Touring the Sunshine Coast, a Pre-Tour Tour
Amazement! That seemed to be the prevailing reaction from people to whom we explained our intentions of cycling across Canada. Then, bewilderment seemed to be the prevailing reaction when they learned that Joyce and I were prefixing a week’s tour up the Sunshine Coast.
Good friends, Doug and Ann Oliver, delivered us to our airport motel, but not before a pit stop for supper at Tuckers Marketplace, the perfect venue to pre-load for our impending tour. The following morning, Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, our Air Canada flight got us to Vancouver without any problems. Gage Residence at UBC allowed us great accommodations for the night, convenient eateries, and a place to re-assemble our bikes. UBC has expanded since we were last here in 2009 and is continuing to expand although the concrete structures, which dominate add nothing to a once pretty campus. Jet lag and a busy day “forced” us into bed by 8:00 pm. We did manage to get everything in order for next day’s departure.
Pictured above: Joyce and Dan sated and ready to go
After breakfast the next morning and a re-check of supplies and bikes, we departed for Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. The Lions Gate bridge sure is high. My propensity for taking pictures had us concerned about getting to the ferry docks over hilly terrain on time. We barely made it, then enjoyed a hundred minute rest.
Our undulating ride before the ferry was only a taste of what was to come. My first mistake was going into Gibsons instead of following the main highway. We had to climb a hill out of Gibsons which dwarfs anything in Muskoka. Our doctor and cardiologist should be relieved to know that our hearts were equal to the task. Once we pulled up the corsettes to support our rib cages, our hearts remained in place. The balance of the day to our Madeira Park B&B was hilly, also, but fine, scenic riding.
Pictured above: Joyce sucessfully ascended the hill from Gibsons
Pictured above: Dan northbound on the Sunshine Coast
The morning of Friday, 14 June, a breakfast of good food and conversation fuelled our ride to Earl’s Cove ferry docks with time to spare taking no chances again. After that forty minute crossing, we were back on the bikes to Powell River, a pleasant ride. We were a couple hours early for our 5 o’clock ferry crossing to Comox, a time to vegetate over coffee and munchies.
The reason, primarily, for our Sunshine Coast tour was to meet with good friends, Stu and Heather Mackenzie. We didn’t see them at the pre-arranged assembly spot at the Comox ferry docks, so we pushed on. Not five minutes of riding and a van passed us slowly with Stu’s beaming face framed by the van’s open window. Stu and Heather had arrived.
For two nights, we relaxed in their beautiful abode overlooking the water. The comfort of their well designed and finely appointed home, a credit to Stu’s craftsmanship, was only outdone by their great hospitality. One evening’s supper was a fresh catch of salmon and halibut, a fine meal.
Pictured above: Dan , Joyce, Stu, and Heather; terrific view behind is what you see from the living area of their house
Sunday, it was mighty tough to leave the comfort and hospitality, but we had to leave to maintain our schedule and arrive in Victoria to meet up with our summer, cycling group on Tuesday, 18 June. We started by playing tourist at the Qualicum Beach classic car show. Awesome! The following, two day’s ride on route to Victoria were not great along the Island Parkway, very 401-esque. We rested well during our B&B stays in Nanaimo and Mill Bay on route.
Pictured above: ’66 Mustang which would look good in my driveway
Tuesday, a cycling-friendly bike ride into Victoria followed the short Mill Bay to Brentwood ferry ride. Our motel was convenient and comfortable. The evening meal at Don Mee’s Chinese Restaurant in, wherelse, but Chinatown, served up a great meal both in quality and quantity to end a great day. A special treat was meeting Karen and Kevin Martin from our 2009 tour.
At 8:30 am., Wednesday, 19 June, our cycling group congregated at “Mile’0’” in Victoria. The cameras clicked feverishly, everybody wanting a momento of the beginning of a classic, arduous journey. We did the wheel dip close by, then headed eastbound for good. The ferry and bike shuttle navigated those barriers, the Georgia Strait and the George Massey tunnel, in succession.
Pictured above: “Mile’0′” group ready to head for Vancouver
Pictured above: Joyce and Dan performng the traditional wheel dip, front wheel Atlantic-bound
The Wednesday evening supper at Mahoney’s Pub on campus helped to further connect the group. Orientation the following day familiarized us with what would become the summer’s routine. In spite of the day’s length, sleep did not come easily likely due to anxiety overload.
By 6:00 am., we had arisen for final preparations and a breakfast of cold cereal and eggs at the truck. Then, off to the Museum of Anthropology the group proceeded where the traditional group photograph was taken. Once done, like disturbed bees from a hive, we Tour du Canada cyclists were on our way.
Pictured above: our riding group for the summer with Dan and Joyce front row right