Vancouver to Victoria, BC
Stayed two days at Richmonds RV campsite very close to the Airport.
Sightseeing in Vancouver: Granville Island,
Chinatown, Gastown, Stanley Park (totempoles). To N. Vancouver
with the Seabus. Fantastic views from Grouse Mountain. Then to
Vancouver Island: bus (with bike rack!) to Ladner (cycling
through the tunnel is forbidden), bike to Tsawwassen, ferry to
Vancouver Island. Highway 17a, Butchart Gardens (very touristic),
Stayed in Victoria. in Renouf Hostel/B&B (private room $27).
Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. Couldnt manage to cycle
up to Hurricane Ridge (too much rain). Next day Highway 101/20 to Port
Townsend, ferry to Whidbey Island - Oak Harbor - Deception State
park. Met Chuck from North-Carolina. At that time he
hadn't decided yet whether he would do the San Juan Islands first
or following the the Adventure Cycling "Northern Tier" route like me.
North Cascades National park, Washington state
mountainous ride trough the North Cascades
National Park. At the visitor center I met Chuck again. He'd decided to
head for Montana and together we started the long climb to Rainy and Washington
pass. The latter was very scenic one with jagged peaks still covered with snow.
Chuck was already looking forward to Mazama. In an excellent travel
account we both found on the internet (Seattle to
Chicago by Denis
Kertz) he'd read:
stopped in Mazama, the first town from the
Pass, to eat. There was a restaurant with a
tantalizing barbecue smell that turned out
was closed due to a power outage..."
After a big down hill
unfortunately for Chuck there was no barbecue,
but next to the general store/gas station/outdoor
store was a stand where we could get some
hamburgers with chips. We could camp for free
behind to the community building, with nice
facilities like a picnic table, water pump and a
North Cascades national park
In each stage we were treated to a big climb.
First Rainy and Washington pass, followed by Loup Loup and
Wauconda pass. This day the long climb to Sherman
pass was on the menu. As most of the climbs in
this region this one was a long one but luckily
not too steep. The scars of a big forest fire of
1988 were still visible. The weather was sunny
and dry and we enjoyed the fantastic views from
the top. In the distance we could see the snow-capped
range of the North Cascades, a few hundred miles
to the west where we came from.
Semi-desert Okanogan valley and Sherman pass
Glacier National Park
highway to Logan pass, located in Glacier
National Park, Montana, is told as one of America's
most beautiful climbs. At least according to many
cyclists who answered the thread "Most beautiful climbs of the
by my brother on the rec.bicycle rides forum, so
I definitely had to cycle there! On that day I'd
planned to meet another rider I knew from the
internet, Ashley from New Zealand. He made a bike
trip from Los Angeles to Alaska. When I was able
to check my E-mail in Kalispell, his brother
wrote me he was several days ahead of his
schedule and already in Canada... Oh well, no big deal.
Maybe I could catch up with him in Banff.
Glacier national park
Going-to-the-sun highway was a
wonderful climb indeed. There were only some
restrictions for cyclists though. Due to
traffic congestion it was not allowed to cycle on
the west side of the climb between 11 am and 4 PM,
so I started early from Avalanche creek
campground. Because of the overwhelming views I
hardly noticed I was climbing at all. Around 10
am I reached the summit and arrived early in the
afternoon in St. Mary. Too early to stop, and at
first sight not a very nice place, so I decided
to head further north to Waterton Lakes.
Hopefully catching up some time on Ashley.
The Chief Mountain
Highway to the Canadian border and Waterton Lakes
National park was also very scenic and without
too much traffic. Passing the Canadian border for
the second time was not very difficult. Only the
last part was tough, because of the head winds,
mountains and many miles already traveled.
On the expensive and
crowded campground at Waterton, there were
several other cyclists. One of them was a solo
rider and I asked him where he started his
journey. ' 2 months ago I started in San Diego',
he replied. Hey, maybe that guy is Ashley, I
thought, for I had no clue how he would look like.
It was possible he'd changed his plans and
started in San Diego instead of LA. So I asked if
he was from New Zealand. Nope, his name was Andy
and he was from Colorado. He was also planning to
cycle the Icefields Parkway to Jasper and we
decided to join each other to Banff. Warned for
strong head winds on Crowsnest pass, we planned
to ride an alternative route to Banff (highway 22),
staying east of the Rockies instead of following
the Adventure Cycling route to Radium Hot Springs.
few days before entering Banff, Andy and I were
looking for a nice campsite in Kananaskis country.
After a long but beautiful ride through great
mountain scenery we entered Peter Lougheed
Provincial Park. Since the last developed
campsite was at Waterton Lakes National park we
were longing for a campsite with nice hot showers.
No problems, our map indicated there were a few
campsites inside the park. The first one we tried,
had showers. To operate the showers, you needed
some kind of tokens. They are called 'Loonies'.
It was already late and the campground office was
closed and there was no campground host to ask
for those 'loonies'. We felt very disappointed
and tired and decided to cycle to the next
campground, only a few miles down the road, but
another few steep climbs further. Anyway, there
we learned that loonies were not tokens but
simply one Canadian dollar coins... ;-)
Spray trail (Kananaskis Country)
The next morning
we decided to head to Banff over the Smith-Dorien
Spray trail to Canmore. The park rangers
recommended this gravel road. The Engadin Lodge
halfway the trail had delicious apple strudel,
which was the decisive factor to ride the trail
instead of taking the easy highway 40. We didn't
regret our decision. The scenery was fantastic
and we spotted a moose on the road. It was a
dusty ride, but fortunately for us there weren't
too many cars. And the apple strudel tasted great.
Spray lakes dam we rode down the steep descent to
Canmore. Here I discovered I had reached my 2,000
kilometers since Vancouver. The last part to
Banff we had to cycle over the freeway. Entering
the National park, we were confronted with (compared
to the USA) outrageous entree fees. We had either
choice to buy a day pass ($5) or a pass which was
valid for one year ($35). Because we planned to
stay more than 5 days in the park I'd chosen the
latter (and luckily could sell it afterwards to
other cyclists I met outside the park).
In Banff we
camped at the huge Tunnel Mountain campground. No
sign of Ashley, so we left a message on the
bulletin board in case he was staying there. He
also didn't checked in at the youth hostel.
rest day of my trip in Banff, I spent doing my
laundry at the laundromat, sending mail and used
maps back home, dropping my films at a photo shop
and looking for an internet cafe. At a computer
office I was able to check my E-mail for 5 bucks:
wow, 24 messages! Amusingly I read the E-mail
correspondence between my family and Ashley's
family in New Zealand. It seemed they were quite
upset we didn't had met each other already.
Prince Rupert >