Day 19 Winlaw to Nelson BC
Kootenay River about five miles west of Nelson
My host wanted to serve breakfast at 9 PM, and I went to bed at 10:30 or so, expecting to wake up about 7:30 or 8 AM. My windowless bedroom was very dark and quiet, and I didn't wake up till 8:45. I think maybe I was a bit tired! I just had time to get shaved and dressed before breakfast. Then my host, at the Slocan Valley B+B, joined me and we talked for an hour and a half. I learned a lot about the Slocan valley and about his family's history. This is one of my favorite things about staying at B+Bs, learning about the area and the people that run the B+B. I finally left the B+B about 11:15 and then, two miles later, stopped at the Hungy Wolf for a snack before heading for Nelson! I managed to really get on the road before noon, but barely.
The riding was better than late in the day yesterday, mostly because I wasn't so tired, but also because the scenery was prettier. I still had the headwind, in fact it was bit stronger, but it also cooled me - temps were in the 80s - and, since I knew I only had 30 miles or so to ride to get to Nelson, it was not as much of a psychological factor as it had been yesterday. So, as I expected, instead of grinding out those 30 miles, I was able to really enjoy them.
While talking to my host, he told me there were some folks from Calgary riding in that day. The started in Revelstoke, rode to Nakusp, and were riding from Nakusp to Winlaw today. He said they had asked him about hills and he had told them there weren't any big hills between Nakusp and Winlaw. I said "what about the hill south of Silverton?" He said it wasn't that high. I said it is a thousand feet higher than the river and that there was 1500 feet of climbing between Silverton and Slocan. In comparison, The Monashee, which is considered to be a big hill, is 1800 feet higher than Cherryville and has a total of 2500 feet of climbing. On the other hand, there is no sustained climb going over The Monashee that is close to 1000 feet vertical.
After talking with my host, I checked the excerpts from 'The Canadian Cycling Association's Complete Guide to cycling in Canada" sent to me by Carl Barrentine, a Canadian tourist, and, sure enough they describe the ride as "past farms on the Slocan River, through the village of Slocan, and then along the shores of the glittering Slocan Lake." I wonder if these guys actually ride these routes. It is hard to miss noticing a 1000 foot high hill when you bicycle up it!
Hwy 6 just south of Winlaw
There was more RV traffic today - Friday - than yesterday and traffic increased as I rode south, but, despite having a minimal shoulder and, sometimes, a moderate amount of traffic, there was no problem. These Canadian drivers act like a bicyclist has just as much right to be on the road as a car or truck does. Nice.
Hwy 6 just gets prettier
and prettier as it runs along the Slocan River
There were no services until Crescent Valley, about 20 miles down the road, where I stopped for a snack. A little later, I rode by a very popular Russian/Canadian restaurant. If I had known it was there, at the intersection of Hwy 6 and Hwy 3a, I would have waited and had a real lunch there instead of the snack!
In Crescent Valley
Riding east on 3A was nice in that it had a shoulder and harder because it climbed five or six hundred feet up past a series of dams on the Kootenay River. Then it did the rolling hills bit for while and finally came down hill five miles or so before Nelson. Pretty riding, but the traffic as a bit noisy.
Coming into Nelson
In Nelson, I found the Library, determined that there was limited internet service available - I could read or send email, but not put up my web pages. Then I checked out some housing options, discovered that I'd have to wait till 4 PM, and hung out at the library till 3:45. I waited at a B+B till 4:10 for the owner who was supposed to be back a 4, then rode over to the Hostel and checked in. I'm paying about $45 (with taxes) for a private room with a private bath, but no linens, internet access at $1CND per10 minutes which is about what it cost me in the states, and a night club downstairs which , unfortunately, has a live band tonight. Right now I'm vibrating to a country band. They aren't bad, but it is quite a change from last nights peace and quiet.!
Nelson is 'a funky little town.' It is fun and happening, just like Asheville NC where I live. I liked the library and I enjoyed walking the main drag and doing a little shopping. However, other than for people watching, and for eating, I'd rather be out in the beautiful country without the noise. So, if you pass through here, and you should, you might want to sleep somewhere that isn't built on top of a night club....