I had a good nights sleep and set the alarm for 6am. I was lucky my alarm even went off as my phone was on 15, I must have knocked my phone charger in the night.
I double checked google maps and my garmin for a route across a mountain to join up the main logging road to Zeballos. It looked pretty straightforward, how could I have got it so wrong yesterday!
I headed out to a road I’d looped back on yesterday and made my way up the hill. It was raining hard again, much muddier than I’d been used to. But I didn’t care, I was on the right road to Zeballos at last!
Although my phone had no signal, the gps still worked so I could clearly see me against the blue line.
Despite the active logging roads being quiet today with it being the weekend, I was still a little anxious about bears after yesterday so made more noise by doing renditions of songs by The Doors, Eric B & Rakim, Beastie Boys and James Brown, badly I might add.
A deer came across the road, it stood looking at me and let me pedal really close before deciding I wasn’t a threat or interesting enough to stay around for.
There were moments when the forest seemed eerily quiet. All I could hear was rain hitting my jacket and my tyres against the gravel. My mind was playing tricks on me, I kept thinking dark objects were bears. When all you see for hours and hours is a mix of green, brown and grey, a black object grabs your attention. Half the time it was just an end of a log or a dark shadow in the forest. I made sure I took the outside of each corner to allow more time to react if I saw wildlife, a bit risky with potential logging traffic but I could hear that more than a bear eating berries!
I had to take a left off Victoria Lake logging road. It was uphill for several miles and overgrown like yesterday. A few clearings appeared and I kept checking the map to see where to go.
The road turned into huge pools of water, the forest either side of me was dark and looked unforgiving. It rained harder and harder and got colder too.
My feet where soaked and freezing. I was getting fed up again, I’d covered 15 miles and the road was closing in on me like yesterday. It wasn’t as rough though, still challenging but a lot more water logged.
I got to another clearing and it spread into 4 directions. There were no options for this on the map. Trying to get to maps was nearly impossible, my fingers were so wet, even trying to unlock the phone was a job in itself. When I did manage to get in to the maps app, I couldn’t zoom or look at roads.
So I was defeated by another dead end. Taking any of those roads would have been risky, they all looked the same, overgrown and could lead anywhere. I knew the planned route would take me on a winding climb up and around Merry Widow Mountain, getting stuck up there would be a disaster.
No choice to head back to Port Alice yet again and take the highway. That was 32 miles wasted up to midday. I should have listened to what people told me. Don’t trust the GPS and take the routes they told me.
By now, my legs were gone. Sore, full of lactic and very tired for a week of hauling gear around on nasty roads. I was covered in mud, the duchess was caked too and was slipping gears due to all the muck.
As per my original schedule, I should have arrived in Port Alice today with a half day to allow bike repairs, cleaning clothes and so on. So it worked out ok in the end, it just means I take the proper, signposted route to Zeballos tomorrow!
When I got signal, I’d had several messages from people in Tahsis. The first from a B&B/restaurant owner who has offered to feed me a hot meal and put me up for the night! Wow! That really made me smile, another person kind enough to help me out when I’m out here on my own, especially after the ride I’ll have to get there tomorrow!
A little further down the road and I receive another message from a company who charter boats. They have offered to pick me up from Zeballos and get me to Tahsis for free! I couldn’t believe my luck! That’s amazing!
They both offered lots of info about the road from Zeballos to Tahsis. The fact is, there isn’t one anymore, the bridge is down, it’s not been used for years. So my initial plan to get over the mountain between has been canned, I am not paying attention to GPs maps anymore, local knowledge is invaluable and I’ll be thankful to get on the boat instead of risking getting lost again on even worse roads than before. Thank you Tahsis folk, you are amazing and I’ll be posting more about you guys soon!
Not as exciting as yesterday, but not as scary either. Learned a lot and know when it’s a good time to turn back. I’m spending time cleaning and fixing up the duchess for some more big days. I’m nearly halfway now and back on schedule, I’m thankful I got to Port McNeill at 3:30 and can rest my legs a little and not have to put on damp clothes tomorrow.
A very generous shop assistant wrote a cheque out for $100 for BC Cancer Foundation when I told her what I was doing. Everyone is so helpful here, I have been blown away by generosity and hospitality. Vancouver Island is amazing and so are it’s people!
Still lots more to explore and I look forward to what’s yet to come.
61 miles today, 3,600ft climb and a very wet day!
Thanks for all your messages and support, I read them every morning. Please spread the word, I want to raise as much money as possible for BC Cancer Foundation and Big C. You can find donation links at www.bike.cx
All money raised in Canada stays in Canada, the donation page is on BC Cancer’s own site.
Please excuse any typos, I usually write these as quick as I can before dinner. My phone puts in all sorts of random words instead!