Day 1 – Vancouver to Birch Bay

Leaving Bea and Felipe’s apartment, I plan to make it across the border into Washington. I remember reading that it should take about 50-70 km to get to Birch Bay State Park in northern Washington. Easy enough for a first day!

Little did I know that I would be traveling through the industrial neighborhoods of Vancouver and Richmond, the city to the south of Vancouver. I cycle among transportation trucks throughout smoggy areas, making it hard to breathe with all the dust and debris being constantly thrown into my face.

I made the decision yesterday to follow the original Pacific Coast Bicycle Route for the start of the route. I was toying with the idea of taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island and doing a 3-day bikepacking route starting and ending in Victoria. From there I would have taken a ferry to quiet Port Angeles, entering the United States. Apparently there is a Cross Washington bikepacking route that is beautiful that goes to Seattle, taking 95% dirt, gravel, and single-track trails. Much more up my alley!

However, I thought that this may delay me a little bit and be a big challenge to start with before I knew how my bike handled with all the weight. I opt for asphalt and pay the consequences.

I start late, around noon. It takes 80 km until I reach Birch Bay State Park with some massive hills. I’m exhausted. 80 km isn’t much for cyclists to do in a day. But I’m not a cyclist, and my bike is far from a road bike. Hopefully my stamina improves. I have to remember this is the very first day and not a race.

Arriving in camp, I pay the fee for the hiker/biker campground site, pitch my tent, take a shower, and get ready for bed. The sunset at Birch Bay is bright orange and lingers for a while… a welcome contrast to the rest of the industrial day.