Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 2-June-2004 : Nanaimo

Slept in again. I'm having trouble getting used to the sun setting at 9:30pm.

Cycled out of Victoria and through the hinterland to Brentwood Bay. Cloudy again, but still no rain.

Caught the delightful car ferry across Saanich Inlet. Even though it was only 20ks from Victoria we only just managed to get there in time for the 11am ferry, the last before the ferry operator's lunch break.

Spoke at length with the friendly people in the Mill Bay Tourist Centre before stocking up on maps and guides.

The roads in Canada aren't as wide as those in the USA. This is not exactly surprising, as US roads are very wide. They need to be, because most of the vehicles in the US are ultra wide as well. Canadian roads are no narrower than those in Australasia, but they do carry the occasional American monster on them.

Also, Canadian roads don't have the American phobia of steep grades. Our back road along the water's edge was beautiful, but at times rather steep. One downhill was signed at 15%, which we went down very slowly and carefully (too slowly as it turned out, we think the sign was wrong).

Bright and sunny afternoon. The locals were quite impressed by this, and asked us how we were enjoying the hot fine weather. We were enjoying it fine, all rugged up with our arm and leg warmers. Don't get me wrong, the weather today was perfectly acceptable, but I don't think anyone who's been to Broome in the dry season would describe this as “hot fine weather”.

Nice views across the water to the islands off the coast of Vancouver Island. Large, daunting snow topped mountains in the distance both inspiring and terrifying.

A late lunch (4:00pm!) at the impeccably well named Fuller's Lake Park, beside the equally well named Fuller's Lake. It is so nice to be able to sit in a public park by a public water course again. Local teenagers enjoyed it too, just not as quietly as us (or a 747). I suggested their music was specifically designed to offend people our age. Linda disagreed, suggesting it would offend people slightly older, like the age of those kid's parents. We simultaneously realised something: we *are* the age of those kid's parents!

Got ripped off by the motel. “Free High Speed Internet Access” is only free if you pay extra for a room which has it, or free after you've put you coins in the kiosk.

Passed a shop advertising “Fish and Chips, Meat Pies, Pasties and Ice Cream”. A New Zealand Dairy? Yep, it was closed.

Went shopping for some groceries for the trek across the mountains. We're still a bit confused about things in Canada. It seems to take us a while to come to terms with a new country. Like what shops sell what, what things are called, which brands we like and which we don't. We clearly have yet to get .ca sussed. The challenge for us is to find food that:
1) We find palatable.
2) Meets our obscene daily calorie requirements.
3) Is cost effective.
4) Can be squeezed into a pannier with our dirty socks to re-emerge days later and still meet criteria 1).

In California we found Mexican bread quite a good substitute for our Aussie favourites: good trim Vita-Wheat. I have a theory as to why no equivalent product seems to be available in North America. The only reason most people buy them in Oz is to spread them with Vegemite and squeeze it through the holes.

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