Fitness Vacations R Us

We took advantage of a sunny stretch of days to take our second annual ‘fitness vacation’ on the tandem.  But first a day on Sandy Island with friends, exploring, chilling (the water was COLD), and catching some zzzzz in the sun…
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Local Flora and “Fawna”:
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[Sand Verbena’, host to Canada’s only endangered species of moth—the Sand Verbena Moth, would you believe!]

“Mussel Motel”
mussels

Unfriendly Resident…
Crab

Dune Buggy!
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Companion.
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But enough lazing around. Using Victoria as our launch pad we caught early morning ferries to two Southern Gulf Islands we’ve never visited before: Mayne and Saturna.

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Care to come along? We’ll do the pedaling. You can enjoy the sights…

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Here’s my adventurous Captain, without whom this tour would never have happened…

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By definition, exploring means that sometimes you will end up where you least expected—doing an off road trek on a barely blazed trail to nowhere on a very hot afternoon. But it was an adventure.  And it made us quite willing to walk on razor-sharp barnacles at the first opportunity in order to plunge into frigid, murky ocean water!

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We did 32 miles of manic riding besides on Mayne Island—either UP or DOWN, with little in-between.  The nice thing about riding hard is how good the food tastes when you find it.  Between the two of us we downed an entire BBQ chicken for lunch, excepting some scraps. Yum!
And that was Day 1.

Saturna was more to our liking—cool shady oceanside flat stretches of road, fewer people, lovely views of “My Country tis of Thee…” just across the water… (Pictured here is Mt. Baker)

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And here’s the happy stoker…
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…and the view from behind…
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The restored fog alarm building sits on the windy eastern tip of the island above a snarly junction of waters…
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This point was sighted and named in 1791: “Punta de Santa Saturnina” by a Spanish naval officer, thus the name of the Island, Saturna. The San Juan Islands are visible from this point…

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At last it came time to find the one and only General Store and refuel.  It was both pricey and quaint.  We tanked up in the sunny comfort of the front porch before checking out one last island road.

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We took a breather to stroll around a little graveyard tucked beside the road.  I had to take a picture of this stone, my favorite ever!  It’s a real gravestone.   I love it!

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By the end of Day 2 (which included a short ride into downtown Victoria for an evening event which will have to be a blog all its own) we had logged forty-eight miles! Stiff necks, sore seats, but happy souls to have weathered such things together!

Day 3 we stuck closer to town, opting not do the early morning race to the ferry to go island hopping.  (We have to save an island or two for another year right?)  Instead we cycled up the highway to a park featuring rocks and rushing stream and miles of bike trail (“Galloping Goose”) fashioned from the old railroad bed, complete with trestle bridges!  P1070794P1070785P1070791

The cool and overcast morning gave way to sunshine just in time to enjoy a refreshing dip in the stream…

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…before the return trip that made for our biggest day of all: 48.75 miles!  And not enough steam to bother rounding it off to 50.  We hopped in the van instead and drove to the nearest lake to wash away the day’s heat and sweat…ahhh…  Thus endeth Day 3.

At some point a ‘long weekend’ can no longer be called a weekend.  So with some reluctance we headed for home on Day 4 squeezing in one last bike ride while parked at the ferry terminal waiting our crossing… Just 19 miles on wide open stretches in the Comox Valley.  We pedaled out to scenic Goose Spit.

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Taking a dead-end turn enroute back to the ferry, we ended up having to put it in high gear and race to make the ferry!  What a hoot!
But the ferry was there…

P1070818 and we enjoyed our ‘cruise’ home…

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…arriving in time to catch a breath-taking Powell River sunset!

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And there you have the highlights of our Second Annual fitness vacation via tandem for a grand total of 147.75 miles (238km) ! Not bad for an old granny—I tell Jim that’s who ‘granny gears’ are made for!
Glad you could ‘come along’ with us ( ;

–LS

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