12 Sept 2012
Salmo BC to Ione WA 44 miles (TNV 352 miles)
Gina likes loops. Loop walks, loop hikes, loop bicycle rides, any kind of loop that prevents her from repeating the same scenery twice. This is slightly ironic given her penchant for constantly repeating herself, particularly when it comes to her lists of things to do for the day, week, month, year, and really, life in general, but that is beside the point. The point is that Gina likes loops and here we are, cycling the Selkirk Loop.
Today we also cycled the Salmo loop. This is a new loop, one we created ourselves, not out of intention but out of the combination of not believing the cue sheet we were reading and a very poorly marked map. Salmo, as we discussed in yesterday’s blog, is a small village, one with a city limit that extends maybe a mile, two tops. This morning it took us 17 miles to exit the city limits of Salmo. No joke, no exaggeration, no real thing to be proud of, 17 full miles.
Following the suggested back route out of Salmo along the lovely Salmo River, we were perplexed when we hit Highway 3. The cue sheet said to turn left, but on our map, the Official Selkirk Guide map, the one handed out to every tourist to help them circumnavigate the Selkirk Loop regardless of number of wheels carrying them, a left turn on Highway 3 would send us climbing up “The Pass” to Creston, The Pass that every inquisitive stranger has, to date, asked us if we rode over and to which we have replied every time, No, we have not/are not crossing The Pass. So a left turn here would just be wrong.
“What an idiot!” we exclaimed of the cue sheet author as we chose to turn right instead of left, the Official map our champion, the author our goat. “Idiot, idiot, idiot” we chanted as we rode along the busy road, not quite registering the fact that the sun, which should have been shining on our faces, was instead warming our buttocks, and the road signs, which should have been informing us of towns to the south, were now advertising businesses in Salmo.
And then we saw it, the final road sign, telling us we were about to arrive at the junction of Highways 3 and 6, but the only direction one could then go on Highway 6 was North. Huh? We need to go South on Highway 6. Ohhhhhh, said the lightbulb. Shoooot (or something like that), said us. Standing at the outskirts of Salmo, our unnecessary loop completed, who are the idiots now?
This is the part of the story where we tucked our tails between our legs, silently turned the bikes around, and headed back south. South on the combined Highway 3/6, south to the place where the roads split and we took that right-hand turn, south to the border crossing into Washington state where we were made to remove our helmets and sunglasses in order to regain entry into our country, south along one of the quietest roads to date, south to a shared cheeseburger in Metaline Falls, south to a nicer-than-expected roadside motel outside of Ione.