Jul 15

Powell River to Port Alberni

by in Tour BC

Day 3: 76.4 miles

Click to enlarge image of Danelle making announcements on ferry

Click to enlarge image of Spencer & Sid getting ready to disembark ferry

Click to enlarge image of cyclists disembarking ferry

Click to enlarge image of Ron & Patty from Seattle

Click to enlarge image of Spencer helping fix a bike

The ride to Port Alberni included a 500 meter pass in the last 20 km of the ride. Let’s see, that translates into a 1600′ climb in the last 12 miles. Not gigantic, but bigger than anything else we’d see in the trip.

We caught a ferry first thing in the morning. Arriving at Comox we had the nicest ferry disembarking I’ve ever experienced. There was no hill. For this ride, that was especially surprising. I was expecting something along the order of Vashon Island at least! The weather was so good we dropped our panniers off at the first rest area. We cruised the east coast of Vancouver island  for 45 miles without major hills.The view was spectacular. Then, within sight of what looked to be a perfect lunch spot, we turned around a corner and went straight up for 2 blocks. (Sound familiar?)

When we got to lunch we were somewhat dismayed to find only one restroom for all 120 riders. The line was appalling. Someone needed to order a sanican or two. I had Lon work on my neck, which was tightening up painfully. He unlocked much of it and gave me stretches to keep loosening it. Thanks, Lon! I also helped a couple of cyclists with mechanical problems. Good thing I have my trusty spoke wrench! Then we headed up The Hill.

Part way there we found Patty, suffering again from what must have been a hidden piece of glass. We got her tire off, and I hunted down the offending shard. Taped the tire with duct tape, pumped up the new tube, and we were off again.

By now it was getting into the hot of the day. We couldn’t climb very quickly, but at least it wasn’t raining. Got to the beautiful rest stop at Cathedral Grove, old forest all around. The traffic was pretty thick and some folks were complaining. We started the last climb. We kept at it steadily, never having to get into our lowest chain ring.

After the crest we had an 8 mile roll to the campground. The rumble strips on the way down were a challenge. I vowed next time to just take up the lane and let the motor homes deal with it. With little effort we got to our assigned camp spot.

Set up the tent, showered, then walked to dinner. It was about 6 long blocks away. I wasn’t really impressed that the meals would always be so far from the campgrounds. In this case, though, the food was worth it. They had made a great effort to provide vegan food, clearly marked, for us. Mashed potatoes, veggies, salad, tofu cutlet thingies; it was wonderful. We evenAlarm: Tandem Security! had entertainment. Local cloggers were stomping around the stage. One interesting sign we found at our accommodations proudly indicated that it was protected by Tandem Security.

Well fed, we retired for the night. Some local kids got their jollies by honking and revving their engines until the police came to run them off. Good thing I can’t hear and I had ear plugs in. I slept like a charm. Little did I know that our day of reckoning was coming.

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