Waitabit Creek had left us pretty disheveled.
The mosquitoes were relentless. Going for a wee, swatting hysterically – mid flow – is not a charming sight nor a very forgiving situation to be in.
A building, quiet resentment towards one another had bubbled up between Axel and I, only interrupted by full on, irrational rage towards the stinging creatures.
It had taken at least two days to have a new tyre ordered in from Calgary and fitted. Being trapped in the incessant swarm of vampire bugs and covered in highly toxic repellant, which melted our new, shiny gear – we were not happy campers!
Once the wheel was back on Axel’s bike we shouted a “LET’S GET OUTTA HERE!” in unison and rode out towards Revelstoke on the Transcanada Highway through the Glacial National Park.
In Revelstoke we stocked up on a few bits and were headed for the ferry from Shelter Bay on the Upper Arrow Lake.
It was a hot day, and all my riding gear was weighing heavy on my mosquito-bitten shoulders and I stank. Washing in the river at Waitabit had not been a priority. So, my smelly pits meddled with the chemical hum from the DEET.
Axel had taken off ahead of me which wasn’t unusual. He rides the bigger and more powerful R1200 and likes to give it beans now and then. When the Fox and I finally rolled up to the ferry terminal, I saw the ferry depart…without us on it.
Axel was standing with his hands on his hips (actually I don’t think his hands were on his hips – but they could’ve been) and gave me a scowl under a disappointed brow.
Some words were exchanged between us…shall we say.
The words immediately mixed with my own disappointment and frustration of having been stuck in Waitabit Creek. Childish irritation of receiving no gratitude from riding back and forth to Golden to sort out his tyre and all of my physical discomfort in that moment. My reply was scalding and caustic and I regretted saying the words as soon as they left my lips
The effect was so strong that Axel turned around, put his gloves on and roared off in the direction we had come from.
“What happened there hun?” A blonde, elderly ferry terminal worker looked at me. Se had one brown eye and one blue. I was as stunned as she was. Did he just take off? “Is he coming back hun?”
“I don’t know” I said – my lower lip quivering.
Seems Waitabit saw another couple bite the dust.
“I have just the remedy” she said “Go to the lake shore over there hun” pointing. “Take a quick dip…the water is beautiful today.”
It was a beautiful evening. The lake was mirror-still and the sky a rich, deep blue color. It was unusually clear. The forest fires plaguing Canada at the time, could be seen as isolated, still clouds.
It was so quiet standing on the ferry…just a hum from the diesel engine. I hardly noticed any of the beauty around me. I was heart-broken. Was that it? Were we gonna end it here? Like this?
I remembered that we had met in a ferry queue five months earlier. The irony struck me and I burst into tears to the vexation of the other passengers.
I rode to the village of Nakusp and settled in a small hotel after turning down several offers from concerned strangers. Yep, that’s Canada for you – some of the kindest people on the planet.
After a soothing shower, I opened my inbox and found a message from Jodie.
A girl I had met in Argentina with her husband Sean. They were riding DR650’s through South America and was en-route to Uruguay. I had met Sean, in the local supermarket in the small village of Gobernador Gregores. It was on that fateful day I got pinned under the Fox on Ruta 40, so I looked the part; filthy and covered in dust. Read about it here.
“You should come meet my wife” – Sean said “I’d like that”- I replied
We spent the evening talking mostly about how much we missed vegetables. We exchanged emails and waved each other off the next morning.
In her mail, Jodie expressed that she wanted to keep the connection alive. ”Something tells me our paths will cross again” she wrote.
Wait a minute…where did they say they were from? I had a look on the map. Bingo! Jodie and Sean lives in Nelson and I was a mere two hours away in Nakusp. Damn right our paths will cross again girl!
I wrote back warning them of my emotional state, given my recent heart break.
The following day I took the 31A towards Kaslo on Kootanay Lake and onwards to Nelson.
There I was met with a big, warm hug. It was good to look into Jodies reassuring eyes. “Stay as long as you want” – she said
Over the following 9 days I spent a lot of time cuddling Gracy (the cat), paddle boarding, pouring my bleeding heart out and soaking in the surrounding beauty. I felt my trip was in it’s concluding stages. I needed a break from the road I thought, and started making arrangements to go home to Denmark.
“Take your time” – Sean said “Don’t make any decisions just yet”
In an attempt to distract me from myself (no doubt), Jodie and Sean had prepared a two day ride out, which looped from Nelson across the Gray Creek Pass to Kimberley and back.
It definitely had the desired effect. The Fox purred in the dirt and my off road grin returned.
The Gray Creek pass is one of the highest mountain passes in Canada. From sea level it climbs to 6800 ft with grades over 16% on some of the narrow hairpin bends.
We started the trip by boarding the Kootenay ferry, crossing from Balfour to Kootenay bay, the worlds longest, free ferry ride. As we were about to board, my phone tinkled, and I noticed I had several missed calls and messages from Axel.
After a couple of days of some of the best riding and wild camping with Jodie and Sean, we returned to Nelson. (Thank you SO much guys, for everything! Be sure to come see me once you decide to come to Europe.)
That evening I scrolled through my contacts and dialed Axel’s number. We agreed that we had a few more miles left in us, and we decided to meet up in the US -in the State of potatoes and rednecks: Idaho!
See you out there