Day 33: To Castlegar - Western Canada 2007 - CycleBlaze

August 1, 2007

Day 33: To Castlegar

I got up at 6:45 and on the road at 8:30. The west arm of Kootenay lake has continuous houses. Definitely more populated than the south arm. It seems consistently prosperous, probably a lot of retired people. The morning air was still very smoky and a continuous procession of helicopters flew overhead. The weather was hazy sunny, somewhat cool in the morning.

Helicopters flew over constantly to get water from the lake to fight the forest fire.
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Smoky reflections.
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Riding was easy along the lake shore to Nelson.

View of Nelson from the bridge.
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View of the bridge from the Nelson waterfront.
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I really like downtown Nelson. It's the most charming town I've seen in a long time. Downtown has many historic buildings, several sidewalk cafes, and many flower boxes. I wouldn't mind living in Nelson. I stopped for lunch at a crowded restaurant. My waiter said he biked coast to coast across Canada. Nelson seems to be quite a tourist town.

Lunch stop in charming downtown Nelson.
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After lunch I continued west on highway 3A towards Castlegar. The route follows the Kootenay river downstream. Easy riding but the afternoon was hot with a high of 32C (90F).

Smoky reflection west of Nelson, where the lake becomes a river again.
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Pedaling south I emerged from the smoke cloud and saw blue sky once again. I stopped at a popular roadside swimming hole on the Kootenay river.

Wonderful roadside swimming spot on the Kootenay river. And it's out of the smoke zone.
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On the way into Castlegar I passed the Doukhobor village. I didn't pay admission but I did read the interpretive signs. The Doukhobors are a pacifist Russian religious sect that was forced to emigrate to British Columbia in 1899 after refusing to serve in the Tsar's army. 6000 of them settled in western Canada, establishing communal villages. They were exempt from military service but during World War II they were conscripted as laborers to build the nearby dams.

One of several hydroelectric dams on this section of the Kootenay river.
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Kootenay River near Castlegar just before it flows into the Columbia river.
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It was hot when I arrived at Castlegar at 4PM. Once again I decided to get a motel room because of the heat. I got a room in the old part of town for $68. I rode around the town some but Castlegar isn't nearly as charming as Nelson.

Castlegar is at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers. I went for a walk around Zuckerberg Island at the confluence. It was very buggy and the views weren't very inspiring. Castlegar just doesn't appeal to me very much. I bought groceries and cooked dinner using the kitchenette in my room. Most of the motels have had a kitchenette with 2-burner stove, refrigerator, sink, and dishes.

Twice today I had to pump up my rear tire because of a slow leak. I still haven't gotten around to fixing it yet.

The weather forecast says there will be one more day of hot weather before it cools down a bit. Today was an easy day despite the heat. Short distance and mostly downstream.

Distance: 74 km / 46.3 mi

Climbing: 400 m / 1320 ft

Today's ride: 74 km (46 miles)
Total: 2,667 km (1,656 miles)

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