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Nick & Tim’s Travel Diary

Monday, 09 Jun 2003

Location: Hope, Canada

Map610 Km

Well, well folks - its been a few kilometres since we last updated and we are still having troubles getting photos to you. While the battery chatges on one of our cameras here is a full version of the story so far.

The ride started out with a tearful goodbye to Pip and the house in Vancouver. Not so teary for the Pipster as we were going to see her a few days later, but still it was an event not to be forgotten. Straight into downtown with our fully laden bikes to get the bus to Twassen for the ferry ride over to Schwartz Bay on Vancouver Island. Again (and thankfully) uneventful. We set off from the ferry terminal there to the start of the ride in Victoria a city at the south end of the island. We arrived at 'Mile 0' with around 50km on the clock already. Mile 0 is where the Trans Canada starts in Victoria. Some crazy Japanese tourists took our photo after their interpreter told them what we're doing. Next it was the quickest tour of Victoria ever and on our way to the first camp site at Thetis lake another 20km away. The ride did start with a minor disaster as Tim's helmet fell off the back of the bike and broke. Super glue has since fixed it (along with a few other things- the super glue is a must!)

Next day was our first full day of Trans Canada riding. The weather was glorious, as it has been so far, although a little hot climbing to a town called Malahat on a busy freeway. For the most part though we spent the day moving up the island on old disused railway. Making the riding quick. Someone had kindly covered a lot of the trail with gravel, much to Nick's annoyance. At lunch we met 'Old Air Force Dude', who was walking his dog in the middle of nowhere. He said we were the most interesting (probably read crazy) people he had ever met on his walks. Thanks 'Old Air Force Dude'. In the afternoon we came across our first Tressel - the Kinsol Tressel. These large wooden structures are incredible. This one was huge, and unfortunately not in use. So we had to detour down the valley and up into a logging area to get through the valley. We did get a little lost, and had the bear incident mentioned in our last update, but aside from that was fun - and proved you can mountain bike with 15kg of load on the bike (later disproved unfortunately). We met the railway again and put in some more k's, scared to death only once by a huge black dog that jumped out onto the trail from nowhere - impersonating a bear. That night we camped wild - near a beautiful river and amongst some dense forest. Very nice after a 90km day.

Day three involved some really nice riding to the west, out to a town called Lake Cowichan. Very nice little place, nice lake - and the furthest west we will go. About 5km out of town the tire explosion incident occured. Tim thought he was being shot at. Nick lost his hearing for a while. He also lost a tire and had to go back into town for a new one (thats tire - not inner tube, it was quite the blowout). Finaly back on track we traveled back to the coast and had burger king (thanks to BK man who filled our bottles with ice water). We then slogged it up the coast to Ladysmith, we met the 'Friendly Mullet' mentionned before along the way. In Ladysmith we could find nowhere to camp. We'd already cycled 80km and weren't in the mood for more, but, alas we had to cycle another 15km to find a campground. We were rewarded however, the Rondalyn Retreat as it was called had a pool and hottub!! We used the facilities to their fullest.

Day four - and the heat was realy a swelterin! We set off to discover a newly built suspension bridge on the trail. Nice views were to be had, and the bridge itself was pretty cool. The trail then took us North to 'The Abyss', a large crack in the ground caused by the fault line in the area. Apparently its 90m deep. After extensive testing we found it to be not quite so deep, but still pretty cool! Another reason it might have been called the abyss was because the trail was so dam hard to ride. Tim lost it for the first time after having to get off and push too many times. The trail was 50km long to get us a straight distance of 13km. A story being repeated it would seem, with our current straight distance to Vancouver being 150km and our actual distance being 300km. Anyway, we got to Nanaimo in the end, the last stop for us on Vancouver island and the first 'section' of the trail complete. Nanaimo was a nice little place, made nicer by the two 'Javawocky Chicks' who after stuffing up our order (we were very hungry) gave us a free coke and a piece of cake. They nearly get top friendlyness prize so far - but wait till you here about 'Water Truck Man'. Nanaimo was also brightenned up by roller girl. She liked to rollerscate along the seawall wearing very little. She was turning a few heads, not something they're used to in Nanaimo we think. That night we slept on Newcastle island, just off Nanaimo. A very nice little island. Apparently notorious for its scavenging racoons. We saw none. But we saw many deer.

In the morning we caught the ferry over to Horseshoe Bay outside of Vancouver. We met 'Sprightly Post Middle Aged Woman' on the ride who had some stories to tell. Not ones she wants mentioned here we think. The ride into Vancouver through Norh Van was nice, through shady rich people's streets. They were all at work and we were enjoying the sun. Eventually we wound our way into the Couver through Stanley Park. Weird - rolling into the place we'd lived in for so long. We met up with Pip for lunch and this time said goodbye properly. But quickly as we had to get out of Vancouver again to camp. We dropped in on Nick's old work and picked up new sunnies for Tim. We also went another outdoors store and were GIVEN a ground sheet for the tent. Thanks 'outdoor store man'. A quick ride past the Hillbilly House we headed out to Burnaby mountain. We climbed that baby in baking heat. It is very big and steep - but gave us a fantastic view of the Couver and Vancouver island, allowing us to look back ion the ride so far. Also our last glimpse of the Pacific ocean for a while. The ride down Burnaby had Nick's disc brakes cooking. Lots of fun though. We then rolled out of Vancouver along the trail to Port Coquitlam meeting 'Portugese Man' in a shop on the way. We wild camped in a river park there.

We got up early that morning (to avoid morning joggers running into our tent) and set out on the longest and most spectactular day yet. We rode out through Port Coquitlam along the trail to Fort Langley (um we think). The scenery was spectacular along a flat path that looped through distant mountains that for some reason reminded us of Thailand. For most of the morning we could see Mount Baker in the distance, a huge snow covered mountain in the US. We eventually passed right next to it. We got a brief ferry ride over to quaint Fort Langley and then rode up the first baking hill of the day. It was a hot climb. At the top of the hill a big water truck went past us. Just as we were wondering 'Why do they spray the roads with water?' the truck turned around and started up the fountain. The laughing 'Water Truck Man' drove past and cranked it up - letting us ride through. A welcome shower of relief. Thank you 'Water Truck Man'. We then descended down to the Chilliwack river with distant mountains around us. We rode along through a "Bear in Area" section whihc worried us some and then headed up the river climbing up a mountain into Cultus Lake. Lovely Lake. Pity about all the masses and masses of RV style holiday munters running around ruining the perfect Canadian wilderness setting. So our rest day was cancelled here and we decided to head on to Hope. A two day trek through the wilds.

The ride to Hope involved a mountain crossing. The first day we rode up and up and up along a dirt road. Spectacular scenery made the whole thing worth while. End of the first day we got to Chilliwack Lake - spectacular, and not crowded like Cultus. We wild camped that night by the river and had an amazing sleep with the white noise of the river making it easy, easy not to hear the bears trying to get at our hanging food!

The next day was a slog and a half. A beautiful one though. We didn't see anyone all morning. In fact the only things we met were a deer that walked in front of us and a low growl that Nick heard near him! We started singing from then on to make our presence known well in advance. Okay - we're a bit paranoid of bears. The hill was massive and the surface was terrible. It got worse. Nick's helmet dropped off the back of his bike and he had to run 2km back down the hill to get it. Very annoying. Tim valiantly offered to stay put and mind the bikes! After this the trail just got worse until we were pushing fully laiden bikes up a snow covered trail. Eventually we got to the top, only to have the well earned downhill ruined by water trenches across the road at painfully small intervals. Oh well. Eventually we got a nice 25km downhill - very cruisy. Into Hope we came. We climbed to 1400m and are now back near sea level.

Today we are in Hope. Resting our weary legs. We have a pool at our campsite and are happy about this. Tomorrow we climb the Coquihalla summit - more climbing to 1400m. Can't Wait!! Only two more crossings after that. Who could have imagined we could have come so far and seen so much in just a week! Till next time!