Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mini-tour

Before the weekends get too booked up and hectic Ilana and I decided to scoot off for a quick one-night camping trip. So on Saturday morning we headed off on a 65-70km trek to Golden Ears Provincial Park for a one night biking/camping excursion.

It wasn't a hard ride, with the only real elevation gains taking place in the last 20 or so km. However, the ride did present it's own challenges: We decided to take the most direct route out of Vancouver all the way to Coquitlam, that is to say we rode along Lougheed Highway. While this was a quick route with a decent shoulder most of the way, it wasn't the most interesting or quietest of roads. At some point we just got tired of dealing with the noise and traffic and turned off onto a quiet side path that got us all the way to the Pitt River bridge, all the while warning us that there was absolutely no way for bikes or pedestrians to cross the Pitt River bridge due to construction.

Well, we hadn't come all this way just to turn back and go home, so on reaching the end of the trial complete with dire construction/detour warnings, we decided to tough out the two or three hundred metres across the Pitt River bridge by pretending we were car traffic. This somewhat annoyed some of the drivers we held up, though to be honest we were as polite about it as we could safely be. Since there was no side walk or shoulder to speak of, we simply took up all of one of the two East bound lanes, endured a few honks and pedaled hard to get over the bridge as quickly as possible. Just think of it as a critical mass of two.

That messy bit done with we got off the highway again and rode through lovely Pitt Meadows farmland, on to a riverside lunch stop in Maple Ridge, and into the midst of Golden Ears park, where at twenty to six in the evening we pulled in to a camp spot to set up for the night. Not a bad days riding considering we were taking it pretty easy and had left at one in the afternoon after a slow morning start.

After setting up tent and eating our pre-prepared camp dinner, we headed into our tent to read for a while before settling down for the night.

Unlike the slow start on Saturday, on Sunday morning we woke up early, had a quick bite to eat, broke camp and hit the road by 8:30am. Backtracking through Pitt Meadows we found our way at the Pitt River bridge for a second time, only to find that not only was there a shoulder, but an actual sidewalk that we could use to cross the bridge without bothering the impatient car traffic. If only the detour signs had pointed us here instead of indicating that we wouldn't be able to cross!

After crossing the bridge we again found ourselves on the shoulder of the Lougheed Highway which we stuck to until it disappeared leaving us to make our way through the mostly calm streets and paths of Port Coquitlam and on to Port Moody. From Port Moody we took the wide shoulder of the very scenic Barnet Highway into North Burnaby where there was a bike route to lead us all the way back home.

Now that we've done it a few times, packing and unpacking the bikes is becoming much easier, and it's nice to be able to take off for a self propelled weekend jaunt. Hopefully it won't be the last camping trip of 2009!


The "Mini-Tour" 25 Hour Bike Camp to Golden Ears

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