I'm biking really really far this summer

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 5 (Nanaimo - Victoria 127km)

I started out from the Painted Turtle hostel at about 9am, after not sleeping well becau8se one of my dorm mates was THE WORST snorer I have ever heard. The room was shaking with his snores; it was really something else. I'd have to put rock music on full volume on my MP3 player to drown out the sound, but as soon as the album would end he would wake me up again! I'd rather have just camped out in retrospect, but at least all my stuff was dry in the morning.

Not that that mattered since it rained the whole day! I never got soaked through because my expensive rain jacket proved itself and kept me dry without making me sweat like crazy (it's some crazy waterproof-breathable fabric developed for the marines). My wrists got a little wet because I opened up the cuffs for ventilation but apart from that my torso was dry and toasty. I let my legs, feet, hands and head soak through though and they were wet the entire day, but my feet stayed warm because of the wool socks I was fashionably wearing with my sandals, and my legs stayed warm because I was wearing fleece lined cycling tights. Both of these stay warm when wet so you don't really need to stay dry.

I stopped along the way and ate hamburgers (3 times!), and drank plenty of coffee. I took a detour through Chemainus (where I bought some delicious fudge) because I was bored of riding on the shoulder of highway 19 going south. While the shoulder is wide and smooth, the road is 4 lanes and the traffic goes around 120km/h. Since it was raining, parts of the shoulder were like a river, and every time I got passed by a truck I was enveloped in a cloud of water spray from head to toe! The road was pretty ugly and boring so the detour was a nice, albeit hilly and shoulderless ride. At least I could hear the birds and such. I ended up missing my turnoff and went 10km too far south and had to go to a Tim Horton's for directions. I have discovered that if you are lost, don't ask young women with hoop earrings for directions, ask older men with pickup trucks and faded hats. They were debating whether the turnoff was 6 miles or 6.5 miles away so I knew they couldn't be wrong! I ended up having to backtrack up the highway and eventually made it to Crofton.

From Crofton I took a ferry to Salt Spring Island and made my way south to the other ferry terminal. I passed through the town of Ganges were I was approached by a crusty old hippy.
"Hey you!"
"Uh, hi?"
"Do you want to have the most incredible drug free experience of your life?"
"Uh, okay?"
"Here hold my didge"
"Uh, okay?"
He produced a weird bow looking device with a wooden down attached mid way on the string. The dowel had two holes drilled in it eye-width apart. He asked me if I was epileptic, so I knew I was in for something special.
"Close your eyes"
I made sure my wallet was safe!
"Uh, okay?"
He then produced a flashlight, wound up the dowel and put it in front of my eyes and then shined the light through at me. It produced various flashing colours on my eyelids. Hooray, I guess... Then he asked me for money but really didn't feel the display was worth it so I went on my way.

Immediately after this was a brutal hill that I almost killed myself going up, and then I rolled into the next ferry terminal right after the ferry had departed, so i stopped at a pub and had a hamburger. I had decided since I was getting on the 5:50pm ferry, and that it was raining, that I would find a place to stay as soon as I got off the ferry. Once the ferry arrived I got on and met a couple from Sacramento who were also bike touring. They were very friendly. Once the ferry docked, the skies magically cleared and it turned into an absolutely gorgeous evening. I ended up riding with the couple down into Victoria on there absolutely incredibly amazing regional bike path system. It was such a treat to ride on bike paths like that compared to what I am used to in Toronto, and even what I've come across so far on this trip. They stopped at a hotel and I continued on to meet up with Christiane.

She lives right downtown and was half way through throwing a birthday dinner party for her friend Janice. Everyone was nice and full of cocktails and I quickly changed and stuffed myself with Christaine's amazing home made hors d'oeuvres (really amazing!) and then we went out to a bar called lucky. It took ages to get in but it was fun and DJ Longshanks, a local favorite was playing fun music. We ended up going to bed around 5am when we realized it was getting light, and woke up at 2pm. It was a really fantastic day and I totalled 127km over the day and still felt very fresh and energetic at the end of it


Caroline said...

Your day sounded so good ending up at Christiane's in time for some delicious food. You two used to cook together at your house for 7 guys and one gal, she was a brave girl!
There are so many questions I have for you Charlie and now I never can.
all my love Mum xxxx

Caroline said...

I wonder where Christiane is now, I would love to catch up with her.
I have joined Face Book, you would laugh Charlie but you would be amazed how many people of my generation are on it. I wish I could have you as a friend. I miss you
all my love
Mum xxx

Anonymous said...

I long to talk to you and tell you all about our trip to France and then England for me. Fred and Edwin are doing well Fred still editing his pictures. Alex V.J is married and we went to France for his wedding in a 15th century chateux. You were missed by them and mentioned in the marriage service.
We all miss you so much.
all my love
Mum xxxxx

Caroline said...

My Darling Charlie
Yesterday I had a hamburger and Americano and sat there in the cafe thinking of you wondering what you would be up to now. I miss you so much, all my love Mum xxxooo