The end of the road?

Trip Start Jul 12, 2013
1
9
15
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, September 26, 2013

I MADE IT!

And I'm very happy to shout about it. Especially after one of my toughest weeks to date. Going solo again, I rode through the beautiful, fertile Okanagan valley where fruit stands bursting with colourful local produce line the highway. But autumn has definitely fallen this side of the Rockies with night time temperatures below freezing, plus a spell of stormy wet weather it has made camping, and cycling a cold, challenging pass time. I also completed my final mountain passes out of the valley with a tough 50 mile climb through Sunday Pass (1282m) and Allison Pass (1342m) to arrive in the oh so aptly named town of Hope. There I teamed up with Ben again for the last 2 days of cycling into the city.
And today, after leaving Toronto 61 days ago, Claud and I finally arrived in Vancouver.
During that time we have:
Covered 3090 miles/4973 km,
Had 9 days off (2 consecutive).
Gone through 5 provinces,
4 mountain passes
3 timezone changes,
4 punctures, 2 tyres, 1 new wheel, chain and set of back cogs
Highest temperature 44 degrees c, lowest -2 degrees
Highest altitude 1342 metres
Longest single hill climb, 48 miles/77km(Allison pass, Princeton to Hope)
Longest day 103 miles/166km to Ignace to Vermilion Lake (Ontario) shortest day 23 miles/37km Canyon hot springs to Revelstoke (BC)
Number of chocolate bars, peanut butter sandwiches and packets of supernoodles consumed....obscene.
Number of other touring cyclists encountered 57 (all but 4 going in the opposite direction).
Number of new friends made, countless.

The statistics are the easy part, however over the last 61 days I've also been through a full spectrum of emotions. Anger, frustration and tantrums at the wind, hills, heat, thunderstorms, hailstorms, oh and did I mention the wind....?
Tears and utter exhaustion after cycling some ridiculously tough days, finishing when there is nothing left in you and your body feels like it has been turned inside out.
Exhilaration, flying down the side if mountains at eye-watering speeds, weaving in and out of city traffic and overtaking busses, tractors and other (non-laden) cyclists....competitive? Just a bit.

Joy, wonder and open-mouthed awe at some of the spectacular scenery that is everywhere you turn in Canada. Sunrise over lake Superior, fields of golden sunflowers glowing in Manitoba, oceans of wheat and corn melting into the bluest, clearest horizon in Saskatchewan. The dramatic, dinosaur filled canyons of Drumheller and oil-fuelled prosperity of Alberta and finally, fittingly dramatic, the Rocky mountains, the wild, arresting, heart-pumping, lung breaking gatekeepers to British Columbia.

One of the single, overwhelming emotions however is gratitude. For the huge number of emails and blog comments people have taken the time to send, every single one has been gratefully received, keenly hoarded precious messages that have helped at some of the most difficult times.
It makes such a difference, kind and encouraging words from strangers who I've met at rest stops or even traffic lights and I'm truly humbled by the wonderful people who have scooped up a tired, dishevelled cyclist from the side of the road and shared their homes, their lives (and laundry) helping me to get me going again.

Looking back at my original blog entry a week before I set off, I was expecting the trip to take approximately 2.5 months. I'm surprised it's been quicker but I have been on a roll.
There are certainly a few places I could have lingered, mostly because of the people, and at times I've questioned that I'm not doing enough 'tourist' things such as visiting museums, hiking. But that's for another trip. Cycling through the landscape has, I feel, given me a unique perspective most tourists, and many Canadians don't get to experience. It's a vast country, I can't begin to see it all whichever way I travel.
Throughout the journey there has also been a growing sense of peace and calmness, when the road stretches out before you, your legs find a rhythm and your mind can freewheel. Cycling is one of the most simple activities, and that's all I've done really, just a bit of a long bike ride every day.

So, what next? The short answer is I'm not sure, but getting on the bike everyday has become a way of life, like going to the office to a job I enjoy. There are days I get up and grumble because it's cold, or I'm tired but when the reward is all of the above, why would I want to stop......?

I will definitely be taking a break in Vancouver, to recharge, rest and repair my ailing skirt. But I can say that I have truly fallen in love with Canada and the temptation to stay longer, to return to the start and to reconnect with friends I've made along the way is a strong one.
I'll spend some time deciding, but the road also continues, from Vancouver, down the Pacific Coast Highway, to Mexico and beyond....... If anyone has any suggestions or cares to join me on a little bike trip, let me know?

And finally,
For this last stage thanks to Tina for the food bank donation in honour of the trip. To Carol, Bonnie, Terry, Camp Along, Judy, Ryan and Bob at the Mission campsite for a special last night. My fabulous, final warm showers host Sharon and to Ben, for always having everything to hand when needed, I couldn't have asked for a better companion to share the road with.
Indeed I can't begin thank everyone, family, friends, long-standing and new, who have supported me over the last weeks. I know I can happily live with just a few panniers full of clothes, no problem. But what is most important is that which I can't bring with me everyday, the people I love and care about. I miss you, but thank you for being there, always.
Lorraine
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Comments

Karen Exkersley on

��������
Amazing, Truly amazing Lorraine.
I expect, you are now planning the next adventure.
Lots of love
Karen and Francis
Xx

Julie & John on

WELL DONE LORRAINE. What memories you have stored up for yourself. Rest and take some time for yourself and Claud before you start on your next adventure. Know the parents will be glad you've arrived safe and we will keep them out of mischief till you return. Take care. x x

Sara Jeffrey on

The end of the road is only in your heart. You will know when you have reached it.

angela on

dude! you totally did it!!! i'd tell you to go north because it's AMAZING but it will be cold this time of year :)

the pacific coast highway through oregon and cali is stunning but also scary and twisty and not very wide

Bob Eady on

Congratulations Lorraine, our too brief meeting at Agawa Bay Campground on Lake Superior was a revelation. Following your blog has been an inspiration. I don't know what adventure you have inspired me to try but I know there are many out there. Please keep posting I know this is just a beginning for you.

Mark on

CONGRATULATIONS! You should be really proud of your achievement. Sorry I wasn't there at the finish line to cheer you across x
Amazing photos. I especially love the "Drying Out" one!
Let me know what you're up to next x

Sandra and Steve on

Lorraine you will bring back some lovely memories and you will be able to share them with all your family back home.Take care and have a safe journey love sandra.

Carole on

Well done Lorraine and thanks for sharing the journey, it has made me want to visit Canada. We have done parts of the PCH and it's good. Have a break and a rest before you decide but whatever you do decide - go for it!

Carole xx

Gail on

So amazing what you have accomplished Lorraine! My patriotic heart swelled reading your appreciation for this country o' mine. Can't wait to see where this adventure of yours takes you!

Ann and Col on

Well done you! We have enjoyed reading your blogs and looking at your photos. Time for a well deserved rest and a few glasses of wine we think.

Mike Tina Joshua and Nicholas on

Congratulations from all of us!! Joshua says "that it was a long trip" and I'm sure that he doesn't even realize how long it actually was. We're all amazed and your endurance and your belief in yourself. YOLO!

giulia on

Canada is the right place for people as brave as you...GOOD GOOD GOOD GIRL!!! :)

Alex on

A stunning achievement Lorraine, well done, and thank you for allowing us to share your adventures.

Sharon and Guy on

What else can be said but "BRAVO" - amazing accomplishment. Don't forget to come visit us in the 1000 islands. We're looking forward to your next challenge.
Go Lorraine Go!

sharon lazare on

Lovely to have met you and to have had the opportunity to hang out with you and help provide the comfort you needed for your recovery. I do hope our paths will cross again. Meantime "mucha suerte", try not to push yourself too much!
Fondly
Sharon

Yvonne Kopecki on

Congratulations! Glad you came to our country and you enjoyed it. I am sure everyone who met you had their lives enriched and were inspired by you.

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