203.4 miles today. Waking up in Tofino and having coffee on the deck overlooking the bay was a great way to start a day. Sitting there watching the sea planes fly in and take off, the boats cruise by filled with fishermen headed to catch the food that will be eaten that night at the local establishments, a couple huge bald eagles flying in the area looking for some breakfast, I begin to think of how I could find a way to live in such a place and enjoy these things every morning. What a great way to go through life and a great location to do it in. Definitely a must see and a must do again.
After the coffee is drank and the cottage is cleaned up, its time to load the bikes and head towards Victoria. Its another casual day of riding so there is no rush. Figure that after 4 days of some fairly heavy riding, a couple days of slow, casual riding is deserved. Bikes are loaded, we say good bye to the patron of the cottages and head into town for a quick bite and a bit more coffee. Rhinos is the chosen spot and it doesn’t disappoint. Seems to be a favorite of the locals and tourists alike as its fairly busy. Good coffee and good grub to start the morning off right.
After sitting outside to eat and people watch, its time to head out. We decide to stop at Chesterman Beach on the way out. We were able to walk on some sand and see the sea up close before we leave this section of the island. There are lots of surfers out in the waves, and it is low tide so there are rocks exposed to explore. Investigating tide pools has always been a favorite excursion of mine. All the life happening in and around them is just great to experience. Hermit crabs, mussels, barnacles, starfish, sea anemones, small salt water fish just existing and surviving. The whole experience is a good reminder that we are not the only creatures on this planet that matter. All of us are responsible to every other living thing that exists on this planet and we need to start to do better in remembering that. Off the soap box now. 🙂
We jump back on the bikes to head to Victoria. we are excited to get the chance to ride highway 4 back to highway 19. Such a spectacular ride. The pacific rim highway deserves to be on your bucket list just in general, but if you ride a bike its a must do! All the way to highway 19 is just kick ass riding. And the strong cedar smell near the Cathedral trees is unbelievable. I take so many deep breathes, it is almost lemony because it is strong. I wish I could bottle it!
Hitting highway 19 begins the fairly long stretch into Victoria. We make a pit stop in Nanaimo for fuel and have our first experience with a Nanaimo bar. It is a chocolate bar with a custard as the second layer followed with a third layer of a chocolate bar with coconut in it. Enjoying one of these is apparently what it takes to become officially Canadian. Delicious and if I’m not mistake completely calorie free! Back on the road to hammer out the last of the ride that day.
Arriving in Victoria we get to our Airbnb, if you haven’t done this yet I recommend looking into it to see what you think. Most places are cheaper than a hotel and with the exception of the one in Victoria we haven’t had a bad experience. Now the one in Victoria wasn’t necessarily a really bad experience, it was just kind of a pain with all the rules, getting into the place, the AC not working, and a small spot for 4 people let alone 2 (we were traveling with “Toasty Box” and “Crazy Legs”…the names and initials have been changed to protect the guilty). Again, the want to get out and experience the town gets in the way of a need for a hot shower. We do a quick change and touch up so we don’t smell like we just came off the road and walk to the wharf area.
Another great Canadian town it seems. Turning onto Wharf street, we locate a spot for dinner called The Docks. We choose to sit outside on the deck in the hopes of enjoying some nice weather. The food is delicious, the service is good, the drink menu doesn’t suck. The weather outside is nice but its a bit chilly for shorts and a t-shirt. It is down right chilly actually. But we sit and enjoy our meals, we enjoyed the special (salmon with a shrimp and crap béarnaise sauce on top of garlic mashed potatoes) and the fresh Dungeness crab! Simply delicious. Both courses were done to perfection. It is a bit breezy on the deck and the sun is going down so its getting colder as we eat, but decide that a dessert is necessary this evening. We decide on the turtle pie. I will say that my crab was probably the best I’ve ever eaten, the salmon was out of this world, but that turtle pie was made with love and sincerity. It was just delicious. Even with the cold wind blowing on us and the shivering at the table, there was nothing left of the ice cream turtle pie when we were done!
Next, we end up meeting at a local pub called Darcys pub. Have a drink or a shot or both and then go walk farther down Wharf st. towards where we will catch the ferry in the morning to travel back to our home country. Lots of folks out, the parliament building is lit up, a couple of very ritzy hotels are hopping, horse drawn carriages are out riding around the city. There is a very casual relaxed air about the place that instills the idea that we (the human race) are going to be ok. Great town filled with what appear to be great people.
We start the walk back to the sleeping location and on the way hear some bluegrass, hillbilly music and discover a spot called Irish times pub. We decide to walk in and have some more drinks. Always a great idea, right? Right! Its a great spot with all sorts of drinks to choose from and a decent selection of late night grub. A margherita pizza and several beers are ordered. Again, a great spot for late night grub, good cold beers, a nightly whiskey special and some live music to tie it all together. Canada has some strange rules in regards to alcohol. Not only the purchase of but the consumption of alcohol is a bit different. We have to move inside if we want to finish our drinks because at 1130, they do not serve alcohol outside. So being the problem solvers we are we head inside to sit. Brilliant! Since we are in an Irish pub we finish the night with some Dirty Nellie shots (similar to the Irish car bomb). Just delicious, as a matter of fact maybe to delicious because there was more than one ordered and consumed by us. Great way to end a great night in a great country!