20140601-195054.jpgMARY WAITS FOR THE KOOTENAY FERRY

When we left Bonners Ferry Saturday morning we were looking for a road less traveled than US-2/95, the road that had induced PTSD in both of us the day before. Mary noticed a thin line on our map that passed through a wildlife refuge to the west of the highway. The thin solid line became a thin dotted line which we guessed meant it turned to dirt. Would it be passable or would we be stranded in the wildlife refuge with our skinny-tired bike mired in sand and have to walk back to the highway? It was a gamble we were willing to take to avoid the highway traffic.

The dirt part turned out to be hard-packed and we had no trouble. But the best part was the serene beauty of the refuge. We saw lots of deer, scores of red-winged blackbirds among the catails, an osprey or two and, best of all, a moose!

When we rejoined the paved road, US-2/95 had turned east and taken all the high-speed traffic with it. Along the shore of Kootenay Lake on Canada 3A we encountered perhaps fifty cars in a typical hour.

We camped at Lockhart Beach Provincial Park after doing a respectable 78 miles for the day. The park had no showers but it did have a roaring icy creek next to our campsite. Hey, we thought, we can bathe like the pioneers! We’ll use the creek water!

That brilliant idea went about as far as dipping our toes in the creek and deciding maybe we didn’t need to bathe every day. Later in the evening, as we were undressing side-by-side in the tent, Mary commented that she was getting occasional whiffs of B.O.

“So am I” I replied, whereupon we both began sniffing each other like two dogs in the park. After ruling out armpits and other unmentionables, we settled on my bald head as the chief offender.

This morning we rode about fifteen miles to the ferry crossing of the lake and started north from Balfour, intending to go to Kaslo and do an additional loop of about 100 miles but my guts started rumbling about four miles into that loop, forcing us to stop along the way. I ran into the woods with a roll of toilet paper and emerged a few minutes later with misgivings about putting any more distance between me and our toilet at home. The episode was unsettlingly reminiscent of the bout of giardia I had while hiking the PCT. That little gastro-intestinal incident nearly derailed my whole summer.

We backtracked to Balfour and rode twenty miles to Nelson which is a quaint little town with a Main Street right out of 1920. Skiing, both downhill and x-country, is reputed to be great here. Perhaps we’ll drive up here next winter and do a little skiing.

Oh, and the roadside emergency thing with the toilet paper – that was a one- shit wonder. I’m good to go (ride!) tomorrow.

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