Sunshine Speed

While in Nelson I had the opportunity to go mountain biking. Actually, to go riding I needed to take my bike, and to take my bike I had to get a hitch installed on our car, and buy a bike rack. Expensive bike ride! In reality we were wanting to make those purchases for a long time.

The destination trail was 49’er. It was a short drive from where we were staying to the bottom of the hill. I was going with Sox’s two brothers, one who lives in Nelson and rides there a bit, the other who lives on the Sunshine coast and doesn’t mountain bike.

Since it had been hot lately we chose to get up at 6 and head out early to beat the heat. Leaving the house around 6:30 was a little difficult but I was looking forward to the ride.

Unloading the bikes I strapped my armour to my bike and to my pack. I wouldn’t need it on the ride up. Here I was with my 40+ LB bike riding up a logging road with two hardtails. I got dropped pretty quickly, but that didn’t bother me. I knew the DH was going to be worth it.

The climb took just over an hour, and right near the top we got a few rays of sun. The instant those hit my body I could feel the temperature go up. Good call on the early ride.

Dropping in to 49’er I was sort of prepared for what was to come. From previous rides in Nelson I knew it was going to be steep and have stunts. B’s description mentioned some good stunts too.

The first section was flowy and smooth. Lots of twists and turns and carving. We crossed the road to get to the next section. B warned me that a stunt was just ahead. Dropping in to the overgrown trail I wasn’t sure what to expect, when suddenly there was a log ride. I got on it, then when I looked up I saw an uphill climb up a ladder to another log. I jumped off since I didn’t have enough speed and went back for a second go.Didn’t make it that time either.

The trail continued down and down. There were a few log rides and ladders along the way that were really fun. A few jumps along the way kept me pumped too.

There was one log ride feature that had a few different exit options depending on what the rider felt like. I did the 3 foot wheelie drop. There was one option that went up pretty high that required a small drop to a ramp.

I’ve been having some issues with my front brakes on my Bullit for the last couple rides. I think I need new pads, but the lever goes right to the bar. If only have 1 finger for braking, the lever will hit my other fingers and not engage the brakes.

Sure enough I did a jump off a ladder and landed with lots of speed. The lever hit my finger and I couldn’t slow down. Unfortunately there was a big rock in my way. I used the rock as a ramp and jumped again, pickin up more speed. I shifter my fingers and jammed on the brakes as fast as I could. I was approaching a left turn with a log on the outside. I had slowed considerably, but not enough. I hit the log and got catapulted over the bars.

Landing I tucked and rolled down the hill, laughing. When I came to a stop I looked up the hill to see my bike tumbling toward me. I stopped that with my foot.

B rolled to a stop next to me, and I could hear a hissing noise. I assumed I had a flat in progress, but it turned out to be his fork. He blew some seal and the pressure was causing the oil to seep out. We were 1.3 of the way down.

For me the rest of the trail was awesome. Steep and switchbacky. I had a blast. There was one section that had four jumps in a row that I had to do a second time.

Eventually we came out of the trail to the fireroad. From there it was a downhill coast to the car and the end of the ride.

Highway Superstar

On the 30th the Fox family set off for a family reunion trip to Nelson. One of Sox’s brothers lives there and he was hosting us all for the weekend. That morning we discovered our cat Aphro had escaped outside and was missing.

Sox and the kids headed to Vancouver early on Thursday, but I had to work. After working most of the day I zipped home, packed up, tried to locate the cat, secured the house then headed to the ferry.

You see some crazy things on the highway, but this one was pretty scary. A motorized scooter doing about 50 KM/H riding on the side of the highway. That was bad enough, but this one had two people on it, and only one of them was wearing a helmet. Think people. Take the backroads.

As I got to the ferry terminal I learned there was a possible wait. When I paid to get on the lady told me my lane number and mentioned I might be lucky. Luck was on my side. I was the absolute last vehicle let on the 8pm sailing.

I hadn’t eaten dinner yet so I grabbed a magazine and headed up to the cafeteria. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and got a chocolate milk. At my seat I took one bite of the burder and knew something was wrong with it. There was no patty. I took the burger back in, they all had a good laugh (I didn’t think it was funny at all), then they made me a new one.

As I approaced my seat someone else was sitting there and my tray of uneaten food was gone! I asked them about it and nobody knew anything. Taking a hungry man’s food is not a good idea. I asked one of the table cleaners if he had taken my tray but he hadn’t. He did go and get replacements for my lost food though.

Interesting start to the trip.

The next day was the drive up to Nelson. I was in a car with Beet, Sox’s Mum, and Sox’s other brother. I sat in the back with Beet the whole way and we kept each other company. It was actually a lot of fun and Beet certainly was entertained by having her dad next to her.

Near Grand Forks there was a long, long line of traffic. I figured it was construction until I saw two different police cars, and a couple fire engines. Sure enough some fire crews were just mopping up a small brush fire that had started next to the highway and train tracks. I saw flames from a few fence posts, but the fire was definitely out besides that. Yikes.

The rest of the trip flew by, but the weird thing was while we were in Castlegar I could see a column of smoke. Knowing that a fire ban was in effect I thought this was odd. As we got closer realized that it was another brush fire right underneath some power lines. Thankfully there was a fire chief’s truck there checking out the situation. There was also another small fire on the opposite side of the highway. This was getting a little weird.

While in Nelson it was hot. Mid 30’s almost the entire time. We spent quite a bit of time lazing in the shade, and going to the beach. It was very relaxing and totally enjoyable. The Nelson area sure is gorgeous.

Saturday night, after the kids were in bed, the adults were sitting out on the deck talking. Down the valley a little ways we could see a storm. Lots of lightning but we heard no thunder. The next morning the town was very smoky. We could barely see the mountains across the lake and everywhere you went it smelled like a campfire.

Monday Sue’s brothers and I went for a mountain bike ride. More on that later.

Tuesday we piled into our cars and headed home. Gran, myself and Beet in her car, Sox, her sister and the boys in Sox’s car. There was one moment while I was driving when I caught up to Sox and passed her, only to learn that she was very low on gas and we were far from a gas station. I pulled in behind here and followed along until Christina lake. Thankfully we all made it there without any problems.

Beet was a superstar again. Without Sox’s brother in the car I got to drive while Beet napped. This helped break up my trip a bit, and forced us to get out and stretch out legs once in a while. We grabbed lunch supplies in Osoyoos then continued on our way.

The drive went by quickly and before I knew it we were in Langley. There I saw a spectacular sight. A gorgeous orange and black viper was turning onto the road in front of us. On top, secured in what must be a custom rack, was a kayak almost as long as the car. It was quite the sight.

We met up with Sox at her Mum’s house, ordered some pizza, then tried to get the 7 ferry. We missed it by a little, waited for the next one, then headed home. Another successful summer road trip.