We woke up early today to make sure we could make it up to the campground (North Thompson River Provincial Park) just outside of Clearwater. It was a gorgeous day, and we were making amazing time! We had a wicked tail wind and were going 27km/hr on the uphills! We took our first real break in Barriere (we saw a liquor store and thought we would buy something for around the campfire!). We ended up talking to the woman working in the liquor store (Jazz) and the woman who worked in the hotel next door (Brenda). They were very nice and seemed really impressed with our trip! They told us to send them a postcard from Newfoundland (which we intend on doing) and gave us a business card with the hotel address to send it to. Probably just over 5km out of town Michael clipped a piece of metal and I couldn't avoid running it over. It slashed my tire (the tire had a gash in it from one end to the other). I didn't have a spare tire, so used a tire boot on the inside (and obviously had to replace the inner tube) and used duct tape on the outside (to prevent anything going into the obvious hole on the outside of the tire). With every rotation the tire made, The bulge in the tire would rub against the brakes (which made it annoying to ride and made it a bit slower too). I tried calling the number on the business card Brenda gave us, and a guy answered who told me there wasn't a bike store in Barriere that he knew of, so we decided to go forward, and hopefully there would be something in Little Fort. Turns out there wasn't. The guy working at the gas station said there was a home hardware in Clearwater that might have my size tire (we called and the only size tire they had was for a 26” rim, and mine is a 28” so there was no way it was going to work! We continued onward, hoping there would be something in Valemount or something along the way tomorrow or the next day. Seeing as how we were cycling an average of 120km for the next few days, I was really nervous about my tire. I was hoping it would last!!! But there was only 30km from Little Fort to our campground (probably just uner), so we gunned it. About 10km later we had to stop again because Travis broke a spoke. Upon closer inspection, he actually broke three (which you could not bike on! His wheel no longer had any structural stability!). At this point, Michael also broke a spoke, and ran over a staple of sorts. Luckily, he was able to make it to the campsite with one broken spoke (decided he would change the spoke at the site), and he had Armadillo tires and self-sealing inner tubes so you heard the air escape, then slowly stop. He didn't actually need to do any bike maintenance at the side of the road! Travis on the other hand, did. He has had a broken spoke already on this trip, but this time we could only fix the one. In order to fix the other two spokes, we needed to first remove the cassette, but unfortunately didn't have the tools to do so. So we stuck out our thumb. Eventually a really nice man named Grant stopped and gave Travis (and his broken bike) a ride to the campground (right to the site!). Grant lived in the area for a while and told Travis a bit about the area (and showed him where the bike shop was for tomorrow morning). Michael and I cycled the rest of the 20km and met Travis at the site. We made a campfire, had dinner, and celebrated our day of technical difficulties with some rum and coke! But regardless of our bike troubles, we still make the 114.8km scheduled, so we were still on schedule!
This morning I woke up and realized that my bike rack was broken (severed across the part that attached to my brakes (the part attached to the axle is still fine though...don't know how it broke and for how long it was broken, but it wasn't safe the way it was). We duct taped the rack to the bike to prevent the bags from moving around (causing me to go slow or creating a hazard). We figured we would get a new rack in Kamloops, or at least get some zip ties. Approximately 10km from where we camped out, we found a small truck stop restaurant where we could fill up our water bottles (as we were all out). It was so cute and authentic (pictures of trucks EVERYWHERE, and everyone eating there was stereotypically what you would expect). We had a BIG feed! Michael had the steak and Travis and I had the trucker's special. And it was so cheap! Then we hit the road. It was a pleasant ride (the weather changed quite a bit from kinda rainy to hot and sunny and back). About 20km outside of Kamloops there were TONS of T-Birds that passed us (there must have been about 50 of them!). It was so random, but cool to see. About 10km down the road, we stopped off at a gas station to use the washrooms and randomly enough, all the T-Birds were there as well, taking a break. They were all part of some T-Bird club and it was their annual road trip. Earlier today, Michael and Travis were talking, and Travis misheard when Michael mentioned “Kamloops” and thought he said “Fruitloops.” That inspired our Kamloops activity: Fruitloops in Kamloops. We bought groceries and went to Riverside Park for our cereal. We were SOOO full by the end of it! It's hard to eat THAT much cereal between three of us! But we did it! When we were done, we wanted to find a bike store or somewhere to buy the zip ties. That's when we met Kevin and Lisa. They thought it was laughable that we would think anything would be open in Kamloops on a Sunday at like 4-5pm. But, they asked what we were looking for and were nice enough to give us some of their zip ties they had at home. So we walked with them over to their house, and had a really nice conversation. They gave us advice on how to get out of Kamloops and filled our water bottles and REALLY helped me out with the rack! We ended up cycling about 5-10km outside of town and pitched a tent at the side of the road again. It was perfect timing too! Just as we stopped the winds changed from a tail wind back to a headwind!
Today the plan was to just wake up and head out. Unfortunately we had some technical difficulties. Travis needed to go to a bike shop to fix his wheel. We ended up leaving Terry and Linda's around 2:30pm. Linda gave us a LOT of food for our journey, which was amazing! We really enjoyed their hospitality and were sad to leave, but excited to hit the road! Terry recommended taking the road that goes along the west side of the lake up past Vernon rather than taking the 97. He said it's far more scenic, and less busy. There are some ups and downs, but a much nicer ride. He was right! It was a really enjoyable cycle! Just about all the ups were preceded by a down so none were overly difficult. We ended up cycling a total of 85.6km today. So although we left late, we did roughly as much as we wanted to do today (we didn't want too long of a day, and wanted to split the ride between Kelowna and Kamloops in half to make sure a) my knee was fully up to par, and b) to ease back into some intense cycling coming up ahead for the next few days. We pitched a tent at the side of the road (up on a hill away from traffic obviously).
It was a nicer day today! I got a ride to Winner's to hopefully buy a dress (so I don't have to walk around in either spandex or sweatpants all the time. and dresses are good because it's easy to pack, and then i don't have to buy separate tops and bottoms. all in one convenience!), and a frame. Unfortunately all the dresses were ugly and expensive and all the frames looked REALLY cheap. Since it was such a nice day out, I walked downtown to the art store. Kelowna is a very nice place! I can see why Linda and Terry like it so much! (It also helps that they live in a wicked house on the lake and have a dock in their backyard for their boat so they can REALLY optimize on what Kelowna has to offer!). I bought a frame (to draw a picture as a thank you because both Linda and Terry really went above and beyond for us!). When I got back Michael was still doing work on the computer, and Travis was on the phone. While I was out the company that Travis had an interview with offered him the job! Which is wicked for him! (But that unfortunately means he will only continue until Calgary). We decided to go out and watch a movie (something we haven't done at all since we started). We watched Robin Hood and really enjoyed it! We walked around for a bit, then went back to the Sturgeon Hall and the two boys had dinner and beer and I just had beer. Then we went back to Linda and Terry's and went into the hottub before bed! It was a really nice night!
We had an amazing sleep last night! Don't get me wrong, the air mattresses and tents are nice and luxurious and all, but the bed was SO comfortable! We were out like a light! We woke up to a nice breakfast of bagels (Linda had everything all laid out for us already!). The weather outside was less than ideal so we stayed in and did some work (ie. Michael was replying to e-mails from his prof and updating the blog as we were very behind (as per usual since we have limited internet), I was updating my journal and working on the budget and uploading pictures, etc). The plan was to ship the wine we bought as gifts home to people, then Travis was going to visit his grandparents, Michael was going to do some school work, and I was going to go out with Linda and some of her friends. The wine-sending fell through because they charged A LOT of money. After they finished packing it all up and then rang up the total it came to $270! For 6 bottles!!! The shipping was WAY more expensive than all the wine combined (although the wine TASTES like it's worth more than that... for everyone reading who is getting a bottle....). We were able to get back the shipping cost, but since they already packed it (and didn't say how much they were charging to pack), we had to fork out $80 (that's right, to pack 6 bottles!!!! ridiculous in my opinion!!! Damn UPS!). But Linda was wonderful and is helping us out by having her daughter bring wine back home to Ontario with her after the wedding in early July. It was such a relief to have her help! It would have REALLY put a GIANT dent in the budget otherwise! That night Travis went to visit his grandparents, and Michael and I stayed back and did some work (Linda didn't end up going out after all so we had a night/dinner in). Right as dinner was being served Travis walked in just in time for second dinner. Then Travis, Michael and I went into town (to Sturgeon Hall) to have drinks with Travis' cousin Pat. It was our first night at a bar this entire trip (the only other time we were at a bar was in Osoyoos for the Habs game). We only stayed for one or two drinks then headed back. It was a nice, chill night.
I towed Travis into town today while Nicole was getting her knee checked out, so we hit the road a little late. But that was ok since today was going to be our tipsy wine tour! As we were cycling along the 97, all we saw were vineyards after vineyards, all next door to each other. There were wine tastings at the wineries we stopped off at, so we managed to stop off at plenty of them: Golden Beaver, Rustico, Cassini Cellars, Inniskillin, and Jackson-Triggs. Neither one of us were anything close to a wine connaisseur, so we were joking around by swirling the wine, smelling it, tasting it, and thinking hard before saying "this wine is... good". The people selling the wine were nice enough to answer many of the questions that we had, and I think we learned a lot today about the wine industry. Too bad that we were drinking too much wine to remember it all! We all had a lot of fun on this tour!
We stopped in Okanagan Falls (or OK Falls, according to the locals) for ice cream at Ticleberry's for some crazy flavoured ice cream flavours like carrot cake, cinnamon bun, paydoh, apple pie, etc. We camped in town, had a large fire and roasted sausages, drank some more wine, and listened to Johnny cash all night.
Fun facts, stats and lessons learned
Distance travelled today: 62.06 km
Total distance travelled: 939.13 km
Starting point: Osoyoos, at a private campground
Our Route: Highway 97 north the whole way. The shoulders were excellent all day.
Ending point: Okanagan Falls, at a private campground
- Oliver is the wine capital of Canada because it has the highest concentraition of wineries
- Apparently, Inniskillin put Canada on the map for Ice Wines
- Ice wines grapes need to be picked and processed at temperatures below 8°C.
- There are no falls in OK Falls. There used to be a small one, but it has since been dammed.
Fun facts, stats and lessons learned
Distance travelled today: 83.41 km
Total distance travelled: 877.07 km
Starting point: Just before Keremeos, by the side of the road
Our Route: Highway 3 (Crowsnest) the whole way. The shoulders were excellent all day.
Ending point: Osoyoos, at a private campground
- Mountain goats aren't actually goats at all - they're antelopes.
- Osoyoos is Canada's only desert.
- The poulation of Osoyoos triples during the summer time.
Distance travelled today: 126.78 km
Total distance travelled: 793.66 km
Starting point: EC Manning Provincial Park, by the side of the road just past Allison Pass Summit
Our Route: Highway 3 (Crowsnest) the whole way. The shoulders were pretty bad until we were just outside Princeton, where they got much better for the rest of the day.
Ending point: Just before Keremeos, by the side of the road.
- It's amazing how quickly a headwind can turn into a tailwind & vice versa when winding through the mountains.
Distance travelled today: 105.10 km
Total distance travelled: 666.88 km
Starting point: Campground in Harrison Hot Springs
Our Route: We went back on Highway 9 to Highway 7 through to Hope. We then hopped on the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3) for the rest of the day. There was great shoulder and road up until Highway 3. There were great shoulders on the uphills for Highway 3, but it was very cracked at other points.
- It's not always sunny in Sunshine Valley. Talk about false advertisement! I was dissapointed.
- Total black bears seen so far: 4
- Allison Pass Summit: 1342 m.
Ending point: Campground in Harrison Hot Springs
- Travis had his first flat tire and broken spoke
- My new max speed: 65.1 km/h
- I guess it's worth mentionning that, ever since Victoria, every single time we go to a grocery store, it's tradition to get a flavoured milk (chocolate, vanilla, chocolate orange, orange, strawberry, coffee, etc.) and drink it as soon as we leave the store.
Total distance travelled: 403.48 km
Starting point: Derek O'Farrell's place, in Saanich
Our Route: Took the Patricia Bay Highway (Hwy 17) North to Swartz Bay, where we took a ferry to Tsawwassen, and then continued on Highway 17 until it met up with Highway 99. There was a decent shoulder the whole way through. We weren't allowed to take our bikes through the George Massey Tunnel, so we took the free bus service. The bus driver then told us to take Rice Mill Road to No. 5 Road, West at Stevenson to No. 4 Road, and continue until it met up with Highway 99. There weren't any shoulders, but the traffic wasn't too bad as we were cycling. From there, we met up with the Highway to go over the Oak Street Bridge (cycled on sidewalk), and stayed on Oak Street although it didn't have a shoulder. We turned on Broadway, then went to Granville and Georgia. We were allowed to cycle on the side walk through Stanley Park and the Lion's Gate Bridge, and we went to MArine to Taylor and then some side roads to our destination.
The caves at Owen's Point were amazing, and we had a lot of fun climbing in, out, and around them for a while. The next part of the trip involved climbing around large boulders and rocks, which required a lot of patience, planning and leaps of faith. They were difficult to navigate around, and some were very slippery. There was a seal that kept following us along the way and popped his head out a couple of times, but every time I tried pointing it out to Nicole, she couldn't see because there were boulders in the way. It kind of felt like a Polkaroo situation. We met up with Sean and other hikers at the last campsite, and we said our goodbyes and headed for the last 5k of the trip. We were told that it would be the hardest part of the trip and it would take us 5 hours, but it only took us half the time. Maybe because we were expecting something brutally difficult, but to me it didn't seem as bad as everyone said it would be. By the end, we were all so exhausted and our legs seriously felt like lead weights. Hiking with these packs is definitely more exhausting than cycling through the mountains.
After finishing, Rinita came to pick us up and we headed to her place in Port Renfrew. Rinita has been so nice to us to go out of her way to help us, and seeing her and a real shelter was a very welcoming sight. We spent the rest of the evening with her, playing Oh Shit (card game) and relaxing. It was nice to go to sleep in a bed.
We opted to head into the forest the first chance we got after Tsusiat point. We walked for approximately 7km that morning, on the beach, through the forest (and some reserves), until we got to Nitnat river. We needed to take a ferry crossing. The guy who drove the boat was the one who sold us fresh salmon or crab. Michael ordered crab, while Travis and I ordered Salmon. It was SOO good! (albeit quite expensive). We asked, and he said the burger place probably closed around 6pm and we should be able to make it by then. So we decided to bust it and get a burger for dinner! We were making decent time, but not good enough to make it for 6. So we decided to take a quick break to decide what we should do. We could camp out at the 42km mark and have burgers in the morning, or we could bust it to the 46km mark (our original plan) and hope they're still serving food. We decided to stay at the 42km site until Sean caught up to us. He pointed out that if we wanted to make Owen's point (which we did) on Sat, we would need to camp out at Camper's to ensure we could make it before the tides came in. Therefore, we should camp out at the 46km tonight to cover enough ground to make it to Camper's tomorrow. We thought that sounded smarter than basing our decisions on burgers (which we could easily get off the trail as well) so we hiked the rest of the way with Sean. When we got to the 42km campground, we noticed that the two Germans were there already. Sean said he was hiking with them earlier, and they took the beach route while he took the forest. Therefore, we decided to stay along the forest if it was going to be quicker. It was really quick. The beach today had firmer sand, and smoother rock shelves. Therefore, we covered quite a bit of ground! We stayed on the beach until the path led into the forest via the lighthouse. It was a bit of a steep climb up to the lighthouse (where there was a really nice view!), then mostly downhill through the forest back to the beach. Michael and Travis took a bit of a side route that resulted in them getting wet trying to get back off the rocks (and then they had to detour back through to forest again just to make it back to the beach without being soaked head to toe by the ocean). There were three WOOFers working on the reserve (at Chez Monique's), who were still around, chilling out. They cooked us up a burger for dinner, and it was delicious! We then went to set up camp and build a fire. We finished off the smores and vodka and camped out under the stars. I went inside the tent part way through the night because my sleeping bag was getting a bit wet. The other two stayed camped out and apparently by morning, all their things dried (according to Michael, Travis was fast asleep all night and didn't notice anything wet at all).
We camped out at Tsusiat Falls. There was a massive ladder system going down to the beach. In order to get to the camp, we had to cross a stream (created by the runoff from the falls). There was some wicked camping on our side of the stream already, so although we wanted to scope out the other side, we left our packs behind. The water was REALLY cold, so at first (partly for comfort and partly for a challeng) we started making a bridge. There was a lot of driftwood, but the stream was moving too fast, and it proved quite difficult to do. How many ppl does it take to build a make-shift bridge? Apparently more than 2 engineers and 1 carpenter. We gave up not long after starting and rolled up our pants and crossed the FREEZING water. Michael found some random skull. We tried guessing, but don't have a clue what animal it could have come from!
Although the other side did have the washrooms and bear lockers, Our original side had a cave we could camp in, and some wicked large rock formations that blocked some of the wind for our campfire. We set up our tent in a cave, and then started making the fire. We cooked over the fire instead of using the stove. After dinner, we had smores and more skittle vodka and tried to make the fire bigger than yesterday's. Unfortunately with the wind, although the fire was very large, it was too smoky to sit by comfortably. Therefore, after Michael and Travis hung our food, we put the fire out early and had an early night's rest to hopefully get an early start to cover some ground tomorrow!
The bus was long and windy. All of us slept for most of the ride up to Bamfield. Roughly six hours later, we were at the Start of the West Coast Trail. We signed up and $168 later, we were allowed to do the trail! We had to wait until the info session at 1pm, explaining things about the trail before we were allowed to begin. They went over a general overview of the trail, talked about safety (ie bear/cougar/wolf info, info on tricky parts of the trail, etc). Then we headed off. Sean was a bit ahead of us, and at the 3km mark we caught up to him and the four of us continued to our campsite. It was a gorgeous day for hiking. The sky was blue, the sun was out, and the scenery was spectacular! The forest was so dense and interesting at times, and there were some amazing beach views! We also saw some sea lions, and climbed down for a closer look (not too close obviously!). Just before the campground, we stopped off at the first lighthouse on the west coast. The lighthouse operator came out to talk to us for a bit. She thought I was someone she knew in school, and then told us about her job, and showed us the glass balls that washed ashore from Japan. It was really cool.
We decided to camp out at the 14km mark. It was a nice campground on the beach. It was just the three of us and Sean who camped out there (everyone else decided to camp out at 12km). We set up camp, started making dinner, then started making a MASSIVE bonfire. It started out tame enough. We passed around the skittle vodka for a bit and had nice deep conversations about life (etc). Then we decided to make the bonfire MASSIVE (and by we, I mostly mean Michaeland Travis). There was so much driftwood to use that it wasn't hard to make the flame as tall as Travis. Then we packed up and put our food/toiletries in the bear lockers and went to bed.
Fun facts, stats and lessons learned
Distance travelled today: 82.08 km
Total distance travelled: 332.08 km
Our Route: Took Highway 1 all the way to Helmcken Road in View Royale, which turned into Wilkinson Road, and then went North on Highway 17 and turned off on Haliburton road, where Derek resides. All roads have decent shoulders, except when passing through Duncan, and on Helmcken/Wilkinson where the bike path seemed to start and end at every block.
Ending point: Derek O'Farrell's place, in Saanich.
- Malahat summit is 352 m.
- We biked to the grocery store after taking all our gear off. The bike felt as unstable as the first time we put on the gear.
It was a beautiful morning and a really hot mid day! The sun was beating down on us (as it was yesterday in Nanaimo) and although we were wearing a lot of spf45 sunscreen, both Michael and I are nice and red. On the other side of the Malahat, it started raining (and we thought, this is more like what we expected, and dreaded from Vancouver Island). We put on some of our rain gear, which kept us very comfortable (we didn't feel it was hard enough rain to pull out all our waterproof pants etc). But the rain was weird. It just suddenly started, and then suddenly stopped. And once we passed the area it stopped, the roads were instantly dry. It was like it only rained in that one spot that we unfortunately had to pass through.
Because of our technical difficulties with the stove last night, we didn't want to take the chance and start it up on the road again, so for most of the day our snack consisted of carrots (which we polished off), and raisins (since we bought SO many!). Turns out, after getting into Victoria, Michael and Travis had another look at it and it was working fine, so who knows what the deal was!
It was a nice ride, and we ended up doing 82.08km today, with a whapping total of 332.08km from Tofino to Travis' brother Derek's in Victoria! We got here by mid afternoon, as we hoped, and had an amazing ride and are looking forward to starting our trip with Travis! Both Michael and I have slightly sore knees and tight thighs (and I definitely have) sore shoulders (when cycling you are supposed to relax your shoulders, but with all the gear, if we relax too much, we swerve into traffic!). Oddly enough, my right hand is still tingling. I have bad circulation in my hands and feet and sometimes when I ride my toes fall asleep (which happened only a few times on this ride, but for the most part was alright!), and my hands (usually my thumbs, esp my right thumb for whatever reason) feels like it's falling asleep. For whatever reason, it happened again yesterday (around the time the rain hit), and it still feels off. Hopefully it's better tomorrow or in the next few days!!!
For dinner, the three of us decided to head down to the grocery store to get some steak and then over to get some local beer. Without all our gear loaded up on the bikes, Michael and I found our bikes were actually wobbly! It was almost the complete opposite sensation of when we put our gear on the bikes for the first time (which felt like going on our bike for the first time! didn't think i could do it at first!)! We quickly got used to it again, but it felt so light! It was weird. But after dinner, a bunch of Derek's team came over (he's on the national rowing team, which is wicked!). It was funny to hear national rowers (some of whom have gone to world cups, olympics and even the podium) say how impressive our trip is! We think what they do is unbelievable and with all the training etc they do, we didn't expect them to be impressed with our journey! We had a great night and want to thank Derek and his roommates for having us over!
As we completely underestimated the time it took to get to Port Alberni, we overestimated the time it would take to get to Nanaimo.
We were excited.
We spent a full four hours in town, and left after the wonderful break. We were hoping to make it to Duncan, but we finally decided it would be best to stop in Chemainus instead of trying to find a place in the dark.
Fun facts, stats and lessons learned
Distance travelled today: 104.20 km
Total distance travelled: 250.00 km
Our Route: Took Highway 4 to Highway 4a in Coombs, which led to Highway 19 (Inland Island Highway). Just before Nanaimo, the Highway split and we took Highway 19a (Island Highway) into the town. As we were cycling along, we found a bike path that ran parallel with the highway, so we switched over and it took us straight downtown. Leaving Nanaimo, we went back onto Terminal Road, which led to Highway 1. The shoulders have been decent, and the roads are in very good condition with the exception that there are frequent encounters with patches of rocks/pebbles.
Ending point: Chemainus River Campground, in Chemainus.
- MacMillan Park contains some of the only remaining old growth coastal Douglas-fir in Canada.
- During high winds, people should evacuate the hiking trails immediately.
- There is no "must go" shop to get Nanaimo bars.
- Many BC campgrounds, if you show up after the office closes, will let you stay on an empty site for the night and you pay in the morning.
- When following someone, there's a tradeoff between drafting and being able to see potholes or debris ahead. I found it most effective to draft on the flats, but leave space on the downhills.
- Having that extra small front chainring helps a lot on the uphills. I am much faster than Nicole since she only has two up front.
- There is no sales tax on bikes sold in BC.
- Nicole and I could demolish 1 kg of trail mix as if it were an in-between-meal snack.