Saturday, October 3, 2009
Well, we are into our first big city. We got in last night and with the help of warmshowers.com, we found a few places to stay this weekend. Currently we are in a coffee shop downtown taking it easy tonight. Here's a quick wrap up...
When we got off the ferry at Port Hardy at the norther tip of the Vancouver Island, it was around midnight. We knew there was only one ferry going out of that port the next day so there would be little traffic if any. We pitched the tent right outside the gate after biking less than a mile.
The next day we biked around 30 miles in the rain to Port McNeill. We found a little restaurant/bar/coffee shop and dried off for a few hours before finding a campsite. Once we found our camp, we looked for somewhere to stay dry. There was a huge fire pit under an overhang, so we unloaded all of our stuff around the fire and then went to the store and grilled out all night.
Our next stop was Sayward about 85 miles from Port McNeill and the route was all mountains and not one house. I think there was one gas station that whole trip, but we were able to get some hot water there to make some instant coffee. Oh yeah, it rained. Again.
From Sayward we biked 55 miles to Campbell River. This was actually an easy ride. The climbs weren't as high as we've had the past month and the rain was light. When we hit Campbell River, a sense of relief came over me. We could tell that from here on, we were out of the wilderness and into civilization. (At least for a while) We stayed at a local campground and woke up to a light rain. Things were looking good.
When leaving Campbell River, we stopped at a grocery store and loaded up. The next 10 miles were along the coast. Along the coast, we saw two sea otters, and three deer. The day quickly became our favorite ride to date. After the ride along the coast, the rain disappeared and we there was no wind. We were originally only going to ride 40 or 50 miles, but we decided to take advantage of the weather and bike into the night. Around 10pm, a downpour came from behind us and completely caught us off guard. We were soaked and everything we had was soaked. We finished the day 5 miles later making our total on the day 75 and putting us in Qualicum Beach. We pulled into a campsite that had hot showers and some shelter, but we would have to wait to dry out until the rain stopped the next morning.
After a miserable night at Qualicum Beach, the next morning was clear and sunny. James and I went to a local laundromat and washed everything we had. We even took apart the bikes and washed them. Four hours later, we started our bike to Nanaimo to catch a ferry to Vancouver. The trip was only 35 miles, but we turned it into a workout by averaging 18mph. We crossed over to Vancouver and we are currently in the city.
Now that we are in the city, my bike finally had some trouble. I broke a weld holding my rear rack, then a bungee broke holding my sleeping bag and tent. Five miles later, James broke a bolt on his front rack and stripped another. I felt like we were in Blues Brothers when they get to the bank and the car explodes, only we are not at our final destination. The funny part of this story is Kona, the brand of our bike, has their headquarters in Vancouver. They are going to take care of the bikes first thing tomorrow and hopefully we can pick up where we left off sometime tomorrow afternoon or first thing Tuesday.
Vancouver is a beautiful city and it looks like we will have a lot to do while the bikes are down. If anyone has ideas, we would love to hear some. That also goes for any stops going south.
Posted by Steve at 10:42 PM