The next leg of our journey was from Revelstoke BC to Pemberton BC to stay with my friend Rick and his girlfriend Lennie. Rick moved west just after Darryl, about ten years ago. We arrived in Pemberton just after dark and Darryl, who was traveling with us from Revelstoke, called Rick to get directions to his place. That evening we sat around reminiscing for a while and then went out to the Pemberton Hotel bar to catch a live band. The following day we sat around and got in some much needed R&R.
Monday morning we got up and drove in to Whistler for the day. We dropped Darryl off at the auto shop where his truck was being stored and said our goodbyes. Then Sue and I parked the bus and walked around Whistler Village for the day. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to see because the power was out and most of the shops were closed. Sue bought some biking clothes at one of the few open shops then we headed back to Pemberton. That evening Sue, Rick, Lennie and I went out for a ride/jog before heading back for dinner and calling it a night.
We decided to make our last full day in Pemberton and Whistler a biking day. We packed up the bikes and headed into Whistler. We rode the Lost Lake trails and the classic A River Runs Through It and that afternoon headed up to the Logger’s Lake downhill trail. Sue crashed on one of the Lost Lake trails and twisted her wrist up good so she decided to hike River instead of bike it. I decided not to ride the Whistler bike park because I would have had to rent a DH bike and I hate riding bikes I’m not familiar with. Not to worry though, I’ll be back for more.
The next day we planned to leave Rick’s place and head to Abbotsford to my cousin’s place. But not before Rick and I hit one more trail. Another classic that I love to ride – The Tower of Power. This trail reminds me of the riding up near Killbear in Ontario. Lots of smooth granite faces and steep drop offs. It’s always a good time and it brought back so many great memories of past visits to Whistler. While we rode the trail Sue did some hiking in nearby Nairn Falls Provincial Park. That afternoon we said our goodbyes and headed south down the Sea to Sky highway towards Vancouver and Abbotsford. We arrived at my cousin Denise’s place in Abbotsford at around 8pm that evening. To our surprise my cousins Marilyn, Melisa and Kim (Denise’s sisters) and my Aunt Joanne and Uncle Ralph were all over to see us. It was really great to see everyone again and it was great that Sue got to meet the whole Schweitzer family. My Aunt Joanne is my dad’s youngest sibling and only sister. We spent the evening catching up and talking about our travels.
We woke up the next morning feeling very well rested thanks to the amazingly comfortable bed we slept in (Kudos Denise and John for the stellar accommodations). We planned to spend the entire day in Vancouver so after a great breakfast (thanks again guys) we got in the bus and drove into the city and headed for Stanley Park. We spent the morning biking around the sea wall and in the afternoon we hit the Vancouver Aquarium. That evening we headed to Granville Island to check out the market and have dinner.
My cousin Denise also conveniently lives next to some very stellar mountain bike trails in Abbotsford. I decided to sample the local offerings. On my first pedal to the top I met a local rider named Jeff who offered to give me the trail tour. These trails had everything from fast, flowing singletrack to drops to gap jumps - all well placed down this small mountain on the edge of town. I spent the majority of the day exploring the trails. One trail ended with a log ride to a six foot drop. Another had a series of drops into a gully – I hit a nice twelve footer on one of the trails.
From Abbotsford it was time to head back into the US. We crossed at the Sumas border crossing south of Abbotsford. The border guard asked us the usual questions – where are you going and how long, etc. – and I guess he didn’t like our story because he asked us to pull over for an inspection. It turns out they didn’t like the fact that we were traveling for six months, had no jobs (technically), and were planning on being in the US for over a month before heading into Mexico. After explaining to them that we had been planning and saving for this trip for almost a year they were a bit more understanding. Through the whole ordeal we lost two potatoes, apparently not allowed across the border. That evening we drove through Seattle where the streets were so steep the bus struggled to make it up. I had to (almost) run a red light to keep it rolling forward. After the white-knuckle experience in Seattle we headed south of the city and found a rest stop to crash at for the night.
While in Washington we stopped at Mt St Helens. It was truly a humbling experience to see what a volcano is capable of. We spent the next two days driving down the Washington and Oregon coast. On the Canadian Thanksgiving day we made ourselves turkey dinner complete with all the fixings. It made us really miss home.
One of the stops we planned to make on our trip was to visit Buster’s previous owners, Don and Dona, in Eugene Oregon. We arrived there the day after Thanksgiving in the evening. Don and Dona live on an eight acre parcel of land in the hills outside Eugene. They are retired and Dona spends her days in her garden while Don has taken up pottery as a past time.
The next few days we spent hanging out. Don took us into town so I could buy oil and oil filters for the bus. Along the way we got the full tour of Eugene and stopped for a beer and fries at a college pub. While we were staying in Eugene Dona showed Sue how to make concrete molds from rhubarb leaves to use as garden ornaments and Don gave Sue a pottery lesson – apparently she’s a natural at both.
While she was learning to pull pots I went on a day trip to the town of Oakridge, an hour drive from Eugene, to ride the trails. I found a great trail through an old dark mossy forest. It was one of those trails with slippery roots and muddy turns that keeps you on your toes and gives you an ear to ear smile. The last night we were in Eugene Don and Dona took us out for dinner at their favourite Thai food restaurant.
Thanks Don and Dona for a great couple of days.
From Don and Dona’s we started our trip east towards Utah. We drove all day and made it to a campground in the desert near the town of Riley Oregon. Our original plan was to head down through the Steen’s Mountain area in southeastern Oregon and into Nevada where we would connect with the I80 somewhere in the center of the state. Instead Sue and I got talking and plans changed. The beauty of having an open itinerary is you can change it when you want. So instead of heading straight to Utah we decided to make a detour south to Reno and Lake Tahoe.