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May 9- Day 2
Note upon waking up: tent is nice and dry, sleeping bag is very warm and comfortable. Like sleeping on warm gel. Needed to use earplugs though
because of traffic, still only got about 6 hours of real sleep. I had guessed that I would reach Chilliwack by today, but I'm thinking by tomorrow
instead. We'll have to see.
Time spent cycling: 4:36:08
Distance traveled: 59.27km
Total distance: 168.0km
Average Speed: 12.8 kph
Maximum speed: 71.2 kph
Current Location: On Fraser Highway, outside of Surry.
The day started out well, turned to hell, and ended gloriously!
The trip to Nanaimo went smoothly, no problems, no hassles, just getting redirected now and again. I had planned on bungee jumping before leaving, but the place to go to was so far out of the way I couldn't be bothered. Still, I wish I had... but it probably would have cost too much anyways.
The Fast Cat ferry was a huge disappointment, (the FastCat is neither fast nor a cat, discuss). It looked nice, had neat monitors placed everywhere for people to watch (either specialized programing or where the ferry was in the water), but it was just so small! I mean, it was pretty puny overall. I don't know about the ship as a whole, but the passenger decks just seemed tiny.
One small highlight of the ferry trip was that I talked to a young man originally from Quebec who was also biking (but only to Vancouver). I got him to do the survey, and he gave some interesting answers. I wanted to ask to see the bridge, but couldn't summon the courage. Stupid me.
Then the hell came. It started to rain, and rain and rain. I had timed my trip so that I shouldn't have rained until tomorrow. Stupid weather channel. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to quit by the end of it. But oh no, that's not all. When it came to crossing the river, I decided to take the Lions Gate Bridge. HUGE mistake. By the time I realized I couldn't possibly bike up the bridge it was too late. I'm pretty sure the bridge is 2km by the way. The sidewalks were closed and I had no way back. So I had to walk on the sidewalk with my arms over the concrete divider to push the bike along. Then I reached where the construction was taking place. Fortunately nobody caused a fuss, I think they realized the mess I got myself into and one of them helped get me past the construction and over the hump.
At this point I almost lot Mossfoot. He got jarred loose on the last bump on the bridge and the only reason I noticed was because someone actually stopped in traffic to point it out to me (it's illegal to stop on the bridge). I thought he was pointing out a different route I could take out of the park (since that was my next problem) and didn't know what he was talking about until I looked back at my luggage and noticed him gone.
With Mossfoot retrieved, I took what I thought was a bike path out of the park, but actually it was a climbing was tilted on its side a bit. I have never pushed my bike up anything so steep. I just hope it doesn't happen in the Rockies.
At the summit I took a break and had lunch before taking the nice winding path out of Stanley Park.
At this point I had a one in a million chance encounter with Tracy, who was running some errands in town. Despite the drizzle she brightened things up, reminding me that one of the places I call home was not too far away She even took a couple of pictures of me biking downhill with her driving beside me, and helped me fix a minor malfunction on my bike.
After that I briefly stopped at the Angus Reid building to say goodbye to my old coworkers, who wished me luck. I had wanted to do a survey with one of them, but it was nearly 3 and that's when the main shift starts. I wasn't willing to wait around.
But with that over, hell returned and seemed to be here to stay. The rain got harder, I got wetter and more miserable, the traffic was terrible, and I wasn't even out of Vancouver yet! I mean, it was as if everything I've grown to hate about Vancouver attacked me at once. What was worse, I had no idea how I was going to get OUT of Vancouver! There are two bridges out, and I didn't want to cross either by foot. I also wanted to get as far away from the city as possible before the 8pm set-up-camp deadline, and it was already 5.
I was nearing a breakdown, and wished I had taken up Tracy on her offer to drive my gear out of town, but then what good would that have done me, really? She couldn't take the bike, and Greyhound requires a disassembling of the bike and stored in a box. Even if I was only going to Langley! The regular buses were no help, either. Some have bike racks, but none with racks went over the bridge. So I took the buses with racks as far as the bridge to make up for lost time. Considering the rain, I didn't want to deal with traffic.
This bridge wasn't so bad. It wasn't long before I was at the top and traveling downhill at 50kph in the rain on a sidewalk with a one foot drop to the highway. That was nerve-racking! I tell you this one and all, If I can avoid heavy traffic and rain in the future, I will do so!
So eventually I'm in Surrey, and I'm lost. It's pouring rain, my windbreaker turned out NOT to be waterproof, I'm lost, I'm alone, and I've had nothing but complications at every turn. I nearly broke down, quit, threw in the towel, burned my bike and all my gear with it (but the damn stuff would be too wet to burn!).
Eventually I got on the right track. From King George highway I found Fraser highway, At that point I gave in. Screw my intentions of not staying in people's backyards, It was almost 7 and the rain wasn't letting up. If this wasn't an emergency, I don't know what would be!
The first person I asked gave a short but firm "no", but his neighbors were far more helpful. FAR more. Not only did they agree to let me stay, but they were willing to move the car so I could sleep under the overhang. Then they went a step further and said I could sleep in their camper van (amusingly named "getaway van"). The wife of the house, a gentle 75 year old woman from Sweden, agreed to do the survey and was very patient, if not enlightening. They were both most gracious, and she even gave me a pop and cookies to take to the van. I'm typing this now finishing off the last of them.
This also reminded me that this trip was about people and interview, and that I shouldn't be afraid to do this again, since it will help me finish my survey quotas faster.
These two kind souls restored my faith in humanity, and turned the worst night so far into the best.
Wait a minute... this is only the second day...