Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 205/206/207 - Vancouver

Distance travelled (by bike): 29,150

Its nice to be able to think about relaxing for a while. 
Having arrived in Vancouver to relax, i ended up working with a landscaping firm for a couple of days, no designing necessary, more general handyman/gopher. Earning some unexpected and much needed cash before they took the sunday and monday off and i headed north. I was told if i return to Vancouver then i would have a job waiting…time and circumstance will dictate if i take up that offer. 
Vancouver has a lot happening over the long weekend, it was time to decide what to see/do. From the huge list one stood out...The loggers (lumberjacks) sports contests at Squamish. With loggers coming from all over the world to compete, this, i felt was a must do, a real cultural experience. - I was not disappointed. 
From events like axe throwing to tree climbing, butcher block chopping  and birling, it was an amazing, slightly surreal and highly recommended experience. It was a very local event, I was among the minority of foreigners, of which i include people from out of state, making the event all the more unique. With a great atmosphere, events that would breach all health & safety laws in the UK, humorous commentary and fantastic weather it was a highlight of this adventure.
I now have a serious respect for the loggers/lumberjacks, a huge amount of skill, strength, stamina and determination is required to work in the industry, let alone compete and win competitions. Great day!

the BBQ at the Loggers event

the main two poles are 100 feet high!

one of the competitors nearly at the 100ft bell, the quickest time climbing to 100ft and back down was 17 seconds!!!!!

sawing at 100ft!

handstand over 100ft in the air

axe throwing


springboard chop - amazing. Using two boards to climb the tree you stand on the top one to cut the tree down, the winner did it in less than 3 minutes!

these guys were faster sawing through the tree than the chainsaws

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 204 - Kelowna - Vancouver

Distance travelled (by bike): 28,960

Slight change of plan, but it makes sense. There is a long weekend in Canada, accommodation has been booked way ahead of time, i didn't know this, so i was frantically trying to find somewhere to stay. With tyres waiting in Vancouver, a place to stay and a sister to return, a plan was hatched to drive west for the weekend. Get the maintenance done on the bike, new tyres fitted and see the family.
Leaving Kelowna early (as i was warned theta the traffic would get heavy later in the day) we headed west. 
Taking the highway i felt sorry for phoebe as although the scenery was still dramatic, we were racing past  on a 3 lane road. After a few stops we arrived on the outskirts of vancouver, to be met by huge traffic jams. Having had enough i decided to weave through the traffic (i think this is technically illegal in Canada), clearing the traffic a red flashing light illuminated my clocks, pulling over to fill with oil, Phoebe was convinced that something serious was wrong and we should call a tow truck. Oil in bike, red light off, Phoebe on edge we continues through Vancouver. Arriving at our destination i could hear Phoebe breath a sigh of relief. 

Day 203 - Kelowna / BIg White

Distance travelled (by bike): 28,560

Day 203 - Deciding to get out of Kelowna we headed for Big White ski resort, having heard great things i was curious and though it would be worth a look. The drive was typically stunning, surrounded by trees, river running through the valley, a perfect advert for the rockies. Unfortunately we arrived at Big White unaware that the resort practically closes down for summer, becoming more of a construction site. Our plans to do some hiking or mountain biking were blown out the water, sadly nothing to do but turn around and head back.
On the way back to Kelowna we saw a cider farm that offered tours and tasting, perfect. After a detour we found the farm. Luck was not on our side today, the farm had stopped doing tours, the farm next door would, but reluctantly and from the description, you just walk through the orchard and drink some cider, soundd a bit like my teenage years again it. Dismissing the cider we returned to Kelowna opting to see the wine museum, which we were told was good. Again my opinion of good was hugely different to the person at the tourist info. By admission, the person at the museum told us as we entered that it was a huge embarrassment and handed us a glass of wine to somewhat take the edge off. He was right, so bad it was funny.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 202 - Kelowna

Distance travelled (by bike): 28,480

Been in the Okanagan we decided it would be rude not to visit some of the local vineyards (or wineries as they call then in the US). We started at Mission Hill, which is one of the best known vineyards in Canada, the complex is designed to enhance the surroundings and experience for us tourists. After a couple of tours and tasting a lot of wines from some of the best vineyards in the area we'd like to think we learnt a bit about wine. Phoebe got to taste ice wine for the first time which she was quite excited about, though not  convinced when she eventually got to taste it.
Pulling ourselves away from the vineyards before we got carried away it was time to explore Kelowna and look for the elusive lake monster. We never saw the actual monster, but got to cuddle up with a sculpture as a consolation prize. With the sun shining, patios and roof terraces thriving it was a  great day off the bike.

mission hill

phoebe with the 'monster' sculpture 

Day 201 - Nelson - Kelowna

Distance travelled (by bike): 28,450

After a phenomenal weekend it was hard to leave Nelson. But i had places to be, I was meeting Phoebe (my sister) in Kelowna, she had travelled from Vancouver to spend a few days playing motorcycle traveller. 
Riding west i left the invisible bubble that surrounds Nelson, keeping the rain away and the sun shinning. I got soaked, travelling parallel to the US border the clouds seem to stalk me along the way. Twisting though the rockies on the forest roads riding alongside the river i was glad that BA had warned me that if a deer jumps out theres usually another close behind. One jumped out infront of me, brakes slammed on, out walks another deer, looks at me and wanders across the road.
Kelowna, located in the Okanagan valley is home to some of the best vineyards in Canada and the famous illusive lake monster called Ogopogo which apparently lives in Lake Okanagan. Meeting Phoebe, having not seen her for 9 months was fantastic, blowing the budget on a lot of drinks and some great food