Distance: 110 km
Elevation: 625 m
Date: August 4, 2022
I am slowly starting to get into the groove. It feels as if my system remembers how it is to be on the road. My trip to North Cape was just the other week it seems. It’s like hitting the „continue“ button.
After 10 hours of sleep and a nice breakfast I was on the bike around 8 am and followed the old coastal highway up north.
Around lunchtime I arrived in Courtenay where I had my first ever Pupusas, a dish from El Salvador, which I got from a food truck directly by the river. Yummy. Normally, I am known for eating always the same food. But my alter ego is having a good time here.
The cyclists here are so friendly and genuinely nice. They wave at you, smile and sometimes say things like „nice job, the hill is almost over“. I wish we had more of this everywhere.
I wanted to reach Campbell River today. I am still taking it easy in order to build up strength for the Rockies. About 10km before my goal, an older guy on a Honda Shadow motorcycle asked me if he can talk to me. I was a bit surprised and pulled over. We started chatting and he told me that he and his wive had done a Transcanada cycling trip a couple of years back when he was still young. He had been 70 by then. It had taken them 78 days to get from coast to coast averaging 105 km a day. That is pretty damn good! After 5 minutes, Roy invited me to stay at his place. I agreed but asked him to check with his wife Teresa first. Just to be sure, you know? She agreed instantly.
Teresa was super nice, too. She was a former nurse and Roy was a retired miner. Teresa was the competitive athlete in the family. Roy claimed that he just wanted to avoid that she would get lost when crossing Canada. So he joined in. Teresa is originally Irish and had done a marathon in 3:10 which is an amazing time. My fastest was 3:42 and I am still proud about that one.
After shower and laundry she had prepared a nice dinner for us. Salmon with pasta and salad. Roy impressed me because of low key demeanor, his tenacity and his sense of humor. He has had two open heart surgeries and a broken back. And he had been the first to finish an Ironman with a titanium heart valve. „Pure stubbornness“ he said.
After dinner, Roy took me on a scenic sightseeing tour through Campbell River by car. We saw wood sculptures, indigenous graveyards of the so-called First Nation, and a river that the salmon used to travel upstream. It was super nice.
Around 9pm I crashed and went into bed with a happy smile.