Maple Ridge, Canada - Polarsteps
So friends, sometimes travelling by bike is wildly unpredictable; you might get a run of flat tires and get set back a bit. You might show up to campgrounds that don't exist anymore and have to improvise for the night. Routes that seem viable on the map can turn out quite differently when you actually get on them. Or maybe you stress yourself out a little too much wrapping up your life to leave on your bike trip and end up with actual shingles on your actual face at the age of 35; there are things you don't think to plan for.
If you get the face shingles, you probably shouldn't watch them progress for 8 days with growing alarm before finally seeing a doctor in Maple Ridge, getting put on a round of shingles meds, and getting shuffled into the medical referral waiting game because you need to see an eye specialist because there is some concern about what the shingles could be doing to your eye.
...So, this is a less-than-ideal start, and for the moment we're stalled out and can't leave metro Vancouver until this eye appointment has materialized. The good news is that the shingles are on their way out (see above re: shingles meds), and also that when we hit our limit camping in nonstop pouring rain, our first-ever Warm Showers hosts came through (that's the couchsurfing-style hospitality network for touring cyclists). Nicole and Minto have been beyond welcoming and giving in opening their home for us to warm up and dry off for a couple of nights, and have kept us so well supplied with good conversation, laughter, and yummy vegan food, and Nicole even let us crash the pilates and yoga classes she was teaching today. Being taken in by strangers when we really needed it has been an amazing experience in human kindness. The fact that the map is dotted with people willing to do this, too, feels incredibly good (we're excited to eventually add ourselves to it someday).
We're shifting back into camping tomorrow and hoping we can move along soon; we can see the mountains we're about to cycle into and we're itching to head east to Hope and get on the Crowsnest Highway, our chosen route through BC. For now, we're safe and fine and hanging tight.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲