Friday 14 August 2015

Thursday: Butchart Gardens

We wanted an early start so had breakfast at 8:00. A starter of fruit salad followed by cold tortellini accompanied by warm baked garlic broccali ! By 9:15 we were on our bikes heading for the Lochside trial. The trail goes from Victoria north to Swartz bay. We wanted to follow it north far about 12miles and then head east to the Butchart Gardens. Louse was going to join us for the ride to the gardens and then get the bus back. Our host Douglas had an amazed look on his face when we told him what we planning to do for the day at breakfast and even checked he had heard correctly!
The route starts by following the Galloping Goose trail we rode yesterday and then turning off after appropriately 3 miles. The section we did was prettier and had better views than yesterday's ride. The track was a mixture of paved and unpaved sections with some parts following existing minor roads. The Cafe at Matticks farm was reached by 11:00am. A good time to stop for a latte and a scone. The site also included a selection of small  of retail outlets that Lyn and Louise were able to take full advantage of. It was a couple of miles before we turned off onto Dooley Road to join the commuter cycling route towards Butchart. We opted for this route as it was the shortest option and about 3 miles to the gardens. After a short climb we had to cross the main very busy highway with its 3 lanes of traffic on each direction The cycling map
had excellent detail with all the minor roads marked but this did not include contours so the route included a couple of small hills . Despite being marked as a commuter route on the map most of the route did not include a cycle path. Fortunately for Louise the last hill to the gardens was 15% downhill.The distance to the gardens was about 16 miles we arrived just after 1:00pm paid our $32 admission parked the bikes and went in  We phoned  the bike hire shop to extend the rental to the next morning. to give us more time to look round the gardens. They had been planted over 100 years ago by Mrs Butchart in a former limestone quarry are are now one of the top tourist attractions on Vancouver Island. Lyn was not sure she could walk round the whole gardens so we borrowed a wheel chair do she could be chauffeured round. The gardens are well worth a visit. They are not the best I have ever seen and little too popular. We left at around 4:00. Robert and Lyn cycled back and Louise caught the bus. The later was excellent value and the 50  minute journey only cost $2.50. The buses are equipped with bike racks at the front that can carry 2 bikes. The bike travels free. Robert and Lyn took a longer route back turning off before the 15% climb onto Wallace drive . The road was not a busy as the one we had taken going had a bike path for most of the way and had a bridge across the busy road. We joined The Lochside Trail 4.5 miles north of where we turned off and continued for a further couple of miles to outskirts of Sidney. We then followed the path back. Stopping for a cup of tea at Matticks farm We arrived back at 6:45 pm a round trip of 40.5 miles.We ate at The Inn at Laurel point. Sitting outside admiring the view across the inner harbour warmed by patio heaters and blankets. Another good meal.

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