Back to BC part 1

British Columbia - part 2

This page covers the bike trip from Castlegar to Fernie.

Total Days: 5
Pedaling Days: 3
Total Distance: 685 km
Total Vertical: 6,900m
Average Speed: 26.3 km/h

Route summary: From Castlegar, we took Hwy 3A through Nelson, across the ferry to Kootenay Bay, down to Creston.  Then we picked up Hwy 3 again and stayed on it to the Crow's Nest Pass.
Click on a day below, or scroll down to go through day by day.  Click on any image below to get a larger view.  Click here to go back to the trip index.

  1. BC: June 8 - June 12
    1. Thursday, June 9
      1. June 9 - Gray Creek to Moyie Lake
    2. Friday, June 10
      1. Note from Cheryl
      2. New seat
    3. Saturday, June 11
      1. June 11 Moyie lake to Fernie
      2. Full rivers
      3. One last view of the mountains in BC
    4. Sunday, June 12
      1. June 12 - Day off in Mt. Fernie Provincial Park
      2. Troll under bridge

BC: June 8 - June 12

Thursday, June 9

Bike log: 156km, 1238m of vertical, average speed 25.2 km/h

June 9 - Gray Creek to Moyie Lake

It felt good to get a good day in after a couple of shorter rides. The weather was pretty good for most of the day, although there was still that darn headwind for a lot of it. There was no rain until the last hour or so, at which point it absolutely poured. At one point there was lightning and at another point there was hail!

Finally pulled into the campground, soaked and immediately started to get chilled off (while riding getting cold is not usually a problem). The campground was mostly vacant, but it took a while to find a site anyway because most of the sites are marked for 1 night only, and we wanted to have a rest day tomorrow. Finally we got in one, and by that point I was cold enough that I just piled into the van, pulled off the wet clothes and left the van running while I sat in front of the rear heater and cracked a beer! Unlike just about every Volkswagen I've ever been in, the van has an incredibly effective heating system.

The ride down the east side of Kootenay Lake was one of the most scenic parts of the trip so far. There is not much traffic along that 60 km stretch north of Creston- apparently only 1500 people live in that distance. The road follows the lake most of the way, and there are large mountains on both sides. At that point it was also not raining, which has been rare lately, which I'm sure helped to enhance the experience.

We are into a new time zone - Mountain time! I gave a little cheer as we passed the sign that indicated the change. It started raining about 3 minutes later, I will not cheer when we pass the next one (the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, I believe).

At one point while Cheryl was pulled off the road waiting for me near Yahk, a local farmer approached her - I guess he thought she was going to hop over his barbed wire fence. He was very friendly and helpful, although downright pessimistic about the prospect of biking through Alberta. What with the 120 km/h hurricane force winds, nasty truckers, and constant floods (not to mention the metres of snow) it sounds nearly impossible! Well, good thing Alberta is quite narrow where we cross, and hopefully that hurricane will be a tailwind.


Friday, June 10

Note from Cheryl

Hey all,

I feel I should say something, but Chris is doing such a thorough job with this blog that there's not much else to add! Also, it's nice to have some time away from the computer. But I have to say how beautiful this province is--I am falling in love with B.C. this time around. I have had some great hikes in the hills, especially in Princeton and Grand Forks, where there were tonnes of wildflowers and butterflies and birds. It's heaven. Some areas are kind of lonely and desolate, or at least they seem that way from the highway, but that also adds to the flavour of the place. The mills and logging trucks and SUVs everywhere are kind of a bummer in the middle of all this otherwise pristine wilderness, but that's the way it goes. Seeing it sure makes you want to take care of this place. Can't wait to see what's next!

Chris and I are becoming seasoned RVers. All we lack is a little white poodle for the van. At the Riviera Campsite in Grand Forks, a leathery-faced lady with pink lipstick was actually selling poodles to passing RVers, which I found strangely hilarious. I am also rediscovering the joys of a hot shower. It's all about the simple things! All in all, life is very good right now. My love to everyone.


New seat

Thanks a lot to everyone who has commented on the blog, and I am especially grateful for Tony and the boys at IBL for the snow removal unit. 

I took it up for a trial run on the day off here, but unfortunately my calculator was set in degrees, not radians, and the whole thing fired back on me. My bike seat burst into flames, possibly due to some defective product from one of my sponsors. Good thing it was a day off, I was able to pick up this new seat.


Saturday, June 11

Bike log: 120km, 565m of vertical, average speed 25.7 km/h

June 11 Moyie lake to Fernie

That was a tough day! I had headwinds almost the whole day, except for the last hour. The day started out really nice and warm, I thought I was going to have to put on short sleeves when we stopped in Cranbrook for supplies. However, it quickly got nasty - windy, rainy, and cold! However, Fernie is an interesting town, although it looks like it is much more happening in the winter. Pretty sleepy for a Saturday night here!

Full rivers

The view continues to be really nice the whole way. We followed the Kootenay river quite a bit of the way, as well as the Elk river for the last bit. Both looked really high to me - they were raging!

One last view of the mountains in BC

Fernie is a beautiful town - completely surrounded by huge mountains. The "resort" is being built up on the ski hill, away from the main town. The town itself looks like so many others we've seen, although it is a bit bigger. It looks like a weird mix - small, kind of run down houses, and then out of town the giant, sparkling new resort condos, trying hard to look like the next Whistler.

We passed the 1000km mark today - cool! We are only 50km from the Alberta border, and the continental divide. I am hoping that once we hit the divide the winds will prevail from behind - not the headwinds we have been battling. It will be nice to be coasting as well - there have been a lot of days with a slow uphill climb, and we will soon be doing the opposite.


Sunday, June 12

June 12 - Day off in Mt. Fernie Provincial Park

I had to take today off because I was not feeling well. Definitely a bit of stomach flu. We are going to get out of our "campground" in Fernie which is a grassy parking lot and head out to the provincial park.

Troll under bridge

We spent the extra day at the Mt. Fernie provincial park. Another great BC park! The only negative thing was this troll (a chicken-troll?) that lived under a bridge. We gained passage across the bridge by bribing him with bagels. 

Over the Crow's Nest pass to Alberta...