Gray Creek Pass turned out to be my favourite ride so far in British Columbia. This is not said lightly when you consider the world-class riding to be found here. It had all the ingredients for a good ride. The air of anticipation, dirt without the gravel, picturesque scenery that enveloped me as I rode deeper into the forest carpeted mountains, and a small dirt bike named Rhonda! Once again, I had been warned of grizzly bears being commonly present on this trail due to the abundance of huckleberries. I had my camera ready at all times in the hope that today would be my day. It did also cross my mind that if I got a puncture on route, I would have to do some pretty fast tyre changing with eyes behind my back! I decided if that happened, I would change the tyre with my helmet and jacket still on! That way it would be harder for an angry bear to pierce my skin!
I did not get a puncture. I did not see a bear! I did, however, lose all sense of reality and danger and rode faster and faster along the trails. I couldn't stop smiling and shouting 'Yeeeehaaaaa' as we rode like hooligans through our own patch of wilderness that day. Sometimes I would have to stop and kill the engine, just so I could listen to the silence. It really was golden. 'Not bad, eh Rhonda?' I'd say as I soaked in the atmosphere and surveyed the miles of colourful landscape around us, before turning her over and setting off again. I was disappointed when, eventually, I saw the road and knew it was over.
The disappointment soon faded. The roads around Kootenay lake are perfect biking roads. They are
quiet, twisty and smooth in contrast to the dirt I had just ridden. I could see I was going to have some fun in this area too! I was heading for Kaslo, a place I had visited during my recovery time. I had not made the bike journey last time due to complications with my back (we had quickly discovered I wasn't ready to ride) and so had been put in the car. I had been grateful for the back-up of my friends then, but had vowed to come back and finish exploring by bike just as soon as I could. Before Kaslo though, I was keen to ride down the lake on this stretch of road. It was too special to miss and, fortunately for me, I had a very special lady waiting to host me in Creston.
That morning I placed my deer whistle on Rhonda (a gift from Barb to keep me safe), accepted a
packed lunch gratefully (including some left over devilled eggs), and turned Rhonda back up the road towards Kaslo. I had one quick stop to make though, before crossing the lake by ferry from Balfour. I wanted to check out the glass house I had heard about. This was not any glass! This house was made up of 600,000 embalming fluid bottles! I doubt there is another like it! A retired funeral director built it as his retirement home in the fifties. He had collected all the bottles that he and his funeral director friends had used over the years and built himself a home! It takes 3 bottles to embalm one body and so I guess this house represents 200,000 dead bodies?
Finally I made it to Kaslo. A small, old silver town with a population of 1000, that I had fallen in love with last time I was here. That night I decided to stealth camp by the lake so I could use the money I saved to buy myself a pizza and a glass of wine from the rather special little pizzeria I had appreciated on my last visit. Pleased with myself for the idea, I set up camp once it started getting dark and raced over to claim my reward. It was closed!
is beautiful here! The riding really is outstanding and plentiful. I would love to live here. What a great way of life.
I have now been here 6 days and I think I have just about met everyone in town! The people are so friendly and I have been invited for Thanksgiving with a family in town. I can't wait. This will be a new experience for me and I feel extremely honoured to have been invited.
Soon I will have to leave before the passes become laden with snow. It will be with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, but who knows what the future holds!