What should we do and where should we go this weekend? With the glorious high pressure system we've been having in the Pacific Northwest, what to do is a no brainer ... two wheels of course but where? Well the ol' lady, er my lovely wife Clare, had been hankering to go to "the Island" and Ucluelet/Tofino for awhile now (has it really been about 10 years since the last Vancouver Island trip with surfer Dan?) and the hoards of school families are not quite on the road yet. Perfect time if we can live in the moment and leave now. Looked on the web and found a quaint place (Little Beach Resort) in Ucluelet, and BC Ferry leaving in 1 hour?! Well best Reason #7 for two wheels is front of ferry line and first on/off the boat, so pack up and away we went and caught the 10:40 with minutes to spare! Paid the fares for two bikes and riders (totaled $177.00 return!) and relaxed for an hour or so. Quite a few bikes doing the same thing and we almost ran out of bike safety chocks, but smooth waters anyways. I've always conjured up that movie cliche wherein the new rider knocks over the 1% 'ers bikes like a domino effect and all hell breaks loose!
|2 nights on the coast|
So we were off like the Wild Hogs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8RVvETrP64 and had a great ride through the coastal suburbs around mid island to the beautiful town of Qualicum Beach. We briefly stopped there to see our friends Pat and Vicky who have owned and operated Whats Cooking kitchen shop for quite a while now. Nice to see that all is well, then we were on to Port Alberni and beyond to the West Coast.
|Don't want to get too close to Bambi fer sure!|
Once again a beauty ride past Sproat Lake, Cathedral Grove and the twistys on Highway 4. I will always remember this route as I had one of my first summer jobs working on the BC Department of Highways (Dept. of Holidays ... haha!) survey crew around 1970, and stayed in Ucluelet when it was a one motel town. Those steep hills and bends are still there and on a bike, awesome fun! It was nice to see that they were repaving it 1 km at a time so there were only short lengths of gravel. We arrived at mid afternoon and found the accommodations were exactly as described with a Jacuzzi (not needed), sauna (not needed), fridge (yes!) and within a stones throw of the beach. After cruising the neighborhood and having dinner at Hanks BBQ (kind of unique cuts of meat and seasonings), we lounged on our room deck while watching the sun set over the Pacific. Perfect day!
|nice shot Clare!|
|just a Classic|
The Wild Pacific Trail started nearby, and as Clare likes to jog and my joints don't allow that, she was out there early next morning to try a few km before noon and also take a few photos. This was contrary to each activity she remarked, as ya can't get the cardio up before another awesome view comes around to stop and snap. A quick change and we jumped on her bike to cruise around and explore almost all the roads in the area before dropping by the four star Black Rock Resort for a look see. It was 10:30 am and the girl behind the desk mentioned brunch in the Fetch Restaurant is over in an hour and would we like to try it? Clare had a very good breakfast wrap and I had the Seafood Bennie which was the best I've had in a long while. The view and the serenity was absolutely amazing with only a few others enjoying the open air deck (see photos). I love the almost "Off Season"!
|and nice surroundings!|
|somepin' bout waves!|
We headed back to the room after that and got ready to go to Tofino, a cool 40 km cruise north past the famous beaches (Long Beach, Florencia Bay, Wickaninnish Beach). Took my bike only as it's very easy to just rip down any road and park to see and explore. Clare would be drinking later and does not pilot after doing so. Tofino has changed a little with many tourista lodgings and restaurants all over. We met a biker/musician on the ferry over who mentioned that his band was playing at Jack's Pub on the water and as the late pm sun started waning we settled on that for a simple nosh of a burger and beer special and her salad. Unfortunately the band did not start till 10 pm and I don't do much riding after dark especially with the wildlife wandering onto the roads at dusk, so we headed back to enjoy our own room a nice ride away.
|Twisties above Kennedy Lake|
|roll the throttle on!|
Sunday morning we were packed and kickstands up at 11:30 for a scenic retracing of the roads back home, with a stop in Port Alberni for a break. Like most BC towns on a summer Sunday there is always something happening in the town center and this was the same for the port. Got the 5:20 pm sailing and only waited maybe 30 minutes till boarding (Reason # 7). As it was Father's Day I called the son and asked if he would be around when we got back. He was, so we did a chain restaurant thing and had a happy Father's Day after an awesome ride!
If you go:
Off season or mid week travel is recommended as that ferry thing is a time waster. There seem to be many more accommodations available that are not advertised, especially in Tofino, which is a little pricier than Ucluelet. Bring all the stuff you would normally have for an adventurous time in the great outdoors.
(all photos © Bob and Clare)