The second day of riding began with long shadows, and only hints of wispy clouds. Before leaving Creston, British Columbia, we fueled up for the day’s ride at Renee’s Mainstreet Diner. Although my companions ordered full blown breakfasts, I was content with hot cereal, toast and OJ.
Before long, the Kootenay River came into view, and for the rest of the day, our route hugged its shoreline, providing for some stunning scenery. Our focus on the previous day had been to put in some miles. Now it shifted to enjoying the journey.
We stopped at a place called The Glass House, an unusual roadside attraction made entirely of embalming fluid bottles, a half million of them. We left wondering if this was a monument of human ingenuity, or an example of someone with too much time on his hands.
Soon raindrops started to fall, and I had to stop to cover my gear with plastic bags. The rain lasted for only a short time, but came back in short bursts throughout the day.
At Crawford Bay, we boarded a ferry, and crossed the river, disembarking at Balfour to the west. We still had some daylight left, and considered continuing on, but the clouds were darkening, and we really didn’t want to set up camp in the rain. But our search for a campground near Balfour came up empty. After riding around for a while, we came upon a soccer field in a wooded area. We were even able to get permission to pitch our tents there by calling a phone number on the reader board. Still I had visions of being roosted in the middle of the night by the police and having to leave.
We started to set up camp around 3:00 in the afternoon. It seemed like rain clouds threatened on all sides, but the weather held. My dinner consisted of an Asian soup cup, caramel bugles and macaroons.
At around 6:00 our pocket of protection from the weather final collapsed, and the rain came down hard, forced by strong winds. We all retreated to our tents. The rain and wind continued through the night, and were joined by thunder and lightning. The wind strengthened and at times flattened the tent against me. But still it was somewhat comforting to hear the raindrops assault the tent with such force, and still be warm, comfortable and mostly dry. I wrote some notes in my trip journal, read for a while, listened to the storm and then fell asleep wondering what the next day would bring.