I patch up Klaus in the morning and get going early. 100km to go to Vancouver. Generally not a big deal on pavement but with Klaus crumbling and still no shifting I don`t want to waste too much time. The morning is still rather easy cycling downhill to Squamish. Once in Squamish there is no doubt, I am back at the Pacific. Downpour rain sets in [and will continue the rest of the day] and so exploring of beautiful Squamish [framed by nice coastal mountains falling down into an inlet of the Pacific] is reduced to a quick pedal through town and a visit of a burger restaurant.
I continue on the highway towards Vancouver that is now closely following the coastline. Mile after mile the inlet widens and ultimately leads to the real shores of the Pacific Ocean. As in Valdez, I am instantantly reminded of Norway. If it wouldn`t be raining all day [just like Norway, I reckon]. I am wet to the bone by now.
I keep my mind busy with playing through some options for my further travels. In Vancouver not only a break in the form of Ilmas visit awaits me, with the land borders to the Lower 48 still being closed it is also uncertain how the travels will continue. I basically lay out three options [ordered from the likely to the least likely]. 1. Wait another month in Canada till 21st November to hope for a border opening [changes are announced for the 21. of a month] 2. Fly to Mexico and skip the Lower 48 for now. 3. [The bold one] Fly to Argentina and start all over from the other end [would make sense in terms of season, but generally not a whole lot of sense]. Let`s see how this will turn out.
I reach Lions Bay. The first fancy villas along the waterfront appear and the highway gets busier and busier. Vancouver is close. In Horseshoe Bay I am finally able to leave the highway and switch to a fantastic bike infrastructure. West Vancouver, even more fancy villas along the water front, though not in a posh sense, all very stylish and well designed. Still 20km to go.
I am feeling quite cold by now but once I enter the enormous Lions Gate bridge towards Stanley Park this suddenly changes. It`s dark already. The bright skyline of Downtown Vancouver and the port on the left; huge super cargo ships [supposedly from Asia] waiting for the entry on the right. A rush of energy and excitement shoots through my body. I think it is a mix of different factors -- the vibrancy of a big metropolitan [despite my little cultural shock yesterday and my love for the outdoors, I also really love big cities!] -- reaching Vancouver as the first big milestone of the trip -- less than a day until Ilma lands in the same exact city... I am reminded a bit of the moment when Ilma and I did an overnight drive from Boston to New York City Christmas 2016 and first hit the outskirts of NYC at 4AM. The energy that radiated from the city even at this early hour did completely light me on fire.
It is still bucketing but completely on fire I make my way through busy downtown towards Kitsilano. There, I am welcomed by warmshowers host Polina and her husband with an amazing dinner and some inspiring talks about bike touring and Polinas adventures. While Ilma is visiting they will also take care of Klaus and my gear that will remain in Vancouver for the time being.