The wet weather continues through the night and into the early morning. As I stand in the rain packing up a tent that’s covered in slugs, I see a few patches of blue sky here and there and remain hopeful.
I leave camp at 8 a.m. as one of the last ones to start out. The rain is still coming down but I manage to keep a good pace as the wind blows east. Half an hour later I catch up to Diane, Larry, Anna and Elaine.
Riding in a group when it’s wet has never appealed to me much because I just end up with water sprayed in my face from other people’s rear wheels. I decide to go on ahead for the time being and cover this section solo. By 9 a.m. the rain is only a light mist and my odometer reads 28 km.
Twenty minutes later I’m ready for a break. I take a quick detour into Hope, the chainsaw carving capital, in search of a warm and dry place to sit. The group of four riders that I saw earlier soon pulls in to join me at a cafe down the street.
The chainsaw carvings are really quite remarkable. They’re on display all over town.
Once we leave Hope, we switch to Highway 1 and follow the Fraser River through seven tunnels with frequent bouts of rain. The tunnels, unfortunately, are not much wider than the trucks that speed through them. It’s scary being on a bike with nowhere to go when a truck approaches from behind.
In the first tunnel I am pressed against the wall on the right side as I walk my bike along the narrow passageway. I hear a vehicle coming and just as I turn my head to see what it is and how close it is to me, I am inches away from getting creamed by a bus.
The shoulders are not entirely paved and are quite dangerous in spots. The space between the rumble strip and the sand doesn’t leave much room to ride.
A few food breaks help chip away at the distance and allow me to fully appreciate the beautiful view of the Fraser River. Only the last hour of the ride is completely free of rain.
I am utterly exhausted when I get to camp. Even pitching my tent seems like a lot of work. There are only three other riders there when I arrive shortly after 2 p.m.
Dinner is a delicious tofu curry with rice, which is so good I go back for seconds. About an hour later it gets really cold all of a sudden so we huddle around the campfire to keep warm.
It’s getting late – time to get some sleep. It so happens that four of us have the same brown MEC tent. What are the odds of that?