Keremeos Creek, Canada - Polarsteps
Total mileage: 978km (due to temporary odometer failure, our odometer reads 911km; we're going to let go of the 67km lost so that we can take cute odometer photos at the 1000km mark/don't have to keep doing the math. We'll just pretend that some of our time riding unloaded around Victoria didn't count.)
This was such a good riding day; the weather was perfect and the road was quiet and gently undulated downward toward Keremeos. We followed the Similkameen River between the mountains and cruised through farm land, small old mining towns, and eventually fruit orchards. We had some errands to run in town (Kini needed a specific allen key to fix up a wobbly hub, hopefully once and for all, we were out of camp fuel, and we wanted to do a little food stock-up.
We're trying to pace ourselves getting to Osoyoos because 1. it's still a 50km ride from here, 2. there's a major climb before descending into town, and 3. right after it we'll be climbing a lot of switchbacks to our third summit on Anarchist Mountain. At 2:30 in Keremeos we were trying to figure out what to do next; we didn't want to do a 90km day topped off with a big climb at the end, but looking on the map the road to Osoyoos didn't have any campgrounds and was dotted with wineries-- not conducive to sneaking our tent in somewhere. We ended up camping up the road at the Grist Mill and Gardens, a heritage site and small farming/gardening/seed-saving operation. Chris who runs it is just an absolute delight and has so many cool projects on the go, including baking sourdough and making a whole array of delicious preserves; we talked farming a lot (and got a better picture of the challenges farmers are facing in the Okanagan) and ended up knowing several people in common on Vancouver Island. Our campsite neighbours were total sweethearts-- a couple of scientists road-tripping and tent-camping their way home to Edmonton after visiting Vancouver Island with a couple of bicycles crammed in their car.
Everyone we've met on the road so far: you are truly, actually the stars of this show, whether we know you for minutes or days. Occasionally we roll in somewhere with our clown-car bikes and only get suspicious side-glances and averted eyes, but that's been far beyond balanced out by all the good conversation and goodwill we encounter, at camp sites, in front of grocery stores and gas stations, and even on the road when drivers are looking out for us on the bear front and otherwise. With small exceptions (like being stuck up a closed construction road), we're anything but alone out here, and we're so lucky to get to connect with people from this weird, vulnerable travelling space.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲