Day 1839 Wednesday 28th October
At the Canadian border we discovered that there was no American officials, the Canadian officer took our tourist cards from the States. Strange. Be interested to see what would happen if we wanted to cross into USA from the north at that border.
The road to Hope was about an hour and fairly un-remarkable scenery. The good weather held out and we enjoyed what was to be the last of the strong sunshine and warmth. We were rewarded however by Hope being a charming and very friendly small town. Everyone seemed to know every one else, and probably did.
The next day dawned overcast and very slight rain, so we hotfooted to the local cafe for a breakfast deal.
An hour later we headed north on our last long ride for a while. The road followed the Frazier River for an hour and a half, the dramatic steep sided valley was wooded with fir trees and they contrasted with the grey and light brown/pink rock. The river mostly silver and excited at the base of it all.
It got progressively wetter and colder, the wet not always from rain but low cloud as well. At the two hundred km mark we had got very cold and thankfully at Cache Creek where we filled the tanks with fuel and our bellies with chocolate bars and coffee. An hour and a half found us at Ricks’.
Pulling up outside the cafe he surprised us by following us in, fifteen minutes later we had the bikes parked in his greenhouse (poly tunnel).
He was very insistent that we get into the kitchen and start making a batch of dough, a few of the customers laughed at him and said “let them get showered and changed out of their riding gear”. Not to be, so we duly watched as he made the mix and Diane made notes. He was very keen to start making something to eat off the menu for our benefit on learning the recopies and methods. We declined, we wanted a beer! So we sat behind the counter top and started to get to know the local guys, a pace time that would dominate our lives for the next six months….. We left at eight or so, leaving Rick to banter with his customers and got our new room sorted in the house which was a few minuets walk.
Day 1840 Thursday 29th October
We set no alarms and woke mid-morning. Assuming Rick was still sleeping we wondered up to the cafe and made ourselves breakfast, resisting to have a beer with we had orange and tea instead. Around one pm Rick sauntered into the cafe. After coffee we set to learning a few other things on the menu.
Day 1841 Friday 30th October
Cleared out the greenhouse and pots of herbs from outside the cafe to over winter on the ground to see if they are hardy enough to withstand the winter. Carried in the heavy wood tables that had displayed the herbs throughout the summer. It felt like a real chore as Rick found one more job to do when we thought we were finished. I guess it has to be done though. We were very thankful when it was over.
Day 1842 Saturday 31st October
We took a drive to Williams Lake shopping for stock for the cafe. After seventy or so clicks we saw the town come into view, the pale smoke from the saw mills contrasted sharply with the vivid blue of the sky and the lake.
Rick showed us where the stores were located where he likes to shop. We thought it strange when at the liquor store he said to the guy on the register that it was for his Christmas party. What does it matter…? Christmas was coming so a purchase of almost one thousand bucks might not be too strange.
Day 1846 Wednesday 4th November
We took a shorter drive into One Hundred Mile House to pick up more liquor and food, this will be our usual shopping town.
Back at the cafe I stocked the bar fridges and Diane organised the kitchen, a few things that we did were not to his liking, such as where certain beers went or where the lettuce lived in the fridge. Oh well.
The evening developed into a little party as his customers came in to bid him farewell. We left around ten pm.
Day 1847 Thursday 5th November
We woke early and had tea and cereals at the cafe.
Rick strode in around ten and kind of surprised us by having a hold all with him. He announced that he was leaving today, after a quick coffee he put his keys on the register table and said “see you in six months”. It felt strange to be on our own. I kind of thought “I hope the phone does not ring”!
Day 1853 Wednesday 11th November
We had a very busy evening with our pipeline buddies, a few had already left for the winter. As it gets so cold the can’t work. Unfortunately a few got too drunk and demanded off sales, as we are not licensed for it I flatly refused. One enthusiastic member of the crew, Jonesy got very grumpy, paid his tab and left. We did not see him again.
Day 1858 Monday 16th November
Since we were in Africa Diane has been trying to figure out how to thread together the ring pulls with ribbon into bracelets. She finally fathomed it out in Wickham Australia. However the lack of free time and materials meant it never came to fruition until we had the cafe, lots of ring pulls and time gave her the opportunity to set up production. So having made a heap of bracelets she ventured into belts. One of the managers on the pipeline welding crew came in with his wife one evening for one of the many fair-well parties. She was very taken with Dianes work. Later in the evening she sold belts and bracelets to them for their grand daughters for a hundred bucks!!
Day 1869 Friday 27th November
Our German helper was leaving today and we offered to take him to Hundred Mile to the Greyhound station. I went to start the car, no go. It turned over fast but absolutely refused to fire up. Diane went to the store to buy a can of “Start Ya Bastard”, or what ever the Canadian version is called. I got the diesel space heater from the greenhouse and set it blowing on the front of the vehicle. Unfortunately a little too close as a few days later I noticed some of the plastic trip was a little wrinkled, saggy and dark brown…..Anyhow all in all it took two hours to get car started. Our German friend seemed un-phased by it all, even though it meant that if he missed the Greyhound he missed his flights!!
Day 1871 Sunday 29th November
One of our more regular customers surprised us all this late afternoon, first by coming in on a Sunday, second by drinking too much and playing pool. Third by sprinkling some translucent pale brown crystals on the tiled counter top. He tried to get us all to try these strange offerings. All of us refused on the spot, close to laughing at the crazy idea. Our helper from Kiwi-land later said she thought it was MDMA, it meant nothing to me. After he left I Googled it and found out it was also called ecstasy. If any of us had any inclination of trying hard drugs tonight put us all off for life watching him change. The drug was alleged to make the taker happy and carefree, “the love drug”, he turned a little nasty and making comments toward the girls that were there. Not his personality at all, he was such a nice guy normally. He left and we hoped he got home okay.
Day 1874 Wednesday 2nd December
Diane had a crash course in cooking the books, as she had been shown. However it got so complicated she gave up and just entered the correct figures.
Trying to keep the fresh produce to a minimum as custom was slow, we had forgotten to take a peperoni from the freezer. A lady called and ordered three peperoni pizzas. As they were three hundred and fifty mil long they would not fit in the microwave. Having a panic I sawed it into three pieces with the hacksaw I used to cut the Christmas down. Then microwaved it to get it soft enough to slice it on the machine. Oh yes I did wash the saw first….. Honest.
Day 1877 Saturday 5th December
A local car wrecker company and repair shop called New and Used asked us to host their Christmas party for today. We bought in tequila and the beers they asked for by the case load. I sold none of what they had asked for, however did clear the fridges of most of everything else! One young guy was drinking a concoction I had never heard of, a paralyser. Kalua, vodka, milk!?? topped off with coke or Pepsi, depending on your ‘taste’. By parties close he had consumed two litres of milk and was fairly drunk, his girl friend and boss bundled him into a truck and shut the door. While the owners were paying the bill the young guy crashed back through the door demanding more drink! His boss said “no”. He looked at me and asked again, when refused he wobbled a bit and turned to go, grabbing one of the wool coats that were for sale and making a dash for the door, his boss headed him off and they both hit the wall, luckily for the boss the young guy was between him and the wall! A few picture fell undamaged and the coat was recovered. With much apologies they all left. All in all a good night!! We heard later that he was ill most of the way home and the next day did not venture from his bed.
Day 1880 Tuesday 8th December
As I walked from out the back of the bar area I heard Natalie saying “no I just help out, the other two are running the place”. Feeling the hairs on the back of my neck rise I wondered who they were. The smart dressed lady and man introduced themselves as liquor inspectors!! The most feared of visitors in the hospitality business, aside from Foodsafe, whom thankfully we never saw. The pointed out a few thing that we were ignorant of that needed rectifying, and the fact one must declare the purchase of liquor for re-sale to the vendor as it sets the cost of the resale licence…. We thought they would return to check us, but we never saw them again.
Day 1881 Wednesday 9th December
A local lady, Tari, came in at lunch time for a beer and to chew the phat, she asked if we still had burgers on the menu we did and she ordered a mushroom burger. So Diane toasted the bun, spread have with mayo and half with tomato ketchup, filled it with fried mushrooms and onion. Served with oven backed potatoes as we don’t have a deep fryer. She loved it she said we must make more and she would bring her husband in on Friday night.
Day 1882 Thursday 10th December
Our New Zealand helper Natalie leaves at three A.M. Tomorrow so we had a little party with those that were in the bar. We tried to stay up as late as possible to be able to see her on the greyhound, by half eleven the bar was empty and we closed and returned to the house. Diane was asleep on the sofa by half one and said to Nat to wake me and I would help with her bags. I was totally bushed but insisted that she wake me. I woke at half four and she had gone on her own, I felt very bad. We heard from her the next evening, she had got to Banff safely, which was good.
Day 1883 Friday 11th December
Tari as promised, came in with Leonard and asked for the same burger for her and Len. Half way through eating and enjoying it he realized no meat! “Where is the patty” he asked. I replied “there is none, it is a mushroom burger, like no meat as your wife is a vegetarian”. She laughed and retorted that she was not and she wanted a burger like the other day. I told her she did have the same. More laughter from all as they said that all burgers in Canada come with a patty. She told us that she had been raving about it to her friends, now she would have to admit that there was no meat!!
Day 1885 Sunday 13th December
While cleaning the dough roller I managed to get three fingers stuck in it, yes it was running and yes I know it was a dumb idea. Steve managed to get a pry bar but could not force the rollers we managed to soap them enough to enable me to extract them. He took me to hospital where I was booked in, upon being taken to the doctor I was asked how I was going to pay the nine hundred and fifty eight dollars. Or did I have medical cover, with not enough money and no cover we got supplies from the store and bandaged themselves. Steve was disgusted that we had to pay so much for help, I kind of was not surprised.
Day 1887 Tuesday 15th December
We had introduced half price pizza days on Tuesday and Saturday, our very quiet nights. The idea was to turn over the stock, rather break even than throw it away. Also we mused that they would drink beer and wine, or even soda with the meal. Our first customs came in ordered, ate and drank water!!! Not what was intended but it did get folks in.
Day 1888 Wednesday 16th December
Bar food and new specials board go live on facebook. Hoping to attract attention from the two neighbouring towns. Our German helper went for a walk, he got chased by dogs and angry owner as he walked across their garden. With the snow he had no idea what ground he was walking over!!
Day 1901 Tuesday 29th December
Chad came in with his daughter and Charlie and along with a few others enjoyed food, pool and beer. Unfortunately Charlie got so drunk when it was time to leave Charlie would not get in the truck. He shouted at Chad so much that the lady from the motel down the road called us to ask if everything was okay! Understandably after ten minuets Chad gave up and left him to walk the five hundred meters home. However Charlie started to walk south not north where he lived. When it became evident he had no idea where he was and might die of cold Steve called police. It was a bit heavy handed but none of us knew where he lived and if we went out to him he would just want more beer and not leave, I had experienced that unpleasant situation before. Two police cars arrived with a fire truck and an ambulance, they kindly did not take him to the cooler but called a friend of his to come and pick him up. It was Chad!!
Day 1903 Thursday 31st December
We were unsure whether to open as we were fed up with having to deal with drunks and arguments. Another Steve said he would be on hand if anything kicked off. He stayed fairly sober and we all had great night with our buddies. Steve & Joanne, Steve & Leslie, Jerry Shirley Chad Ben and Katelin, Tari and Leonard and a table of nine in the cafe. Manfred bought some fireworks. We were licensed till four A.M. However by one thirty were closing up as all had left. Nice evening.
Day 1905 Saturday 2nd January
Louis arrived a day or two early, he was a young guy from the south of France, an area I am familiar with so we had some common ground to talk about, no pun intended. He was keen to help and learn the menu. Pleasant to have him around!
Day 1906 Sunday 3rd January
I had spent a pleasant few hours in the green house servicing and cleaning my bike. As I walked back to the cafe a vehicle parked by the back door to the bar, one of our more favoured guests.
The evening started to get a little livelier around seven pm, Dave and a few regulars had drifted in, the snow had stopped and the sky was clear and moonless, studded with a million stars. The temperature was dropping fast and the cold air froze my nose. A great evening was had by all and folks were leaving by ten as the roads were not too good. The guy that had parked out back went out to his vehicle and came back in five minutes a slightly different person, we never found out why. Nor can I put my finger on the exact changes, maybe a little more vocal? Half an hour later and a few glasses of water he became more, intoxicated? Anyhow we thought that we should take him home and we could deliver his vehicle back in the morning. Dave had a four wheel drive and volunteered to drive him, well the guy refused and before we could get to him he had bolted out of the back door and locked himself in his vehicle!
He drove up the road and we followed keeping our distance as we did not want him to think we were the law and make him drive faster. However occasionally we could see him through the trees. The gravel road twisted through the forest with steep ascents and descents, it was thickly covered with compact frozen snow and was very slippery. As we did not know where he lived when we saw headlights we thought he had to parked in his drive. Unfortunately we were very wrong and discovered that he had left the road, rolled his vehicle two metres down into the tree line, landing on its roof. Apart from the front fender hanging off it looked fairly undamaged. He was strapped in and hanging with his head on the roof. He answered our questions and seemed ok, however we could not get the doors open as they lock automatic when you drive off. We got a tyre iron and tried to break a rear side window both of us beat it, however it would not fail. I was only wearing a shirt and padded over shirt and no gloves. The temperature was minus twenty and I was starting to feel numb in my hands and face. My feet and lower legs were not doing much better as the snow was three quarters of a meter deep. The guy kept telling us “it’s ok, I’m ok, lets just call it goodnight and you go home, I’m fine”! As he would die from cold if we could not get him out the situation was not looking good, as we could not get the window to break. In a brain storm I tried the rear window and thankfully it caved in on the first swing of the iron. Crawling in over broken glass and his personal possessions I managed to open the door and cut his seat belt. He was a big guy and damn near crushed me as he fell to the roof and toward the middle of the vehicle. Dave and my self started to laugh at the situation, our buddy joined in. It was probably due to the relief of getting him free and that he was ok. Once out we had to get him up the bank and into Dave’s truck. As I said he was a big guy and with our arms around him, one each side, we tried to make him walk. The first time he fell back and took us with him! Unfortunately he hit his head on the vehicle and took out the headlight! He started laughing first that time. After a few attempts we got him to the road and into the truck. We set off to find his house, he was able to give his address but no more, aside from “it’s ok, I’m ok lets just call it goodnight and you go home, I’m fine”. About three times a minute! After a couple of up and downs of the road we found his house, unlocked the door and took him in. He shut the door, locked it and we heard him crash to the floor so he probably was unconscious and ‘safe’. Driving back was a fairly sobering time as we mused over the possible alternative out come if we had not taken the time to make sure he was ok. Never before can I say I saved a persons life.
Day 1907 Monday 4th January
First job of the day was to make a phone call to our amigo from last night to see if he is still alive, thankfully he sounded great, like nothing had happened. I asked if he needed help with the recovery, he said that he had already got the vehicle back to his house.
Our first day of no customers, although I did sell one to-go coffee.
Dave called and asked if I had heard from our friend we dragged out of the ditch. I told him all was okay with him, as I had called.
Day 1911 Friday 8th January
Went to Sally’s in the morning for home made croissants and coffee. She lives in a wonderfully small cabin up off the road, three goats and two chickens also reside in her garden. The sitting room is mostly glass fronted and overlooks the lake. In the summer the chairs face the water, now in winter they face the burgundy wood burning stove. No television, not much noise, a small retreat on the hill!
Diane was feeling unwell so declined the buttery offerings, while I managed to eat some of hers to help out. Having only town water piped to the house, she kept away from the costly monthly bills, gas was in two large bottles for water heating and cooking. Electricity was from two small solar panels which charged two twelve volt batteries, one twenty volts came from an inverter supplied from said batteries. The panels kept up on sunny days, however she had a petrol generator to charge when required.
Diane felt too ill to face the cafe, so Louis and I faced it alone. It was fairly busy and we coped, just, with a huge rush. As the dough looked like possibly not being enough I made more and we used a quarter of it from the tub as it was still rising!
Diane came in at seven to help with the tail end of the orders, Louis and I clean kitchen and enjoyed a well deserved beer.
Day 1913 Sunday 10th January
Louis left for Valmont today as it was understandably too slow for him. Dave offered to drive him, it was a four hour journey by vehicle and nine by greyhound with the stopovers! We cooked a huge brekkie for all and went along for the ride, it was good to be out and seeing some countryside.
Day 1914 Monday 11th January
Another no customer day.
Steve introduced us to Mel and Diane, a couple who also ride bikes, and have completed a thirty thousand click ride around the perimeter of the United States a few years back and wish to return one day to explore a little of the interior of the country. They were really interested in our trip.
We turned off the outside lights and locked the door, drank a heap of red wine and played pool. Great evening!
Day 1917 Thursday 14th January
While we were watching a movie Diane saw a huge dog or a wolf we fancied, digging in the snow for a snack then trotting around our cafe, his shoulders and head clearly above the window boards. As it was dark we could not see where he went.
Day 1922 Tuesday 19th January
After another very slow post Christmas and new year day, we had just a half dozen folks in, two in the bar and two couples in the cafe, at ten to midnight two unpleasant looking guys came in. The four in the cafe drank up immediately and one lady advised us to get them out as fast as possible without upsetting them. Apparently they were the local hard drug dealers, great!!
They asked for beer, as it was close to closing I said they probably had time for two, then I would close the bar. They seamed okay with that. The lady at the counter knew them and their reputation and genuinely looked terrified, she explained later they were cause of her ex-husband being able to get cocaine and himself addicted and ruined his and her lives. She motioned me to turn up the music to please them, as I though it would invoke a party atmosphere I turned it down to very quiet. They played pool with really ‘wired’ with staring unblinking eyes!! After twenty minuets they struggled to pay on a card, I was only too prepared to let them go, however he tried again and was successful. They left and I locked the door, we stayed till gone one am listening to her story. I gave the lady and guy their drinks for free as we really appreciated them staying with us and not, understandably, running away.
Day 1923 Wednesday 20th January
Bud and Dort came in this afternoon, she had taken a menu from the cafe a few says back and made a full colour foolscap menu advertising the music and us! There were cartoon pictures of couples dancing, music notes, beer mugs and wine glasses. We kept one as a souvenir and the rest soon were taken by interested folk. The only huge draw back was that the owner was coming back in a few weeks so we were not going to be able to give our public what they had come to love and appreciate from us.
We placed an advert in the local free-press for the live music at months end.
Day 1926 Saturday 23rd January
The half price pizza deal went crazy tonight, with over forty going out the door and unusually ten consumed sit down in the bar and cafe.
Day 1929 Tuesday 26th January
Rick has given a firm date for his coming back, February thirteen, so new plans being made, as a few customers, now friends want us to house sit while they go on business and vacations. Including tending to, but not limited to, goats and horses. Thankfully there are a few more manageable creatures such as dogs and cats.
A surprising number of our customers said they had a bed we could use, as it was not wise, in their opinion, to stay at the house, let alone the cafe. Too much “micro-management” as a lot of them advised.
Day 1930 Wednesday 27th January
Our friend who rolled his vehicle came in for first time since it occurred. I was in the kitchen on my own, he came and shook my hand and asked what happened, and how did he get home. He remembered nothing of the night!
Day 1931 Thursday 28th January
We put up our tent in the bar (!) and set about cutting the floor fabric from a tent Dave and Brittney did not want any longer so we thought we could sew it under our original floor to weatherproof it. Also we fashioned another fly sheet to help when the weather was wet.
With the live music night being close we covered the yellow wood table with plastic and cloths so it could be used by valued customers who understandably did not want to stand at the counter all night.
Day 1932 Friday 29th January
Our three day music event started well, all that attended had good night. We only had a few locals in, but enough to make a night of it. It was by chance that a lady came in for a beer at lunch time and said she would return with family and friends. Good that she chanced by as they formed the bulk of the audience!
Day 1933 Saturday 30th January
Had a few guys in but as expected for a winters Saturday it was a quiet evening.
Day 1934 Sunday 31st January
Grand finally for music, Dort and Buds table was set with blue over while cloths that she had supplied. They said it looked wonderful, the table we had pulled away from the wall, spent half an hour dusting and cleaning it. It was for sale and not for use! However as it was our last night and Dort wanted to sit at it we were only to please to oblige. Their son and a friend of his had come up from Vancouver to visit and were driving them home after.
As hoped and kind of predicted we all had great evening, all our local folk in.
Day 1937 Wednesday 3rd February
Final big clean of the house and we put the bikes in Steve’s shop as a snow storm had come in and I was nervous of not being able to get the bikes out of the greenhouse tomorrow.
Day 1938 Thursday 4th February
A beautiful day dawned for the big move of bikes up to Mel and Diane’s.
Day 1944 Wednesday 10th February
Party night, locals too nervous about Rick coming back early and spoiling their night, shame.
Day 1946 Friday 12th February
First night at Mel and Diane’s.
Day 1947 Saturday 13th February
We opened the cafe for the last time and cleaned the floors and made it all sparkle. Rick got back just after two pm as planned. It was strange for him to be back and stranger still for us to have him back! He soon went around noticing things that had changed places, tables, plants and such like. We had a few beers then walked up the hill to M&D’s home, the first of many such walks. It felt good to stretch our legs and actually move instead of just sitting around waiting for a customer or two.
Day 1948 Sunday 14th February
We were taken for a drive up north for a couple of hours, to see some different scenery, still fir trees, but lots of them and more snow than we had in La Hache. By a remote lake we stopped for a salad roll and watched swans on the far bank running on the frozen snow on the lake until they flapped noisily into the air. There must have been a bit a wind over on their side of the lake as they made a tight turn and flew off in formation in the other direction. With the foreground of snow and ice, the background of dark fir trees it looked just on the nature programs on television.
Day 1950 Tuesday 16th February
We noticed a week or so back that one of the Honda’s panniers hinges had split away, the plastic had torn over the last few years. Mel gave us an epoxy resin adhesive cum filler with which to repair it. So we took it to Steve’s shop where it was warmer to carry out the repair. The result looked promising, time will tell how good a job we made of it.
Day 1959 Thursday 25th February
We spent three hours sawing a wood pile for Mel and Diane. It was an ungainly heap that sat on their renovation property and needed to go before the sale in a few months time. As they had a wood burner in their shop at home and one in the reno property we offered to cut it into rounds and stack it. They seamed to be very pleased at the prospect of having this done while they could continue with the more productive side of house rebuilds. Unfortunately I had a chain break thankfully no damage to the saw or personal injury. I was very surprised as I never had this experience before. I have read that it can be a bloody accident, the Gods still watching over us even though were not riding?
Day 1960 Friday 26th February
After managing to borrow a splitting axe from Mel, (called a maul here, not to be confused with the ‘hammer’ on a rock breaker in Australia, also called a maul?? Confused??? Yea me too!!) I split wood for Sally. The stack aside the lane was cut and stacked by Steve. Looking at some of the logs, a few years ago. This stack was leaning out at a nasty angle, so better to split and move this before it collapses and rolls northward into the lake. Three hours later I was bushed and most of the stack was gone. Unfortunately for me the wood was at the lower end of the property and needed to be wheel barrowed up. Good exercise for somebody carrying three more kilos than they would like. Although all the walking we have done since leaving the cafe has not done much to reduce my waist line….. Gonna get another beer to cheer myself up!
Day 1967 Friday 4th March
We had arranged house sitting at Ten-ee-ah Lodge awhile back, and today Mani came and picked us up so we could be on hand at the Lodge while he goes on vacation. They have horses to keep running, cats, rabbits and dog to feed.
Day 1968 Saturday 5th March
We took a home made map of the lodge area and walked what we hoped was at least eight clicks, through snow that was still deep but frozen enough to walk on in normal boots.
Day 1969 Sunday 6th March
We fired up two the ski-doo’s from the lodge and went for a short ride to the logging haul road that we had walked, the speedometer said we were traveling at ten clicks, however it felt much more and when later we calculated the distance it was more like thirty, which meant our walk was probably five clicks and not eight. Shame.
Day 1970 Monday 7th March
We were up early and took Mani to Williams airport, we did not envy his twenty or more hours of flying and waiting in airport lounges. We spent our day food shopping and enjoying the ease of traveling by vehicle under our own steam.
Day 1972 Wednesday 9th March
Walked our usual walk with the addition of another kilometre diversion, as the snow was over half a meter deep we wore snow shoes. I thought it would make the walking easy, no, just made it possible. Got the heart pumping though, which is the whole point of going!
Day 1974 Friday 11th March
I checked on the animals, early in the morning, it looked like we had a dead rabbit. As we were very late to help with fitting windows with Mel and Diane I thought will leave for later and make sure it is really dead…
After the fitting of windows we headed back up the track thirty clicks to the lodge and confirm that we had a deceased rabbit.
Day 1975 Saturday 12th March
I bagged dead bunny, with the straw from the hutch case it had died from a nasty contagious disease. I tried to bury it, however the ground was too root bound to dig a hole. So I cut logs as the blowing snow tried to make me quit.
Day 1976 Sunday 13th March
Today we moved the logs with the backhoe into a high pile once more. When stacked I could cut the wood and Diane made a nice stacked pile.
While we had the backhoe out I dug a crazy deep hole and we buried the bunny. While being okay with the large excavators in Australia I made a bit of a mess with this smaller machine, however a bit of back blading saw the ground looking not too bad…
Day 1977 Monday 14th March
Woke to fifty mil of snow and still falling fast, by ten am it had stopped and the sun tried to come through the pure white sky.
Cutting logs saw a clear blue sky with white clouds moving fast and high. Later while enjoying a red wine the vista across the frozen lake turned steel blue while the snow remained pure white in defiance of forthcoming spring.
Day 1983 Sunday 20th March
Diane’s birthday. Not wanting to give up our walk before a lazy day we walked Twisty the wooly sheepdog for the normal hour, us stumbling through the still deep snow. On our return a fire was made and a brekkie of smoked fish, eggs, beans, sausage and mushrooms, after dinning we watched Murder in Paradise on the tube.
Day 1984 Monday 21st March
We picked Mani and Anita up from the small airport at Williams Lake at six thirty pm. As I drove the back roads to the lodge it took an hour, the usual time. However it felt like an age, the sun was setting orange and golden in the rear view mirror made me sleepy. The ‘road’ was very corrugated with frequent thick wet mud, it was not really a public road but a logging haul road. When the Loge came into view it was almost dark and I was very relived.
Day 1985 Tuesday 22nd March
I woke at six thirty and watched through half closed eyes the trees swaying and a white sky. An hour later the snow was falling, thick and fast. By nine we had one hundred mil of snow lay where a few hours before there was none. We had to be in Vancouver on Thursday for our interrogation at the U.S. embassy, if the Fraser Canyon highway had also had snow the road could be closed for days, which would mean for forfeiting our fee. Mani took us back to Diane and Mel’s, the dirt road was slippery but manageable, he said that they had managed to get into town through much deeper falls. Thankfully as we got close to La Hache the snow thinned to nothing, not even a wet road!
Packed for Vancouver, including rain coats!
Steve’s for dinner.
Day 1986 Wednesday 23rd March
Our six am start turned to ten as Mel had pool to play, which was a great relief as we don’t set any alarms these days, well not for almost eighteen months now!
The roads were dry and no snow on the field till well past Clinton.
Got pulled over by traffic police as Mel’s passengers in the back were not wearing seat belts, i.e., us! After taking our I.D to his vehicle he returned and said “try not to do it again please, have a good day”. Mel reckoned the fine was over one hundred and fifty bucks a piece! So we were lucky he was lenient with us…
We stopped at a gas station for snacks just south of Hells Gate, I took photo of a solitary small very rich purple plant. The first flower I had seen for almost half a year.
As we approached Hope the rain started, it always rains in Hope, so the locals say.
At Mission the houses and traffic started to thicken, I wondered in which of them Bud and Dort’s son, Jerry might live in, there only seamed to be a few hundred. We drove into more traffic, denser houses and commercial buildings, in my naivety I thought the neat gardens and hedges surrounding typical plank board homes were the homes of Mission. Nope they were just the very outskirts, we were soon in the thick of a busy satellite town of Vancouver. The rain beat down just like in northern Europe.
Mel and Diane took us an hour out of their way to drop us at the door of our biker friend.
Tulips Forsythia Daffodils yellow Daisies not seen such colours for years, very reminiscent of my mothers garden
Day 1987 Thursday 24th March
The BIG day dawned deer and almost with sunshine, after a fruit brekkie we walked to the Sky Train terminal. The mostly overland system was similar to the one we had seen in Kuala Lumpur. Not wanting to be late by not finding the office we hotfooted it there and spoke to a few security guys who advised us to come back ten minutes before our appointed time. So we wandered the downtown for an hour. Hectic security empty pockets x-rayed all our gear and we had to pass through a metal detector. Just as at an airport.
Day 1988 Friday 25th March
The guy we were staying with had a guest looking for accommodation so us freeloaders had to move on, we headed int downtown to be in the thick of the action, at a price. However when we divided up the cost by the number of days in the city it came to an agreeable number. Determined to experience some different queen we dined out at an Ethiopian restaurant on injera and spicy hot vegetables.
Day 1989 Saturday 26th March
Stanley Park walked ten clicks.
Day 1990 Sunday 27th March
Moved out of the big smoke to Surrey to a lovely couple we had hooked up with on a travel website.
Day 1991 Monday 28th March
Spent five hours in the flower bed at the front of the house weeding, planting a few fir trees in the front hedge. Some had died, Kevin had bought replacements from work that were now redundant. As he worked in the film industry it made us wonder if we had see them in a movie!
Day 1992 Tuesday 29th March
Had to set an alarm as Donna needed to be at their condo by nine as a plumber had been booked. We were on time for once and arrived before he. The repair would take around two hours so Donna kindly took us for a drive around White Rock. The streets were lined with mostly individual stores which was a welcome break from the chain stores of Vancouver.
Our afternoon was absorbed with flatpack furniture building.
The ocean front bars provided Guinness and some craft brews we had enjoyed in the city. On our way back we dinned at a Jamaican cafe, wonderful goat stew and pink rice….
Day 1993 Wednesday 30th March
Spent our morning cleaning the condo then walking the shops and sea board.
Stopped at a small cafe for egg on toast, four bucks!
Day 1994 Thursday 31st March
Weather getting warmer gonna need short pants soon, if not today.
Day 1995 Friday 1st April
Diane made Salmon burgers sat around a fire from the wood we collected from the garden lawn. Terry and Joanne came for supper as well.
Day 1996 Saturday 2nd April
Hit the garden and finished the front beds.
Day 1997 Sunday 3rd April
Called in at Kevin’s work to clear coat the cabinets he had made for his shop at home.
We walked around the set they had been constructing for a Marvel comic up and coming television series. In a warehouse! It all looked so real, aside from the background which was drop screen painting and make believe.
After, we stopped in on the Red Racer Brewery for a local brew. I had a wonderful IPA which was aromatic, rich, hoppy and eight per cent.
Day 1998 Monday 4th April
Took the L.P.G. tank off Kevin’s farther’s van as the wreckers will not accept it with the tank installed.
Pressure washed the rest of the deck.
Day 1999 Tuesday 5th April
Service of push mower and took a look at Kevin’s Honda CB seven fifty, as after two years understandably it was a non runner. Kevin bought a new battery for his bike and new sparking plugs.
Day 2000 Wednesday 6th April
Got Kevin’s Honda running and found what was preventing the ride on mower from moving.
Day 2001 Thursday 7th April
Still needing to shed kilos we borrowed their bikes and rode the round trip of thirty two clicks to visit a leather handy craft store.
Diane had finished the gardening projects we had started and tidied the deck and we put now clean tables back and swept the tiles once again of pine needles.
Donna and Kevin took us to a great bar for supper, Joanne and Terry joined us there in a bar next to the Frazer.
Day 2002 Friday 8th April
Had a ‘finishing off’ morning, tiding up where we had been working and living the ride on mower project in a state where the next person could make sense of where I had got to.
Dave arrived around five and soon we were in the thick of Friday afternoon traffic due to an accident. Once past that we turned off the highway to take country roads that wound through flat farm land with rich green grass, cows, empty hay barns and fast flowing streams of melt water off the nearby mountains.
It seamed like no time before we arrived in Hope, Dave need a fill up so we found a nice beer in a roadhouse where he could enjoy a heathy burger with a great looking salad. Leaving Hope the mountains came closer as we entered the canyon, the water falls were not large, however they fell from a great height, seemingly in slow motion. As the light faded my attention turned to the road, even as a passenger I had to try to keep track of the faded yellow central lane. Dave drove a lot faster than I would have, I reckon we are still out of touch as we would have stopped for the night some place, not needing to be any place in a hurry. It was different for him as he wanted to be home and sleep in his own bed. Just after midnight we were having a beer and a chat with a very sleepy Britney, by half one we retreated to the R.V. for eight hours sound sleep. The silence of the country surrounding us.
Day 2003 Saturday 9th April
Brit cooked us a fat boy brekkie to set us up for five hours of concrete mixing to set fence posts. When done we were treated to a huge supper of veggies, rice and sausages made from mushrooms and more veggies. We headed back to Dianes’ and Mels’ to catch up on news and see our bikes again.
Day 2004 Sunday 10th April
Eleven O’clock saw us back at Britney and Daves’ place for more post setting. We declined supper as Diane had bought food with which to make a soup, allegedly would help us shed some kilos. That along with drastically cutting back on our alcohol consumption should help…
Day 2005 Monday 11th April
Among to finish the post setting today our swift progress was halted after eleven posts, due to the insufficient cement supply.
So while Dave went in search of the replacement we went back and watched a couple of movies and ate soup, yum…
Day 2006 Tuesday 12th April
Decided to play with our bikes today, installed the battery on both and fired them up, first time since we abandon the greenhouse in February.
Went to Williams for supplies.
Day 2007 Wednesday 13th April
With ‘D’ day (departure) being still two weeks away we were under no misconception that the days would fly past, we spent an hour with the bikes, dumping our gear into boxes. We can’t pack as some of our stuff is still in use, however it does mean that the items are where they should be, instead of scattered between three different places.
With that done we looked at emails, Diane had a message from Brittney from the day before, so we headed to theirs, as he has said he is eager to get more posts in. On arrival we were in time to see Dave leaving with a broken cat and a broken laundry tub. So post setting abandoned, we took Steve’s dogs out for a walk for an hour.
Spent the afternoon researching the route through the U.S. and movies…
Day 2008 Thursday 14th April
Finally got the post setting done and the promise of a supper next week and use of a truck for four days when we leave Sally’s. Going to head north a bit to Barkerville.
Spent the afternoon washing the concrete dust out of our hair and clothes.
Mel confirmed our thoughts that it was not viable for them to come with us when we leave. They had hopped that the reno house would be at least on the market. Great shame, we had looked forward to riding with them.
Day 2009 Friday 15th April
Went to Williams for food supplies and a new external memory for the lap top as the one in bought in Australia was behaving strangely, as it contained all the trip pictures and diary I was nervous of it failing, better to copy everything and send back the first one as a back up.
Day 2010 Saturday 16th April
Took a drive along a sonic route recommended to me by one of our cafe regulars months back. Unable to find the route west out of One Hundred Mile we headed further south to Clinton where the road was easier to find. Winding our way on a dirt logging road, through the alternating dense pine plantation and hectors of bare land where the crop had been harvested we struggled to see the stunning beauty of this road. We assumed it would be a one or two hundred clicks, three hundred and forty later we finally arrived back in town.
Day 2011 Sunday 17th April
There was an old trailer on the vacant lot next door so we set to in early afternoon sunshine to demolish it, so the frame could be used as a utility trailer. It’s construction was very different to it’s european counterparts. We though at the rate we started out at it would take two days, thankfully Mel and Diane unexpectedly arrived to help out. By three Steve had also arrived and by five pm the task was complete. Mel had taken all the burnable wood and we loaded the bakkie for a trip or two to the recycle depot in the morning.
Day 2023 Friday 29th April
We had applied and received a six month extension to our Canadian visa to enable us to attend Steve’s party. A bright red dunny had been built by himself and erected over a two metre deep hole. While this was going on a few of the ladies set up a camp kitchen, the rest of us drank beer and made encouraging comments!
A great evening was had by all, stood around a large fire warming our backs and fronts alternatively, as is the tradition in the northern hemisphere.
Day 2024 Saturday 30th April
As we really need to be in Nebraska as soon as possible we left the Hatche at around mid day. We saw most of our new friends over the last week or to say adios. Not a teary affair, however we don’t know when we will be back.
Still, riding out did feel good, we had not risen any distance since arriving in October. It felt very odd riding into One Hundred Mile House knowing it would be the last time for a long time, as with many places we stayed at for a long period of time.
We took the scenic route out of town and joined up with highway twenty four, winding our way to hyw five and south to Kamloops, where at a gas station I noticed Diane’s bike leaking oil from the front cylinder top end. As it was a long job in stripping the crash bars and plastic off, we decided on a ‘Kodak’ approach, we would keep an eye on it and let it develop.
Following our mapping app we travelled through great countryside with dark green fir tress contrasting with the bright new growth of the birch trees, the grass was heavily dotted with cheerful large yellow daisies. We passed through Vernon, where we should find a camp, as pinned on the map. However on arrival it was the end of a gravel track, leading into a walking trail in a state park. We had passed through a ‘well-to-do’ residential area, at the final house below the track we asked for water and if they minded us pitching the tent on the trail head. They advised against it and let us camp in their garden! We were delighted at this as they had thick grass and a wonderful view to the west across the wide valley, and as funds are dwindling, a free camp helps the budget enormously. We cooked supper and drank tea as the sun, very slowly set. It was perfectly quiet, being out and back in the tent was a fantastic feeling.
Day 2025 Sunday 1st May
Waking with the Sparrows fart we were packed and gone by six thirty. Not wishing to intrude on our hosts Sunday morning. Negotiating their steep sandy track up was somewhat easier than the way down, however not something I relished that early in the morning.
Following Mel’s recommendation we followed his route winding through mountains and valleys, we crossed a lake twice by ferry, they were state funded and run as the road had to cross the water. On the approach to the Fauquier crossing we saw a small bear with a black face on the edge of the tree line. Our first bear! At the point where Galena Bay and Shelter Bay were joined by the rope ferry Diane rode off the ramp withe the steel rope on her right, technically the wrong side of the road. She thought to cross it, unfortunately it led to a very fast dropping of her bike, so quick her leg was still on the pegs when she hit the floor. Suffering big bruising and much pain. Thankfully she could just about ride and we headed to the nearby gas station for inspection of damage. Luckily it was just bruised, but giving her Hell. Stopping at the end of the Big Bend highway we camped up in the trees, another free camp, but a little noisier due to the road and rail being close by. Did not stop us from sleeping as we were very tired.