July 14, 2010 – 57 miles
I didn’t feel too hot this morning. My lungs felt full of phlegm and my throat was sore. I put it behind me as I pedaled along a quiet road to the Canadian border.
The border crossing was painless – I’m sure coming into the United States would be much harder.
The southernmost section of Canada’s Great Divide mostly followed along highway 93, except that it sporadically zig-zagged along neighboring dirt roads. I decided that extra fuss wasn’t worth it, so I just rode on the pavement. After all, there was little traffic and the shoulders were quite large. Mathieu decided to zig-zag on the dirt roads. We agreed to meet at the Dairy Bar near the town of Elko.
I guessed that my route was 5 miles shorter than Mathieu’s, but I rode hard enough to make sure I’d get there before him.
At the dairy bar, I ordered two excellent milkshakes and a burger. Right after eating, though, my chest pain came back. While we were getting ready to leave, a SOBO GD rider pulled up. His journey just started – ours was all but over. He asked if we had any advice for the coming 2,500 miles. Just like yesterday, I didn’t know what to say.
We left the Dairy Bar and turned off to a dirt road following a river on the opposite side of highway 3. The sun was strong and there wasn’t much of a breeze. I started sweating, which for an unknown reason made my skin feel very itchy. I would understand if my face itched from being wind-burnt during yesterday’s cold descent, but it was my entire body. Sun poisoning didn’t seem likely either since I’ve been wearing long sleeves every day.
Despite being very uncomfortable, I rode onward.
I eventually made it to Fernie without incident. At times the backroads were difficult to navigate, but dutifully watching the odometer removed all uncertainty. In town, I set out to find Mathieu. I rode down the main street to the north edge of town without seeing any sign of him. I rode back and decided he hadn’t arrived yet. Naturally, I parked my bike outside the Subway in town and went inside for an early dinner. I received an important cultural lesson when ordering my sub. In the States, we’re offered “American cheese” on our sandwiches. Not in Canada, though. Here it is “white cheddar,” which makes more sense. What makes it “American?”
When Mathieu rode up to the Subway 45 minutes later, I knew something was wrong. His arm and leg was bloody. He took a wrong turn some place and climbed uphill a number of miles before realizing his mistake. Along the way he had a fiasco with his trailer – I don’t know how, but he said it pulled him to the ground. Outside, he showed me a very out-of-true front wheel. It must have been quite a fall to do so much damage!
We finished our subs then rode through town, shopping around for the best hotel rates. I spent the night trying to update my journal, while Mathieu flipped his bike and tried to true his wheel.