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…

Local Flora and “Fawna”:
Sand VerbenaP1070595
[Sand Verbena’, host to Canada’s only endangered species of moth—the Sand Verbena Moth, would you believe!]

“Mussel Motel”

Unfriendly Resident…

Dune Buggy!


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.


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


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


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!


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)


And here’s the happy stoker…

…and the view from behind…

The restored fog alarm building sits on the windy eastern tip of the island above a snarly junction of waters…

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…


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.


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!

P1070722 gravestone - Copy

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…


…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.


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…


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


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 ( ;


Touring Paradise

Well, OK, so right up front let me confess, today it’s not paradise.  Here we are in July, the 4th of July no less, and I’ve lit a fire in the woodstove to ward off the damp chill of another rainy gray day…but I’m reliving the happier days we’ve had this week…

Company rarely comes this far off the beaten path.  But this week we had a second cousin visiting from England—his first visit to Canada.  So we had to do the royal tour of Powell River and surrounds…P1070112
We squeezed in all the adventures we could starting with a tandem ride around Inland Lake.  Yes, we have more than one tandem so we in fact double tandemed around the Lake on a brooding-but-not-yet-raining morning, stopping for snacks and stone ‘skimming’, finishing the 13km. circuit just before the rain began in earnest.

P1070125 On a fine windy day of mixed sun and cloud (and a bit of spitting rain) we headed off under full sail to find sanctuary in our beloved Copelands.   With just enough wind and mishap to make an adventure we had a full day of it—the motor quit at an important interval, but was readily diagnosed and put right.  Jim’s long beloved hat went overboard, and then the pike pole that was to retrieve it!…The pike pole was retrieved despite high winds ably manipulated by Captain Jim.  Unfortunately the old felt Fedora was lost from view in the scuffle and likely sank. sigh.

P1070146 But the islands were lovely as always…

On the lee side, out of the wind I wandered on a cliff among the treetops where little birds flitted and tweeted about finding refuge from the wind.  Hummingbirds came diving to spin in space staring at this new sight—an interloper in their private arboretum…


We had a campfire and introduced our company to the marvels of roasted marshmallows and the sticky sweetness of some-mores…And ‘smokies’ too were a first… Hotdogs never taste so good as roasted on a stick over a campfire.


Tromping about we looked at oyster beds and found these strange mysteries recently sprung from the earth… not iron at all, but some sort of fungi…


And eventually, when we’d eaten, napped, hiked about and generally delayed as long as seemed feasible waiting for the wind to die down a bit, we headed homeward the long way, tacking,  into an only slightly diminished Southeaster.  My captain was in his element; I was glad to get back to finish that piece of the tour!

yellow flowers crop

And so goes life in paradise—much like where you are…not all sunshine, but always an opportunity for adventure of some sort…


Gone with the Wind…

Knowing what a fair-weather sailor I am,  Jim grabbed the opportunity yesterday for one last (?) sunny sail before the rains set in….We took our bikes along and rode the length of Savary Island (5 miles) down dirt roads strewn with October’s scented finery of golden maple leaves… Glorious!


But before we could even get to the dock with our bikes the sun hid behind the one lone cloud in a vault of blue.  Rainbow iridescence shone at the edges.    We couldn’t entirely regret the sun’s hiding–it gave an awesome photo moment.  



[Curiously, this cloud never left and by the time we did, the sky was strewn with cotton… and once back  in the van headed home,  tiny spits of rain began…  But we had our glorious afternoon first!]  Let me show you some pics…


First there was the pedaling down quiet dirt roads… I’ve always loved tromping through autumn leaves smelling their sweet dying scent.  Today our tires had the same effect…


Then the arrival at the windy Indian Point:



The only Indian there was Jim!

Cycling back we gazed out at the wind-whipped seas on the other side of the island…




–a Beach whose name we do not know–

Then time to row back to "Chase Me" and let the wind chase us home…



And chase us it did!  The thrill of windpower never fades for a true sailor…  A fairweather landlubber can only glimpse the joy…midst reflections on wind and Spirit…

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes…" (Jn.3:8)