So we began cycling the Ranchlands of British Columbia
From Merritt we jumped onto the old highway 5A through the valley. Rolling hillsides and lakes started popping up around us as we started cycling the ranchlands of British Columbia. It was a beautiful cycle, the only issue was there was a lot of private land and a severe lack of wild camping. Our waiting paid off. Eventually we came across an AWESOME campsite next to a lake, about 40km south of Kamloops. It was absolutely stunning – minus the duck poo that covered the ground! Luckily, I had a spare bag and got to work cleaning up the site, while Michael stared in amusement.
Over dinner we chatted about other cycle tourists and different ways of cycle touring. We agreed that we could not travel without a stove and hot meals – surprisingly a lot of people do. The night was super windy and I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep! I thought the tent was going to blow away with us in it, or the lake was going to flood our tent. In the morning, we were both zombies and needed a coffee boost! Michael went to turn on the stove and nothing happened. It completely packed in. New priority – cycle to Kamloops and find a coffee shop.
The cycle into Kamloops was awesome – a constant downhill gradient. How we descended so much when we were on our way to the Rockies, I have no idea, but I wasn’t complaining. So far we were loving, cycling the ranchlands of British Columbia!
We found our new favourite internet/ coffee shop/ cheap food outlet – Tim Hortons! For the price of x2 regular coffees in Starbucks, you could get x2 mugs-the-size-of-your-head coffees, plus 2 bagels in Timmy’s, and usually the coffee was better. We love Timmy’s! On top of this, our favourite Canadian supermarket, the Real Canadian Superstore was opposite. When cycle touring you tend to have a favourite supermarket in every country you cycle. The store is usually determined by where you can get the most food for the least amount of money.
We got coffee, we caught up on emails, and Michael tried to fix our stove – fail! It turned out the Coleman multi-fuel stoves can run on unleaded gas in every country in the world, except Canada. No joke, it actually says this on the instructions, we just didn’t read it until it was too late. We had been using unleaded gas, and it had blocked up the stove. So we ended up buying an emergency stove from a camping store, to tie us over until we got to MEC in Calgary.
It had been 5 days since we last had a shower and though I had a stash of baby whips to use. We were both beginning to smell and were in desperate need of a shower. I decided to book us into an Airbnb in our next destination, Clearwater. Originally we were going to have a rest day in Clearwater, and though we had managed to make up a bit of time, we were still a day behind making it to Calgary in time for the Calgary Stampede. This meant no rest day until we made it to Jasper (only 320km and 1000m incline to go).
After spending a night camping at a rest stop in the rain, we cycled (in the rain) to Clearwater. Despite the crappy weather, it was a beautiful cycle along the river on highway 5, and overall we really enjoyed cycling the ranchlands of British Columbia. Once we arrived in Clearwater we were greeted by our Airbnb host, Kim, who not only drove us to the supermarket and the liquor store, he also drove us to Wells Gray Provincial Park to look at some waterfalls and views. This hour trip by car, would have taken us at least half a day on the bikes. It also made this overnight stay actually feel like a rest day.
We woke feeling clean, somewhat rested and ready to conquer the Rockies.