Sorry friends for the delay in an update, traded the bikes straight up for a yacht, Ville changed his name to One Eyed Willy and we are now sailing the open seas headed for Hawai'i. Alright, we have actually been busy biking, relaxing, and sightseeing, but I wouldn't put it past us to trade the bikes for a boat in Argentina and sail back. Hmmmmmmmmmmm......
After the ferry from Bella Coola to Port Hardy, we stealth camped late night when the ferry got in and started out early from Port Hardy heading south on Vancouver Island. The weather was overcast and a bit misty, but thickly forested and beautiful. We were passed throughout the day by a bunch of different people we had just met on the ferry that were heading south at a slightly faster pace than us, but who slowed down, waved, honked and made us feel like the most popular kids in town. So much fun meeting all these new people to add to our circles of great people we know!
Since we now had the time to slow down, the island was fairly flat and we were flying through miles. So we decided to end our days early, stop a lot to rest and relax, and meet more people along the way. We had only used www.warmshowers.org once before in Haines, but decided to connect with some more hosts to get to know some more people. And we were greatly rewarded with some of the nicest people, best food, hot showers, ability to do laundry, and shared great conversation and travel stories along the way. Warm showers is full of mainly other touring cyclists or fans of and who are happy to help other touring cyclists on their journey. Anything from a yard to camp, a hot shower, laundry, and usually lots of food! If you are looking to meet some great people on all kinds of bike tours and help them out, get signed up at www.warmshowers.org. (you don't have to be a cyclist!)
After spending a night camping with a cool motorcyclist, Rob, from Vancouver, at Woss Lake, we spent the next night camping in Tim's yard from Warmshowers. Tim welcomed us right into his swanky pad, shared some rockin' tunes, and made us pizza, handmade spaghetti dinner complete with homemade banana ice cream over heated pineapple. We could never afford a dinner like that in a 5 star restaurant, so we were pretty dang spoiled! Tim, you the man. Now open a food cart and we will make a trip back to eat your food.
Next stop, Campbell River, where after 2 days of cycling through thick green forests littered with bald patches from all the logging, we hit full on city and cars. Campbell River is a really neat town perched right on the coast of the Salish Sea with a vibrant downtown and we stayed a night with another host, Jacob and Jannie. Really generous couple originally from the Netherlands who are super involved in local charity rides and knew how to spoil a cyclist. Thanks for your kindness!
Heading south we struggled to find another host and finally Peter in Nanoose Bay came to our rescue and we pushed through 75 epic coastal, scenic miles to get to him by the end of the day. We couldn't have hit better weather on the island, but going from rain and mist to high 90's rocked my world and I, K.G, struggled a bit with migraines. Hard to get out of the baking sun when you are riding all day and melting in it. But Peter and Madeleine welcomed us to a fish dinner on the porch of Peter's unreal home right on the coast while watching the sun set over the water. It was pretty unreal. We even watched a seal swimming right out in front of his house. We spent a day being tourists and rode bikes minus gear into Parksville where we ran into a fellow touring cyclist named Bart from the Netherlands. We spent the day together talking bike talk and went to a sandcastle competition right on the beach. And man these castle builders were a bit more serious than I was in my day!
After a couple of nights rest, we headed south on a nerve racking freeway about 20 miles into Nanaimo. We tried to stick to a bike path, but we were pretty sure the straight up and down of the path was made for walkers and not so much cyclists. We camped a night in a very, shall we say "unique" camp spot (we will not say where to keep from the crowds that are sure to take it over if they know about it) and tackled errands around town before connecting with hosts Cory and Jim, in Cedar right outside Nanaimo. They have cycle toured, lived and traveled all over the world and were great for info and stories. Thanks for sharing food, your spare room, and maps with us guys!
From there we caught the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay, about 20ish miles from downtown Vancouver. The ride was unreal. The homes lining the windy road clinging to the cliff faces overlooking the ocean were some of the most stunning I have seen since Mill Valley and Malibu. We passed the Yacht Club littered with Ferraris and Lamborghinis. We cycled across the Lions Gate Bridge and onto an actual bicycles only bike lane! Vancouver rivals Portland on its cycling friendly streets it was amazing! We finally connected with Jim and Mary, friends from Bend who made it all the way up to see/support us on our ride. Ville was quite disappointed with the lack of attention he was now not getting because of being off his bike, so he somehow covered his shirt in blood and bird poop. twice. True story. Luckily it all washed out before getting back not the road. After a few days of sightseeing (with our own local tour guide), relaxing, feasting, bathing, we had to sadly drag our butts back to the bikes and continue on our ride south. It has been really tough going back to oatmeal and wraps after having a master chef at our beck and call. Thanks again both of you for all the love!
From here we have taken a ferry to Victoria, back on Vancouver Island and had a night here with fellow touring cyclists Chris and Karen. Thanks for showing us around a bit and the route advice guys. I really recommend setting up those walking tours on tape you are planning for your future Warmshowers guests. That would really be the finishing touch to making this the best sleeping place! :) Today we will tour Victoria and this evening we have another ferry to catch to camp the San Juan Islands before heading into Seattle. If your out there on our route, give us a shout. Until next time...peace, love, and bicycles.
K.G. & Ville
On a cruise ship, heading north up the west coast to Los Angeles.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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