Monday, 22 May 2017

Spring Touring! Part 1 - Maple Ridge to Whistler

My friend, Dale, has been desperate to go on an long ride.

And lately, so have I!.

The weather here has been so wet and rainy all winter and spring that there just haven't been many opportunities for a nice, sunny ride.

But that changed this weekend!

This weekend was a long weekend in Canada because of Victoria Day so we decided to go for a two night trip, still giving us some time with our respective spouses. We both screamed out of school Friday and met up in Maple Ridge.

Day 1 - Maple Ridge to Whistler 170km

The weather was mostly sunny when we left on Highway 1, heading west towards Vancouver. We were travelling against the rush hour so we both sat in the HOV lane and made good time as we rode. Once we hit Vancouver, there was some traffic, especially through the North Shore (North Vancouver and West Vancouver), but it thinned out again as we cleared the Metro Vancouver area.

The scenery is pretty nice on the way to Whistler. Once you pass Horseshoe Bay and get onto Highway 99 North, the highway hugs the coastline with vistas of ocean water on one side and climbing mountains on the other. No wonder it has the moniker, the "Sea to Sky Highway".

We had no difficulties as we rode past Lions Bay and Britannia Beach. Outside of Britannia Beach, however, there was a speed trap that had snared several of the cars that had blown past us on the highway. Dale and I had decided to not push it on this trip so we just zoomed by the trap, unaffected.

Things continued to go smoothly until we reached Function Junction (Cheakumus Lake Road). A mere 8 kilometres from the village turn off, the road turned to a parking lot. Apparently this is a rather common event as the area just does not deal well with the traffic flow. We slowly lurched our way into Whistler village, but it took a while.

Once we checked into our AirBnB ($201 for a self contained room, much like a hotel room with a kitchen, queen bed, sofa bed, a little tired and old but clean and serviceable), we made our way to the Village Square. This Friday marks the beginning of GOFest, a new, weekend long, festival to mark the beginning of the summer outdoor season at Whistler. What was important for us was that 5440 was playing!

Dale and I first saw 5440 almost 20 years ago at the Arts County Fair at UBC thanks to some student teachers we had that year. After that,  we were hooked, seeing them at the Commodore in Vancouver a couple of times, a club in Abbotsford and locally in Maple Ridge, that last time being an unplugged concert a month ago.

This was a free concert and was definitely not unplugged. We had great outdoor seats at the Beacon Pub and Eattery (Beacon Burger and Truffle Fries - tasty!) and enjoyed the concert immensely. The pints of beer did not harm our mood or our overall satisfaction that night and added to the concert experience!

After we stumbled home, we slept soundly until our next ride.

Beer number ?

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