvinas son Argentinas carajo! (The Falkland Islands are Argentinian dammit!). Route 97 merges with the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) at Monte Creek. We turned right there towards Pritchard where we got off the highway looking for the road to Paul Lake Provincial Park. We got a bit lost there until a woman on a pickup truck gave us directions on how to get there (the signage was atrocious). We had made reservations for the Paul Lake Campground, which turned out to be quite nice. We set up camp across from a family from Edmonton, AB—Gwen and Gus, and their five cute, very well-behaved children. As we were unpacking our bikes, Gus came to introduce himself and to invite us to share some wine around the propane fire after dinner (given that this has been one of the worse fire seasons in history, there is a fire ban in all of British Columbia). For dinner we had Mountain House Beef Stew and popcorn. After dinner I joined Gwen and Gus for wine, cheese, sausage, and crackers. They had two other visitors from a neighboring campsite. The five of us had a lovely conversation in which, under the influence of alcohol, I revealed some of my family secrets (think felines).
The following day we left the campground after breakfast. Gus and Gwen gave us three delicious pancakes with Nutella to accompany our coffee. We went down to the lake to collect hydra. I found some green hydra attached to the dense, fine filaments of green algae. I had never seen hydra growing like that before. It was a cloudy, cold morning. We stop at Kamloops to get gas and then took Route 5A (rather than the faster but less interesting Route 5) in the direction of Merritt. Route 5A is a lot of fun to ride because it is not only curvy but also goes up and down all the time. The road follows the shores of several lakes so the views are quite beautiful. We got gas at Merritt and then continued west on Route 8 towards Spences Bridge. This is another interesting road with a lot of curves. That region of British Columbia is dry so pines are the dominant trees and sagebrush scrub is very abundant. Route 8 follows the Nicola River and goes through many farms. We stop at a red barn by the road where two girls and a boy were selling fruit. We bought a bag of cherries—which we eat immediately—and a honeydew melon. At Spences Bridge we turned left onto the Trans-Canada Highway following the Thompson River. At Lytton, where the Thompson empties its water into the Fraser River, we took Route 12 north towards Lillooet. This road follows the Frazer but runs up on the side of the mountains at least two hundred meters above the river. Route 12 is yet another fun road to ride on a motorcycle. Near Lillooet, the road comes down to the level of the river and ends at Route 99. We crossed the Frazer on Route 99 and stop at a gas station for a long break. While getting gas at the pump, we briefly talked to two Mexicans from Sinaloa who were riding to Alaska on two BMW 1200 GS Adventure. After filling up the tanks we sat on two plastic chairs under the sun outside the gas station to drink some Gatorade. It was sunny but not too hot. Many cars, trucks, and motorcycles came and went while we were sitting there. We started a conversation with a guy, Mitch, who was riding a KLR. Mitch was from Regina, Saskatchewan and was coming from Vancouver. He loved his KLR; in a very short time he had put lots of kilometers on his bike. He told me he absolutely loved to ride on gravel roads; that it was addictive. We chatted for a long time before we had to continue on Route 99 towards Pemberton, BC. The stretch of Route 99 from Lillooet to Pemberton is truly fantastic. From Lillooet the road climbs up quickly onto the Coast Mountains. Firs, spruces, and cedars seem to be the dominant trees in these region. The road runs along a Cayoosh Creek until it reaches Duffey Lake. We stop to take some pictures at Duffey Lake and then continued onto the charming town of Pemberton. Two miles beyond Pemberton is the Nairn Falls Campground where we spent the night. We rode to Pemberton for dinner at The Pony (Adrián had sausages with crispy onions and I had salmon with some veggies). As we were leaving the restaurant we met Alex and Pierre, two brothers who spoke perfect Spanish with a Peruvian accent. Alex and Pierre are from Montreal but their dad is Peruvian. We talked for a while about our trip and about football. We chatted about the two finals that the Argentinian national team has recently lost; one in the Brazil World Cup and the other in the Copa América in Chile. The brothers were very supportive. Back at the campground we ate the honeydew melon from the Nicola River Valley. Delicious!