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Wed Aug 08 2012: Vancouver Island

We left Kevin & Manon's place with a bit of reluctance, not just a warm bed and comfy couch and TV and stocked fridge, etc. but the fun and laughter of good friends, and familiar company. We rode to Tsawwassen just south of Vancouver to take a 90 minute ferry to the island.

Riding around downtown Victoria

Uh oh, Neda spots a market and immediately, I know where I'm going to be for the next few hours...

We came back from walking around downtown and noticed that we got stupid parking tickets after paying for parking on the street. The cause was parking too close to the parking lines. There were no bloody parking lines! We took pictures of our parking spots, but it's going to cost us time and more parking money just to fight this thing. We feel so ripped off, and it took us a while to get out of this foul mood.

Seaplanes taking off and landing in Victoria Harbour

This is the first thing visitors see when they step off the seaplane. How inviting!

Victoria harbour is such a pretty place to spend the evening, you can watch the sun set on the waters and the city has done a really nice job with maintaining all the flowers and gardens in the area. Neda's favorite TV station is The Food Network, and one of the shows she watches is called Eat Street. She saw an episode called "Red Fish, Blue Fish", and she told me, "If we're ever in Victoria, we *HAVE* to go there!". So here we are:

Red Fish, Blue Fish, Orange Sunset
Red Fish, Blue Fish is a food truck right on the harbour by the seaplane terminals. We lined up for over an hour (!) and just squeaked in before they closed for the evening. The food was delicious, as promised and we had a spectacular view of the setting sun over the waters of the bay while we noshed away on great seafood.

Sleepy yachts in Victoria harbour

Neda found some great riding roads just north of Victoria on the east coast of the island. From Campbell River, we rode west on Hwy 28 as it cuts through Strathcona Provincial Park, staying the evening in Buttle Lake. As we pitched our tent, we heard scores of sportbikes ripping it up on 28, so we knew we had a great day of riding ahead of us. In the late morning, we completed Hwy 28 out to Gold River and then back again, eyes glued to the inside line of all the tight curves, trying to ignore the distracting scenery lest we end up as another roadside attraction on this awesome twisty road!

Hwy 28 from Campbell River to Gold River

We headed north through Nanaimo, debated about whether to be cheesy and buy Nanaimo bars for lunch, decided against it, and then took the very scenic and twisty Hwy 4 west through Port Alberni. As most of you know, when the riding is good, the pictures get scarce, so you'll have to trust us when we say, if you're in the area, Vancouver island has amazing riding!

We reached the west coast and stayed in a very expensive and uninspiring camp site in Ucluelet, just south of Tofino. So Neda went off in search of a new campsite while I pretended to blog.

Hero shot on the way to Mussel Beach

Mussel beach is at the end of an 8km gravel road in the wilderness, nothing but trees and a bear that lives about 1 km in. We know this because we've seen him everytime we go to and from our new campsite on the beach!

This is shot 5 of a 10-shot sequence... :)

During one of our trips on the bumpy gravel road, Neda's sidecase vibrates off the bike and she has to stop and walk back to pick it up. I guess I could have helped her but I was too busy documenting the Walk of Shame. I had to turn the intercom off because the obscenities were getting too vulgar for my delicate eardrums...

"Do you mind giving me a hand?"... so I clap... It's a tough job being the staff photographer...

The rocky beach at our campsite

Mussel beach is one of our favorite campsites so far. The owner has built funky sculptures and treeforts out of the driftwood lying on the shore. The treefort sites are bit too pricey for us, they fit 2 or 3 tents, so we just get a spot by the beach and the scenery is beautiful. The owner, Curtis, is super-friendly as well and we talked bikes with him and our tent-neightbour throughout our 2-night stay. Everyone loves talking motorcycles! They either have one, want one, is curious about ours or knows someone that has one.

Goin' fishing! Not really, I'm not a fan of fishing, but I'll happily eat the end-product...

I helped Luke push Curtis' fishing boat out into the waters. By "help", I mean watched a bit, then pestered him with questions, and then hopped in the boat for a paparazzi shot. He showed me some of his catches on his digital camera, one 50-lb fish half his height!

We asked a guy in Tofino to take a picture of us, his three-legged dog decided to hop over and pose with us. So cute!

We rode out to Tofino for the day to walk around the town and get some wi-fi. Now BC is a pretty bohemian province, but Tofino is the hippy-central capital with a surfer-twist. This picture is kind of special for us, since we've got a shot of us in Cape Speer out on the east coast of Newfoundland, and now we're in Tofino, out in the west coast of Vancouver Island. We've crossed Canada coast-to-coast and seen a lot of the country along the way, and I feel this was a proper way to say goodbye to the place that we've lived in for so long.

Waves and wavy lines in Chesterman Beach

Chesterman Beach

Sarah from Island BMW put us on their Facebook page! Cool!

We both got new shoes in the back at Island BMW. Taylor, the service advisor recommended Hidenau K76s in the rear for better wear than the Tourances. They seem very noisy, but we'll give them a chance once they break in to see how well they handle and then decide if we want to stick a K76 in the front as well next time or go back to Tourances.

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