Day two was an early start. We needed to leave the campsite by 7.45am at the very latest in order to catch the 10.15am ferry some 55km away. Conscious that camp pack down was likely to take us a bit longer on the first morning, while we perfected it, we set our alarm for 6am. However after a terrible nights sleep due to a combination of wind whistling through the trees and setting used to camping we were up before it went off.
Pack down done, we were off. The first 10/15km were very pleasant on the quieter roads of Vancouver Island. It was around the 15km mark where we joined the main highway down the island; a busy dual carriageway which conveniently we hit during rush hour. It was there that we first experienced cycling next to huge lorries hurtling along the highway. It was an incredibly stressful and scary situation. Being from a country where the lorries are the same size as a large pick up truck over here, didn’t exactly prepare us for the huge lorries that tore along the highway with little consideration for us on bikes a few feet from them. It was at that moment that we realised this could be a very long cycle if this was going to be the norm for the next 6500km.
Getting to the ferry terminal turn off was euphoric, maybe a little too euphoric for Matt’s phone and the excitement made it bounce out of matts top tube bag and on to the ferry terminal slip road. We quickly pulled over and watched intently as all the cars behind us miraculously avoided smashing it to smithereens. We retrieved it from the road delighted that it was completely unharmed as that could have dampened the mood quite considerably on the second day of the trip.
Having only had the remainder of our petrol station snacks for breakfast we headed straight for the restaurant on the ferry and loaded up on a nutritious breakfast of hamburger and fries.
We arrived back on the mainland having only left it 3 days previous. Not due at Matt’s aunts for coffee and cookies for a couple of hours, we felt no immediate rush to leave the ferry terminal and we ended up hanging around whilst Matt caught up on admin and Hannah scared off the ravens trying to peck their way through a bag of pretzels attached to Matts bike. Setting off from the ferry terminal we had two options: the highway or the lovely sounding Marine Drive. We opted for the later as the name suggested it was by the sea which generally meant flat and we needed to save our legs for the hills to come...it was not and the burger and fries from the ferry started to feel rather heavy on the short sharp hills into Vancouver.
We made it to Matts aunts and aware this was our last chance before Calgary we had to ditch anything we had, as inexperience bikepackers, previously thought of as necessary and might after the hills on the island no longer believe them essential to our trip. Hannah ditched a DSLR camera as between the drone, GoPro and two iPhones we were covered on the photography front. Both of us asked for our casual shorts and t-shirts to be posted to Calgary as we realised we were unlikely to need them in the evenings around camp in the Rockies. Admin done, coffee and cookies consumed and a group photo taken we were on our way again.
Keen to also meet up with one of Matt’s friends from school, Chris, who lived in Vancouver but also aware we needed to get some miles under our belts, we were told by Chris to turn on our live tracking on WhatsApp and he’d try and catch up with us on his way home from work. As we pedalled our way through Vancouver chatting to fellow cyclists who were commuting home from work, Chris and his fiancé Were chasing us around greater Vancouver in what Chris described as like real life Grand Theft Auto. I imagine or hope at least, with less prostitutes or guns though. They eventually caught us on a quiet residential street in the east of the city and seeing them gave us a real boost before our evening cycle to Mission.
Leaving Vancouver at 5ish meant that after a dinner stop at McDonald’s, our second burger and fries of the day, we didn’t arrive at our campsite until dark. Whilst a bitty broken up day with only 141km due to a 2hr ferry ride, it was great to see so many people and it put us in a good mood to go into day three.