Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Roel's "guest" Blog on Vancouver Island

Waking up behind the closed diner, that kept us out of sight from everyone on the road, I thought back on last night. We luckily made it to town over a long but beautiful logging road and found a gas station that was still open. The women working at the gas station tried to help us out with accommodation or a place to camp. It is always difficult, however, for "normal" people to understand our mindset of living cheap and not spending anything on accommodation. "That motel is only $60" is something we here so often. And every time I think; "wow that can get us about 400 miles further on our journey. And all that for a night of sleep in a strange bed. 
We were very thankful for the suggestions but decided for the safety of our tents and bikes anyway. Standing outside thinking over the next step to solve the problem with the bike, two guys showed up and we started talking. It was 1.30 AM! One of them was a biker and one minute later he drove off to get a battery out of his own bike to see whether it would work on mine. (the battery connectors were on the wrong side so this did not work)  The other guy offered to load the bike on his truck and let us stay at his place out of town. It was great to find all this helpfulness in the middle of the night. But loading up the Africa Twin would be no easy fast and we had already gotten comfortable with the idea of sleeping behind the roadside diner next door.

I was fiddling around with the battery again and really could not get it to work this time. The last times it had jumped back into action after pushing on different spots. No not on the connectors, but on random spots on the cell battery. I concluded that the inside of the battery must have had enough of the bumpy dirt roads like the Dalton Highway in Alaska and it decided to retire on beautiful Vancouver Island. I could not run any checks with my Made in China multimeter to confirm my thought since the cables had fallen apart. Note to self: Invest in good tools!!!

I robbed Azure of her Transalp and rode off to the local motorbike shop with my battery. We checked it and it was not charging whatsoever. It had completely died on me. Luckily they had one replacement battery sitting on the shelf. This could have gotten us stuck for a while, otherwise. Two hours later we were back on the road to Tofino.

Enjoying a rest in Tofino
Highway 4 was recommended to us by many people and we could see why. The winding road ran along Kennedy Lake and through Pacific Rim National Park. Though flooded with tourists, Tofino looked nice,  but was not friendly for our budget, so we headed back the way we had come. Given temperatures in the high 90's (35c), the clear water of the river along the road caught our attention. Knowing that a shower wasn’t likely in our near future, we settled the bikes and moments later, we were cooling down in cold mountain water.

 That night we found a beautiful place to camp near another little river.

The next morning we decided to make a run for Gold River via a beautiful road through Strathcona Provincial park. Unlike Highway 4 to Tofino, there was hardly any traffic on the road. While waiting for the ferry back on the mainland, several riders had advised us on what roads to take and what to see. One guy had mentioned this road but others had said that it was not worth it and that we should stick to the south of the island. Luckily we did not and we ended up in Gold River.

Here we went to the Tourist information and a young guy told us all the things we could do in the region, if we had the time. He started off with a 70 kilometer wildlife infested dirt road that would lead to this beautiful bay where orca's lived year round and where you could go on a small boat that would launch you in a canoe as soon as you would get closer to these majestic animals. This is where I stopped the guy from going any further. Our hearts were aching. We did not have any time to do all this stuff that I had been dreaming of all my life. We had to make it back to the mainland to catch a flight to The Netherlands to get my US visa.

Enjoying my office with a view before catching the ferry back to the mainland.

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