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Exploration of Salt Spring Island continues

Ruckle farm turkeys check out the author's bicycle.
Ruckle farm turkeys check out the author's bicycle.
Millie Magner

Seeing as much of the island as possible was the goal for Saturday’s bike ride. However, after experiencing Salt Spring’s challenging hills, the riders adjusted their plan with cycling the south end with the ride to Ruckle Provincial Park. The scenic landscape of the park at water’s edge with its view of Pender Island was a reward in or itself. A quiet, private cove nearby invited the curious to clamber over roots, rocks, and shells down to the water. A mooring buoy bobbed nearby. But Ruckle offers much more so the five biked away from the water to explore the history behind the park. At the bottom of a hill not far from the entrance lies a farm which was the homestead of an Irish immigrant, Henry Ruckle. The Ruckle family donated the park to the BC Provincial Park System in 1972. Many of the original buildings are still standing. Most interesting to the five, was the flock of turkeys which seemed quite at home, and as curious about the bicycles, as the cyclists were of the turkeys.

Viewing Pender Island from Salt Spring
Millie Magner

The highlight of the return ride to Ganges, was the serendipitous discovery of a small cafe and gallery, Kismet. Located in a personal home, the funky, and yet homey establishment is exactly as the name implies by its dictionary definition, “delightful surprise.” The cyclists propped their bicyclists against the fence, bought coffee and lunch - the cheese sandwich defies description. It was scrumptious. Ah, but the outhouse was a artistic wonder to behold. Further surprise and serendipity, the friendly waitress from Moby’s just happened by for a bite.

Back in Ganges, the cyclists enjoyed gelatos and the Saturday Farmer’s Market before returning to their campsites, and showers. Saturday’s dinner was another culinary marvel of cannelloni, salmon, local veggies and linguini at the European themed, Calvin’s. Again the wonderful wait staff was quite attentive. For dessert? The Grand Marnier creme brûlée was divine!

Sunday morning arrived with a gentle rain, but a visit to Salt Spring Island would not be complete without a visit to Rendezvous French Patisserie. What better way to console the five as they pedaled their way through the gentle drizzle than fresh Cannelés de Bordeaux. Saying their goodbyes to Salt Spring Island, the cyclists boarded the ferry to return home.

Specifics if you plan to go:

Customs wait time can vary, but is posted via electronic highway signs. Usually the truckers’ crossing (SR 543) is faster than crossing from I-5 at the Peace Arch.

The Tsawwassen ferry departs at 10:20 am

Parking at the ferry terminal is ample, but costs: for the long weekend, Friday morning through Sunday was $40 USD.

There is parking further away just outside the causeway to the terminal:

  • Park n' Go
  • Free Shuttle To The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
  • $7 / 24 Hrs
  • (604) 943-9991
  • For bicyclists considering this option, it’s recommended to arrive early so riders have plenty of time to load up bikes, and ride to the terminal.
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