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DAY 1 – The Road to Midway

Total Day: 410.3 KM

Total Trip: 410.3 km

After working for a couple of hours, I packed the bike. I was absolutely exhausted after the last week of work, trying to catch up. We set out about 12:30pm, and my energy was already flagging as I stepped onto the bike. I warned my Regular Riding Partner (RRP) that I would be taking it a bit slow as I was shattered.

Once we fuelled up and cleared the heavier city traffic, however, it became much easier going. I caught a second wind that lasted the entire first day of the ride, and RRP and I started to even discuss where the next big trip next summer was going to be, even before we made it to our first stop in Hope, BC. Hope is where they filmed Rambo (First Blood) 40 years ago, and there is always a joke once you leave that you are “beyond hope”. The further I rode away from the city, the higher my spirits rose, and I was definitely starting to feel full of hope, rather than feeling lost.

We took the beautiful old Highway 3 through Manning Park, up to Princeton and beyond. As we were going through the eastern section of that highway, we got some rain. Not a deluge, but enough of a downpour that we had to contend with it for an hour or so. During the tail end of the rain, RRP saw 2 moose far off in a field, and as we hit the higher elevation of the mountain pass, we saw evidence that we just missed a hail storm – piles of what looked like snow on the sides of the road.

The ride through Manning Park is always a delight, no matter the weather, the height or absence of the sun, or the level of traffic – which is almost always negligible, as most people prefer to take the 120km/h Coquihalla Highway rather than the slower road. That highway is a straight plow, like an American Interstate – something we were hoping to avoid on this trip. Highway 3, the Manning Park Highway, the Hope-Princeton Highway, or whatever other names it’s referred to by, is an absolute gem. An hour or so out of the city, and it immediately gets you onto a winding two lane highway with curves and switchbacks and elevation changes, surrounded by rocks and trees and impressive mountains. Visor up, as I prefer, the air is full of the scent of pine, and there are usually opportunities to encounter wildlife. I’ve seen deer and bears regularly myself on this road, but we saw none of that today. We also saw no traffic, and the ride was glorious.

A fairly quick stop in Princeton for a drink, and we were then able to push on. However, on the tail end of the rain, there was a very powerful wind as we approached Osoyoos, BC, so much so that we were riding at an 8° to 10° angle against the wind, and it was gusting which made it difficult. I thought I was funny, in my head, calling the wind dis-gusting. After that ordeal, we stopped at a large (and familiar) gas station on the east end of town, before enjoying the long, uphill, switchback-laden climb out of Osoyoos.

We rode into Rock Creek, which has a single amazing downhill hairpin when going westbound, and was the site of the Rock Creek Fire in August of 2015 – and the devastation was still very evident, 8 years on. We arrived at our motel, the Mile 0 Motel in Midway, BC, just before 8:00 pm to check in. We managed to order food from the restaurant next door, and then crashed for the night.

The stressors of ordinary life lifting as I rode from the city was fantastic. Settling in, relaxing on the bike, and leaning into every corner as if it were my first, I started to loosen up and look forward to an epic road trip. Today was a great day of riding, overall, on a fantastic set of roads. I dreamed of the rest of the ride being as engaging.

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