To finish off the three months of driving I decided to drive all the way back from Vancouver to Canmore in the middle of the long weekend. The logic there being that Jasper would be a zoo on a sunny holiday weekend & I’d be better off checking it out a little later when there were less people around.
So Saturday morning I set off on a wonderfully sunny drive east across BC. The traffic was pretty good & BC was beautifully forested – it really is a large province when you drive across the bottom in one day. After Kamloops I was back on roads I’d driven before & there was a half-hour wait near Shuswap – but I had the Kindle out so I wasn’t too fussed. Over Rogers Pass & coming into Golden there was an ominous big cloud of black smoke billowing into the sky. I was near the front of a queue for almost an hour as some poor family watched their RV incinerate. The rest of the drive was uneventful & I was soon driving below familiar peaks – just they had a lot less snow (almost none) on them than I remember. It was a little odd getting closer to Canmore – being away for three months & doing so many other things must have lessened the blow of leaving such a great place as I wasn’t too concerned that I’ll be gone in three weeks.
So that was it really, just under 22000 km, 87 days, 13 states, two provinces, 45 MTB rides totalling a thousand kilometres, at least 15 National Parks & 5 National Monuments, only 2600 photos & 435 gallons of gas. What a great trip! We were blessed by the weather – notably it never got really hot, as it did the last time I visited Utah, Nevada, Arizona & California in 2009. Highlights are hard to list as there were so many. But I’ll try anyway:
- Most spectacular National Park – Bryce Canyon, Utah
- Most beautiful scene – Crater Lake, Oregon
- Favourite National Park – still Zion, Utah
- Most bizarre scene – Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska
- Best meal – Barbecue at Chip & Dale’s, San Diego, California
- Most entertaining dining – the ’50s diner with waitresses on roller skates, Boise, Idaho
- Best Capitol building – Idaho
- Place I’d most like to live – Bend, Oregon followed closely by Grand Junction, Colorado & Flagstaff, Arizona
A separate list for the riding highlights, which is even harder as I rode so much quality singletrack.
- Favourite ride: Downieville Downhill, California – despite two hours of hike-a-bike through three miles of snow
- Best use of a small area for a trail network – Phil’s World, Cortez, Colorado
- Longest & biggest group ride – Cuyamaca, California – 30 miles & eighteen riders
- Other notably impressive rides (it’s just too difficult to rate these in order): 18 Rd, Fruita; Magnificient 7, Moab; Mt Elden, Flagstaff; Sedona; San Juan, California; Montana de Oro, San Luis Obispo; McKenzie River Ride, near Bend.
That’s that – thanks again Valerie for coming along for the ride & sharing the experience (& financing a lot of it too!). I’m in Canmore until mid-August before flying back to London to catch the last of the English summer. Mum’s coming across to England for the last few months of the year, so it’ll be great to see her & plenty of other friends & family in the UK. From then on, I only have vague ideas as to what I’m going to do with myself… But riding better figure in there somehow.