Anyways, felt pretty alright waking up in Slocan after a long day. Legs were definitely feeling the hills and miles starting to add up but it was only about 120 km back to the car with no huge climbs. And it wasn't even raining when I got up.
Got breakfasted, packed up and on the road by about 8:45 and decided to forgoe the highway and check out one last rail trail that startes jn Slocan and went about 50 km south to the junction with Highway 3A.
It turned out to be a nice little trail! No KVR mistakes with letting ATVs on it, the entire thing was non-motorized only. There were a few roughish sections but nothing too bad and I was able to ride at only slightly below highway speed. A small price to pay for no traffic and no hills.
I idyllically wound my way through woods and along rivers for several hours, interrupting my ride only briefly to check out a nearby coop grocery store for snacks. I supplemented my cheese bun with a variety of baked goods and jerky, and had a lunch fit for a king by the river. Still making up for the hard day the day before.
Eventually the rail trail ended though and I was back on the highway for the final 40 ish kilometers to Nelson. A little bit more traffic and hills but the temperature was hovering around 15°C and no rain or wind so it was about as good as it gets.
Made it into the big city by 1 pm and had a few beers to celebrate before letting Tom the car host know that I was going to be enroute to Balfour.
Heading out of town, I quickly ran into a headwind off Kootenay Lake but I was determined to make it to my car asap so I could clock in some driving hours towards Thanksgiving in Calgary and I kept my pace hard.
Unfortunately I had forgotten how hilly it was between Nelson and Balfour and soon started to wear out. It was a rough 30 km and just as I got within 2 km of my car, I flatted my rear tire again at the bottom of a hill.
Not wanting to fix a flat for 2 km of riding I decided to just ride the flat the last stretch.
Bad idea, as the tire eventually popped off, forcing me to walk the final approach to my turnoff.
Then, as I went down the road to Toms, my inner tube came off and went into my gears, forcing me to cut it out.
At this point I couldn't even walk my bike the last 300m so I tossed it in the bushes and jogged down the hill to my car, fired it up, drove up the hill, tossed the bike and baggage in the back and then drove back to say thank you and goodbye ro Tom.
Unfortunately (kind of), Tom informed me as I rolled back in that the ferry had just left Balfour. The next ferry? 6:10 pm.
He offered to let me sleep in his lakeside gazebo and I graciously accepted.
I grabbed a six pack of beer from the local store and settled in to some five star digs.
A rough end to an overall rough bike tour but I had a week of visiting family and friends in Alberta so I had lots of time to fix the bike and recover.
I fell asleep in the open air (but waterproof) gazebo to the sound of rain falling and watching the ferry go back and forth across Kootenay Lake.