Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 29:
Richmond to Vancouver Int’l: 4.5km
On to Toronto Pearson.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
Cloudy in Richmond. 19C.

Awoke to light rain this morning. The breakfast at the hotel was skimpy as usual, at least when you are used to fresh fruit and granola. Having gotten organized before bed last night, we were right on schedule when we left for the airport.

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The route was straightforward and we had been out and back to the airport a few times already.

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Pedaling up to the departure doors is always a pretty special feeling.

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Once inside we retrieved our bike boxes and then got busy disassembling the bikes. We had plenty of time, so we took our time.

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Both boxes weighed in at just over 50lbs. After we checked our boxes and cleared security we enjoyed our yogurt and granola in a quiet boarding lounge.

We have a window seat on the plane and once we cleared the cloud cover of the west coast we were able to follow our progress over the mountains again.

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Flying east made the sun set even faster and it was dark by the time we landed in Toronto.

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We watched the bike boxes get unloaded from the plane and they looked like they were still intact.

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Our ride was on time and we were back in Ajax in no time. Mom is whipping up some pancakes for dinner. It’s nice to be back.

Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 28:
In and around Richmond: 44km.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014.
Sunny. 25C.

Today was our last full day on our trip across the Rockies. I have now realized that the Rocky Mountains are but one of the mountain ranges between Calgary and Vancouver. In fact, a more suitable title for this trip might have been “From Calgary to Vancouver in 28 Days.”

Initially we had planned to bicycle exclusively on this trip, however the reality of mountain ranges, stamina and accommodations -or lack thereof – forced us to improvise along the way. We have done some amazing cycling including completing the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. We also got to meet some long lost Baird descendants and some Nye ones too. If we could do this trip over we would, and we would probably do a few things differently such as, have more than 28 days and also to have a driver and vehicle for logistical support. Those are some things we will consider for future trips.

…Back to Richmond.

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In the back of our rental van are our bikes, boxes and gear. We drove to the airport this morning, dropped off our empty boxes for our trip back home to Ontario tomorrow. Then we turned in the keys for the van and pedalled the 4km to our new hotel for or final night of the trip.

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It was way too early to check in so we dropped off some of our luggage and hopped back on the bikes. The streets were busy in Richmond, but soon we were on the Middle Arm Trail with a nice view of the water.

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We ate our breakfast on a bench in the shade watching planes take off from the airport. After we ate we followed the trail to the Richmond Oval, one of the 2010 Olympic venues. We couldn’t see any ice inside but it is a striking looking building.

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The trail is dusty gravel surprisingly and it is also well used. We passed a lot of people on the trail on our way to Steveston for a Tuesday afternoon. Once we got to Steveston there were people everywhere. We passed the famous fish and chips place, the fisherman’s wharf and the Britannia Heritage Shipyard.

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It was so congested around Steveston that we opted to ride on the road for a bit. We picked up the trail again by South Dyke Park.

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We went as far as Gilbert Beach before we turned around, but not before we took some tourist shots with Lambie our little mascot.

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(We found Lambie on the side of highway 3 just west of Eholt summit. A few days prior to that we passed a huge mounted collection of stuffed animals. When I spotted Lambie, I figured that that is where Lambie needed to go. However, we missed the ‘plush wall’ by accident navigating our way heading westward out of Beaverdell and Lambie has traveled with the us ever since.)

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Our ride back to Richmond seemed much quicker even though we took the same route. When we arrived back at our hotel it was time to check in and we were hungry. We walked to the Costco to take a look, but it was just as we’d expected. Across the street from our hotel was a grocery store we’d never heard of with a large selection of Asian products. We bought the remaining ingredients for our salad as well as some hot Chinese food and then scooted back across the street and up into our room.

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After dinner although we wanted to fall fast asleep, we didn’t. Since our bike boxes are already at the airport we don’t have to disassemble our bikes tonight. We can relax, reminisce and write our journals. In the morning we will pack our bags, load up the bikes and pedal to the airport. When we get there we can box the bikes and then sit around and wait like you do at airports.

Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 27:
Richmond to Chilliwack and back         (by car).
Monday, September 15, 2014.
Sunny. 29C.

We started our morning with a brisk walk to the nearby Skytrain station. In the station, going up the escalator, we noticed that a woman had tripped and fallen on her way up. She was on her back going feet first and both of us scurried down to help her up on to her feet. She seemed a little shaken but not seriously injured, but Mom called the attention of the security and the Skytrain attendant. We all boarded the next train and the woman thanked us again as we departed at the next stop.

We switched trains, heading for the airport to pick up our rental car. Our plan was to drive to Chilliwack today to meet my cousin Lisa whom I had never met. Last night I left my sunglasses at Tristan and Mandy’s so Jean took them home and we’ll stop at her place in Surrey on the way.

The car rental place at the airport was really busy and by the time we were finished there it was nearly noon.

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We hadn’t even had breakfast so we drove back to our hotel and went into the IHOP to eat. We were on the road to Jean’s by one and found our way to Surrey with no problem. She has a lovely place and we had a short visit and lemonade in her backyard.

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After we left we decided to go to our new favorite fruit stand in Surrey and it was just down the street.

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We stocked up on fresh peaches, nectarines, pears and some tomatoes and cucumbers for lunch. To get back to the highway we actually retraced our bike route from yesterday. Once we got back on the highway we drove to Chilliwack and did some exploring.

We wanted to get bike boxes from the Greyhound station but they were sold out. We found a bike shop and they had a couple of boxes for us free of charge, although a little on the small side. When we mentioned that these boxes would be heading to Ontario the shopkeeper Dan inquired “where in Ontario? ” Turns out that he went to school with some friends of mine and hasn’t seen them in years.

By this time we were getting hungry again and we stopped to shop for supper. Then we drove to Vedders Crossing to make a picnic in the van.

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After supper the sun was setting as we made our way out to Tim and Lisa’s place.

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We seemed to hit it off right away and ended up having a really great visit with them. They have a beautiful place in a beautiful location. It’s too bad we didn’t have more time to spend with them.

By 10pm we were on the road to Vancouver and with only one minor hiccup we arrived back in Richmond just before midnight. It figures that this is the nicest hotel room of our trip and both nights here we have arrived late with no time to enjoy it.

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Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 26:
In and around Surrey: 59km
Sunday, September 14, 2014.
Sunny. 26C.

Today would be our last day in Surrey and with dinner at Tristan and Mandy’s at 6 o’clock, we had some time to kill. We really wanted to stop at the fruit stand we found the other day and that required bombing down this steep hill again.

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Neither of us took pictures last time because we were busy squeezing the brakes. After the hill, and the fruit we took a roundabout way back to avoid riding back up the steep hill. We ended up back at the eastern edge of Tynehead Park. From there we made our way to the Barnston Ferry where we crossed over to Barnston Island.

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The Little tugboat pushed the barge that is the ferry across Parson’s Channel in a couple of minutes. Once on the island we rode clockwise and stopped at Roberts Point for our lunch break.

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We chatted with some people while we ate an then continued on, riding the remaining 8km around the island.

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Once we were back on the mainland we rode back towards Guildford where we were expected for dinner. On route we saw a gang of cyclists stopped on somebody’s front lawn. They flagged us down, asking if we knew how to fix a flat tire. I responded by saying that changing flat tires were is my specialty. After getting them all fixed up they invited us home with them for drinks, but alas, we had a dinner to get to.

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We had a good chat with them and turns out that one of them- Greg- is an Artist too. Cindy, Delphine and George were the rest of their party and if we are ever back this way we’ll be sure to visit.

Back in Guildford we stopped at the mall in the shade to cool off for a minute.

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We also saw the living wall that grows outside of the mall.

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After freshening up inside we were ready to head over to Tristan and Mandy’s. Jean, Tom and Nancy were there too and in no time there was a delicious dinner laid out before us. We chatted away for a couple of hours and then it was time for us to go.

We rode the 4km to the Skytrain station and hopped on the train.

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We switched to the Canada Line at Waterfront station and then rode the train to Richmond where we are staying for the duration of our trip.

Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 25:
In and around Surrey: 52km
Saturday, September 13, 2014.
Sunny and hot. 28C.

We both slept in today, it was nearly 10 o’clock when we got up. No teachers on the picket line so no honking at 8 o’clock to wake us up. A stroll to the coffee shop and back helped to work up an appetite. After breakfast we carried the bikes downstairs and got organized for today’s ride.

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We began by heading west on a bike path that follows a hydro line and skirts the southern edge of Tynehead Regional Park.

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This trail took us to hwy 15 where we turned south and bombed down a steep hill with a 10% grade. At the bottom was a farm market so we stopped and bought BC nectarines, peaches and pears. We ate the pears right away. Farther south, hwy 15 led us to Cloverdale – the historic center of Surrey- where we stopped at the drugstore. I needed a new toothbrush because I sacrificed mine yesterday for scrubbing our bike chains.

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Our destination today was Redwood Park and Hwy 15 was almost a direct route there. On the way we had another great view of Mt. Baker looking majestic in the west.

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Finally, after a short hike up a steep hill and a shortcut through a schoolyard, we arrived at Redwood Park. Right away we found a picnic table and took our lunch break. When we had finished eating we spent some time wandering through the park. There was lots of shade to be had and we enjoyed as much as we could. Especially under this giant.

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Not sure what kind this tree is, as the park has over thirty species of exotic trees.

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When we were finished in the park we decided to keep heading south. The Peace Arch was only a few kilometers away and we thought that it would be worth the trip.

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We decided against crossing the border and began our pedal home from the Arch. It wasn’t long before we came across a bus stop, but there was already someone there waiting with a bike, so we pedalled on. A little farther up the road we saw a bus at the side of the road and another bus stop beyond that. Turns out that the bus would be leaving in a few minutes so we waited for a ride.

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By this time it was going on 5 o’clock and it was a pleasure to watch Surrey go by out the window. The bus dropped us off near Tristan’s place in Guildford. From there we rode another few kilometers to pick up our supper.

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It was 7 o’clock by the time we got back and we were both ready to put our feet up. We had a tasty supper and are excited to be having an early night.

Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day: 24
Day off in Surrey: 9km
Friday, September 12, 2014.
Sunny. 23C.

With a dinner invitation tonight with Tristan and family we decided to take it easy today. We did our laundry in the morning and then walked to town to pick up some supplies for cleaning our bikes.

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We spent a few hours in the early afternoon giving the bikes- our gears especially – a good decreasing. Flossed our cassettes and scrubbed our chains. Mom discovered several small twigs buried in grease and dirt in the process.

We got cleaned up and had a little time to put our feet up before hopping on our bikes to ride across town for dinner. Both the food and the company was great. It was 11 o’clock when we rode back to the motel. Hoping to see some more of Surrey tomorrow.

Across the Rockies in 28 Days

Day 23:
In and around Surrey: 35km
Thursday, September 11, 2014.
Sunny. 22C

Today move to Surrey. Our morning walk to Safeway where we purchased our Skytrain tickets was a nice way to wake up after our late night on the town. We spotted a little library on the way back to the hotel, so after we checked out, we donated a book.

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Riding our bikes to the Skytrain station was a nice change from walking. It took nearly an hour to get to Surrey and we stood beside our bikes for the whole time. When we arrived at the end of the line or motel was just down the street.

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After relaxing for a bit we decided to take a little tour of the neighborhood. There are plenty of bike lanes to ride in Surrey and we ended up riding a large loop. We saw a snowcapped Mount Baker, found two bike shops and the grocery stores.

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We stopped for supplies on the way back to our motel and had a lovely supper in our room.

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After we ate we took the Skytrain over to the City Center to go to the book store which is in a mall with an office tower aswell as the Simon Fraser University.

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We have a couple of days to spend here in Surrey so we will be doing more exploring tomorrow.

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