Cross Canada Cycling Tour May 21 to ...
Monday, May 21st. Got up at 6:30 and dressed for cold wet weather. It was raining and we planned to cycle from Nanaimo to Cobble Hill. After loading our panniers on our bikes we said goodbye to Dan, Jean and Pat and set off at 8:20. We had been told to take the Bike Trail at Hammond Bay Road and Hwy 19. We first of all had to negotiate a very long steep hill in order to get on the "Trail"./ Unfortunately the "Trail" turned out to be poorly marked and had a lot of very steep climbs, several of which we had to walk up. All in all it took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get out of Nanaimo on onto the main highway heading south towards Ladysmith. Fortunately we stopped at a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) to get out of the cold and rain for awhile. The girls attending the TIC advised us to get off the "Trail" at the next light otherwise we would have to double back in order to get on the highway. They also offered us some delicious macaroons which we very gladly accepted. Also, as if the cold and wet weather wasn't enough to put a damper on our day, my chain kept coming off and jamming.
We arrived at the Timmy's in Ladysmith in time for lunch. A hot bowl of vegetable soup and hot chocolate and the fact that the rain had stopped helped to lift our spirits. I called Al Hardy in Cobble Hill to let him know that we were in Ladysmith and would probably arrive in Cobble Hill around 4-5 PM./ We set off again and were making fairly good progress when it started raining again. Bev got thoroughly soaked when an RV hit a puddle just as it was passing her. After passing through Duncan I managed to get a flat in my rear tire. There was nowhere to get off the highway. Had to make the repairs at the side of the road on the paved shoulder. Fortunately, Bev had her rear light flashing which helped to warn motorist that we were in difficulty and making a repair. This didn't seem to make any difference to them as they still passed us going well over the speed limit of 90 kph.
Eventually we arrived in Cobble Hill at 4:45. Once again I called Shirley to get direction as to where to get off the highway (I forgot I had printed/written the instructions on the reverse side of the instructions that Al had sent me for getting to their house). We stopped at the main gate and were given a map and instructions on how to find Al and Shirley's house. The guard also told us that it was all "down hill" and quipped have fun getting out. Little did we know that it was like "suicide hill". We had to have the binders on all the way down it was so steep. Bev thinks she now needs to get new brakes. We could smell the rubber burning.
After 90 kms of wet, cold, gritty highway cycling it was good to be safe and sound in Cobble Hill at last. We were able to store our filthy bikes in Al's garage along with his shiny BMW and his Golf Cart. In spite of wearing "booties" my cycling shoes and socks were soaking wet. We stripped off and showered and got dressed for dinner. We also took advantage of Shirley's state of the art laundry facilities to wash and dry our filthy cycling gear. Thank you very much Shirley.
Al had prepared a delicious dinner of his renowned meat balls with mashed potatoes and a superb home made wine. One of the finest home made wines I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.
We were very tired and because we wanted to get an early start were off to bed by 10:00 PM after Shirley counselled us against cycling across the Malahat and showed us an alternative route which would be more "biker" friendly by taking the ferry from Hill Bay