The plan for our first day was to go grocery shopping, load the bike's onto John's car and get onto the road by around 11am or noon. We went by plan except that we didn't get onto the road until about 2pm. This got us onto the 6pm ferry and we arrived in Swartz Bay at around 7:45. The drive up was easy and not noteworthy.
The first time that I actually loaded all of my gear onto my bike was in the Tsawwassen (Vancouver) ferry terminal. I planned to do a shake down ride early, but never had a chance to. It only took a little bit of riding to realize that my packing system (big front handlebar bag, two rear panniers) was not ideal for the bike that I brought, but it was going to be good enough for that evening. Larry also had not done a shakedown ride with his bike, but luckily he reported that everything worked and handled well.
Our first day goal was to ride about 35km from the ferry terminal into Victoria and camp at the house of a Warm Shower's list member. Originally we were expected there around 8pm, but we called to let him know that we were running about two hours late. The Lochside Trail from the ferry terminal into Victoria can be a little bit of a maze but provided fairly pleasant and flat riding. Our host lived off of McKenzie road which crosses the trail a couple of times and this caused a little confusion, but after talking to him on the phone we finally got turned the right away and we showed up just after dark.
Our host was super nice and offered to let us crash in his house even though we had early told him that we'd be camping in the backyard. We stuck with camping, but the four of us stayed up for an hour chowing down a little food and chatting about our plans.
I went to bed dreaming of finding a lowrider front rack and some front panniers.