Friday, 31 July 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot Cycle to Victoria

Up here on the West Coast of Canada, we are just coming to the end of a heat wave - something not seen around here very often at all.

Over the past few days, the temperature at Vancouver Airport reached 34.4° C. (94°F.), and inland, 36°C. (97°F.) and, further inland, over 40°C. (104°F.). Come on, this is Canada.

Anyway, my wife and I decided a couple of months ago to take the ferry to Vancouver Island and cycle from where the ferry docks (Schwartz Bay) to Victoria (a total of 33 km) and then stay in Victoria a couple nights and then head back. We have done this for years with the girls but being 16 and 19 with jobs, etc., we ended up on our own this year (and no, they didn't have a wild party and burn down the house).

We started at the ferry. There was a summer special on so for the two of us and our bikes it was only a total of $22. It's about an hour and a half ferry ride and the BC ferries are quite comfortable.

We rode the first 10 km and then stopped at McDonalds for lunch. Not particularly healthy but good prices and the restaurant is right on the route.

The route, incidentally, is called the Lochside Trail and it's part of a bigger bike path called the Galloping Goose. It's a quiet route on either dedicated bike zones or quiet streets.

We progressed through Sidney and then the different Saanich areas (North, Central and South).

We crossed the Blenkinsop Trestle which has a great view of the marsh and also includes a statue of old farmer Roy Hawes who must have lived there at some time.

The bike route brought us right into Victoria and we made the ride through downtown to the B and B. We stayed at a place called Heathergate House which we found on the net.

It was a wonderful place to stay with friendly hosts, a clean and nicely decorated room, an amazing breakfast both mornings, and the piece de resistance, the garden where a water feature bubbled while we sat in the shade, escaping the heat and cooling down after our ride.

We then headed to our traditional first night dinner, the Old Spaghetti Factory. Good food, cool drinks, friendly service and inexpensive prices had made this a tradition for the past few years.

We were tired as we headed back, past the inner harbour, and ended up back at the room, with a couple glasses of chilled rosé before trying to sleep for the night.

In the morning, after a breakfast of bacon and homemade scones, we walked over to the Royal BC Museum to see the latest exhibit, Treasures from the British Museum. It was an excellent exhibit, one well worth seeing, which covered artifacts ranging from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, China, India, and more. My only complaint was that I had seen most of these objects for free when I was in London!

After some shopping downtown, we went to the Beacon Hill Park area of the city, first for a coffee at Moka House, then for a picnic lunch in the park.

It was very hot so we walked fairly slowly, pausing in the shade when necessary.

We slowly made our way back to the B and B and had a sort of siesta in their wonderfully cool garden.

At around 7 we ended up in the Heron Rock Bistro, not far from the B and B, and had a wonderful dinner.

The service was friendly but French - meaning it took us a good two hours to eat - and I loved it! Compared to the previous night where there was a move 'em in, move em out, atmosphere, the bistro was wonderfully relaxed about the meal.

We started with an appy dish of paté, olive and prosciutto followed by NY Angus steak salad for my wife and bouillabaisse for me.

Both were incredible! A fruit crumble with a double espresso finished off the meal. We then waddled back to the B and B and rested before our return trip.

We had a good ride back to the ferry with no incidents. Had a great chat with a father and adult daughter who were also cycling. He was from Indiana and she now lived in Washington, D.C. We had an interesting discussion about crime as Vancouver has had some unusual gangland shootings during the past few months and Washington is only safe, according to the daughter, in the tourist area (the NW section). Nice folks.

We finally arrived back at the ferry terminal and hopped on the ferry. A good end to a hot but satisfying mini-holiday.


Baron's Life said...

I read this post the other but had no time to comment as we were going out, but it stuck in mind for its contents and pictures and so on....but most importantly because it goes to prove you can have fun on wheels no matter if motorized, large, small capacity or with human powered pedals...good on you. I'm glad you enjoyed good family time with your wife and thanks for sharing the story

Dave Dixon said...

Thanks for the kind comment - I enjoy myself whenever travelling but somehow, when on two wheels, the getting there is as fun as the being there...

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the trip. We have a small group of 'retired' guys who ride the trail regularily. Usually our objective is to decide which coffee/cinnamon bun place will be our destination.

Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read this blog. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such stories. I love to read blogs like that. BTW add more pics :)