I have been floating around Vancouver Island and the Vancouver area wondering what my next move would be for a little while.
Not that I wasn’t having a great time meeting some wonderful people.. I did!
Rolling down the road I noticed two loaded touring bikes right ahead of me. Kerem and Ben had just left their home 5 days earlier and are set for Argentina!
Ben’s parents happened to live just around the corner.
So I tagged along and met the whole family!
I had a small issue with my rack, It was fixed in no time.
A little further down the road Louis & Rachel live in a gorgeous home right on the water.
They are best friends of beautiful Emily, we met in Korea last year.
Enjoying a few days of dinner parties, night walks and canoe rides.
-during which this misty wolf came along-
And the water glowed with bioluminescence as we paddled.
I felt I should keep moving along. don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy fluttering around in comfortable places and going shopping…
I bought a dress.
Rachel made me do it! 😉
But it’s ok, as my birthday was coming up.
And a girl has the right to wear a dress on her birthday no?
But I felt like I had to get my ass into gear and actually go out and do something.
So I said farewell to lovely Rachel & Louis,
and decided to hurl myself up north where I would have no other option but to get on my bike and ride.
I booked a ferry, but in order to get to the departure point I had to ride up the whole Island, through a few storms.
I hadn’t really planned that. But with no choice but to move I got on my bike and started riding.
It was lucky I did as the ferry I originally planned to take did not run due to high winds.
They happened to work in my advantage though.
So with strong tail-winds I flew up the road feeling severely overloaded with gear good enough for -29°C.
It was at least 30 degrees warmer here.
When I rode through Qualicum Beach Warren & Christine where just on a walk along the beach.
Christine is no stranger to bicycle touring. She rode down towards Mexico and has a couple of Iron-mans on her name.
She didn’t think twice about joining me for a ride the next morning and had a go at riding my rig.
After a coffee we moved on into the wet in opposite directions, where I was lucky to keep going with that tailwind, she had to go back against rain and wind. We both knew we’d have a warm shower at the end of the day.
I had arranged to stay with Lori & Ross.
They live right next to the ferry terminal where I had originally planned to arrive.
But as you see here, that ferry is not going anywhere in this weather.
With a Curling competition to win they had to leave that evening, so I spent most of my time outside in the hot tub watching the rain. It seemed a pretty good place to be.
But with no time to hang around I loaded up my bike in the morning and was given a tasty smoked salmon for the road.
The road that lead me to Chantal and Antoinne’s place, they made me a cake! (well cookie, but close enough)
We watched a movie and got up early to go deer hunting.
Well, I got up early to make my way to Sayward.
Where I sat under this shelter waiting for nothing in particular,read a book and pitched my tent where it seemed dry and drank coffee with the lovely ladies at the fuel station next door.
Even though it’s very wet, the scenery is still lovely.
I have always thought I hate rain. But as I checked the weather forecast and it told me heavy downpours and wind I could only grin. I dived into the mad weather and could tell people in vehicles either thought I’m crazy, or felt really sorry for me. But the funny thing is, I’m having a great time!
And a nice side effect is you really appreciate the times it’s not pissing down.
One morning, after gearing up in all my rain gear to find the first couple of hours fairly dry my feeling can only be described as euphoric.
It is nice to be able to have a shower though. And get out of all that wet gear.
Conveniently there were towns or communities roughly a day cycle (or slightly less) apart.
In Woss I’d asked around and found the ‘dry-room’ of a loggers camp.
It was so warm in there that everything dried in no time flat!
I had planned to pitch my tent just out the back and was enjoying some dinner on the porch when a couple of ladies showed up.
“We saw you on the road today, you cannot be sleeping outside in this weather, so we got you a room at the motel”
I was speechless. (and that doesn’t happen very often)
Apparently the ladies of town where doing Christmas preparations in the community centre and all pitched in to make sure I would have a warm, dry and comfortable sleep!
That’s what this couple said too, as they handed me some cookies along the way.
I was now very close to where I needed to catch this big blue canoe (well, the BC ferry)
And stopped in Port McNeil for a soup when Robert approached me.
He works in the best bike shop in BC, where I signed my name on the gate for passing touring-cyclist. He also made sure my bike was in tip top condition for the rest of my trip and let me crash on his couch!
The next morning, all set and with a bit of sunshine for a change
I made it to my departure point with hours to spare.
I had a great time on the Island and every single person has been so nice to me!
It was good they had me, and I sailed without a glitch to Prince Rupert.
It was a long ride, about 22 hours.
I saw whales along the way! That’s a first and very exciting.
I also met Dave (Who, by chance, knew Ben& Kerem!)
He had great stories about his time as a bush Pilot so the ferry ride was over in no time.
His sister, wife and grandchildren were al waiting for him to show up so he took me to their place and introduced me to them all!
From there I packed up and started my mission along HWY 16 inland.
I had no luck to start of with.
It started raining again and instead of my lovely tailwind it had switched to a full on headwind…
That cools you down in a hurry. I also discovered my trusty old tent is not very waterproof anymore. Good thing I got a brand new one waiting for me in Vancouver. But that’s still 1563km away.
When you camp right along a railway line the train comes thundering straight through your tent in the night. That’s what it sound’s like anyway.
Dave, Ivy & Alison passed me on the road on the way to Prince George and gave me sandwiches!
Not much later Jake pulled over to give me chocolate & coke.
His friend Rory had instructed him to do so as he did a bunch of cycling across the States and knows what it’s like. (he’d seen me the day before)
It is indeed very much appreciated, so thank you guys!
I was on my last downhill run to Terrace when my front tire gave in. Not a huge issue as I was about to change them anyway. I really wanted to arrive though and it was cold, wet and dark and I was nearly there.
Lucky my friend Paul had notified Dean & Joanna of my arrival and they drove down to catch me.
It seemed a good enough time to put my studded tires on.
Although I didn’t get terribly far that next day. In fact, just to the other end of town…
Where after a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast of pancakes with Mary & Dave I finally did manage to get out of the town… and out of the rain.
Is winter just around the corner now?
I’m about to find out.
Hope you have a lovely Christmas.
I believe mine might be a white one.
26 thoughts on “Riding up a storm”
Always such an inspirational interesting read, thank you!
Your name has been on our lips many time since our encounter on the the beach. I like to do things that get me out of my comfort zone and after meeting you I realize we can always do more than we think we can. You are an inspiration and Warren and I are happy to have shared with you a small part of your journey. You are always welcome with us. Stay safe, Warren and Christine, Qualcum Beach
As always, I enjoy seeing what you are up to. If BC is getting any of the rain that the Mount Rainier area is getting… yikes.
As always Mirjam brillrant read and amazing pictures, so jealous ha ha. But keep living the high life and take care, monga
It’s back to rain in Terrace, so I hope you find the snow and ice you’re searching for, further down the road. A very, merry xmas to you too !
Looks cold. Stay Warm!
oeps..I am really impressed, with you and your trip and pictures and the heartwarming comments
be safe and warm !
Heerlijk om te lezen, mooie foto’s.
Nog gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag en prettige kerstdagen en een heel goed en gezond 2015. we hebben weer genoten van je verhalen.
Groet, Jans en Ankie Koops
Leuk om weer wat beelden te zien van de plekken waarvandaan je ook spotjes had verstuurd. En ook weer allemaal aardige mensen, geweldig! En eindelijk sneeuw, dus. Beter dat regen. Geniet er van, goede kerstdagen en liefs van ons!
pap & mam
Thank for once again for brightening my day ! Your blogs are always appreciated . Well done , keep riding and writing . I look forward to your next blog !
Wat mooi weer allemaal! Geniet ervan en pas goed op jezelf. Gezellige feestdagen gewenst en een veilige reis met heel veel fijne momenten voor 2015!!!
-xxx- liefs van ons
Happy Birthday you inspiring mad woman!
Always a great read in Australia .We should have a dry Christmas.
Just thought I would drop you a note to tell you how much I have been enjoying following your Blog & Adventures for what seems like a very long time now 🙂 At 56, I had my first real adventure as I backpacked around Europe for 56 days including a 26 day walk across Spain on the Camino Santiago from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France. I know it was just a small taste of what you are experiencing; however, it sure has given me a huge appreciation for what you are doing, and well, you are awesome!
If you continue to travel right across Canada, my wife and I would love to put you up and introduce you to our cyclist community in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, on the East coast. 🙂
Keep on riding & writing girl, and we’ll keep reading and marvelling 🙂
WOW! Cycling Canada in Winter….you are a true adventurer! I enjoy very much your wonderful stories meeting all these kind people along the way….People is what keep us cycling I think. I wish you a white and WARM Christmas and Happy Birthday 🙂
Hey. Have you went past smithers yet?
I have. Past Houston too.
I can’t wait to hear about your winter adventures. Cycling in those conditions was always something I considered unlikely but I can’t wait to see how it goes.
Just found your blog. Truly inspiring! Merry Christmas!
Have a great Xmas and New Year Lady.
All the best Mirjam, love reading your posts here in Tasmania, no snow down where I am, but occasionally falls on our nearby mountain have been known in mid summer. Hope you get your white Christmas or white winter anyway. Happy cycling
It’s been a couple of weeks and you were headed straight into winter… Things still going ok for you?
May I ask you what do you eat now, if it’s all frozen? Are you sucking spaghettis? 😉
I just love reading this blog and looking at the pictures (the one of the truck coming up that wet road with that foreboding rock face in the background is just awesome!).
I wish you a happy new year 2015 in the wild Canada.