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Vancouver Island Coastal Marine Route,new bike ,old bike

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A couple weeks ago I needed to go over to Vancouver Island to visit our son who lives in Cowichan Bay.I thought why not take the "long" way to Cow Bay, via the Coastal marine Route...I talked to my riding partner about the trip and he was in. Well if we are going I need to look at  rental properties in Courtenay further north for our son,let's add that,my buddy has family in Campbell River,hmm well let's add that to the trip.

    So that trip that started out as a quick jaunt across the Georgia Strait by Ferry and a 45 minute ride to my son's house ended up being a 500 mile ride and 3 days of soaking up the Island roads and scenery.

Now I grew up on Vancouver Island many many years ago and so did my riding partner,but it was still a treat to ride the Coastal Highway#14 around to Port Renfrew and over to Lake Cowichan then north to Campbell River.

  We did several stops on the way,we weren't in a rush because the forecast was sunny and warm for the week,so from the Fraser Valley to the Tsawassen ferry terminal for the 0700 boat to Victoria,the first stop on the Island was at a favourite local bakery in Saanich a quiet suburb of Victoria for amazing fresh apple fritters and a good grande beverage to start the trip.

From there we traversed Victoria on Hwy #1 to Langford where we changed to Hwy #14 to Sooke and Port Renfrew. The bustle of the morning commuters behind us we set throttles for some open road.

i should probably clarify here a bit about our motorcycles for this foray into the "wilds" of B.C. My riding partner's bike is a 2015 V Strom 1000,what a great machine,my bike is a 1980 Honda 750 Custom which I have had since new,we are quite a site when we ride together,my bike all shiney chrome and paint and the VStrom all business caked on mud and dirt ready for anything.

  The trip up Hwy #14 was beautiful nice windy road and next to nothing for traffic,I was worried about the German Renta Motorhome invasion that happens over here every year but I think we dodged that one in the twisties thank goodness.But you still had to keep your eyes peeled for the empty logging trucks rushing back north for another load off the Pacific Marine road logging trunk.

 The Scenic route claims a modest 175 mile round trip but we never checked actual mileage.

    The lookout view points closer to Port Renfrew were all fogged in so nothing was to be seen with a half mile of the beach head, too bad some great views of seals and Orcas can be seen quite often through that area.

  The Pacific Marine road was a gravel logging truck road for many years until they finally paved it making it passable for cars as well not just trucks to soak up all the bumps.

One thing to be aware is that there are lots of logging trucks (have I said that yet?) don't cut the apex on corners to straighten out the road,it's like riding in Jamaica.(you never know when a cane truck is coming in your lane).We made it through to Lake Cowichan to fuel my Honda,the Strom still had lots of range yet without even seeing one game animal,harumpf.The Island has some of the biggest Elk you have ever seen,just beautiful this time of year just starting to grow antlers and velvet,that area also has some massive record book Black Bear as well(didn't see them either).

  Well onward to Qualicum for a malted beverage(the sun must be over a yardarm somewhere?).

   After lunch we made a couple other stops for pictures and a Grande beverage on our way north and we meandered our way up to Campbell River on the old Hwy #19 which for the most part goes right next to the ocean in many areas.

   We did only take the day to get to Campbell River but it was how we did it,you can jump from the ferry and hit the Inland Hwy and be in Campbell River in short order,but that's not my cup of tea.

I prefer to soak it in,and on a 30+ yr old bike that's the best method.

I did some more riding around the north end of the island to visit old friends and look at rentals for our son but it still was an ADV trip,only because we took the "long way round"(sorry Ewan)

 

if you ever get the chance go for a ride on the "rock",you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

ps. there are maps  and gps trax of this route available online if you are interested...

 

thanks for reading along.

 

Bruce

 

 

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