Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia. Day 3. I'm Coming Home, Tell the World I'm Coming Home

Today is the day I go home.  After another restless night of sleep, I awake to a very bright and sunny morning.  I took my time packing up all my gear and letting the morning dew dry off my tent.  I wanted to take my time as I had all day, but I also did not want to waste too much of my morning, I was going to take 'the long way home'.  What should have been only a 40Km ride back home from Tsawwassen, I managed to double that.  The plan for the day was to ride to places that I had always wanted to ride to on day rides.  This day gave me the opportunity to do so.  The trip would consist of riding through Richmond, Steveston, Vancouver Airport and through the southern part of Vancouver into Burnaby.  This should be a perfect ride to end my 3 day Victoria trip.
Goodbye Tsawwassen!  See you again soon.  And a huge thanks go to my friends for allowing me to camp in their backyard while they were away.
All packed up and ready to ride home
Leaving Tsawwassen and into Ladner, I've always wanted to check out the Bike Shuttle Service that is offered to cyclists for free to take you across the George Massey Tunnel that spans the Fraser River and is under water.  I know this service existed and today was the first time that I tried it.
George Massey Tunnel Bicycle Shuttle Service

I, along with other cyclists, get our bikes mounted up
My bike on a trailer for the very first time.

My trailer in the back of the van.
Driving through the tunnel
This Bicycle Shuttle Service is so cool and extremely convenient as there really is no other way for cyclists or even pedestrians to cross the George Massey Tunnel.  No bikes are allowed through this tunnel as it is a highway and there are no shoulders.  It is very dangerous as you can see from the above picture.  There have been instances where some touring cyclists who are not local to the area, have been 'forced' to ride their bikes through this long stretch of a tunnel.  My main example would be the two guys I wrote about on a previous blog who was riding across Canada on their bikes and rode through this tunnel because they didn't know any better.  I just find this crazy!

Once across the tunnel, there would be a long ride on Dyke Road through Richmond going into Steveston.  This was a first that I have ridden this way and it was actually really nice, right along the water most of the way.  Once in Steveston, I stopped for a few picture taking.  Steveston is a very well-known tourist spot known for it's waterside restaurants and fishing wharf.  There were so many people in Steveston this day as it was a beautiful sunny day.

Saw quite a few wedding parties taking pictures today

Steveston Farmer's Market
The next portion of my ride is to ride around the Vancouver International Airport.  Armed with my trusty GPS on my iPhone, the map shows a road that goes all around the airport.  So I stay on this road as far as I could go until I came upon this..
No Trespassing.  Owned.
Arggh!  A dead end!  And the only other option was to go all the way back!  So I turn my bike around and pedaled my way out of there.  This was somewhat of a lucky break as turning around led me to a new route which was actually much more scenic.  And it brought me straight to this..
Richmond Olympic Oval
Funny enough, this is the first time I've ever been here.  I've always wanted to check this place out ever since it was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  What a beautiful complex this is.  My cycling directions blunder brought me here so someone was kindly looking out for me.
The next portion of my ride home also brought me somewhere unexpected.  I was losing track of my directions as the cycle routes and pathways have become broken up in areas.  So I started asking for directions from other cyclists that I see on the road.  One group suggested that I take the Skytrain Bridge to go across the river and go into Vancouver.  The what?? Skytrain Bridge.. ?  that's a first I've heard of it.  I never even knew people were allowed on the skytrain bridge let alone bicycles!  So since this was new to me, of course I had to take it.
The Skytrain Bridge
Oh what a great crossing it was!  Someone had really thought this through as it was built and designed specifically for the cyclist and pedestrian.  Great to see infrastructures for the future being put in place.

Once I was across the bridge, it became my final stretch home.  It was still 20kms away but it's all what I've done in the past.  The end was a long up hill climb to where I live in Burnaby.  This part I did not look forward to and I've been dreading since getting into town.  This is when the hard work starts and when hard work starts after being on the bike for 6 hours it makes for a very exhausting end.  It was tough, it was hot and at this time I only wanted to get home and jump in the shower.  Finally, at about 5pm I make it to the front of my house.  Home from a 3 day epic journey.  One that I will remember for a long time.  No one to greet me, no cheering crowds, no congratulations and awards, only my own personal self-gratification of a job well done. A 3 day weekend trip to Victoria, British Columbia.  I'm home.

Here's a GPS tracked map of my whole Victoria Bike Trip -->Click Here to see the Map in Full Detail<-- (pls. ignore the sudden spikes in speed. I WISH I could be that fast!)

Total Distance: 285 Kms +/-
Total Distance on Bike: 200 Kms +/-
Total Time on Saddle: 18hrs +/-
Total Calories Lost: Don't know, don't care. Maybe around 7000 or so.
Total Weight Lost: 7lbs. But I gained 8lbs back after having a huge dinner. :D
Total Amount of Money Found: A smashing 20 cents!
Total Roadkill: 0 this time!
Mayacycle Bicycle Trailer

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia. Day 2 Victoria!! Part 2


It's Monday now and I am a bit behind on this blog.  One of the experiments I wanted to try was to see if I can update my blogs nightly while I'm on my multi-day bike trips.  I have quickly found out that I can NoT.  Unfortunately, after a long day on the bike, you just want to sit down, rest and relax once you are at your campsite or your place of stay for the night.  Blogging really becomes a 'chore' at this time and you just want to wind down before going to sleep.  I don't know how other touring cyclists do it day in day out.  Kudos to them, they must type really fast and have already been blogging during the day but for me, I can't maintain that kind discipline.  So what we have here is a blog that is done when I have time and patience to do it.

Continuing from my EPIC day on Saturday, I had just finished visiting Rider's Cycles and headed back into the Lochside trail and onto the Galloping Goose trail.  There were so many cyclists of all sorts out that day that it was a great sight to see.  I can only compare it to Vancouver and it's Seawall with that many cyclists using the pathways.  It just goes to show that the saying 'if you build it, they will come' works when regarding separated bike lanes and greenways.  One thing that I noticed with the cyclists in Victoria, is that there are a LOT of 'roadies', cyclists who ride road 'race' bikes and wear road racing lycra and gear.  I am not sure if this is something fairly new to the area but I can only assume that the resurgent of roadies can be attributed to the recent success of Victoria's very own Ryder Hesjedal who won this year's Giro d'Italia, a feat never  before accomplished by a Canadian.  Good Luck to Ryder in this year's Summer Olympics.  We are all rooting for you!
Downtown Victoria - Oh what a beautiful city.  I have been here once before, but I was very young and I don't remember much.  I really think that WE as Canadian westcoasters are spoiled to have two of the most beautiful cities in the world.  We often take it for granted as we live here but through a tourist's eyes, it gives a whole new look of the place you live in.  And yes, I was such a big tourist this day.  And I was so happy that I was on my bicycle so I didn't have to fight with car traffic, worry about finding parking, and being able to go from tourist attractions to tourist attractions quickly and efficiently.  I did not envy those in cars and to an extent on foot as there were sooo many people out there.
So many people, so many tourists, I being one of them.
Soldiers Memorial Statue

British Columbia Parliament Buildings.  And me and my bike and trailer of course.
Two other must-see places of interests for me are Mile 0 at Beacon Hill Park, and Clover Point Park where the southernmost tip of Victoria is located.  Mile 0 is as the name suggests just that, the zeroth mile of the great Trans Canada Highway, the longest highway in the world.  Mile 0 is often used as a starting point of touring cyclists or any type of traveler that plan to cross the country of Canada.  So I wanted to see this for myself for that certain possibility in the future of (should I say it?) riding my bike across Canada. (GULP..)
Mile 0 of the great Trans Canada Highway.  Maybe one day this will be a starting point of my trip. gulp.

The Southernmost point of Victoria.  Look way way out as far as the eye can see, it's the US of A!

By around this time of the day I started thinking of my place to stay for the night.  My original plan was to check out Beacon Hill Park as I have read that it is now free to set up camp in this park.  Bonus! Free campground!  However, after talking with other cyclists, they warn me that the park isn't very safe and that it is full of transients and drug addicts at night.  So there go that idea, I certainly didn't want any problems at night.  My choice was to head back north and Google any campsites in the surrounding areas.  As I thought this through, I realize that there was still so much daylight left that I can easily make the 5 or 6 o'clock ferry and that I would camp over at Tsawwassen again for the night.  Brilliant idea!  I already have a free place in Tsawwassen and this way I won't have to pay for campground and I'll just use that money for the ferry ride!  Perfect plan, so off I go towards the ferry terminal.  I didn't rush going to the ferry as there are sailings every hour until 9pm.  I get to the terminal shortly after 5pm, it will not be until 6pm for the next sailing.  But to my surprise, the 5pm ferry was still docked.  The ticket lady suggested that I book it down to the ferry and see if I can still make it, sure enough I made it just in time before they closed off the docking bays. Woohoo!
A peaceful ride back to the ferry

I felt so special to be the first one in line to get off the ferry

Thank You City of Victoria for one of the best bike rides I've ever had!  I will certainly be back and explore some more of your surrounding areas.

Time on the saddle:  10 hours +/-
Distance traveled:  100 kms +/-

Some notable tweets during the day:

Mayacycle Bicycle Trailer

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Day 2 Victoria!!


I apologize ahead of time if this post seem incoherent or terribly written or incomplete or in a different language.  I am absolutely exhausted from today's ride.  I was on the bike for 10 hours today and I have just sat down at my campsite for the night and it is already getting late.  Also forgive me if I don't finish this post tonight..  I am starting it, but I'm not sure if I can finish it.

Only one word can describe today's bike ride into Victoria,...  EPIC!
But first, let me start off by telling you about how my night went trying to get some early sleep so that I can be awake by 5am.  Well, it was the worst sleep I've had while camping.  I was not able to get to sleep until 2am and it was a disturbed sleep.  But yet, I stuck to my guns and had the alarm set for 5am.  Tsawwassen is what some locals would call a fairly 'ritzy' town. A lot of well-to-do people live here and a lot of retirees.  You would think it would be a quiet place but boy was I wrong.  It seems that everyone and their dog own loud motorcycles around here, add to that loud obnoxious trucks are always whizzing by.  And the planes! The Planes!  Tsawwassen is situated closely to Richmond, BC where the Vancouver International Airport is located.  I think Tsawwassen is actually on the flight path of planes to the airport.  So add all those things together make for one lousy night of sleep.  Maybe everyone's houses around here have some magical soundproofing so they really don't notice, but when you're out on the yard in a tent, you hear EVERYTHING!
Ok, starting off when my alarm came on at 5am.  Ugh.  3hrs of sleep, now I gotta get up, pack up all my sh*t, and try and make the 7am ferry.  It's freakin cold out and I feel miserable.  Do I not bother and just sleep the rest of the morning?  The answer is no.  Like a trooper, I get myself out of my warm sleeping bag and started gathering up all my stuff, started taking down my tent and packed up my Mayacycle trailer.  I expect the day to be lacking much energy from me.  Maybe I can nap on the ferry!  By 6am I was already on the road. I was already at the terminal by 6:30am.  The ferry ride was very scenic.  If you know of the BC Ferries, it is well known to go through some of the most beautiful passes on the westcoast.  You can often see whales if you're lucky.  For me, the picture taking didn't last long, I was still desperately seeking that nap.  It never did happen because as soon as I sat down, I started watching some of the Olympic coverage on the TV.  2 hour ferry ride passed quickly.

We reached Swartz Bay ferry terminal slightly before 9am. Perfect. Lots of time to ride slow and be able to see everything.  Upon getting off the ferry, I ran into 4 cyclists that were doing the same thing I was, riding and tenting for the weekend.  4 buddies just out on their bikes.  This made me a little jealous as I think it would be so kickass if my friends joined me on my bike trips.  Unfortunately, no one is into biking as much as I am except for one friend who wasn't able to come due to scheduling conflict.  It may seem to most that I prefer to do solo trips because it's always only me going on these bike tours.  In reality, I always wished there were people with me.  But hey... there's nothing wrong with going solo.  I can be the Lone Ranger on my own 'me' time.
The Lochside Regional Trail is a very popular bike/people pathway that goes from the ferry terminal all the way into Victoria.  This is the route of choice as I often hear and read about it.  With my trusty GPS, I was able to locate this trail and the signs were well marked.  Except for the wrong turn here and there, it was straightforward.  The trail is a mix of paved and crushed gravel and certain areas you ride on the street and some areas are on wooden bridges over water.  It was a wonderful ride as the terrain was basically flat! What a treat! I am used to so many hills living in the lower mainland that a relatively flat pathway that is over 50Kms long is a definite bonus.  The trail also connects to connecting trails going into the City of Victoria and the other going to Sooke BC.  (there may be more connections but I'm not gonna try and look them up).  The Galloping Goose Trail is the connection of choice as that takes me all the way down to downtown city core.  The Lochside along with the Galloping Goose consists of waterside scenery, farmlands and portions of trails forested over.  It is a wonderful day ride if you happen to be in the area.  The best thing to do right now is to show you pictures so that you get the idea.

One of the places I wanted to see while on this bike trip to Victoria is a bicycle shop.  Just a regular shop that really has nothing special about it that someone would go out of their way to see.  The difference is that this is where my beloved Cannondale was born over 21 years ago.  When I purchased this bike two years ago it was a bit of a mess.  It was a Craigslist rescue and almost everything had to be replaced to bring it back to life.  I restored this bike from the ground up and has become my trusty steed and has taken me over 3000kms in a span of only 2 years when I have (let's just say a few) other bikes to choose from. I had left the original bike shop sticker on the frame, I googled the shop and I was surprised that it still existed!  So this place was definitely on the list of 'must-see' for me.  The bike shop is called Rider's Cycles and they have been at that same location for 30 years.  As I approached the storefront, I took a few pictures of my bike in front of the store.  The staff inside must have been watching me and wondering what I was doing.  I entered the store and was immediately greeted by a few staff members.  I told them the whole story about my bike and how it was born at this shop so they all came out to see it.  They were very impressed at what I had done with the bike.  Originally, the Cannondale SH400 was a 'performance' hybrid bike. But the frame itself was shared with Cannondale's touring bikes at the time.  So for the first few months of owning my Cannondale, I had turned it into a Cyclocross bike that I could take on and offroad.  But since I have defined my riding habits as more a touring cyclist, I have now permanently turned my Cannondale into a dedicated touring bike.  The staff were glad I brought the bike over and we chit chatted for a while about touring and specifically riding across the country. (gulp)
Rider's Cycles - The Birthplace of my Cannondale

Oh boy.  At this stage I am starting to drift from exhaustion.  I don't think I'll be able to complete this blog tonight.  I think I will make a Part 1 and Part 2 for this blog entry.  I've still yet to get to the good parts even.  So for now, stay tuned for Part 2 of my Day at Victoria, BC.
I will be heading home tomorrow but the best part is that I won't have to wake up at 5am!

Good night for now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Day 1 Tsawwassen, British Columbia

The day could not have started off on a bad note.  As expected, I did not get much sleep and I had to work in the morning before I could head out.  But what made the morning even worse was,..  you guessed it... Rain! My place is atop a valley so I am a little higher than the rest of the surrounding area.  It seems that it only rains where I live and everywhere else is dry.  It was raining in the early morning but has stopped before I even started working. This was a good sign. Unfortunately, the dark clouds loomed all morning and never did let off.  I had hoped to be done work by around 1pm so I can finally get on my bike and start pedalling.  The day dragged on, I was starting to get stressed and the dark clouds were really threatening to unleash.  1pm came and I was done work.  I was ready to ride.  Then nerves started setting in.. it often seems this way whenever I set off on my own to do these bike trips.  My stomach, once again as from previous bike trips, started feeling bad.  The lunch I had downed did not make me feel 'right'.  Once again, I chalk this up to nerves and jitters.  The day had started off poorly so I had so much doubt on how the rest of the day would go.  Meh.  As seemingly bad as it was, all I know is that the moment I start pedalling, all the nerves and stomach aches go away.  It's time to get going.
Nerves started to set in as I start my trip

It was already 2pm when I finally left my place...  I wasn't worried.  And I wasn't even thinking about rushing it.  Learning from previous cycling trips of rushing to get to a destination is a bad way and the wrong way of doing cycling tours.  I promised myself that no matter what, I will take my time and enjoy the ride rather than kill myself just so that I can reach my destination in a timely manner.  I realize that this can't always be achieved because there's always that ferry that you have to catch, or darkness just around the corner, but it is always good to plan way ahead of time so that you don't run into these issues too often.  As I say this, now I'm thinking to myself,  'but cycle touring is so dynamic that anything could happen while you're in the middle of your journey!',  In that case, my thought is just go with it.
Ok, before I keep rambling on, here is the breakdown of how the day went.  It will be short as this first leg of the trip is also very short.  Today's destination is Tsawwassen, British Columbia.  This is where the ferry is located that would take me over to Vancouver Island where the city of Victoria is located.  I will be getting on this ferry at first sailing at 7am tomorrow morning.
Coming down from my place was very easy, it was all downhill.  There was no need to stop and 'smell the
roses' on this part of the trip, I had been through this area a million times.  In no time at all, I was already making my way up my first challenge of the day,  Sir Alex Fraser Bridge.  This bridge is so deceivingly long and steep.  Adding a very strong headwind and a nearly 70lb bike and trailer cargo became challenging.  But I relished it.  It gave my lungs a chance to open up and I started getting in that 'zone' of seemingly being able to ride forever.  I felt very strong.  All the stress and aching stomach are long gone by this time.  I can finally enjoy my ride.
Climbing the Alex Fraser Bridge was a welcomed challenge
Ok, just a little premature on 'enjoying my ride' there.  Immediately as I got off the bridge, I had to deal with River Road traffic.  As most locals would know, this stretch of road is a truck route. It is very industrial and always congested.  There was no way of slowing down to 'stop and smell the roses' here either because you'd be smelling nothing but exhaust fumes from gargantuan semi trucks that always seem to want to run you off the road.  I did not have to take this road, but it was the most direct route and the bad part is only a short portion of this stretch of highway.  I wanted to get out of the congestion as quickly as I could so I pedalled on a quick pace.  However, I did manage to stop and take one picture of the Alex Fraser Bridge spanning the mighty Fraser River.
Bridge Over Water
From here on, I was finally able to cruise and enjoy my ride.  The ride was easy.  The terrain was flat.  I was making headway pretty fast. There was not much traffic going my way but the oncoming traffic was bumper to bumper craziness.  I was feeling quite sorry for everyone in their cars and trucks that they had to sit in their vehicles handcuffed to the traffic ahead of them.  Oh well, nya nya.  As I was nearing the township of Tsawwassen, an amazing thing happened.  The sky opened up and there was absolutely no clouds ahead of me!  It always amazes me that everytime I come to Tsawwassen it is always sunny even if everywhere else was miserable.  It wasn't long until I arrived at my destination for the night.  I was welcomed with sunshine, warmth and a great patch of grass that I can put my tent up on.  Once my tent was up it was time for dinner. McDonald's to be exact.  It was only a couple of blocks down so I walked and grabbed my meal for the night.  Yea yea, I know,  it's so bad for you..  but it was soooo good!  ;)
Sunny Tsawwassen.  My home for the night.

This is about how I feel right now.

You can't have a better first night campsite than this.  Lawn furniture, nicely cut grass, power to charge up your devices, and most importantly FREE Wifi!

So this is where I am, typing this blog. Soon it will be completely dark and I will be heading off to bed. I will have to try and wake up at 5am so that I can pack up my things to catch the 7am ferry. Breakfast will be had on the 2hr ferry ride. From then, off to Victoria I go. This has been a great start of the trip so far. It might rain tonight, it might not. I don't care, I'm enjoying myself.

Next blog update, tomorrow night, somewhere in nowhere Victoria... maybe. Thanks for reading.

Mayacycle Bicycle Trailer

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Day 0 Planning and Packing

Tomorrow, Friday Jul 27, I will be embarking on a 3 day, 2 night bicycle trip to Victoria, BC. Armed with a little more knowledge and experience from previous cycling and camping trips, my goal for this trip is to go slow, no rushing, and be as relaxed as I can be. I am going solo. I have no actual destination. Only the city of Victoria comes to mind. There will be no backup plans, no one to contact while I am there and no one to 'rescue' me if I get into trouble. It's gonna be great.

The plan is to start riding by tomorrow (Friday Jul 27) afternoon.  Make my way out to Tsawwassen BC where the Ferry terminal is located and camp the night there.  Luckily, I already have my first campsite booked up.  It is at friends' place who happen to be out of the country at the moment and have given me permission to set up camp in their backyard.  This will be the first leg of my journey.  At the first crack of morning sunlight, I will have to get up early and try to catch the 7am ferry to Swartz Bay ferry terminal.  And from then on, I have the full day to cycle to Victoria.  I am still undecided where I will be camping on my second night.  This I will decide along the way.

Today, Thursday, DAY 0, was spent planning my trip and packing up all my gear.  Experimenting on how to pack as efficiently as possible and make use of the limited real estate that I have on my bike and trailer.  I am already realizing that I need smaller gear...  small, small gear.  My tent is big, my sleeping bag is huge, and my sleeping pad is gigantic.  I know I have to pack as minimalistic as possible but these items are necessities, I could barely fit them all in my trailer.  Does this mean I will have to purchase the smallest gear I can afford?  The smaller the more expensive things get...  sigh.. :( .  For now, I will make due with what I have and I'll think about buying new gear in the future.
All the gear that I will be taking with me
I created a video blog of what I am taking with me and how I packed all my gear into my trailer and bike.  I also would like to show you how my Mayacycle trailer connects to my bike on the second video I made.  Please click on the links below.

Tomorrow I set off for my trip to Victoria.  Nerves are somewhat setting in but I am very anxious to get going.  There is a chance of rain tomorrow but I don't think I will let that stop me from going.  Rain or not, I will have to eventually endure all sorts of weather nature throws at me.  I can only gain experience from it and a necessary one at that.  It is almost midnight and I am still wide awake.  My biggest problem right now is that I may not get any sleep tonight as I am too excited to get going.
My next blog update will be tomorrow night at my first campsite.  I know most of you will be following me through Facebook through my Twitter updates., but to those of you who are not on my facebook list, you can visit me via Twitter here https://twitter.com/604Bluelight .
Good night for now.

Mayacycle Bicycle Trailer

Resurrecting Twitter

I am resurrecting my Twitter account for my upcoming bicycle trip this coming weekend and also for future trips.  I am hoping that this will be the best way to keep you updated with my adventures, my current locations and whatever it is I find interesting enough to tweet about etc. etc.  Twitter will probably be the quickest way to get word out to you and it should use up the least amount of data using my mobile device as opposed to Facebook or Blogging.  And seeing as it will be tied in with my Facebook account, I will only have to tweet once and it will also update my Facebook status instantaneously.
This weekend's trip starting this Friday will be another trial, experimentation and more practice for future cycling trips.  I will try and see if I can maintain real-time location updates, nightly blogs and carrying more electronics this time around to be 'connected' to the world.
I am very excited to get going.  Destination,..  Victoria, British Columbia.


And lastly...  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Found A Bike Today

This is just a quick little entry before my next blog to keep you entertained.

Youtube has been an amazing source for cycling and anything bicycle related for information, entertainment and to a large degree, inspiration.  Here are 3 videos that I'd like to share with you today, and there will be more in the future.

What is Bicycle Travel by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of pathlesspedaled.com.  A couple who sold most of their possessions to spend their lives on bicycles travelling all around the world.

Live.Love.Bike. by Ryan Van Duzer.  One of the people on Youtube that have inspired me most. Ryan is a very positive person with a carefree attitude and always seem to be very happy while on his travels be it by bicycle or any of his adventures.  Something I aspire to in my life.

And lastly, just as a change of pace, one of the funniest bicycle related music videos I've ever seen on Youtube.  I Found a Bike Today by Franco Bollo.  Ok, it's so funny that it gets borderline ridiculous!  Just watch and you'll see why.  I would be surprised if you don't end up cracking up like I did.

Ahh Youtube, where would we be without you...   :-D

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summerland 2012! Happy Canada Day, and Happy Independence Day for our neighbours down south.

Makes me want to break out into singing Wil Smith's classic 'Summertime'!

This past Canada Day long weekend and into mid-week I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a little break. A small getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life...  destination - Summerland British Columbia, and all the surrounding areas of Lake Okanagan.  It was a well deserved break and I have been waiting for this for months!
I drove out packing my bike and camping gear in my car. I stayed with friends at a lakeside property and as expected, the same as with the previous two years I have visited, it was amazing and the scenery can't be beat.  Although a space for me inside the cabin was available, this time around I took the opportunity to 'camp' it out using the new tent I just bought.  This year's visit is to put in some 'practice' camping and cycling to prepare for some future cyclocamping trips.  To be able to experience multiple days and nights being in a tent, experiencing the cold nights, the strong winds and the rain. And I was lucky enough to experience all three and the tent and sleeping bag/pad performed admirably..  I've never slept so well in 50+kph winds and loud splashing of water along the beach.
My tent, my bike and my new best friend Buford the bulldog.

Toby, my other best friend that kept me company every morning at 6am

My first view of the sunrise as I peek out right from my tent
Each morning I would wake up at 6am to a beautiful sunrise overlooking Lake Okanagan.  I would have a few hours of 'alone' time before everyone else woke up (or stepped out of their comfortable bedrooms ;) ) and I would just sit at the dock and absorb some of the heat the sun was giving.  During this time I would get on my bike for a short bike ride before breakfast.  Again, practicing waking up early and being able to ride a bike barely being awake.  The bike ride out of the property also starts off with a killer climb going up a hill that probably hits close to 20 degree incline in some areas for nearly a kilometer.  My first morning ride was very discouraging as I had absolutely nothing in the tank.  A one hour bike ride was enough.
The killer hill seen at the bottom.
A truly magnificent view.  Some of the best bike rides I've been on.

As the day went on and I got some food in me, my friend Matt and I went for a ride out to Peachland and I felt so much stronger.  The hills coming home didn't seem to faze me,  I just love that feeling of a 'second wind' when you feel like you can keep going and going without breaking a sweat.  It has brought my confidence back up that I can ride these inclines and not die doing them.  The remaining days of my stay felt like this while riding.  I don't know what it was, maybe it was just getting used to the higher elevation, maybe it's just the change in scenery, but I felt very strong on my bike.  It was a good feeling.

As all good things must come to an end, unfortunately, my time away also came to an end.  Work calls and I am needed.  These kinds of getaways are always short lived.  However, it was still a great and wonderful little  break.  I am anxiously awaiting for my next 'trip'.  I think the next one will be strictly by bike.

Early morning sunrise

Perfect campground.  Can't get any better than this.

I wish this wouldn't end

Perfect way to end my mini-vacation

Bye Doggies!  See you next time!

Check out this video I made of my stay at Summerland!  Enjoy!