12th September 2000.

Lone Butte Red Willow Ranch to Wenatchee. Miles 3,150.

Last bit about bears.

The official advice is to always keep your dog on a lead when walking in the forest. The reason for this is that dogs smell the scent of any bears that may be around and go after them. When the dog meets the bear, the bear is not too pleased and often chases the dog. The dog, now not so bold, rushes straight back to its owner followed by an angry bear...

 

Awoke to find dense freezing mist outside. Temperature was 4c. Went shopping in 100 Mile House as it poured with cold rain most of the day. In a small junk shop we came across some unusual vehicle number plates, but we also found some bicycle number plates made in 1975 for a Canadian town where they were required.

Arrival back at the Red Willow to find Peter Crofts, Anita and their group all there. They were all trying to get warm after their cold, wet ride. We immediately recognized Edgar Oliver from Chelmsford who we last met in Mexico. Some others had familiar faces but we couldn't remember when we had met. Later that evening we established that Peter and Barbara we met on a trip to Kenya many years ago. Peter vividly remembers David falling on an oil drenched road and getting covered in thick, black sticky oil.

We decided to stay two nights with the group of 22 (6 American) and eat with them. As we had lived mostly on pasta while camping, we eagerly awaited the first nights dinner. It arrived - spaghetti with tinned sauce mixed in! We were not the only ones disappointed, and the next evening's meal was somewhat better. The lodge charged us C$95 for the meals and camping.

Some of the group went horse riding on a wet and cold day, but we decided we'd had enough in the saddle and opted for a cold muddy walk instead. Rode with the group to Cache Creek along a fairly busy road. Camped on a small grass plot behind the motel. They didn't charge us! Evening meal and breakfast with the group before leaving them at Spencers Bridge the next day after several photos and many good-byes. We turned off the busy highway into a lovely valley road, which twisted and turned by a river all the way to Merrit. Saw an Osprey nest on top of an electricity pole by the side of the road. An Osprey was feeding a fish to a fledgling. Peaches, cherries, apples, pears and fields of tomatoes were grown along the valley floor which was a rich green in contrast to the desert surrounding of sparsely tree'd mountainside with brown grass tufts.

The road climbed out of Merrit for 1500ft and 2 miles. We were glad to get off the 5A, which we thought would have been a less busy road, and take a very quiet scenic road to Coalmont.

About 3 to 4 years ago in our home village near Cambridge, Joan was returning by car from a shopping trip. She saw two touring cyclists poring over a map only a few hundred yards from our home. She quickly stopped and asked if she could help. "Is there a campsite near here?" they said, "follow me" said Joan. Neil and Sharon Anderson on a world tour from Canada stayed with us for a few days and we have kept in touch ever since. They now live in Coalmont.

In Tulaneen, we stopped to use the phone to contact Neil and Sharon. The shop-owner said she knew them and dialed the number for us. It was easy to find their house as Coalmont is so small and a bicycle on a 10-foot pole marks the spot. We were warmly welcomed and treated with their generous hospitality for two days. David and Neil both demonstrated their large appetites for porridge and pancakes. Sharon is expecting their first new cyclist in January. We became the first to buy a present! The bikes were treated to new chains, new derailleur pulleys and a thorough transmission clean up. David was treated to a new cycling top from the Backroads Bikeshop at Princeton.

Neil has written a book about some of their travels. It is called "The lead goat veered off". For further information email to: neilanderson@canada.com or visit: http://cyclelogicpress.virtualave.net

Thank you very much again Neil and Sharon.

Another very scenic ride to Osoyoos along a fruit producing valley with dry mountains either side. At Hedley we could see old gold mine ruins perched precariously near the top of a 2000-foot steep mountain. Hedley once had six hotels, a bank, a school and its own newspaper. It made $50,000,000 by mining. It now has a population of 350.

This area is officially a desert, but when we rode through, it was about 55f and drizzling with rain some of the way. As usual the locals informed us that the weather was un-seasonal.

Osoyoos is the last town in Canada before crossing the border (9th Sept - 3000 miles) to the USA. The border officials charged us $6 each to enter the USA and gave us a six-month entry permit. We successfully claimed back $68CA tax paid in Canada. Most of Canada has two taxes on everything, 7% local and 7% national. Visitors are allowed to claim back the national tax (G>S>T>) ( Eh! What does "G>S>T>" mean? - Mark ) on most purchases. Food and consumables are not included. Each receipt had to be for at least $50 and the total at least $200.

The area south of Osoyoos is classified as desert due to the low rainfall. The countryside became brown with hills instead of mountains. For the first time in weeks we felt warm as the sun started to shine most of the day, although the mornings were still cold. The valleys are green and covered in apple and pear orchards. Spotted our first Turkey Vulture. There will be many more as we head south, although the Ospreys may not be so common

A town called Brewster, about 100 miles south of the border could have fooled us into believing we were in Mexico. Shop signs were in Spanish and there was an abundance of Mexican food and Mexican looking people. Even the surrounding scenery was Mexican looking.

We are now in Wenatchee the biggest town since we started.

It is about 85f and sunny.