Monthly Archives: July 2015

Life on the road, three weeks in

Where to start? We’ve been on the road now for a little over 3 weeks! It’s hard to believe at times, and everything is starting to blur together a little bit. As of this evening, I will have run 178 miles! Only 702 to go…no big deal right? The last week we have been traveling through some HOT, dusty and tiny towns and have just made it to the town of Cache Creek, which actually has a real grocery store, a luxurious campground with showers, wi-fi and a pool, as well as a few gas stations and chain restaurants. We are in heaven!!! A lot of our energy has been spent just trying to take care of living necessities and passing out, but here’s a few bullet points of what life on the road has looked like this week:

–    We have left the mountains (I ran from a place called Hell’s Gate up to Jackass Mountain. That should give you an idea of the incline), although I am still running on rolling hills. We had been following the Fraser River, but Hwy 1 turns and follows a major tributary called the Thompson. The Fraser is brown and silty, whereas the Thompson is a clear, beautiful shade of blue/green. The prettiest run of the trip thus far was a beautiful river run along the Thompson where I just 10 feet above the river. We have left the Thompson now, and are running through rolling sagebrush hillsides. I think we’re about to hit ranch country.

–    Must find ice. I had totally forgotten that traveling on the road requires a lot of ice. In the 90-100 degree heat we’ve been experiencing, we’ve been going through a giant ice block almost everyday. I mean, who doesn’t love packing and unpacking the cooler every day?

–    We’ve been living off of Costco snacks and lunchmeat for the last week, as there has only been 1 tiny, sad and very expensive grocery store for the last 70 miles. Luckily, we’ve both discovered that frozen fish sticks are pretty good, and can generally be found. Restaurants are hard to find along the road, the exception being a very good little local café in Lytton. I’ve never heard of Chinese-Canadian Cuisine before, but that definitely is a thing here.

–    We made the mistake of going to campground called Blue Lake Resort. Sounds nice, right? On arriving, the office looked great and we were told we could get a sweet campsite right next to the lake with our own private dock. It was in a great location, so we jumped on it. Ok, so the word resort is a major stretch for this place. Apparently it was founded in the early 1900s, and probably was a nice place in the 50s and 60s. The lake was a dump, the bathrooms and port-a-potties were the worst I’ve ever seen, and the dock? Try partially submerged pieces of plywood. To top it off, 4 trucks of dudes set up camp next to us about an hour after we got there. Turns out it was a bachelor party (on a Tuesday night?) that was going to last for days. The guys had brought 50 pounds of meat, and had hauled up giant grills and set up a tent city. They were stoked. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, do we got meat?”
“Yeah, we got burgers.”
“Are we gonna make them?”
“Burgers are easy”
“How many of us are there?”
“When are you gonna make the burgers, dude?”

Burgers graduated to beer pong, to drinking and smoking and other things. The camp host finally moved the dudes for their evening of partying, and we were able to sleep for a bit. The same conversation resumed in the morning regarding eggs and “artesian coffee.” We just had to laugh, and got the heck out as soon as we could.

–    We have gotten really good at setting up and breaking down camp. Staying at the same place for 3 nights seems like a luxury, and we try really hard not to only stay at a place for only one night. The provincial campgrounds are beautiful and well maintained!! And cheap! We love them.

–    I’ve never been an energy drink fan, but have recently discovered the many virtues of Red Bull. Enough said.

–    Laundry days are the happiest days.

Greetings from Gold Country!!

Hi friends! This might be the only blog post for the next week, as we’ve headed north on the Trans-Canada Hwy and have hit gold country! This area doesn’t have very many amenities, including wi-fi. Real showers have become a luxury of the past. BUT this area is stunning!!! We’re in the mountains now, and are still following the Fraser River. It really feels like the wild west in the sense that the landscape is rugged, and the only thing we can take for granted is the fact that there will be a freight train coming through the mountains every hour or so.

I had no idea, but apparently this area had a gold rush boom that rivaled the California gold rush. In fact, many California minors moved north in pursuit of gold after the California gold boom petered out, and at one point tried to get parts of BC to succeed to the US! I don’t tell people I’m really from California around here 🙂 We have panned for gold for fun, but no joke, you can buy legitimate gold panning equipment from any outdoor store.

This area is littered with little towns that were huge boomtowns at one point, first due to gold and then to the construction of railroads. We went to some abandoned railroad tunnels that had been turned into a park. It was amazing to think of all the dangerous work that went into blasting the mountains away in a narrow river canyon to get a railroad line in. And we even saw salmon migrating!!

I’m not sure if it’s the mountainous terrain or the fact that I’ve now been running for 2 weeks, but my body is started to feel the affects of running this long. I’ve lost weight, and feel a lot more muscular but I’m also tired a lot of the time. I am savoring the fact that today is a rest day. I had a ridiculous dream in which I went to the doctor and they told me I had to get a knee replacement. Hahaha, I was really glad when I woke up and realized that wasn’t the case. All things considered, I’m really amazed at how resilient the human body is. 81 miles down.

Over and out. Much love to you all.

I think this is what summer looks like

We’ve been on the road for about a week now and are starting to find a rhythm to the madness. We get up early in the morning. Caleb makes breakfast, while I prepare all the electrolyte water I need for the day. It’s been so warm that I would easily become hyponatremic drinking “normal water.” We quickly get on the road around 7 or 8am and return to our last stopping point. Then I wonder how I possibly have energy to run that day, eat some ‘magic’ aka sport beans, and hop out and go for it. Caleb checks in with me every couple miles as I have to stop to refill my “water,” and grab a quick snack. Sometimes I get rewarded with a cold beverage from the nearest gas station. I can’t even begin to describe how good those are when you’re running in 90 degrees.

Caleb has done an amazing job at filming, but he has this annoying habit of finding a really picturesque spot and pulling over. In my mind, I’m thinking ‘ok, I can make it to the car, and then I get a quick break.’ However, he generally pulls out the camera and tells me to just keep going for the sake of the shot, and all I want to do is collapse ☺ Its pretty effective though, nobody wants to see a movie of me walking ☺

These days I’m running through rolling hills that go through a lot of blueberry farms, cornfields and dairy farms. There are stray blueberries on the road, and I find that I’m often being stared down by goats and cows who wonder what the heck I’m doing. Yesterday I met a man who is pulling a cart coast to coast across Canada. He had just started his journey and we wished each other well.

I run from anywhere between 11/2 -2 hours depending on the day, and then we usually come back to the campsite. I have just enough energy to shower quickly and eat something before we both pass out in the heat of the day. We’ve had to resort to finding Starbucks and the local restaurant chain, Tim Hortons, to find air conditioning and wifi. After a nap, there is usually time for site seeing, grocery shopping, general exploring and a lot of reading. And then we start all over the next day. Despite the blisters on my feet, and the heat, we’re both really enjoying each other and this trip so far!!

Smokin’ up the Frasier River Valley

There were lots of unknowns heading into this trip; we knew that. But sometimes even the “known unknowns” catch you by surprise. We guessed that it would be a warm summer, and we knew that it had been an unseasonably dry winter and spring. But still, it was a shocker when just days into our adventure we were dealing with temps approaching 100° F. No problem though; we would just get up at the crack of dawn and Kim would run when it was cool. Then, our magnificent views of Mt. Baker, just across the border from us and often visible for our first few days, were covered in haze. This quickly developed into a brown shroud of pungent smoke. We quickly figured out that BC’s wilderness was on fire in hundreds of places. According to the Vancouver Sun, the wildfire season was already so bad that the province’s entire annual firefighting budget had already been spent. An air quality health advisory had been issued for the whole Vancouver metro area, and we decided to play it safe and stay inside.

It was discouraging to have to take a day off, but this morning, we were bailed out by the weather. A merciful Pacific breeze began to push the smoke inland, and moisture carried with it kept the valley cloudy and cool in the morning. Relief for the run came in another way as well: Kim’s route had until this point been mostly urban, but after less than a mile from her starting point this morning in the town of Mission, the route turned rural and picturesque. Cornfields and berry farms lined the highway, but just beyond the fields, rugged, forested hills rose up, walling in the fertile Frasier River valley and confining it more and more to a narrow gorge as we head eastward. By the time we reach the town of Hope, 45 miles to the east and north of Kim’s stopping point today, the rich fields will have given way to the dramatic, mountainous image of BC that I tend to think of when picturing the province’s landscape.

— Caleb

Day One!

Hi All!

We’re in Canada! The last few days have been fun and crazy as we’ve learned our way around Abbotsford and are recuperating from the last frantic days of packing. We crossed the border late on the 2nd. It was the easiest crossing either one of us had done, which was nice considering we were banking on a 20-minute interrogation. Several of the other cars in front of us had their trunks thoroughly searched, and we both amazed that they waved us through with just a couple questions with a car full of crap. I think we came across as harmless hippies ☺

We’ve been busy stocking the car with food and supplies, including that all-essential bear spray. Who knew you could get poutine at the Costco hot dog stand?

It has been HOT over here, so the first run I attempted was the evening of the 3rd. At 8pm, it was still 82 degrees out. I started at the border and ran through town. I had my first ever heat cramp in my leg – I’ve been drinking all the sports drinks I can get my hands on!! Our new plan will be getting up super early and getting a run in before it gets too warm. I think I need a salt lick ☺

It might be slow going at first as I adjust to the heat and get into the pattern of running everyday, but I’m still pretty excited about this whole thing!! Although I’ve mostly been on dusty highways so far, I’ve already passed some pretty wildlife reserves and blueberry farms and the scenery promises to get even better. We’re headed for the Frasier River next. Stay tuned for more updates!

Kim

P.S. we have a new traveling companion. His name is Bob the succulent.

P.P.S. we’ve already been offered a kitten for the trip from our first hosts. It took all my powers of restraint to say no.