Got to the Canadian border yesterday morning and was met by Mr Dour, who is related to Mr Surly, though only distantly. He wanted to know where I was from and where I was going. He asked me if I realised how big the place is, so I told him I had five months, which must have been the right answer. He asked me what I did for a job, how much money I had, and if I had any weapons. Then I was dismissed.
Not sure how to describe entering Canada. I was greeted by sunshine and that delightful flag. Positive emotions, and I was smiling.
The plan was to head straight to Vancouver Island, because, as the name of this blog suggests, I want to dip my feet in the Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, for no other reason really but to get clean feet. I want to travel as far north as possible into the Northwest Territories, visit Canada’s southernmost point, Pelee Island, and in the east stand at the tip of Cape Spear in Newfoundland. Only when I’ve done these things will I have some understanding of just how massive and beautiful this country is.
The ride through Vancouver was pretty straightforward; it was a nice sunny day and only moderately cool weather – much like a Brissie winter, so quite an enjoyable ride. There’s a ferry which takes people and vehicles across to the Island. It’s an hour and a half trip and a very picturesque and comfortable journey. I spent the time listening to Canadians talking:
She: I can’t understand how you left your bathroom bag behind.
She: If you wanted to brush your teeth, why didn’t you just get your toothbrush and toothpaste out, instead of taking the whole bag?
He: Oh look, we’re coming into the bay now.
Here are some flags at Nanaimo. I noticed the New Zealand flag was positioned slightly in front of the Aussie flag. Tomorrow I will go and speak to the important city people about rectifying that. I’m sure it was just an oversight.
Another photo from Nanaimo, looking back towards Vancouver:
Anyway, back to food (already the American culture’s rubbed off on me…). Stayed in Nanaimo last night, and the first thing I did this morning was burn up to Tim Horton’s and get my face around a blueberry bagel. It was just as delicious as I remembered. I know I’ve been crapping on a lot about the food down in the US, but this is real food and normal size to boot. What am I going to do in Alaska? There’s no Tim’s up there.
For all you deprived Aussies, here’s what a Tim’s looks like:
Today I took a trip from Nanaimo down to Victoria, a bit over an hour each way. I needed to get a heated jacket and a Harley rider I spoke to on the ferry recommended the Harley dealer down there. Wasn’t disappointed, this one hooks up to the battery terminals and is sure to keep me nice and warm in Alaska and northern Canada. Then it was off to Mountain Equipment Co-op to get some camping gear and warm clothes. Had to get the stove etc because those sorts of things (gas bottles) are prohibited on planes for obvious reasons. So now I’m set.
I stayed in Victoria a lot longer than planned because of the people! They’re so friendly and interested in what I’m doing; they just approach and start up a conversation. They are without exception delighted to advise on points of interest around the place, and have such knowledge about the whereabouts of places and the history of everything. After hearing about my plan to ride across Canada, one man recommended I visit Mile O of the Trans-Canada highway, which just happened to be down the road. Got this pic taken by another friendly passerby: