Old route changes
The route was changed from Prince George to Vancouver into Prince Rupert to Vancouver Island by ferry.
To be able to be in time in Prince Rupert from Kitwanga I did cycle the about 240 km in two days
Kitwanga is a little town at the end of the Cassiar Highway and the start, for me, of the Yellowhead Hwy.
There are not many good day distances with campgrounds, so at first I thought of going towards Terrace (95 km) have diner and cycle a little bit further.
The next day would be a reasonable distance towards Prince Rupert, another 150 km from Terrace.
On my way to Terrace I met two other guys who cycled the distance from Prince Rupert to Terrace. They said it could be done, about 300 meters height difference and 3 hills.
The three hills, they were right. The climbing was at least double and they had the wind in the back, I had a big headwind. So the last 60 km were hard.
I reached Prince Rupert at about 7 pm, had diner in one of the cafes.
Directly after my diner I went to the campsite, which was next to the ferry docking.
I pitched the tent, took a shower and went to sleep.
The next day the alarm clock did wake me up at 04:30.
I didn’t have a reservation, so I did want to be early to buy a ticket.
At the terminal, there was no problem buying a ticket for my bicycle and me!
The boat journey
The boat journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy started in a thick fog. But that faded away by the sun.
I had wonderful views of the, sometimes narrow, waterways. Left and right were low mountains covered with thick bush.
Even with a lot of packed snow on the bottom of their stems. Even in August!
From the bridge of the ship the crew regularly did let us know where there was wildlife, like dolphins (I didn’t see) and whales I did see once in the distance.
Next to the wonderful scenery there were buffets, breakfast and diner very good.
They were the All You Can Eat concept with fresh fish, meat and fruits. All you would whish as a cyclist to eat!
All in all the boat journey was a memorable experience!
The arrival in Port hardy was one I won’t forget easy.
It was pitch dark at the arrival. It was not in Port Hardy itself, but on a peninsula across the bay.
On the ferry I met two other cyclists from Canada who had decided to go the same campsite.
This campsite was 6 km (Canada works with km and not miles!) in the dark over a unknown road away. In the meantime we did know where the campsite was.
My headlight worked the best so I lead the way this headlight is connected to my dynamo hub.
It was a very narrow road without much traffic. This was because the cars were first to leave the ferry.
At 12:00 pm we arrived at the campsite. Luckily the manager was still up and we could register!
Vancouver Island is a long elongated island where I cycled south to Nanaimo.
This was the departure of my ferry to Tsawwassen.
This way I could evade the very busy city of Vancouver.
From Tsawwassen I could cycle the 100 km to Bellingham.
On Vancouver Island I did take the main route south.
· Port Hardy: 2 days campsite
· Woss: a Motel
· Roberts Lake: stealth camping by the lake
· Royston: in Richards garden on invitation
· Nanaimo: campsite
The roads were beautiful and hilly with high trees
I did see a black bear on the campsite in Port Hardy. Also several dears along the route I did cycle.
Port Hardy is a very pleasant harbor city. I did spend one day there.
On my way back to the campsite I did see a lot of salmon the bay.
They couldn’t get in the river and were jumping out of the water frequently!
The last three days on Vancouver Island were warm and sunny.
The route just before Nanaimo was terrible.
All traffic going south or north is using this road, a lot of heavy traffic and so noisy, also hilly, all these circumstances combined made it very unpleasant to cycle there!
Of course I did meet special people along the way.
At my lunch stop at the junction to Sayward, I met Richard and his brother.
Richard was a recumbent rider who was now by car, walking the dogs near a lake nearby.
He was very interested in my trip and bicycle. When I left he invited me for a night camping in his backyard.
Also he had a good tip of where to stealth camping on a beautiful place at the Robberts Lake.
So I did camp there and it was gorgeous!
There was a small café at the lake I had breakfast next morning.
During my breakfast a woman cyclist came in and we spend some time talking.
At the end of our conversation she invited me for lunch that day in Campbell river 40 km down (literally) down the road!
What a wonderful thing happening me again, a lunch meeting 40 km down the road and a campsite 45 km further down the road!
Both meetings where very special!
Sandra made a fresh nice tasting carrot soup with scones. Together we evaluated the route I had to take towards Nanaimo.
I did create a track for the GPS, so I didn’t have to look at the map all the time.
Richard had several recumbents also a tandem recumbent. He sometimes cycled wurg his wife on that tandem.
Also he was a former carpenter, working with wood a lot.
We spoke about that a lot and he showed me his barn, which was very big, to Dutch standards.
I did meet several other long distance cyclists.
Paulette and Aengus. Aengus was originally from England en Paulette was from Canada. They were married and made a 2 weeks tour and had to work after that time. A very nice couple!
On my way to Campbell River I met two other guys from Switzerland. One was 3 years on the road (by bicycle) and the other was 1 year on the road.
They had met in Vancouver and decided to cycle together for a while. Their plan was to take the ferry to Bella Bella and cycle to the highway from there.
The cyclist, who was 3 years on the road, just lost his complete bicycle and gear! Nothing has happened in Asia, Russia or elsewhere.
But in Vancouver his bike lock was cut and the bicycle was taken away in a van. Soo sad!
He had bought another bicycle and gear. His friends just reported to him that they might have spotted his bicycle on the Internet.
On another place along the way, there was an Australian guy who was cleaning out his bicycle bags. A bottle of peanut butter was leaking and covering everything in his bag. What a mess!
At the border crossing to the United States I met Peter, a German guy, who went south too. He was on the road for 1 year and planned to stay on the road with his bicycle another 3 years.
He also had a Rohloff hub.
On the ferry to Port Hardy I discovered the ball bearing was very loose. Too loose for cycling on from there!
Fortunately I could have it repaired in Port Hardy.
Next to that I had a lot of loose spokes in the front wheel. I turned them all tighter an even amount. In Bellingham Richard West tuned both wheels.
The front wheel was the worst but is now fine again.
Tuning a wheel is a craft.
Richard is retired and a craftsman in this field.
He is a vivid cyclist with 10 bicycles amongst one superlight tandem made out of Magnesium. So beautiful!
Next moth he will compete in Utah in the “USA cycling Masters Road National Championships”!
I think Alex and Richard are making a good chance of becoming champions in this race!
Also some welding was done on the steering bar. It had some cracks and Greg a bicycle frame builder (wonderful bicycles!) did weld it.
The bicycle feels very rigid and good!
As usual I did had a problem at the border.
It was very busy and for some time I was in the wrong line.
The other line I was pointed afterwards, was shorter and soon it was my turn and I did see the officer.
I had to tell my plans.
Than the officer asked a proof to my return ticket to the Netherlands.
I did have proof, put not a printed one!
The border crossing didn’t have any WIFI so I did have to find another solution!
I turned on the phone and bought a bundle of Internet time at T-mobile, my provider in the Netherlands.
Then I could download the E-mail with the purchase of my ticket home from Panama City in January 7th.
He did agree it was sufficient proof and allowed me into the USA.
A big relieve I could say!
I lost a lot of time due to the ferry and the time at the border. That was the reason I was arriving late, just before dark in the house of Alex and Megan.
They had instructed me the way to get into the house so I entered the house, had a shower and went to sleep!
I loved coming “home”!
Some days later Alex and Megan came home and I am now writing this in their house.
Yesterday we went to the movie “Boyhood”. A very special movie that was reordered in 12 years with the same characters!
Also I did cycle in Bellingham on a Surley Extracycle (Big Dummy). A very remarkable bicycle that was cycling very light to my surprise!
Alex and Megan are living halfway up on a very steep hill. But they both cycle a lot.
A lot of people here in Bellingham are cycling. The city is improving cycling a lot, despite it not being flat at all!
A very atmospheric city with several nice neighborhoods!
There is a change again.
To have more time for cycling southbound, I decided to take the train from Bellingham to Portland.
From here I cycle south the coast.
Portland is situated behind a low mountain range parallel to the coast.
Because it is very warm in the valley in the summer, up to 86-95 F!
It makes the air from the Pacific Ocean go up this mountain range and create fog and lower temperatures.
The warmth I am not that attracted to yet, but the cool temperature at the coast I do like!
The route is mainly following the coast!
The adjustment I planned, was not possible!
The bicycle box I had to pack my bicycle in was too heavy.
The other box was even heavier. So, another solution had to be found.
The solution of having the Greyhound taking the boxes proofed to be not possible either. The company wasn’t able to deliver the boxes that same day.
In the end Namara (Alex his son) and Mieszko did bring me to Seaside where I stopped last time (most south of the route than)
Mieszko is a French hiker who just completed his Pacific trail in 4 months and stayed at Alex!
Thank you very much guys for the pleasant ride!
More next time from Seaside south!