Thursday, July 4, 2013

Go West

It's finally time to go. Yesterday was a rush to batten down the hatches at home, putting away things that won't see any use for a good while. It feels odd to have fixed up the garden only to leave it for much of the summer, I probably won't see some of the late flowering plants bloom. I managed to partially disassemble my bike and stuff it along with my camping equipment all into one box, which reduced the rest of my luggage one bag I could carry on.

I got on the plane and imagined gorillas throwing around my boxed bike during the transfers in Toronto and Vancouver, fully expecting it to arrive in pieces. Distraction came from one of the in-flight movies on offer, "The Guilt Trip", which made me think I could strap my mother on to a trailer and tow her cross country next time. That would be epic.

The last leg of flying was on a small Dash-8, a route along northern British Columbia's spectacular coast. I was relieved to see the bike box intact when we landed in Sandspit, a really tiny airport. It took me a good hour and a half to reassemble the bike, and by that time they were closing up the terminal as I was on the last flight that day. The Airport manager came out to chat with me, asked me to sign his guestbook and gave me a pin with the airport's call letters YZP.

YZP joins the handlebar bag pin collection from some of the places I've biked.

It was an idyllic 10 kilometre ride to catch a ferry to Graham Island, the largest island in "The Charlottes" as some locals seem to still call the archipelago. Traffic is sparse and slow, about one car every 10 minutes. The air was perfect for riding — cool, crisp and clean. Haida Gwaii's landscape is like British Columbia in a nutshell: Ocean views from rocky beaches, ferns and mosses beneath towering evergreens, and snow-speckled mountains beyond in the islands' interior.

I rode down to Queen Charlotte City which is really a small village and checked into the Premier Creek Hostel. The only place open for dinner was a Chinese restaurant that served humongous portions

“Go West, life is peaceful there,
Go West, in the open air....”

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