One of the interesting challenges of driving around North America is finding a good radio station to listen to. Due to the size of the countries involved, there are no national radio stations that are always available - instead, every few hours it becomes necessary to hunt through the airwaves for a new source of tunes after static overwhelms my previous choice. One of the more surreal experiences was when I tuned in to Redwoods Public Radio in northern California. I caught the tail-end of an interview, in which it become clear that the presenter was quite a young woman of not particularly great experience in radio, which was followed by a plug for the "Straight Talk About God" show being broadcast later, then a reminder about a local Planned Parenthood fundraiser, followed by a segue into some kind of cosmic, ambient dubstep track. It was weird.
You get the occasional surprise as well, such as when I was driving through middle-of-nowhere rural Canada and suddenly tuned in to the local hip-hop station.
So, anyway - Canada. After a few days wandering around the parks, museums, and streets of Vancouver, I took a ferry across to Vancouver Island, and the B.C. provincial capital, Victoria. The ferry ride itself was pretty cool, navigating through a clutch of smaller islands off the coast.
I drove around a bit, walking through various forest parks and along the rugged west coast. Vancouver Island seems to have a terrible tendency to steal the names of more famous places. For instance, this is "Botany Bay":
And this is "Niagara Falls":
After driving up the west coast of the island, I drove across the middle to Nanaimo to get the ferry back to Vancouver. Whilst I was there I spent a day on Newcastle Island, a designated park only accessible by boat, although you could probably swim there fairly easily if the water was warmer. It seemed to be pretty much abandoned in winter - the regular ferry service was stopped, and you had to ask the ferry going to the other, more inhabited island to make an extra stop and then come back and pick you up again at a prearranged time. This was nice, however, as as far as I could tell I pretty much had the entire island to myself.
The weather seems to be much milder out on the islands than on the mainland, so I spent a pleasant few hours walking around the island and listening to podcasts. It was good.
I got back to Vancouver on Friday evening, and tomorrow morning I'm going to be heading back to Seattle for a bit before my flight to New York on Wednesday. As a parting message, I would just like to say that, even if the city of Vancouver does allocate special lanes for it, I still don't think it's a good idea to try and ride your bike like this: