Saturday, August 25, 2007

Canada- for the last time

Instead of the 2 days I assumed it would take us to ride from Prince Rupert to Vancouver, it took 3 days. En route, we stopped off in Fraser Lake and Lilloet where we stayed for free at the campsite as no one came to chase us for money. I even manged to severely block their loo so it was a good job we left. We took a really nice dirt road over some hills between Clinton and Pavillion. The locals told us to avoid it as it was dirt and had lots of switchbacks- decision made really. The scenery there was quite beautiful and reminded me briefly of riding in South America again.

I'd emailed Colin and Gill (we met them in Valpariso around Xmas) and we were on our waycaught the ferry over to Vancouver Island where they live. They were away for few days, and again we just needed to pick up the keys from their neigbour. Colin had said in his emails to just make ourselves at home and to make use of the bath, washing machine and had even left us beer in the fridge. We'd only met them once in Chile for really only a few hours but it was like meeting old friends when they came home a couple of days later after picking up Gills daughter from the airport and it was really nice to catch up again. Colin is a bit of a master at home brew wine making and we got pleanty of opportunities to sample his produce. On our last night in Victoria, I made everyone barbequed meat/veg on skewers with potato salad as a small way of saying thanks for our hosts wonderful hospitality.

We didn't get to see as much of Vancouver Island as we'd have liked though Victoria itself was very pleasant and I can see why ex-pats Colin and Gill chose to live there. It has a nice climate, you have all the outdoor activities you could want too. We spent most of our time there sorting out shipping and flights as unfortunatelly after nearly 10 months on the road, we're pretty much at the end of our trip. I managed to get my bike booked in with Motorcycle Express, and am to take it over to Vancouver Airport in a few days time. Michelle is off to Australia shortly after 8 years in London and I'm heading back to Europe for a few weeks on my own then its back to Scotland for me. I actually need to sort out visas and stuff there as I'm looking at also getting to Australia but I expect that will take several months to sort out. Although it will be weird being back and staying in one place, it will be fantastic to see my family and friends again though I'm not looking forward to paying UK prices again.

We next headed to Vancouver as we were staying at a friend of a friends place to the east of the city. Danny and Mia live in a very funky retro house with a huge assortment of animals. We stayed for a couple of nights while I got my bike over to the packing warehouse where Herr Bertie was strapped to a metal pallet and wrapped in plastic. The next time I'd be seeing him would be in Munich airport in a few days time. Michelle and I decided to get a hotel room for our last couple of nights together and spent a couple of days sightseeing in Vancouver and even managed to do the 'Grouse Grind' though our time of 1hr 40mins wasn't nearly as impressive as the people who do it in under 30 minutes. On our last night, we watched the sunset from Grouse Mountain and thankfully caught the cable car down rather than walking.

It was very emotional at the airport the following morning as Michelle saw me off. She was flying to Australia a couple of days later and would be heading to her folks place for a bit.
After everything we've seen and been through together, it felt really hard to be saying goodbye to Michelle however we will be seeing each other again in a few months.

Next stop for me, Europe!

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