The Vic Food Truck Festival

We don’t get out much, but it is Friday, we don’t have anything to make dinner, it is sunny and there is a food truck festival.

We got in our bikes and headed over. And it was good. Tanya had tacos, I had a po-boy, Oliver had a little of both.

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Cycling from Victoria to Bamberton

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Bamberton is a provincial campsite on the other side of the Malahat. The Malahat is one of the roads I will avoid on a bicycle at all costs. Luckily there is a ferry that goes from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay, which is what we took to get to avoid rising on the Malahat. We arranged to camp with my folks for the night, we brought the grand kid and they brought the food, the BBQ and the beer.

The Brentwood Bay ferry

The ride to the ferry terminal in Brentwood Bay is nice and enjoyable. Most of the ride is along the galloping goose (actually the Lockside trail). After nearly 18 km on the Lockside trail you turn left and head west across the Saanich Peninsula.

The Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay Ferry, very tight

This is when the cycling becomes less enjoyable, but it is still fun. There are a couple of hills, in the next 3km you will climb 60m and then you will have a nice dement to the ferry. During this leg of the trip you will no longer have a dedicated (or nearly dedicated) bike route like on the Lochside Trail. Some of the roads are lacking a shoulder but the traffic was willing to accommodate is and it was still enjoyable.

Looking at Brentwood Bay

The best part about riding a bike on a ferry is bikes load first. You get to fly by all the waiting cars and show up minutes before the ferry docks (as we did) and you will still get on. We passed the long line of cars and watched the ferry dock.

The view looking north, from the ferry.

We cut this section really close. We left Fol Epi at 9:30 and got to the ferry, 23 km away at 10:45. We wanted to catch the ferry so we pushes ourselves the whole way, which was tough as we were both fully loaded. The reward was getting to the ferry terminal in perfect time.

The Ferry

The Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry is small and charming. Enough room for a handfuls of cars, this ferry has to be the smallest ferry I have ever been on. The views are amazing and in the beautiful weather, this was a great trip to Mill Bay.

The last leg

We got of the ferry and started to ride the last 2km to our campsite. There is a big hill in that 2km and we climbed 106m of elevation. We pushed ourselves to get to the ferry, we were hungry and this last hill was very tough for us with our fully loaded bicycles. About 3/4 of the way up my parents passes us in their truck and camper. They offered to take our panniers to lighten the load.

What a huge difference no bags make, I still had the trailer with Oli, but the bike still felt much lighter. We rolled into the campsite around 12 noon and had lunch.

The campsite and beach

Bamberton is a nice campsite. Trees protect you from the mid day heat and we were sufficiently away from the highway that I don’t remember hearing it at all.

Oli loves camping and watermelon. His grandparents brought him a chair to sit in as well.

The beach is a bit of a hike down a wide gravel path. The walk was nice but walking up it wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t take my bike down there either, it is a big climb from the beach back to the campsite.

Grandma and Oli at the beach.

The tiered beach was nice and there are many picnic tables and trees to provide shade to escape the heat.

Path to the beach.

Oli loved playing in the water and I think his grandmother enjoyed ever minute of it as well.

A great experience

Tanya and I don’t typically camp in a group, but this year half of our trips are with another couple. This time with my parents was great fun. We were ale to hand off Oliver to the grandparents and have a little break from running after him. My parents brought a truck and camper which brought other luxuries as well: a fridge, a BBQ and a nice breakfast.

Grandpa, Grandma and Oliver handing out at the campsite.

The campsite is nice and getting there by bicycle is totally doable (just remember about that last hill before you get there). This could serve as a great spot to rest before heading up island further. The Cowichan Valley is a great place to cycle and this would be a perfect spot to spend the night on an extended island tour.

All ready for our ride home.

Mural on container

I like the bright colours against the dark container, in the old industrial part of town that will eventually be the site of trendy condos (like dockside green).

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Grass on the beach

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Photographing the photographer photographing the sunset

Posted from Lopez Island, Washington, United States
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Chairs for cycle touring

One of the worst things about cycle touring is the serious lack of comfortable places to chill out at the end of the day. I don’t know how many times Tanya and I would cycle to a destination, just to go to bed when the sun set because we were tired of standing or sitting cross legged on the ground.

While searching for a new tent at Mec, we cam across a set of Alite Mantis chairs. We tried them out in the store and liked how comfortable they were, but they are expensive, we walked away from them.

The idea of sitting on a nice chair while touring festered in our mind for about a week, and we couldn’t handle it any more, we splurged and bought the chairs.

We love them! Worth it!

Two things are at a premium when cycle touring: weight and space. These chairs weigh in at .9kg and about 1L in size each, and are surprisingly comfortable. We love these chairs, and I can’t recommend them enough if you want a nice place to sit at the end of the day.

Early in the morning, while everyone is sleeping, you can take your chair and coffee and find a big stump to ponder life, these chairs are super portable.

We bought our at Mec.

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Drinking beer while camping

I love beer, and if you know me, that isn’t news. Drinking beer from a can or bottle is great, but I find it tastes just a little bit better when you have a glass to drink it out of. While cyclo-camping on Lopez Island, I came across the Klean Kanteen stainless steel insulated pint glass. I decided to buy it, after all, Obsidian Stout shouldn’t be drank out of the bottle.

Posted from Lopez Island, Washington, United States
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Loving the ferry

When you have young kids, ferries are a great way to get around, much better than using the car. We were able to interact with Oliver while getting to our destination. This is what being on a ferry is like with a 21 month old:

  • Mom entertains kid using hot wheels
  • Mom takes kid for walk around the ferry, gives dad 10 minute rest
  • Mom comes back, dad engages with kid and takes over from mom
  • Dad take kid for walk around the ferry, give mom 10 minute rest
  • Kid requests ‘naks’ (snacks), mom provide said ‘naks’
  • Repeat

Oliver doesn’t care much about the boat (yet), but he loves that we are able to interact with him, which is different experience when he is strapped into his car seat in the back of the car driving down the highway.

Having fun on the ferry.

Posted from Friday Harbor, Washington, United States
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Cyclo-camping at Lopez Island

After successfully cyclo-camping twice, we wanted to to try something a little more challenging and a little more interesting. So we decided to Lopez Island a try. Lopez island is part of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. I always enjoy visiting America, excellent beer, slightly different culture and always a new experience.

Getting there

The San Juan islands are serviced by the state ferry system, which has a ferry terminal in Sidney. We boarded on Saturday morning and starred into the grey horizon. The weather was forecasted to improved day by day, and Saturday was pretty ugly.


Second thoughts? The view from the ferry, luckily this was the last of the horrible weather for the weekend.

Unfortunately there is no direct ferry to Lopez from Sidney, we had a three hour lay-over in Anacortes. We went into Anacortes while waiting for the ferry to pick up some lunch (Anacortes is about a 30 minute ride from the ferry).

Awkward lunch in the parking lot, the weather wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either.

We boarded the Ferry to Lopez at 5pm and we were at our campsite by 6:30, which is typically when we start putting Oliver to bed.

Arriving at Lopez Island

Walk in site at Odlin

We booked the site about a month before going, and there were only 3 site available for our stay, they were all walk-in sites (which was great, we had our bikes). The website said they we’re private with views of the ocean. The site was private, there were people on either side and we barely noticed them.

Our campsite, private with views of the ocean.

The private nature of the of this site meant that trees blocked a lot of the sun. And being close to the ocean, this was a cold place to camp.

Mornings at the private campsite. It never got warm here, look how many steamy pots we have on the go.

On our second last day we moved to an open site right on the ocean, which was much warmer (due to exposure to the sun) but far less private. Life is full of tradeoffs, and this is no different.

Our campsite on the beach. More sun, more heat, more light. Much better


The Odlin campsite was decent. With 3 out-houses and a few taps for water, this campsite is more on the rugged side. There are no showers or sinks but there are nice fire pits and picnic tables. If you frequent BC Parks, you will soon realize just how spoiled we are. Overall, I would be happy to stay here again but I would try to get a beach campsite for more sun exposure and easy access to the beach.

Riding on Lopez island

A great experience!

There aren’t bike lanes or paths, but you don’t need them, the locals are friendly and give cyclists a lot of room on the road. The island is flatter than other island I have been on and can find a few areas with consistent tail winds. I can’t think of the last time of have seen so many bicycles, seriously, there are a ton of bicycles here, but I think most if the riders are tourists.

Tanya and Oliver eating lunch in the village.

The village is a pleasant place with a couple grocery stores, a few coffee shops, and a bakery. The people of Lopez seem to have chosen a chilled out lifestyle which emphasizes local food and bicycle riding instead of chain stores and cell service.

A serious focus on cycling, all over the island.

I love it here, if they had a good disc golf course, I just might move here.

Another success

This trip was another success, we can enjoy a car-less multi-day camping trip. I wouldn’t call this touring though, we had a base camp, and we would do day trips from the base camp.

Oliver, do you want to go cyclo-camping?

Touring with a toddler presents two challenges.

  1. The distance you can cover is limited (kids don’t want to be in the chariot for hours and hours).
  2. The combined task of packing up a campsite and looking after a toddler is really hard, we want to minimize this part as much as possible.

Having fun at sunset, the pyjamas tells you we had at least one failed attempt to put him to sleep.

I think this home base style of cyclo-camping is the best way to go for us with a toddler. When Oliver is able to help pack up a campsite and can be more apart of the experience (instead of Being in a chariot) we will likely have more success with touring.

Oli is asleep, fire is lit, I have a beer and we are enjoying the sunset.

I am looking forward to our next camping trip.

Posted from Lopez Island, Washington, United States
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