Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 6-June-2004 : Cache Creek

I had trouble going to sleep last night. Too much Chinese food. Not impressed by waking at 6:30am. Very happy to roll over and discover in the time it takes to blink I had been teleported into the future, 8:00am.

Lillooet is a spectacularly placed town. It rests on a series of cascading natural half levy banks in the jaws of the massive canyon formed by the Fraser River.

We cycled out of town, across the river and up the hill over the other bank for more spectacular views of the town, the river, the sheer canyon walls and the BC Rail line transitioning all three. It truly was an amazing sight, so impressive it was easy to overlook the equally impressive snow capped mountains thrown in for decoration. Mind you, this road was definitely not flat. It took us half an hour just to reach this point.

We thought we'd cycle the flat bit along the Fraser River up to Pavilion for our first break 35ks away. It didn't take *much* longer than three hours. This was just outstanding scenery. The road wound it's way steadily higher up the canyon walls, occasionally dropping violently back towards the river, then screaming back to the sky. This canyon was unbelievably deep. It as easily 1000m from the river way way down below us to the tops of the mountains way way above us. Every flat(ish) piece of land was turned over to farming. There were hardly any farms, just arid semi-vegitated land covered with something looking remarkably like salt bush.

Pavilion was not much of a town. Just a few houses, a church, an indigenous people's town hall (which I'd no sooner trespass on than a Maori Marae) and a husk which with we think was once the general store. There was also a railway station (a small sign near the rail line) and a telegraph pole with pay phone on it. We ate our snack by the side of the road a few ks further up the hill.

More climbing until we reached the beautiful, crystal clear and emerald green Pavilion lake. Nice looking camping area by the lake too, so long as you are camping in an RV. Lots of trees, water and gravel to park on. Still impressively beautiful.

To our great surprise we crossed the summit of the days climbing not long after the lake, and thundered down a 35k rolling mostly downhill. The descent was not as steep as almost every other inch of this road, rolling (ie patched of uphill) through farming and light grazing country. Still huge hills (in Australia they'd be massive mountains) lining the road. This is not the ugliest part of the world either, but after the past few days looked almost dull.

Reached the Cariboo Highway, which heads left off to Alaska. We turned right. Nice fast tailing, gentle downhill riding along a busy highway. Very little pedaling required, which is just as well because I was totally wasted at Cache Creek.

Cache Creek a highway town, lots of cheap motels, dust and not much else. Kids wandering around town with huge inner tubes as if coming from the local water slide. They just sat on them in the car park for some reason.

Got to watch Rugby League on Cable TV at el-cheapo motel. For American readers that's *real* football. Like American football, this brand has only minimal use of that boring boot on ball stuff, with most of the game dedicated to thumping the poor guy with the ball. However, in our version of football helmets and padding are banned. To compensate, attacking the head is permitted only with a bent arm, shoulders, knees, clenched fists in self defense, if provoked or when the referee isn't looking.

While on this subject, I should explain the difference between cricket and baseball to American readers. They are basically the same game. One intelligent adult male hurls a leather ball at another who tries to whack it with a big stick. The main difference is in cricket, attempting to use the ball to hit your opponent in the head is an accepted and regular part of the game.

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