I guess I came to the island for adventure. Vancouver island is touted as being some of the best hunting, hiking and back country access that the world has to offer, for free!
Initially my plan was to come out here, park the truck and unload the bikes and disappear into the wild for a few weeks, living from my truck and backpack. I wanted to test out the range (capacity) of the Beta 270cc 2 stroke trials bike I picked up a while ago while out in Calgary. To be honest, I dont like it, I rarely enjoy riding it. So it seems particularly strange to me that I would attempt something nobody has ever done before, especially because I have basically no previous experience riding in trials.
So, the outcome of all the time, energy and money spent to get the bike out here and find the right trials and actually explore the island is that I didnt do what I intended. I arrived on the island with Manolo, my Mexican friend from Vancouver. We were to meet Graham and a bunch of other people we connected through the Vancouver activity group that I created back in 2014 and has now expanded to nearly 6,000 members around the area who meet up and have good fun. A great way to get to know people without any of the pressure as some other online meet up sites. And the key I think to this is that its all open and online. There is no secrets and anything untoward is reported and the people are banned. Everyone is safe, and in the 2 years I have been the sites main administrator, have not heard of any particularly bad situations. Anyway, I digress, I suppose I should have done a lot more riding on the trials bike. But in all reality, I didnt enjoy riding it much. Ive had nothing but issues riding it, I'm scared to go further than a few kilometres away from the truck in case it breaks down as it does nearly every time I ride it.
The trials bike was a complete experiment. It all started last year when Ritchie decided to pull the pin on our ride we planned to Mexico. I came back so shattered that everything I had done for basically a year was in vain. I mean I got to meet a lot of people and spend many evenings scouring over maps and things which will be handy this year when I atttempt to ride it all alone, but I really was looking forward to sharing a adventure with someone. I've still yet to ride any length of time with another person. I never suspected that it would take so much effort to connect with people who would commit so something. After all this time, I still have not experienced true motorbike travel with another human being, despite having the freedom to travel anywhere and anytime. Dont get me wrong, I appreciate the freedom I have, but the downside which most people dont understand, or cannot comprehend, is that trying to make plans and work around other people is only easy in theory. Its so much more work than I ever imagined, just to make a date and get people to commit to something.
So , we hiked the Juan de Fuca trail, I loved the challenge, it was the first decent hike I've done in a while and I was hurting after the first 20km section to get to the beach but it felt good, nothing makes a boring can of tuna or mac'n'cheese taste better, than carrying a 40lb backpack loaded with a few days worth of gear and camping equipment, up and down and over creeks. It was like a gourmet meal when you opened the can and added some salt , pepper and cayenne (the only condiments we had between us). Unfortunately, Manolo hurt his knee, he exerted himself too much on the first day pushing to the beach to set up camp that he struggled on the second day, we arrived late at sombrio beach as he could not descend properly. He was forced to go backwards alot to get down stairs and obstacles and by the time we got to Sombrio I made the executive decision to pull out. I would stay with Manolo at Sombrio and take him to Port Renfrew, where we had parked the truck and then be able to pick it up and drive it to China Beach to load the motorbike on before delivering him to the ferry. It was a shame we couldnt complete the final day with the rest of the guys, but we got to meet a group of teachers on the beach who were there on their "8th annual May long weekend boys adventure". We hung out with them and told stories and sat around the fire, so we had a fun time and then as we arrived ready to hitch hike to Port Renfrew, we made friends with Norm, a rigger from Invermere who was there with his wife and young daughter. Coincidentally, he was was dropping his truck at PR and then needed a ride back to Sombrio, so it worked perfectly.
I left PR and headed to Nanaimo, I campedbit and I got to catch up with Lizzy and she came out and did some caving with me which was cool, and then we parted ways and I headed toward Tofino. On the way out there I ran into Gary. Oh, how the random stories continue, I swear every day something different happens , makes me wonder how many pages I would have if I had been doing this the last few years as I adventure around the world. But, probably alot of them shouldnt be put online! Gary was broken down in the pouring rain, I pulled over and checked on him, his f250 had some issues, and conveniently he had two young kids in his truck which he had picked up in Port Alberni. What a ride. A minute later a police officer had pulled over to make things interesting, she checked all the papers but realised I was just pulled over helping, she took pity on me because I hadnt put the new sticker on my truck. haha. We took off and eventually after a few more stops we left his truck on the side of the highway in the rain, got the other two a lift with some randoms driving by and I gave Gary a ride back to secret beach! I stayed out there a couple more nights, it was great, I spent some time relaxing and walking along the beach and eating fresh oysters off the beach, it was delightful. I knew I had to get out of there though, I couldnt spend any more time on the beach there and it was costing $21 a night which isnt what I'm used to for camping.
I made it without any issues into Tofino, but the rain was pouring down, at the time I thought it would stop pretty soon, but I was wrong.
I met up with Tina for a coffee and walked Izzy along the beach and generally hung around. I adopted the position of house wife and made all the meals and tidied up around the house! I am so thankful she took me in, it rained for 3 days and she was fully equipped with a spare room and absolutely no pressure to take off. It was nice getting to hang out, I offered to help out at her store but she has it under control so I spent most my time working on this website and trying to not get in the way! haha. In the end Izzy took a shining to me, she was cuddling me a lot and wouldnt eat her food unless I touched it and shook it first which was cute. haha
Although I wasnt able to achieve a great deal in Tofino, it was well needed. After a very busy and fast paced couple of weeks moving around, I got to sit and take it all in. I met some locals and got a feel for the place. Overall, I liked it alot, but I dont think I could live there permanently. With the rain like that I would go insane. Perhaps I could live for half the year when its kind of nice, and the remainder I could live back in Australia and enjoy hot summers. I dont know, just a thought!! :)
So, I took off from Tofino and popped in to see Gary and Rain back at secret beach. I had not been gone long but it was like catching up with old friends. They cooked me lunch and we hung out. We went to a local swimming hole and enjoyed the first sunny day in what seemed like weeks, and then they went home and I set up camp. About the time it was getting dark, Cody and Chris arrived, two young guys from Tofino. We lit a fire and sat around enjoying the view, perched over the abandoned mine which was a beautiful colour. We laughed and shared a beer and ate smokies. Ahh the camp life.
Since then I have been camping and riding around Bamfield, there was some nice roads out there and I got a great view of the inlet from one of the logging roads, but over all the scenery in the rockies is hard to beat and I find myself missing the selection of roads back in Revelstoke which offer amazing vistas. I just got back into Nanaimo, and sitting enjoying a few taster beers while I wait for Lizzy to finish work and off to get some sushi before my early morning ferry to Vancouver tomorrow, I'm excited to get back and catch up with Jen after she returns from Nepal!! what a mad woman. I think Tim, Chris and myself are going to hike up Lyn peak as well which is an old fav for me. I used to hike it almost weekly.