Leaving Vancouver Island...

MikeO

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Dereham, Norfolk, today...
12th July (cont)

After posting yesterday's post from the Cafe Guido, I bumped into Chris & Sue...

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...who are from Califonia, and are about to embark on the ferry to Alaska on their Harley. They'll be gone 2 weeks and have an excellent attitude towards travel and life generally.

Later that evening, I wander across the road to the hotel bar and spend the evening drinking and chatting with Jim, Rory, Dave and Robby, who are trawlermen fishing in the area. They drink like professionals and I retire at midnight...

13th July

...which is why I wake up feeling less than bright in the morning. In fact, I feel like crap - but then, I deserve to. I stop by Guido's again, and have a restorative Latte, then set off for Port Alice. Port Alice is towards the west coast and can, I was assured last night, be reached by the series of gravel roads on my map.

Well, it can't. I try three different routes and find two locked gates and one checkpoint, where I was turned back and it was suggested I take the main road.

It's a bit of a 'last straw'. Since I got here on Friday, I've done the best part of 300 miles on gravel roads and, although I've caught glimpses of some nice scenery, I've never managed to connect via one of these roads.

I've tried very hard to like Vancouver Island - it's been highly recommended and the north especially is beautiful...

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...but it's not for me. There's something about the place that doesn't work for me right now - I can't explain it any better than that. I decide I'm going to leave and get back to the mainland...

I make tracks down towards Nanaimo, the north eastern ferry port. I work out that I can just make the 1700 ferry, if everything goes OK.

Everything does, and I squeak onto the ferry - literally the last vehicle on...

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...I'm still strapping the stand to the front wheel as we sail...

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During the trip back, I chat to Violet, who's from Manitoba, just returning from her family holiday on Vancouver Island - she's had a great time, travelling with her father Bob and her son.

It's a beautiful afternoon as the ferry steams the 90 minutes to Horshoe Bay...

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...we dock at 1830, and I ride back down to the Econolodge at Surrey, which I left last Friday.

Where to go tomorrow...

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Oh yeah - and I've just decided that I'm not going to Australia or New Zealand. I'll be heading for Central & South America instead...

Mike :)
 
14th July

I decide to stay in Surrey for another day. I'm only 500 miles away from the 72k mile service, which I'm going to do early next week at Jorge & Sheila's in Oregon. However, I'm also keen to visit Banff National Park and, whilst I'm up here in British Columbia, it seems crazy not to do it now. However, that will make me 1000 miles late for the service...

So, I ring John Valk BMW in Vancouver and ask if they can fit the Adv in for an oil & filter change today. They can - excellent!

I ride into Vancouver. Jorge tells me it reminds him of San Francisco, except it's full of nice people :yelrotflm - I can see what he means, though. It has trams (well, trolley-buses, to be strictly accurate and a complete spotter :D) and it has Pimpmobiles...

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I arrive at John Valk and leave the Adv to the mercies of Ian and his team.

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They have an interesting BMW in their workshop (not for sale)...

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According to the sign in the window, it's a 1959 Isetta 600.

My bike's soon finished and I make my way back to the hotel. As I'm riding along the freeway, overtaking a truck, I feel a sudden rattle of debris being thrown against me and the bike as the truck's tyres encounters some crap on the road. Almost immediately, I feel the bike slow and the back end starts to squirm a little. I roll off the throttle and coast to a stop on the hard shoulder. Sure enough, I've got a rear puncture...

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Bum.

I have a couple of aerosol puncture repair cans on me. I try one of these (Holt's Tyre Weld), but the hole is obviously too big and the air just hisses out again. I'm just unpacking my Tyre Plugger (remember I bought it in Daytona?) when a car stops ahead of me. It's Ed, who has stopped to see if I need any help. He's not a motorcyclist himself, just wants to help a fellow human being out - what a nice chap!

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He stays, having positioned his car behind me with the hazard warning lights on, until I've plugged the tyre, and then brings his car alongside, so I can plug my mini-compressor into his cigar lighter socket (note to self - if you're going to leave the BMW accessory plug/cigar lighter converter in the hotel - fit a BMW plug to the compressor :rolleyes: ). After the repair proves successful, I say thanks and we rejoin the road. What a good bloke - meeting Ed was the silver lining to the cloud of getting a flat...

I'm back at the hotel by 1300 - and planning tomorrow's route...

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