Sunday, 14 June 2015

Cool Lakes, Hot Days and Down Right Frustrating Meals

Location: Lillooet, BC, Canada
When we arrived at the campground at Seton Lake we did our warm down and were met by the camp host Tony. Tony explained a few things about the site and informed us that we didn't need to hang food because bears weren't a problem in this area. He also went on to say that we could, if we were feeling brave, have a swim in the glacier fed lake. After the long, hot day of climbing we decided to take Tony up on the challenge and so we headed off to the lake. This dip would serve multiple purposes: 1) it would cool us down, 2) it would clean our dirty sweaty bodies and 3) it would serve as an impromptu washing machine to wash our salt encrusted cycling gear. As with all ventures into cold water there was a few screams and yelps followed by chuckles of laughter from folks sat on the waterfront. However once over the initial shock of the water passing the critical point, our bodies accepted their fate and we were floating in the emerald water and scrubbing the day's grime away from us and clothes to get them as close to clean as is possible in lake water with floating leaf debris.

Upon returning to the tent we still intended to head to Clinton the following day but also needed more information on which route to take.  Both Sophie and I need to get better at riding along gravel backroads and while we were in Vancouver we were pointed out several alternate routes by Paul and Jan, the first of which would be on the way to Clinton.  However we needed more information on the road from the tourist information centre in Lillooet.  After eating and getting into our sleeping bag I fell very deeply asleep, leaving Sophie to make the decision on what time to set the alarm in the morning.  When I didn't stir after questioning she made the executive decision to have a rest day.  Upon hearing this decision in the morning I was delighted.

In the morning we headed into Lillooet and talked to the lovely people in the tourist information centre.  They advised us that there was a large climb out of the next town over if we wanted to take the back road.  Also, even though that it was extremely hot at the moment, they had had a lot of rain recently and the dirt roads are mainly clay so it would make it tough work on a bike.  Thirdly, when we did make it to the top there is no shade along the rolling grass fields and it was planned to be another hot day.  With this is mind we decided against this road; we didn't want to be dropped into the deep end while tackling back roads.  It would have only damaged morale and affected confidence for future back road adventures.  From here we headed next door for second breakfast and some coffees and spent the afternoon sorting out internet based stuff.

With the decision regarding route made we set the alarm early with the aim of having a midday break to stay out of the sun.  Even though you know the alarm is set for 5 and it is very light outside, it still doesn't make it easy to get out of bed.  A sluggish pack up meant we were out and on the road for 6:15am and heading towards our first stop of the day at Marble Canyon Provincial Park.  There are three lakes at Marble Canyon (Pavilion, Crown and Turquoise), and even though their banks are only metres apart the colour of the water in the three is entirely different.  It is difficult to describe but a wonder to behold.  Here we met two German couples touring Canada together with their kids.  They offered us some freshly caught trout that we had to decline because we had no way to keep it cool in the beating sun and after a longer than expected break headed on towards Clinton.

After joining the busy highway heading north the scenery became familiar and repetitive, and we just wanted to get out of the sun and off the bikes.  Along the 97 a sign informed us that the campsite we were aiming for was closed but this was followed by an advert for camping and RV park with all you can eat BBQ buffet. AWESOME!!! We ground out the final few miles looking forward to our reward of infinite meat.  Upon arriving we were welcomed by a cloud of biting mosquitoes and during the dance to get off the bikes, find the bug spray and crush as many flying sets of teeth before being drank dry a voice asked if we wanted to take shelter in their RV.  We, literally, jumped at the offer and rushed inside to take cover from the insects of prey.

The first 5 minutes of entering the sanctuary was taken up by room clearing of any viscous intruders. The rest of the time we had a fantastic chat with David and Shelley about their adventures in Canada and things that we should visit as we head north towards Watson Lake.  David was a Brit and had come over when he was 20 and he and Shelley owned an organic farm in the Okanagan and offered us a place to stay if we were ever in the area.  After quite a while chatting and laughing our tummies started to rumble and we headed over to the RoadKill Grill to eat our body weight in beautiful, barbecued meats.

Here are some important lessons in expectation, advertising and underhand salesman tactics.  First it wasn't an all you can eat BBQ Buffet, it was an all you can eat buffet that was free if you ordered some meat from the barbie.  This seemed a bit misleading but we were hungry and couldn't eat from the camp stove because of all the mosquitoes.  Next, nothing had any prices on it and the way the guy offered drinks and desert made us think it was all included in the price.  "Drinks are in the back just help yourself", "make sure you leave space for your desert" with the added "are you ready for your desert now? I'll just bring it out".  At no point did it feel like the price of the drinks and desert would be a similar price as for the food.  That's right, after getting the bill we were both shocked and appalled that it was almost twice the price we were expecting to pay.  Too British, flabbergasted and tired to argue we paid the con man his money and left most put out.  Trying to put a positive spin on it, we took it as a tax to have met the brilliant and fantastic David and Shelley. 


  1. The moral of the story is to check the price first...Mr P

    1. Learning lessons the hard way are lessons well learnt