Rockies Tour 2002 – Day 5: Welcome home, guys!

(click map to enlarge)

Friday, July 19

  • Nakusp, BC to Wauconda, WA
  • 349 miles

We stop for breakfast in Nakusp and afterwards, we head South for some excellent BC riding. On Hwy 6, we travel a valley between the Ruby and Nakusp mountain ranges. Once we hit the town of New Denver, we head east on Hwy 31A and travel through a mountainous area along the Kaslo River. We reach the town of Kaslo and Kootenay Lake where we head south along the lake on Hwy 31 to the town of Balfour where we will catch a ferry across the lake. It’s all top notch cruising.

This ferry boat is much bigger than the one we took yesterday and the crossing is much longer as well. We queue up and wait to board. 

Once we load up, we relax and enjoy the view. The Tucson desert rats really dig this water travel stuff and even as accustomed to it as we Seattleites are, we enjoy it as well. It’s a nice break from all the riding we’ve done this morning. One of us decides to do a little photography from the porthole in the men’s room on board and it turns out pretty good. A ferry worker tells us that this is the world’s longest, free ferry ride in the world. 

Our trip through the BC countryside leads us through one small town after the next, separated by expanses of forest. At one gas stop, we discover some artwork on the side of a cabin: This is God’s Country. Don’t Drive Thru Like It’s Hell. Oops! Our excuse is that we keep seeing speed limit signs that say 100 on them. We look at our speedos and seeing that we’re only doing 80, we give it a little more gas. Wow! These Canadians sure like to haul ass! Luckily, we don’t have to try this lame excuse on any BC Mounties. 

We arrive at the Canadian / US border. There is no town and we are truly in the middle of nowhere. It looks like we just woke up the US Custom guy as he comes sleepy eyed out of his office. There’s no other traffic and just him. He’s grey haired and looks like a big, donut eating cop. He warmly greets us and asks casually where we’ve been and for how long while looking at our driver’s licenses. We briefly describe our ride. He asks if we have any Canadian liquor with us and I cheerfully and helpfully reply, “Only the Canadian beer we drank during our visit.” He chuckles and apparently satisfied, he says, “Welcome home, guys!” That’s it. We ride into the NE corner of Washington State, glad to be back. We ride to a state campground and prepare for our campfire session. 

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Go to Day 6: The North Cascades Highway

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