While last segment was rather light on Curbside Classics this one will make up for it as we explore Vancouver Island.
Day six is all on Vancouver Island but it larger than one might suspect. We still manage to rack up quite a few kilometers.
If you recall the last segment I mentioned that the campsite owner was telling the people in line before us it was busy and they might have to share a site. A quick wander around the next morning showed it to be maybe a quarter full at best.
This is our “four tent” site. As a welcome to Vancouver Island it rained overnight quite a bit and continued into the morning. The campsite was such a damp sort of place we just packed our stuff up wet as it likely never would have dried no matter how long we stayed into the day.
The campsite had a bunch of little roads going all over. The owner obviously had a sense of humor about it though.
Someone must have been a mechanic in a previous life as there were plenty of rims and big rig truck brake drums used as planters. Each section had a name like Tire-Rim garden.
The extended family seemed to have houses interspersed between sections of the campsite. There were quite a few classic cars around too including this air cooled Beetle.
A rather nice Mustang poking out of a car shelter.
Here is a Canadian market Dodge sporting a for sale sign. In this time period they were a Plymouth body with Dodge trim often nicknamed Plodges.
Ripe berries in June already? You certainly would not see this sight in Alberta so early.
We rode into the nearby town of Port Hardy to look around and fuel up. This is 94 octane but this was the most expensive fuel this far. The conversion comes to a touch over $5US/gallon. Luckily with a small bike one’s fuel bill is never big.
We were able to get right down to the dock for a first close up look at the ocean.
Heading inland the scenery turned to small mountains with lots and lots of trees.
Where you have lots of trees you also get logging trucks. Plenty of them here. They also tend to drop wood debris on the road so you have to keep an eye on the road as a motorcyclist.
Quite a few nice lakes to be seen as well. If you can see pass the trees that is.
An old tractor in Sayward where we stopped for lunch. I do not claim to be a tractor expert but perhaps one of our readers can identify this one. (Update from the comments – late 40’s early 50’s Farmall Cub).
The restaurant itself featured several stuffed heads on the wall.
There were a few other bikes traveling the island as well including this retro inspired Honda CB1100. Even scooter behind had a bigger engine than my bike.
This Volkswagen van was with us on the ferry and we saw it a few times later in the day.
A Retired logging truck? Not sure on the marque of this one either. (Update from the comments – either a Pacific or Hayes logging truck – both built on Vancouver Island).
The cab did not have any obvious badging to shed light on the make.
Later in the journey a nut fell off my brake light so I had to source a replacement along the road at this Suzuki dealer. They assumed I was local and offered to order one in from the catalog. I declined and got them just to find something that would fit for now.
As far as road side repairs go this one is pretty minor but it is still an excuse to get the factory tool kit out again. It is wedged in above the battery.
An old Dodge 800 truck resting nearby.
Even more appealing is this Mack B-series dump truck.
We kept going south before heading west towards Tofino. Volkswagen vans of various generations are common here.
Along the route we were able to visit another old growth forest. Smaller but still impressive trees than the first one and this time Douglas Fir.
You lose a sense of the scale in photos but these are big trees.
As we headed west traffic in general increased. We came across a hot rod and the bike population grew. We were hit with scattered rain and I discovered that my “rain” gear was not at all rain proof. The pants in particular let everything through. The design of my bike seems to funnel water directly at ones crotch which does not do much for overall comfort.
We hit more rain and dipping temperatures as we rode towards Tofino. The sun came out as we rolled into the visitor center and it had a classic Ford Mustang leaving the parking lot. I was darn cold so I made a beeline for the visitor center building. We made small talk with the employee inside while I warmed up and dripped onto their floor.
At least it was not raining still and the tourist center provided us with a map of near by campsites. We had planned to stay near or in Tofino but it appeared that so had everyone else as all the campsites were already booked up so we headed for nearby Ucluelet.
The first choice campground appeared to be many kilometers down a gravel road so we abandoned that thought and pressed on.
We ended up in the campground within the town of Ucluelet. It had a neat collection of old wood that might have been tsunami debris. There were several tsunami warning signs about – comforting.
The campground also had an old chassis with flat head Ford V8 in it. It soon started raining so we set up our tents for the night.
The full trip log:
Road Trip: Part 1 – Preparation and Starting a 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 2 – Best Laid Plans on a 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 3 – Making up Time – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 4 – The Miles Pile On Up North – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 5 – Heading for the Coast – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 6 – A Coastal Ferry Cruise – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 7 – Vancouver Island and Rain – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 8 – Rain, Rain and More Rain – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 9 – Back to the Mainland and Two Becomes Three – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 10 – Riding Nirvana – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 11 – World’s Largest Collection of Brill Trolley Buses – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 12 – Beer, Dune Buggy and a Ferry – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 13 – Finale – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
The tractor is a late 40’s early 50’s Farmall Cub.
Thank you for the id.
You’re welcome. I owned a ’52 Cub for several years. Fun little tractor but not overly powerful. I’ve enjoyed your travelogue. It makes me want to revisit Canada even more.
I am really enjoying this series although I haven’t commented that much. I personally think this particular part of the world is one of the most scenic on the planet. Norwegian fjords come close.
When we had our Eurovan Camper, we could go weeks and months without seeing another one in the suburban Portland area. Go down the Columbia gorge, up to Mt. Hood, or North to the San Juan Islands/Gulf Islands (B.C.) and they’re everywhere.
Looking forwards to the next installment.
Looks like autocorrect prefers Torino to Tofino. Or did I miss something … is there also a town called Torino on the Island? I’m thinking the yellow truck is a Peterbilt 351L, but the front bumper and grill guard are probably local additions and prevent me from being sure. Finally, I think EVERY motorcycle funnels rain water down into your crotch … right where many rain suits have leaky seams. I think it’s a reason that scooters are so popular in rainy climates like southern and eastern Asia.
Yep. I used to commute year round on a Yamaha SR125 which was good at crotch-funneling too.
I had rain pants but there was an imperfect seam at the crotch, and once or twice it rained hard enough that water pooled in a crater on the too-large pants and seeped through. My opening line to my tour group had to be “Just so you know, I didn’t pee in my pants.”
I think the use of ponchos helps. Commuting when I worked in Asia, I had a Honda CM250, but in monsoon season I put on a poncho, rolled up my trouser legs and wore flip flops – I left shoes and socks at work and once I dried my lower legs it was all good.
When I first joined the Army National Guard, in the early eighties, we had a two piece, rubberized canvas, rain suit that did keep out the rain. Unfortunately this type of material doesn’t breathe so if you wore it for very long you would be wet from the inside out in no time at all; it was almost preferable to get rained on. Eventually the rain suits were replaced with ponchos, which were much better, providing you got the thing situated so that the water didn’t run off into your boots. I tried not to ride my motorcycles in the rain unless I was caught out by a sudden shower. I never really used the bike for day to day transportation, relying on a car for that. I did carry a rolled up poncho with me for emergencies and did have to pull it out a few times.
Auto-correct is like having the village idiot watch you write and he is constantly making “suggestions” about what words you want to use. Pity the fool who doesn’t proofread what auto-correct wrote for him instead of what he actually wrote. It’s really beyond belief.
Thanks for the Torino piece – fixed it up.
Should’ve added a friend of mine in Vermont consistently puts 3-5,000 miles a year on his vintage BMW R80 pursuing various adventures.
I grew up on Vancouver Island, and will for all my life consider myself an Island Boy.
The Island is just so beautiful and laid back compared to the rat race in Vancouver.
My son and his s/o live on Orcas Island. She’s a 5 Gen Island girl, and my son has found, apparently, his place in the world. She warned him early on that she wasn’t going anywhere, so if he wanted to get “serious,” he better be adjusted to the idea of staying on the Island.
Not a stretch. His office view.
A view from his office, or of his office? 🙂
The logging truck is a pacific
Yes, looks like a Pacific or Hayes logging truck. Hayes trucks were built in Vancouver and Pacific trucks were built in North Vancouver. Both manufacturers built trucks mainly for the logging industry but as they were all custom built there were a lot of clean sheet designs for whatever the customer wanted. They were shipped world wide. I remember on a trip to New Zealand in the early 80’s seeing a fleet of Pacific logging trucks. On Vancouver Island it was quite common to see the giant off road logging trucks from both. Quite the histories of both are easy to find online.
Thanks for that. Read up on these – both interesting. Hard to tell them apart so not which one this one is.
Looking a bit more familiar, in terms of the wetness and tall firs. Of course Vancouver Island is a lot further north from us, and has wetter summers. We didn’t have any measurable precipitation for about 3 months this summer, and it’s still mostly dry.
There isn’t much old growth Doug Fir forest left, but what there is of it is very impressive. We have a few fine pockets of it in places. Majestic. It’s hard to imagine what the PNW looked like covered endlessly with old growth forests. 99+% is now gone, replaced by second, third and fourth generation re-growth. We farm trees out here like they do corn in Iowa, it just takes a bit longer before its ready for harvest.
Great shots and another interesting series. I’ve never been out west but it’s a place I’d love to see at some point, and you definitely get a different perspective on two wheels instead of four.
This series is triggering my wanderlust. Way back in ancient times my aunt was into bus tours. I was 11 yrs old and she took me out west landing in Edmonton to get the bus and pretty much following this same route to eventually fly out of Calgary on the return. For two weeks I had 20 pairs of grandparents spoiling me rotten. The last installment brought back memories of the inside passage and the cramped windowless inside cabin that smelled of diesel with the constant drone of the engines. I missed most of the island because I was green and puking from the boat ride.
The bus was pretty awesome for me as kid. The driver showed me how to open the bus, check the brakes were set, start the engine and get the heaters going for the old people. That became my job at every stop. The driver and tour guide were always the last ones back and often late and a little disheveled greeted by wolf whistles and cheers.
Other than Calgary and area I haven’t been back that way since the road trip car camping in my 510 wagon in the late ’80s. I so want to go back again with or without the longroof 510.
Nice trip, one I would like to do someday. You were just up Island from where I live. I tend to get spoiled by the large trees and ocean nearby and sometimes forget how beautiful this part of the world is.
As for the yellow truck they have one at a local museum called the BC discovery centre. It appears to be a Haynes logging truck. More info available here:
Enjoying the article and awaiting the next instalment.
Wonderful stuff, reminds me of a trip up & down Vancouver Island many years ago.
BTW you’re doing a great job with the 250cc travel, I told Mrs DougD today that you were on Vancouver Island and she said “Maybe if he can get from Lethbridge to Vancouver Island on a 250 it’ll be Ok for me too”
And the joy of packing up wet! Second only to the joy of having to use stuff that was packed up wet!
If you are content to ride the speed limit the 250 is just fine. Faster speeds aren’t really feasible.
That tsunami sign reminds me of a weekend of camping next to a man made lake. Half the sites were next to the lake and the other half were below the dam. At the bottom of the hill was a sign explaining the alarm system. One blast of the horn means there is pressure on the dam and the gates will be open. The water in the creek will be fast flowing. Two blasts means the gates will be opened and the creek may overflow it’s banks. Three blasts means leave everything behind and RUN up the nearest hill. It was a particlularly wet summer and on the second night it rained hard in the wee hours. The horn blasted FOUR times. We figured it was too late to run up the hill so we stayed put. The gates were open and the dam was still there in the morning.
Now I’m thinking about camping. I wish you had ran this a month ago when I was on holidays.
Sorry – took me a while to write up.
This is my neck of the woods! Born and raised on the Island and currently living in Port Alberni, which your ride took you through. According to the highways people and their vehicle counters, about a million vehicles go through town on the way to the West Coast.
It looks like your big tree stop was MacMillan Provincial Park, better known as Cathedral Grove. Having watched over the last 40 years (and being a forester) I know how it has changed as it ages. Not the same as it was, but then who is?
A bit of trivia on your long day, you went over the two highest passes on highways on the Island; the Tsitika south of Woss, and the Alberni Summit, or as we call it, The Hump. Tsitika is a few meters higher but without the steep grades.
If you had detoured to the left (east) at your Sayward Junction lunch stop you would have made it to the old Rupert ferry terminal at Kelsey Bay. It was moved to Hardy when they built the highway between Sayward and Port McNeill.
Really liking this series, thanks for sharing and looking forward to more!
Oh, for the riders reading this, Highway 28 from Campbell River to Gold River is very popular. Fun drive in the XT too 😎
Yes – Cathedral Grove. That was what it was called!
Thank you for today’s new fact: rain suits for cyclists do not keep you dry.
Thanks also for the tour of Vancouver Island – it is a beautiful place!
I have a two piece rain suit that worked quite well. Unbeknownst to me Mrs DougD put it through the wash a few times, which removed the waterproofing. I decided to wear it on a very wet and cold hike up Silver Peak with my brother. I was soaked and nearly got hypothermia, whereas my brother was relatively dry and warm in his goretex jacket. 🙁
The pants are still very waterproof though, they never got laundered…
Some rain! We camped in the National Park campground between Tofino & Ucluelet at the end of July, about a month after you. By then it was so dry, and the fire risk so extreme everywhere, that pretty much all of BC was under a fire ban. All EXCEPT for the “Fog Zone” – the first 2 km in from the high tide line. So we made a POINT of enjoying a campfire every night we were there.
Highway 4 might have been a nice ride on a small bike. In our rig (LWB Expedition and travel trailer) it was a whole lotta work, with the road surface deteriorating every km we went westward.
Really enjoying this series.
I live in Port Hardy and I know the former owner of that gold mustang, he’s a coworker and a long-time family friend. So neat seeing my tiny little town on CC! Glad you enjoyed your visit!