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Access: To get to the American San Juan Islands from Vancouver take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay. [See Getting to Tsawwassen.] From the ferry follow traffic along Highway 17 towards Victoria, watching for directional signs to Sidney, BC. Follow the signs left on to McTavish, proceed one block, then turn left on to Lochside. Peddle north along the sea shore to Ocean Avenue, across from the Information Center. Turn right on Ocean Avenue continuing to the terminal entrance at 2499 Ocean Avenue. The route is well-marked from the Highway 17 turn-off to the terminal entrance.

There is only one ferry daily from Sidney to the San Juans. Leaving at just before noon, it makes one stop at San Juan Island before proceeding to Anacortes, Washington. Upon arrival at 3 PM it is necessary to clear customs before turning around and lining up to reboard the ferry an hour later. This time the destination is Lopez Island. From here cyclists can island hop at leisure. Frequent sailings on the inter-island ferry provide links to Shaw, Orcas then San Juan Island in turn with the cycling becoming more demanding as each island is conquered. At the end of it all, pick up the international run at Friday Harbour on San Juan Island for the crossing back to Sidney.

Contact: Washington State Ferries Sidney, BC: (250) 381-1551 or (250) 656-1531 USA: 1-888-808-7977 (Washington only) or (206) 464-6400 Internet: Washington State Ferries

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Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Looking much like tiny concord grapes on a holly bush, the intensely sour fruit of the Oregon grape is loaded with Vitamin C. Munch them directly from the bush for a surefire pucker or render them into sugar-loaded jelly for a more palatable treat. Traditionally Oregon grape berries were mashed with other, sweeter berries to enhance their flavour. The inner bark of both stems and roots was a source of brilliant yellow dye during pre-European times. The source of the colour, an alkaloid called berberine, is known to possess antibiotic properties that are still used to combat both internal and external infections. An extract concocted from the roots is used by modern-day herbalists to correct a wide range of liver, kidney and urinary tract problems.

Illustration by Manami Kimura