Cycle tour to Sequim Bay and back

There is no way to arrange English letters to describe how to pronounce Sequim. Take the ‘sq’ from square and finish with the ‘wim’ from swim, and you get Sqwim, which doesn’t fit our English language rules either, so instead you get Sequim.

Over the past four days we have learnt a great deal about Sequim, two of it’s beautiful parks and one amazing bike path called the Olympic Discovery Trail. It all started with Tanya and I trying to be cycle tourists while including our 2.5 year old at the same time. We love to ride, and we have proven that it is possible to do one or two night trips with only the gear you pull on your bike. But we wanted to try something more ambitious, something with multiple campsites. This trip was a trial, to see what it is like to do a real cycle tour with a kid.

TL; DR

TL; DR means Too Long; Didn’t Read and is used to as a one liner about long posts, like this one.

Sequim is a nice place, the Olympic Discovery Trail is amazing and cycle touring with a kid is really hard. We will probably stick to car camping for longer trips in the future.

Day 1: Leaving Victoria and Port Angeles

Storing the bikes on the Coho Ferry

Saturday night Tanya and I packed our panniers for the trip ahead. We have a pretty good system for packing our gear and attaching it to our bikes. On Sunday morning we left our house about 9:30 to catch the 10:30 ferry from the Victoria harbour to Port Angeles. During boarding and on the ferry we were asked a lot of questions about our setup. The combination of the Weehoo, our gear and the 2.75 year old raises a lot of question from other travelers.

After arriving at Port Angeles we took turns grocery shopping at the small grocery store, when we were ready, about an hour later, we were on our way to our first campground. We headed east down the Olympic Discovery Trail.

The paved trail is restricted to foot traffic, bicycles and horses (we didn’t see any horses). The trail follows the shoreline for while before heading inland where it traverses farmlands. We broke off the trail and headed North to Dungeness campground. I can’t think of a better way to tour, no traffic, great views and a smooth ride, the Olympic Discovery trail is close to perfection for cycle touring.

One of the bridges on the trail

Day 1–2: Dungeness Spit and campground

Just happy to be camping

“Sooo, I guess I better make some dinner”

The first two nights we stayed at the Dungeness campground, which is located near the Dungeness spit. Tanya did her homework and picked a great campsite. It was open and perfect for catching the heat from the sun, yet protected enough from the constant cool wind form the Juan de Fuca. The campsite is perched near a 50m Cliff to the ocean, which resulted in some amazing photos of the sun setting.

The sunset at Dungeness spit

Dungeness paths, perfect for Oliver

The spit is also very cool, similar to the Sidney spit, there is a small band of sand that stretched out into the ocean for long way. The main difference between Dungeness spit and Sidney spit is the west coast feeling you get at the Dungeness spit. Large waves crashed along the shore, accompanied by a strong cool wind, such a powerful feeling and much different than the hot and calm Sidney spit.

Going for a ride down to the spit

West coast dad: strider bike attached to bike messenger bag, down at the ocean.

The steep cliffs of Dungeness park

Walking up from the spit

The campground is about 16KM from Sequim, and the best route would be to take the Olympic Discovery trail. The bridge spanning the Dungeness river was out and you need to take a use a detour to get around the stream crossing. The detour forces you to ride on a quiet highway, which isn’t great, but isn’t horrible either. Sequim is filled many bike racks, lavender plants and restaurants.

White chocolate raspberry pancakes from the Oak Table in Sequim

Day 3–4: Sequim Bay State Park

On the Olympic Discovery Trail to Sequim Bay State Park, so sweet

The bike train that I get to drive, bike in front, with Weehoo (and Oliver) behind.

The next campsite that we stayed at was Sequim Bay State Park. The Olympic Discovery Trail continues through Sequim on a path through the rain forest that is parallel to the 101 highway. The campsite is nice, quiet and protected from wind. This protection from the wind comes at a cost, tall Douglas Fir and Cedar trees block the sun from reaching the campsite, make it this site feel like a cramped BC parks campsite.

Bubble gun = hours of entertainment for a 2 year old

Just happy to be out riding a bicycle

Sequin bay campground

On day 4 we took a rest day, this was a day for Oliver. From using a bubble gun to riding his strider bike, we wanted to minimize the time he spent in the Weehoo.

Making drinking chocolate and wine.

Day5: The ride home

The last leg of our trip was the ride home, which was a 40km ride to the Port Angeles ferry and another 5km back to home from the Victoria Harbour. Packing up the bike was a challenge, by 10am we off to the ferry. We had planned to catch the 5:20 ferry, we thought this would give us sufficient time to complete the ride.

Hmmm, oatmeal

Headwinds

We stopped in Sequim for a quick snack and a coffee. One thing we didn’t notice on our ride to the Dungeness valley was the tail wind. While heading home Westward, we fought the head wind and it was a little bit of a slog. Tanya even coined a term for riding against the headwind:

It is like pedaling through pudding

The wind was constant, but throughout the trail various windbreaks and treed areas improved the riding conditions. Given the blue sky and the mid 20° heat, the ride was very enjoyable.

A good mix of terrains and vistas

Riding the whole route from Sequim bay to Port Angeles gave us the opportunity to see the varied terrain on the Olympic Discovery trail. From Sequim bay, this list represents the different types terrains that we experienced:

  1. Start at Sequim bay
  2. Rolling hills, covered rain forest and slight ocean views
  3. Suburban/rural Seqium, flat with with low traffic
  4. Flat farm land, head wind
  5. Step hills and rain forested covered (probably the most challenging part of the ride)
  6. Ocean views, strong headwind, think pedaling through pudding
  7. Port Angeles

Most of the riding was on a dedicated cycle/walking trail without cars. The prevailing wind comes from the west, so if you are going to do this leg of the trip in a one way direction, I would start in Port Angeles. This path is amazing, we saw many cycle tourists along the way using the path and I bet this helps the local economy with attracting tourists. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a similar trail from Victoria to Nanaimo?

Time for a break, in the middle of the brutal hill section

Letting Oliver ride his bike

Riding home

This trail is perfect for toddler on strider bikes, there are no cars and little cycling traffic which is perfect for the sporadic and winding cycle behavior of our son. In total he rode about 3km, and I noticed a difference when I wasn’t pulling him and his bike. This gave him and opportunity to stretch his legs, burn some energy and have some fun. Although this slowed us down a bit, it was well worth it and Oliver loved it as well.

Riding down the (small) hills of the Olympic Discovery Trail

Dinner and the ferry home

We arrived in Port Angeles around 4pm, just enough time to eat at the Next Door Gastro Pub and pick some hard to find american IPAs. I fell asleep on the ferry ride home and it was so nice to arrive in the busy Victoria inner harbor. It is nice to be home after a trip like this.

Our cycle touring style

It has become apparent to me that our cycle touring style is not well suited for a toddler. We typically like to set up camp and head into town to get groceries and grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. This means that we spend a lot of time on the bike, which isn’t that much fun for Oliver. 4 our of the 5 days we cycled 30km or more, and Oliver didn’t enjoy these long rides. Before Oliver was around, this type of cycling was great, it meant that we burnt a lot of calories and we got to see a lot of the communities that we visited.

As I said above, this trip was a trial, and to me, it doesn’t make sense to cycle tour with a toddler. I love the challenge of touring, and do so with a young one adds another level of complexity. The added pain with the takedown of camp, cooking meals and riding long distances makes the trip a bit too hard and had us longing for our car a few times.

Goldfish crackers are a great way to keep Oliver occupied while we pack up camp.

This does not mean that we are done with cyclo-camping. Cyclo-camping offers the best of both worlds, one day of a decent ride, a consistent home-base (with a playground or beach nearby), no runs into town to stock up and the only time you take down camp is to head home. For this, there are a number of campsites perfect, including: GoldstreamMcDonaldBamberton. and Ruckle.

What’s next?

Bikes have always been a big part of our lives, after all we have traveled through India and Mexico on them. Using bike as the only form of transportation with a toddler may not be the best option for trips longer than 2 days. We have plans to do another cyclo-camping trip on August long weekend, but I think both of us want a little break from the bikes and would welcome the amenities offered when you use a car.

Dreaming of a sprinter van RV, something that is a little less work

Posted from Sequim, Washington, United States
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Free Ride Bike Park

Today we checked out the Free Ride Bike Park, Oliver loves it and I was very impressed with it. Yesterday Tanya took Oliver out to the Free Ride bike park and Oli couldn’t stop talking about, so we took him there today. He has been riding a strider bike for just over a year now and he loves going to bike parks. Earlier this year we introduced Oli to the Cecelia Ravine bike park, which is really close to our house.

Location

The bike park is located just north of the Victoria airport, surrounded by trees, the little clearing is pretected from the wind. For us, the location stinks becuase it takes about 30 minutes to drive out there. The long distance also that we won’t be riding there like we do for the one at the Burnside Gorge bike park.

Park design

The Free Ride Bike Park has a number of differet paths/routes, which start with green and go up to double black. Each route is between 20 and 60m long and offer a combination of bumps, jumps and table tops. A couple of the routes are designed to work on your technical skills while others are build for catching air. There were two areas that are still under development, meaning that there will be more routes in the future.

the sign at the entrance of the park, shows the various routes.

The tracks looks like it is built with hard pack clayish material for the shape and that is covered with a silty fill for the routes. There is gravel for the walking path. You probably don’t want to see this place in the rain, I would imagine that it would be slipper and dangerious (think riding on snot).

the skill tuning section of the park, shaded from overhead trees.

There was a shaded picnick table with a water tap, so bring a water bottle. There is also a temporary outhouse there now, although it does look like they are building another structure, maybe this will be a washroom in the future.

More than I had as a kid

I don’t remember having something like this when I was a kid, although I did have easy access to a ski hill, there wasn’t a lot to do in the summer. Both Tanya and I are hoping that Oliver takes to the bike like a fish in water, and so far he seems to love riding his bike, especially the bike parks.

Posted from North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
This entry was posted in Cycling and tagged , , , on by .

Becoming a better Photographer

I was sent a link to an article from a photography friend – How to Become a Photographer. I enjoyed this post, particularly this point:

Photograph the way you like it. Don’t believe in anything but your taste, you are life and it’s life that chooses…You are the only criterion.

Everyday I see things that amaze me, and I want to take photos of these things because they interest me. I need to develop my own style, one from within my self that is a reflection of me. This is hard to do when you are looking to impress other people with your photos.

My Favourite points

The article is great and contains other suggestions, below are my favourite points:

  • Don’t force the photos
  • Get away from familiarity and move towards the unknown
  • Print your photos and post them on the wall, put the ones that you like the best higher on the wall

I think the last point is a powerful as well. Posting your photos on wall and constantly changing the order to meet your taste is a form of self reflection.

Self reflection is very powerful.

Picture at the top of the post

July 11, 2015 – Update. I decided that I should add a photo to this post. My favourite shots are where human and nature intersect. Sometime we leave a small footprint on a mountain side. Sometime the humans are in control, but over time nature always takes over and I love that.

Phat Thai

About six months ago I bought the book Pok Pok which contains a number of ambitious Thai recipes. This recipe is one that is one of the lowest effort in the book. I have adapted this slightly to what I had on hand and I am putting it on this blog for my reference.

The sauce

This sauce makes the noodles taste great. To make the tamarind water, take some tamarind pulp, chop it and add hot water. Mix well then strain out the pulp. The rest is your water. Use a 2:1 ratio of water to pulp, you may need to add water if it remains too pulpy.

  • 3 tbs of tamarind water
  • 1.5 tbs of fish sauce
  • 1.5tsp of shrimp paste
  • 1tbs of sugar

Mix everything together, taste and adjust. It has a lot of umami  and salt so it isn’t the most pleasant flavor, but you will be adding it to a lot of noodles and this is the main flavouring agent.

The Noodes

  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 lbs of rice noodles cooked
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro
  • A couple handfuls of roasted peanuts
  • Sriracha
  • Lime
  • Sprouts

Beat the eggs, reduce the eggs and add cooked shrimp or chicken if you would like. Cook in small batches, this is enough for two meals, so divide everything in half.

  1. Heat the wok on high
  2. Heat oil in a wok, add the garlic.
  3. Add the eggs and cook, stirring so they don’t burn to the bottom, remove and set aside
  4. Add the drained cooked noodles, carrots and the sauce
  5. Stir until  warm and mixed
  6. Add the cooked eggs and cilantro
  7. Plat the noodles, top with roasted peanuts and sprots
  8. Server with Lime
Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Cycling with a kid

Cycling has always been an important part of our lives. Before Oliver, Tanya and I would ride a lot. This all started to change when Tanya was pregnant. With Oli on the way, riding a bicycle became more difficult for her and long multi-day rides were out of the question. This was our summer of 2012.

In 2013 we hardly cycled, and we knew this would happen. You can’t really cycle with an infant and we didn’t. In the fall of 2013, my parents bought him a Bobike City Mini (handle bar mounted bike seat) which we tried a few times, but ultimately Oliver still needed to grow into it.

One of our first rides in 2014.

2014 is the year we took to our bicycles. Oli was the perfect size for the Bobike seat. In the spring we started to take small trips around town. Then I started to pick up Oliver from daycare on the bike. We were hooked, a way to ride to work, pick up Oli and get exercise. We then tried cyclo-camping and we were having a blast.

On the ride home from daycare.

The Bobike City Mini

Oli lives to ride. Sitting on the front of the bike he likes to point out the things that he sees. He get excited about cars, trucks, bikes and dogs. Although a little uncomfortable for the me, the handlebar mounted seat does an amazing job at keep Oli in the action. The trick with riding a bike with a handlebar mounted seat is to slow down and enjoy the ride. Lower your seat and submit to the scenery, take your time and ride a little bow-legged.

Riding on the Galloping Goose trail headed downtown.

The one issue with the front mounted seat is naps. There isn’t the support that the trailer has, so you have ride with a floppy kid in front of you. This happened for the first time this weekend, he would flop around, first off my right forearms, then head back on my chest, off to the left and finally forward. If a kid needs sleep, he get it, as uncomfortable as it might look.

Oliver, fast asleep while on a ride.

Bicycle trailer

For cyclo-camping, we bought a used chariot to tow behind us. It works great for longer trips, you can store gear in the trailer, keep Oliver out of direct sun light and let your child have a somewhat normal nap (at least compared to the handlebar mounted seat). I think Oliver likes the front mounted seat the best, but for longer trips, the trailer is the best.

Stopping for a photo at Langford on our way to Goldstream.

One of the great advantages of the trailer is that you can ride a bicycle normally. There is no Bobike seat to hit your knees on and you can push yourself to catch a ferry or to get home as quickly as possible.

Back on the saddle

It is nice to have a focus on the cycling again, I am hoping that we will continue to focus on our bicycles in the future. As Oliver grows from a toddler to the next stage, our needs from our bicycle will change and I am looking forward to it.

Posted from New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
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Family Visit

A photo of us getting ready for a shot. I find that the photos taken just before a posed shot look more interesting than the posed shot. This shot is alive, fully of action and expression; it is so much nicer than the actual composed shot.

This park is a hidden gem in Victoria. It is called summit park, it has a great view looking north and is really accessible. It would be great to see the sun setting from the top of this park.

Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Tanya on the Beach

Hanging out on the beach, enjoying the sun.

Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
This entry was posted in Family on by .

Sooke Potholes

Ever since moving to the Island I have heard people rave out the amazing Sooke Potholes. We decided to check it out when my sister was in town. I am told that the Sooke potholes have an amazing geological feature that resemble potholes in the river bed. We never got to see them (if you have kids, you know what it is like and sometimes any beach is better than walking another 100m).

We arrived early, got a parking spot and walked up the road. There were a number of beaches a long the way, but the cool pothole feature was a long ways up the trail, so we settled at this location on the Sooke river.

The water was refreshing, and everyone had a great time. I want to go back to see the actual potholes, but that will take a bit more effort.

Heading out for the day at the beach

We are blessed to live in Victoria. Within a short drive there are so many beaches and fun things to do in the summer. My sister was in town a couple of weeks ago and she loves the beach. Oliver also loves the beach. It is a no brainer way to spend the weekend at the beach.

This is us as we head out for the day. We have everything. We need, swim gear, food, the carrier (called an ergo) and Oliver. Oliver also brought this pool noodle, which never made to the beach.