Next morning, Amelia, Rob’s sister, could not find the key to her bike lock. We looked everywhere, ended up getting a duplicate from the bike shop. So, we got a late start, but we didn’t have too far to go that day, under 25 miles. We rode up the “Lochside Trail” to the town of Sidney and stayed at a Travelodge, which seemed very luxurious compared to the hostel. Rob and I even had our own private bath, imagine! Rob’s sisters, the boys and I went to the aquarium, which I thought was only marginal, but the mother octopus (they called her Octomom) was interesting.
Next day we rode a couple of miles to a ferry for a short crossing to Salt Spring Island. From the dock, we rode maybe 12 miles–all uphill, I swear. We intended to take the “more hilly but less trafficked” route but took a wrong turn, so we were in a lot of traffic and the hills were pretty challenging for me. Marion, Rob’s other sister, had tire problems and we discovered the bike shop gave us all wrong-sized innertubes. Kind of a mess, but we muddled through. Amelia picked blackberries on the side of the road while we waited. They were so sweet and juicy.
We stayed at a cute inn called, appropriately, the “Salt Spring Inn.” It had an “inn cat,” Rita, who spent her whole day sleeping on the registration desk. The next day was a non-cycling day. Rob and I went walking/birdwatching (I saw several new-to-me species but nothing terribly exotic, except maybe the mute swans, they were cool). The boys went kayaking. Rob’s sisters went shopping. We had dinner at a place called the Tree House, and it was “open mike night.” I don’t recommend this. The food, however, was delicious.
Next day we cycled back to the ferry dock, back over the mountains. This time we took the more hilly route, but I did okay. I had to walk up a the last part of a couple of the steeper hills. Back on Vancouver Island, pedaled back to Sidney and stayed in the same pleasant motel. Next day it was back to Victoria, but we decided to veer from the trail and ride along the coast for some different scenery. It was hillier and I was starting to drag, so Rob and I took a shortcut back to Victoria. Once there, checked into the hotel (the Days Inn this time, not the hostel), dropped off our stuff, returned the bikes.
Rob’s stepmother, Penny, who lives in England, joined us that night and we had a great reunion. She’s a lovely person who has been on many bike trips with us before, but she decided not to cycle this year. Since Marion and Amelia had a kitchenette in their room, we bought some fresh salmon, green beans and French bread and Marion cooked us dinner. It was great.
The next day we went to the Royal BC Museum, which is a natural history museum. It was a little depressing because there were a lot of exhibits devoted to global warming, invasive species, etc. and then a whole exhibit that was nothing but dead birds behind glass. Not taxidermy-style, just dead birds with toe tags. Back in the old days, it was all about collecting specimens, and scientists caught and killed birds by the thousands to study them. I would much rather see them alive.
Rob and I took the ferry back to Seattle that evening, and the rest of the crew stayed on to do some more sightseeing for a few more days. We had a rather expensive snafu with our plane reservations, but in the end we got home okay, that’s the important thing!
I’ll be posting more pictures to my facebook page in the next few days. Figuring out new computer first.