After the intensity of the retreat we were both stocked to get back on the bikes and even more so as today we got to ride pannier free!
Today’s route was to be an ‘out and back’ taking us North of Colville along the western shaw on narrow gravel roads to Port Jackson at the very top of the peninsular. We had missed the worst of the Easter bank holiday traffic, the sun was out, our bikes felt light with the lack of bags and even the headwind out we know would help blow us home again later.
The first half of the ride we maintained our silence despite no longer being in the retreat. It’s a funny thing just how quickly and comfortably we had become familiar with not talking and we were in no rush to burst this bubble.
With the good weather the surface was very dry and despite a few sections of wash boarding remained really nice to ride on.
There really is nothing but stunning views and the timeless beauty of the landscape up here. No drinkable water, no shops and very few houses and vertical no people.
One guy we did chat to was a farmer driving a herd of cows down the road. Both him and his cows were unfazed by the tourists in there campervans and paid little regard to confused drivers as they passed.
For most of the ride the road is right along the beach or on the cliffs high above the calm sea, but a few sections take you slightly further inland and the whole ride is littered with hills. With no front panniers to effect the handling and no weight to carry my Troll felt light and nibble as it bounded up each hill like a mountain goat.
After a picnic lunch consisting of mainly bananas and rice cake sarnies, a spot of tree climbing and one last hill we turned around and headed the 27 or so km home.
After stopping a number of times to enjoy the view, practice our track stands and generally debrief after a few days of silent meditation we rolled into Colville just in time for the start of a beautiful sunset!
NB although the roads don’t form a loop around the northern peninsular you can do it on a bike as a 10km mountain bike track connects the two roads. This would make a loop from Colville around 90-100km with plenty DOC sites if you wanted to split the ride. We both preferred going pannier free for a day at this point in the trip, but have meet a few guys who have done the loop and it’s highly recommended.