Downtime travel, with and without our bikes
Now that the operating season is over and the resort that we work at is closed, Rebecca and I have been enjoying a bit of — at least what I think is — well-deserved, downtime. We’ve settled into our new digs, a beautiful condo not far from the resort, and have been making plans for the colder months to come. Months that will happily include a little bit of traveling.
Back to The Island
Shortly after the resort locked its gates, we snuck away for a short trip, taking my sister Diane up on her invitation to visit her on Vancouver Island. Both Rebecca and I had been to the island before, independent of one another, but those trips were more than a decade ago. This time around we stayed with my sister and her husband in their beautiful home in Victoria. They each took turns playing tour guide, helping us to get to know the area through several excursions by foot and by bike.
Reconnecting with old friends
When we weren’t out seeing the sights with my sister and brother-in-law, Rebecca and I made time to reconnect with some old friends and family members. Our buddy Adam, who we hadn’t seen since our wedding (Adam was my best man), owns a super-successful martial arts gym in Victoria called ZUMA. We visited there one evening to take part in one of his jiu-jitsu classes, our first in maybe 6-7 years! That, in and of itself, was special as we really miss training. Although we didn’t get to spend a ton of time with Adam, it was amazing to reconnect. He hasn’t changed one bit. It was also great to meet his wife and 2 young sons for the first time. Hopefully, they’ll all come to visit us in the Okanagan next summer so that we can enjoy some more significant time together.
Our good friend Adam
Through the miracle of Facebook, I was also able to reconnect with my best friend from my elementary school days, someone who I hadn’t seen for close to 40 years! Isn’t that cool? We had an enjoyable reunion one evening in an old pub, swapping stories about what we’ve both been up to all these years. I won’t share any of the details here but I will say that I bet his tales would make an incredible book!
If all that wasn’t enough, Rebecca and I were finally able to meet our brother-in-law Brian’s parents and sister. We enjoyed a nice dinner together and it was wonderful to finally put faces to the names that we had heard mentioned so many times in the past. As you can probably gather, the entire trip was incredibly memorable for us!
Do we still have what it takes?
As great as that Vancouver Island trip was, we already have another one in the works for later this month, one that will undoubtedly prove to be much more physically demanding. This time we’ll be flying to Phoenix with our bikes to ride a 377 km loop around a portion of the Arizona desert. Do we still have what it takes to complete a trek like that? I guess we’ll see.
The route we intend to follow was submitted to Bikepacking.com by our friend Miles Arbour. It begins in Phoenix and according to the write-up, follows a mix of “urban paths, flowy singletrack, and rugged forest service roads.” Sounds right up our alley!
As good as new
Given that at least part of this ride will take place in a remote area with few services, we took our bikes into a local bike shop, The Lion’s Cyclery, for a complete tune-up before setting out. Our bikes have more than 9000 km on them now so we figured that some new cables, new chains, etc. were due. Now, after professional servicing, they’re as good as new and should serve us well for another 9k.
Lighter than light!
Even though I think we were traveling fairly light on our last big bike journey, since we’ll only be out for a week or so this time around, we’re going to try to travel with even less stuff. Think lighter than light! We’ll be leaving the panniers behind and running a strictly bikepacking setup so that means that our laptop computer and some of our other luxuries will be staying home too. Deciding what to take and what to leave behind has been a fun exercise.
We enjoyed some beautiful weather during our trip to Vancouver Island
Friends in warm places
Again proving that some good things can come from social media, a fellow cyclist, Clark, who we connected with on Facebook, has offered to pick us up at the Phoenix airport and have us stay with him at his house before we set out on our ride. Apparently, Clark lives right by the trail and thus is very familiar with the area. Pretty cool, eh?
Needless to say, we’re excited about this upcoming warm-weather vacation but we’re also looking forward to some fun activities closer to home when we return. We intend to make the best of our offseason downtime, and our first full winter back in Canada.