So in the end, despite the mishaps along the way and nixing some plans at the end, my trip was a resounding success. My idea of combing climbing with cycling worked perfectly, and I found that it is entirely feasible to alternate cycling days with climbing days, one being a rest from the other. I also got to experience the joy of climbing peaks completely by manpower alone, including the approach!
Experiencing the countryside is quite a different experience at 10-15 mph then in a car. You have a much fuller experience of the terrain you pass through. For example, I had no idea how smelly the highway gets from diesel or that logging trucks are nature’s air freshener, spreading pine freshness wherever they go. And as it was my first cycling tour, I learned a lot along the way as far as how to do things better next time, because there definitely will be a next time. One thing to count on is Murphey’s Law – I cycled over 700 miles and never got a single flat, yet I had several major breakdowns despite a pre-trip checkup that would have been impossible to fix on the road.
I made it to Vancouver the day before the rains started, but rain didn’t stop me from getting out and enjoying the city. It is an excellent city to spend a rainy day in, especially Stanley Park. The pain in my right leg finally eased up and didn’t slow down my wandering at all, although the numbness in my hands lasted another 6 weeks (I’ve always had this problem riding, which has since gone away, I think through better riding form).
I also had one last little adventure in town as I arranged departure plans of taking a Greyhound to Seattle to see a friend before jetting down to L.A. for a job interview and back to Berkeley to begin my last semester of graduate school coursework. I needed to get another bike box to pack my bicycle in for transport on the bus (and shipping in Seattle), so I biked with my loaded touring rig to a bike shop in Yale Town to pick one up. The problem was the bus station was several miles away next to China Town.
Now, how to get my loaded bicycle and the bike box over there? I lashed the 3.5'X4.5’X1’ cardboard box diagonally across my back with used bicycle tire tubes and cycled along False Creek. Quite the sight since the box looked larger than I was. As I pulled in to the bus station, by bike fully loaded, with the huge box slung across my back, I rode up to a guy waiting out front. Feeling playful, I happily proclaimed: “See, you really can take everything with you!”