Cougar tracks: Travels with my wiener
After the BCBTR (I know, I still have to finish that RR) I was still feeling pretty bummed out about having to cancel the rest of my highly anticipated month long trip, and especially about having to miss ADVILF. As the July long weekend approached I tried frantically to figure out how to get to Ouray but finally I had to concede it just wasn't going to happen. :cry As is my wont I decided at the last minute rather than stay home and mope I would get out on the road and explore some of the beautiful Island that I live on. Since it would be a short trip with no specific itinerary I decided to take along Joe the Wonder Wiener. Joe has travelled on the motorcycle since he was a puppy but he had never camped so it was time for his introduction :D
I live on Vancouver Island located on the south western coast of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is named after Captain George Vancouver (whoda guessed?) and is the 43rd largest island in the world - 460 km (290 mi) in length and 80 km (50 mi) wide with thousands of kilometres of unpaved logging roads. I thought I would explore a few hundred of those kilometres and visit some places I'd never seen :D
Thursday morning, June 30, I packed up the Wee and we set off :clap
My destination for that first day was Bamfield out on the west coast of the island. Bamfield is a very small community (pop. aprx 250) that can only be reached by sea or by gravel road. I decided to head west from Victoria out toward Port Renfrew. If you've read the blind date RR you might remember I mentioned that I wanted to replace my bobble head Cyborg helmet for a dual sport model :deal I've been coveting a beautiful Arai helmet at repsolrider's Adrenalin Motorsports (actually I have it on layaway :D) but I couldn't afford to pick that up and I knew the dealer in Sooke had got in a budget high-viz helmet especially with me in mind so as my consolation gift to myself I decided to stop and treat myself :D You thought I was bright before!! :lol3
While in Sooke I made a stop at Whiffin Spit park.
Joe looking across Juan de Fuca strait toward the Olympic mountains in Washington state.
Looking west out the strait.
Leaving Sooke we followed the coast out to Jordan River, a popular spot for paddle boarders and surfers. The surf was pretty anemic on this day.
On to Port Renfrew.
The Victoria - Port Renfrew - Lake Cowichan loop is one of the most popular rides on the Island. It's a great day ride with lots of twisties, good pavement for the most part and very little traffic. I'd already made that loop 4 times this year so I decided rather than take the paved road to Lake Cowichan I'd try the gravel logging roads but first I stopped in Port Renfrew for a snack. My favourite stop is Tomi's bistro and, with my ADVILF buddies in mind, I ordered the pie :wink: :D Rather than a slice it was an entire mini-pie! I wish I'd taken a picture of it - it was truly magnificent! If you're in Renfrew I recommend you stop at Tomi's and have the pie but take someone with you to share it :deal
Port Renfrew harbour.
Leaving Port Renfrew - the end of the pavement for a couple of days :clap
A couple of my ADV friends had told me to get the Backroad mapbook for Vancouver Island if I was going to do any logging road adventures and I'd picked it up the day before. This was my first time on logging roads and the first time using this kind of mapbook (I know, I'm such a noob, right) so I missed everything I thought I would stop and see :lol3 Next time I'll know to make a list of the km markers where I want to stop :deal
Any way, I headed out into the wilderness on the Gordon River Main :D
There were lots of single-lane bridges but this one gave me the willies - it spanned an abyss :eek1 One of those cases where all I could do was look straight ahead - if I'd looked down I'd never get across. Nah, heights don't bother me - much :lol3
Yeah, that's the view from the bridge. I parked on the far side and walked back out. Why does it never look as scary in pictures?
I stopped here to climb down and enjoy the water but I no sooner got off the bike when I was swarmed by clouds of mosquitoes! Hmmmm, guess I shoulda added bug spray to the camping kit.
I jumped back on the bike and high-tailed it before Joe was carried off to their lair and I suffered major blood loss.
There's a logging show on top of that rock - that turquoise thing is a big donkey engine.
I just thought this was cool-looking.
The Gordon River Main comes out at Honeymoon Bay on Lake Cowichan.
We stopped for cold drinks and bug spray :D
Looking north across Lake Cowichan to the hamlet of Youbou. Know why it's not a village? No idiot.
Leaving Lake Cowichan I headed west out the Nitinat Main road. I left the sun at Honeymoon Bay.
Nitinat Main also takes you to Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, home to some of the largest trees in Canada and the world. A few years back Carmanah was the site of conflict between environmentalists and loggers - the fact that the trees are still standing and it's now a park should tell you who came out on top that time.
That's fake pavement - the road crews just oil the gravel to keep down the dust and it packs hard. At least the rain kept down the dust this time.
And here we are in Bamfield :clap Time to find a campsite :D We'll see if Joe likes tenting.
:raabia I love your weiner!!! What's that he's riding in? :thumb
:clap Looks like fun!
I took my FZ-1 down that road a couple of years ago. Nice ride but it would have been more fun on a dual sport. Cute weiner you have....now there's something I never imagined typing.:lol3 Have you thought about some "doggles" for him? or does he not like them?
About the "doggles" go back to the first picture :deal :D He only wears them when we're actually moving.
July 1st, 2011 Canada Day
The night before we found a little campground at Centennial Park in Bamfield and set up our tent.
The morning dawned gray and drizzly. Joe got up for a piddle and then decided it was a good day to stay in bed. I was all set to head into town for breakfast and then found this little trailer all set up right there in the campground. They made a really good breakfast sandwich :clap
There's actually one other way to get to Bamfield and that's on foot by way of the West Coast Trail. Most of the west coast of Vancouver Island is covered by the Pacific Rim National Park and the West Coast Trail follows the shoreline from Port Renfrew to Bamfield. It's a rugged 75km (47 mi) trail and it is considered one of the best hiking trails in the world. People come from all over the globe to experience the West Coast Trail. The 2 fellows on the left in the picture above came from Belgium and the fellow standing on the right had also hiked the trail with his wife. The guy in the plaid shirt had come to pick them up and he bought us all breakfast :D
July 1st is Canada Day, a holiday much like Independence Day in the US and it's celebrated the same way with parades, picnics and fireworks. That morning I saw a poster for the Bamfield Canada Day parade and celebration - I had to stay around for that!
Bamfield is a really cool little place. The main industries are fishing, logging and tourism and there's also a marine research centre there.
Half of the village is located on that island in the background and the 2 parts of the town are connected by a ferry. I found out later that the island portion of the town is very funky with the streets being decorated with specific themes. Next time I'll have to go and have a look around :deal
The parade route started at the fire hall and wound through town to Centennial Park. Vast throngs milled about awaiting the arrival of the parade.
Here comes the parade! :clap :happay:rayof:wings
Yep, that's the whole parade. Wonder why there's a group way back there? There was a dead snake on the road that distracted a bunch of the participants :huh Bamfield is a happenin' place! :lol3
Pretty good picnic though.
I left Bamfield around noon after that whirlwind morning of sight-seeing, parades and hot dogs both in buns and out :D From Bamfield I headed east along Barkley Sound to Port Alberni. For the most part the weather wasn't great, drizzle and low cloud with the occasional patch of sun. The drizzle served to keep the dust down although the Wee was coated with a thin white mud by the time I got to Port Alberni. I only took 2 pictures - I guess I was still overcome by the excitement of the parade :choppa
Port Alberni is at the head of Barkley Sound and is a deep water port. Ships load logs and lumber here for Japan and other destinations.
I stopped here for coffee and to wash the mud off the Wee. I've been trying to keep it a bit cleaner since I'd been chastised for it's condition when I'd had the tires changed a couple of weeks previously. Well, I say wash, I mean hose :lol3 No actual hand to bike contact was made.
From Port Alberni I re-joined the pavement and set off for Union Bay. I was going to meet up with some friends there for a party :clap
Mid-way between Port Alberni and the east coast of the Island is Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. This is another area of preserved old-growth forest with trees more than 800 years old. The biggest tree in the Park is a Douglas Fir 76 m (235 ft) tall and over 9m (30ft) in circumference.
Well I am sorry for your meeting but it got me a bunch of beatiful pics....
Hey, can I stroke your wiener??? :wink:
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