Wow. We actually made it. The adventure is not over yet, but we are entering "Act II." We have joined up with our dad here in Vancouver, and tomorrow we will ferry over to Victoria to officially begin part 2 of our trip to Mexico.
It is very strange to me to look back on the map and see how far we traveled. It feels like we have been on our bikes forever, yet the path seems short somehow. We are staying in the comfort of a friend's home here in Vancouver, but certain habits simply have taken over. I was offered a big fluffy couch to sleep on, yet I opted for my Thermarest, and considered setting up my tent in the back yard... but then I found out they had dogs, and my allergies would have been on the fritz.
Yesterday (and technically the day before...) was interesting. On the 25th, we started pedaling 170 miles away from Metro Vancouver. We weren't even supposed to arrive here until today, which is the 27th. As we rode on through the day though, the incredible scenery and the excellent weather put Mark and I in a very good mood. It was difficult to navagate on the new route we had chosen because I wasn't able to check the route beforehand to find places that we could stay. When we reached the end of our mileage quota for the day, we weren't really anywhere near a campground. I had been thinking about this for a while at the end of the day, but I tossed it out to Mark almost jokingly: "What if we just didn't stop riding today? What if we just kept riding through the night until we got to Vancouver?" I think he had also been wondering the same thing, and he took me seriously. We decided to go for it, and as the highway led us directly West toward Vancouver, we rode off into the sunset-- true Chromoly Cowboys.
After the steepest climb of our whole trip, and after being spooked by some suspicious parked vehicles in remote areas, (not to mention some vicious dogs that were apparently unleashed,) and two RedBull's later, we made it to Pit Meadows, which is a part of the Vancouver outskirts... 150 miles from where we started that day. Technically, since it was 3:30 AM of the 26th, it was a new day, but in cycling terms, the day doesn't end until you stop peddaling and set up camp. 150 miles (241 kilometers) in one ride is our new record for sure.
We went to sleep around 3:45 AM, and I set an alarm for 7:00 AM. We both woke up at about 6:30 AM though because it was getting so bright, and also because the city had begun to bustle around us. We had "camped" in a fenced off area at a baseball field. There were thick bushes on one side, and a large steel storage container making corner with that, so we had a little privacy in our little corner. The baseball field was located right in a buisy part of town. It was right by a McDonalds, a handful of other stores and restaurants, and the Lougheed Highway ran right by it. The highway, which was near silent in the early hours of morning, became a torrent of raging traffic when the sun came up.
If it wasn't that that woke us up, then it was the fact that people were showing up at the baseball field for something. It sounded like there may have been some construction going on nearby.
Either way, we only had maybe 3 hours of sleep before getting up to try and meet up with our dad. We needed to contact him to let him know that we were actually in town because he wasn't expecting us until late that afternoon. It took us a while to try and find our way around without a map, especially since we were trying to get directions over the phone without any idea of the scale of the map our dad was referencing. It turned out to be relatively close by, and we only had to ride for about two or three hours.
We finally arrived at our friend's home, and another friend came to pick us up to show us Vancouver and also so we could grab some food. It was really cool, but I was a Zombie most of the time because I was so tired.
Vancouver is a huge place. It is a REAL metro area. Salt Lake City is like the movie set of a metro area compared to this. The city just keeps going and going and going.
For the first time in over a month I was able to sleep as long as I liked, guilt free. I think I woke up at 10, but I'm not sure. Anyway, we are planning on taking it REALLY easy today, and using it as a time to catch up on some relaxation, and also a good oportunity to update this page.