Day 1 And They're Off!: (We love you, Arthur) - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 1, 2011

Day 1 And They're Off!: (We love you, Arthur)

After all the (anticipated) trouble the weather seemed to give us in the leadup to our actual departure (like snowing all over our bike routes!) it gave us a break today. It was perfect Spring weather. More, the first part of our cycle through Vancouver Island displayed all the reasons so many people move here: Flowers, ocean, farm fields, forest.

Beautiful Saanich Peninsula
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We realized that in the end we did not train much with 100% full loads on the bikes. With 90 pounds of load for Steve and 60 for Dodie, they are quite unwieldy. Dodie found this out at a stop sign. When she hopped forward from her seat to place both feet on the ground, the bike unbalanced, and over she went, in the middle of the road. No harm done, except for maybe one bruise, as she had the presence of mind to roll with the fall.

This was a big day for the Mill Bay ferry, since the boat is being retired. The press was out, as were boat fans, coming to wish the 1956 vessel goodbye. One reporter we knew took a bunch of shots of us too, so maybe we will get woven into his boat story.

Goodbye venerable 1956 Mill Bay boat
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The absolutely best part of our departure was our friend Arthur. He was waiting at the ferry dock in Brentwood to take our picture, and then he motored over to the ferry in Sidney to give us a boost on our departure for Anacortes. This boost included coffee and hot chocolate and pastries. We love you Arthur! Moreover, while Arthur had promised freeze dried water and hot showers, he did produce two emergency packs. In these were Cadbury's 'power' Easter Eggs, moist towlettes, Rolaids for the Easter Eggs, a bandaid and first aid packet. It turned out, as recorded below, that the emergency eggs were very much needed, way faster than we could have guessed.

The Mill Bay ferry sets off
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We love you, Arthur
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The Anacortes Ferry run was more of why people move to this area. It cruises through the San Juan Islands, which are beautiful as they slide by. Everyone, it seems, in the ferry lineup and in the parking area wanted to talk to us. They were, as Sue Gray says, the usual questions, or UQs. Still, at this stage anyway we are glad to tell our story to everyone.

The actual ferry boat is super. It has comfy leatherette bench seats that you can stretch out on full length, much unlike the seemingly deliberate torture units on BC Ferries. With the warm sun, friendly people, super comfy seating, and 'picture windows', our challenging cycle trip was more like a rest cure.

Friday Harbour
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So it was, filled with warm leatherette thoughts, that we exited the Anacortes Ferry. On board we had picked up a tourist brochure with a map of Fidalgo Island, where Anacortes is situated. Aside from the main highway, on the map innocent suburban looking streets curved over to the 'Marine Drive', which seemed to ease its way across to our planned camping spot at Bowman Bay, on the Island's south tip. 'Let's avoid the highway and go by these interesting roads and marine drive'. Hah, what a cruel hoax. No wonder the water at the south end is called Deception Pass. It turned out that the darn Island is mountainous, and the 'Marine Drive' goes up and down, skirting headlands. Instead of a beach cruise to a water view campsite, we got a brutal hill climbing struggle. A few wrong turns didn't help, and the GPS had to come out to make sure we climbed only the number of hills we really had to. It also told us we were really close, like 5KM to our destination. But 5 KM on steep hills can be awfully far. This is where Arthur's magic eggs came in. Without them, the State Patrol might still be looking for us in the ditches!

We can afford to defy this law, but of course we want the land to be clean. Dodie usually picks up litter across America.
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Mount Baker. The view is closer than we are used to from home.
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Finally, we reached the Bowman Bay state campground. It was down another long and steep hill. The sign said 'Closed for Winter'. Winter? The administrators need to read my elegy on Spring in this area! Anyway, here we are in our waterside site. One advantage, no other campers around (they must have foolishly taken the barricade and parked patrol car seriously). It's almost dark, so we don't expect any eviction notices. Even if someone came to harass us, we would merely invite them to arrest us and carry us away. We sure aren't cycling any more today!

Semi-stealth camp by Bowman Bay
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One day we'll have this down to a science but not today
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Laurie, this one is thrown in just for you. A bit ironic too, given the news about Osama bin Laden
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Today's ride: 95 km (59 miles)
Total: 95 km (59 miles)

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