Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Vancouver Island

Finally got to Vancouver Island after a beautiful ferry trip. I knew I had a long day today.... 92 kms to reach Rathtrevor Provincial Park. The road was nice and easy....I only got lost once but it was worth it. I saw 2 bald eagles right above me on the road, so close. I had to negotiate a town with traffic lights and 4 lane highway, right at the end of my day and in the drizzly rain. Its amazing how quickly I have adapted from just riding on the trails at home to riding in traffic.
It was a relief to get to my campsite, and nice to see some other campers. No bikers but hikers.



















Saturday, 17 June 2017

Best of mistakes!

After a relaxing day at Porpoise Bay and still feeling a bit daunted by the traffic, I decided to get a ferry from Sechelt near Porpoise Bay to my next campsite at Saltery Creek Provincial Park. I had checked the schedule and saw a ferry left Sechelt (Earls Cove) at 10 am. So I rode leisurely around town having a look, but then had trouble finding the ferry terminal. Turns out that the ferry left from a place called Earls Cove...66kms away! So I had no choice but to bike. Went to a bakery and loaded up on snacks and headed off. 
I'm so glad this mistake happened, it was a great ride and really gave me the confidence riding on the road. The weather was lovely and hot, great day riding to the ferry.



It was so cool seeing Birdy lined up at the front of the ferry with all the Harleys!







Campsite at Saltery Bay. I had nice neighbours at this campsite who put my food bag in their car, away from bears and raccoons.




I stayed one night here then headed off to Powell River, my northern most point on this trip. It was a nice, easy 33km ride and mostly enjoyable. Most of the views were blocked by large tracts of trees. I'm assuming this is a big logging area, though I never saw any logging trucks on the road.



I had been told by a guy on the ferry earlier that there was a good bike shop on the outskirts of Powell River. Birdy needed a bit of tweeking and so did I! My saddle wasn't doing my butt any favours, so time to buy a different one.
Its fine doing 2 days of 60km, but day after day I knew my butt needed more comfort!!


Suncoast cycles did a great job with Birdy and I would recommend them if you are in the area and need any work done.

Made it into Powell River and decided to stay at the Powell River Hostel. Its a really nice place, clean and cheery with a great terrace and lovely views. Perfect place for me to eat some Thai food, drink wine and watch the sun go down over Vancouver Island.






Spent 2 nights here....it was the same price as a camping ground. Edwin the owner is very helpful and it was also a good chance to catch up on washing and to make some plans for the next few days.
Went to a funky cafe called Base Camp and finally met some other touring cyclists. Unfortunately, they were all going the opposite direction to me.
So far everything is going well, all the fears I had about isolated camping, traffic, hills haven't materialised. There have been some challenges...mainly not having anyone to share things with. It can get a bit lonely at times, but all the messages from home and being able to Skype alleviates that a bit.
The trip has been nothing like I thought it would be, the riding is so much easier than what I thought. All my training on Waipori Hill and Jacobs Ladder is paying off! 



Another ferry ride for Birdy and I to Vancouver Island. Goodbye Powell River.... Hello Comox.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Now the adventure starts!

After getting myself sorted out gearwise and very little sleep and a lot of nerves, the time has come to start my bike adventure. My plan is to take the train from Seattle to Vancouver with Birdy, then start biking from there northwards.


Had a great train trip up....I saw the San Juan Islands and thought to myself in a week or so I will be biking there. We also passed this bay where there must have been at least 40 bald eagles just hanging around the waters edge.


You can't see them in the photo but they are there!
Finally we pulled into Vancouver Railway Station. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. For someone who has never ridden in a city before and hardly ever ridden on the road, the prospect of getting to the hostel I had booked into was daunting, but luckily all I had to do was ride 2 blocks and then it was all bike path around the harbour foreshore.






Made it to the hostel with no mishaps, only had to ask directions once.


Spent two nights here getting some gear I needed, so I didn't have the chance to have a good look around Vancouver. From what I did see it looks like a really nice city and somewhere worth exploring. Also I was getting so nervous about the start of my trip, that I doubt I would have enjoyed a day sightseeing.
I got some sleep that night, but if course kept waking up wondering what I was doing and why wasn't I tucked up safe at home!
Finally its time. I left the hostel early....6.30am as I didn't want to get caught in any peak hour traffic.



Not the most salubrious place to start an adventure...the bike storage at the hostel.
So it was with a lot of nerves, a bit of excitement and probably a dose of bewilderment at what am I doing here, I set off to a place called Horseshoe Bay. I needed to catch a ferry to take me to Sechelt and the Porpoise Bay campground, my first overnight stop.
So it's goodbye Vancouver!




Vancouver has amazing bike paths and all my fears about cycling in city traffic were unfounded. I was on bike paths nearly the whole way to West Vancouver. I only got lost once in Stanley Park, so I did see more of the park than I intended. A friendly local put me in the right direction and the rest of the trip to Horseshoe Bay went without any mishaps. Even riding on a narrow road for a good part of it wasn't a huge problem. The drivers in Canada are so courteous to bikes.






Got safely to Horseshoe Bay....it was so hot that a beer from the little cafe while waiting for my ferry, seemed to be the best idea.
Then it was onto the first ferry ride for Birdy and I.







My first campsite and first meal.





Porpoise Bay was a lovely spot and I decided to stay 2 nights. Since this really was my first time on my own, I just wanted a day to think and plan. Also I had done 70 kms after a week of too much eating and drinking, I needed a rest day!
Here's some photos of Porpoise Bay.





Next camp site is Saltery Creek and another ferry ride for Birdy and I.