Day 5: Salt Spring Island – Orcas Island

Day 5: Salt Spring Island – Orcas Island (Moran State Park)

Distance: 28 miles

It’s been a busy couple of days…

Knowing I had an unpleasant climb to start the day, I was keen to get away early, but, of course, getting away early didn’t happen. When I was packing my stuff I realised a screw was missing from my Pannier Rack and it was rattling around. I checked various other bits too, vital bits like brakes, the gears can wait.

So, it was almost 9, I had 50 minutes to get back along the road from hell. The opening climb went on and on as I tacked across the road to lessen the gradient. It was tortuous and I despaired as my speed dropped under 4 miles an hour. Would I actually be better walking? I pressed on over hill after hill and at long last I managed back along to the ferry, 6.5 miles of torture.

The ferry to Swartz Bay was short and I didn’t hang around long before pressing on to Sidney, from where I would take my next ferry – to America. They reluctantly let me through customs, on to the San Juan Islands I would go.

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Arriving in Friday Harbour on the largest Island, San Juan, I deliberated briefly with staying here, it was a very nice town and there was a campsite nearby. And I really needed a rest. But… I’d planned to head to Orcas Island, cycle 15 miles to a campground, then climb a 500m hill, so that’s what I’d do.

Of course Orcas Island was very hilly, and I struggled the 8 miles to the capital, Eastsound. My struggles weren’t helped by a persistent puncture for the last few miles. When I got into town I changed the inner tube assuming it was a dodgy valve, then had dinner. An amazing pizza place called Hogstone Wood Oven. There I also bumped into three girls from Seattle, one who was interested in my trip as she plans to cycle across Canada in the summer.

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After dinner, I headed on up towards Moran State Park, the operative word being up. My puncture woes continued, I kept pumping up the wheel but didn’t really have time to stop. Then when I reached the park, I found the campsite was mobbed – except for the primitive sites 5 miles further up the hill – so I really had to sort the wheel. On closer inspection, there was a bit of the wire bead on the inside of the tyre sticking out into the inner tube. No wonder I kept puncturing. So I covered over the wire with tape and pressed on. Then, boom! There was an explosion from the back tyre, so that was the end of that. I hauled my gear up the road and into the trees – just as darkness fell – put up the tent, and fell asleep. With no idea what I would do tomorrow.

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