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.

Days 51-53: Vancouver

We spent a few days in Vancouver visiting with friends and Jesse’s family, eating lots, and running around getting errands done. I also got a new cell phone (LG Nexus 4) and discovered how difficult it is to find any accessories for it. It was good we arrived when we did since the rain started pouring down our first rest day in Vancouver.

Day 50: Langley to North Vancouver

The morning brought our first Tim Hortons since we left, and I certainly enjoyed it! A car ride with Krystal, her new baby Liam, and the big loyal dog Angus who jumped in the back so he wouldn’t be left behind. After spending the morning with Krystal we started on our ride into the city.

We tried to follow the bike routes as much as possible, but it was easier once we arrived in the city of Vancouver. Along the way a really helpful cyclist rode with us a while. Michael had previously ridden across Canada and was eager to chat with other tourers. He got us to the new Canada Line cyclist bridge, and once across we followed the Cypress bike route to take us to downtown. This route took us through the expensive area of Shaughnessy in Vancouver. An area full of huge fancy houses, expensive cars, and absolutely no one around. It seemed like an abandoned city in this area!

Once in downtown Vancouver we rode along the beaches skirting the downtown core to the entrance to Lion’s Gate Bridge in Stanley Park. However once we got there we heard the bridge was closed so we had to continue on to the seabus. Jesse was disappointed since he was looking forward to riding across the bridge. While on the seabus everyone around me seemed to have many questions – as I fielded their questions Jesse was able to sit quietly in the corner going unnoticed.

We made it to North Vancouver before dark and enjoyed a huge sushi dinner with Jesse’s family.