Thursday, May 17, 2007

May 16th, 17th, 2007.
White Rock

Just hanging out, having a good time with my bud, Gail! Who knew: There's a big white rock in White Rock

May 15th, 2007. Distance: 96.4 km, Odometer: 194 km
Duncan, BC -Duke Point Ferry Terminal - White Rock, BC

I've been lucky so far to be able to ride rain-free during BC's rainiest time. Today was no different. I left Duncan early and rode hard to make it to the ferry terminal 50kms away to make the 12:45 ferry. I would have made it, but along the way, I blew a tire. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be with 60lbs of gear on my bike. In my mind, I was thinking I'd lose control and veer off the side of a precipice, or, if I was lucky, into traffic. But neither of those. Just a slight pop and no loss of control. The rest of the trek for the day was a little nerve-racking because I used the last bicycle tube that I had, meaning if I blew another one, I'd be up a poopy creek without a paddle. I've already broken the first commandment in bicycle touring: Thou Shalt Not Depart Without at Least two Spare Tubes, You Cheapskate.
So I missed the 12:45 ferry and had to wait a few hours for the next one. I took the time to relax, have lunch and tune up my bike. I ended up making the gearing worse, but don't tell that to Paul, my bike repair guru. He wouldn't be happy.
The ferry ride was typical but the scenery made me feel excited for the mountainous trek ahead in the BC interior.
The rest of the ride for the day was on mainland BC and was beautiful. I took side-roads through farmland mainly, which was accompanied by pungent farmland smell. I didn't mind, of course, considering the alternative was freeway exhaust. There is something about the smell of farms that is energizing for me...
I arrived in White Rock at 9pm - a 12 hour journey today - and am amazed at how many fancy houses there are here. I'm here visiting a friend for the next couple of days, and recuperating.


Monday, May 14, 2007

May 14, 2007.

Just hanging out in Duncan, buying supplies and taking in the fresh Vancouver Island air. It smells even sweeter than I remember. Oh, and working in the garden. I want one when I grow up.
Some people think of me as a trailblazer figuratively, but here I'm proving it literally as well.

May 13, 2007. Distance: 47.0 km, Odometer: 97.5 km
Goldstream Provincial Park - Duncan

The ride today was demanding. Since the airport, everyone who I spoke to warned me of the Malahat mountain along the way to Duncan. I wasn't sure what to expect. The uphill climb started early and was continuous. At one point the incline was so steady that I couldn't tell it was a hill, and I thought there was something wrong with my bike because I was sweating my balls off over my granny gear. When I unknowingly reached the summit, I pulled over to fix a problem with my rim and met a nice couple from Sudbury. When the lady told me I was in fact at the summit and that it would be down hill to Duncan, I almost kissed her. I might have if I wasn't caked with sweat. The views were amazing and made the arduous, self-esteeming shattering climb tolerable. I sang all the way down the other side of the mountain and into Duncan to meet with the family I lived with for 3 months while doing a Canada World Youth exchange. It's fantastic it be here.

May 12th, 2007. Distance: 50.5 km, Odometer: 50.5 km
Victoria Airport - Goldstream Provincial Park

My adventure started in the Timmins airport. My Dad and I arrived early, but not early enough as there was a line up. The bike was checked without a problem, but the ticket lady was obviously put out by the line up, and then with me having a bike box. She told us it would be $105 for the additional luggage. I thought bikes were $50 despite of my luggage, and told her so. I'm not sure what happened, but after my Dad offered to pay, she refused the money altogether! I couldn't understand it. Maybe she caught one of the news media I've been on recently and suddenly felt philanthropic.

Things brightened up when the guy at security was a buddy of mine from school and the gym, Brian. I had sent him, along with 130 of my closest friends, an 'event notice' on letting him know I was raising money for the hospital. He and I started chatting and when I told him I was cycling across the country, he remembered the cause and gladly took out his wallet to fish for a donation. All of this while he was scanning my luggage for WMDs or whatever they look for. It makes me smile thinking about it and it made me glad to be from Timmins.
While in the air, it occurred to me, but very vaguely still, how huge Canada is. I mean, I was in an ultra fast plane and it took 4.5 hours to get to Vancouver. And that's just half way. I think cycling will provide the ultimate sense of Canada's magnitude. MAYBE, it's my complete vagueness of this sense that I've let myself do the trek! Thank God for my daftness, otherwise I may never leave the house.

The first day of riding was crazy. I cycled down to "Mile 0" of the Trans-Canada Highway where there was a busload of Asian tourists waiting. When the tour guide saw me, I guess he also saw an opportunity to show this clients something interesting, so he started asking me questions and translated what I said into Asian (Japanese maybe?). Well, the crowd just lost it. I'm not sure how many photo graphs were taken of me in front of that "Mile 0" sign, but it was lots. One of them asked if I was Terry Fox, and I said no. It was flattering, and I left the group waving and wishing me luck. Good times. I stayed in Goldstream Provincial Park, a park saturated with larger trees than I've ever seen, ever.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mini Tour to Kettle Lakes Provinicial Park

Last weekend I had my first "shakedown". I'm not sure why we call a short trial tour a shakedown, but I guess it's because it's like shaking the tour foundation to see if there are any loose parts: literally (on your bike) and figuratively (with your planning and packing).

shakedown |ˌʃeɪkdaʊn| noun informal
• a test of a new product or model, esp. a vehicle or ship : the high-orbit shakedown of the lunar module had its merits | [as adj. ] the software is expected to enter its final shakedown phase by the middle of September.

This one was short: 50 kms out of town there is a provincial park which I stayed at for a night. It's closed but a friend said that I could get in easily and without hassle. The packing went great... Well, I mean I had enough room for all my stuff plus my biochemistry text book. However, and not surprisingly, I forgot a few important things:

- Utensils: I stirred my meals with a stick I found that I deemed 'relatively clean' and transferred my slop into a bottle to eat from.
- Measuring cup: thank god for Nalgene bottles.
- Tire pump (went back home to pick it up)
- ear plugs: a necessity when alone in the woods and every noise could be interpreted as a rabid monster out to get you.

Otherwise the trip went great. I had the entire provincial park to myself... Which was kinda weird at times. Every noise that was made were from animals or the wind. Most of the time, it was nothing, sometimes it was a moose watching me from the other side of the campground, or an anonymous animal getting out of the lake and running by my tent in the middle of the night. The ride back was less than perfect with heavy winds and rain. I got to try out my rain gear though and it kept me dry and warm magnificently.

Thanks to Kettle Lakes Park for their generous hospitality. If any of you read this, I left $8 under the side door for my stay.
(Days 'till departure: 11)