Aug 13: Vancouver, BC to Birch Bay State Park (55.23 miles)

I caught the 7:45 train from Seattle to Vancouver arriving just past noon. I lugged my bike and huge duffel bag outside for repacking.

(An observant reader may point out the above photo was taken in the US). I unpacked my duffel bag into four pannier bags and hung them on my bike. Let the riding begin!

Today’s goal is to exit the city to the south and head southeast, cross back into the US and head down to Birch Bay State Park on the Sound in Washington.

Vancouver is very bike-friendly: in less than a mile riding on city streets I roll onto a bay-side bike trail that takes me to a bridge with a wide bike lane. Nice start!

I then rode south through a residential area. The street I took had long sections that where through traffic was limited to bike only.

I crossed the Fraser River on the Alex Fraser Cable-Stayed Bridge, which was the longest cable-stayed bridge until 2005. Perhaps you too did not know what a cable-stayed bride is: Cable-stayed bridges have cables attached to a central tower, whereas suspension bridges have the cables attach towers at either end of the span. I’ll be crossing a famous suspension bridge, the Golden Gate, in about a month.

The border crossing at Blaine was confusing to me: signs directed trucks to one place, busses to another, passenger cars with Nexus to another, and passenger cars without Nexus to yet another lane. No guidance for bicycles. I got in line with passenger cars without Nexus. Soon a guard directed me to the office building nearby. I walked up to the counter, handed my passport card and declared “I’m a bicyclist crossing the border”. Her response was “Looking as you do, you’d better be!”. I was handed a stamped piece of paper and was on my way in no time.

I biked on 2- lane road, sometimes with a shoulder, through rural farms down to the bayside community of Birch Bay. I camped at the local State Park.

I checked into a Hiker/Biker campsite away from the drive in spots and so near the bay that I could hear the bay wake crashing on shore.

I had the place to myself and quickly fell asleep. A successful first day!

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