Sidney to Victoria - Grampies and the Waddling Dog - CycleBlaze

July 28, 2016

Sidney to Victoria

I am a slow learner, but I am coming to accept that no matter what they say, a motel/hotel breakfast in North America will be pretty much inedible. We were still going with the mystique of the "Waddling Dog", and believing that the advertised breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, yogurt, fruit, etc etc would be good. We don't know the history of the Waddling Dog well enough to know when it was taken over by the Quality Inn chain, or what it was like before that. But it is clear that as a Quality Inn, quality is not part of the equation. The spongy egg patties, low quality sausages, packaged, flavoured, stirred yogurt, etc. formed a consistent pattern. It's just truly amazing how America has worked to take the value out of food. The white bread on offer was of course useless, but even the whole wheat version somehow managed to have no flavour and to not produce the impression that you have received any nutrition.

In the photo, Amelia's breakfast looks ok, but the fact is neither she nor Evee nor us could eat much of it.

Breakfast kind of looks ok - but not
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Suitably fortified (or not) we resumed our trek north, covering those 7 km to Sidney with no stress. Our target in Sidney was the aquarium of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is the name given to the waters surrounding the Gulf Islands, which are just generally east of Sidney. As the name implies, the aquarium focuses exclusively on sea life to be found in the Salish Sea. It is very well done, with large tanks (similar to the Birch in San Diego) filled with colourful jellies, anemonies, and fish. There is also a touch tank, and a classroom style venue with microscopes set up for viewing various specimens.

The Salish Sea is home to a variety of marine and island parks, comprising a National Park. So this time, Parks Canada also had a presence, with at least one summer student ranger staffing a table.

It was all super, with the combination of the kids' natural enthusiasm and curiosity, and the showy and informative displays. A nice touch was a half hourly story time and presentation. The presentation we heard was about identifying humpback whales from their tails. The group of kids there was very adept at distinguishing various tail colours, blotches, and shapes.

By the water at Sidney. It is all a very pleasant area.
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Art outside the aquarium was a big hit with the kids
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The outdoor tide pool
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The aquarium is focussed onthe Salish Sea
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Jellies are colourful and hypnotic to watch
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There were many large and exciting tanks like this
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Rock fish
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You need to wash your hands before the touch tanks
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A volunteer explains what is in the tanks
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Amelia and a Parks Canada ranger
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A killer whale skeleton. This one died at about 53 years of age
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Story time and the whale identification presentation
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Young scientist
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Colouring a clam garden
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Two kids taking reciprocal selfies
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We came out of the aquarium and travelled a short distance along Beacon Ave. the main street of Sidney, catching lunch at a small cafe. Sidney has become a very pleasant sea side place, and we much enjoyed just being in town.

Now we began to retrace our route back south. We can recite the drill: the cows, the berries, the horses, the pigs, and of course, the Ice Cream! I made a photo of Evee by the same ice cream sign that was in the Amelia shots. Now in two years we can come back and check if she has grown any!

One thing we could do that was not possible on the way up was to stop at "Ashley's" cookie stand. On the way up, she was on vacation, or something. This time, we got chocolate chip cookies that she named "Grandma's". We agree that they were grandma style. But most interesting was a sign referring to oatmeal raisin cookies that she attributes to her grandfather, Farmer Roy. This is the Farmer Roy whose statue stands on the bridge over Blenkinsop Lake.

The phenomenon of running into people we know, or more accurately, who recognize us, continued too. This time it was Kathy and Keith Classen, who recognized us. They were cheating a little, since Keith had been reading our blog last night. Kathy and Keith have cycled a lot in Europe, and in fact are leaving shortly for Frankfurt, from which they will head south, toward Provence. While we were talking to the Classens we also met a fellow who had cycled Paris-Brest twice. What fun to learn and reminisce about great cycle routes!

Thirty two kilometers after starting out, we rolled into Auntie Karyn and Uncle Erhard's place. It had been an extremely easy ride, not only for the adults but, we think, for the kids too. Still it was really just right. Had we had to push to say 50 kilometers I think all would have been significantly tired and crabby, on this hot day. As it was, lots of energy remained for some of the special things at Karyn and Erhard's. For example they have a big climbing rock in the back yard. And something much appreciated after two days away from the farm - real, fresh, wholesome food. That is, mostly, as I can always count on Austrian born Erhard for an outrageously strong coffee!

One of the beaauties of the Weehoo is that you can fall asleep
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The pigs were mostly napping in their house, but this one fell asleep in the bath!
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Much appreciated shady parts of the trail on this hot day
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Standard ice cream sign shot
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Ashey's cookies were yummy
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Different cows from yesterday
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Kathy Classen (and Keith nearby).
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Karyn's climbing wall
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Fun with Karyn
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Cultural development chez Karyn and Erhard
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Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 50 km (31 miles)

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