Posted by: Silver | April 1, 2011

Armstrong to the Moon

Distance: 28 km
Ascent: 229 m
Cycling time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

OK, so a fairly transparent April Fool’s joke there, but given the aeronautical associations of the name of my most recent departure point, I just couldn’t resist…

I actually only cycled as far as Vernon on this occasion – a mere 28 km, one of my shortest planned routes. After three very enjoyable kilometres of free-wheeling, I started to entertain optimistic hopes that it might be downhill all the way, but I suppose I should have known better around this part of the world. It was still a pleasant ride though: I was able to keep to back roads for most of the journey, so very beautiful scenery and very little traffic – but very big potholes! The highway authorities here really do have a never-ending battle with the weather – I couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit sorry for them, in spite of my occasional discomfort…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m trying to get a feel for each of the communities I visit by taking part in some sort of local activity wherever possible. Sometimes, however, the fates seem to have different ideas. Vernon is famous for its recreational possibilities, so my programme here was to be a ‘Ski to Sea’ experience: tubing in the morning and kayaking in the afternoon (tubing, for those of you as ignorant as I was until a few days ago, involves sliding down a snowy slope inside a giant inner tube – a popular local pastime still currently possible 5,000 ft up in the mountains around the town). However, in the morning, the tube runs were closed, and in the afternoon, the winds were too strong to kayak. If we’d known, we could have done them the other way around, but… Oh well.

Fortunately, the photographer from the local paper still seemed happy with a photo shoot of me sitting on my kayak on the beach looking wistfully out at the uncooperative weather, and despite this being a whirlwind stop of barely more than 24 hours, I still managed to speak to two Rotary Clubs, one dinner party and one newspaper reporter about SOS Children’s Villages, so at least all the important bits were successful!

Heading south from Armstrong: it may have been dull, but at least it was dry

So instead of tubing, we went for a little tour of the ski resort 'town' (known as 'Silver Star' - how appropriate!). All the houses have be 'Victorian' style and use at least four colours: I felt I ought to be thinking it was really kitsch, but the effect was actually surprisingly charming

Finally - a wildlife picture again after the winter! Vernon has a small nature reserve set aside specifically because of the herons that nest there each year


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