We like to leave early so we can linger in places that appeal to us. On the road by 7 am we blast out Hwy 1 and cut over through Mission along Hwy 7. This road is so familiar that I know when to expect landmarks. We visit Rocco's Diner for breakfast. It is a cool little place with vintage posters and signs that have been there since it opened in 1954. The food was great and the place is hopping.
It wasn't a typical ideal ride for me. My headphones were driving me crazy, my zipper on my jacket was stuck half-way up, and I could never seem to reach the places that itch. By Boston Bar I was feeling more cranky than usual, and noticing less and less of the ideal scenery. I eventually settled in and down and felt relieved that I could once again enjoy the moment. We stopped at the Alexandra Bridge. This is the coolest old steel bridge that was part of the old highway back in the 1920's. The beautiful arches and the complexity of the workmanship are quite amazing. The 10 minute hike each way was totally worth it. We stood in the middle, looking through the steel designs at the churning Fraser River below.
Moving on we head to Lytton on our way to Lilloet. The road is wonderful, dangerous and the smell of sage permeates the air. There are rocks strewn on the road from minor avalanches and warning signs not to stop are posted regularly. At one point the "highway" became smaller than a one-lane road. We reach Lilloet mid-day, and after re-fueling we are on the Duffy Lake Road heading to Pemberton.
The day is perfect for riding, sunny but not blazing hot. We both comment on how breathtaking the road is just as you leave Lilloet with azure water in the lakes and Cayoosh Creek that run by the road. Alberta drivers, not used to twists and hills impede us more than once. I am sure they are astounded by all they see but forget they are not alone on the road. We wind up and down, left and right, in and out of shade and sun. The temperature changes a few times as we climb and descend again. The river running beside us is sloshing against the rocks and logs, creating waves and white water. We see a few rafters and can imagine they are screaming and getting sprayed.
Just after a tight bend in the road, over a bridge, and just up ahead, we stop for a picnic. How Ken found this place, I have no idea. It was perfect. There were several felled logs, a little fire pit, and yet secluded from the road. The river was right beside us, drowning out most other sounds. It would be a perfect overnight spot. We have our lunch and continue on our way. This road again, is more familiar. We see the mountains around Pemberton, Green and Alta Lakes, and we are amongst the tourists and trekkers. We didn't stop of Nairn Falls this time....though I have an affinity for it as our son's middle name is Nairn. I missed a few of the things that would have taken my breath away before....but saw new sites....an eagle sitting in the forest, water falls that I had missed before and a homestead that was so quaint it just beckoned to the 1950's.
The way back from Whistler was magnificent, and again, although we have done this many times, the spectacular beauty of the aqua water, with verdant mountains climbing out and up, are too wonderful to get used to. If you ever have an extra 8 or 10 hours, just go do it.