Sunday, May 25, 2008

West Coast Wonders: The Summary

The route: Vancouver to Tofino, backtrack to Parksville by bus, Denman Island, Hornby Island, along Vancouver Island past Courtenay/Comox and across the ferry to Powell River and return to Vancouver via the Sunshine coast

Distance: 560.8 km over 10 days (a vacation, not a mileage fest!)

Flat tires: zero
Mechanical issues: zero
Most useful bulky item carried: stainless steel French press coffee maker
Dead weight not used: 1 lb of gatorade powder (bring on real food calories!)
Most missed forgotten item: Non-bike shoes
Bear sightings: zero
Cougar sightings: zero
Theft: one loaf of organic sourdough bread
Thief: discriminating raccoon
Weather: Chilly and drizzly to sunshiney scorching hot
Hills: Plenty! Steepest posted grade: 18%
Ferry rides: 8 (I think?)

A few of the many things I learned:
  • What locals call "a hump" is 411 metres tall and a bitch to climb over
  • Ferry terminals always mean screaming descents and tough climbs out
  • However do not get too excited if the screaming descent starts 10 km back of the ferry terminal, because you will have to go up up up again first
  • The sunshine coast is not as I imagined gently rolling
  • Small islands are also not flat
  • The granny gear and I must make friends
  • The rainforest looks so green and lush and beautiful because it rains there
  • Mountains make for tough biking but really soothe the soul
  • Charming touring partners who can kick mountains, carry extra weight, set up camp in the blink of an eye, and cook a camp meal as good as being at home totally rock!

Detailed trip reports coming soon!
day 0: Fly to Vancouver and bike assembly
day 1: 64.0 km ~ Vancouver to Rathtrevor Provincial Park (Parksville)
day 2: 65.1 km ~ Rathtrevor Provincial Park to Sproat Lake Provincial Park (west of Port Alberni)
day 3: 10.7 km ~ Rest day at Sproat Lake
day 4: 95.9 km ~ Sproat Lake to Green Point Campground (Long Beach)
day 5: 24.9 km ~ Green Point to Bella Pacifica Campground (Tofino)
day 6: 53.5 km ~ Tofino to Parksville via bus, Parksville to Denman Island Guest House
day 7: 49.4 km ~ Exploring Denman and Hornby Islands, to Fillongley Provincial Park (Denman Island)
day 8: 52.1 km ~ Fillongley to Garnet Rock RV Park (south of Powell River)
day 9: 75.9 km ~ Garnet Rock to Sargent Bay Provincial Park
day 10: 69.4 km ~ Sargent Bay to Vancouver
More vacation but not loaded down:
day 11: 43.3 km ~ Kayaking at Deep Cove
day 12: 41.3 km ~ Riding along the seawall and random Vancouver exploring
day 13: 30.8 km ~ Random Vancouver exploring
day 14: Farewell to the mountains