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Francois Cross Canada Adventure 2005 : Trip Diary

April 21, 2005 at 10:07PM
From: francois
Trip Diary

April 21, 2005
A little over a month to go until my trip starts. There is finally some decent cycling weather here after several weeks of cold rain so I've been out there enjoying it and getting in as much training as I can. Each long ride I do gives me a bit more confidence in myself and in the fact that I might actually be able to do this trip.

A bit of a downer - my two good friends Carl and Jim might not be able to join me, as planned, on the BC portion of the cycling trip. They are both managers with TELUS (BC phone company) and TELUS has put a stop to all holidays as they try to sort out their lack of a collective agreement with their union. I'm hoping that this mess gets straightened out by the time the trip begins as I really like cycling with those two punks.

If you like reading these sorts of journals, have a look at
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/?o=as&doc_id=762&v=h1

Its the diary of a Penticton family of 4 that has just started their cross anada adventure today. Its a great story and I'm addicted to reading their updates.


May 01, 2005 at 11:51AM
From: francois
May 1, 2005

I've picked my official departure date and it will be May 25th. Why did i pick that day? No reason, except that its after the opening of the latest Star Wars movie which i need to see before departing and its also a couple of days before my wife and kids depart for a family visit to ontario.

Jim and Carl still don't know if they will be able to join me for the BC portion of the trip as nothing has yet been resolved between TELUS and its unions.

I'm in decent shape at the moment, but I feel I should be in better shape for this trip. I wish I had trained harder. Even though I've been riding more than ever, I've actually managed to pack on a few pounds lately. I'm going to try to convince myself that this is due to more leg muscle but its going to be a difficult sell. I think its likely just due to eating more as biking makes me so hungry all the time.


May 10, 2005 at 11:15PM
From: francois
May 10, 2005

Only two weeks to go until I leave and I'm getting excited and scared at the same time. I'm starting to realize how much I will miss my family while I'm away. Marissa (my wife) and my kids, Liam (5 yrs old), and Emma (18 months) will be going to visit Marissa's parents in Burlington while I'm away on this trip. My mom, who lives with us and is nanny to our kids will be staying here for now and then coming to visit when I ride through Quebec.

I'm very lucky to have such a loving and supportive family. It would be impossible to undertake this trip without Marissa's full support. I worry most about Emma who will have a hard time understanding why her daddy is away for so long. And having said that, I sometimes ask myself why am I doing this now? Why not wait until the kids are older? The best answer I can think of is that there's probably never an ideal time to undertake such a trip. Sacrifices have to be made. I've got the strength and the endurance to undertake this trip now and I also have the required work flexibility. That may not be the case 1 year from now, or 2 years or 5 years from now.


May 13, 2005 at 09:33PM
From: francois
May 13, 2005

I heard some good news today. My good friends Carl and Jim will be able to join me on the BC portion of the trip as long as TELUS' unions don't go on strike. If a strike occurs during the trip then they will need to return to work within 24 hours in order to do the work normally handled by the union workers. Seems fair enough given the current situation.

On another note, my bike is in the shop today getting a final tune up and check over to make sure its in top form. I've taken today off and actually a few other days off of cycling this past week. I will have to be a little more consistent next week.


May 16, 2005 at 12:58PM
From: francois
May 16, 2005

I got completely drenched riding to work this morning. I hope I get better weather on the trip. Only 9 days to go.

I did some testing yesterday to ensure that everything I'm planning on bringing will fit into my paniers. Sure enough it did and I even have some room to spare. The total weight of the loaded paniers came to about 23 lbs (about 11.5 lbs each).


May 25, 2005 at 10:06PM
From: francois
May 25, 2005

Port Moody, BC to Hope, BC
KM Travelled Today: 142 KM, Total So far: 142 KM
Todays photo: http://www.bikeacrosscanada.com/photos/20050525/

The cycling adventure began today!!!

I woke up this morning with a case of severe butterflies. I was feeling really nervous, part of that due to the challenge before me and part of that due to how it would feel like to be away from my family for so long.

At about 8:20 am I said my goodbyes to my family and some tears were shed, most of them from me. When my son Liam started crying I began to wonder wether I should be doing this trip at all. I decided to proceed with the support of my wife and with the knowledge that my kids will be well cared for.


Jim, Carl and I met up at a Coquitlam Starbucks at 9am where we met and exchanged stories with a fellow who had been in Phuket during last year's Tsunami. At 9:30am we started cycling.


We agreed to take short breaks to stretch and eat after every hour of riding. We had one unexpected stop when Jim broke a spoke on his back wheel. We stopped for about 40 minutes while Jim replaced the broken spoke while I watched on and tried to learn as much about the process as possible.

One of the highlights of the day was a stop in Harisson Hot Springs where we soaked our tired bodies in the hot spring public swimming pool. Going there was a few KM out of the way but it was well worth it.

We arrived in Hope about about 7:15pm and proceeded immediately to the Quality Inn. I chose the Quality Inn because of the free high speed internet access. After hauling our gear into the room we immediately proceeded to a nearby restaurant, called 'Home Restaurant', which we were told had great food. It did and the portions were generous which was perfect for a trio of hungry cyclists.

The internet access in the Quality Inn works great and there's free juice, coffee and continental breakfast so we're pleased. As I write this, i'm enjoying a victory beer with Jim and Carl.

So overall the first day went very well.


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May 26, 2005 at 09:43PM
From: francois
May 26, 2005

Hope, BC to Manning Park Lodge, BC
KM Travelled Today: 67 KM, Total So far: 209 KM
Todays photo: http://www.bikeacrosscanada.com/photos/20050526/

After a hearty breakfast we hit the road at 9:45 am which was a bit later than we should have.

The ride to Manning Park Lodge is pretty much all uphill with a few areas that are flat and even a few areas where you give up some of the hard-earned elevation only to regain it later.

We ran into a couple of issues today. The first was that we didn't have sufficient fluids. We each carried approximately 3 liters but due to the heat, this didn't last long enough. There was a gas station along the way where we hoped we could refill, but unfortunately it was closed. So we refilled from a stream we found and we crossed our fingers in the hopes that the water was sufficiently devoid of dead animal bacteria or other diarrhea causing substances.

The 2nd issue was that my legs started cramping terribly. This got so bad that at one point I could no longer ride my bike as my legs had completely ceased. I suspect this was due to a lack of sodium. I consumed two bagels each containing sodium and potassium and I rested for 30 minutes after which my legs were functioning normally again.

At approximately 5:15 pm we reached the summit of Allison Pass which was 1342 meters. And 15 minutes later we arrived at the Manning Park Lodge where we decided to stay the night. Our original goal for the day was to make it to Princeton, but after reaching Manning Park Lodge we'd had enough and decided we needed to heal our dilapidated legs by consuming some beer. I say with certainty that the beer here is the best tasting I've ever had.

We just finished having dinner, and we're now waiting for our laundry to dry. Carl and Jim appear to be snoozing as I write this. It’s very peaceful here and that will lend itself to a great night's sleep I think.


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May 28, 2005 at 03:27PM
From: francois
May 27, 2005

Manning Park Lodge, BC to Hedley, BC
KM Travelled Today: 105 KM, Total So far: 314 KM
Todays photo: http://www.bikeacrosscanada.com/photos/20050527/

Manning Park Lodge is a wonderful place to get a peaceful nights sleep. We all slept like babies. The surroundings are absolutely beautiful here, the rates are very reasonable, and the staff was extremely helpful and friendly.

We got going a little late today, leaving the lodge at approx. 10:20 am. The first 25 KM were all downhill which was a very pleasant way to start the day. Then the climbing started again...and it continued and continued until we saw a sign that said 'Sunday Summit - 1282 m'. So we had decended for 25 KM only to have to climb again to pretty much the same elevation that we started at. I had to wonder wether we'd find a 'Monday Summit' somewhere further along. After 'Sunday Summit', the rest of the day was relatively easy and mostly downhill. We had a strong headwind which kept our speed down, and the heat was somewhere around 34 celcius I believe, but other than that it was a pleasant.

We enjoyed a hearty lunch at Chaps Family Restaurant in Princeton and then continued on our way with Hedley being our goal for the day. The road from Princeton to Hedley follows the path of the Similkameen river and we decided to soak our legs in said river in an attempt to cool our smoldering bodies. That was nice.

At around 5:30 in the afternoon we arrived in Hedley, which is an old gold mining town. Theres no mining going on there now, but many old buildings and structures are still in place. We decided to stay at a bed and breakfast called The Colonial Inn, which was originally a guest house for the mining company. Its a lovely house and the owners were very good hosts. All three of us recommend it as a place to stay should you find yourself in Hedley. As a bonus there was a pub right across the street where we enjoyed a couple of victory beers and a filling dinner.

We concluded the day with a few hands of poker and Jim managed to win some of my money.


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May 28, 2005 at 03:29PM
From: francois
May 28, 2005

Hedley, BC to Osoyoos, BC
KM Travelled Today: 76 KM, Total So far: 390 KM
Todays photo: http://www.bikeacrosscanada.com/photos/20050528/

We decided that today would be a relatively short day so that we could give our bodies some extra rest and so our goal for the day was determined to be Osoyoos, 76 KM away.

We departed from Hedley at 9:30 am. The road continued to follow the Similkameen river which also meant that the road was trending downhill, again a very pleasant way to start the day. After approx 1 hour of riding we reached Keremeos where we decided to stop for an early lunch at Arleigh's Neighbourhood Restaurant which had great service and good food. Just outside of this restaurant I met a Quebec cyclist named Gilles who is biking from BC to Quebec. He started his journey 4 days ago, just like us. I hope to see him again sometime along the way.

Approx 15-20 KM past Keremeos we started climbing again. At first we passed a series of rolling hills, climbing up, then coasting down. Then it was just uphill until we reached the summit of Richter Pass at an elevation of 2295 feet (700 m). Then we decended the remaining 11 KM into Osoyoos stopping only at a lookout point that overlooked the town below.

Upon arriving into Osoyoos we stopped at the Tourist Info centre to find out what motels or hotels have high speed internet. That lead us here to the Econo Lodge which seems great so far. We've got rooms by the pool and the wifi 'Net access is fast.

The last four days have been great so far. I'm certainly getting a better understanding of my body's limits. We each have our own style of riding it seems. Jim rides like someone who has done this before (which he has - he crossed Canada on bike in 1995) - he rides a reasonable pace and seems to know his limits well. Carl rides more aggressively, demolishing any hill that comes before him, has a bit of competitiveness in him, and due to his limits in time is eager to get as far as possible. I'm currently the overly cautious rider, not pushing too much for fear of early burnout but trying not to slow Jim and Carl down too much either.

Tomorrow will be a full rest day. Osoyoos seems like a great place to take a break and relax for a day.


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May 29, 2005 at 11:08PM
From: francois
May 29, 2005

Rest Day in Osoyooz
Todays photos: http://www.bikeacrosscanada.com/photos/20050529/

I spent part of the day catching up on e-mails, doing some work, laundry and even had a nap. Jim walked over to the beach and did some reading. Carl,on the other hand doesn't believe in resting, and so he cycled around the lake and then up Anarchist Mountain. :)

We're going to try to get up a little earlier tomorrow and hopefully make it to Christina Lake which is approx 150 KM from here. If we tire early we can also stop either at Grand Forks or in Greenwood.


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