Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vancouver, BC!

Sitting in the Hostels International here in Vancouver, BC. It's so exciting to be in a big city, especially one I've never been too. Yesterday morning rolled into Bellingham, WA. after being on the ferry for 3 1/2 days. Casey said he would meet me at the ferry, but was a no show. He had a tough first day getting out of Seattle and was still a ways from the Bell. So I was like take your time, see you when I see you.

After that it was back to Old Town for breakfast. It was the last spot I hit in the Bell before getting on the ferry. Great place with good coffee and breakfast. Last time Luke and I went and sat at the community table. Great place to shoot the shit and chat with some folks. We met a couple that had just come off the ferry so they gave me some good info. Kind of how being on the road works. Just word of mouth traveling so to speak. Like yesterday morn for instance.

As soon as I roll up to Old Town I'm locking my bike up and this dude starts chatting me up. You can tell he's a cyclists from his built. Sinewy legs that say biker. We start talking and told me how he just got back from being on a bike trip in Europe for five weeks with his wife. They've been doing it for like 20 years. They have two children and used to take them as well. Now his science is light as possible. He basically goes with the clothes on his back. I like it! A bit tough when you need to camp. But he stays at hotels and says your never far from the best bakeries in the world. We finish chatting and he tells me him and his wife own the restaurant. I go in and he takes off. Next thing you know, I finish enjoying my breakfast. The waitress comes over and says Vic wanted to buy you breakfast. How sweet is that, just rolled back into Bellingham and wholla. Set the tone for another great day! Thanks Vic, and many more years of touring for you.

Didn't really want to bother Casey and had no clue what time he was going to arrive. So I started biking around town and ended up online at the library for a while. Then outside reading some more of "Confederacy of Dunces." Which I'm really enjoying. The relationships in that book are hilarious. Casey finally rolled in about 4:30. We hung for a minute at the library so he could catch up with himself. He gave me my mail that I had sent to him. 3 months worth of mail, all crap pretty much. None the less, good to get and sort through. Then we hit a burrito shop in town. ugh, the small details. Why bother? Well he happened to be riding on the day of the RSVP bike tour. A ride that goes from Seattle to Vancouver. So much the same as our first day of biking so many months ago when we ran into that cop bike tour. Casey also got to bike with like 1300 bikers. Which is pretty cool! So Bellingham was packed with bikers because that was the destination for day one.

Meanwhile, all day I was trying to figure out accommodations for us as well. Was trying Warmshowers. Hit a few peeps on there. No reply til today from a few of them folks. Then hotels were all booked. He told me his wife's aunt lives in Lynden. Which is right on the Canadian border. Sounded good, it was in the direction we were going. A little off the beaten path but a free friendly place to stay is always nice. Forget that plan, we headed straight for the border. We decided to get to Vancouver last night. Vic told me once you get over the border go left into Whiterock and take public transit. So that's what we did.

Again the border crossing was a nightmare. This time it was more TJ border crossing style less the chiclets, mexi blankets and Bart Simpson on a surfboard ceramics. Just a ton of cars and a lot lanes. We bypassed all that and headed directly for the office. Again, with the dumb line of questioning. Then we were told to have a seat. Soon enough we were on our way. Is there that many Americans going to Canada and staying there that their this worried? They were concerned we were coming there to find work.

Boom, in Canada baby! It was dark by this point. Got to Whiterock and started looking at the bus stops. Found a couple of teenagers and asked them about mass transit into downtown Vancouver. They hooked us right up. We put our bikes on the fold down bike rack on the front of the bus and were headed to the hostel. Two buses and a train later we were in downtown Vancouver. Holy Shit! I was in Toronto back in the 80's and that's what it felt like. Tons of junkies, prostitutes and homeless scattered among the plethora of young people out on a Friday night enjoying the beautiful weather. Also a shit load of bikers with bike lanes everywhere. Yeah baby, I like this city! A ton of grit and attitude. We made it to our destination and bunked down for the night.

Bellingham is also a really bike friendly town. I wouldn't have minded staying there last night. Actually as we were biking out of town we passed a "bike in." They shut the street down and have a block party for cyclist. They were showing bike films as well. We met a couple of locals that were leaving and biking our way. So we biked with Daisy and Erin for a minute. They went left and we went right for Canada.

There is so much more to write about. But it's time to get out and explore Vancouver. Have a great weekend and "stay tuned."