It’s been awhile since I’ve written a little story so here’s one. 😊 Mid-August had some perfect riding weather, so I snuck off to Vancouver Island a couple of weekends in August – once by myself and once with my buddy Blair, who came out from Kelowna.
Took Rogue over to do a run to Tahsis. I’ve been out to Gold River a couple of times with Fury, but the road from Gold River to Tahsis was reportedly gravel, so I thought it was an opportunity to get Rogue out for an inaugural road trip.
The road from Campbell River to Gold River has more curves than a Barbie doll, so it is fun to ride no matter what you’re on. Got away early enough to have the road almost completely to myself. Until an RCMP vehicle pulled out behind me as I passed. Wasn't going overly fast - that road doesn't allow it anyway, but he followed me for a long time and when I pulled in at the rest stop about halfway, he pulled in behind me. Couldn't think what I was doing wrong and wondered if he'd noticed something about Rogue. He had! As I took off my helmet, he approached and said "That was some smokin' riding! Had to follow you and watch you handle those curves like a boss." I let my breath out and thanked him with an ear-to-ear grin!
The road from Gold River to Tahsis is a curvy gravel road through the mountains interspersed with stretches of pavement. It is the only road in, so while Rogue and I travelled mostly in companionable isolation, the traffic we did meet was often using up a good deal of the road. Taking it easy meant we had maneuvering room rather than startling at oncoming traffic on our side of the road or being too close to the soft shoulder and pitching off the side of a ridge.
So we had fun and also the mental capacity to philosophize that riding logging roads is an analogy for life. It’s always a little unstable. Trying to exert too much control or not exerting any at all can both get you into trouble. Just have to accept it, relax, and roll with it. It was with these thoughts in mind that we rounded a curve to see my favourite moment of the trip - a big rock painted with “Love Hope Optimism” in bright orange and white paint. Made me smile and I had to turn around and take a photo. It was in that frame of mind that we soon rode into Tahsis to chat up anyone who would talk or listen.
Tahsis itself is a small community, friendly and inviting, where everyone waves whether they know you or not. I did too, of course, originating from such a community myself. Visited the museum where the lads at the desk were helpful in providing information on how to find things. Lunch at a local grill was mediocre but had a beautiful view and provided the necessary break to head back to Gold River where I would spend the night.
A couple of weekends later, Blair rode from Kelowna to Sechelt and stayed overnight with us. He and I headed out at 6:30 that Friday morning, headed north for the ferry to Powell River and then Comox. We rode to Gold River and I felt the proprietary pride of someone who has introduced their friend to a truly exceptional motorcycle road. He was suitably impressed and keen to return and do it again. We made it back to Comox the same day and stayed over, highly satisfied with ourselves.
We headed out early for Tofino the next day and though we ran into a bit of traffic and construction on the way out there, it was worth the ride. We stopped at a little place for fish and chips that looked a little sketchy in terms of cleanliness, but the fish was good and gave us the energy we needed for the ride back. Traffic was much lighter on the way back and we took the time to stop at Long Beach to take our riding boots off, roll up our pant legs and stroll in the ocean. Blair remembered the “mermaid” shot from our trip to the Olympic Peninsula a few years ago, so the shot had to be repeated on Long Beach. I think this will have to be a tradition any time we find ourselves on a beach while doing a motorcycle trip.
The route back also included a stop at Cathedral Grove, which contains 800 year old trees, ranking among the oldest and tallest trees in Canada. Blair had never been there and the old growth trees are truly impressive and infuse one with a sense of peace. Close to our end destination of Nanaimo for the night, we were grateful to get our riding gear off and find some dinner, rehashing the day's ride.
I had intended to ride the Renfrew Loop or north island the next day, but smoke rolled in from fires in the US, so I caught the ferry back home the next morning with Blair to head home. I was disappointed to not hit my 67,000 kms on that trip, so when I got back to my coast, I made it a goal to log the last 243 kms I needed before heading home. Well…..the road on the Sunshine Coast is short and it took 5 hours to get the last 243 kms. But the job was done!
‘Til next time, my friends, enjoy the pics from a couple of weekend rides!