5:30 is pretty early to wake up, but we set our alarm to get out of the campground by 6:30 to catch the 8:10 ferry to vancouver island. it was about 12 miles of hauling rather quickly (notice a theme?) to make it on time. (i learned today that this is referred to as "ferry panic" by the locals. we're not the only ones who have been feeling this sense of fear and urgency!) my stomach started grumbling on the way, but we didn't think we could afford to stop and eat some snacks. this tends to be a ripe context to make bad food choices for me and samuel. so naturally, we ordered a lot of ferry breakfast food (double portion of scrambled eggs, ham+sausage+bacon), toast, fried potatoes, and an egg/ham/cheese muffin sandwich with more potatoes. we licked the plates clean and then felt reeeally full for the next 15 minutes.
it's been our longest riding day so far: 78 miles. and we finally started heading south. (up until today, we had been traveling north.) the vancouver island coastal route (hwy 19a) is gorgeous with rolling hills, and i felt i was flying at times. samuel tried to keep up. hehe. i'm not worried though about him, he's a strong cyclist and i know that he's only getting stronger - even if he is going through some growing pains on his botttom half (so am i).
when i didn't feel full of adrenaline, i felt extremely low. it was the kind of exhausted you might feel after pulling an all-nighter, after the second wind. i'm still not sure why i got hit so bad, but all i could do was convince my body to just keep pedaling. i noticed i kept looking at the side of the road for a patch of grass to lay down on; i think i might have just needed a nap. but instead, we stopped at the closest place to get some espresso - mcdonalds.
after chugging a lukewarm americano, eating a handful of those handy peanut m&m's, and reading a text with an offer to get picked up by tonight's hosts, i felt like i came back to life. but we still had to ride 15 miles to nanaimo.
with this newfound energy, we pedaled hard and fast, and finally got off the highway! (we cycled on the highway people!! like, next to fast cars!!) [insert squiggly face emoji here.]
it was at nanaimo where we met steph. (huge sigh of relief.) she's our friend emily's cousin by marriage, and she had her husband did a cycle tour with two small children two summers ago. you can read about their journey here: http://operationalcatraz.wordpress.com. the best part of meeting steph? EVERYTHING.
we got picked up at walmart (where samuel bought something to kill his feet odor - lord, have mercy), driven to a hideaway farm in the small town of cedar, sat in a wood-fired hot tub and got served pasta and cold beer while overlooking the river and everchanging sunset view. my words and pictures don't do justice, but believe me when i say we are never leaving.
ok, i kid.
but wow. we have been totally blown away by steph and kevin's hospitality -- their sense of welcome and making us feel known. having done a bike tour with kids for 5-6 weeks, they know the in's and out's of this kind of journey. so we received, received, received! my belly is satiated (for now), we are clean and well rested, AND we have clean clothes! woohoo!!! plus, we got a glimpse of the kind of life we would like to have some day. i told samuel that when we have our own place, we are committed to hosting cycle tourists. he laughed and agreed.
tonight, i'm grateful for relief, the gift of hospitality, sleep, and new friends on this journey.
and as much as i have found canada absolutely stunning and the people utterly kind, i am very much looking forward to hitting washington. we are close! it'll be a great milestone to cross over to another country (and finally have free reception -haha)!