Day 61: Sayward to Woss

Today we weren’t sure how far we wanted to go. The next town was Woss or we could try to push on to Port McNeill, or wild camp somewhere along the way. We didn’t make any final decisions and just got going.

We had a decent sized hill to climb and it seemed all day we were either going uphill or downhill at all times – there didn’t seem to be any flat areas.

It wasn’t too long before the rain began. It was on and off most of the day, and at times very very strong. We looked at the windshield wipers of oncoming cars to have an idea of what it was like ahead. When all the cars coming towards us had their wipers on the fastest speed, we stopped to put on all of our rain gear, and certainly that was a good decision. The rain was pouring down and we were going downhill which made us even colder. The sun did come out afterwards however and finally we were able to see some of the scenery of Vancouver Island. We could see some snow topped mountains – finally able to see the peaks.

Once we arrived in Woss we still weren’t sure what to do. I knew Port McNeill was still too far for comfort for me. Riding straight without taking any breaks was a new kind of challenge for us, but I was still open to the idea of wild camping since the rain had dissipated for the moment. Woss had was a Pub & Sushi place plus a general store and not much else. So we stopped at the pub where I had sushi and Jesse had a club house sandwich. After being impressed with the place we decided the motel sounded like a good idea, so we booked in there for the night.

Day 60: Campbell River to Sayward

We were off on our own again today, and today felt more like it was the end of our break and the real start round two of the trip. The distances between towns was getting larger and fewer services to be found in between. In the morning we went to the grocery store for snacks before saying goodbye to Jesse’s parents after a great visit with them for the past week.

The weather was promising and today was supposed to be the start of better weather. We were encouraged and got started around noon. Not too long into the ride the rain started, and didn’t stop. We had 70km to ride today to the town of Sayward and the rain followed us the whole way. There were two small roadside cafe’s along the way and we stopped in the second one to warm up with hot chocolate and a cinnamon roll. It was a very welcomed stop.

Eventually we made it to Sayward Junction. We didn’t care to go the extra 10km into town and just stopped at the Sayward RV and Motel near the highway to get a room for the night.

Day 59: Nanaimo to Campbell River

We don’t call it cheating, just taking advantage of an opportunity. Again today it was raining that miserable cold rain so we accepted a drive to Campbell River from Jesse’s parents. We were staying with them in a place called Painter’s Lodge that is very well known and a destination of its own.

While there we took their free water taxi across to Quadra Island where we had a drink at their sister lodge and enjoyed the view back to Painters Lodge. Although it was a beautiful view, I could only think of how much nicer it would be with clear skies, the mountains in the background and a sunset. We returned in time to enjoy a swim in the heated outdoor pool and some time in the hot tub before going to the pub for dinner.

Day 58: Crofton to Nanaimo

Waking up late after what felt like one of my best sleeps of the trip, we had breakfast and then rode back to the highway with Curtis before parting ways and wishing him the best on his trip down the Pacific Coast. He is waiting for the rain forecast to ease up a bit and then he will ride south (with the wind) to San Diego. He will also be keeping a blog so we’ll be sure to follow his journey.

We were meeting Larry and Marilou again today and planned to stay with them in Nanaimo. First we would meet with them in Chemainus before going to Marilou’s cousins home just down the road. We made it to Chemainus fairly early, again in the pouring rain, and found a cafe to relax, warm up and wait in. Chemainus is a very cute tourist town, but in the rain we didn’t feel like wandering around. After not too long Jesse’s parents found us, and we decided to take them up on their offer to put the bikes on the roof for the rest of the ride. The rain was miserable and cold so we didn’t feel too guilty about this.

Guest Post by Larry, Jesse’s dad

Howdy. Dad here. Picked J & J up at Chemainus Vancouver Island. Rain rain rain and more rain.

We decided to drive them all the way back to Newfoundland. J/K

With bikes on my car racks we got them to Naniamo. Now sitting in dryness at hotel and heading soon for Thai food dinner suggested by cousin Jim and greatly wanted by Jackie. Tomorrow morning, all of us en route to Campbell River to stay at Painter’s Lodge, greatly wanted by Lou. Parting way with cyclists on Thursday; us returning to Vancouver, cyclists on island highway northward to Port Hardy and eventually ferry north bound to Prince Rupert. Cousin in Plunkett has been contacted. Their wheat and canola waiting J & J’s arrival (cousin Linda guarantees no hills).

After a nice visit Marilou’s cousins we enjoyed the drive to Nanaimo. We were also able to accomplish things like a trip to an outdoor store for Bear Bangers, a trip to Staples to try to find a cell phone case for my phone, as well as going to two different bikes stores to get more tubes for our bikes. There are advantages to travelling by car! Having successfully accomplishing nearly all our tasks (though it’s still near impossible to find a proper case for my phone) we wandered town a bit and then enjoyed a nice Thai dinner.

Day 57: Galiano Island to Crofton

With our first steps out the door the rain started this morning. Today would be the first day back on the bikes after nearly a week off. Jesse’s parents, Larry and Marilou, offered to give us a ride since they were coming with us to Vancouver Island for a few days but we stubbornly refused saying we were happy to get back on the bikes. We rode off to the ferry terminal meeting them again on-board.

A couple hours later we arrived at the Swartz Bay terminal where we put on all our rain gear and got started on our ride. The bike route from the ferry was very well marked and allowed us to look at our surroundings rather than worry about traffic or where we were going. Our plan today was to take the Mill Bay ferry, thus skipping the Malahat Highway which we heard wasn’t good to ride on, and we were to meet our friend Curtis who we met on his trip across Canada a year ago when he stayed with us. He lives in Duncan where we were going to meet him, then ride with him to his girlfriend Bonnie’s home in Crofton.

We met again with Larry and Marilou who were waiting for us at the next ferry terminal, watching as one ferry departed since we were obviously slower to arrive. We sought shelter from the rain in their car until the next ferry was ready for departure and during the ride across. Once across we parted ways for the rest of the day.

While riding to Duncan when I stopped to check the map and wait for Jesse a man pulled over to see if I needed help with anything. As Jesse pulled up behind me as I was telling him we were going to Duncan. We couldn’t read his response but we were left wondering if he approved of our route or if there was something else that he was thinking but not telling us as he seemed quite hesitant and guarded with his responses.

Taking the trans Canada highway into Duncan we quickly found Curtis’ place and met up with him, then sped the rest of the way in the rain to Bonnie’s. While going up the last hill into Crofton I noticed my bike seemed quite bouncy. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and thought maybe my Brooks saddle was having a hard time in the rain. I quickly realized I had a flat tire – my first flat tire of all our tours. I texted ahead to Jesse and hoped he wouldn’t be too far ahead so I wouldn’t have to walk to far. He received my text and passed along a message to Curtis who was also ahead. We were close so instead of fixing the flat we filled it with air again and kept going. We repeated this twice. Curtis did come quickly with a truck to make sure everything was okay and told us we were almost there. As we walked up the last bit of the road Jesse noticed he too had a flat tire. We had no idea what caused our flats.

With Bonnie and Curtis
With Bonnie and Curtis
Bonnie was waiting to greet us and warmly welcomed us into her home. While I chatted with her, Jesse chatted with Curtis and tended to the flat tires. Once sorted we all sat down to enjoy the great meal Bonnie prepared and to share stories from the road.

Day 54-56: Galiano Island

We spent a few days on Galiano Island and enjoyed beautiful sunny days while we were there. We even managed to be there for Bob Dylan’s birthday celebrations, an annual event on the island, and we were able to hear Jesse’s sister Carly and her friends do a wonderful performance of a few Bob Dylan songs at the event.

We also wandered the cemetery, hiked around Montague Harbour, visited the Saturday market, explored a few trails and beaches, and enjoyed a perfect sunset on the beach.