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Pacific Coast Bike Route – Day 1 : Blue Horizon Hotel, Vancouver, BC > Birch Bay State Park

I was up much later than expected last night between a late dinner and organizing/balancing gear. I didn’t turn out the lights until nearly 1:00 a.m., but not before drawing the shades tight to hold back the morning sun and setting an alarm for 8:00 a.m.

My brain and body had other ideas and I woke up just before 6:00 despite my best efforts. I rolled over and checked my phone and saw a reminder that the F1 race started at 6:00. I figured why not and, after searching where to tune in, spent the next hour and a half relaxing and enjoying the race. Not too shabby a way to wake up.

When the race was over I turned my attention to breakfast. I opened Google Maps, searched for “breakfast restaurants”, and started browsing. There were several within walking distance and based on reviews I narrowed it down to Adobe (4.1), Forage (4.5), and Cora Breakfast and Lunch (4.3). I started browsing the pictures others had shared of the food and menu and based solely on an A-frame sign out front I choose Cora Breakfast and Lunch.

One great thing about staying in a downtown hotel is the ability to walk to nearly anything you need. Walked a whole half block to dinner last night and walked an entire block and a half for breakfast this morning. It was a little eerie to be walking the mostly empty streets after the hussle and bustle of the night before.

I walked by an interesting art installation piece names “Jasper” that is a part of the Vancouver Biennale Open Air Museum. I also passed by Forage along the way and, by looking inside at the decor, felt I made the right decision to pass on it. It was also strangely empty.

Contrast that with Cora. When I walked in I knew immediately I’d made the right decision. The place was PACKED to near capacity. I had to ask myself, “Where did all these people come from?”.

After a brief wait for them to clean a table I sat down and examined the menu. It took me a few minutes but I finally decided on the 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, 2 blueberry pancakes with toast (?) from the “Early Bird Menu” which is served until 8:00 a.m., and, most importantly, it included coffee! Overall, the food was great and I cleaned my plate. The pancakes weren’t too sweet, coffee was solid, and the service was great.

Once breakfast was done I went back up to my hotel room. I started getting everything put back in bags and put back together so that I could roll out. Got changed and after doing one last sweep of the room I made a run for the lobby to check out.

When I left the hotel I knew I wanted to go to a local bike shop to have them check the torque on the stem. The computer mount I’m using has a funky arm on it which makes it really hard to tighten the stem bolts. I started riding and came upon this huge park and realized that I had left the hotel and gone the wrong direction. So I turned around and doubled back to the hotel and then past it on to the local bike shop. Walked in and they were nice enough to check the torque on all four. I think they were all good from the airport but I just wanted to be 100% sure.

After the bike shop I rolled over to the “official” start of the Pacific Coast Bike Route. One there I took a couple pictures and then set off. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything new because I’d rode this section already last year. Despite that I still did see some things that I missed last year.

For most of the morning I had been on the lookout for the railroad crossing that had done me in last year. Shortly after lunch is when I came upon it. I first stopped to take a picture of the three warning signs that I had seen on Google Street view. Then I approached the tracks to get a picture of the really weird angle that tracks are to the road. Next I walked over to an area provided to allow you to square up and cross the tracks. Finally once I was across I stopped, looked back, and snapped one more picture.

During much of this I was on and off crying. I don’t know what came over me other than a huge wave of emotion. Perhaps it was a combination of happiness knowing that I was overcoming what had been such a surprise hurdle last year. A relief to know that I had actually learned from the experience last year and wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake. Also, in some strange way, it was validation that I could actually do this, that it’s possible, and I’m not a complete failure after all.

After my emotional breakdown, I continued to roll on to the border patrol checkpoint. I stopped, locked up Shadow, and went inside to complete my border crossing. Thankfully everything went without issue and I continued on towards Birch Bay State Park.

Before getting to Birch Bay State park, I made a quick stop at a Shell gas station to pick up a couple things for dinner. I picked up some kind of southwestern chicken wrap, some Fritos flavor twists, a cherry pie, and some Reese’s sticks. Unfortunately, this gas station didn’t have my zingers and I was pretty disappointed.

I made it into Birch Bay State Park without any problems. I had to ride all the way through the park to get to the camping entrance which is on the east side of the park. I checked in with one of the rangers and got one of two hike/bike sites that they have available. I was only charged $12, the standard rate for the hiker/biker sites, compared to the other camp sites which are starting at $30 a night. Once I was paid up, I rode back to the west side of the park to my site. When I rolled up I was amazed that I am all by myself. There’s not another soul here. The hike/bike sites are located near the group camp. I honestly wonder how long I could be here and go unnoticed.

I parked Shadow, unpacked my street clothes, and made for the bathroom. After changing, I gave my bibs a quick wash so they, hopefully, dry overnight. I don’t need them tomorrow, but will certainly need them the day after that.

With that chore done I set about getting my camp setup for the night. I made a critical mistake in not trying to put my tent up at the house before I left town. Thankfully it wasn’t much work and went up easily enough. Got my sleep pad and pillow inflated and quilt unpacked and ready to go. At this point I can crash out whenever I’m ready. Unfortunately, sunset isn’t until 9:09 p.m.!!

Sunny-Sunny, 64°F-68°F, Feels like 71°F-74°F, Humidity 61%-39%, Wind WSW 6mph-W 5mph – by
4.94 new miles
Completed 25% of Birch Bay State Park — From
myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: 2.5%
Headwind: 47% @ 1.2-13.4mph
Longest Headwind: 56m 7s
Air Speed: 12.2mph
Temp: 59.1-68.5°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 55.01 mi
Max elevation: 384 ft
Min elevation: 13 ft
Total climbing: 2517 ft
Total descent: -2671 ft
Total time: 06:15:35
Published inCycling

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