Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Arms... hurt...


Today was a reeally long day of riding. A bit like our first day, actually. We only managed to arrive at our hotel late at night, at around 9pm. Maybe we're setting too long distances for ourselves. Or maybe it's another reason... like... maybe... this place:

Hey! Let's stop and take a look!

Om nom nom...

Nom nom nom...

The jerky-looking object that the ostrich is holding is "indian candy," which is a kind of smoked salmon and a recipient of the "Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten" Award from Celine. Besides that, we have some bread and some nice goat cheese from a local farm.

<2 hours later> *burp* Should we start going now?



Our legs, surprisingly, are neither tired nor chafed. My arms, on the other hand, feel like they were pedaling the whole way. Apparently it takes a lot of energy to hold myself up on the bike for hours and hours. Meanwhile, Celine can sit in the back tossing snacks into her mouth and snapping pictures all day!!

Here's Celine's explanation: Ostwige's arms are too short!

Maybe we need to find a way to raise or bring the handlebar closer?

Back on Track!

Today, in a mad scramble that involved missed buses, frantic taxi rides, and catching the last ferry, we bid farewell to Victoria and said hello to our bicycle Perry again.


Bye Victoria!

We woke up bright and early (the ostrich's definition) with plenty of time to pack up and bid farewell to Max, Evie and the rest of the RALLC crew. We were planning to catch a morning bus back up to Sidney, where we would catch the ferry to bring us back to Anacortes, Washington, USA. Thanks to our excellent time management skills, we waddled out to the bus stop with all our stuff and still had 15 minutes to spare before the bus was scheduled to arrive.

So we waited for a bit and talked about some stuff. And waited some more. Several buses came and left. Cars drove by. But what were we worried about? The bus wasn't even supposed to come for another three minutes.

Two minutes. Nobody else was waiting at the bus stop. Hmm.

One minute. I started to have a feeling that I tend to get pretty often when dealing with complicated things like public transport. It's a bit of a talent I have, I guess. The feeling means: you're doing it wrong.

Zero minutes. This bus was the last bus for another hour. If we missed this bus, we would miss the ferry. If we missed the ferry, we would be delayed another four hours, meaning our day of bicycling would be pretty much over.

Panicking slightly, we ran back to the concierge, panniers flapping. Yup -- we'd been at the wrong bus stop. We ran out to the correct place, which was juust painfully around the corner from where we were standing -- the northbound stop, instead of southbound. But of course it was too late.

Sigh.

After a few seconds of gloomy fretting, we found ourselves facing the prospect of missing the day of cycling, complete with finding new accommodations, paying for them, etc.

We ran into Evie and her roommate Sheera, who was taking a charter bus up to a different port for a ferry back to Vancouver. After hearing about our problems, Evie very kindly volunteered to drive us up to Sidney to try and make our ferry. So our choices were: stay and give up the day of cycling, or take Evie's offer to drive us up.

We felt really bad about either option. But as we walked back to the hotel to look for Evie's car keys, we passed some idle taxis. Celine ran over and asked them how much for a ride to Sidney. They said around $60, which was about the same price as Sheera's charter bus to the other port.

On the spot, we decided to take the taxi. We dumped our stuff in, and off we went!

We ended up having a really interesting conversation with the taxi driver, Erfan, who used to be a doctor and was working as a taxi driver, trying to make ends meet while planning a return to university. We arrived in Sidney and made it on the ferry with literally minutes to spare.

The ferry ride was much nicer this time round. The sun was starting to come out, so we had a great view of the bay and the islands. And when we arrived back in the USA, right on schedule, Art was there at the dock to meet us.


Phew!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Downtown Victoria

We got to Victoria and met up with Mr. Tiger, Evie, and Sheera. Of course, we immediately headed for a second lunch at "Don Mei", a dim sum restaurant in Victoria (supposedly the oldest Chinatown in Canada). Vitali joined us too.



After lunch, we went as a big group with all the Research Affiliates people to the Victoria Bug Zoo, which sounds like a funny thing to visit on holiday on Victoria Island, but...

It was really, REALLY cool! The zoo guide, Mike, went around the little room with us, taking out all kinds of weird and crazy-looking bugs for us to handle while bombarding us with interesting facts. We held scorpions, taratulas, giant stickbugs, beetles, humongous grubs... just look at the pictures!



Everyone left the museum really impressed.

Even these members of the Russia Mafiya:



We went back to the hotel to check out the indoor pool, which was pretty nice. It was small, but soon the 10 of us managed to drive away all the other people using the pool and converted it into one big swimming contest. I guess this side trip wasn't as much of a break from exercise as we thought...

The ostrich was exhausted after the swimming races. The UCLA/Anderson school graduates had a mini-reunion dinner at a Spanish Tapas restaurant downtown so we tagged along.

The food was goooood. Highlights included bacon-wrapped dates, pesto-pecan-apple pizza, a variety of salads, and the first and best "chocolate creme brulee" we've ever had.

Delicious!!!! Thank you Jason! Come to Westwood soon so we can finish our tennis match!

Back to B.C

Today we're going back to Canada to meet our support Tiger (need MOAR underwear!).

The morning started early when we got up at 6:00 to get ready for the ferry from Anacortes to Sindey. Art and Lexi kindly volunteered their garage so we could store Perry somewhere while we went to Victoria. They're even picking us up tomorrow from the ferry when we come back! They're really kind!

The ferry ride was fun and scenic but not super special: it took about two hours and we ended up napping, playing psp/ds and messing with the computer for most of the time. They had a small cafe with clam chowder, hot dogs, etc, and even a few arcade machines on board.



We were getting pretty hungry when we reached Sidney, and since our snack supply was running low, we headed straight for the first grocery store we saw. There were a lot of snacks not found in the US, so we bought as many as we dared: one box of "sweet chili" triscuit, one box of berry/green tea cookies, maltesers, gummy candies, five dragonfruit-melon juice boxes, five starfruit-orange juice boxes, a kitkat hazelnut cream bar, a cadbury "wunderbar", and a steak-vegetable pie and salmon roll for lunch.


(the bus was ... a bit bumpy)

What should we have for dinner?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 2 Part 2 - Anacortes

When we neared Anacortes, we had our first freeway riding experience on highway 20.


(Crossroads before the freeway)


(On the freeway! Looks like I-5 but greener)

We even went up a pedestrian walkway on the side of the needlessly high freeway bridge into Anacortes. While Celine will claim that it was not scary at all, you can obviously see from the pictures that the height was very scary indeed.


(See? not high! not scary!)


(wait... who's taking the picture? huH? there's only 1 person on the bike? where's the ostrich?)


(boo hoo hoo, hoo hoo /panic)

After we finally got off the bridge, we rode around on Figuero island for a while, looking for the second bridge that would allow us to skip the rest of the freeway into Anacortes. We ended up going straight through a huge Shell oil refinery, which was an interesting experience.

The footbridge into Anacortes is supposedly a rebuilt railroad trestle from many years back. It's now used just for cyclists and foot traffic. Here's a picture of it:


(Trestle is ahead going across the water)


(On the trestle)


Sooooo beautiful

And climbing a few more hills into downtown Anacortes, we arrived at our second host's house.

Thank you Art and Lexi for the great pizza dinner, dessert, bed, and of course the warm shower!

Day 2 - Bellingham to Anacortes

After a yummy breakfast of potatoes, eggs, cheese and fresh leeks from the Elliots' garden, we reluctantly set out from Bellingham at the "early" hour of 12 noon (ahem, I wonder who was snoring for so long).


(Cloudy sends us off)

After a little bit more uphill riding, the road suddenly leveled out and opened up -- we got off the main road and started zooming downhill. While trying to break our speed record of 32mph (set near the Canada/US border), we zipped towards Lake Samish and got some nice views of the water.



We zipped past several intersections before I started thinking that maybe we wanted to turn at one of them to stay on the route. But we were going so fast that by the time Perry stopped completely, we were at the bottom of a very big hill.

Unfortunately, we *had* missed a turn. And getting back to that intersection meant climbing back up the steep hill that we had just flown down. So we decided to just continue and see where the road went. We ended up going around the lake on the other side, which was a very nice ride as well.

The rest of the day was spent winding through the woods and eventually through flat farmlands. It was foggy and slightly drizzly, very nice for bike riding.


We saw llamas!


What are those white round things?_?

We also stopped at a little bakery in the middle of nowhere, called Rosabella's Garden Bakery. We had an $8 slice of vegetarian quiche there that was made solely from ingredients that the owners grew themselves: really from scratch! It was an expensive slice of quiche, but it tasted good.



Warm quiche in belly, we set out to one of the steepest hills we've encountered:

Luckily it wasn't too long =)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 1 Part 2 - Border to Bellingham

The ride from the Border to Bellingham was pretty uneventful -- there was not much scenery and lots of hills. We were pretty bored most of the way and couldn't go very fast.


(Tee thinks our shadows look cool)

We look like weirdos, but Bellingham is very beautiful. We passed by a Creek:


Some weird slugs


And Deer!
video
Not to mention a lot of allergy causing materials =P

When we finally made it to Ray and Deborah's house we had been traveling at only 4-6mph (6-10kph) for the last 2 hours, due to a huge hill! But what goes up must come down, so we are looking forward to all the downhills tomorrow!


(Group picture!)

Thank you Ray, Deborah, Chris and Tim for everything! We had a great time! Let us take you on a eating tour next time you are in LA =)

Day 1 - Vancouver to Canada/US border

Alan and Alan's buddy Dan joined us for the ride to the Canada-US border. It took a lot longer than we expected due to the almost constant 2-8% grade. While Perry is zooming-out-of-control-fast on the downhills, it's very hard to get Perry uphill. Part of it is due to untimely shifting on ostrich's side, part of it is that it's hard to coordinate power strokes with 2 people. Another part of it is that fat ostrich doesn't pedal! hehehe, just kidding. We had to walk up some of the hills. Anyhow, we finally made it to the border (although Dan and Alan had to wait ... a lot... Sorry!!!)


(Burnaby Lake station, before meeting Dan)


(Alan and Dan, waiting ... ... ... )


(Surrey)


(Canada-US border)

We took a break at the duty free shop, celebrated Alan's birthday with some gelato, and dan bought some discount alky.


(Happy Birthday Alan!)


Despite the very inviting sign, the US Border control were not so inviting. Apparently, due to the contruction at the office, they were supposedly not accepting bicyclists and pedestrians. Several officers asked us... didn't you read the signs!? Sorry! we didn't see any signs! (but even if we did, what are we supposed to do?_?)


Ultimately they let us through, and we got through much faster than the cars =)

miles today:
miles so far:
max speed: 32mph (51.5 km)
ave speed: -- to be updated later when I find the notebook! --

Friday, June 18, 2010

Team-S meeting!

We met in Richmond for Szechuan food with ... 12 people! Team RALLC and Team S took up two tables in the restaurant!! Great food and fun times!


(Teemo, Stinky, Sivir, Soraka, Singed)
(aka eves, shoya, FrostRonin, Treerex, Struthius)

Thank you FrostRonin! come down to LA to visit us sometime =)

Overpacking Woes

As Wingee already knows, Celine is really very good at fitting a large number of things into small spaces (i.e. packing 200 lbs suitcases with only clothes). Unfortunately, this skill is a very bad skill to utilize when you are packing for bike tours or hiking tours as this usually means that you have to carry that 200 lbs suitcase all day long.

Luckily, Courier Tiger to the rescue!!! We will drop our "extras" with courier tiger and meet the extras in Seattle or Los Angeles, which ever ends up more convenient. We are so grateful for all the help we've had from everyone! Thank you!

Practice Run

Dr. Alan had work today, so he sent us on a training ride to the Dutch Pankoek house, just a short ride away. We loaded the bike to 75% of the weight we will carry on the journey down to Seattle, and off we went!


no journey is complete without getting lost first


Great views.

Vancouver (and Burnaby) is very friendly to cyclists. To get to breakfast, we took the "Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail" -- a collection of mini paved trails and dirt paths that go all around the city.



We've never taken Perry on dirt paths or gravel before, so it was definitely a harrowing experience!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Perry's damages + Dr. Alan

We got off the plane and retrieved Perry from the oversized luggage section. Taking a break for a sandwich, we next got to work putting the bike back together! That's Perry in the background!



Unfortunately, Perry suffered a huge gouge from being thrown around the luggage compartment. It went through the paint, but it was not very very deep. We've covered it up with Alan's architecture model paint temporarily for now, when we're back in LA we'll try to find a touch up paint to fix up the hole =(

The next thing was to put the bike back together...


(hmm... what to do with these...)

It was... more difficult than we expected. We spent at least 6 hours getting Perry ready. We expected to need to put on the racks, seats, handlebars, wheels. We ended up doing those "easy" things, and also:
1. Adjusting the brakes (because they no longer stopped the bike when depressed)
2. Adjusting the rear derailleur (because the chain was not catching on the teeth)
3. Pumping the front tire, then...
4. Breaking the shreader valve, thus...
5. Needing to replace the tube

Did I mention we are bike noobs? So in 6 hours, we learned how to change flat tires, adjust brakes and adjust derailleurs. Luckily Vancouver Airport has free wifi, so we had a lot of help =) Better now, than when there is no internet!

Unfortunately, after all that... the hole for the front rack broke, so we still couldn't ride Perry.

Luckily, next stop was Dr. Alan! However, to get there, we needed to take the train. While the train out of the airport was nice and wide and easy to get Perry on, the city trains were much more narrow. If anyone else is planning to take a tandem bike on Vancouver (non-airport) trains... hmm... try to avoid it =P


(this is the wide train from the airport)

Despite our best efforts at the airport, Perry still needed expert attention. Enter Dr. Alan! We met up with Dr. Alan, ate super good deal sushi, went back to Dr. Alan's place to fix up Perry!



Thank you Dr. Alan!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Airport

We managed to check in Perry, even though the ticket clerk was a little bit confused as to if she's allowed to do it. I convinced her though! Perry's plane ticket cost $75 (oversize charge). Considering we "saved" $50 by not checking in any additional bags, I feel like we got a pretty OK deal. Hope Perry comes out fine on the other side of the border!

Most of our tools and things got through security without much problem -- except for the pedals! Although once they opened up the bag and found out that the pedals aren't explosive, they let us through.



Now we're eating french fries and hooger J's (Whopper Jr.) and drinking a big coke! Yay coke!

Did we forget anything?

This morning started at 6am when I frantically woke up after oversleeping. I jumped into my chair and started clacking out my final exam that was due at noon. Submitted at 11:59!

We spent the next 4 hours fitting ostrich on Perry, wrapping perry's handlebars, disassembling perry and stuffing perry into a box. Also running around looking for stuff in our half-packed up apartment, and packing everything else. So, did we forget anything? So far, we've thought of 2 things: my fleece sweater and our flip flops. We also couldn't find our rear blinky light (did I pack it into one of the moving boxes??) So far not too bad, I could always add another sweater to my growing collection (Despite living in LA, I seem to have 3-4 dozen sweaters, as I found out while packing last week). We'll see in the next week what other important things we forgot to bring =P

We took the fly away bus to the airport, thanks to juju-wuju who arrived at precisely the right time as were about to start carrying 2 duffle bags, a backpack and a boxed up Perry to the bus stop. Somehow we were able to put down the seats and we were able to stuff Perry into the juju-mobile. Thank you Juju! Give Rico a kiss for me <3

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Perry's new parts

We bought Perry some new parts:
> Planet Bike Protege 9.0 bicycle computer ($19)
> Rear wheel kit for above bicycle computer ($12)
> Power Grip pedals for Tee ($29)
> Cheap-o plastic pedals for Ost ($5)
> Ortlieb front and back roller bags ( $_$ so expensive, even w/ REI sale )
> Jandd front rack
> Handlebar tape ($12)
> Spare tube ($4)
Perry, you are almost more expensive than Rico!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pedals

Perry came with SPD clip in pedals. Unfortunately neither Tee or ostwige knows how to use them, nor have the shoes for them. Not to mention the shoes cost over $100 @_@

We've decided that it's best to have non-clipin non-loopy pedals for ostwige who is especially clumsy and responsible for putting his toes on the ground to keep all 3 of us from falling over. Thus, we have purchased cheap-o plastic pedals for ostwige. They cost $5 from amazon.com, and thanks to Mr. Tiger, we got free shipping through Amazon prime. Thank you Mr. Tiger!

For Tee we bought power grip sport set pedals. Since Tee is the backseat motor, ostwige is hoping that she will use extra energy on the upstroke, thus tiring her out sooner so ostwige can take a break. we'll see about that! If she likes them, maybe she'll use them on her normal bike too!

Anyone need 4 SPD clip in pedals? It can be used for a person with 4 feet, or 2 people with 2 feet each.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Perry

Hello and welcome to our blog! This blog is to chronicle our super duper bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle.

A special hello to Terry and Penny who sold us their Santana tandem. Thank you so much for selling it to us and taking such good care of it! As promised, we'll try our best to ride it on lots of exciting journeys =)

Thus, we're tentatively naming the bicycle after Princess Peach's umbrella: PERRY (Penny + tERRY).

Hello Perry! Welcome to the galkaru home!