Thursday, 10 June 2010

Ferry to Vancouver Island

10th June: Vancouver, BC to Port Alberni, BC

Odometer: 109.5km, Start: 8.30am, Finish: 6.45pm, Avg: 19.4 km/h,
Weather: Cool and cloudy, rain am, Temp: 11-18°C
Road Conditions: Good tarmac and wide shoulders mostly. Unfortunately, quite a lot of traffic throughout. 

I rode away from the West End of Vancouver and headed for Stanley Park and Lion’s Gate Bridge for my “official start”. It was a bit rainy and cold, so I didn’t hang about, just a quick snap of the bridge and I was on my way!

IMG_2670Lion’s Gate Bridge

I’d planned to ride along Marine Drive in North Vancouver instead of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), because I thought it would be “scenic and quiet”. Unfortunately it was neither and it didn’t have a shoulder either! Probably safer on the TCH.

I made Horseshoe Bay by 9.45am for the 10.30am ferry departure to Nanaimo. I now know that Nanaimo isn’t pronounced Nana-imo as I thought, but Na-nai-mo! Ferry crossing was smooth, but couldn’t see much because of low cloud, although it did clear up approaching land.

IMG_2671 Land Ahoy! Nanaimo.

I rode along the #19A to Parksville before heading west on the #4. I’ll be on this road for the next 3 days! Traffic was moderate on both roads, again more than I was expecting and the scenery took a while coming too. Finally I reached Cameron Lake, the first picturesque bit of the day. After that I rode through nice pine forests surrounded by rounded hills, but still a lot of low, clinging cloud.

IMG_2680 3 days on this road to get back to this point!

I wanted to get to Port Alberni for the evening as this left manageable days to Tofino and back. I was in for a shock though, as I’d entirely forget about the steep mountain pass you have to go up and over to get to Port Alberni. It was quite a few kilometres in length and felt 10% for most of it’s length. I struggled a bit with the climb at the end of the day and had some cramp issues at the top of my legs after the summit.

IMG_2682 Cameron Lake

It was quite late when I rolled into Port Alberni. I bought some food to cook, but my cramped legs were stiffening up and it was cooling down. I’m still not adjusted to Canada time yet either, so I was pretty mentally-tired despite the ride not being that physically demanding. I decided to find a motel and get the legs sorted out. I felt better after a bath and self-massage and cooked my pasta and tuna one pot meal outside in front of the door. My first one pot meal! It was nice too!

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