From Sea to Sky: Biking from Victoria to Hope

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May 16th 2011
Published: May 23rd 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

The Start LineThe Start LineThe Start Line

Victoria, BC

Is that really a solar panel behind your bike?

I could not have imagined a better icebreaker than a bike trailer with a solar panel. In fact, even if it weren't connected to anything at all, it would still be worth dragging the darned thing up the Fraser Valley as I have been doing for the past 5 days.

The answer is of course, yes, that is indeed a solar panel that I've hauled the 440-odd kilometres to Hope, British Columbia.

Starting in Victoria, the panel faithfully followed me up the Saanich Peninsula, over the ferry and past the farms of Salt Spring Island, then back across to Vancouver Island, bounced its way along logging roads to Nanaimo, sat patiently on the ferry to mainland Vancouver, rocketed around Stanley Park, and weaved its way through the labyrinth of country trails, mountain bike routes, dikes, farming roads and highway shoulders of the Fraser Valley.

The Trans Canada Trail is puzzle-like in this part of the country; with so many roads and pathways, it's not always obvious where the route goes. My GPS system has guided me with absolute precision, powered completely by batteries charged from the sun. This being the "Fire Adventure", it seems fitting that
Salt Spring IslandSalt Spring IslandSalt Spring Island

Where the hippies roam..
the element of fire itself can take credit for getting me this far.

Admittedly, for most of the journey so far the solar panel has barely met this critical minimum requirement as the sun has hardly made a serious appearance. The rain has poured down for endless hours, providing very little electricity to spare.

Still, what makes it all worthwhile is enjoying the look on people's faces when they see the panel. They politely smile as they see me coming their way, and just as I whiz by, that odd contraption following behind suddenly captures their attention. I always sneak a peek in my rear view mirror and catch the person with their head turned back to me doing a double-take, often with their jaw agape. I can usually catch a voice saying to their friend or to noone in particular, "..a solar panel?!" before fading in the wind blasting down from the mountains. When I stop for a snack, usually at least one person approaches and starts a conversation - but judging by where they are looking, I'm never sure if they're talking to me, or to the trailer!

As I weave my way up the
Salt Spring OdditiesSalt Spring OdditiesSalt Spring Oddities

Good stuff for all the druids out there
valley through the towns of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, the water in the Fraser River begins to speed up; it appears that the relatively flat valley is beginning to run out and soon my route will begin to climb skyward. That point is in Hope where I now find myself, surrounded on all sides by huge mountains, with the rain coming down so hard I wonder if it would be possible for this bowl to fill up and drown the whole city and me along with it.

The tourist office says it was snowing on the Coquihalla Pass earlier in the day which is where I'm headed for the next leg. I decide I've done well to get this far and it wouldn't hurt to take a rest day and wait for better weather.

It has been a beautiful, but at times demoralizing and painful first leg of the journey across Canada, but I have met some amazing people who have provided a warm meal or bed, including a nice family in Fort Langley who bought me lunch with a spare Groupon, which helped me get through this bumpy start of the adventure on a full belly at the least.

I awake on Day 6 to see the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. The weather band says there's a break in the weather; I look towards the trail winding its way into the mountains and decide this is no time to rest - it could start snowing again tomorrow. I pack up camp and hit the road. The shakedown ride is over and I begin pedaling upwards.. with the solar panel faithfully following along, of course!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Mosquito CreekMosquito Creek
Mosquito Creek

North Vancouver
Goodbye CityGoodbye City
Goodbye City

Hello Countryside.. soon enough
Hope: The Chainsaw Carving CapitalHope: The Chainsaw Carving Capital
Hope: The Chainsaw Carving Capital

No REAL sasquatch sightings... yet!

23rd May 2011

Sorry about the Rain.
Hey! If I had known you would have been passing through my home of Chilliwack, I would have taken ya for a Tim Horton's! Best of luck with the "fire" portion of your adventures, I think you will sufficently be on fire once you ascend to the snowy Coquilhalla Summit...stay dry and warm.
24th May 2011

You continue to amaze us with your ingenuity, creativity and courage - keep it up Clive!
24th May 2011

What?! What!?
It rains in BC?! On the 500 pages of forms I filled out for Canadian Immigration, not one said a thing about rain....
24th May 2011

Wow--now that's a bike ride.
Love the rowers.
8th June 2011

buen viaje
I am down in Panama now bro, my last trip since when we met in Ecuador! I love your blog!! thank you for being free and inspiring spirit to live and love life! Did you snap that bald eagle shot? super close up wow!
8th June 2011

To Peter
Awesome! Enjoy Panama - it's a blast. Go up north to the highlands... it's beautiful! Yes, I got the eagle shot... they're not shy out here! Take care and have fun down there!

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