We did it: successfully went on a bike tour with Violet. Hopefully the first of many.
Our friends James and Verena invited us to join them for two nights on Saturna Island and one on Maine Island. Both islands are pretty small, the bigger of the two, Saturna, being around 10km long. It made for pretty low commitment touring. If Violet became a handful, we were never far from camp or our next location.
The real challenge was all the extra weight we had to haul to our first campsite at Narvaez Bay, a wilderness campsite with no water or fresh water sources nearby (from information available, the only “public” water on the island is at the general store). On top of the Chariot, Violet, and all her accessories, we were loaded with 16L of water for two nights.
Oh, and our new family-sized tent and a third thermarest for Violet. Twelve pounds but every pound worth the comfort afforded by the extra space.
The good thing is that we were only fully loaded on the way to the campsite the first day, back to the ferry terminal after the second night, and then to and from the campground on Maine Island, which was only a few kilometres from the ferry terminal. The rest of the time we rode with an afternoon’s worth of lunch, snacks, water and diapers.
The other good thing (for me) was that Aaron towed the Chariot for most of the trip. I took my turn after we set up camp on Maine. The hills that day, and our short ride to the ferry terminal the next morning, made me fully appreciate Aaron’s efforts. On the flats (or downhill, of course), it’s remarkably manageable to tow the Chariot on a fully loaded bike. But once you’re going uphill…
At least the Gulf Islands’ hills, while constant and sometimes killer steep, are never too long. Sometimes, the undulating road is a fun rollercoaster of downhills that give you enough momentum to ride the following uphills. They also lead you to beautiful places, surprisingly serene for their proximity to two large cities.
Highlights were the deer on Saturna, so tame I can’t imagine they have any predators.
Aaron spotted two Pileated Woodpeckers, close enough for a good look but not close enough for a photo.
And Verena, James and Cassia found a tree frog tucked in the bark of the douglas fir around which our Maine Island campground’s outdoor shower was built.
The whole trip went so well, I can’t think of any “lessons” learned for next time. We had already learned from others that when touring with a baby, they may dictate your schedule and keep distances shorter. Duly noted. We made an effort to ride while Violet napped, and break when she needed attention. If not asleep, she spent much time looking out the Chariot window, watching the world speed by, and provided encouragement for us to pedal fast up the hills.