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May 16- Day 9

Time spent cycling: 6:52:25

Distance traveled: 106.55km

Total distance: 353km (including biking around time in Chilliwack in previous days)

Average Speed: 15.5 kph

Maximum speed: 66 kph

Current Location: about 18km from Manning Park Resort (at the end of Manning Park)

Didn't get much sleep. But that's okay I guess. Gillian called me at 2AM, having just got back from Mexico. Any chance to hear her voice is a good thing to me. I got up at 7ish but didn't leave until nearly 10, I had last minute corrections to make to my gear, not all of which were successful. Tracy made a generous contribution to my travel fund, which I am most grateful for.

Getting to Hope was easy, leaving it was hard. While not all downhill, the trip to Hope was more downhill than up. Originally after talking to Tracy and Chris, I had planned to take the #1 or #5 to Kamloops, but after talking to people in the know (some cyclists and my first survey of the day) it turned out that the #1 was not bike friendly and the #5 was EXTREMELY steep. So steep that even though the speed limit is 100kph, most only make 80 or 90. No thanks. So it looks like my update will come from Kelowna instead of Kamloops. Judging from what phone numbers I have for the Internet, that will be my last email until Calgary.

Hope was a nice enough place, quaint would be the word I'd use. Very much a small town with small town feel. I hung out at the park for a while (where I did the survey and met some bicyclers) But all too soon I knew I had to press on. Hope was the very last city I was familiar with. From here until Ontario, it's all unknown territory for me.

While the #3 is a bit longer, it's supposed to be more scenic and bike friendly. It was definitely the former, but once I got into Manning Park, the shoulder all but disappeared. I did a LOT of walking today, enough to make me really regret starting this nonsense. I'm going to end up going through this crap every day for the next week at least! To think, I'm paying good money to be punished like this when I could just jump off a rocky cliff for free!

Naw, It's not all that bad, but it IS hard. Reminds me of the Kangamengus Pass in the Appellations. Problem is, before I'm through, I'll be put through ten times worse for ten times longer. Just before the park, I came across a couple of Harley bikers, and did the survey with one of them. Nice guy, warned me about what is called "9 mile hill" (I suppose 14.4km hill wouldn't catch on), and that was the most agonizing part of the trip yet. But to my surprise I managed to bike up 2 or 3km of it before walking!

I came within a stones throw today of not one, but TWO black bears! They were up on the hill as I passed, and I managed to get a pretty close couple of shots of them. I had pepper spray ready, just in case... but I don't think there was really anything to worry about. Nevertheless, my food stays outside the tent, lest hungry bears happen by.

I set up camp about 18km before the park ends, found a nice place by a creek. A little bit visible to the highway, but the way I see it, they can only see me if they are looking to the side while passing (coming and going is blocked) so I doubt any driver is going to do that. Passenger, maybe. But then not many serial killers work in pairs (can you believe I'm still worried about that stuff?)

Man, the bugs are big here! I just hope what I'm seeing aren't mosquitos.

One more thing, thank God for the Thermarest... I'm sleeping on nothing but rocks and loose dirt!

Onto Day 10...