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Day 85 – 90, 4-9 Oct 2008: Cache Creek to Vancouver: tunnels, rain and big cities: through the canyon to the urban jungle!

October 10, 2008 by  
Filed under British Columbia, Canada, North America, Trip reports

It was time to finish our journey through Canada and get back to sealevel. Just one last section to go, which had been promised to be beautiful, windy & dangerous…

4th October: Cache Creek – Lytton, 78km

Cache Creek is a bit of a weird city, or maybe it was just that we were there in rainstorms, while it is one of the driest parts in the country.. Anyway, the sun welcomed us again when we left the row of fastfood chains behind us and the dry landscape showed itself.

It was a fun day of cycling, as we were treated with some verrry nice downhills.

I have felt that one of the things that makes me most happy is cycling downhill fast: the wind in my face, the mix of speed, fear and excitement and the resulting cocktail of endorphins and adrenaline. Many physical and mental bystanders think that this borders to suicidal behaviour, but they have no idea about how much you can enjoy and celebrate life even in just a split second; it makes you want to scream and sometimes you just do :)

Halfway down I noticed some fruit stalls alongside the road and stopped at the biggest one and got some apples. After Mike, the owner showed us around and told us he had too much fruit and not enough pickers, we were tempted to stay a while and make some extra money. But with my back it would not be a good idea and we were still being chased by winter, so we headed back on the road instead, loaded with a bag of fruit and veggies that Mike had let us pick..

The rain suddenly came back in full-force showers and we stayed a while in a nice small lodge and bakery in Spences Bridge. We saw more of the huge freight trains passing and twice I counted over 210 wagons per train… Read more

1000 Americans: JP Benoit & Christy, Spuzzum, BC, Canada

October 6, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans, Friendly people

_MG_1026-JP-Benoit-Christy-Spuzzum

“Trains are great. We met on a train and I love the trains that come by here every day.”

JP had found spring water on his piece of land and had grown great tomatoes and other veggies. He had no email address or Internet access, but wrote down his PO box on a piece of paper. ‘Send us a postcard when you get to Argentina!’.

Thanks JP, for taking care of us and showing us the true American generosity.

Day 75-84: 24 Sep-3 Oct 2008: Pain in Prince George, reflections, and rain in the desert.

“emmm, I have a problem”

“Que paso?”

“My back hurts so much now, I cannot get up…”

We had arrived at Richard & Maggee’s place the day before. The pain in my back had become slowly worse during the past days, but at this moment it was so bad, I could not move. We were sleeping in the Yoga room, on comfortable, but thin mats, so I could not ‘roll’ out of bed either. It took about 10 minutes of painful balancing and slow finger movements before I could leverage myself into a semi-upright position. Ouch.

Once up, the pain was a bit less, but a cough and especially a sneeze made me grimace in pain. It shot sharply in unexpected moments from my right shoulder, all around my chest. I needed pills, a doctor or both..

After trying different types of pills the next days, Richard called a doctor and I could see him the same day. First pay $60, then talk to the doc. Once I told him that I had been cycling from Alaska the past months, he was convinced it was muscle pain, even though I told him that I could not pinpoint any specific muscle that hurt. I tried to convince him, but all he said was, that if I thought it was something inside my chest, it might be my lungs, and that I maybe should get an X-ray in the hospital. Read more

1000 Americans: Mike Rice, Hilltop gardens, Thompson Valley, British Columbia

October 4, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans, Go green, Tips & Tricks

_MG_1015-Mike-rice-Hilltop-gardens

‘Somehow it just gets warmer here than anywhere around in BC. We tried growing some chili peppers this year and they do great. Currently we have so much fruit that needs to be picked, problem is to find people helping us!”

“Most of it is completely organic, but to get certified costs too much, it is not worth it…”

Tip for cyclists: when going down through BC and passing the Thompson valley (between Prince George & the Fraser Canyon leading to Vancouver), reserve a week to work for Mike, anytime between August & October. He will supply a free camp ground with showers and you can make $100/day picking apples, peppers and all kinds of other fruits and veggies. It is a beautiful area, so it might be nice to stay for a week or so and make enough to go biketravelling for more than 2 months…

1000 Americans: Scott & Tina, Cache Creek

October 3, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans, Friendly people

_MG_1006-Tina-dad-cache-creek

‘I live in Alberta now, but my heart always will be in British Columbia’ Scott said, after he posed with his daughter in the garden of his sister, where we had pitched our tent for the night…

1000 Americans: José F. Jiménez, Traveller & photographer from Mexico

October 2, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans

_MG_0999-mexican-friend-traveler

When we met Jose in Southern British Columbia, he had almost finished his trip: 80.000km (50k miles) by car, following the outlines of the American coasts. he shot thousands of images during his 8 months of travel. We drank a few ‘mate’s’ with him and talked about the life of a traveller, while the sun set slowly behind us…

Read all about his trip on his website: http://www.xamerica.com.mx/blogEN/

1000 Americans: Jackie King & family, McCleese Lake, Canada

October 1, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans

_MG_0977-mccleese-lake-family

‘Where are you going?’ she asked and I replied that we were going to pitch our tent soon as it was getting dark.

I had stopped to put my pants on again over my cycling shorts, after a long hot day it was getting chilly again. We were close to McCleese lake, it was time to stop for the night.

While I was waiting for Ivana to catch up, a woman’s voice came from a house nearby: ‘Are you ok?’

I told her that all was fine and when she asked me if I needed anything I told her that some water for cooking would be nice.

‘Oh, you can pitch it in our yard or use our trailer! Come on in, I am Jackie, do you like wine?’

After we found out that her husband’s name was Terry, her brother’s Barry and mine Harry, we were set. We met her mother Joan, who was in her eighties, celebrating having survived a difficult surgery. It was a pleasant evening and we did get to stay in a small cozy trailer and the wine was drunk…

1000 americans: Maurice Toma, Hixon, BC

September 28, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans

_MG_0967-mr-toma-restaurant

Maurice Toma is the owner of Toma’s family restaurant on highway 97 in the small town of Hixon, frequented by locals and visitors.

He did not only offer us a place to camp, but also invited us for a great full-size breakfast the next morning! His waitresses are nice and the food great. When i told him I would like to take a shot for the 1000 Americans category, he replied with fire in his eyes: “I am not American, I am Canadian!”.

We explained that he was just as American as Ivana and reluctantly he agreed, thanks Maurice!

1000 Americans: Richard Thompson & Maggee Spicer, Prince George

September 27, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans

_MG_0963-maggee-richard-1000Americans

Richard has not only cycled a lot, he is known for having written numerous popular children’s books, some together with his wife Magee. He is a great storyteller and still goes everywhere to capture audiences, though they live in Prince George, the crossing of the Yellowhead Highway, Cariboo Highway and the Fraser River.

Maggee teaches and her kids (she brings them home every now and then) seem to love her, but not as much as Richard does, as he is absolutely crazy about her!

Together they are one of the few households in Prince George that does not own or use a car for transportation. They are incredibly hospitable and wonderful people, have introduced us to their friends and family, helped out with medical problems and took us into their family.

Oh, and take a look here at Romke’s blog to see how happy his kids Kira & Jelte were when they received two autographed books!