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Riding the rim of the world?

1160 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  rconti
No, not quite, but I rode the rim of the country.

I am visiting Vancouver BC this week. It seems I set a good example for my son, because he bought a DL-650. He carelessly let me ride it yesterday, and I had a lot of fun.

I rode to Tsawwassen and caught the ferry for Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. The landing is near the town of Sidney, and I kept a date to meet a fellow rider at a Thai restaurant in Sidney:
Sabbai Thai
2493 Beacon Avenue, Sidney, BC V8L1X9

The meal was delightful, and I recommend the restaurant highly. I chose
"mild-to-medium" and that was the right degree of spiciness for my palate.
We swapped lies for a while, and hassled the waitress, but she wouldn't
quit her job and ride with us. She said she had no helmet, anyway.
Then the fun part of the ride began.

My new friend led me on a tour of the shore road of Sidney BC, then led the twisty way to Mount Douglas. This is not a very high mountain. We saw lots and lots of women climbing up and down it on foot, as we ascended on our motorcycles. Not a single man, but lots of women and a few dogs. At the top, we looked through considerable haze at the dim outlines of some mountains in Washington's Olympic Range. The cell-phone antenna was much easier to make out, being just a few paces away. On the way down, we saw a man climbing, but he had a lot of trouble from the women throwing rocks at him. You folks have strange customs.

Then my guide led me to a scenic way into Victoria, but I misinterpreted his directions and detached from his leadership a tad early. I got lost at once, but to an explorer being lost is an opportunity to learn and improvise, so I headed south, found salt water, and turned west toward the capitol. I followed Beach Road and then Dallas and saw lots of neat homes worth more than I can afford, and reached downtown, at the information kiosk by the harbour. Then the fun part of the ride began.

I rode Highway 1 for a few miles, then turned west onto highway 14, which I followed through Sooke, than along the north shore of the Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Renfrew. Let me tell you, this is a delightful ride, and a fine fine way to spend a sunny afternoon. Do start earlier than my 3:10 starting time, and you'll be warmer than I was, but I am not complaining. I didn't need to put on my warm layer until very late.

Highway 14 from Sooke to Port Renfrew is well-paved, twisty, often shaded, scenic, and did I mention twisty? I enjoyed it immensely. I paused to stretch, and promptly the driver of a parked truck asked me how I liked the bike I was riding (a V-Strom 650 borrowed from my son and similar to my own), so he and I swapped lies for a while, then his wife came and fetched him and apologized for breaking the conversation; otherwise, we might still be standing there and yakking.

At Port Renfrew I turned onto a road across the island. I drove a rental car on this road in 1990, when it was quite miserable (hence a rental car was the ideal vehicle to use for it), but now it is paved, and completes the loop of a delightful ride that is available to anyone on southern Vancouver Island.

Then the fun part of the ride began. The road from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan is more challenging than a typical numbered highway. There are no guard rails, and there is no paint. The only sign needed is "twisty road" and so many of those are needed that none is provided. There are lots of one-way-at-a-time sections, all bearing a clear indication of who must yield to whom. Everyone, myself included, was courteous at these bottlenecks.

Specifically, this road is called Deering Road, then Harris Creek Road, Hillcrest Road, Robertson Road, then South Shore Road, which reaches the town of Lake Cowichan. This town has restaurants. I was feeling short of time, so I grabbed a sandwich from Subway, stashed half, wolfed down the other half, then left town on Highway 18, which is a modern highway with paint and guard rails and shoulders and signs, just like down in the States.

I reached Nanaimo in plenty of time for the last ferry to Horseshoe Bay, and met up with some young fellows who had been surfing up Tofino way. Shudder. They were excellent conversationalists, and knew far more than I about local resources for fun and exercise, so the time until ferry-loading went fast. I chatted with them again on the ferry, and learned a lot.

I got back to my son's home after midnight (and after fueling his motorcycle).

I slept well. Did I ever!


PS. This is largely copied from another forum.
If you know another bike I ride, you know which one.
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Awesome! I love the road from Victoria to Port Renfrew, but haven't driven much more on the island (other than frequent runs from Sidney to Victoria of course, and a jaunt to Butchart Gardens). The ferry crossing is amazing too, I always manage to catch the ferry back to Tsawwassen at sunset, which makes for incredible photos. :beatnik:
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