2017 BC Bike Trip travel blog

Leah's flat tire

Where we sat waiting for rescue

Dad to the rescue with Betsey in the back

Day 17, Leah:

Due to Keith coming down with a cold, neither of us had a great sleep. Keith was awake and tooting the blow horn that is his nose throughout the night. When he did fall asleep, he was snoring like an angry grizzly bear and I tried to elbow him to make it stop but when he was out, he was OUT. In the middle of the night the rain had started to drizzle, as soon as the rain hit the smell of smoke in the air was intensified 100%. Needless to say, we woke up early at 6:30am and decided we may as well just pack up camp and hit the road for our final leg of the journey. We were on the road before 8am so even with the time change between BC and Alberta (we lost an hour traveling in this direction) we were having breakfast in Jasper in no time. We stopped at a favourite coffee shop of ours: Café Mondo. We both had a breakfast wrap – very generous portions (lots of bacon on mine). This place is also great for lunch stops; it is quick, has great coffee and has life changing pita melts.

Next stop, the brand spanking new brewery on the edge of Hinton: Folding Mountain Brewery. The starting line up of five beers was enthusiastically sampled and we purchased a couple of crowlers. For the non-beer-savvy: a crowler is a LARGE (32 oz.) can of beer that breweries or certain liquor stores will fill from the draft beer tap and then they will seal up the can right before your eyes. Pure beer magic.

After Hinton we pretty much just pushed through to get home, we made a gas stop in Entwhistle but no long breaks. There had been a bit of smoke haze on the island, and more smoke in the interior of BC, but the worst smoke we hit was as we were passing through Hinton and Edson. It must have been the wind direction that was causing the extreme smoke because it was thick! After we got home, Keith (AKA Mr. Research) looked up the air quality and it had been rated as a 10 (10 being the worst).

As we approached the city, the traffic was getting very congested so we took highway 16A into Spruce Grove. We hadn’t made a lunch break and it was almost late enough to consider a stop for supper. We had a typical married-couple conversation of “what do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you feel like?” (suggest a place) “no, I don’t feel like that” So we collectively decided to just push through to get home and dig some homemade perogies (courtesy of Keith’s Mom) out of the freezer. We zipped through Spruce Grove and turned south on Golden Spike Road to avoid the majority of the traffic. We had been chatting on the intercoms while making our dinner plans and then Keith said “I’ll let you go back to your music now”. My phone was almost dead, so I said that I’d stay on the intercom channel. I was happy I had the intercom on because about two minutes later it felt like the road had turned to insanely rough washboard and my handlebars were shaking HARD. I yelled out my surprise and then made the quick deduction that I had a flat tire. I was able to keep the bike upright and pull over to the side of the road safely. We were approximately 30km from home and 2,000km after that tire had been replaced. I was frustrating to have the flat when we were SO CLOSE to home, but there were a lot of busier and twistier roads that it could have happened on. Keith called his dad who luckily was home and was able to bring his truck and brand new (still in the box) bike ramp to rescue me. We got Betsy loaded into the truck and I enjoyed the air conditioning for the last 30km to get home.

So have I learned a lesson in all of this? Yes, never call a bike trip an adventure when you are setting up a blog page because that means you will get adventures. Adventures are not always what you want (particularly on a motorcycle). Also, did I jinx ourselves by saying bad things happen in threes and then trying to pass off Keith losing a microphone cover as a bad thing? Maybe. To summarize; I had an electrical issue, a rock (or something) to my face and a flat front tire on a motorcycle. I’d say that qualifies as an adventure.

Next trip I would like to call it a cruise or a moving meditation or something else that sounds calming and safe. Despite the troubles on the road, all the issues were fixed relatively quickly (the face healed within a few days too) and it was a spectacular trip. I can’t wait till the next trip, hope to have you tune into our blog again then!

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