Do some training on the island, you say? I’ll have to discuss it with Night Fury….. That would be a resounding YES PLEASE! So we did a chain cleaning and loaded up riding buddies Scamp and Sapphi and off we went.
I’m looking at the time and wondering how it got to be 8:00 p.m. already! Turns out that’s what happens when you go exploring and get seduced by side roads and byways along the way.
Left home at what is a ridiculous hour by my standards (6:45 a.m.) to make the 8:25 ferry over to Powell River. Despite the ridiculousness of the hour, it was a beautiful, cool, calm ride up to Earl’s Cove with hardly any traffic. The ferry arriving through the smoke haze, brightly lit by the sun, painted a dramatic canvas for starting the trip.
It’s just under an hour across the water to Saltery Bay and a 30-minute ride to Powell River to catch the next ferry over to Comox. There’s a couple of hours wait, so I slogged up the hill to one of few coffee shops within walking distance that was open for a coffee and sandwich. As usual, upon my return, there were a number of riders all checking out each others’ bikes and we had a good visit before the ferry arrived. Landing in Comox about 1:30 meant I still had plenty of time to check the first ride off my list – up Forbidden Plateau Road as far as I could go.
Forbidden Plateau Road is not very long, but is quite pretty. Eventually, you hit gravel and there’s about 7 kms of it in varying degrees of sketchiness until you reach a summit. Definitely more suited to Rogue than to Night Fury, but Night Fury and I have been through worse together, so we persevered. At the summit, you can park and hike up a trail and get to a viewpoint. It was at this inopportune moment that I realized I had not kept my shoes, shorts and t-shirt convenient to hand and there was no way I was making the hike in the heat in riding jeans and was not inclined to unpack the bike. So a pic at the top and we turned around and headed back down. It still being early in the afternoon, we took the spin up to Mt. Washington. For its beauty, BC is alarmingly poor at having scenic pullouts for the stunning vistas one encounters on these roads. It’s like they don’t even know there’s a blog to be populated!
Back to Comox for the night, where I stayed at Comox Valley Inn and Suites. Older place, but they’ve been doing some renos and I had a very nice room for a competitive price. Aside from the elephant in the next room that created minor earthquakes every time they crossed their room, the stay was pleasant. Fortunately, the elephant cashed in early for the night and the earthquakes subsided. I also learned that pork fried rice from East Kitchen is very good and can be eated with a hotel room coffee cup lid if you forgot to ask for utensils, but I wouldn't advise it.
After a morning of work until check-out time, Fury and I headed for Gold River with alacrity. I’ve made this run before, but had forgotten just how beautiful it is. Gold River is a rider’s dream – well-maintained pavement, curves from end to end, and light traffic. That’s the prosaic description. But the scenery is jaw-dropping and just gets prettier the longer you ride. Pictures don’t do it justice – at least not with a phone camera. Mountains of trees and rocky cliff faces rear up before you around every curve - some so tall their tops were hidden by cloud. I am always humbled to see such evidence of the incredible forces of nature that created them. There’s an odd comfort in the feeling of “smallness” of humanity that it conveys. The lakes and creeks and forest that intersperse this awesome landscape are beautiful little gems along the way and the odd side road creeping off to somewhere mysterious beckons one to investigate.
Eventually dawdling my way to Gold River, I stopped for coffee and enjoyed the various wood-carved seats and benches. What detail and artistry! Had to stop and get a picture of Night Fury visiting her cousin Grimace. 😊
And then time to head back to Campbell River. Work all day tomorrow before heading back down island, but the batteries feel recharged for the moment. Next time, I'll come with Rogue and go from Gold River to Tahsis.