Day 18 Nakusp to Winlaw BC
Slocan Lake from Hwy 6 five miles north of Slocan
This was a spectacular day of touring that ended early because I didn't feel like pushing myself - again, since I had to push myself yesterday to reach Nakusp - to make Nelson. I stopped after about 60 miles of riding with 3900 feet of climbing. What really did me in was the 1000 foot, 6 to 7% grade, climb after Silverton. That climb, and the ride after it to Slocan, has some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen, so it was definitely worth doing, but it meant that getting to Nelson, my goal for the day, was going to require more than a mile of climbing. I could do it, but I would be doing just to get it done and I would not enjoy it. Sometimes, 'a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do' when touring. Other times there are options. This evening's last sure option was a B+B in Winlaw BC. It is an inexpensive and very nice place to spend the night and to create my web page and ride report without having to push my exhausted body to stay awake and finish the report. Tomorrow I'll ride into Nelson and decide if I should spend the day there or go on. This way I can enjoy Nelson without having to suffer first <grin>.
I spent last night in a motel (Kuskanax Lodge) and ate breakfast there this morning. Total cost was about $75 CND or $50 USD. The night before I spent in a B+B. Total cost was $40 CND for the same services. Tonight I have a suite (bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathroom) and breakfast for that same $40 CND. They normally charge $65 for the suite and $40 for a room. Back to this morning...
After a good breakfast, although not nearly as good as breakfast at the B+B the day before, I stocked up on bagels, cereal bars, and tapioca pudding cups at the grocery store across from my motel, then I went back to my room and did some editing on Day 17 before finishing my packing and heading for Nelson. I rode out of Nakusp, which is at about 1900 feet, at about 9:15. The road out of town was steep and Hwy 6 immediately started climbing.
Looking back over Nakusp from Hwy 6, note the mountains and the lake
Pretty soon I was in a valley above Nakusp and could see mountains at the other end of the valley. The view, over fields of flowers, was lovely.
Looking at the mountains, heading towards New Denver
The road climbed and dropped, eventually reaching about 2600 feet, and then, like the pass yesterday, settled down at about that altitude for many miles. Unlike yesterday, I did not have a headwind and the scenery was very nice. I stopped to use the bathroom and take pictures along Summit Lake. The 'outhouse' had a flush toilet and the lake was quite beautiful. Riding was very good.
Summit Lake about ten miles from Nakusp
The road eventually went past the mountains I had seen at its start, lost its shoulder and descended to the top of Slocan Lake in a nice, three or four mile downhill. Slocan Lake was even prettier tham Summit Lake.
No more shoulder, but still great views
The road is at 2500 feet, those peaks are above 8000 feet
Slocan Lake from near its north end.
I stopped for a snack alongside the lake about ten miles from New Denver and 25 miles from Nakusp. It was gorgeous!
View from my snacking spot
Then I cranked on into New Denver. The road was narrow and rough with no shoulder and there were too many trucks and RVs. I did get off the road once to let a double trailer semi pass me as a large truck was passing in the opposite direction. The semi would not have hit me if I had stayed o the edge of the lane, but it was polite, and relatively easy at 8 mph, to go off into the sparse vegetation alongside the road and return to the road without stopping. Drivers of all types of vehicle were very polite, and I did not feel stressed nor put into danger at any time during this ride.
Hwy 6 north of New Denver
The road improved before it reached New Denver. In New Denver, I stopped for lunch at the restaurant at the Inn in town. It was OK, but overpriced and too salty. Then I visited the Nikkei Interment Memorial in New Denver. My mother had told me of the great injustice done to Canadian citizens of Japanese ancestry in Vancouver BC during the war. They were robbed of their property and deported or sent to interment camps. A similar scenario occurred on the west coast of the US. The popular novel, "Snow Falling on Cedars," which was made into a movie, is about that interment in the US.
This is the first paragraph of the plaque at the memorial
After leaving New Denver, I stopped for 'dessert' in Silverton half a dozen miles later. I guess these folks were into Colorado! At this point I had ridden about 40 miles and climbed about 1800 feet. My dessert was a 1 liter Pepsi which I drank a third of and poured the rest into my third water bottle. I find that carrying cola or root beer this way really gives me a boost at snack breaks. I didn't know it until I left Silverton, but I was going to need a boost or two before Slocan!
Oh, oh, a snow gate. What is this, a pass?
Shortly south of Silverton, there was a sign about putting on chains. Then there was a gate to close the road in bad weather. This looked like a pass, not a road along a lake! And then the road started climbing pretty steeply. It kept climbing steeply until it had climbed 1000 feet. That was the longest continuos climb I had done in BC. Sure there was more steep climbing on Monashee, but it wasn't in one climb.
No real shoulders and no way to get off the road during 90+% of the climb
There were concrete barriers on the outside edge of the road and cliffs on the inside edge, and the road was narrow and twisty, but traffic was pretty light and very polite, so it wasn't a big deal. The climb was. I stopped twice on the way up to rest and stretch my sore back. I couldn't believe how much climbing was involved. I though it would stop at 2400 feet, or 2800 feet, but it just kept going to over 2900 feet, having started from about 1900 feet.
At the top there was a View Point and a rest area. From the view point you could appreciate why the road had to come up so high: it was nearly straight down to the water 1000 feet below. There was a chain link fence to prevent careless walkers from a long, and certainly fatal, fall into the lake
Looking across Lake Slocan from the view point
I drank some of my Pepsi and rode on down the other side of this big hill. The initial downhill took me down to 2500 feet, and, once again, I found my self riding rolling hills into a headwind. I guess I better get used to it! Jacqui and Rob, who live in a 'German' town, Kelowna, told me about German Tourists - the ones really from Germany. They claimed that you could always spot a German tourist because they would be riding up the steeper side of the hill and into a headwind. That is definitely me on this trip!
Looking ahead at the road cut into the hill about 500 feet above the lake
Although the head wind and additional climbing was annoying, the views coming down from that hill are as spectacular as the best views on the Oregon coast. I know my web images can't capture them any better than they could capture that incredible coastline, but I have to try!
Finally, after a total of over 1500 feet of climbing, Hwy 6 came back down with a steep descent near Slocan. I choose to ride into Slocan in search of place to get a better desert. There aren't many choices for desert in Slocan, a small lumbering community, but the Harold Street Café did 'em proud. I had coffee and strawberry-rhubarb pie ala-mode. It was very good and, somewhat refreshed, I headed on down the road. Hwy 6 climbed pretty steeply for about 200 feet vertically, stayed there a while, and then descended 200 feet quickly and repeated the process several time. My legs were tired. There was a 5 to 10 mph headwind. The scenery, although pleasant, was no longer spectacular. Enough of this!
The Slocan River not far from Winlaw
I decided I would check into the B+B that I knew about in Winlaw. It was the last B+B that I knew of before Nelson, over 30 miles further on. Although the ups and downs lessened - now they were only 100 feet vertical instead of 200 feet - and the scenery improved when Hwy 6 neared Winlaw, I still stopped at The Hungry Wolf Café, one of the few businesses in Winlaw and called the B+B. The woman who answered told me that the rate was $75 a night - that was higher than I expected - and gave me instructions for finding the place. There was a sign saying B+B 3 km, so I figured I could just follow the signs. I did, and I ended up at a different B+B! The folks here wanted $40 a night and, although a bit disorganized, were quite friendly. It bothered me that I did get to the B+B I talked to, but it didn't bother me that I got to a more reasonably priced one that ended up giving me more - I ate my meager, but adequate, supper which I 'prepared' from my supplies at my dining room table, fixed my tea in my kitchen, and am sitting in my living room typing this! - for less money. This B+B is the one the signs by the road were for. It has been here for six years. The one that I phoned - it's phone number is on my West Kootenay Guide Map - is a new B+B.
Breakfast in the morning is a half an hour later than I would like and my hosts have been ignoring me this evening saying that things are pretty frantic with calving right now, but the later breakfast works fine for my short day to Nelson and being ignored means that I can write a better ride report! Of course I can't send it cause they don't have internet access. The more expensive B+B did, but I figure I can send two reports out tomorrow. I'm sure I can find net access in Nelson.