We’re really behind on our blog as you can probably tell. It tends to get sidelined because there is just so much to do. Anyway, here is the next installment – only three weeks late.
Further along Highway 16 we stopped at Burns Lake to use the free wifi at the visitor’s center. The woman working there noticed our bikes and told us that Burns Lake has a great bike park designed by a well known BC mountain biker Jay Hoots. An hour later we were riding the trails. Some of the trails we hit were Pork Grind, Smells Like Bacon, and Piglet. I think there was a bit of a theme there. We stopped for a bit to make lunch when the rain started so we decided to head out.
The next town we stopped in was Williams Lake where we headed to the local bike shop, Red Shreds, to ask about the trails. The guys working there told us the best trails to ride were AK89 and Mitch’s Brew but to get to the top you need to drive. We were stoked when a girl at the shop offered to come with us to drive the bus back down and meet us at the bottom. AK89 was some great rolling sinlgetrack. Mitch’s Brew on the other hand was a super fast, super steep downhill run complete with large gaps, big jumps and high berms. Sue impressed me by riding most of the trail. There was one super steep section that Sue tried to hike down and it turned out riding would have been easier, it was that steep. Sue was super stoked and proud that she rode the trail without any injuries. After the ride we drove the girl (who’s name escapes us, sorry) back to the shop then Sue drove me back to the top for a second run. After that ride we found great $3 showers at the local rec center and hit the road.
Our next stop was the city of Kamloops where we found a Walmart parking lot to sleep in for the night. The next day we headed downtown to Full Boar bike shop to inquire about the local trails. I asked the guys there if you were only in town for one day and there was one trail you had to ride what would it be. Steve, one of the guys working there, told us to ride Rio which was featured in the mountain bike film Seasons. We were stoked to have the opportunity to ride such a famed trail, getting there however sucked much of our stoke. The uphill grunt to get to the trailhead was a two and a half hour ordeal in the hot sun up Rose Hill Road which leads to an affluent suburb of Kamloops. We stopped pedaling a short ways up and decided to walk our bikes. About three quarters of the way up I was pushing both bikes. But the trail was well worth the punishing uphill climb. Super fast, flowing singletrack. A bit dry, but we weren’t complaining, we were in Kamloops riding Rio. The folks in Kamloops can sure lay out a trail. After the first run Sue shuttled me to the top for a second helping. We’ll definitely be going back to Kamloops to ride this trail again. That evening we decided to head to Revelstoke to my cousin Jim’s place for the night. Rev’y is a two hour drive from Kamloops.
My cousin lives next to the Revelstoke airport which was great because it was like having our own private air show. His property also backs on to the Columbia River valley which makes for some spectacular views of the area. Jim took us mushroom picking (the edible ones for those thinking something else) and plum picking. Jim has a dehydrator and dries just about everything that can be dehydrated. Although technically “retired” he works for a local towing company that specializes in transport truck accident recovery. This means tons and tons of free stuff from oranges to shrimp and pork sides to winter coats. The stuff is all insurance company write-offs anyway. Most of the stuff ends up in the garbage but a select amount ends up in Jim’s freezer. We spent one afternoon cutting up a frozen side of pork with a hacksaw – good times indeed.
While in town I looked up my buddy Darryl, an old friend of mine from back home who moved to BC ten years back. Darryl and his dog Kirra moved from Whistler to Revelstoke a year ago and he is now working on his auto body apprenticeship at a local body shop. It just happens that Darryl also lived by the airport just 500 yards from Jim’s place. He stopped by regularly for dinner and refreshments.
One thing we had to take care of while in Rev’y was to work on the bus yet again. This time it was to figure out why the back tires were wearing so unevenly. Jim called his friend Herman who owns several VW Westies to get his opinion on the tire problem. Herman came by and all four of us tried to figure out what was wrong. Herman decided to jump on the bumper to test the shocks and discovered that all four shocks were blown. That day four new shocks were ordered from the local Napa and the next day Jim and I installed them in his driveway. Problem solved, we thought. While in Rev’y we had to sample the local bike trails of course. Mt McPherson is across the river from Jim’s place and is crisscrossed with fast, flowy XC trails. Sue also shuttled me up Sale Mountain north of Revelstoke to hit the Martha Creek DH trail. The road to the trail head was a super gnarly logging road that was the worst up hill road we’ve taken the bus on and was a great test for the new shocks.
My parents were also on a trip to the west coast and were planning on passing through Revelstoke so we decided to stick around to see them. For the next two nights the five of us hung out together. Jim took us to see a heli-logging operation south of Rev’y. He used to own a business selling helicopter fuel and knows just about everyone in the industry so we had front row seats. It was quite the experience watching logs being hauled off a mountainside dangling 200 feet under a helicopter. While we were there one of the ground crew at the loading site cut a couple cross sections of cedar for Sue to have as a souvenir.
After spending about a week in Revelstoke we headed south through Nakusp then west to Kelowna. Along the way we noticed that the front suspension had a bad knock in it and I was thinking it was something to do with the shocks. We stayed in Kelowna for two days and ran into my parents once again who were staying with friends in Westbank across the lake from Kelowna. While we were there we just had to sample the bike local trails. It turns out that some of the best singletrack and downhill trails in Kelowna just happen to be directly behind my parent’s friend’s house, go figure. We decided that the safest place to work on the bus was back in Revelstoke so the next day we headed back to my cousin’s place to figure out what was wrong with the suspension.
Back in Revelstoke I ripped the bus’s front suspension apart again. This time I discovered that the upper control arm bushings (the ones my buddy Todd and I just replaced before the trip) were toast. This was probably my fault for not installing them right the first time but I’m going to blame it on the Dempster Highway instead. I ordered new bushings from an online auto parts place which were supposed to come the following day but didn’t show up for three days. When they finally arrived Jim and I installed them in his driveway. All in all we spent three weeks in Rev’y and we grew pretty fond of the little town.
This time we left Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada heading west for Pemberton just north of Whistler where my buddy Rick lives. Darryl hitched a ride with us to pick up his truck in Whistler which had been in the shop since he moved to Revelstoke. We took the north route through Lillooet and over the Hurley Pass to get to Pemberton. We decided that if we hit snow along the way we would stop and have a snowball fight – we hit snow. On the decent into Pemberton the road is very steep and the bus’s little brakes weren’t up for the challenge. We ended up having to pull over half way down to let them cool down. And not a minute too soon, they were almost non-functional and glowing bright orange. We managed to get to Pemberton and Rick’s place safely and that night went out to celebrate.