Saturday, 20 September 2014

On a decent afternoon

Barriere is likely named after a series of defiles where the North Thompson River cut its way through some substantial hills just below the town. As the railway pinched the few bits of level ground near the water, ;-) the road had to go over in a series of doable hills with "whee!" bit on the other side.

Midway through, I stopped at a point of interest which explained the 2003 McLure forest fire which devastated the area. There are many burnt trees still in evidence. One of the most disturbing details was the presence of "fire-frozen" trees. The trees would bend from the winds that were generated by and contributed to the inferno. When they caught fire, the drying and carbonization of the wood fixed them in their bent position.

At the other end of the hilly bit, I stopped at the McLure fruit stand to buy a couple of peaches. I then left the Yellowhead Highway to take a short ferry ride across the North Thompson. There was a cyclist waiting board at the other side whom I pressed for intel about the road down the West side of the river which I believed would be quieter than the Yellowhead which gets busier the closer you get to Kamloops . (I had driven it the day before with Alice and the girls for Alice's first trip to Kamloops since Kerry was born there. As is my wont, I made mental notes about the road.) The cyclist, evidently a boomer on his day off said it was indeed much quieter.

I was a mite dismayed to learn that I was rolling along the "Westsyde Road". In the parlance of Pointe St Charles, someone needs to be smacked upside the head for that name. On the other hand, I was pleased to see there was the Privato winery, 26 klicks down the road.

The valley bottom of the North Thompson supports an assortment of smaller scale agriculture, mostly ranches for cattle and horses (including one for Peruvian Paseos (I think it was) but also for sheep, goats, at least one llama, and hay (there were signs for "hay ranches).  There were also ginsing farms as well as some for less exotic vegetables including potatoes judging by the number I saw by the side of the road as well as orchards and of course vineyards.

There is also the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band which was hosting a small rodeo. From the road, I watched a cowboy being thrown from a saddled bronco named "Black and Blue" into the rails, before moving on.

As the afternoon wore on, it was getting hot despite the benefit of the increase shade on the Westsyde Road compared to the Yellowhead. I checked my bike computer to see how far I was along and therefore close to the winery. To my surprise, I discovered I had neglected to reset it after the Eastern Townships Challenge (see a previous entry). My stats were very much off. (After my bath tonight, I was able to work out the stats for today thanks to the aforementioned entry.)

I arrived at the winery just after eight young women on a stag-ette party were inside tasting the wine. One of them explained what they were up to and told me to come in with something of a leer, implicitly saying that I didn't need to worry about the fact that I was wearing sweaty spandex and they neat sundresses. I joked that I wasn't sure if I should be worried or flattered. (I will leave my readers to form their own ideas.)

Anyway, I tried three decent but not exceptional wines. The man I was dealing with wanted to know how I had found out about the place. I was a little embarrassed to say it was the sign at the McLure ferry. In sampling the wines, I realized a flaw in my packing strategy. I hadn't been able to find my Swiss Army knife while I was packing so I substituted my Leatherman. It doesn't have a corkscrew! Anyway, the quality of the wine wasn't worth the price in dollars or calories to carry it.

I made my way towards Kamloops. As the suburbs built up, I came across an area of roadwork that obliged me to get on a sidewalk/bike path on the far side. This unexpectedly ended just before a major intersection and the end of the roadwork. As the intersection was busy and complicated and I was tired, I stopped to give my map of Kamloops a serious inspection and to ponder how to proceed. The map was of limited use as I was off the edge. I decided to put on my high-viz vest in the hopes stopping a car as if I were member of the road crew. As well, the hills of Kamloops were partially in shadow.  I made my way across to a friendly flag man from whom I got directions as well as assistance across the intersection.

Once across the river there was a stiff climb (3 pauses including a red light) up to my motel a little ways up the street from the hospital where little Kerry was born.

Anyway, my reconstituted stats for the day are 132.15 kms in approximately 5 hours, 56 minutes, for an average speed a little over 22 kph and a maximum speed of 55.1 kph.

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