The CIPO-caraVAN has started!

cipo-caravan first day
Leaving Vancouver, BC on our way to Oaxaca, Mexico

Day 1

You can check out the photos we’re taking on our way on our flickr cipo-caravan set here =)

So on Monday. November 8th, 2010 we were finally ready to leave. We had a few freaky setbacks prior to our departure (one of our tires exploded and actually killed the bike rim!) so we had to spend an extra day repairing and re-organizing our gear.

Early that morning we went to Coop Radio to participate at the Ecos de mi pueblo show where one of our members was interviewed briefly. We then visited Our community bikes for the last time (thanks SO much guys!) to check our bikes and then back home to pick up our gear and take off.

Check out a small video of our departure here!

Road signThe weather was pretty good, with almost clear skies and a bit chilly. One of our bestest friends rode with us to the Massey tunnel in Richmond, where we had our farewell hugs. We then made our way to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, where we had to wait for a late, 7:30 pm ferry to Schwartz Bay. We started cycling at around 9 pm and, in the dark, passed through the Galloping Goose trail to make it into downtown Victoria by around 10:30 pm. The ride was a bit cold but in general pretty good. The trail is really flat and well maintained, and is pretty fun to ride when the weather is nice. Unfortunately, one of our lights was not properly secured to the handlebars, which were too full with bags, straps and other crap, so it was a pain to have to adjust it every few meters as it rattled and moved.

Once in Victoria we caught up with some friends from the Wilderness Committee and had a fun late night with some beer, tequila and laughs.

Day 2

The next morning we were woken up by a crazy wind storm. We were a bit beat up by the late ride (I’m sure the tequila had NOTHING to do with it!) and we dashed out to catch the 10:30 am ferry to Port Angeles. We were trying desperately to catch the boat but as we were riding out Jocelyn had a flat tire! We managed to just pump it up and hope to fix it on the boat.

Too rough, I better sleep!We did make it to the ferry, and as we hopped on it the wind picked up. The ferry staff actually allowed us to bring the bikes into the deck to keep them secure and out of the reach of salty water, which proved a wise decision. The wind was CRAZY! If you can imagine, the humongous boat actually bobbed up and down like it was a small boat and crashed into the waves, sending cascades of sea water into the top decks. A couple of hikers who where outside got soaked on one of those little gushes of water. Both of us got pretty sick from the rocking, so I went to sleep and Jocelyn had to actually go outside and get fresh air. It was pretty rough and we had to spend some time just resting once we got to Port Angeles to recuperate.

The border crossing was super easy, and the officers didn’t seem to care too much about two crazy cyclists on their way to Mexico =)

Before riding out we passed to a supermarket to get some food, and had lunch just outside the Port Angeles Courthouse. Not a great place to meet people I guess, but it was nice. We got a tourist map from the info building and figured we’d try to go past Sequim and maybe camp at Blyne. If only we had asked! We rode under cloudy skies and pretty windy roads, at points pretty strong. We made it to Sequim without much trouble, so we kept going.

Blyne is a small community with a strong native population (there’s a huge casino and pretty awesome native band offices), but it’s also a pretty tiny place. Aside from the casino, there was only a gas station. We regrouped and, based on our shitty tourist map, decided to make it to the fork of highway 101 to 104, which leads to Kingston, and then camp somewhere there. We stocked up with some tortillas, sausage, instant noodle soup and granola bars and hit the road. It was about 5 pm when we left, and it was already getting dark.

The first leg of the ride was ok, but dark. Then we hit a fork of the highway where the road leads to Port Townsend. There we saw a crazy little burger joint where a hitchhiker was dropped off. He was on his way to Port Townsend to visit friends before catching a plane to China to go learn martial arts. He gave some contacts of friends in Olympia, and then hopped on a car that was offering him a ride part-way. We got on our bikes and started riding.

As soon as we veered from highway 101 to 104, we started climbing. It was SO dark all we could see was a small white line on our left, which shows the road’s shoulder starts, and then all black. It was damp and misty, so when cars passed us all we could see was this line and then a pair of red lights slowly going up. It threw off our perspective (as cars where the only other solid reference point) that we started getting a bit dizzy. Then cars came towards us on the other lane, and their lights blinded us like crazy. Yeah, it was awesome! Then we noticed that cars that passed us never actually disappeared in the horizon. I asked Jocelyn if we should take a break ‘cos the hill seemed never-ending, but he said “no!, let’s just keep going”.

We climbed for what seemed hours, and at some point I thought we’d reach Heaven if we kept climbing a little bit more! Then we started going down, and catching speed like crazy. We were too tired and dizzy for this to be safe (as if it was safe to ride at all under these conditions!) so we stopped to camp.

We had a quick dinner of sausage on tortillas and hot sauce and setup our camp. It was pretty damn cold so we just stashed our bikes under a tarp and went to bed. It was around 8:30 pm last time we checked our watch.

Day 3

Check out a small video of our first morning camping out by the side of the road here!

After a pretty cold night at the beginning, we woke up to a pretty nice day. Sunny but cold, we had a nice breakfast with our brand-spanking new stove. Thai curry noodles, the last of the sausage and some carrots. Yummy!

On the bridge across Hood CanalWe started riding under awesome weather, and made our way towards Kingston. We crossed the huge bridge over the Hood Canal and made our way past Port Gamble, a small community with buildings that resembled an old, menonite colonial town. Finally we made into Kingston, and after a quick stop to get some food at the supermarket, we arrived to the ferry station just as the ferry was preparing to leave. Ferries for pedestrians and cyclists are free both here and at Bremerton, so that was sweet!

Crossing over to Edmonds, we stopped at a small coffee shop just outside the ferry station. We ordered really tasty Americanos and Lattes and checked our path towards Ballard, our final destination for this leg of the trip.

We followed some pretty big roads on our way, and one was actually being repaired, which meant all kinds of crazy traffic and construction crews. Just as we were passing an intersection Jocelyn’s rack had one of its bungee cords break, and it got caught in his rear wheel. My u-lock fell of my rack at the same time, so we both stopped and fought with the stuck hook off the wheel. One construction worker came to us and asked “what do you guys use the camera for?” referring to Jocelyn’s handlebar-mouted tripod. “Ummm… to take photos of our trip?” Here we are dealing with a possible dead rear derraileur and this guy’s asking stupid questions… (actually, Jocelyn said, later “Para filmar a tu puta madre cabron!” haha)

Thankfully all was well, so we kept going. We made it to our friend’s place in Ballard by 6 pm, and we proceeded to unpack some of our wet gear and let it dry, do some laundry, and take a shower.

And so here we are, in Ballard, just off of Seattle, telling our story. The next move is to go to Portland where we’ll spend a few days with good friends we haven’t seen in a while, and hopefully get to see some of the much-hyped bicycle capital of the “Unites.” If you have any contacts, friends, or know of places we should check out, pretty please let us know!

We’ll keep you guys posted, and please also leave us comments! We’re really trying to stay in touch, and it’s always awesome to hear back from you guys =)

By the way, here’s the map of our planned route, in case you’re wondering where we’ll be riding by. If you know of places or have friends in any of towns along our route, please let us know as we’d be gld to sleep in someone’s floor rather in rainy, cold bushes most of the time =)

Bikes and revolution!

10 thoughts on “The CIPO-caraVAN has started!

  1. Hey Gil and Jocelyn,

    So good you guys made it on your way! Was thinking about you and wondering where you were. Thanks for the updates, I’ll be checking them regularly.
    take care,
    Geoffrito

  2. wow! you guys are crazy! that dark long hill sounded particularly harrowing–sounds like a wild time! must be awesome experience though. keep us posted and don’t get smucked.

  3. QUE BIEN!!! jajaja… cuánto gusto verte hacer cosas asi… Hasta la victoria siempre compañeros!! Los esperamos en México aproximadamente en enero, cierto?? MIL BESOS y toda la buena vibra del mundo… jajaja ¡qué increíble!! …sigan informando 😉
    GROS BIZZZ

  4. excuse me, but Bloomington is the bicycle capital of the Unites.

    no grizzlies? rednecks? psycho-yankees? sounds like you guys are having it way too easy.

    glad things seem to be going well.

  5. hola guys, ya le escribí a mi hermano, pero por si acaso… tengo viejos amigos en Santa Cruz, CA, y cerca de LA, uno en South Beach, el otro en LA misma creo… si les interesa, avisen que les pongo en contacto!
    alà, que pedalen duro! Bere

  6. Pas d’erreur, c’est bien de la folie que ce périple. Je réprouve mais j’admire. Et Hélène et moi apprécions beaucoup la façon dont Gil raconte vos aventures. Néanmoins, on préfèrerait qu’il n’y ait rien d’autre à raconter que des petites promenades hygiéniques.Bises

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