Weekend Meanderings: Sully’s Hangout

For the strength phase of our training, we are supposed to be concentrating on finger strength (via the hangboard) and general whole-body strength (via our kick-butt trainer). As the phase progresses, we’re also supposed to cut back on our climbing (to save the fingertips, but also because the finger training is pretty taxing) and our aerobic activities. This “cut-back” has been hard to follow when the weather has been so good, for so long!

It’s summer… in Vancouver… and it’s dry, how can we be expected to not climb outside and cycle around!

So we’ve taken a few liberties with this part of the training phase. For a few sessions, we’ve been hiking up to Sully’s Hangout, in Lynn Canyon. It’s a small-ish crag with many moderate routes (5.9 to 5.12c, with most climbs around 5.10d to 5.11+). We’ve been climbing 3 to 5 routes, then calling it a day. It seems to be working out well because we still get to climb a little bit outside, but don’t worry about bagging ourselves in the process.

FYI, if you’re visiting Vancouver, check out the hiking trails through Lynn Canyon. There’s a great suspension bridge that is much cheaper than the other one in North Vancouver (i.e. free!). The views of the river are really great, and the trails are well-maintained.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Lynn Valley Headwater, North Vancouver BC

We’ve also been exploring some of the great local craft-brew tasting houses in Vancouver. Most are within 8 to 15 km of our apartment, so we’ve been cycling to one on the weekend, sampling a flight, then cycling home. It’s been most enjoyable!

Last weekend, as a final-hurrah before I officially started back to work, post-sabbatical, we cycled down to Main Street Brewing Company.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Beer flight at Main Street Brewing, Vancouver BC

Their tasting room has a great ambiance: super-high ceilings in an old warehouse, big windows, lots of light, simple decor. We “cheers’d” to a fantastic first-half of the year and toasted to exciting days to come.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Beer flight at Main Street Brewing, Vancouver BC

Happy Weekend!

Pedal Pictures: Vancouver Stay-Cation

We have been on vacation for the last two weeks, and by “we”, I mean Jonty, because I don’t officially head back to work until Monday. The weather has been hot and humid, so it’s a good thing we are early risers, as we’ve been able to enjoy the calm, cool early mornings for a bit of climbing and cycling.

On a handful of mornings we’ve cycled down to Olympic Village to have our breakfast by the water. If you live in Vancouver, you should really give this a try – any beach will do! The warm sun on your skin, the smell of the ocean, the quiet, calming views… it’s a great way to start your day, whether you’re on stay-cation or not!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Olympic Village and Science World, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Olympic Village, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Jonty at Olympic Village, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Jonty at Olympic Village, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Olympic Village and Science World, Vancouver BC

The other day, we started our morning down along the water then made our way over to Granville Island to check out a marine-electronics store (we’re already putting together a to-do list for when Moby arrives!!). Sadly, they were closed for inventory that day, but we did a quick stroll through the island to see what was new. Weekday mornings don’t have the same claustrophobic feel as some of the weekend days can have, and it was nice to walk around without your personal-bubble feeling squeezed. The silo paintings have finally been finished!

After living in Vancouver for almost 12 years, we have finally crossed off a Vancouver Bucket-List item – we cycled down to Waterfront Station and took the SeaBus over to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. We’ve never been on any of the SeaBus routes before! We tried to act all nonchalant about it, but secretly, we were pretty excited (sad, but true).

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Seabus view heading to North Vancouver

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Seabus view heading to North Vancouver

We celebrated our monumental journey with a taster flight at the Green Leaf Brewing Company, which is located right on the Quay, a stones-throw from the SeaBus terminal.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Beer Flights at Green Leaf Brewing, North Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Beer Flights at Green Leaf Brewing, North Vancouver BC

The forecast is still looking hot for the weekend, so we will enjoy our last few stay-cation days with a few more rocks climbed, bicycle routes traveled, and craft-beer sampled.

Happy Weekend! 🙂

Pedal Pictures: Vancouver

Yesterday marked the end of “Bike To Work Week” in Vancouver and this year, the weather threw us a curve-ball: it didn’t rain!!

Granted, I didn’t have to cycle to work (I’m still on sabbatical until July), BUT I did cycle to Jonty’s work to meet him for lunch three days this week, and once to cycle home together. The weather has been grand, and we’ve been out as much as our bodies will allow us (we’re still trying to get back our hill-climbing legs!).

A quick trip downtown to run some errands showcased our city’s main season: Construction Season! Is this the same everywhere? Warm weather hits, and out come the diggers.

It’s been a while since I’ve cycled downtown, and I feel like they’ve done quite a bit to improve the bike accessibility down there! The number of streets with dedicated cycle lanes seems to be increasing, and the signs / directions have definitely improved, making it much easier to navigate the lanes.

And it wouldn’t be “cycling in Vancouver” without having to cross a few bridges…

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Cycling along the Seawall, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Heart bike rack, Vancouver BC

Bike-Rack love.

31 Facts, Figures, Follies and Feats of RV Living

As a round-up post of our adventure, here are some of the most fun / interesting / random / useful / useless pieces of information we could think of!

EDDIE’S FACTS AND FIGURES:

  1. Total trip length: 87 days
  2. Total distance traveled: 11,398 km
  3. Average mileage: 11.75 L/100km
  4. How much stuff did we bring: 352.8 lbs
  5. How many nights did we pay for camping: 9
  6. Best thing about Eddie: The ability to finish climbing and get food / shower / respite from the elements within 10 minutes of leaving the crag… priceless! Also, Eddie was a chick / dude magnet. We loved the attention he got 🙂
  7. Most annoying thing about Eddie: The table. Getting into / out of the chairs to eat was a pain, especially for Jonty, who could never sit square to the table because of the box holding the crash pads (i.e. where the love seat should have been). The other annoying thing was the rocking of the van whenever you’d hit the slightest bump on an angle. Like, turning into a parking lot over a 2-inch curb would send Eddie rocking. We got better with navigating over the bumps, but it was still annoying.
  8. Easiest place to boondock in an RV: Bishop, CA or Leavenworth, WA
  9. Trickiest place to boondock in an RV: Las Vegas, NV

ACTIVITY FACTS AND FIGURES:

  1. Total distance cycled: 630 km each (total 1260 km)
  2. Number of days spent climbing: 45 days (just over 50% of our time away!)
  3. Number of boulder problems completed: 367 (combined)
  4. Favourite bouldering place: Bishop, CA (followed by Leavenworth, WA).
  5. Favourite non-bouldering place: Portland, Fresno, Sacramento, Albuquerque are all places we would like to spend more time in, instead of just passing through.
  6. Favourite cycling place: Portland, Bend, Albuquerque, Las Vegas
  7. Biggest disappointment: Hueco Tanks. We were both really excited for this place, but obviously did not do our research before we got there, hence were unprepared for the amount of planning (and reservation-making!) it would take, just to get into the park. We will go back again to finish up some unfinished problems, but we’ll just be better prepared 🙂

FOOD FAVOURITES:

  1. Post-climbing RV food: Fried egg sandwich with melty cheese and spicy salami
  2. Meal we cooked in the RV: Treacle SpongeDruid ReubenSliders… oh man, too many!
  3. Snack while watching Justified and Homeland: Popcorn and peanut M&Ms
  4. Gastropub: The Salted Pig (Riverside, CA), Deschutes Brewery & Public House (Bend, OR)
  5. Tasting House: Mother Road Brewing Company (Flagstaff, AZ)
  6. Bakery: Bouchon Bakery, The Gingerbread Factory, Pink Box Doughnuts
  7. Coffee Shop: Joshua Tree Coffee Company (Joshua Tree, CA) and Black Sheep Coffee Roasters (Bishop, CA)

RANDOMS:

  1. Total GB of data used: ~60 GB (we milked the Unlimited Data plan for all it was worth!!)
  2. Best view: Red Rocks Canyon, NV or Leavenworth, WA. Pictures just don’t do either justice.
  3. Best sunset: Red Rocks Canyon, NV
  4. Best scenery: Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, the Druid Stones (Bishop)
  5. Biggest surprise: How good mustard and sauerkraut are on a pizza!
  6. The only kitchen item we brought along but never used: The colander
  7. Windiest night: Las Vegas, NV (55 km/hr, gusting up to 81 km/hr)
  8. Quietest night: Mountain Home Road, Leavenworth (the sound of silence was deafening)

Now just because this trip has finished, doesn’t mean our blogging days are over! We’ve got some pretty tasty goodies coming for you next week!

Happy Long Weekend, Canada! 🙂

Icicles, Bicycles, Mustard and Brew

As Jonty mentioned earlier, the last bouldering stop on our trip was to the Bavarian metropolis of Leavenworth, WA (pop. 1992). As usual, we’re highlighting our time in the town and giving a breakdown of useful RV info.

Time frame:
April 25th – May 7th, 2015

Where to stay:

  • Icicle Creek Road: There are many state-run campgrounds along Icicle Creek Road (where a large part of the bouldering/climbing is). Most cost around $20/night and have drinking water available, but no site hook-ups. Since we couldn’t get water/dumping hook-up for anything less than $40/night, we opted to park (for free!) in a big parking-lot-style pull-out (specially designated for RV usage) near the upper end of Icicle Creek Road. This was a major score, as it was close to the climbing area, it was quiet, and the views were fantastic!
  • RV Parking lot in town: As you pull into the town, there’s a big parking lot for buses, trucks and RV’s. Signs in the lot indicate overnight parking is allowed once per seven days. It’s a 5-minute walk into the downtown area, so we parked here on an evening when we wanted to try the local craft brewery. It’s a good free spot once a week, well worth saving for when having a night out!
  • KOA Kampground: We only used this KOA for their RV dumping; it seemed pricey ($40 – $70/night!!).
  • Icicle River RV: This resort was closer to the Icicle Creek bouldering, but was still quite pricey in our opinion ($40 – $45/night). They did not offer RV dumping-only rates.

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Where to shop:

  • Safeway: Standard stuff.
  • Dan’s Market: This is the local store, we tried it once, but it seemed no cheaper than Safeway, with equivalent quality but less selection.
ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Jonty walking down the road, Leavenworth, WA

Exploring.

Where to eat:

  • Munchen Haus Bavarian Grill: We had to try the sausages! We tried the Big Bob Bratwurst and Helga’s Giant Kelbassi, with a variety of house-made mustards and apple-cider kraut (we both preferred the BBB). It’s a nice venue to sit outside, have a beer and a brat, and people-watch in the sunshine!
  • Rudloof’s Pizza: We celebrated Jonty sending two V7s in one day with the Bavarian pizza (stone-ground mustard, sauerkraut, brats and peppers), a combination that was surprisingly delicious! Now we want to try making our own mustard and give this combo a whirl at home!
  • The Gingerbread Factory: The best bakery! We sampled their treats… many times 🙂 Anything with ginger was superb (the men, the loaf etc.), and the raspberry scones were the best we’ve had in a long time!

Where to drink:

  • Icicle Brewing Company: This local craft brewery produced some really great-tasting craft beer. If you sit upstairs, you can look out the window to people-watch, or overlook the brewing operation below. They offer a small selection of food; the meat and cheese platter was a staff-favourite.

Where to shower:

  • Your RV. Places were limited, apparently you can get a shower at the KOA for a fee, but we didn’t bother asking about it. We made more use of our small RV shower in the last two weeks of our trip, than we did during the previous 2.5 months!
ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Jonty with a statue, Leavenworth WA

Jonty continues his mission to pose with every over-sized statue he can find 🙂

Where to recycle:

  • Man, it’s a hard knock life! Again, there was road-side pick-up for residents, but nothing else. We found a big recycling bin behind a store (presumably just for the store), and dumped all our recycling in there. Jonty kept a look-out while his wife did the stealth-recycling.
ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunday morning coffee, Leavenworth WA

Sunday morning, sunlight streaming in, coffee in hand… Life is good.

Where to fill-up and dump:

  • KOA Kampground: There was an RV Dumping station at the campground, for $10+tax. We thought this was not unreasonable, considering they’re the only place you can pay for dumping without having to stay the night.
ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Wildflowers, Leavenworth WA

The wild flowers were in full bloom while we were there.

Where to cycle:

  • Anywhere! There seemed to be a strong cycling community here. The roads in town had designated cycling lanes, and there were always cyclists traveling the Icicle Creak Road. With scenery like this, you really can’t go wrong! If you’re looking for hills to climb, you won’t be disappointed.

Where to get Beta:

  • Leavenworth Mountain Sports: This store is right next to the big RV parking lot, as you head into town. They have a good range of gear to buy and to rent (including the guidebook, if you need it).
ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Looking down the Wenatchee River, Leavenworth WA

I dipped a finger into the water to confirm my suspicion. Icy cold!

We enjoyed our time in Leavenworth a lot, everything felt easy. Even though the downtown is definitely catering to tourists, there is still a nice laid-back feel to the place. It’s a very active community (climbing, kayaking, skiing, cycling) and we felt quite comfortable there – we could have stayed for another two weeks with little difficulty!