6th – 7th Aug 2018
Nanaimo to Crofton 49kms
A very lazy and enjoyable morning, a bit warm again, but it really didn’t make us rush out. We enjoyed breakfast with Carsten, and more chatting with the RV crew, who gave us lots of advice on the things to see, and conditions on the routes we wanted to go. So supportive and encouraging. Carsten headed out first, and we exchanged details, as we are all trying to ride down the Pacific Coast of the USA. Good chance we’ll meet up again. A few of the RVers took off too, everyone was either going home or to the next relaxing campground. They were all from Vancouver Island, and loved living here. Wow, cool.
Finally we were off and pedalling south. Again we had both Davo and The Madame working on a secondary road route, and even though they argued a little bit, they did a good job of directing us through some quiet, rural areas, with minimal cars, and nice conditions. We turned off onto a dubious road, so pulled up to have a little team conference. Just then, another couple of touring cyclists, pulled up on the other road. Luckily, they spotted us and we spotted them, and they came over for a chat. George and Anne (hope that is right, you guys, if not I am sorry), are locals from Vancouver, who enjoy small tours, and hadn’t done these parts. They were coming from the direction we’re going, and it was a great chat and break stop. I hope they have a go at a longer tour, maybe in Australia? Hint hint!
The rest of the ride to Crofton was pretty good, a few more hills, and some nice little towns. It was another hot day, with it reaching the daily high around 3pm, it seems. A quick stop for groceries (the shop was at the top of the hill) before rolling into the campground with fingers crossed, that they would fit us in. We found the office, rang the bell, and waited. The lady seemed a bit put out, but after a chat and getting sorted, she was really nice and helpful. It was a nice place, on the waters edge, but not much shade. Luckily there were a billion humongous RV’s blocking the sun for us. Again, no Wifi except in the recreation room, at the entrance to the park, up the hill. The showers were there too. Bugger. But it was a peaceful and pleasant setting, and lots of neighbourly chats. We even saw an Otter poke it’s nose out of the water, while fishing for his dinner. Pretty cool.
Quiet roads and cool cars. We pulled up behind these guys at the lights, and we were discussing our route, it scared the crap out of them….ha ha ha.
Crofton was a strange town, two pubs, and a Ferry that takes you to Salt Spring Island. It was peaceful and pretty.
Crofton – Mill Bay – Brentwood Bay 46kms
Aah, what a nice night. Cool breeze, and no traffic noise. Also no shade from the RV’s in the morning, so that got us out of the tent at a reasonable time. We cooked up some boiled eggs for later on, made some coffee, then scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast. We found a small patch of shade from a young tree on the embankment, to sit and eat. It was nice.
More RV’s on the move today, and we weren’t far behind them. Our plan was for more back roads, and it started with a bloody 1km slow and sweaty ride up the hill to get out of town. It was a pretty ride today, with lots of nice rainforest type bush, but it was up and down hills all day long. Some rural farming areas, and small villages. The road was narrow, and not in good condition, but the vehicles were all very patient and considerate, and we tried our hardest to let them pass at every opportunity. It was hard going actually. We stopped for a snack break at an historical site, called Treffery Creek, which was where the first pioneers landed in the area back in the mid 1800’s.
It was cool and shaded, and we enjoyed the rest. Lucky too, because the next section was through Cowichan Bay, which was really pretty and had some cute and quirky shops. All was happy and pleasant until we reached the other side of town, and the 2km hill to get out. Hoh man! It’s pretty hot right now, and first gear is in action again. Two stops (for me) and we were both huffing and puffing and wiping the sweat from our eyes, at the top. I’m sure the sweat comes out of my eyebrows, straight into my eyes.
It was a real up and down day, quite tiring. Much shorter hills, but lots more of them. But all in all, it was a pretty good days riding, even though Google had promised that the 5 kilometres from Mill Bay town to the ferry was all down hill, but it wasn’t! By 3pm, we were getting on the ferry to cross to Brentwood Bay, and then it was only 5 more kays to our campground. Being on bicycles, meant that, even though there was a very long line of cars, we got to go straight to the front, with any walk on passengers, and were first off too. A nice, but hot, crossing, with one seal spotted. Yay!
Fun to take a break and enjoy the views across the water.
Before we rode off up some more bloody hills, we thought we’d better check to make sure we could get a spot at the Gardenside Acres Tent and Breakfast Campground. I spoke to Scott, who assured me they would squeeze us in somewhere, and he directed us to the grocery store, then to their location. It was a few more small hills, but good directions, and we rolled into their backyard. Wow, how cool! There was an older couple relaxing in the shade of a gazebo, who directed us to where Scott wanted us to be. They were expecting us. Mike and Nancy are also cycle tourers, riding a tandem. They are in their seventies, and loving life. They come from Whidbey Island, in Washington State, USA. Mike had some really cool tattoos, most of them relating to cycling in some way. One in particular caught my eye, which said “Love Honor and Cherish Thy Stoker”. That is the person on the back of a tandem, in this case, Nancy. Very cool.
Scott and Janet eventually came over, and said hello. They had another misfit (cyclist) looking for a space, and asked if we would mind sharing. Hell no, we don’t need much space, and us cyclists need to stick together. So we met another Mike, from Sequim, also in Washington State. This was his first go at cycle touring, so he was doing a short shake down mission, to see what he thought. He was travelling very light, and just seeing how it went. We all chatted, got set up, and had showers. Now this was a new set up for us. It was actually a shower tent, with a hose, it did have an instant hot water system, and it wasn’t all that bad. The toilet on the other hand, was a bit iffy. It was an industrial portable toilet. They aren’t so bad, I hear you say! Well what we are used to, usually have some form of water to flush, and a holding tank out of sight, but not this one. It was just like the Bush style long drops, only it was a short drop, into the holding tank you actually sit on, and if you choose to look (not me, man, no way), can see into. Ugh, Nevermind.
Solo Mike, had no dinner, just jerky and trail mix, his plan was to just dine out, so we offered for him to share ours. I made spaghetti bolognese, and there was way too much for us two fatties. So we shared our beer and dinner, and had a really nice night at this unusual RV free, campground. A nice alternative idea. Oh, and I saw my first deer with a fawn. So cute.