Welcome to Canada

Written by Matthew Fox. Posted in Round the World 2013 - ??

So we’ve now been in Canada 2 weeks and have settled in to our temporary home for the winter well. We’ve found a place to live in Whistler only 5 mins walk away from the village centre, which will be pretty handy for work on the mountain during the winter months as well as making the most of our opportunity to snowboard lots and lots.

 Our final few days in Bristol were pretty frantic with ebaying, runs to the recycling centre and then loading all our worldly possessions into a very small area of our attic (we only had a limited space as only part of our attic is boarded.) But at 10 pm on 22nd September we were done leaving enough time to celebrate the start of our new adventure with the last left over bottle of fizz from our wedding. We had a last minute panic when our freight forwarder got in contact and told us that customs wanted to check inside Lola’s petrol tank, the keys were in Bristol with us, the bike in Heathrow and we were departing from Gatwick the following morning. However, an arrangement with Matt’s parents meant that the keys were sent special delivery the following day. Roxy and Lola missed their flight but followed on 3 days later.

We arrived at Vancouver 21 Hours later (11am Local time) having travelled on the overnight bus to Gatwick and then flew cattle class to Vancouver (can’t really complain as the price was pretty good, we flew Air Transat for anyone’s reference). Needless to say when we arrived in Vancouver we were pretty tired and the 2 ½ hours we spent getting through immigration didn’t really help (we have work and travel visas, so it took us longer to pass immigration than a normal tourist may find). Although we said when we got our hotel we would fight through the jet lag and got to bed at a normalish time, well we sat on the bed in our room at 3pm and the next thing we knew it was 2am!

A long night’s sleep meant we could get up early and sort all the essentials that we needed for our Canadian leg: SIN number (similar to national insurance number), bank account and mobile phone. We then had 2 days of sightseeing in Vancouver before Roxy and Lola arrived on Thursday 26th September. We visited the Trev Deeley Motorcycle exhibition and found the exhibit below, a CCM from the 1800s (although this was made by the Canadian CCM which now make hockey sticks and ice skates not Clews Competition Motorcycles).

When CCMs did arrive it took all afternoon to get them back together after their flight and by the time we had them on the road it had gone dark. The customs procedure (the part we had been dreading the most) was all done in ½ an hour and didn’t cost us any form of deposit or anything.

The following day the heavens opened and it didn’t stop until the Tuesday and the worst of the rain fell on Saturday afternoon while we were riding to Whistler, they reckon in excess of 10cm rain fell on the Sea to Sky corridor on the day we rode up there. Although it’s only 100 km from Vancouver to Whistler it felt like 3 times that in the rain. We were really glad we bottled out of camping at the last minute and found a studio to stay in the village instead. After we dried off we went to Citta Bistro for Nachos, Citta was our favourite après ski place when we were here on Holiday in 2008, and we pleased to announce the Nachos are still just as good (we recommend, however, you get a plate to share, or work up a good appetite beforehand)!

It took us all of 24 hours to find a temporary home, a large open plan shared house, for the winter in Whistler and we moved in on 1st October. Our room is on the ground floor but it is right next to the garage where Roxy and Lola will stay for the winter.

We have been settling in to Whistler life over the last week or so, however, we still cannot get over the price of cheese over here even the orange processed stuff is $6.99 a block (about £4.20)!! I’m pretty certain and if you want nice cheese then expect to pay 3 or 4 times that for tiny amounts, but if the price of cheese is our biggest worry in Canada then we’re all good and it’s a pretty small price to pay for the awesome scenery and fantastic mountain air.

On our first Saturday in Whistler we decided to go up the gondola and see some snow and we’re pleased to announce that there is already a foot or so up there. It’s not enough to open the slopes, but then it’s a start. Liz wasn’t impressed to find out there was more than enough snow for Matt to throw snowballs at her relentlessly until he got bored.

The riding has been pretty good to until Sunday afternoon, we were out for a ride on some gravel roads and Liz came across here first experience of corrugations, thinking there was a problem with suspension she stopped, lost control and dropped Lola. By sheer dumb luck the gear lever landed right on her toe and she was in some pain. We decided to turn back to Whistler, but when we got on the tarmac Liz noticed she was unable to shift up. The fall had bent her gear lever and we had only been out for a shot ride, so didn’t have the full tool kit with us. Anyway it meant that we didn’t have anything strong enough to bend the lever back it place, our trowel for digging and the emergency loo when we’re off the beaten track was not strong enough to bend the lever and is no more. However, we didn’t have to wait too long until a local stopped and was able to lend us a small crowbar and were soon on our way back to Whistler.

Liz has been to the see the doctor today and it transpires that she has a hairline fracture in her big toe and has been told to take it easy for the next few weeks but she will be up and about again soon.