A short distance overseas.

On Wednesday, Yann reached another milestone: the anniversary of his conception. He celebrated the usual way, turning it into a destination Birthday. Last year, we were at the base of Mt. Albert Edward. The year before, we were in France. Before that? New Hampshire.

Anyway, you get the idea: August is a good month to have been birthed.

In the time of Coronavirus, we had to be low-key with this year’s destination and tote a pump dispenser of hand sanitizer. I also brought a chair, binoculars, and at least twelve articles of clothing even though we were gone for just a night.

So, where did we go?

First, look at this cool bug.

An iridescent beetle explores Yann's hairy knuckles.
Golden Jewel Beetle.

Salt Spring Island’s Ruckle Park is where all the cool bugs hang out. Cool bugs, and yellowjacket wasps. The picnic table at our campsite came with a transparent plastic bag swollen with drowned wasps. It wasn’t the most appealing spot to pitch our itty bitty tent, but on our bike ride to the park, we passed three signs stating that the campground was full. We were delighted to have gotten a spot at all.

Ignoring the first sign that read Campground Full meant we had to tackle that difficult first hill out of Fulford Harbour.

A graph showing the altitude in metres on the Y axis, and the distance on the X axis. There's a spike at the 35km mark.

Remember me mentioning bringing an almost-unreasonable amount of stuff? 28.8 pounds of clothing and a tube of Seam Grip to repair my sleeping pad, because I keep forgetting to repair it in advance? Including the weight of my bike, I had to lug 54.8 pounds up an agonizingly long hill that had me wondering whether my legs or lungs would explode first.

It’s all a part of the cycling touring experience. I knew that hill was coming, and the ride to Ruckle Park would still have been worth it had we not found an available campsite.

Remember me mentioning bringing a crapload of stuff including dental floss and Yann’s sleeping pad? Well, we forgot the stove.

We had the pots, freeze dried food, and fuel.

BUT WE FORGOT THE STOVE.

This was a result of miscommunication. At home, I grabbed the pot and fuel and announced to Yann that these items were about to be packed, but he said he’d already packed a fuel canister. So, Yann assumed the stove was inside the pot I was holding up, whereas I assumed he wouldn’t pack just the fuel canister.

Thankfully, our tent neighbours pitied us enough to share some of their boiled water with us so that we didn’t have to chow on some gritty lentils and potatoes.

Before we had the chance to panic about how we were going to cook our dinner, we spent hours staring out at sea. It isn’t as boring as it sounds: the passage between Salt Spring Island and North Pender Island sees a lot of marine traffic, including BC Ferries vessels.

The next day, a man jumped overboard a BC Ferries vessel. We did not see this, but this gives you an idea of what sort of action happens in these waters.

Even though we were facing the east, the colours cast by the sunset behind us made for an impossibly tranquil scenery that begged the accompaniment of an inspirational quote. I asked Yann for one, but he couldn’t come up with anything.

I could only think of three:

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

The first time I learned of this quote was at a friend’s high school graduation. The Valedictorian–supposedly the top student of the class–worked this quote into her speech. The unbearable cheesiness made me squirm in my seat, but because everyone else started clapping I had no choice but to muster a pity clap. This second-hand mortification is why this quote has survived in my brain all these years.

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Everyone knows this one, even Yann, except Yann thought it was a fake Wayne Gretzky quote. The Great One was a cheeseball.

"It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all."

One thing led to another, and before we knew it, I was discussing what I’d put in Yann’s eulogy: “He wasn’t a nobody.”

Not to worry, that’s only the start: Yann just turned 32, so I should have plenty of time to improve upon that.

For most Canadian campers, 12° C is a manageable evening temperature. I could see a few campers around me still in their shorts post-sunset. I was delighted with my layering system: sports bra, merino tank top, merino long sleeve, lightly insulated merino vest, fleece jacket, waterproof breathable jacket, underwear, long johns, pj bottoms, calf-height merino socks, and a merino toque. Before going to sleep, I felt like an escape artist wriggling out of all those layers inside the tent with Yann next to me.

All those layers I brought were worth the extra weight, but I could have left the tube of Seam Grip at home because my onsite repair job had failed. It’s time to retire that sleeping pad anyhow, as it’s served me well for twelve years.

Here’s a picture to ooh and ahh at:

The rocky shoreline of Ruckle Provincial Park. Bleached driftwood can be seen on the right.

And here’s one to aww at. I look so good when my face is obscured by large sunglasses and a mask:

Walking next to my bike on the ferries. I'm wearing a banana-print cycling jersey and matching tiny cap. A fabric mask covers my face, which is also obscured by large sunglasses.

You miss out on 100% of the camping trips you don’t take. We dream in colors borrowed from the sea. An ocean breeze puts a mind at ease… Blah blah.

Enjoy inspirational quotes? Then this blog may not be for you!

3 thoughts on “A short distance overseas.

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