Thursday, 2 August 2012

Vancouver Island - What a Blast

Huge thanks to Cindy for taking us in and welcoming us to the Island, some net time to catch up with ADVers, Hubbers etc and work out accom and things were starting to fall back into place, with the fate of Chiwi still unknown we have no option but to make the best of where were at.

We had a very nice ferry ride from Taswassen to Swartz Bay on Friday 27th July.

While we are waiting in the que in Tswassen, a couple came to us said we can jump right in the front or the que because they give motorcycles priority - we felt lucky. When we were 3/4 way to Swartz Bay, the captain announced there were some killer whales on the left side, we were sitting there in perfect viewing seats, and true, three or four pods of killer whales were jumping and playing - what a nice welcoming to Vancouver Island!

Cindy found us from ADV forum, she offered to pick up us from the ferry and when she knew we didn’t have any where to stay for the night, she offered us to stay in her house, since she works at night, so Andi and I slept on her bed.

Andi and I were cramped onto one bike, so we couldn’t take our big tent with us. This is one thing we did not consider that we would have to do a portion of our trip on one bike ... bad planning or optimistic that we have two reliable bikes .. not sure. Cindy even lent us her little tent. We are now armed and dangerous again!

Another ADVer David from far north of the Island and his wife Kandi offered to meet us at Sayward the next day in the evening, so we had some good advice from Cindy and rode to the north to meet them. We missed one route and decided to go around lake Cowichan, which turned out to be a two hour gravel road in the middle of no where, that’s how our adventure unfolded and we still made it with time up our sleeve.... easy as bro!!

We finally arrived at Sayward around 7pm, David and Kandi arrived just after 8pm. We had tea at the pub, which was very nice, then headed to a free camping ground.

Sunday morning, after a quick breakfast, we started to travel further north. David led us to Mt Cain, which is a ski field in the winter. The gravel road was maintained very well, I’m used to sitting on the bike without foot pegs now.

Groovy concrete blocks on the way down

Our original plan was going through another gravel road pass a cave then arrive to Telegraph Cove. Only about 15ks up, the road closed for logging. We had to turn around, get on paved road to Telegraph Cove.

Telegraph Cove is a tourist destination, it is a little harbour, with nice restaurants and cafes, its beautiful too. We had lunch there, then Kandi needed to get home, so we went to Port McNeil to send her on the ferry back to home after a quick stock up on food.

Some cool signs

And some custom paint jobs

David then took us to the very north of the island. We were planning to camp at Cape Palmerston, but when we got there, the sea fog was quite thick, almost drizzling. There were lots of Salmon berries around, we had a good feed on them. They are orange and red, the orange has a light sweet and bitter test, the red ones are sweeter.

We had a huge feast on these YUMMO

We decided the coast is not very good for camping, because our loaned tent is only good for dry night. David has his plan B, which was 15ks back on the way back called Swan Lake. We got there, also brought some fire wood with us, then realized the plan B was no good either - the place looks very wet and the path to the lake looks like a bear trail, and the lake was only a puddle - no good for drinking...then the mozzies came out!

Fire wood collecting, the DR logging truck!

Our hunting for camping turns into a mini adventure in itself. Time to form a Plan C. We went all the way back which was only another 5 k, and finally found a wee camping site on a river side. The river called “ Good Speed river’”. Just likes its name, the river was quiet. We set up our tent and lit a camp fire on the river bed. After a bit organisation, we had our steak, potato, onion and corn all cooked.

Then we realized the water was coming up. First we shift our fire further up, the water was still creeping up quietly, we had to move back up to the bank. Hence you see the photo of our fire in the middle of the river now. Anyway, it was time to bed, we just leave the fire for the mother nature to deal with..... two Great White Hunters and an intellectual Asian sidekick .. all this local knowledge and experience and we forgot about the tidal zone.


July 31, Monday

I (Ellen) woke up in the morning found my side of the tent was wet. It was drizzling overnight. I got up had a wee look around, found some animal prints 5 m from our tent. Later David got up he went around and yelled out to us he found some wolf foot prints. thats what it was!

Seems that the deer had wondered through our camp closely stalked by Wolves, see the size of the Wolf prints and you will see we are not talking a Chiwawas!

So more berries for breaky and we were off to Port Hardy, we have a brunch stop at a restaurant, we thought it was a little early by out intrepid leader had big plans for us which were soon to unfold.

After being fed and watered we headed to Port Alice Who TF is Alice!!!!

Papermills are not usually known for their beauty but check out the rust colours on the tank at the Port Alice, from there we headed up over the top and down to a lake edge to a house, one of Davids friends however he was not home.

Continuing on our merry way we arrived at Link Creek camp, neat spot, dunny stop and quick chat then mount the ponnies again, part way along the track a digger was blocking the track, he was excavating rubble out of a blocked culvert.

The digger driver kindly moved so we could sneak past, it was only 5 minutes and we ran into some other adventure bikers, they had taken a wrong turn on the way to Vanishing river so David invited them to follow us through which they duly accepted.

We stopped at the creek called Vanishing River that goes down into a cavern and pops back out about 4km away, the steps and walkways had been destroyed by the trees which came down in a flood so it was careful steps to get down to view.

We all refilled with water as it was beautiful, clean, clear and tasteless so it was a very nice stop.

Once climbing back to the road we continued on to our turn off point at which the other guys headed their way and we carried on our route, they we very appreciative of meeting up with us and more so David as he made their day which allowed them to continue on Plan A rather than go all the way back and around via the road, great stuff David your blood is worth bottling mate!!!.

We were going to have a swim however the wind had picked up a bit and the clouds were doing their best to shroud the sun which in turn dampened our enthusiasm so it was time to water up and have a snack, we then carried on to Woss(vegas) to fuel up and kiss goodbye (well man hug anyway).

We took a shortcut, (the definition from Murphy is "the longest distance between two points"), the bastid was right David led us astray and soon the adventure turned into some stump jumping and bike wrestling.

We had to come back cos it go worserer and harderer....

Last time we listen to David ... ouwh this is quicker with less dust

Upon saying goodbye Ellen and I took a left turn at Mt Cain then carried on through to Gold River, we were treated to wildlife and a groovy shingle road which was sometime very rough and some parts almost like pavement, we did a loop around Gold River before heading to the Upper Campbell Lake to set up the house and camp the final night on Vancouver Island.

The campsite was cool, we had a fire pit, fire wood, our own personal beach and private camp site, Ellen took the advantage of going in for a swim while I got the fire up and running for her to dry off beside.

Mum nature gave us greyish morning to start with which was great for getting all our riot gear on (cos ya hot in that stuff), we packed up and rode to Campbell River township, this was a breaky and food up stop then on our way back to Cindys to drop off her wee two man tent that we used on the Island, although small it saved our bacon with having both of us squashed onto Hobbit.

Again at Cindys... hellos, afternoon tea, the giving back and thanks for the gear, hugs all round and we were on our way to the Ferry at Swartz Bay ... destination Salt Spring Island to meet Alberto and Naomi .... a big highlight for us.

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