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Heading to the start - by air, land, and water

This morning I was exhausted from yesterday’s regatta and last night’s wine and cheese. I had so much fun at both events (winning is fun!), and I would like to thank everyone who came out to the semi-formal Wine and Cheese! Frédérique was kind enough to drive me to the airport, and she has been so generous to me in helping with getting my stuff together. I don’t know how I would’ve been prepared at all without her. We said our last goodbyes at the airport, which for some reason still didn’t seem real to me. I know I will miss her throughout the trip.

Today was all about travelling to our starting destination – by plane, bus, and ferry. I left at 7:15am Montreal time, and finally arrived in Tofino at 10pm local time. The rides were fairly enjoyable, albeit rather long. The bus was nice enough to drop us off close to where we’re staying – the Clayoquot Field Station – but we still had to carry our boxed bikes a good 500 m, which seemed like 2 km. We were trying to get all our gear in order tonight, but that's a tall order. Right now it’s 1:12 am and I’ve just finished assembling my bike. Bedtime soon.

Day 1

I am so excited for this trip! This entire year Michael, Travis and I have been planning and saving for it. Every conversation we had had at least one mention of our elation and anticipation. Now that it has officially become a reality I am even more excited, but for the first time since this cycle was just a casual mention, I'm scared for what may lie ahead. It will be an adventure of a lifetime where we expect to meet amazing people, see and do amazing things, and push ourselves to the limit! However, some days will just suck. There will be days of bad weather, steep inclines, sickness, fatigue, discomfort, etc. Those are the days I'm scared for. But, my fear fades quickly and is soon replaced with the more prominent, longer lasting excitation! (...and don't worry, Michael's girlfriend bought him a book from MEC called "how not to be eaten" and it talks about how to not become prey to cougars and bears. I thought it was a joke at first, but it's not! ....good title I must say...).

Before I start to talk about the trip so far, I want to say some thank yous:

First, I would like to thank Aaron at Gears and Grinds in Kingston. He gave up two of his days off to open the store for me to get my bike ready for this trip. I made the special trip up to Kingston for two consecutive weekends because although I have visited numerous bike shops across Toronto and in Queenstown, NZ, I have never found anyone who could match Aaron's knowledge base, his eagerness to educate, and his superior customer relations. For those of you who will see me cycle during some part of the route (in person or via the pictures we will post on the blog), you will probably see me wearing a 'gears and grinds' jersey, donated by Aaron. For those of you interested in buying a bike, or need anything from a bike store, I highly recommend making the effort to go to Kingston!

Second, I would like to thank Eva and Tom Lagan (my Godmother/mother's cousin and her husband). You two have helped us out A LOT by lending us your camping gear! Not only have you saved us time (one less thing to shop for), but you have saved us a lot of money and stress! Thank you so much for this, and for all the support you have shown us!

Now back to our trip so far:

One thing I noticed passing over Alberta/BC: THERE IS STILL SNOW ON THE ROCKIES!!! That will be interesting.... I arrived in Vancouver from Toronto approximately 30min before Michael (who was flying in from Montreal). Only Michael and I are doing this portion of the trip. We will be meeting Travis in Victoria on the 7th.
After the 5hr plane ride, we took a taxi to the greyhound station, taking a detour to MEC (both Montreal and Toronto were sold out of 56L panniers so we got them to hold one set for Michael....risky, but we still made it on time, if not early for our bus!). After leaving the bus terminal at 1:45, taking the ferry to Nanaimo and then busing to Tofino, we arrived around 10pm. The bus driver was really nice and dropped us about 200m away from our hostel. That was really appreciated seeing as how we got in around 10pm so it might have been hard to grab a taxi, and we had a LOT of gear. I had a backpack on my back, there were two bike boxes, and one garbage bag with my two full panniers and michael's two empty panniers. We would carry one bike box at a time for about 10m, then go back for the other piece we left behind. It was heavy, awkward and dark. And the driveway seemed to last forever! Finally we made it in to "Clayoquot Field Station" And started assembling our bikes until approx 1am local time. Our roommates were two brothers from Toronto who drove over. They were very friendly, and luckily went to bed around the same time we did (so we didn't keep them up too late lugging in our gear from the outside common room). It was a long, tiring day, and it hasn't quite sunk in that we are actually doing this! I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little scared for our cycle because on the bus over it was impossible not to notice the amount of long and steep hills we will have to tackle!