Today was simply a great day on the bike all day.
Snack breakfast in camp, iced coffee from the c-store.
Fifteen miles down the road we stop in Skookumchuck at its lone store. A pretty Scandanavian blond all dressed in black sells me 2 candy bars, and we end up playing with a cat out front for a while. We decide to ride 11.5 miles further to Wasa for lunch.
Nope. Both restaurants there are closed. The pub there is supposed to open at 11am but the hour comes and goes and no one shows up. A c-store is the the only option, and we’re tired of tose. “Kick the can” down the road, we should be able to eat in the next town Fort Steele.
Nope. On paper, Fort Steele Heritage Town promises a bunch of restored shops and what we hope will be a few eateries. What we find there is a canned theme park with $17.50 admission. Hot dogs are available outside the park, but no good for Jack and not really what we want. I’m game to go inside – it might be fun. And if it’s too cheesy we can just laugh about it. But the guys nix it so we move on.
Another 15 miles takes us to the Kootenay Fish Hatchery. It’s a fun visit. Four or five species of trout, some of them indigenous, are bred in circulating tanks, and we enjoy milling around the place for half an hour, then watching people feed the big ones outside.
A pub appears a mile later on the right, called Bull Run Inn. We stop roadside and consider checking it out. A girl calls out, “C’mon in for a beer! You deserve it!” Well, alright then – we need no further invitation.
It’s a biker bar (and not the pedal-type) with game heads hung on the walls. My burger dinner and 2 Honeybrown ales turn out very respectable. We all enjoy the rest and have fun exploring the decorations. I leave a little stuffed but we’ve only got 10 more miles to Jaffray and our campground.
Nope. In Jaffray we stop at a Gas Plus to regroup and examine our maps for the campground location. Damn! The directions to Kikomun Creek Park show it’s only 0.2 miles off route, but on closer examination the campground is actually 12 miles past Jaffray (and THEN 0.2 miles off route). Oops. We have paid reservations there, so we should use them if possible. I’m apologizing – we all thought our riding day was finished. On the bright side, it’s only around 7pm – still lots of sunshine left – and the riding conditions are ideal.
Jack’s receives an emergency call from Fran, who is having home electrical issues. Phil and I get ant-cy to arrive in camp before they give the spot away, and so signal to Jack that we’re rolling, but Jack hurriedly resolves the issues so we can leave in unison.
We head south from Jaffray down Jaffray-Barnes Road. And it’s really a fine roll – orange-y late day sun and zero traffic. We’re all a little tired, but it’s a beautiful ride – Phil particularly says so later.
Slightly off route we find the Kikomun Creek Campground office. The ranger is just leaving, expresses concern that we’ve arrived so late and they’re full, but then relief when she hears we have a reservation. They’ve already got our name on the bulletin board with a site assigned (they weren’t going to give it away at all).
P37 is almost 3 miles down a hill next to Lake Koocanusa. The grounds are packed with RVs but we’re beat and glad to be here. They guys announce over 80 miles today and I jest that I knew we could get an 80 mile day out of them somehow. It’s really been a wonderful day of riding. Jack and I particularly notice how much stronger Phil is getting in the saddle.
We mill around a while, exploring the lake front and enjoying our picnic table. Evening turns to dusk, and one the RV’s turns on a string of lights. Aloud I speculate, “Hmm, I wonder if there is any way we could carry along Christmas lights for OUR campsite?” Phil immediately pipes up, “Oh, I have some!”
He dives into his bags and produces a string of LED bulbs with battery pack, strings them between his and Jack’s tent, and turns them on in blink mode. Jack and I can’t contain our laughter for a full 10 minutes. You have what? Christmas lights? It’s almost like Let’s Make A Deal, when Monty Hall asks some lady with a huge purse if she has some obscure item. We love it – it’s so funny. We remind him that he has “too many bags.”
Well, unintentionally, we’ve cut 12 miles off tomorrow’s ride plan so we’re looking at a short ride day and then a motel. As much as I love it, it might be good to take a respite from the tent.
You have Christmas lights?
Today’s Ride: 82.7 miles
Today’s Climbing: 2,369 feet
More Stats: http://cyclemeter.com/
Tour Total So Far: 376.5 miles