Canada The Rockies and the BC Davis Fitness Index

Rocky Road!
Canadian Rockies
Dudley Do-Right

The license plates read Beautiful British Columbia. No exaggeration there; the country is beautiful. Traveling north on Highway 97, through Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon, a lush, verdant and healthy forest flourishes on both sides of the road. Vineyards and farms inhabit fecund valleys, watered by rushing streams. Distant alpine peaks flash white against a blue sky.

Once into the Canadian Rocky Mountains, it’s easy for a traveler to

NWMP Miscellaneous Photos
Sam Steele. Archetype for all later depictions of Mounties.

imagine famous Mountie Sam Steele, replete with bright red tunic and Smokey-the-bear hat, trailing bad guys up and down the steep slopes. Mounties always get their man.

Lynda and Dudley Moose-Right.

Just before we crossed over from Washington into Canada, a Canadian we met opined that if you crossed the border from the U.S. into Canada with eyes closed, and reopened them once across, you wouldn’t notice any difference. Don’t believe it.

Columbia River, Revelstoke
The Columbia River looking downstream. The Illecillewaet joins on the left.

There are plenty of differences. One of the more pleasing ones can be found in Revelstoke. It’s a small town in the Selkirk Mountains near where the Canadians drove the last spike for their own   transcontinental railroad in 1885. The Illecillewaet River,  fed by a glacier of the same name, flows into the Columbia River and the confluence of the two divides the town into pieces connected by bridges. We stayed at a park called The Lamplighter – also on my list of places to which I would return.

In Camp Lamplighter
Camped at the Lamplighter RV Park, Revelstoke, BC.

Visitors come here to do rugged things outside. The French would say they are sportif. The folks who live here have to be able to keep up, so they are also sportif. And this is one difference difficult to overlook. But how to look at a group of people and make such a judgement, sportive or sedentary?Revy

Try this experiment: While waiting in a place where people are passing by in fairly large numbers – sitting in front of the grocery store for example – assign a number to each person you see. A person who is fabulously fit gets a 10. A total obese slob gets a minus 10. Don’t rate very old or very young people,  and try not to count the same person more than once.

All 10's
All 10’s here! Double click and see for yourself.

Now just add the scores as folks pass by. If you watch long enough, the number you tally will reflect the overall fitness of the group you are watching. Math challenged folks can use the calculator app on their cell phone.

So, at the end of the period if the number is minus 7 then you’ve been visiting Slothville. A plus 7 or more would indicate a fit bunch of folks, Muscle Beach. This is the Sportive Index calculated using the BC Davis method for alleviating boredom  while waiting for spousal retrieval at the grocery store.

So what’s the Revelstoke Sportive Index you ask? I found just one or two negatives in a long visit to the Saturday Farmer’s Market, so the number just kept climbing and climbing. I quit punching my phone when the index went by 100. Wow. Wotta group! It’s no wonder the grocery in Revelstoke doesn’t bother with low-fat potato chips.

Bike Path, Revelstoke
Bike path.

So in addition to imagining Dudley Do-Right chasing after Snidely Whiplash, sportive visitors can find a variety of challenging outdoor stuff to make them sweat. Nearby Revelstoke Mountain offers a 5,620 foot drop for skiers. Every variety of skiing – helicopter, snow cat, cross country – is available. Then there’s the river. And hiking trails.

The elevation at Revelstoke is 1,575 feet and the roadside sign that said, “High Mountain Road, Expect Changing Weather” seemed out of place. Sixteen hundred feet is not high by U.S. standards. However, being that far north (latitude 51 degrees North) makes a big difference. After all it’s way more than half way from the equator to the North Pole.

Snidley Whiplash

The road up to and beyond Revelstoke featured some grades of 13%. This is 1st and 2nd gear territory for our 42,000 pound coach, and crawling up through the Canadian Rockies gives a traveler more time to enjoy the scenery.

So fitter people, steeper highways… any other differences?

Diesel prices. Through the roof.




Redding, Issac Newton and Karma

Shasta (2)
I never tire of this mountain. Shasta is magnificent.

Sir Isaac Newton had it right. Newton discovered an immutable law of the Universe whereupon for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s third law of motion. Well, Newton was onto something far more compelling than the reaction of pins to a bowling ball; his law applies to everything — not just moving objects. In some cultures, the phenomenon is called Karma – and what you put out comes back… times ten.

Lynda's Bridge
Lynda Davis: Bridge over calm waters. Near the Elks Lodge in Redding, CA.

Take my euphoric return to California, the discovery of Califia, mystical islands rising from the crystal blue Pacific, the deep, thrumming heartbeat in SoCal, and the flowing Sacramento River for example. All of this – according to Newton – has to be balanced with something… right?

Sundial Bridge Lynda
Sundial Bridge with its glass walkway. Photo: Lynda Davis
Sacto River Rock
Sacramento River above Redding. Photo taken from the paved bike trail that follows the river.

This is where Redding,  CA comes in. First of all, Redding is a great little ville, enfolded by a wide loop of the Sacramento River.  If and when we ever stop roaming, Redding would be one spot on my places-I-would-settle list. Spring is hard to beat here. Warm temps, shady riverside bike and walking trails, wild flowers, Kool April Nights, The Redding Rodeo, Sundial Bridge – a northern California hub where shopping and health services avail. Yet, modernity notwithstanding, Redding maintains vestiges of the culture in which I grew up. What’s not to like, eh?

Glory Hole
Whiskey Town Dam. The Glory Hole… 250 feet straight down to the lower level of the Sacramento River, a thrill ride I would have loved to sponsor for the thief who stole our bikes.
Homeless in Parking Lot
Lurker in the parking lot a few steps away from our bus. Looking for the next fix?


A few things, actually. One morning shortly after our arrival, camped at the Elks Lodge, just yards from the river, we awoke to discover the super-strong, thief-proof, guaranteed, unbreakable steel cable hanging from the fence without the two bicycles it had secured just the evening before. Frayed ends of the super-strong, thief-proof, unbreakable steel cable and its now useless lock mocked our hubris. This is Redding, and no cable of any kind will stand up to homeless tweekers seeking quick cash for another fix.

Sacramento R winding
From here at the top of Shasta Dam, the Sacramento flows serenely down toward and then makes a big loop through Redding, CA. Riverside trails and the river itself are great sources for walking, biking, fishing, tubing… limited only by your imagination.

Redding is a nice place to visit and a nice place to live. Homeless, drug addicted folks know this. They migrate here in great numbers when the weather warms. Apparently a cable cutter is standard equipment in the Homeless Survival Kit.  Don’t leave camp without it. If you have never been robbed, you cannot know the feeling of violation that such a theft engenders. We called 911 and began rooting through old files searching for serial numbers.

As the ripples of our loss flowed outward into the Universe, the action-reaction tenet of Newton’s third law reflected it back from some other evil deed and smacked dead on into two Redding Police Officers. These guys – perhaps oblivious to the underlying causality – could not believe their luck. Almost simultaneously but at different locations, they spotted our bicycles, arrested the riders and called us to come down to the station and retrieve the stolen property.

Newton’s Third in action. Getting our bikes back. Happy. Happy.

Karma, Serendipity, Newton’s third… whatever you might call it, this incredibly simple rule flows and reflects — back and forth — through the universe from one deed to the next. Multiply this by the population of the Earth and… Holy Cow! Wotta mess!


In this case, ripples flowed out and reflected directly back. However the Universe seldom operates in a manner this clear. Other deeds cause other reflections. Interferences occur. Old ripples combine creating new ones. Life is like a pinball machine operated by an invisible wizard. The silver ball vibrates back and forth between posts before finally settling back into its hole and rest. Newton, a theologian, saw the universe as a giant clockwork, obeying immutable universal laws of motion, with God winding the clock from time to time as things ran down. The Who, in their own way echoed his view.

Ever since I was a young boy
I’ve played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all

But I ain’t seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

Biblical Patriarchs also knew about the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Kid. They sacrificed a tenth part of their annual income to him/her every year, believing it would flow back to them times ten. It did.

So after our silver ball finished vibrating back and forth between the bumpers on Newton’s pinball machine and began to roll inexorably down the board, we decided it might be time to start some new action-reaction action and hit the road for another year of travel to see what that Kid has in store.

Shasta… Dam and Mountain. We’re headed north again!