And home again - Plan B in Action - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2014

And home again

We packed up and caught the early ferry to Friday Harbor. We would then have 90 minutes to get some breakfast befor the once-a-day sailing to Sidney, BC. On the boat, we met four other cyclists with the very same plan, a couple from Vancouver and their friends from Winnipeg (I think). The Winnipeggers were just returning to bike touring; one of them had Kangaroo Baggs panniers just like my old ones.

Sadly, Friday Harbor doesn't have a lot of options for breakfast. The place Al and I had eaten at before had a lineup so we went to the only other place that offered more than just coffee and overpriced pastries. It was okay but nothing special.

From Sidney we took different routes to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal but the six of us were all on the same sailing to Tsawwassen. It turned out that the Winnipeg couple were to ride back to Vancouver since their friends' car couldn't take four people plus four bikes. We had decided to try riding home too, rather than having one of our sons pick us up, since there was plenty of daylight and well, why not?

The tricky part is getting across the South Arm of the Fraser River. There's a free shuttle through the Massey Tunnel but the schedule has a gap in the afternoon and we'd likely have a long wait at the south pickup. Al wanted to try the new South Fraser Perimeter Road. It's marked as a bike route from the ferry terminal across the Alex Fraser Bridge and might be part of a good route between our home in Burnaby and the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. We take the ferry to Victoria a lot, but we usually drive to the terminal. Now that they boys are adults, we should consider riding, we thought.

As it turned out, the South Fraser Perimeter Road is not a pleasant ride. There's a wide shoulder to be sure, but all the trucks (and there were a lot, even on a Saturday) drifted into it on every bend. When we got to the overpass of Highway 99 (leading to the U.S. border), it was a bit tricky to figure out what we were supposed to do. Bikes aren't allowed on the overpass as it was built without shoulders. It was even trickier finding our way onto the Alex Fraser Bridge. Better signage is definitely needed. On the other side of the bridge, Al and I, as locals, knew that we needed to cross the North Arm via the Queensborough Bridge. How someone from elsewhere would have figured that out, I don't know. Luckily the Winnipeggers were with us and we muddled through together.

Once over both arms of the Fraser River, we were on the home stretch. After a quick stop for cold drinks (it was 36 C) we left the Winnipeggers at Central Park with directions to their friends' area and coasted downhill and home.

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