I love summer. I love summer in the Alberni Valley. I mostly love summer on the Coast. The problem is that I do not love the unwanted visitors of summer – namely the bald faced hornets who seem to make an appearance every year and make life on a picnic hell.
This year we discovered two meats on the pop out, 5 on the boat shed but the big one was on the deck. Yeesh
The wonderful thing about local traveling is that it forces you to discover your surroundings.
Just last week I was bored one evening and jumped on the bike for a spin. Wheeling through some of the streets, I discovered a local carving competition going on. What wonderful talent some of these people have!
Saturday, July 13 was the day set for the North Vancouver Island ride and it could not have dawned any more beautiful. The skies were blue and clear as we gathered in the parking lot of the Discovery Shopping Centre. The one feature that makes this mall desirable is that it affords motorcyclists the opportunity of fuel for the bikes, fuel for the body (by way of A&W) and fuel for the wallet (in the form of an ATM at the TD Bank) all within a few hundred metres of each other. Meeting at 11:30am we had a bit of a planning session over burgers at the A & W, then had the more formal pre-ride just prior to noon, and headed north on Hwy 97.
Traffic north of Campbell River proved to be typical – as in light but there is a typical ‘north island resident’ trait of pushing the foot to the floor once on the north road because of the 100km speed limit and the lack of Provincial Tax Collectors.
We traveled north to Sayward where we stopped for a bit of a break and a top up for gas before continuing to one of our planned destinations ~ Telegraph Cove. A small little coastal cove on the west side of Vancouver island, it is a perfect spot for those who wish the opportunity of exploring a historic coastal town that runs on Cove Time. We arrived there shortly after 1:30 pm and spent the better part of an hour poking and exploring, looking and gawking at historic boardwalk houses and the local Whale Museum. Some gawked, while others just sat and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
Departing at 3:30, we made the short ride up to Port McNeill where we arrived around 4:30pm and checked in to the Haida Way Hotel for the evening.
A short jaunt around town showed me how much the town had changed since my departure in 1995 and how much had stayed the same. It was a wonderful short trip into the past for me.
We enjoyed the fair at the pub as well as some of the bevies – then took the time to watch the sun set on a very satisfying day.
Sunday dawned a tad gloomy and black. For a little while I had honestly thought we were going to see some rain on our windshields but after the initial threat – the clouds made their way AWAY from us.
Heading south, we stopped at Woss at the Lucky Logger Pub for some very nice sushi and ended up in Campbell River at around 2:00pm to end our short little foray up north.
I arranged to take the Wednesday off work as the flight would start at 1pm.
At the time of booking the flight I was told to report to the hanger at 12:30 for a 1:00 pm departure. Being I was a tad excited, I showed up at noon to make sure I was there in time. After paying the $192.00, I was informed there were only going to be 3 passengers so we would be taking the Cessna.
Luckily, the other two passengers had the same idea as I did and showed up early as well. Considering it was only us, the pilot decided to depart early.
After showing us the route map, the post offices were shown. Our first stop was Refuge Cove. A quick stop over there, then to Surge Narrows and the finally Big Bay.
It was a perfect flight in a cloud clear sky with endless gorgeous scenery.
Our ‘mode’ of transport – Cessna
We left at 12:30 pm and arrived back at just a little after 3pm. Well worth the cost and well worth the adventure
Rising early to begin the journey is the joy of any motorcyclist. The promise of a solitary road ahead with no traffic. The whisper of the possibilities just over the horizon. The mystery of what will be discovered. The sweet kiss of sun on chrome and the drama of rain on the visor.
Tonight was a “burn out the cobwebs” night.
I had no real intention of going for a ride until around noon. Then an idea formulated that I needed some ice cream. Did I need an ice cream? No! If course not! But by 3:30 it was “I NEED an ice cream!” Really. It was just an excuse for a ride.
Leaving Campbell River just shortly after 6pm I made my way down the “slab” to the Buckley Bay turn off, then jumped on to the old island highway. The intention was to end up at The Cone Zone in Qualicum Bay. Instead I ended up stopping at Fanny Bay to visit with some friends and to see the sea lions who have taken up residence on a float just off the pier.
Raucous and amusing at the same time, these things provided with some amusement. At the same time a bunch of other friends showed up to see the seals as well. A good visit took place then it was time to make a break for home as clouds seemed to be forming on the horizon.
All in all – a quick trip but a wonderful finish to the day.
When traveling in all kinds of undecided weather, a motorcyclist has to be ready for anything. Experts will extoll the value of layering and in some ways they are very wise. But sometimes wearing 3 – 4 sweaters just doesn’t make for a very comfortable ride. Bulky, hard to move and the added bulk makes the gear uncomfortable to travel in.
Along the way I have been lucky enough to stumble on a couple of pieces of clothing that have now become a staple in my riding gear.
The newest edition was found in a little town of Nakusp at a motel/lodge called the Rotor Lodge that caters to heli skiing clients. While meandering around the town I stumbled across the gift shop displaying my favourite word “SALE” and found this wonderful top. A style of hoody and designed to be worn next to the skin as an insulating layer it provids lightweight insulation and warmth and can be virtually rolled in a ball almost to nothing AND can be handwashed in a sink, left to dry overnight – ready for wear the next day. For the reasonable price of $30 it was a steal.
The older staple of my wardrobe is a fitted pull over that is used under wet suits for surfers during colder months. Black and knitted with long sleeves it keeps you warm without adding any bulk. Another score of mine while i was meandering around a kayaking/dive shop with a friend. It also had the word “Sale” on it. $25 helped that piece find it’s way into my saddlebag – or shall I say onto my body.
Add these two pieces of clothing together and even in the most incliment weather and riding into the snowline yesterday on our foray from Nakusp to Kamloops and I was toasty warm with no added bulk and the prices couldn’t be beat.