2023 - Midwest Tandem Rally: The Labor Day Holiday found us in Fort Wayne, Indiana, attending the Midwest Tandem Rally, put on by the HOOTS (Hoosiers Out On Tandems). We participated as sponsors, vendors, seminar presenters, and riders. This was a fantastic rally and the weather cooperated. Kudos to all the volunteers from HOOTS who put on one of the best events we've attended.
Days riding: 3
Here's a brief collection of memories from the rally.
Too soon we were boarding the trusty Salish Eagle for the return trip from the islands back to the realities of the mainland.
This trip was fully self-contained and self-supported. We rode our Co-Motion Speedster Rohloff (Tallie) and she pulled our gear between hotels in our Bob trailer.
Days riding: 8
Interested in tandeming the Gulf Islands? Just do it! Be prepared for lots of hills and in some places (especially near Ganges on Salt Spring Island) be prepared for heavy, fast traffic. Here are the hotels we used:
Tsawwassen: Coast Tsawwassen Inn
Pender Island: Poets Cove Resort
Galiano Island: Galiano Ocean Front Inn and Spa
Salt Spring Island: Harbour House Hotel
They were all excellent!
Here's a brief collection of memories from the tour.
For this tour and for the Midwest Tandem Rally, we selected our trusty Co-Motion Speedster Rohloff Co-Pilot (Tallie). Here she is taking a snack break in Apple River, Illinois, sporting her front and rear panniers.
This tour was just the tonic we needed after a busy and successful rally. Quiet country roads and trails gave us plenty of time for reflection and quiet conversation. We headed back to the Pacific Northwest rested and rejuvenated.
Days riding: 5
As usual, we put together a few memories from the tour.
Spring Green charmed us; we took a day off to tour Taliesin, the full four hour tour. It was excellent.
2023 - Gulf Islands of British Columbia: We and one other tandem couple spent a week touring the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.
Our last day saw us finishing the tour on the Military Ridge State Trail, a trail we've ridden on lots. In contrast to the Cheese Country and Pecatonica Trails, the Military Ridge Trail is reserved for bicycles and pedestrians only, so the surface remains in good condition. This is an enjoyable ride from Dodgeville into Madison.
Finding food was never a problem. There are good restaurants and bakeries, and even the food truck at the Galiano Island ferry terminal was delicious enough for 2 dinners!
We took plenty of time for evening walks, beach exploration, and even a day off the bikes for hiking on Pender Island.
Using the trail system in Wisconsin requires purchase of a trail pass, either a day pass or, as in our instance, an annual pass. Here at one of the many trail side information stations, we fill out the paperwork to purchase our annual pass.
The island roads are mostly pretty decent quality, but there are tons of hills, some pretty steep. With our loaded trailer, we walked a few of the steepest and longest ones!
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Galena, mostly exploring historical sites related to the time US Grant and his family resided in Galena. We stayed at the Galena Inn (highly recommend it) and had two dinners at Vinny's Italian Restaurant (highly recommend it!).
2023 - Southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois: After leaving Fort Wayne and the Midwest Tandem Rally, with many positive memories and after having renewed friendships and made new ones, we were off for a week of self-contained, self-supported touring in Wisconsin and Illinois. This was an "out the back door" type of tour. We left from our daughter's home in the Madison area, rode first to Monroe, Wisconsin and then on to Galena, Illinois. After a day off for sightseeing in Galena we rode to Mineral Point, Wisconsin and then to Spring Green, Wisconsin; in Spring Green a day off the bike was used for touring Taliesin East. The final day was from Spring Green back to the Madison area.
The first riding day was entirely on the Badger State Trail. This trail is in excellent shape and is well maintained, except a few of the many bridges are showing their age. Use of the trail is limited to bicycles and pedestrians.
Going into Galena and then heading toward Mineral Point we tried to use the Cheese Country Trail and the Pecatonica State Trail. However, these trails are open to ATV's; the ATV use tears up the trail surface, making it unridable on our 35 mm tires. We stayed on roads entirely for the middle three days of the tour.
And there was a visit to Pender Island's excellent Saturday market!
We stayed the night before the tour at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn in the town of Tsawwassen. This is a fantastic hotel; clean, good breakfast, quiet, great staff, and they let us park our car in their underground garage the entire tour!
The BC Ferries provided the transportation to, through, and from the islands. The ferries are clean, comfortable, mostly on time, and staffed by a great crew. Oh, and the cafes on the ferries are good.
Getting from the hotel to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen, to begin our trip, was a breeze. I wrote a short article on using the BC Ferries for a bicycle tour.
We used the hub and spoke method, settling into a resort on Pender Island for 3 days, then a resort on Galiano Island for a few days (during which time we rode a day trip on Mayne Island), and finally a couple of nights in a hotel on Salt Spring Island in the town of Ganges.
After leaving Galena we re-entered Wisconsin, bound for Spring Green, with an overnight stop in Mineral Point.
The scenery in the islands is spectacular. Our accommodations were all great (this is our deck at the Poets Cove Resort on Pender Island),
It was a full week of tandeming, eating, hiking, relaxing, bakery hopping, beach combing, talking, and just having fun with good friends John and Sheri.