Return to the Garden City, part 3
It had rained overnight, just as the weather forecast said it would. The rain had tapered off by the time Safety Ed and I went for breakfast, just like the weather forecast said it would. We were in no hurry today.
While the itinerary showed a 10:30 am ride, that one’s usually a mad dash through the hills. Not on the GTS, thanks very much. Been there, done that for Safety Ed, too. We decided to spend a few hours wandering through downtown Victoria.
Like other police departments, Victoria is transitioning away from the discontinued Ford Crown Victoria. Their new Dodge Chargers sport a “traditional” black & white color scheme. We strolled over for a closer look; Safety Ed looked into the driver’s side window and discovered the driver’s seat was occupied!
Luckily, the constable didn’t taze him. We spent a few minutes chatting about the differences between different cars (she called the Crown Vic a “boat”) and went on our way.
Walking south on Government Street takes you into Victoria’s retail core. You get the impression this place is oriented more for tourists than locals, but if shopping’s your thing, you should find plenty of opportunities to give your credit cards a workout.
So, what do you think of the hipster shades? He didn’t buy them, thankfully.
My quest was for a Vancouver Canucks flag. Even in Victoria, many vehicles had Canucks flags attached, and I wanted to root for the (more or less) home team.
We poked our noses into many hole-in-the-wall gift shops, but none had any Canucks gear. And apparently t-shirts saying “My parents went to Victoria and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” have fallen out of vogue.
Finally, my quest was successful! A 7-Eleven had a complete selection of Canucks gear, including a flag on a wooden stick that was exactly what I was looking for. $6.99 plus HST later, we headed back to get the bikes and go to the Causeway for the afternoon ride.
The itinerary said there’d be two rides: a cemetery tour/poker run, and an ice cream run. Safety Ed and I had decided on the latter, since we can go to a cemetery tour in October. But there wasn’t anything like an announcement; engines started, scooters pulled out and we just ended up following the herd. Which turned out to be the cemetery tour. Well, the rally was called the “Zombie Run.”
Every Victoria rally ride leaves from the Causeway and heads north on Government Street. Which makes sense from the standpoint of getting a big group funneled down into two lines. And which is a lot of fun, watching tourists grinning from ear to ear and whipping out their cameras and phones.
Every Victoria rally ride also immediately stops for gas at the Petro-Canada station at Government and Douglas. If there was a gas station on Vancouver Island that wasn’t selling regular for $1.319/liter ($4.99/U.S. gallon CDN), I sure don’t know where it was.
All gassed up, the group headed north. Urban became suburban, which soon became rural. Oddly enough, I recognized some of the places we passed through from my last visit in 2007. But unlike last time, my steed was relaxed, running at a fraction of its total power output. The ride leaders were setting a comfortable, reasonable pace. But where are we going?
Well, the first stop was a church parking lot. I didn’t notice a cemetery (and as it turned out, I forgot to get a card). Our next stop was a cemetery—one so small we had to make a loop in and get our card on the way out. I got two, because I forgot. Then we went to the airport.
Upon getting more cards, we headed back to town. As it turned out, the same way we rode from the ferry. I remember seeing street signs that said “W Saanich” and “Interurban.” As I said, once I figure out where we went I’ll add a map to the Maps page.
We made another gas stop, then headed for the Ross Bay Pub, the evening gathering spot. People from Seattle and Bellingham made the scene on this day, arriving the previous night or early in the morning. Among other things, this was the coming-out party for Doc’s newly-restored 150 Sprint Veloce.
Try not to drool too much.