(223/336) Hell's Gate

August 10, 2012 – Kirk had to work today, but he was working at home, so that meant it was time for me get out of the condo and hit the road.

It wasn’t obscenely hot, and we are heading across the border tomorrow, so a ride into the Fraser Canyon seemed in order for me. I Headed out the Barnet Highway and into Port Moody, then skirted Coquitlam by heading up into Westwood Plateau where I looked at some of the new developments. Nice, except that they are not in North Vancouver 😉 On my way down I accidentally found myself turning a corner at the end of a road and realized I was in front of a townhouse that we came very close to buying 14 years ago. Instead we bought a boat. You may think that’s silly, but we still don’t. If we’d bought that condo, I can’t think of all of the friends that we wouldn’t have in our lives at this point. So many things would be different, and we wouldn’t have the fabulous community of friends that we do now. Arguably, we’d probably have a different community, but boating probably wouldn’t have been a part of our lives. We probably wouldn’t have made those two sailing trips to Greece, etc, etc.

I stopped and looked at it for a few moments, it’s still a lovely townhouse, at the end of a road, with a golf course on one side and farmland on the other. But I don’t regret not buying it, not for a moment. A friend (our Mortgage Broker) said, when we killed the deal, “good plan, you’d have spent the next five years trying to claw your way back to the North Shore”. Pretty sure he was right.

From there, I crossed the Pitt River Bridge and then took a left towards Pitt Lake and wove my way across the farm lands along the Old Dewdney Trunk Road. It’s a tricky route to follow, particularly when it gets into the residential areas. I figured it out a few years ago when I was doing some work out at Inch Creek Hatchery and was getting bored of driving the Lougheed all the way, all the time. It’s easy to miss some turns, but if you remember to follow the truck route signs, you can get through fairly easily. It’s a pretty ride, particularly through the Stave Lake area. Eventually, if you do it right, you pop out a little ways past Mission and just before Hatzic.

Back onto Lougheed, I passed through Hatzic, Dewdney, Deroche, and into Agassiz. Left at Agassiz and on towards Hope. It’s a relatively boring stretch of road, long and straight, with heavy crosswinds in places, but it beats the freeway.

In Hope I stopped for gas and had a bit of a standoff with a little old lady at the gas pump. I had pulled in behind a truck, and when he pulled away, I rolled forward. She had come in the other way and I guess was nose to nose with him, and as I rolled in to the pump she tried to muscle her way into it from the other side. Nuh-uh! She sat there with her blinker on glaring at me the entire time I fuelled up, and even rolled forward more at one point, so that she was only a few feet off my front tire. When I got back on the bike she just sat there gripping the wheel glaring at me over the rim. She failed to grasp that she had made it hard for me to leave. Maybe she thought I had reverse, I don’t know.

The ride up to Hell’s Gate was uneventful other than the heavy winds. Traffic was super light and I had the road almost to myself. I was hot and needed to pee so I figured I’d buy an ice cream and then ask to use the washroom. The joke was on me. The ice cream was overpriced, and when I finished and asked to use the washroom, I was told that the only washroom is down at the other end of the $20 tram ride. Now if that isn’t a way to catch desperate people, I don’t know what is. I could hold it!

On the way back down into Hope traffic was a bit heavier as it was getting on in the day. I ended up behind a truck and camper who thought doing 65km/hr through the tunnels section was perfectly appropriate. Pretty sure no one in the long line of traffic behind him agreed. And then – and I just friggin’ HATE it when people do this – once the road straightened out and a passing lane came into view, he sped up to 120 as I was right beside him! I think some people do this unconsciously – as the traffic speeds up around them, they too speed up, but it’s a piss off when you are trying to get by them, because you know that the next corner will see their speed drop by half again.

Again, some heavy winds, especially near Yale and between Hope and Agassiz. I just slid down and hugged the tank to make myself as aerodynamic as possible and tried to ignore the knot in my shoulder. The winds can be fun if you are in the right frame of mind, they are a good challenge and remind me why it’s good to be light on the handlebars.

IMG 0418

I rolled in at the Lake of the Woods and sent Kirk a text. It was around 3:30 and I knew he’d be done working soon. We agreed that I’d continue back on Lougheed and he’d ride it the other way. Eventually we’d meet somewhere along the way, most likely around Mission or Maple Ridge.

I stopped a few times along the way to see where he was. I love the iPhone. We use an app called Find Friends that can show us each where the other is at any given time. It’s useful for things like this, and we can stalk each other too 😉 “Where are you sweetie?” “Oh, I’m just out shopping” “I can see that, get out of Fluevogs!!!” Hmmm, might have to shut it off occasionally.

I pulled off just outside of Maple Ridge at a truck pullout that is very easy to see, and I watched where his little pin was and eventually he came zipping by, turned around at the light, and joined me. I love technology when it works!

Into Coquitlam for a steak dinner and a badly needed beer at the Frog & Nightgown. Then home to strip the gear off and retire to the deck to cool off over a glass of wine.

A decent 465km today, and the odometer rolled past 19,550. I’ll definitely be hitting 20,000km this weekend. Today’s trip is here in Google Earth format.

Good day all around.