The plan was to be on the 7am BC Ferries from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Vancouver to Victoria). I had been packing mentally for the past few days wondering what to bring and what riding gear to wear. I normally wear armour padded riding jacket and riding pants while on the highway. If I am travelling any distance I also bring tire repair kit, compressor and tools but this was Victoria, close enough to pack light. I was taking advantage of the economic times and purchased a new Olympia Hi-viz riding Jacket.
On sale, of course. I actually wanted the lime-green/yellow version, but it was regular price, so I settled on the neon orange model. I loaded up my camera gear, chargers and electronic contraptions and I was packed and ready to go.
The weather forecast was 60% chance of showers so everything was double packed in plastic bags, and the bags were wrapped in garbage bags (just in case). My Garmin Nuvi GPS is not waterproof, so the poor man's method of waterproofing is to use cling wrap secured with elastic bands
The alarm clock rang at 4am. I got the few extra bits packed on the bike and I was ready to roll. My target time to leave was 5:20am, as I had to meet my riding partner at 5:30am and I still needed to make a quick stop at the bank machine. I rolled the bike out in the lane, turned around to close the garage door. When I turned around the Bike was laying on the ground. It was nearly 600 lbs of dead weight but adrenaline kicked in and I managed to get it upright. It was not a great way to start the day
It looks like my rear brake lever took the brunt of the impact. Nothing serious except for a few minor scratches on the plastic. As I am rolling down Cambie Street thoughts go through my mind as to how this had happened ? I am sure that I fully extended my side stand.
Actually, you couldn't have done a better job if you wanted to have a custom helmet holder made. It's very ergonomic and your helmet strap does not slip off due to the angle of the "bend". I actually used this several times during the weekend. The angle of the "bend" also gives your fingers more positive gripping force.
We arrive at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal just at 6am
(Pronounced: Tsawwassen KEY Market, spelled Quay in Canadian talk)
It is early and we are the only 2 bikes in the line. We brought the scooters on this trip because it is a scooter rally. Probably the largest in Western Canada held every year on the May long weekend (Victoria day weekend).
Here are two scooterists from Alberta with 2 vespas loaded
on their way to the rally too. Finally it is time to load and bikes are first on
Since this is the 7am ferry, the first run of the day from Tsawwassen loading starts at around 6:40am.
I was speaking to my Friend (Mr Jack Riepe) recently and he was unaware of procedures for securing your motorcycle(s) whilst on the ferry so I mentioned that I would explain it for those who may travel to the West Coast
The proper procedure is to put your bike in "gear" or engage your parking brake to stop your machine from rolling.
You should park your bike on a 45 degree angle to the flow of traffic
Then you extend your SIDE STAND, DO NOT use your centre stand
The BC Ferries Corporation supplies Stepped wood blocks to use on the other side
(Left: side stand Right: stepped wood block, supplied by BCFC)
We often have rough seas and this stops your bike from falling in either direction. If you put your bike on its centre stand you have a greater probability of having problems
There are ample blocks available for everyone
(extra blocks available)
They also block the cars immediatly beside the bikes, and also all those vehicles in the front and end of each lane
I previously mentioned that the journey takes about 2 hours. Tourists usually take the upper decks to enjoy the scenic views. We are locals and have taken this ferry numerous times so we enjoy a good breakfast.
(we pass another ferry in Active Pass, while enjoying breakfast)
Another view from the window
BC Ferries sign, pointing out the parking instructions
We are nearly at our destination, Swartz Bay. The Ferry Terminal is approx 20 miles from downtown Victoria located on the north end of the Saanich Peninsula
While we are 3 decks below in a steel structure, the Garmin GPS tracks our progress.
We are very close to docking. The weather has been overcast till now but the sun is trying to shine through
Both car decks can be unloaded simultaneously, and there is a separate ramp for passengers
Both loading ramps can be raised and lowered according to the sea levels
There will be more rally pictures coming. I am still trying to sort out a dozen or so pictures from the 550 I took during the weekend. Here are a few to show you the magnitude of participation. We had 25 scooters from Scooters of Bellingham (SOB's), a trailer load from Calgary, AB, and a large group from Vancouver, BC
(Causeway: Government Street, across from the Empress Hotel)
(looking South in the other direction. Parliament Buildings in the background)
Imagine a group ride with over 100+ scooters, and a handful of motorcycles