DAY 78 (8/27/05): Rest day, Vancouver BC. Today Tobias and I walked all over V ancouver. Although making disparaging remarks about "New World" cities is one of Tobias' favorite pass-times, we did have a very enjoyable day here. We walk ed along the water past some nice yacht harbors to Stanley Park, a huge tract o f well preserved old growth forest on a little peninsula on the northern edge o f the city. There is a paved walking/cycling path that goes all the way around the peninsula, as well as a lot of unpaved paths that criss-cross the park. A fter exploring these, we emerged in downtown Vancouver and stopped at an open-a ir Greek restaurant for lunch. From there, we wandered around the main shoppin g district, and then popped out on the southern edge of the city. There are lo ts of high-rise glass and steel apartment buildings in Vancouver which give the city a very modern (if slightly Gotham) feel. We rested for a while at a wate r-side park in front of some of these buildings and then skirted the southern edge of the city to get back to our hotel . On our way back we walked through Vancouver's vibrant Chinatown, which was a ll abuzz with people doing their weekend shopping. All the shops in this area, encompassing probably 15 or so city blocks, put out displays of their wares on the sidewalk. So we saw all kinds of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, drie d mushrooms the size of dinner plates, and dried sea creatures and plants that were totally alien to us. All of the shops were very busy--the population of V ancouver is about 50% Asian, according to the guy I met yesterday. After all t hat walking around we were thoroughly exhausted, so after a nice dinner at a Po rtugese restaurant near our hotel, we went to bed early to get ready for our fi rst day of cycling together. DAY 79 (8/28/05): Vancouver to Crofton, BC 49.7 mi. In honor of the first cycl ing day of the west coast portion of the tour, we got some classic Pacific nort hwest weather: foggy, chilly, and rainy. So, we pulled on our raingear and rod e through the still-sleeping city and headed out to the north. We rode across Stanley Park and over a bridge into the very posh suburbs of North and West Van couver. We rode on a very exclusive seaside road that went up and down some bi g hills and had excellent views of the bay north of Vancouver as well as of the homes of some of the area's wealthiest inhabitants. We arrived at the Horsesh oe Bay ferry terminal and got on a ferry that took us to Vancouver Island, abou t a 90 min ride. We were then forced to ride a few unpleasant miles on the mai n highway on the island before picking up some nice narrow, winding wecondary r oads that lead us through several quiet fishing and vacation towns. We stayed in one of these, a town called Crofton. Although the rain had let up somewhat over the course of the day, the sky must ered up one final tremendous downpour as we arrived at the campground. Tobias was somewhat less than enthused about camping in the rain but we waited out the worst of it next to the campground office before setting up our tents. The sp ot was worth it--we were no more than 20 yds from the water, a protected bay be tween Vancoucer and Salt Spring islands with water so smooth that you could cle arly see the reflections of the trees and partially hidden beach cottages in th e water. DAY 80 (8/26/05): Crofton, BC to Port Angeles, WA 62.1 mi. The weather today w as distinctly drier than yesterday, which improved the mood of the team conside rably. We left Crofton and continued riding on scenic secondary roads along the coast, going up and down a few shorth, steep climbs along the way. We reached the end of a small peninsula where we were supposed to catch a ferry across a little bay and from there continue along the scenic route to the city of Victor ia. However, by bad luck we had just missed one ferry and the next one wasn't for 2 hours. We looked at the map and figured that if we just rode on the main road we would be in Victoria in less than that amount of time anyhow, and sinc e we wanted to have some time to walk around town we decided to endure the busy road for a while. In retrospect, that was probably not the right decision. U nbeknownst to us, the road climbed over a fairly major pass (1000ft or so), and then quickly grew both bigger and busier as it approached Victoria. At some point, we decided that we had had enough of the traffic and got off the main highway to ask for directions in to the cit y on other streets. In typical Canadian bike route fashion (where signs for bi ke routes are usually ambiguous and often don't actually indicate the best rout e), the signs for the bike route pointed straight back to the major highway. H owever, when we asked a guy at a bus stop, he pointed us to a gorgeous bike pat h that lead straight to downtown Victoria that was completely unsigned from the main road. We were thrilled to be away from all the traffic and cruised qui ckly in to town, arriving maringally earlier than we would have if we had waite d for the ferry, but significantly more tired and stressed. We had some calmin g warm beverages at a coffee shop and watched the throngs of tourists milling a round on the streets. Victoria is supposedly one of the most British-feeling t owns in BC, and they have a big parliement building with beautifully manicured grounds overlooking the harbor. The city was so crowded with sight-seers that we weren't very inclined to ling er, though, so we made our way to the ferry terminal and got our tickets to Por t Angeles. After hearing so many stories of people having a hard time getting back in to the US I was worried that we would get held up at the border, but we got through with no trouble, and Tobias got his finger print and photo taken f or good measure. Upon arrival in Port Angeles, it was nearly dark so we went s traight to the supermarket and then got directions to the campground recommende d by my guidebook. It was a little tricky to find on unlit roads, and when we got there we found that the campground was already closed for the season. Havi ng been on the road for a few months, I was not perturbed by the idea of stayin g there, since although the bathrooms were locked the outdoor water tap still w orked. Tobias, on the other hand, was fairly appalled by the idea of going to sleep without a shower. However, he eventually conceded that it was our best option given how dark it was. So, we set up our tents and were lulled to sleep by small aircraft taking off and landing in the airport 100 yds distant, and some drunk teenage guys running through th e nearby woods, singing the song "Cotton-eyed Joe" at the tops of their lungs.