Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ucluelet and Tofino at the Last Minute

June 19, 2015, Friday morning, 9 am.

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  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


waitin' patiently.

Ucluelet archipelago

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"!

great food

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)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

33rd Annual Oyster Run, Anacortes, WA

Oyster Run at Anacortes, WA, Sept 27/28, 2014.

We were keeping everything crossed in the hopes the Sun God would come out for the 33rd Annual Oyster Run. Last year the skies opened up in mid afternoon and the riders vacated town faster than a speeding bagger at a Sunday School picnic. He did not disappoint this year and we had 2 great sunny days in the middle of a wet period on Fidalgo Island, WA. 

 Left North Van. at only 10 am Sat. as we are not early risers lately. Plus as we all know, a little gas up and walk around takes time. Looked for some other groups along way but most leave a bit earlier from points east.

We did the standard but awesome Chuckanut Drive to Longhorn Saloon in Edison. Had the first of our oysters here although they were saying not good conditions out in Puget Sound. What the hell, in the 70's Don and I ate saucer sized Pacific oysters right off the beach at his Grannies waterfront 200 feet of Hood Canal (she donated it to a Girls Youth group in the end) near Seabeck. I hate paying for these "boutique" oysters the size of a Loonie. But I digress ...

Had to stop downtown and have a bevvie at the Brown Lantern ... of course only a Red Bull and by then it was 5 pm so on to the B & B just 10 blocks west. Our great hosts Amy and Dan were there to greet us and give us the run down and we settled in to the warmth of the setting sun. Beauty view from the deck. Went downtown for some food and fun and ate at the A Town Bistro next to the Brown Lantern bar where we ended up later.

Next morning at 9 am there was a knock on the door and in came smiling Amy and Dan, trays of brekkie in hand and then they left just as graciously. Got on the bikes around 10 am and headed out further west towards the ferry terminal. I had heard about Washington Park from Amy/Dan's guest book. OK, we are on bikes so up we drove around the Loop Road of about 2 miles. The paved road had few people and we lugged as quiet as possible on an absolutely fantastic route. I didn't mind the fog as it reduced the scenery to simplicity and I got some keepers out of it.

By 11 am fog was starting to lift and we headed out to explore Fidalgo Island towards Deception Pass. Ended up stopping on the north side of the bridge and watched and got a few shots of the parade of bikes. By then Clare, says we gotta go down town so went back via Havekost Road to park out back of the Brown Lantern. The party was in full swing so we staked some ground at the front and enjoyed the scene. Typical biker hijinks ensued and by the time we wrapped it for this town at around 5 pm things were starting to wind down. We still had a couple hours to go back home and as we both prefer to ride in daylight, had a beauty ride back through Edison and Chuckanut with the sun fading into twilight and the moon. As always the border wait is a pain but that is the world we live in.

We really enjoyed Fidalgo Island this year. The roads are great and if you want to go further, Whidbey Island is just south with a longer ride and more scenes.

rmk 09/30/14

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ski Season 2012 / 2013 is Great!

The snow just keeps coming and it's turning out to be another record year

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reflections from European Trip

After leaving Portofino our plan was to meander along the coast and stay at a reasonable place in Monaco or Nice. It was a lovely drive along the Golfo di Genova until we came to the city traffic of Genova (Genoa) and I decided to take the city route through it.

This set us back a bit and by the time we made it to Monaco and had a look around, we decided that high living and gambling were not for us. So it was off to Nice maybe 20 km down the scenic road. Half way there the sun was making it's exit and we rounded a corner and saw the hotel/restaurant, Panoramique perched on the side of the mountain overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Well this was fine as we could dine and sleep all in one, not to mention the great views.

The place was run by a one handed (lost his hand in a motorcycle accident) fifty something man and his younger wife. She did the kitchen work while he managed the bookings and the restaurant serving. He was very much a salesman for his place and we struck a deal for dinner and a room as the sun was setting over the water. Our room had a deck overlooking the coast line a thousand feet below and we savored the view with beer and wine until time for bed.

It was the middle of night when I was awoken by Clare screaming "Get out! Get out!"
"It's ok, Honey ... bad dream. Go back to sleep.", I mumbled. "No, there was someone in our room." she insisted. Daniel who was in the twin bed next to us was up like a shot and ran out to the deck. "Hey, what's my shaving kit doing out on the deck?" he yelled. By then I had come to and the lights were blazing. Apparently my better half couldn't sleep well and had a feeling about this place. After piecing together what had happened we guessed that the cat burglar had crept past my sleeping body next to the door, all the way to the opposite wall where the blue light from a device charger had attracted him and snatched the kit. Seeing nothing of value in it he was returning for seconds, when Clare spied him. Of course by the time I was up and about he was long gone into the bushes.
Lucky for us the thief passed over all the real valuables in the dark and nothing was taken.
When we related this to the owner in the morning, all he could say was, "Tu es tres stupide!". We shan't be returning!