Journal Entry - April 15, 1999 (Cranbrook, BC)
Almost across BC. Holy smokes...
Somewhere along the way, the cattle stopped caring. I think it was
Grand Forks. Weird. Up to then, entire herds of cattle would stop what
they were doing and stare at me as I went by. After Grand Forks, they
couldn't care less. The horses still run to me, the dogs bark, the
ostriches perk up, the llamas look, the children stare, the people
wave, smile & honk, but the cattle have stopped caring. How does this
The night started off innocently enough. Ian & Alison from the Western
Traveller Motel in Grand Forks invited Rochelle & I for dinner. We had
a wonderful evening until talk turned to my route to Creston. Ian
pointed out that sometimes at this time of year, the Kootenay Pass is
closed due to avalanche conditions. I could be up there camping at 5000
feet, in the snow waiting for 2 hours or 2 days to be let through.
OR... I could take the Nelson route which is about 20k longer with way
more points of re-supply and Alison's parents, Doug & Betty, said it
was way prettier on the eyes. So I let them commandeer my route.
Bless their souls, it was great. It was also great to have such a nice
visit with Rochelle. She's a sweetie.
Hit Christina Lake for Easter lunch, then said adieu to civilization
for 80k of brutality up to Paulson Pass and back down. Very challenging
days. One was almost 1 kilometre of vertical gain. Some of that was
pushing ye olde RoadRunner through a snowy shoulder. It was more like
ye olde SnowPlow. And afterwards I was treated to my coldest night
ever. It hit -10 in my tent! It's never even hit minus anything before
or since in the tent. Sheesh...In the morning, everything was frozen.
Apples, bagels, even the tent! The cheddar cheese shattered when I
tried to cut it. Shattered! Crazy...
But I made it to Grand Forks where Pam & Ray set me up like a king.
Cannot say enough about their hospitality, and I really enjoyed sharing
some wonderful conversations with them. Thanks to Pam, Ray, Megan &
Kimberly for putting up with me for a couple of days. It was heavenly!
I was trying to hit Creston in 4 days, but it was a wonderfully slow
start on Thursday to visit with Castlegar's Mayor, Mike O'Connor. Both
of us didn't know what to do in such a meeting, so it went superb. John
at the Castlegar Sun was there for some pictures and later an
interview. Thanks to Mayor Mike for the Castlegar pins and I hope you
wear your Running Into 2000 t-shirt to all your important functions...
I've realized that travelling at this pace, I can remember complete
sections of road that seem to have personalities that I would have
missed had I been driving. The distance I've done in 4 weeks, I could
have driven in a day, but I would have missed a lot of special places,
moments and thoughts.
Totally loved the first 22K of Nelson to Balfour. Super wide shoulder
and so many fascinating cottages and homes, the time just flew. I
absolutely love this Kootenay region and I want to come back to visit
(or maybe even to write a book?).
My first ferry with the RoadRunner dropped me at the foot of an 8%
grade that fortunately ended at the Crawford Bay Inn where Elizabeth
Lackovic set me up in luxury. I needed luxury since pushing ye olde
RoadRunner up 8 percenters is like hammering in railway spikes with
your toes. Yuck... Phooey to 8 percenters...
Continuing south to Creston, I was entranced by Kootenay Lake in its
mountain setting. The winding road showed off a fresh helping of
scenery at every corner. At my rate of travel I was able to soak in
these visuals while listening to my music and thinking my happy
That's all I seem to be having these days - happy thoughts. Well,
mostly... I suppose there are times when I get too tired to too cold or
too whatever, but right then, the universe responds and a car drives by
honking and waving. Then I'm back on track having felt their
enthusiasm. It always helps.
It was a cold morning after a cold night of cold camping, when Pat
Holbrook waved me over. We did the usual questions, then his wife,
Ramona joined him and asked me if I'd like to have some breakfast?
Well, okay then. What a great way to meet people. Of course, they were
wonderful, and so was breakfast. Later that same day, Fred & Yvette
Schenkel pulled me over to ask if I would like to stay with them in
Creston? Well, okay then. Another fantastic couple - we had a
marvellous evening. They even brought out a bottle of champagne and
swiss chocolates! Holy smokes, this is the way to travel.
As I entered Creston, a young girl stared at me (this happens fairly
often). Once she read the stickers on the RR, she hollered, "Thanks for
coming through Creston!" She tickled me in a tender spot. Thanks.
So I'm resting in Cranbrook for 2 nights in a gifted room from Lea &
Rochelle. Hooray for luxury! Hooray for Lea & Rochelle!
While here, I had the good fortune of securing the services of Cathy
Soderstrom who made me up a custom pair of orthotics that will keep my
feet from falling off. She said my New Balance shoes were very good,
and most of my feet were okay, but my arches were a dismal piece of
work. She fixed that in a jiffy. I always wondered if you can get your
"feet" used to long distances. So far, I cannot. But "I" can get used
to having tired feet. Life has all the answers...
As I head out on another 7 day stretch to Fort McLeod, I wish to thank
all of you yet again for your happy thoughts. Your messages and emails
touch me magically. Thank you.
I've been told that this trip has the power to inspire people. I've
been told that it is a huge undertaking. I think the same can be said
about anyone pursuing their dream. But dreamers don't set out to
inspire, or to do something simply because it's a huge ordeal. They
have very personal reasons and they just put one foot ahead of the
other and they make it happen. They don't really care if the cattle
stop caring, but it's always great when the horses come running.