Day 29 CCR: Sunshine, Mountains and A River
After yesterday’s cold, wet ride, I needed a hefty dose of better scenery and better weather. Today I got both. What a relief.
I knew snow-covered mountains surrounded us yesterday, but I never saw a single white-capped peak, hidden as they were by fog and rain. The big mountains lining the Icefields Parkway remained largely unseen by us today, hidden by smaller but still substantial peaks that were our view. Nevertheless, the short 225-mile ride south on Highway 5 through the North Thompson Valley to Kamloops provided enough scenic mountain views through the high, white clouds lingering in the area to mostly satisfy my CCR desire to see Canada’s Rockies in their rugged splendor.
From Valemount, where we spent last night, to Kamloops, the highway hugs the North Thompson River, which, due to the inordinate amount of rainfall in late spring and early summer, is pushing at its banks and in a couple places had spilled onto farmland. The road crosses and recrosses the river a half dozen times, and the old bridges and winding road made for a gratifying, though not challenging, ride. Besides, I was mostly content to remain at the speed limit or below so I could look up and enjoy the scenic valley and the mountains that form it.
As we left Valemount, construction crews and heavy equipment were busy working along the road. I thought at first they were making this relatively busy road a four-lane highway to improve traffic flow. But their work didn’t always parallel the highway. Eventually, we realized they were building a pipeline (especially when we saw piles of large diameter pipe, duh.) I checked online and what I read indicates it’s an expansion or twinning of an existing oil pipeline that will send oil south from Alberta’s oil fields. Rather than feed the United States with additional cheap oil, the pipeline, terminating in Vancouver, will allow Canadian oil to be sold on the world market at a higher price. The construction project, with its hundreds of large pieces of equipment and thousands of workers, extended the entire distance of today’s ride. There can’t be much unemployment in British Columbia because the number of workers involved with this pipeline is enormous. Once again, the CCR has helped me better understand what Canada has to offer and how it spars with the economic giant to the south.
I’ve ridden many roads in Canada on my previous five trips to this country, but today’s ride was a new one for me, as will be tomorrow’s trip on the Coquihalla Highway, known to some as the Highway Thru Hell because of it’s starring role in the eponymous Canadian television show. I was surprised today that the snow capped peaks we first saw in Valemount dwindled as we motored further south and the valley widened to produce substantial ranch and farm land in the fertile soil of the valley floor. By the time we got to Kamloops, the dry land was covered with sage.
Tomorrow The Coq and Hope. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.