Vancouver Island

10Apr13

On Monday, September 17th we found ourselves  once again re-supplying at a grocery store called Safeway. Here we wound up buying a whole roasted chicken and took it down to the waterfront in Port Angeles, WA to devour it. Along the docks we watched a drunk guy run around with his headphones on, remove most of  his clothes and then dive into the water. He managed to swim around a bit before a father with a young son had to pull him out and then they got away from him. And on he went running around. We were glad that he didn’t bother us.  Here we also witnessed a large raven mocking a seagulls call which took us by surprise. As our boat pulled up to the dock we got into the right line to proceed through customs and then we boarded. On the boat we met a nice couple named Lynn and Ed. They had just completed cycling the  Great Divide Mountain Biking Route from Banff, Cananda down to Antelope Wells, NM on two Surly Trolls. An amazing trip that we hope to take someday.

Leaving Port Angeles, WA on the ferry

Two Surly Trolls and two Surly Long Haul Truckers command the bike rack on the ferry

It was incredibly sunny and the water was calm. The ferry ride is about 90 minutes and crosses the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC Cananda. As we pulled into the inner harbor in Victoria it was alive with water taxis, planes taking off and ferries coming and going. Once we started to unload it took a little while to get us and our bikes through Canadian Customs but eventually we were let through and we wondered out into Victoria. As we roamed under the warm sun we made our way over to a visitor center and found a nice spot in the shade to have a little  snack and get oriented. Here we met Loic form France who had been cycling all over the world and was now about to enter the US and begin a southern tour with the goal of beating winter. We traded some maps and suggested routes. We had just biked through some of the areas that he was headed to. We gave him all of our Clallam County bike maps as we found them useful and easy to read. Best of Loic with your tour! Au Revoir!

Pulling into Victoria, BC

Our Ferry docked in Victoria, BC

Along the Waterfront in Victoria

Buskers on Bikes

Small sea plane motors out through the harbor to the Salish Sea

As the afternoon began to settle out we decided we would head off to our evening hosts house. Tonight we would be staying at Ralph and Maureen’s house. We met Ralph on the kitchen renovation project down on Vashon Island and he thought it would be a good idea if we stopped in and spent a couple of nights with Maureen and their daughter, Melanie so we could explore the city. That night we had a great dinner with salad and prawns.

The next day we slept in just a bit. Sleeping in a bed feels amazing especially after being in the tent for so long. We decide we would walk around Victoria instead of bike. The pace of the city was busy and their was plenty of traffic. Although they seemed quite used to bikers we kept our day on foot. Walking slowed things down for us and allowed us to thoroughly explore and not have to worry too much about where we were going or where the bikes were. We strolled around the inner harbor, Parliament building and then out to the Fisherman’ s wharf. We visited the floating house boat community and somehow managed to buy the crappiest order of nachos on the planet. We walked all around the city and made a day of it. Beautiful weather all day long.

Floating house boat community on Fisherman’s wharf

Along the houseboats

Furry cruiser

Harbor seal looking for lunch

Fishing boat near Fisherman’s Wharf

Flowers and palm trees in park in Victoria, BC

Big House in Thunderbird Park

Totem Pole in Thunderbird Park

On Wednesday, September 19th we finished up some laundry and internet chores and then headed out. We made our way through a small maze of community trails that brought us form the neighborhood we were in to the Galloping Goose Trail that would take us out to Sooke. We rode out as far as  Atkins and then decided to bail and turn around and go back. We took the Goose back to the intersection with the Lochside Trail and then we took that north. Sooke will have to wait for another time. THe Lochside Trail is part trail and part residential bike routes through various neighborhoods and eventually takes you up to Sidney, BC. On the ride up we stopped at good market along the trail to buy fruit and cereal. On the outskirts of Sidney we passed through some large pumpkin patches and some big farms. We rode just into town and then got off the trail and navigated our way to the MacDonald Campground in the Gulf Islands National Park. For $13.70 a night you can camp. The place was practically deserted. We picked a site that we thought would be quiet and neighbor-less and it turned out to be just that. A nice quiet sleep indeed.

Big pigs and little chickens along the Lochside Trail

The Great pumpkin patch

Grand Trunk and Western passenger car with caboose and crane

Great billboard along the Lochside Trail

Great stencil

Flowers in Sidney, BC

Larger than life sculpture made from single Douglas Fir log

Looking through to the San Juan Islands

On Thursday, September 20th we slept in and ate leftover pork and squash for breakfast. We played cards in the morning sun on our picnic table. After a while we got packed up and started our ride into town. In Sidney we would be catching a ferry to the San Juan Islands back in Washington State. As we approached town we stopped in the Safeway supermarket just to check it out. Wow! the prices were out of line. We bought nothing and moved on with the food we had. After the store stop we found a small skate’bike park. Bryan rode his fully loaded bike up and down the ramps just for fun. The day was slow and easy. We decided to wait and skip the noon ferry and wait for the 6 pm ferry that would take us right to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We rode around the waterfront and checked out sculpture and played dominoes a couple of times at various picnic tables. We watched as some Asian men pulled in crab after crab form the wharf. Eventually, 6 pm came and we again boarded the boat and took our seats. The sun was setting and it was going to be a beautiful night. From the ferry we could see where Debi used to work at a summer camp called Camp Norwester out on John’s Island. We ate a bowl of cereal for dinner and watched as a sliver of a moon broke over the horizon.

Crossing the Haro Strait

Boat passing by at sun down

Only two bicycle tourists on this sunset ferry ride

The San Juan Islands

In the next post we will start an evening ride on San Juan Island and begin exploring the other islands.

See you there,

B+D

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