Day 22 Skookumchuck to Radium Hot Springs BC
Looking north near Radium Hot Springs: Columbia River, Railroad, Bluffs, and Mountains!
Today was short - 60 miles - and easy - a good tail wind most of the day. I spent about 41/2 hours pedaling, as compared the, relatively easy, 8 hours I spent covering 100 miles yesterday. I slept till 8 AM, and, after breakfast in my room and some final work on yesterday's web page, left Skookumchuck about 9:15. The great tailwind I had yesterday evening was still blowing, although not quite as strongly, so I was able to cruise along on the moderately hilly - 1800 feet of climbing in 60 miles - Hwy 95/93 at 15 to 20 mph on the flats. The grades were gentle: I usually climbed the hills at 7 to 8 mph and coasted down them at 20 to 30 mph.
A great shoulder, tailwinds, and pretty country north of Skookumchuck
My first destination was Canal Flats where I planned to stop for a second breakfast. Canal Flats is a lumber town about 20 miles north of Skookumchuck located where the Hwy descends a few hundred feet from the eastern side of the river valley and crosses the river. Then, of course, it ascends a few hundred feet and continues along the wester side of the river to Fairmont Hot springs where it repeats the process in the opposite direction! Both river crossings offer some good views.
Riding along on the east side of the river valley
I rode into Canal Flats, past the huge lumber mill, and ate my second breakfast at the Fresh Garden Café. Canal Flats isn't much to look at, but that sure is a nice café and breakfast was both reasonable and very good. I had a nice visit with a motorcyclist - there are lots of motorcyclists on theses roads! - from Kimberly who had done bike touring and still regularly did long day rides on his (on motorized) bike.
If you ride by Canal Flats, be sure to go into town - a quarter mile in and out - and visit the café! During the climb out of Canal Flats, I was treated to some of the best views of the day
The headwaters of the Columbia River (!) just north of Canal Flats
After climbing up the side of the river valley, once again, the road is flat, the views are nice, and the riding is easy.
Riding along on the west side of the valley
The cliffs along the river, and the bridge over the river, just south of Fairmont Hot Springs
My good second breakfast carried me well past Fairmont Hot Springs. This is a golf resort community with a huge golf course and lots of condos and resorts. Not my sort of place. I stopped at a restaurant at a RV park / Motel in Windermere for lunch and then had a candy bar as desert while I rode on towards Radium Hot Springs. I don't know if it was the restaurant or the candy bar, or something else, but I had to make and emergency visit to the bushes before I reached Radium Hot Springs. Then I spent some time in the bathroom at the BC Park Info Station before I was able to talk the, very nice, folks there about riding through Kootenay National Park. It looks like a nice, challenging, ride.
After I got the Park ($5 a day) /Ride (steep climbing at first and again after Kootenay Crossing) info, I asked about B+Bs and I'm writing this at the B+B located closest to the Park Entrance on Hwy 93. I have a room with a private bath and a small kitchen, with breakfast, for what I paid for my motel room, similarly equipped, last night. The owner is a 'semi-retired' Electrical Engineer and he has a new connection using the B+B phone line which I can use to upload my ride reports after supper. This B+B, The Misty River Lodge, also has a hostel which can sleep eleven, and, if you are coming this way, seems to be the best place to stay before riding 'over' to Banff <grin>. There is a big Provincial campground, and a number of lodges, motels and B+Bs all located pretty close to the Park. Radium Springs only has about 600 residents, but it can house at least that many more guests.
The Grocery store next to the Info Center carries such essentials as tent stakes and mosquito netting in addition to more mundane food stuffs. It was so crowded in that store that I could barely navigate with my hand carried basket, but I found everything I was looking for and enjoyed the close encounters necessary to navigate the store. One patron, whose two small children I pirouetted through holding my basket high while patting the smaller one on the head, said: "If they get in the way, step on 'em <grin>."
Starting up Hwy 93