Day 98-105: 17-24 Oct 2008: ferries & friendly people, from Vancouver, CA, to Seattle, USA via Victoria
17 October 2008: Vancouver to Victoria, 75 km
The weather gods did not want us to leave Vancouver, maybe they thought I should rest more. Wind and rain pounded on us when we made our way to the ferries in the Southwestern point of the mainland of Canada. we had taken the monorail East first as the direct route would have led us through the George Massey Tunnel, off limits for cyclists. The shuttle for cyclist had stopped for the season and we did not think that any bus could take our heavy bikes on their frontloading rack. we could not lift them up there anyways
After about 30km through mainly flat and wet land we ended up at the ferry, just in time for a 14.00 departure. It takes about 90 minutes to cross the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island, the largest island on the West side of North America.
The Lochside Trail, turning into the Galloping Goose trail later on, starts right outside the ferry terminal and is a great way to see a bit of the island. It is an old rail track, sometimes unpaved, sometimes crossing roads and even wooden trestles but always very scenic for all its 35km. We saw deer along the car-free trail, many flocks of geese and fields full of pumpkins. we enjoyed it so much that we ended up entering in Victoria in the dark…
We stayed 2 nights with our great Warm Showers list hosts, Mark & Cathy. They took us to a nice little Farmer’s market, one of the last of the season. It is nice to see that more young people are supporting the local farmers and eating healthy produce, even though it costs more than the preprocessed and mass-produced ‘food’ from the larger supermarket chains. I feel that our generation (at least a part of it) realizes that we should value fuel for our own system more than that for our cars… Read more
Vancouver is a nice city. Even though we had to get used to being in a large place again, we enjoyed the neighbourhoods, the bicycle lanes, the beaches, Chinatown, Sushi. I will keep this report short and just show you some images.
We were surprised by the large number of homeless people in the streets downtown and the lack of a real ‘tourist’ area. A lot is going on in Vancouver as the Olympic Wintergames will be here in less than 16 months: new buildings, houses and more.
We spend many days resting at Kristen’s place. I had to transfer many websites from one host to another, which is the electronic version of emigrating an entire family, but all went well and now www.BikeTravellers.com, www.ExposedPlanet.com and some others are finally reachable and fast again.
We went into some big outdoor and bicycle shops but did not really need anything. I commented about this on Bikeradar, a well-known website that had reviewed our Santos Travelmaster Read more
Estela is from South America, David from the North. Thanks to the IT business they met up in Argentina and are now living together in the nice city of Victoria, British Columbia, ready for their first baby. David has learned some local skills during his time in Argentina and makes a mean ‘Asado’
Mark Weston and his girlfriend wife (thanks Mark for the correction 😎 ) Cathy Stewart are not only brilliant Computer Scientists and avid puzzle solvers, but also an active part of the new generation that wants to take care of the earth and themselves: shopping at the farmer’s market, eating vegetarian and hosting cyclists!
Day 85 – 90, 4-9 Oct 2008: Cache Creek to Vancouver: tunnels, rain and big cities: through the canyon to the urban jungle!
It was time to finish our journey through Canada and get back to sealevel. Just one last section to go, which had been promised to be beautiful, windy & dangerous…
4th October: Cache Creek – Lytton, 78km
Cache Creek is a bit of a weird city, or maybe it was just that we were there in rainstorms, while it is one of the driest parts in the country.. Anyway, the sun welcomed us again when we left the row of fastfood chains behind us and the dry landscape showed itself.
It was a fun day of cycling, as we were treated with some verrry nice downhills.
I have felt that one of the things that makes me most happy is cycling downhill fast: the wind in my face, the mix of speed, fear and excitement and the resulting cocktail of endorphins and adrenaline. Many physical and mental bystanders think that this borders to suicidal behaviour, but they have no idea about how much you can enjoy and celebrate life even in just a split second; it makes you want to scream and sometimes you just do
Halfway down I noticed some fruit stalls alongside the road and stopped at the biggest one and got some apples. After Mike, the owner showed us around and told us he had too much fruit and not enough pickers, we were tempted to stay a while and make some extra money. But with my back it would not be a good idea and we were still being chased by winter, so we headed back on the road instead, loaded with a bag of fruit and veggies that Mike had let us pick..
The rain suddenly came back in full-force showers and we stayed a while in a nice small lodge and bakery in Spences Bridge. We saw more of the huge freight trains passing and twice I counted over 210 wagons per train… Read more
‘Hey, are you travelling on those bicycles?’
‘Yes, we are on our way from Alaska to Argentina’
‘Great, do you already have a place to stay tonight? Come with me, I live close, I hope you are not afraid of dogs?’
It turned out that Barbara was a traveler and a dog (and cat) lover, who had adopted several dogs she found on the streets in India. She was also a great cook and host and treated us on stories and a very yummie breakfast!
She was a Couchsurfer & WarmShowers host extraordinaire, without even knowing about the organisations, but just because of being a traveller herself she knew the value of good company and a safe place to stay, one of many angels along the way that were watching over us and our trip…
“Trains are great. We met on a train and I love the trains that come by here every day.”
JP had found spring water on his piece of land and had grown great tomatoes and other veggies. He had no email address or Internet access, but wrote down his PO box on a piece of paper. ‘Send us a postcard when you get to Argentina!’.
Thanks JP, for taking care of us and showing us the true American generosity.
“emmm, I have a problem”
“My back hurts so much now, I cannot get up…”
We had arrived at Richard & Maggee’s place the day before. The pain in my back had become slowly worse during the past days, but at this moment it was so bad, I could not move. We were sleeping in the Yoga room, on comfortable, but thin mats, so I could not ‘roll’ out of bed either. It took about 10 minutes of painful balancing and slow finger movements before I could leverage myself into a semi-upright position. Ouch.
Once up, the pain was a bit less, but a cough and especially a sneeze made me grimace in pain. It shot sharply in unexpected moments from my right shoulder, all around my chest. I needed pills, a doctor or both..
After trying different types of pills the next days, Richard called a doctor and I could see him the same day. First pay $60, then talk to the doc. Once I told him that I had been cycling from Alaska the past months, he was convinced it was muscle pain, even though I told him that I could not pinpoint any specific muscle that hurt. I tried to convince him, but all he said was, that if I thought it was something inside my chest, it might be my lungs, and that I maybe should get an X-ray in the hospital. Read more
‘I live in Alberta now, but my heart always will be in British Columbia’ Scott said, after he posed with his daughter in the garden of his sister, where we had pitched our tent for the night…
Maurice Toma is the owner of Toma’s family restaurant on highway 97 in the small town of Hixon, frequented by locals and visitors.
He did not only offer us a place to camp, but also invited us for a great full-size breakfast the next morning! His waitresses are nice and the food great. When i told him I would like to take a shot for the 1000 Americans category, he replied with fire in his eyes: “I am not American, I am Canadian!”.
We explained that he was just as American as Ivana and reluctantly he agreed, thanks Maurice!