Rather than wane, enthusiasm has escalated in the team as they pushed through the last days of BC and into the United States.
After camping overnight, the guys had to tackle their steepest hill climb yet, from Princeton towards Manning Park. The top led into a 10 km stretch of gorgeous road through the forest and they pushed 35-40 km, to where the shoulder of the road dropped off, before they had to drive the rest of the way in. Pushing another 10 km in the park, they stopped around the main visitor centre and set up their campsite before making the trip to Lightning Lakes- a now established tradition for the PFB crew.
(Warmer conditions this year made some lake bathing possible, and although Andrew didn't go into the water this time, Caleb and Jordan insist that since then he's been better about jumping in.)
On the journey from Manning Park to Hope the vehicle ran out of gas, forcing Caleb & Jordan to walk 10 km down the non-existent highway shoulder, then push into Hope.
Pushing into Hope was the team's last good weather day for a long time, but brought the additional joy of staying with Caleb's grandparents for the night and meant the delicious bonus of a home cooked meal!
The guys were able to head up to the Hope tunnels and enjoy the local tourist attraction of cliff diving into a narrow river canyon, before returning for a late dessert with some more of Caleb's family from the area.
A large fire in Burnaby the day before meant the trip from Hope to Mission/Abbotsford was incredibly smokey with air quality warnings, and a muggy 30 degrees. The Fraser Valley was flat pushing and they travelled on the north side of the river to increase their shoulder and decrease the traffic volume around them. The guys pushed an 80 km day into Mission and met up with Kayla, a connection they made through a mutual friend.
Kayla Feenstra is the founder of Farm to Food bank, which distributes excess food from farmers to food banks to package and utilize through the winter, and of Tiny Homes Canada, living in and building homes that are ecologically compact and affordable. She blessed the team, letting them camp on her property and sharing her story, encouraging them in the humble ways that individuals are making a difference all across the country.
That unique experience led to another distinct adventure on their rest day trip to Vancouver. Visiting five cafes, Caleb & Jordan's overstimulation and over-caffeination was rampant. The exposure to such an abundance of people after so long in comfortable solitude (along with the equivalent ingestion of 10 cups of coffee each) left the guys more exhausted than any pushing day and they retreated to Mission early for a restless night.
Mission was their final stay in Canada and, the next day, they took the Aldergrove boarder crossing in the rural countryside. After getting rid of a decent portion of items they didn't think would be allowed through, the boarder crossing presented a comically easy transition-- even in a marked up white van. They were asked a few questions and passports were verified, but the team made it through more quickly than expected, giving them extra time to push farther than they thought that day.
Terrible pavement was the first thing to greet them as the navigated the rural USA, and while the suburbs brought some smoother roadways, they also brought more traffic and congested spaces. Still, they pushed through Bellingham and onto the magical Chuckanut highway—a faiytale forest road where the shoulder changed every 10 m along the coastline. It wasn't a main road and the guys were appreciative of the relaxed vibe that created. While lots of places throughout Canada had angry highway drivers, no one was upset there and they even experienced people cheering them on as they went past.
They settled in Burlington at Deception Pass, finding a huge campsite next to the unreal bridge that crosses the strait, and, enjoying a feast of ramen noodles and beans before falling asleep.
- First thing the guys bought when they crossed the border was milk and yogurt. The lack of dairy was really hurting. There are no studies to prove it, but I imagine the cow by-products helped increase morale substantially.
- Caleb has discovered he is unnaturally gifted at rapping the words "tsing tsong" if you get a beat going for him. It’s an experience you truly don’t want to miss, so next time you come across him please inquire.
Everything they knew from years past is now far behind, and embracing the unknown is a new reality for the team as they continue toward Portland! Stay tuned!