Day 15 Tonasket WA to Kelowna BC
Peachland BC, near Kelowna
I reached the first of my 'goals' on this tour today, riding into Canada and up the Okanagan Valley (note the spelling change) to Kelowna. My mother grew up Vancouver BC and, after graduating from UBC, taught for a year in Peachland BC. That was about 65 years ago, and I suspect she wouldn't recognize the place now, but it will be fun to talk with her about Peachland. I rode into Peachland with Jac qui and Rob from Kelowna. They rode down to meet me north of Penticton, and we rode together to their home where I am taking a much needed rest day today.
Last night the weather forecast wasn't too bad: north winds in the morning changing to south in the afternoon. This morning the changing to south was now in the evening and I was faced with riding 100 miles into 15 mph headwinds. Oh well, you do what you have to do.
US 97 north of Tonasket
Riding was good, just slow because of the headwinds. Initially I was able to average 10 mph, but later in the day the winds were not as bad and my average for the entire day was 11 mph. That meant almost nine and a half hours of actual pedaling - my longest day of this tour. I measured about 2500 feet of climbing, but that, compared to the wind, was pretty insignificant. Still, most of this ride was very good riding: light traffic, good shoulder, excellent scenery, friendly people, and other tourists to visit with along the way. Nice.
Pretty Country on US 97
I stopped for an excellent breakfast in Oroville - a great breakfast buffet - and rode on to Canada.
In Canada I rode through many miles of cherry orchards laden with almost ripe fruit.
The road signs were briefly bi-cultural, but switched to kilometers only pretty quickly. I stopped to visit with a rider from Quebec who was in BC to pick cherries. He had shipped his bike to Banff and ridden to BC. I stopped for a first lunch at Oliver, a surprisingly large town about 15 miles from the US, and again in Okanagan Falls for a snack. Riding on CA 97 was fine before Okanagan Falls, and I saw lots of other bicyclists and hitchhikers in this section.
Between Oliver and Okanagan Falls
Eastside Rd around Skaha Lake north of Okanagan Falls
In Okanagan Falls, I left CA 97 for the Eastside Road which runs on the other side of Skaha Lake. This was really nice riding! In Penticton, I stopped at Tim Horton's (yeah!) for soup, sandwich, and coffee to keep me going for the 50 miles ahead. I was tired from riding into that wind, but it was getting gentler. Leaving Penticton, I was able to sustain13 or 14 mph on level ground! Traffic was heavy and this section was like riding a slow interstate highway. I put in my earplug.
North of Penticton on CA 97
Coming into Summerland - I wanted to go swimming
There is a big hill in Summerland, and cranking up that hill, I caught up with a fellow from California on a Ryan recumbent with a Bob trailer. He had been riding 97 all the way from its southern end in California and is headed for Edmonton. We had a nice visit riding along the top of that hill and then, as he pulled away from me going downhill, I met Jacqui and Rob who were waiting for me at a pullover on the other side.
Jacqui and Rob ahead of me on their tandem
We rode together up the lake, stopping a couple of times and visiting with folks. I was still able to crank along reasonably well, but they would pull away on downhills. We caught up with the fellow on the recumbent just as we were leaving Peachland. He was looking for a campsite before reaching Kelowna and Jacqui and Rob told him where he could find one. Then we cranked on up the big hill and down again. Then it was just a grind (for my exhausted body) into Kelowna and up a few more hills to Jacqui and Rob's home. It had rained on that section of CA 97 and, as we left the highway, there was a rainbow ahead of us. Then we did 'the back roads' up into the hills. I knew there was a reason they were riding a MTB tandem!
Rob, Jacqui, and Rainbow near Kelowna