Grumpy Face

That time when your kid starts to use his sense of humour, that was yesterday. 

So many neat things to see downtown.


Tanya works the odd Saturday, and with winter coming really close, there isn’t a whole lot to do without a car. This weekend Oliver and I went on a little adventure, to get sushi and some mittens.

Selling the dream

It started the night before, I asked Oliver if he wanted to get sushi for lunch while mom was working. Oliver was game, but I think it was more the promise of riding the bus than getting the sushi.

Dorayaki

Oliver wasn’t the biggest fan of the sushi, although he did like pulling the avocado and yams out of the sushi and eating that, al el carte style. The dorayaki was a big hit though. 

Running around downtown

Kids have a lot of energy, and this was super clear as he would run up and down the sidewalks. He likes to jump on man holes (or whatever you call them). I could take a few pictures, but he would move after I took a few. The fact that he is willing to let me take a few shots is pretty cool though, which is a change from this summer.

So much movement, running sround and around and around


The highlight was probably when I saw this alley and thought it would make a good gangster shot. I told him, “show me your grumpy face,” he was pretty excited, and gave me a pretty good grumpy face, in which you can see he is bursting with excitement and happiness underneath.

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
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Man snack

Oli gets a man snack, something fast, easy and really tasty. Smoked salmon (caught and smoked by my parents), blueberries (pick by us), avocado and crackers. He loved it.

Posted from New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
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Camping on Sidney Island

Sidney Island is an amazing place to visit, with many beaches and a spit, the island is definitely worth a visit. The northern part of the island is protected by the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Walking around Sidney Spit

Getting there

From the boat on the way to the island. It looks like it is going to be a good weekend.

The Apline group runs a water taxi that takes passengers to the island. There are no roads or cars but there is a well developed network of hard packed pathways. There are a lot of sandy beaches, a day use area with picnic tables, a campground with pit toilets and a forested section. The water taxi is about $20 per person for a return trip. Since there are no cars on the island, you can only what you can carry. I would imagine the lack of car access and the cost of ferry limits the number of visitors that are willing to make the trip.The low numbers makes for a very enjoyable, chilled out experience, especially if you are camping.

I was glad to see these wheel barrow here. I was expecting smaller one with one wheel.

Luckily, there are a few large wheel barrows to help move your gear from the dock to the campsite. You can pack a lot of stuff into these wheel barrows and I wish I knew that before we left Sidney. We packed light thinking that the transportation situation would be worse on Sidney Island, you could easily bring a cooler.

Oliver loves things with wheels, cars, bikes, trucks and wheel barrows.

The beaches

There are many beaches on Sidney island. We did go to every beach, but the beaches that we did go were covered in sand and were really enjoyable. Oliver had fun with buckets and shovels and we enjoyed watching him play.

What happens if I cover mom with sand?

The spit itself is nothing short of amazing. During low tide you can walk the full length of the spit, which is longer than a kilometre. The weather was great and we enjoyed walking down the spit.

Walking down the spit at low tide, feels like you go walk forever.

Peaceful Evenings, beautiful mornings

The evenings at the campground were very quiet. There are about 10 campsites and everyone that was camping there was quiet. After Oliver was asleep, Tanya and I enjoyed the peacefulness and watched the sun going down.

The boats moored in the distance.

In the morning we did our usual camping routine and then we headed to a nearby beach to eat breakfast and enjoy our coffee in the morning sun while Oliver played in the sand.

Oliver doing his thing.

Great place to camp

We enjoyed camping on Sidney Island. The close proximity to beaches and the beauty of the island make this a wonderful place to camp.

Another view of the spit and the algae that grows on parts of the beach.

Posted from Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
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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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Taking a break

It is hard work sitting on a chariot, need to replenish.

On our way to Goldstream for the weekend.

Posted from
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A new (for us) Chariot

Chariots are a pretty big commodity among young families. We are not excluded from that group. After getting a taste of cycle touring on May long weekend, we have been searching for a good deal on a bicycle trailer.

Thanks to a great service called IFTTT, I was able to get a notification on my phone every time someone posted a used chariot on UsedVictoria, ask me how and I can tell you how to set it up. When a good deal came up, I emailed a response as quickly as I could so I would be first in line to view the Chariot.

This is what happened last week, a killer deal for a Chariot trailer was posted on UsedVictoria, in which I was the first to respond and as a result we now have a chariot. The photo above is the jogging mode, but you can attach it to a bike and go for a ride. This weekend we plan to head to Goldstream campground with some friends and try out our new bicycle trailer.

Having fun in the woods

Oli loves being outside and camping is a great to be outside a lot. Here he was having fun in the woods.

Posted from British Columbia, Canada
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