Mark Chircop


Mark Chircop

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver September 13th 2019

We had a few things we needed to do. We needed to get all our gear to the Storage facility and we needed to return the hire car by 10am. So to kill two birds with one stone we loaded our gear (minus the bikes) into the hire car and dropped everything off at the Storage Facility and then continued on to the airport to return the car. We caught a cab back to the AirBnB and tidied up and checked out by 10:30am. We got on the bikes and muscle memory kicked in and our legs began to pedal. No urgency, no rush, just a gentle turn of the pedals. No one is in a hurry today, it's all about soaking up the last bit we can out of the day. We had nothing planned ... read more

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver September 12th 2019

Today was Whistler Day for Tom, Jeff and I while Graeme was going to the Vancouver Aquarium for a mix of business and fun. We had originally decided on getting the bus to Whistler but decided we may as well hire a car and have discretion around when we left and returned. We had booked a car the previous night from the airport which is only a few kilometers from where we are staying. We caught a cab to the airport and tried to pick up our car. Unfortunately we had booked the car at Richmond, VA. which is Richmond Virginia on the east coast of the US and not Richmond Vancouver and Budget had no cars availabe for us. Nothing like a bit of drama to start the day. We worked our way along the ... read more

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver September 11th 2019

We rode the 6km from our hotel in Sidney to the Swartz Ferry Terminal in a quick 20 minutes, plenty of time to buy our tickets and put the bikes on board. The ferry is much bigger then the one that we caught from Seattle to Victoria and much cheaper too at only $18. We are visiting Edna today. Edna is the sister of Jeff's mother-in-law and lives in Surrey. We check the distance from the Tsanwassen Ferry terminal to Edna's place and back to Richmond where we are staying tonight and are quite shocked to find it's 90kms. Not something we were expecting. We realise that this is the same Surrey that we rode through on our first riding day of the trip. The ride is via a different route than we took that first ... read more
Low tide
We took some unexpected agricultural tracks on the way back to Vancouver
Crossing one of the may bridges today

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver Island » Victoria September 10th 2019

We woke to the sound of steady rain falling, thankfully it had stopped by the time we left for the ferry. It was only a short ride and we got there and on board with plenty of time to spare. The conditions were quite calm and the trip took just over two and a half hours arriving at 10:45am. We then had to collect our liggage and bikes and go through customs (as we were travelling from the US to Canada). At border security we went through as a group. The conversation went something like this . . . . Border Security Officer (BSO): So are you going to leave anything in the country? Tom: No Mark: No Jeff: No Mark: Hey Jeff, what about that present for Edna? Jeff: Oh yeah, I have a present ... read more
Vicoria is the capitol of Vancouver
Fisherman's whaarf
St Andrew's Catholic Church

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle September 9th 2019

A relatively early start because there is a lot we'd like to squeeze in to the day. Our initial stop is the Pike Place Market. This is very touristy but it has been done very well. There are fresh flowers, arts, crafts and numerous other retail outlets including a number of magic shops. There is also fresh produce including meat and fish. One of the fish mongers makes a big deal when somone buys a salmon by hurling the fish from the display area to the wrapper about 10 feet back. It draws a big crowd and everyone has there cameras ready to roll in anticipation. We also got breakfast here at a great little shop that had amazing food. I changed my ind 3 times while I was waiting in the line to be serverd. ... read more
Pike Place - Fish Monger
Pike Place
Building Art

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle September 8th 2019

We all slept in a little with nothing planned for the morning. Tom didn't feel like breakfast so stayed at the hotel while Jeff, Graeme and I went in search of food. Not much was open Sunday morning but we eventually found a nice bakery that was open and grabbed a bite to eat. We had seen people arriving early for the Football game and setting up cabanas in the carparks and geting BBQs out, and setting up TVs. We dropped in a on one to ask what they were doing and were immendiately offered a beer (before 10am) and some BBQ chicken - well it would be rude to say No, wouldn't it. It's called "Tail Gating." Groups of friends turn up together, everyone brings food and drinks to share, they set up Tvs, BBQ ... read more
Some fans go all the way
Seattle is the home of Starbucks
Our new mate John

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver September 7th 2019

We got into Vancouver way ahead of schedule at 4:30am but baggage was unloaded from 6am. All of us had an uncomfortble nights sleep, the only draw back of our very enjoyable train ride. After we collected our bikes we eaded back to the Storage Facility were it all began. The plsn is to cut back on our gear for the few days riding we'll do on Vancouver Island. On the way there was passed by what was called the City Farmer which was a large garden the size of a few house lots. These had been supplied by the council and maintained by a group of dedicated people intent on informing and educating locals and schooll groups on the benefits of sustainability, re-use, composting and gardening in general. Jeff must have a radar for this ... read more
Hand built pizza oven and store room
The Garden
Second Beach on Stanley Park

North America » Canada » Alberta » Jasper September 6th 2019

The train leaves from Jasper at 9:30am and we plan on being at the station by 8:00am to get the bikes on the train and get our seat allocation. Things get a little tense when Jeff can't find his passport, but eventually it's found in his panier. I'm feeling a little better now because I "lost" my Garmin yesterday and it took Graeme to find it where I'd already looked four times! At the station we book the bikes in and we help the porters insert our bikes into plastic bags and tape them up, and then lift them on to carts for them to be loaded as baggage. At 8:45am the four of us get called for pre-allocation. Effectively they put us on a golf cart and drive us up to the carriage we'll be ... read more
In the Dome Car
Passing a Goods Train
Lake Views from the Dome

North America » Canada » Alberta » Jasper September 4th 2019

Two days to relax in Jasper before we head back to Vancouver and move on to th next chapter of our trip. We rise late and have a liesurely breakfast. Eventually we head into town and head to the Information Centre to see what sort of activities we can enjoy. Lots of things to do, lots of maybe's, and nothing booked. One thing we find at the Information Centre is the location of a Farmers Market that is open today - so off we head. Although not too big there is a great assorment of food and a few crafts - we concentrate on the food picking up some fresh veggies and bread for meals as well as a generous assorment of cakes, pies, brownies and slices - it was just too hard to pick one! ... read more
Old Steam Train from the Canadian Pacific Rail Line
The Sky Tram departing
View of Jasper from above

North America » Canada » Alberta » Jasper September 3rd 2019

An uneasy sleep in the bunks at the Beauty Creek Hostel and a slightly late start to the day. Packet oats with hot water and a cup of tea for breakfast was not up to what we have become accustomed to. And it was cold - very cold. No mucking around this time, we all put on multiple layers before we took off. It was a beautiful blue sky that greated us but the highway was still in shadow because the mountains were so high around us. It took a good 30 minutes for us to warm up. The highway presented the same smorgesboard of mountains topped with snow caps and forests running up to the snow line. The occasional lake to break things up. It never gets "old". We came to our first stop today ... read more
Sunwapta Falls
Classic View
Classic View

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