Saturday, August 23, 2014

Island Hopping.....

Along with RV friends, Trena and Lucky, we motorcycled off to Vancouver Island last Monday.  It was a planned ride that would take us to Quadra Island, near Campbell River, then back down to Sooke, near Victoria, before heading back for home.

Readying to board our BC Ferries ship from Tsawwassen to Duke Point on Vancouver Island.
By 8:30 am, last Monday morning, Trena and Lucky were in our driveway.  One hour later we were at the head of the line to board our ferry from the mainland to near Nanaimo.  Thanks to the BC Motorcycle Coalition, motorcycles are always given priority boarding on BC Ferries.  
A similar older class ferry to the one we were on.

The two hour ferries ride to Duke Point near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island was quick.  Once on board, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while plying the calm waters that separate the BC mainland from Vancouver Island.  

Our destination:  Quadra Island - a short ferry ride across from Cambpell River on Vancouver Island's central coast.
The route to Vancouver Island was dotted with seiners busy fishing for salmon.
Once docked at Duke Point, we rolled off and headed north, past Nanaimo, Lantzville and into Parksville on the eastern side of the island.  It was here that we took a break before heading further north on the coastal route through Qualicum Beach, Courtney/Comox, Oyster Bay and into Campbell River where we boarded a small ferry to Quadra Island and our first night's stay at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge.

A little break at Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island.

The ferry to Quadra Island - Boarding at Campbell River

We were surprised to find a one sailing wait at the Campbell River ferries dock that would take us to Quadra Island.  The area was busy with tourists.  A good sign!
Jeanette and Trena enjoying some cool drinks at the lodge before dinner.
The lady who registered us at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge invited us to park our rides on the concrete  entrance.  How nice was that.  The parking area is gravel....and to keep our rides free from dust was a bonus.  
Our five star dinner was enjoyed looking out towards Cambpell River to the west and across the straight.  Two cruise ships were to sail by, heading for Alaska.  We saw one Disney ship and later, Lucky and Trena saw the Norwegian cruise ship sail by.  We felt we could almost reach out and touch them. 
A view of Campbell River, Vancouver Island from our room at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge on Quadra Island
After a restful night and a scrumptious lodge breakfast, we loaded up and headed for the tour around Quadra Island.  We wanted to show Trena and Lucky the beautiful area that is  Rebecca's Spit; a beautiful place on the east side of the island that also boasts a beautiful RV park and sheltered marine water park for boaters.
Soon to roll out from the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge
Rebecca's Spit is a stunningly beautiful area on Quadra Island.  The views are majestic.  To the east is Cortez Island - also accessible by ferry from Quadra Island.
A passerby took our photo at Rebecca's Spit with the protected marine park behind.
By 11:00 am, Tuesday morning, we had arrived at the ferries dock on Quadra Island to board for the short crossing back to Campbell River.
The marina at the BC Ferries dock on Quadra Island
We did get priority loading (thankfully).  Had we not, we would have had to wait one entire sailing; a one hour delay.
Loading the ferries boat.
Before long, we had crossed back onto Vancouver Island at Campbell River and headed south to our planned destination.  Sooke (near Victoria, BC) was in our plans on Tuesday past.  Other RV friends from Nanaimo who were fishing off the coast at Sooke invited us to drop by.  They made arrangements for our overnight accommodations.  Hector and Diane, along with Chico the Portuguese Water Dog, were camped there for a few more days.  We headed south.
Recently paved Highway 18 - north of Chemainus and Lake Cowichan towards the western town of Port Renfrew.
Other motorcyclists had suggested we ride the previously unpaved Highway 18 now that it was no longer a graveled road.   We chose to take that route to Sooke, passing through Port Renfrew.  The temperature drop was quite noticeable as we approached the western Pacific coast of Vancouver Island.  Port Renfrew was slightly covered in a slight coastal fog.

We initially planned to drop into Port Renfrew but the winding road made for slow going.  After a short rest near the largest Spruce tree found on Vancouver Island, we persevered through winding roads and into the coastal town of Sooke. 
One of many narrow one lane bridges we crossed on our route to Sooke.
Although a challenging motorcycle ride, we collectively looked forward to some straight roads following three hours of clutching, breaking, down-shifting, up-shifting, slowing down and speeding up through this winding highway.  Stunningly beautiful country though! 
At Port Renfrew.
The 80 kilometre stretch from Port Renfrew to Sooke returned us to some sunny skies and balmy temperatures. Before long we had arrived at the temporary camp theat housed Hector, Diane and Chico.
West coast beauty.
Our welcoming committee was as expected.  Following hugs and greetings, we sat down at the RV site for a time before our hosts led us to an awesome townhouse they had booked for our overnight accommodations.  The Sooke Marina and Resort was to be our home.  And stunning it was!
At Hector and Diane's RV spot in Sooke.
We last saw these fine folks last April in Palm Springs country.  It was better than four years ago when we all met for the first time at the Seven Feathers RV Resort in Canyonville, Oregon.  Hector and Diane had pulled into the spot next to ours and our conversations led to meeting Lucky and Trena too.  They had pulled into the spot on the other side of Hector and Diane.  Our conversations led to driving convoy the next day as we made our way over the southern Oregon and northern California passes.  We have been RV friends ever since.  We often get together here at home, on the RV road to southern California and while in Arizona/California.  Great fun! Great people!
Hector, Jeanette, Chico (receiving a special treat we brought along) and Diane.
Hector and Diane had planned (and prepared) a five star dinner for us.  We hauled all the food stuff into their truck before they guided us to the waterfront townhome we would occupy.  

The view from our town-home deck.
It was not long before Hector had two large Sockeye fillets on the barbecue and Diane had all of the trimmings steaming and cooking in the town-home kitchen.  We enjoyed some nice wines while catching up on our collective lives and discussing our winter snow birding plans. 
Everyone is busy with chatter but that stopped briefly when Hector walked back in with a plate full of freshly shucked oysters that had just been prepared on the barbecue.  Yummy!
Out five star dinner of fresh sockeye salmon had been caught the day before by Hector.  He is the master at preparing barbecued salmon.  It was!  Thanks for the great dinner!
The resort and marina in Sooke Harbour.
A unique and masterful creative approach to west coast style fencing.  This was at our town-home resort in Sooke.
Awesome meal shared with an awesome group of friends.
Mom's Cafe' - a 50's style diner in Sooke
Following the recommendation of the registration clerk at the town-home resort, we found ourselves at Mom's Cafe' in Sooke on Wednesday morning.  True to the clerk's words, the breakfast was amazing and reasonably inexpensive.  We shared more stories and laughter before we returned to our resort to load the motorcycles for our journey to the BC Ferries that would return us to the BC Lower Mainland and home.

L-R  Lucky, Hector, Me, Jeanette, Diane and Trena.
Hector and Diane were returning to the RV park where they would hitch up to return to the Nanaimo home.  We said our good byes, exchanged hugs and before long, we were ready to roll.
Leaving the Sooke Resort and Marina.
Only 20 minutes from the BC capital city of Victoria, we rolled through the city taking the freeways that led us to Shwartz Bay and our BC Ferries ride back to Tsawwassen on the BC Lower Mainland. 
Seen in Active Pass on our return to Tsawwassen
A brief stop at our home before Lucky and Trena continue 30 minutes further east to their home in the Fraser Valley.
The 90 minute BC Ferries ride from Vancouver Island back to the mainland was seamless.  One hour from the Tsawwassen ferry dock, we rolled into our driveway in south Langley.  Following a brief visit, Lucky and Trena continue their ride towards their home; 30 minutes further east from ours.

It was a fantastic motorcycle journey shared with equally wonderful friends. We now look forward to meeting up again in the US southwest come this snow-birding winter.

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Sounds like a great trip, but pavement on that road? Must be nice. Sylvia was on it often over the years, and didn't enjoy the trip all that much.

  2. You rolled right past the "Big Rock" and our house. Too bad I was not home!

  3. Great going on the Ferry.

  4. What a wonderful trip, with good food and friends.

  5. Great blog, Rene and thanks for the tour and all your great photos.

    I've been to Mom's Cafe in Sooke a few times and have always enjoyed it.

    We've never been to Quadra Island but after seeing your pictures, we'll have to make a trip.