Dear future me,

In Holland we have the saying (translated) ‘from the rain into a drop (of rain)’, which basically means you’re getting from a bad situation into an even worse situation. Apart from the fact that I think this is a really silly phrase, because why is a drop worse that rain, in my case it’s more like ‘from a little bit of scenic snow high up the mountains into riding on a bike through heavy showers and storms’. Okay, this saying will never make its way into linguistic shared memory, still it’s the best description for my travels over the last two weeks. Both literally and figurative. Where my last blog was all about loneliness, I’ve been far too busy since to be able to reflect on any feeling whatsoever. Although the feeling of relief can be written in capital letters, I guess.

First of all, the testing of my nerves started when I went out for a nice hike up to Garibaldi Lake near Whistler. As I was full of joy over the sunshine I encountered, I suddenly noticed that I was without a camera. Fortunately, I was still on the hostels premises, so I just had to walk into my room to find my camera……gone. Where did I leave it? I immediately realized that I left it in the communal TV room overnight, where it was no longer waiting for me. Frantically I searched the whole hostel, bothered the reception girl more than once and finally gave in. I lost it! As Dutch Down to Earth as I am, I knew there was nothing I could do than wait. So I went for a walk instead. It took me three hours to hike up the mountain, while talking to myself in a very frustrated way (which is obviously a big understatement), until I was out of breathe. Then I heard some German girls saying to me that by now probably someone must have found my camera and returned it. It eased my mind and full of hope I returned homewards. In the middle of doing my acrobatic exercises (read: swinging my long leg over all my cases to get off my bike in a very uncharming way), someone already was whispering in my ear: did you lose something??? I’ve found it. Hooray and triple cheers for the night shift guy!!

Next, I was on my way to the Sunshine Coast. Sure, I do believe that this side of BC must have seen a sunbeam once in history, or else it is just a very nasty cynic naming for a place where the sun was definitely not shining during my time there. It reminded me of Prince Rupert, on the same seaside, where I never actually saw the sea because of the rain. Mister wind joined the party, so there I was: swooping over the road trying to make it to the next curve. And yes, off course, it was a very winding road. So instead of touching the ground with my nose while making beautiful roundies (new English word), I was sitting up straight and obeying the speed limit advises. What the hack!! My plan to cross to Vancouver Island from Powell River did happen however, even if I had to wait for one extra day because the ferry was too chicken to hit the waves. And for once, it was finally dry and sunny (on the opposite side of Sunshine Coast) when I got to Cumberland on Vancouver Island. There is another saying in Holland: ‘Silence before the storm’. I should have known though, because the weather here is exactly the same as back home. And that’s why I spend the night in complete darkness after all power went down due to the pretty heavy (early season) storm. No luck for me as it continued to rain for the next day, and the next day. I was seriously thinking to skip the island and move down south sooner. Instead I went to Port Hardy in the north, as I never ever listen to my thoughts. Just follow the heart! It brought me to a quiet and peaceful place where I actually enjoyed the most wonderful sunny day on very photogenic little islands off the coast. And I met some funny girls in my hostel with whom I spent the night chatting and watching movies. How bizarre was the difference when I was all alone the next evening, in this big hostel up north.

Back in (warmer) Cumberland I kept myself busy wondering why there was a whole police force out at Comox Lake. As curious as a true nennie can be, I set out to walk to the lake. I wasn’t aloud however, because there was ‘a situation’ at the lake, according to the police woman who blocked my way. So I took a mountain bike trail to get up the mountain to have a better view on the lake where I was sure to go, as ‘a situation’ makes this nennie even more curious. My nosy ego did let go though, after hearing many gun shots. Later I discovered that the situation was about a depressed and confused guy who was waving a gun in public. The police negotiated the situation to a peaceful end, so nothing happened. The gunshots were coming from a gun club at the lake. Mmmm, no material for a Hitchcock movie I guess.

I didn’t have long to think about this one as the next quest was already waiting for me. On my way out of Cumberland (East) to Tofino (West) I had to stop at a gas station as there appeared something wrong with the side standard. I discovered that my bike just tricked me with this minor symptom, as there was a much bigger problem ready to unfold. Somehow, at that instant, still standing at the gas station in a populated area, I got my first flat tire! I think this was just a test to see if I really paid attention at the mechanic course I took before I left Holland. Well, I knew right then that even with all my tools, I would have a hard time fixing the tire. Where was the lift to get my bike off his tires? O yeah, that would be my pelican cases. Where was the bead braking machine? O yeah, that would be me. And some help from newly made friends, across the street. Sometimes you should squeeze your hand (another Dutch saying) with the support of strangers. I’m not sure though if I was truly happy about them pinching my new inner tube, leaving me with two flat tires! No, that is too harsh, as they did help me to fix my tire eventually. It was too bad that they left me on my own with the problem to mount the tire to the bike. This is just impossible if you only have two hands. How can you lift a (very heavy) wheel and stick the axle right through it to attach it to the bike at the same time? Note to myself: go to the gym more often before you take upon a motorbike journey on your own. Now, after five hours of hard labor, I was just thrilled to meet my angel rescuers: David and Leona. Not only did they help me with the bike. They provided me with a bed for the night, a dinner to ease my hunger in the evening and morning and company for the next morning ride to Cathedral Grove. Sure, as they left me on my own to go proceed to Tofino, the sun disappeared and hell weather broke loose on me once again. I was still very happy!

Yep, the last two weeks really did keep me busy. But I guess mother nature and all the other gods that were involved, finally gave up testing me. I successfully completed my various exams and I’m still on the island. Now, with sunny and exceptionally warm days, I decided to test myself: I entered the world parrot refuge in Coombs. I guess some people would wander where the test lies in this simple action, but you, dear future me, you know! As I’m phobic about everything that flies, barks or jumps, going to a parrot refuge is quite a big deal for me. But my love for animals took over and so I paid my dues. I can proudly announce that I managed to take five steps into the enclosure. By then my heart was pounding so hard that I couldn’t even hear the screaming and yelling of the thousands birds surrounding me anymore. A white, heavy trembling Kaketoe was clinging to the fence, free as a bird, but without wings. It did try his best to be invincible, but as he was on my side of the fence, there was no way I couldn’t eye him. Poor creature, it probably would never have guessed I was more afraid of him than he was of me. But he made it physically impossible for me to get passed him without being in his near vicinity, so I had to back out. Test failed. Although, the refuge would be rich by now if everybody donated 15 dollars for five steps. So mission succeeded?


Annemieke, 10 October 2013

Reacties 5

Patrick 11-10-2013 15:47

Hoi Annemiek,
Je eerste lekke band! Gelukkig kwam er hulp toen de nood het hoogst was! Weer een ervaring rijker! En ook stoer dat je je angst voor vliegende beesten getrotseerd hebt!

Charles 12-10-2013 05:59

Hey Annemiek,
Blijft leuk van je te lezen. Je maakt wel wat mee zo op je (motor)fiets. Mooi dat je met zo'n ding de bergen in kunt crossen om toch te 'zien' wat je wilt weten. Helemaal niet sensatiebelust he ;-)

Ga je overigens nog orka's kijken in Tofino of telegraph cove heet het geloof ik ik. (helemaal in het noorden van Vancouver Island) Dat is een echte aanrader (al weet ik ff niet of het ook orka-season is nu).

veel plezier en doei weer.


Yvonne vdL 12-10-2013 08:25

Ik heb weer genoten van je geweldige reisverslag. En dan die foto's, jaloersmakend gewoon. Have a good time!!
Groetjes van Yvonne.

Harrie 13-10-2013 10:58

Weer een goed verhaal en ja hulp als je hert echt nodig hebt

Kevin 21-10-2013 03:39

Time for you to get on SOUTH.
Stop Dawdling already!!
It was a pleasant 57 degrees F. here in Texas this AM.


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