Wednesday, 17 July 2013

201 Back to Vancouver

Friday 12th Continued.....

The evening was again serene. Lots of people partying with fires on the beach and on the whole a fantastic atmosphere.

The sunset was long and awesome

And in here somewhere is the Great Bear (big dipper/saucepan)

Saturday 13th July 2013  Miles Today  220 Total 13,780

The ride south from Tofino on the Pacific back to Victoria was a bit fraught. I expected a petrol station at a major junction and of course, there wasn't one. We had a very slow and frugal ride for the first 100km and found one when we were 1/2 way through our reserve fuel.

The scenery was however, spectacular as usual.

Once in Victoria, it was just like an old English port with all the old colonial buildings and signs of the British colonisation everywhere.

Union Jacks were everywhere (aside from being the top half of the British Columbian flag that is)

We needed to find somewhere to stay and eventually found a campsite beside a Stock Car racing track about 10 miles from town.
To say the campsite was noisy would be an understatement. Firstly (before the races started) two couples in adjacent motorhomes decided to have a party and struggled to talk to each other without letting the rest of the campsite listen. Then the racing started and the stadium was packed. We enjoyed the screaming of engines and tyres, it made us feel at home !
Once the race meeting finished, they had a fireworks display like it was the 4th of July. It went on for about 20 minutes. Once the track kicked out, many of the fans came back into the campsite full of beer and exuberance but their noise was nothing compared to the party mentioned earlier. It was apparent that 'Dorothy' had a problem locating her drink once she had placed it down and needed to get the population of Victoria, 10 miles away, looking for it. It would be funny if it happened once but we lost count in the end. On top of this there were the boy racers that took around an hour to warm up their tyres in the car park before leaving the track area. All in all a noisy night.

 Sunday 14th July 2013 Miles Today 65 Total 13,845

The lack of sleep had made us both grumpy and we had a mini domestic overnight. The atmosphere was a bit tense between us. The ice was broken when Karen, who had got up first decided to light the petrol cooker for the first time, had set light to the wooden table supplied by the campsite. All I heard was Karen say in a calm but firm voice, "Ray, I need you, ........... and bring water". I did laugh when I went out and saw what she had done, mainly because it is exactly what I did the first time I lit it too.

We considered knocking on 'Dorothy's motorhome door every 10 minutes to ask if she had a hangover. We decided that we were far too mature for that course of action but I confess, we were tempted.

We struck camp and headed on into Victoria again. 

What a mixture. Colonial buildings and Indian Totem Poles.

We found a whale watching company and decided to give it a go. This time, (we have been 'had over' several times before,)  I did a bit of on the spot technical research. I asked some folks who had just been on the boat !

With a positive reply we put our names down and went for some lunch on the docks while we waited.

Our view during lunch.

When our time had come we got our immersion suits on and this was the ridiculous product. I am sure they do this on purpose. I bet it's a case of, 'Woohoo, here come the Brits, lets see if they show pictures of this to their family.....'

However, when we got out there, we did indeed see some Killer Whales and this time we managed some long distance (read - crap) photos.

 The weather was gorgeous if not a bit windy. The sad part was that the suits are designed to let water in and not keep it out. We got drenched down to our underpants. Not a problem whilst in the boat but not too fetching sat in the bar afterwards.

How many bars have these things parked in the parking lot ! (The plane, not Karen)


When we got back to Wallace we found a British registered Triumph motorcycle parked next to him. We were quickly joined by this guy, Dave Mournian, who was on a similar trip to ours with a shorter time scale. He was a bloody nice bloke and we hope to bump into each other again on the way down South. He did make us laugh. A local drunk came up to us and asked where we were from. "Russia" was Dave's answer. I had to turn a way for laughing. Sadly the drunk had a set of Pan pipes and decided we needed to hear him practicing so he sat down beside us and made funny noises on his instrument. He kept butting in on our conversation and at one point said "I like you Russians, you speak good English and look me in the face, Canadians just turn away". We were not surprised.

Dave Mournian and his Triumph Tiger.
 It was then a quick 30km Dash to get the ferry back from Vancouver Island to the mainland and a port called Tsawwassen, usual spelling. It was dusk when the ferry set off and the sunset was just perfect and the camera can never do it justice.

The sunset was unbelieveable

Rather that look around for a campsite in the dark we asked our Garmin to show us a Motel and he did so. The Motel was run by a group of Siekhs who spoke better English than us and could probably spell Seikhs better than us too.

Monday 15th July 2013 Miles Today 86 Total  13,931

A relatively short 50km trip to our next campsite just outside Vancouver. The traffic however was horrible. Clearly there was a major problem or accident on one of the main roads as all the cities Eastern arteries were at a standstill. Riding a heavily laden bike in slow moving traffic is hard work. Especially in the 27deg heat and not being allowed to drive past traffic like in the UK. So, using our trusty Garmin, I slipped down a load of side streets and eventually got through it but I was knackered.

We unloaded Wallace, set up camp and then went out to visit the Capilano Suspension bridge that Karen's Mum and Dad had visited some years before. Another long, slow, hot journey and we were there.

The suspension bridge was originally put in by the Indians (or First Nations as they like to be called). The place was then taken over as a tourist spot in 1953 and lots of nature type trails and high level tree walks added. 

It was actually very pleasant and enjoyable visit and we played the fool a lot as can be seen below
More Totem Poles

Honest, I am not scared of heights.

Karen on the suspension bridge.

An idiot abroad

The Sky walk, about 100 feet above the gorge floor.

Actually, Aging Disgracefully.

One of the tree top crowns nest type things

It was then back on Wallace and into Vancouver City for a much needed beer and some dinner in that order. We parked Wallace up and went for a wander into the old town area called Gastown. They have a clock in the center that is powered by steam and plays a tune every 15 minutes with its steam powered flutes.

The steam clock with the whistles protruding from the top.

Tuesday 16th July 2013 Miles Today 10 Total 13,941

Today was a chill out day at the campsite. We sat by the pool most of the day, writing this blog and getting the laundry done. Tomorrow we visit some Canadian friends, Grant and Susan Johnson, that own and organise the travel biker meets that I go to every year (except this one) at Ripley in Derbyshire. They are legends in the world of overland biking and are instrumental, directly and indirectly, in making many peoples biking travel dreams come true.

Following that it is out of Canada for the last time and into the lap of the Gods with American Immigration to see if they will extend our visa for a few weeks to give us a bit of a buffer.

And finally, as we do occasionally, a map, with thanks to Google, of our progress so far.

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