Thursday, September 3, 2015

Galiano Bike Camping Adventure: Day 2

That is one dirty Yuba Mundo!

Riding off to the ferry terminal, on time no less!
Here is day two of Four Kids, Four Adults, Four Bikes, & Four Days*. (If you missed Day one, go over here & read about our epic trip to Tsawwassen first. I'll wait. ;)

Day two started eeeearly: I was up at 6:30 after a fitful sleep. I'm still used to broken sleep, since Bronte usually nurses at least once during the night. Also, what rest I got made me feel a lot better than the previous evening when I bonked. I felt better but was still a little anxious, since we had a ferry to catch & then some major terrain to tackle on Galiano.

Not about to repeat yesterday's blood sugar nosedive, I choked down a good solid portion of oatmeal in spite of my nerves. We were packed & ready to head out by five after nine--only a few minutes late. The ride to the ferry was uneventful, flat & only took thirty minutes as expected.

There's a lot to like about biking onto the ferry. You're first on & first off the boat. Even when you pay you get priority: the bike lane takes you to a special gate, so we skipped line. Bikes are also significantly cheaper than cars: $2 each. & there's something exciting about standing right on the deck at the front of the boat & watching the staff use hand signals as they tie up the boat & bring down the ramp.

More side-of-the-highway riding, but only a bit
Once we'd paid, however, it's a bit tricky to figure out where to go. The lanes are clearly marked for vehicles & it's obvious where you go if you're walking on, but for cyclists there is very little indication as to where you wait to board & how you're supposed to get there. After asking two separate BC Ferries staff people, we found the right place & it was almost time to board.

On the ferry Brontë was charging around, as usual, & tripped, scraping her hands a little on the non-slip grit of the deck. Linnaeus enjoyed playing in the wind on the front deck & asked a million questions about the lifeboats, lifejackets, & every interesting thing he could see.

Although the kids were a little nuts on the ferry, the stress of watching them is something I'm used to. What was noticeable was once we'd sat down, all the rest of the logistical travelling stress--getting all our gear into the Skytrain, figuring out bike routes, riding on noisy highways, flat tires, skinned knees, catching ferries--just evaporated. I could relax & enjoy the trip. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh. The sailing from Tsawwassen to Vancouver is only 55 minutes, so it wasn't long before we were strapping kids onto bikes & trailers, then riding off at Sturdies Bay.

Got to jump the queue of cars to pay at the ferry terminal
Lucy & Linnaeus did some blackberry picking while the papas foraged for food, er, grocery shopped for some heavy perishables: meat, fruit, vegetables. We decided to see if the Galiano Bike Shop would have an extra tube for the Yuba just in case, & rode there to check.

The Bike shop was a derelict looking garage on the property of a house just up the road from the ferry. Nobody seemed to be home, so we decided their law would make as good a spot as any to stop for lunch. The bike shop owners never did show up, so we headed out on our way after lunch, making a quick stop for more heavy items: a big bottle of wine & some rum.

Aaaaaahhhhh... Enjoying the comforts of BC Ferries vinyl seats.
The ride from Sturdies Bay to Montague Harbour isn't far: about 8km, but it took us about an hour & a half including many short rests & the liquor store stop because of the terrain. Google Maps tells me the elevation gain is nearly 170m & I believe it. We had to get off our bikes & walk at least three times on the steepest sections, which, I'll admit really sucks with the Yuba. The rear stoker bars & running boards hit my legs unless I walked quite far to the side of it. I discovered the best way to push it was to push the bars with my left hand & pull the seat with my right.

The silver lining to this terrain is the glorious steep downhills to fly on. I really enjoyed coasting down each & every one of those. There is virtually no traffic on the island & the roads take you through tall trees, with occasional peeks through to the water along the way.

Buffeted by the wind on the Queen of Nanaimo Ferry

Getting ready to disembark at Sturdies Bay
We were in Montague Harbour Marine Park by mid afternoon. We easily found our bike-in campsite, & set up the tents on the wooden platforms provided. This is one of my favourite things about camping. I love building things & putting together your own temporary shelter is especially awesome, somehow. Because we had two two-person tents & a 10'x10' platform, there was an extra level of challenge. Pegs weren't really going to work & we had rope, but only two 50' lengths. I came up with the idea of sort of 'sewing' the tents all around the edges with one of the ropes, which worked just fine.

While we were setting up, Lisa took kids on a "nature walk" in the immediate vicinity of the campsite. The campground is full of huge firs & cedars, but there isn't really that much undergrowth, so it's easy to walk around between campsites & the sight lines were great for the kids to range around. Which they did for all the time that we were there--it was so lovely to see our little city kids running around playing with rocks & sticks in the dirt all day.

I also set up our cheap old hammock, plus a food cache so we could hang up the groceries at night. We'd been warned that the raccoons were quite aggressive, so I came up with a way to use the second 50' length of rope, a rock, two trees & our trailer to secure one of Oli's weatherproof panniers up high.

Preschoolers are already going feral & foraging for berries
Once we had our camp set up, we all walked down to the lagoon for a little crab watching. It's so full of tiny green crabs that the bottom seems to be moving when you look into the water. The kids loved looking at the critters & Bronte was completely unafraid of the water, wading in, shoes & all, not once, but twice.

Camp Cook Dan made a delicious pork & pasta dinner, while Oli rode off to the store to buy me some bug spray--I had dozens of bites already, but I'm fairly sure the spray prevented me from getting any more.

After dinner we went down to dock & beach again--it's such a quick walk from the campsite, that even little B could get there on her own steam. When we we returned back to the campsite, Bronte went to sleep almost instantaneously in 'the girls tent'. Linny stayed up with the adults for a while, chatting at the picnic table around mugs of hot chocolate.

My view for most of days 1 & 4 of our trip.
Next we chased off a couple of groups of raccoons. They're really fearless, so I hoped that yelling at them & throwing pinecones might convince them that the should try raiding someone else's campsite.

Once all four kids were asleep, we took turns heading down to the water for stargazing. I can't remember the last time I laid on my back on a dock looking up at the sky. The sky was so clear that we could see the Milky Way. & though we were a few days past the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, I still saw quite a few of them shooting by.

We're here! Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park Campground

Four Kids, Four Adults, Four Bikes, & Four Days*
What I was carrying on my Yuba: some of the lighter camping gear, assorted toiletries & electronics, plus 70 lbs of kids

Aaahhh... hammock. It's quite old, so the strings started to break right after this. Oops.

The lagoon was a short walk from our campsite.

We made it back to the lagoon just in time for sunset.

Watch for the next installment all about day three on Galiano!

*Full credit goes to Lisa M for coming up with the name for our trip: 4 Kids, 4 Adults, 4 Bikes, 4 Days.

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