We're exploring Vancouver Island at a rather slow pace, taking frequent breaks for sea kayaking, bungee jumping, scuba diving, and snorkeling (it's tough, raising money for charity, but we make do).
Thanks to the biciclists' version of Couch Surfing called Warm Showers, we've had a lot of amazing hosts on our trip, like Duhane in Vancouver who pretty much single-handedly saved our biking trip by jerry-rigging all of our bikes so they actually, you know, worked, or the Ringham family in Nanaimo who made us probably the best curry this side of New Delhi. Every person we stay with is so interesting and accomodating of our haphazard style of travel, we haven't even had a chance to camp yet on the trip. In North Saanich, Vancouver Island, Terry and Marion built their own house overlooking the bay and Marion, with 11 books to her name, gave me some excellent writing advice (tape this above your typewriter: "Nobody cares if you don't write." --Gertrude Stein).
Our second full day biking took us 50 miles from Nanaimo, BC to the marina to get to Salt Island. Our Warm Showers host on Salt Island, Peter Freeman held the record for a solo sail around the world (236 days) in 1985. He's also a gold medalist sprinter for Canadian masters and a badass cyclist who picked us up in his boat and tied five bikes to the roof of the boat to get to his house. My favorite story he told us was about his round-the-world trip--after practically bankrupting himself to build his own sailboat, he took off for the trip with only $100, had to make $95 worth of repairs in Santa Barbara, and sailed all the way around the world with only $5 in his pocket. Around the world on $5? That's my kind of traveling!
Tomorrow we cross into the US of A via the San Juan Islands, and from there we plan on hopping from Seattle to Olympic National Park and straight down the coast to San Diego (with inland stops in Portland and Eugene). Our buddies Heather and Ellen leave on Saturday to fly back to the real world--it's been great having a big happy group to start and all learning how to do this bike touring thing together. It'll be exciting to really get moving south, but my muscles are already complaining. All that advice I got about how I'd get in shape AFTER the first week of biking didn't really take into account how I'd feel during that first week. Maybe my load will get lighter after the first week as well?
Money raised for World Bicycle Relief (click here to donate): $1,118 (our goal: $3,000)
Average Speed: 9.8
Maximum Speed: 33.5
Calories burned: 3,421
Thanks for all of your support and hope there are happy trails in your lives!
Jess, Mel, Brendan (Heather, and Ellen)
Here's a picture from Duhane of the four girls setting off on our first day of biking (Brendan was at the store making last minute purchases)