Day 1 - Vancouver to Nanaimo: Into the Great Wide Open - You Gotta Start Somewhere - CycleBlaze

July 30, 2015

Day 1 - Vancouver to Nanaimo: Into the Great Wide Open

Well, not really. Most of this day was known, but it felt like the beginning of a great adventure!

Riding up the hill into Vancouver is something we do almost daily, but I noticed right away, the extra weight. It wasn't bad, just felt like my tires were low. Vancouver has some great cycling lanes through the city and before we knew it, we were on the other side and headed over the Lion's Gate bridge. We stopped for a selfie and a really nice guy stopped to take a pic for us, which was kind of surprising as people are trying to get over the bridge and don't usually stop. Thanks, buddy!

On the Lion's Gate Bridge. I thought it would be a lot harder getting here, but it was surprisingly not too bad - good thing we weren't coming from the other side - STEEP approach!
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Once over the bridge, we headed east on Marine Drive. Past the city of West Van, the road narrows with very little shoulder and quite a few curves. However, the drivers here seem to be very used to bikes and gave us good space. Morning riders asked where we were off to and wished us a good journey - a nice way to start the day.

A short way out of West Van, the road begins to not only wind, but offer a few hills. Not too many, just some nice ups and downs. I was lulled into thinking this was going to be easy going, until the first real incline came our way. Yikes! Where is that granny gear when you need it???? I struggled up and around the hills, with little choice about stopping, as there is a rock face on the right. Nowhere to pull off and traffic coming up behind gave me the extra motivation to crank it up the hills, but I have to admit, there was a little (lot!) of whining going on - more so with each coming hill. Jim, on the other hand, just rode up with no problem - what's with that??

We were trying to catch the 10:40 ferry to Nanaimo, but given how slow our progress was up the hills, we were sure we had missed the ferry and would have to wait until 12:30 for the next one. I willed myself up the final few hills by promising myself a very big breakfast while we waited. We crested the final hill and coasted down into the town of Horseshoe Bay. I waited with the bikes while Jim went to buy our tickets. Imagine his surprise when the woman told him we would be on the 10:40! Wow! Left the house at 7:30 and got to the terminal at 10:05. All things considered, we were pretty happy with ourselves!

Loading on BC Ferries on a bike is one of the few things I love about them (don't get me started on the cost!!). We load first, and once we walk the bikes down the ramp, we are allowed to ride all the way to the back - wheeee!!

We parked the bikes and made our way up to the cafeteria, where breakfast was still being served - yay!

nothing like conquering some mighty hills to make you hungry!
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The ferry ride to Nanaimo is 1 1/2 hours, which gave us time to eat and then relax, knowing that the hardest part of the day was done. Once we arrived in Nanaimo (first off the ferry - yay again!), it was a short couple of km to the city centre where we had a room booked at the Coast Bastion. Nanaimo has a nice seawall, and we rode this for most of the way into town.

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Downtown Nanaimo in the background. One short hill to go and a nice, air conditioned room and shower awaits!
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Once we checked in and had a shower and a short rest, it was time to meet up with my daughter, Emily. Then it was on to the main reason for our stop in Nanaimo this time - our grandson, Taylor's 5th birthday - Happy Birthday, Tay!

The big 5 year old - nice hat!
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Hey, that's a great football someone got you! And no, it's not for Winnipeg - that would be the Washington Huskies - Go Dawgs!
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Party ended, we headed back to our room - did I mention it had air conditioning - ah, bliss! Had a quick visit with Jim's son, Tim and his son Brady (Happy Birthday to you, too!) then headed out for a late dinner and off to bed. We decided to not set the alarm for the next day. After all, we were on vacation, right? Hmm.... this might not have been the best idea we had that day.

Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 80 km (50 miles)

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