Day 2 Mountains, medicine, and motel: Just push the bikes to Montreal? - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2011

Day 2 Mountains, medicine, and motel: Just push the bikes to Montreal?

We woke up around 5 a.m., having slept enough. However the dawn had not yet come. We struggled with the camper's perennial problem of whether it is worth it to find shoes and flashlight to go pee in the cold, and ended up staying put. Finally the light did come, and fortunately there was no rain. This allowed us to fiddle with the unfamiliar packing for a long time. No need to cook breakfast, however, since we had no water and little food.

We pulled out at 7:00 a.m., and got to grind and/or walk our way up the steep hill to Highway 20. This road roared with traffic all night, and through the day about one car passed per second. It was a neverending din that ends up being very tiring.

First on the agenda was the Deception Bridge. This thing has a two foot wide sidewalk that was just inches wider than the bikes. On one side there was whizzing traffic, just inches away, and on the other a railing beyond which was the 200 foot drop to the water. On the map the water crossing looks really innocent. Another Deception!

Scary Deception Bridge
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Captain Vancouver was deceived in this area long before us.
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Where are those darn rain gloves?
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Beyond the Deception Bridge the hills moderated a bit.

More like what we thought we would find here.
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However our progress was much slowed by Dodie having developed an acute case of what we will call some kind of saddle sores. This slowed her way down and in fact forced her to use her famous stubbornness just to carry on.

We reached a McDonalds in Oak Harbor and Dodie ordered double oatmeals. I found a table of seniors and said 'You guys look old and decrepit enough to know where a medical clinic is'. Despite this typically undiplomatic introduction, they were very helpful in identifying the only clinic in town. It was new, and the GPS had no idea about it.

Oh, America! At the clinic, the first question was 'how will you be paying?' And when they first called Dodie's name in the waiting area it was not to treat her problem but to collect $90 in advance. In the end they vacuumed $180 from our wallets, but that includes antibiotics that were actually quite cheap compared to Canada. Dodie took the antibiotics, but of course the action takes time.

A 200 dollar prescription. Welcome to America.
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A Safeway near the drugstore produced a sandwich we could split later. In the aisles I noticed a man with an elaborate jacket declaring himself to be a WWII veteran and declaring God Bless America. We are well aware of America's militaristic culture, and we see how they often use force to support an essentially imperialistic foreign policy. However, some wars are 'just' and this man deserved respect. I learned that he had been much decorated and though a US soldier had served under Montgomery. The photo of his salute, now in a Safeway aisle, is a bit sad but I was glad to speak to him. Still on the Just War theme, headlines at a gas station told us the Bin Laden news. Whatever criticisms there are about America, this guy was just a lunatic and a butcher. Good on the US for finally bringing him to justice.

Roy McWilliam's jacket
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We salute you too, Roy.
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We continued to struggle, and it had been pouring rain since just after we set off in the morning. By the time we reached Coupeville, Dodie especially was really beat. Her problem caused her to walk a lot, but she declared 'I can't walk to bloody Montreal'. Also almost impossible is setting up camp in the rain. We've thought about it lots, but there is no way to set up our tent and fly in the rain without getting the inside soaked. So we checked in instead at the first motel we spotted. It was utterly basic and not all that cheap, but it was warm and dry!

Any motel in a storm.
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Utterly basic. The bikes seem to like it!
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In the nearby restaurant the people sitting around created a family atmosphere, and we found them friendly, like everyone we have met on this Island so far. Any health and fitness objectives of this ride got shoved to the back burner in the face of cold, tired, and wet. This trio ordered the Super burgers and chocolate cake!

Health food, considering the circumstances.
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Tomorrow hopefully will bring drier weather, lower hills, and stronger bums. 'Till then, it's lights out for Day 2!

Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 151 km (94 miles)

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