5:30 am. The alarm sounds. By 6:00 my stuff is packed and the tent is down. Our crew is on breakfast duty which means cooking breakfast, cleaning up and loading the truck. Loading the truck involves stowing away the kitchen gear as well as loading the large bags that have people’s camping gear in them. As mentioned before, personal items are stored in baskets on the shelves. Camping gear is loaded last into the isle of the truck.
Breakfast this morning involved the normal cold cereal and fruit along with porridge ( a staple every morning) and pancakes. I mixed up the pancake batter and got the porridge cooking while others got the rest of breakfast set up. I started cooking pancakes in time for our 7:00 am breakfast start.
We had everything cleaned up and loaded by about 9:00. One of the final tasks of the breakfast crew is to provide 2 volunteers to act as sweepers for the day to ride at the back of the pack to ensure everyone is OK. Yukon Greig and Aussie Greg volunteered so Elaine, Michel and I got ready to depart. Just before leaving I decided to pump up my tires. When taking the pump fitting off of the valve I must have wrecked the valve stem as air came rushing out of my tire. Great! My first flat of the trip. Departure was delayed for about 10 minutes while I replaced the tube. Soon we were underway.
Today’s ride was a fairly easy one on the gently rolling Highway 5a from Merritt to just outside of Kamloops. Our first stop was at the historic Quinchella Hotel to look around and have a coffee. By now Mike, Danny (from Quebec) and the two Gregs had caught up to us and joined us. Following coffee we were off again, riding as a larger group. At the halfway point of the ride we pulled over for lunch. Following lunch Aussie Greg and Danny opted to ride ahead as they tend to be faster riders. The rest of us joined Yukon Greig as sweepers.
The scenery throughout our ride today was spectacular. We rode past numerous lakes up and down hills on a somewhat windy road. At about the 80 km mark we passed another group so handed off the sweeper role to them as they were now the last group.
By mid afternoon we had arrived in camp and had our tents set up after an 89 km ride.
One great thing about touring on a bicycle is that you smell the trees, hear the birds, hear the streams as well as the waves in the lake lapping on the shore. You experience your trip with all of your senses as you never would flying by in a car.
At coffee this morning we discussed how the riding in the tour was so different from training rides. Most of us had started to get bored with riding the same roads over and over while training. On the tour everyday is a new adventure with a new destination.
Following dinner I retired to my tent to get some shelter from a somewhat chilly wind and to write this post. Tomorrow is a whole new adventure.
Oh and for the benefit of those who have been inquiring, my butt is getting better every day.