Vancouver Island

 

Mick and Colin worked extremely hard to get Thelma ready for me to take away for the weekend (or maybe it was just to ensure I was out of their hair for a couple of days) - thank you very much guys.

Then it all started to go wrong as about 40 minutes north of Seattle, I realised I had left Thelma's registration documents behind,schoolgirl error which shows how out of practice I have got. I had to turn back and get them which made me very late for the ferry out of Tsawwassen - I won't even attempt to pronounce it. The signs lit up announcing the 6pm ferry was full - I was gutted, this meant I was going to be very late. I approached the ticket booth anyway, ready to give a sob story only to hear the magical words that there was still some space for motorbikes- what a relief. The bike next to me in the queue was even heading over to see Simon Pavey as well, to take part in one of his off-road courses - the guy was pleased to hear me waxing lyrical about what a great experience those courses are.

I raced from the port to Duncan, taking a short cut via another ferry ride that a local biker had recommended, unfortunately for me the ferry had stopped running for the night, I now had to try and find my way across country to the highway up to Duncan. I had no idea what direction I needed to go in, I spotted a bus coming the other way and checked its destination board - always a handy travel tip - although not in this situation as unbelievably, the bus destination was listed as Timbuktu!

Using a bit of guesswork, I made it to Simon's talk where he was a bit surprised to see me and even more so when he asked what I was doing on the island and I replied I'm on my way home from Mongolia.

Kevan and his wife Karen put me up for the night and supplied me with tips for places to see on the island, I then took off for the next two days exploring the logging tracks and gravel trails in the south of the island. Spending a night camping at the tiny village of Bamfield looking out over the Pacific. Thelma was running well, and we were covered in dust from all the gravel.

A final night in Victoria and then a ferry directly back ot the US accompanied on the boat by some bike riders who steadfastly refused to talk to me. Generally on ferries there is a camaraderie amongst the bikers, but not this time, I'm not sure if it's because they're Harley Davidson riders but none of the other four riders would speak to me despite our bikes being lined up together for two hours. Not a problem, there was a steady flow of car drivers, customs officers etc to chat to who came over to admire Thelma and ask about my journey. In particular Jeff and Patricia who had brought their border collies over to the island for some Sheep Dog Trials. We had a good chat including reminiscing about watching One Man and his Dog.

Later that night when I mentioned sheep dog trials to Ruthie from Arizona, she loooked a bit blank, I explained what they are and then she said 

"Well... we have rodeos"

A highlight of the ferry journey was the opportunity to watch a small pod of orcas (killer whales) which passed by heading out to the Pacific.

Back in Seattle, waiting for the light switch part to arrive and be fitted.