Saturday, August 18, 2012

A German, An Island, and Tenting With the Masses

Last night I saw a touring cyclist ride by my campsite. I met him this morning in the waiting room of the ferry dock. His name is Christian and he's from Germany (apparently, Christian is a very common German name). He has been traveling since January. He started in San Francisco (or maybe he flew to SF from Costa Rica--not sure of the exact timeline) and tried riding north, but encountered the wind. He gave up and took a bus to Vancouver. He's spending time riding around in BC, but he's also been to Calgary, Banff, and Jasper. He'll eventually work his way down the coast back to SF where I think he will return to Germany. Anyway, we had a nice conversation on the ferry. When we arrived on Vancouver Island, we rode together into Comox. He said I have "good speed". I told him my speed is not so good at the end of the day!

In Comox, Christian and I parted ways. He was on the lookout for laundry and a shower (he did not stay in the campground last night). I was hunting for the library. I don't know if he was successful, but I found the library.

After the library I stopped at a grocery store to get some produce (3 apples, 3 bananas, 2 tomatoes, 2 avocados, and 1 zucchini).

From Comox I headed around the bay to Courtenay. Since I was only looking at the map from the book and not the narrative, I missed a turn. When it seemed as if I was in a residential area, I stopped and consulted the written directions. Then I went back and turned where I was supposed to. Back on the route, I worked my way along the Oceanside Route, also called 19A (Curiously, everyone around here calls the Georgia Strait the ocean.).

The route today was much flatter and with good shoulders for most of the way. It was still quite warm and I still rode 60 miles--it just didn't take me quite as long.

In Comox and several other places I saw "watch out for deer" signs. They weren't kidding. The traffic came to a stop twice in Comox as first a doe and two fawns crossed the road and then later just a fawn (didn't see the doe). Several miles into today's ride I saw another doe with just one fawn. Drivers seem to be quick to stop, but I did see evidence of one deer who didn't quite make it.

In addition to the library and produce stops, I stopped once for Gatorade and once for ice cream. Off the top of my head I can't remember the brand of ice cream, but it seems to be the "Tillamook" of BC. While I was perusing the ice cream choices, an older gentleman and 17 year old kid stepped up and ordered some ice cream. I was glad they ordered first because then I saw just how huge the scoops were. I had a single scoop of Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. It was pretty good. The gentleman asked where I was going. Then he told me the doom and gloom stories of biking in Ucluelet and Tofino. He mentioned something about a dirt road. Since I've not read anything that mentions a dirt road, I'm guessing I'm not going where he was talking about. We'll see... As for the young man, he was headed to Kyrzakstan (I'm sure that is not spelled correctly) for a year as an exchange student.

At about 5:15 I arrived at Rathtrevor Park. It's a good thing I made a reservation because this place is full! When I got to my site, there was already a tent here. I returned to the Gate House and told the gal. She sent a park guy to the site to remove the tent. If the person returned, I was to tell him his tent was at the Gate House. It wasn't until after I finished my dinner that the guy came back. He was rather mystified as to the whereabouts of his tent. I told him where his tent was and he left. Pretty soon he came back to retrieve some items he had hanging in the trees, and apologized for his mistake.

This tenting area is full. It is called the Tenting Meadow. There are about 26 sites and they are all walk-in (perfect for someone on a bike!). The car campers use wheelbarrows to transport their stuff to their site. There are some seriously huge tents. Next to me there are two guys (Will and Greg). They both have their own tents and both tents are at least 6 person tent mansions. I asked Will if he ever gets lost in his tent! They are nice guys--even offered me dinner (I had already eaten).

On the other side of me there is what appears to be one mom with about 27 kids (okay, not 27, but I think at least 5 or 6) and a big dog. There is also someone playing guitar. It's a PARTY in the Tent Meadow at Rathtrevor tonight.

There is a movie in the amphitheater that the park employee was not at liberty to tell me the title for copyright reasons. What? Are the BC Parks showing pirated movies? She told me the plot (it is "Over the Hedge").

I've walked down to the beach. This is really a pretty nice park. There are lots of trails, and the showers are free!

So, although, due to all the ferry crossings, it has seems as if I have already been island hopping, now I actually am on an island--Vancouver Island. Tomorrow I'll be CouchSurfing in Port Alberni!

In the photos below, notice the photo of the Canadian Beach Volleyball team.

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