All Aboard!
A New Adventure

October 4th-5th, 2014

What Happened…

Andrew writes: Like I mentioned yesterday, I found it really hard to sleep on the ferry, which tossed and turned 10x more than I did. Fortunately, the motion sickness patch did its’ job quite well. We had brought oatmeal for our breakfast, and ate it silently while we listened to other passengers around us talk about the poor sleep they had experienced as a result of the stormy seas.

Despite leaving 3 hours later than schedule, we still managed to dock in Port Hardy on time. We knew that we would be climbing out of the ferry terminal (it’s tradition), and it seemed like the first 20km was just a gradual uphill. I was exhausted, and quite happy when we reached Port McNeill around 1pm, a short 40km ride today. On the way into town we came across our third bear of the trip. That makes one a month now (Aug, Sept, Oct). I even had time to get out my camera, but the pictures came out quite blurry.

We rode down the hill into Port McNeill and found a coffee shop which serves up a double espresso for only $1.05! I was in heaven.

Amanda went off in search of the Visitors Information Centre while I sipped my thimble of java. When she came back she let me know about the Bere (“bear”) Point Campground on Malcolm Island, across from us. We ran a few errands in town, since we are trying to find a kettle to add to our kitchen kit, and then hopped on the 4pm water-taxi to Malcolm Island. From Sointula (pop:800) it was a 5km ride up and then down a hard-packed gravel road.

We had the entire campground to ourselves, and quickly secured the two covered shelters in the day-use area. Amanda set up the tent while I got to work making a fire to cook on. I really enjoy how efficient it is to cook over an open flame. Amanda doesn’t like how dirty it makes the pot and pan though. Still, I was able to boil a full pot of water in about 2 minutes and voila, rice! Another 10min on the grill and I had some ground beef ready to go. Another great thing about the fire was how much driftwood there was to keep fueling the flames.

A group of kids drove up, already in their cups, around 8pm and were drawn to our fire pit. They decided to leave us in peace, and Amanda and I were sound asleep by 9.

We woke up just as the sun was rising. I remember Amanda saying to me, “I bet you it’s 7:30am”..and sure enough, it was. I had hoped that there might still be some embers in the fire, but even though there weren’t, I’m practiced enough now to get one started in a jiffy; thanks to our supply of white-gas! We had purchased fresh breakfast ingredients yesterday, so we enjoyed our sausage, cheese and egg english muffins. The warmth of the sun was filling as well.

A woman had come by the camp site last night and offered us a cup of coffee this morning, but after we set out from the camp today, we couldn’t find her house. Another local woman, on her bicycle, helped guide us most of the way to the house, but we all stopped at the bottom of a “big hill”, and Amanda and I decided that we didn’t have enough time for coffee. Instead we bee-lined it to the ferry dock, unloaded our bikes, and sat and read, while enjoying some fresh tea I had whipped up and stored in our Thermos.

The water-taxi turned up and we boarded, and the crew seemed really happy to see us again. A bunch of other passengers also took an interest in our trip, and that really helps to put a smile on my face, as I talk about our grandiose plans, and in turn, get to ask other people about what they want out of life.

Upon landing back in Port McNeill, I enjoyed another one of Mugz’ cheap espressos and then we headed to Gus’ Pub and Grill to secure seats for the rest of the day. Today is the first time I can remember on this whole journey where we’ve been able to sit and watch football all day. We had burgers and beer for lunch, and it sort of feels like a slice of our old life. I miss this life at times, the feelings of comfort that well up inside me. I won’t miss it tomorrow though, as I’m cycling away from this town into parts unknown.

Amanda has decided that she wants to go to her brother, Jesse’s, funeral service which is later this week. We’ve had a number of people reach out to us on Facebook with offers of help, and so we’re going to push ahead to Campbell River / Courtenay, and have my grandpa pick us up in his truck and take us to a ferry terminal. From there we’ll borrow a friends car to get us to/from the memorial service, and then we’ll come back to the Island for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I’m really thankful for everyone’s help during this time, and it’s really making our lives easier. I also hope that Amanda is able to get closure? something? out of going to the funeral. My hope is that I can be the person she needs as her support while she works through her feeling about this whole thing.


Amanda writes: After not sleeping well on the ferry we were both a little tired. I actually didn’t realize how tired I was until Andrew mentioned he was tired. I can tell when I’m tired because I have a hard time putting together full sentences and my vision gets blurred. I don’t every actually feel physically tired, but my body shows it in other way. I was able to combat my tiredness with my enthusiasm for being on Vancouver Island. Instantly when we stepped off the boat I could feel how much warmer it was. I could ride in a shirt without a vest and jacket. The ride into Port McNeill was a bit longer than we had hoped, but still short.

After we arrived in town and I went to the Tourism Information centre I was so excited. It’s the first time since being in BC that one has been open and been helpful. I had become so accustomed to the visitor information centres in the Yukon that I was missing the hospitality. The lady at the information centre told me about the Islands in the area that you could go to. She told us that one had a free campground right on the beach and if the ferry wouldn’t take our bikes we could leave them at the centre over night. I was so excited about going over. That is until I told Andrew about it and he wasn’t interested at all. Sometimes it’s so hard when you’re not on the same page. We chatted about it for a while and he agreed and off we went.

The ride over to the Island was super chill and the campground was so pretty. It was so great to smell the ocean and be able to walk around with wool layers and a toque. The kids that came over in the evening were so kind to pack up and leave. I’ve been them before where you go somewhere deserted to escape from parents and drink and party your face off. They were super cool about recognizing our nice chill night with a fire and books and took off. Very cool kids. We had a great sleep which we needed terribly and then set off for the ferry. Over night I had given things a lot of thought about my brother. A friend of mine who I have reconnected with on Facebook had sent me a message saying he’d be happy to fly me home for the funeral. I was so truck by his generous offer that it really got me thinking maybe I should bust my ass to get back. I’m pretty confident my brother would be okay with me celebrating his life on the road, but perhaps I should be there for my family. After we settled down today for some football I asked Andrew if we could make the trek over there and try our best. He said he’d do what he could. He is not keen on funerals or hospitals so I’ve left it open for him to just drive me there or come in; we’ll see what happens on the day. For now I’m planning our route as we need to pick up the speed and distance over the next four days to ensure that we can get a ferry. Wish us luck!


Today’s Photographs

All Aboard!
A New Adventure