Last year in early August we did a 5-day Practice Tour to learn about self-supported touring and also, at that time, to see how Covid impacted traveling across the Canadian Border. It was fun and we learned so much. This year we decided to do the same tour in reverse and added a trip further north into Vancouver. So this was a 7 day tour and we were still practicing, as we’re now touring on Tess2. Since she’s carbon fiber there are not brazons to attach a front rack for extra panniers. We did a lot of research and ended up with boating Dry Bags to strap on top of our larger rear panniers. So on Wednesday August 2 we set off from home and rode a total of 363 miles in 7 days. What made it wonderful was staying with friends every night and enjoying both excellent conversations and delicious homemade meals. It also was nice that the weather was perfect, not too hot and not wet at all! We didn’t take as many photos this year because so much of it was a repeat.
Day 1 – 58 miles from home to Arlington.
Our house guest Gabriel took the photo featured at the top of us as we departed. We stayed with Lance from Warm Showers again and this time met his family. He’s well situated on the Centennial Trail.
Day 2 – 53 miles from Arlington to Bellingham Cohousing over Chuckanut Drive.
Gorgeous weather and views. Strong headwinds which are typical in the Skagit Valley. Feeling good. Bike is behaving well consider the extra weight being all on the rear. Don’t miss the Farm to Market Bakery in Bow but be sure to check their website as their schedule changes. We split one on the spot and split another the next morning before heading out. The views from Chuckanut Drive are also spectacular but it’s not easy to stop on that road.
Day 3 – Bellingham to Lynden – 45 miles
This was a split day with excellent food. First half we rode alone and after a great salad for lunch we rode with our hosts Rob & Mary Tedd from the tandem club. They fixed us a vegan fettuccine made with ground pistachios & nutritional yeast followed by homemade sorbet for dinner.
Day 4 – Lynden to Vancouver BC – 51 miles
Not our favorite route! The weather was cooler and overcast today so we started with tights on. Getting to and through the border was pretty straightforward. As we tried to follow the urban route on our Ride with GPS things kept getting dicey. There was wooded trail that we thought was going to be short that not only went on forever but had sketchy surfaces. Part of it was just gravel but then it turned into ROCKS! That cleared up and then we ran into soft and deep sand. Then the trail was nearly submerged in water. Several times we had to walk the bike. Later we had to cross a high bridge that had a closed sidewalk on one side so we had to stop for oncoming cyclists due to our wide load. And then there was that amazing multi-tier ramp we walked the tandem down. So many unique experiences today. We followed the 45th St bikeway on 47th Street. We finally arrived at Vancouver’s newest cohousing community, Our Urban Village Cohousing in Vancouver BC, which has had occupancy less than a month and still has openings. They hosted a vegan potluck in our honor which was their first meal in their Common House.
Day 5: Vancouver to Victoria – 42 miles
Spencer rerouted this leg based on yesterday’s debacle. It was greatly improved, however, it still reinforced the idea that we won’t be planning to ride Tess in Vancouver ever again! The Ride with GPS directions continued to eat up our attention and time. With only 3 hours in the saddle we spent roughly half again that much off the bike checking and rerouting ourselves. And some crazy, stressful, freeway-necessary miles too. Then we had a 30 minute wait for the 90 minute ferry ride. We made it and arrived at Shawn & Jeff’s safely. Such a gift that we’ve been able to visit and stay with friends each night and to have our food needs met so generously and graciously. Tonight is enchilada casserole with cornbread! YUM.
Days 6 & 7 – 64 & 50 miles – N Saanich to Port Townsend to home.
Below are a few photos from the last two days. Sunday night we stayed with Shawn & Jeff (and dog Rumi) in N. Sannish. This is another preparing to depart photo. Monday we rode 12 miles from N. Saanich to catch the Black Ball Ferry in downtown Victoria to Port Angeles. This was a very long day. After the 90 minute ferry ride we had a 50 mile ride to our friends Dale & Paulette in Port Townsend. Sorry no photos but an excellent visit. We had Thai food and this morning we explored using the speech to text AI capability of our phones as a captioning tool since Spencer couldn’t wear his hearing aids. As a matter of fact, by the time we got in for dinner, Spencer made an absolute pig of himself on Massaman Curry and Rama Noodles! And it was fun playing with new ways to stay in conversations at meals. Tuesday morning we rode home. The stop at Port Gamble’s bakery is a must. Nothing like delicious cherry & mixed berry pie in the middle of a ride! What a view from the Hood Canal Bridge!