Cycling experience around Southern Vancouver Island

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Sunday morning, Day 3 of the Port Renfrew ride. Sept 07, 2019

Fairy Lake to Saanichton

When I woke in the morning the weather was a bit overcast and I felt a few drops of rain, I decided to cut my ride a bit shorter than I had planned and head for home. Riding hard uphill in the rain did not appeal to me.
The back road to Lake Cowichan is normally a quiet 2 lane road. Fortunately it was on this day too. The road is paved or bet put seal coated with a chip surface, fairly recently so there were very few stretches of broken pavement. The first 12 or so K from Fairy Lake was a slowly rising grade, gentle to ride. Then the work started, the ride was a total of around 1000 meters in elevation - often the typically short climbs one was rewarded with a downhill run.
Reached the town of Lake Cowichan around noon. Bit of a challenge finding the trail head out of Lake Cowichan; its signed but you have to know where the signs are to make use of the signage. This lack of signage for visitors is a frequent challenge. Too often the signage seems to be for the local people that don’t need the signs to find their route.
The run from the lake to Duncan is primarily a down hill run on a hard packed dirt old railroad grade. Fine until I got to the outskirts of Duncan and missed where I should have turned off the trail and got caught in a gully that I only made it out of because a couple that had had experience cycle touring assisted by pushing me up the hill. I know there is a way around Duncan and to get back on the trail but could only guess where the trail head might be. I took to the only route I knew that worked and rode the highway to the Mill Bay turnoff and headed for the Mill Bay Ferry.
On the run to the ferry I stopped at an old water stop broken down now but had always fastened me as a small child – one of the particular points I looked for as we drove up island. These water stops used to be common throughout BC, usually at the base of a hill where at one time the early cars would have stopped to refill their radiators. From the water stop just a short run to the ferry, I had timed this legged well and was able to have a brief pause as I waited for the Ferry to land.
I had been concerned about the weather breaking so cut my trip short, as it turned out the weather held for a few more days and I could have extended the trip another day by taking a run through Saltspring Island


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