139.3 miles today. When heading north on highway 19 out of Nanaimo, you spend some time riding through some parts of surrounding towns. The traffic is light and there are plenty of places to get food or fuel along the way. There are also some extraordinary views of the Salish Sea and the Strait of Georgia along the way.
After taking a left onto highway 4 heading northwest, the trip takes a great turn in terms of the road and the lessening of traffic. As with some of the other roads we’ve been on this trip, it is lined on both sides with spectacular views and smooth asphalt.
Along the way is Cathedral Grove located in MacMillan Provincial Park. A must stop on the way through whether you are coming or going. There is a short walk to the largest tree in the area and it is worth it to see (check out the pics on Instagram #blogoffbitches), not to mention it is the perfect time to stretch the legs from the ride.
Continuing on into Port Alberni. We stop at the visitor center to check the local sticker situation, we have been trying to get stickers from all stops but it seems that stickers are not that popular in the area, score a couple stickers and ask a local for a recommendation on a place to eat. He provides a map with several recommendations and we continue on our way. Finding the Bare Bones Fish and Chips spot – we dine! Good food, fair prices, large portions, and good service.
After finishing up with lunch, we head towards Tofino. The road itself is amazing. Lots of twists and turns and fairly well maintained, that is until about the last 10 to 15 Km before the turn to go to either Ucelet or Tofino. There is some damage on both sides with big ruts and some frost heaves that are a bit large so take this stretch with a bit of caution. Other than that, the ride is great. Lots of curves, great weather, and cruising right along. Hit another visitor center at the decision point to go left (Ucelet) or right (Tofino). Scored a couple more stickers and began the last short trek into Tofino.
Heading into Tofino you know that the ocean is off to the left but the trees prevent its magnificence from being seen other than a few breaks where it offers quick glimpses of the water. The smell of the ocean is strong though and for some reason that always makes me feel better about everything in general. Its refreshing and clean and simply a wonder to behold.
We have a reservation at the Tofino Inlet Cottages. As we pull up and kill the bikes, she asks if we are the tenants in cottage 4. Indeed we are. Very friendly and good spirited. She offers up some good dining spots in town and walks us through the cottage we will be staying at. Again, great service with a friendly and sincere smile. The view from the cottage is amazing. It is overlooking Deadman Islets and directly across from us is Strawberry Island. Simply stunning. We also learn that there are two eagles that are living in some trees outside, so we keep our eyes peeled.
The want for a cold beer outweighs the need for a hot shower so we do a quick change and start the walk into town. Its a short distance made even shorter with a couple stops along the way for a beer here and there. Nice quiet little touristy town. There are decent folks in the local pubs/restaurants we stop at as we slowly make out way through town trying to locate the spot where we will eat our dinner. We stop for some oyster shooters at The Ice House Oyster Bar, stick our feet in the ocean, and then end up at The Wolf and The Fog for what can only be described as food porn!!! It is epic! Presented well, cooked perfectly (steak, pasta, shrimp) and was obviously made by a chef that knows what he is doing and enjoys doing it. It is not a fast place but its totally worth the wait if you are in town. A bit pricey but again, if you’ve got some extra $$ laying around and you want a great meal, give it a shot.
We walk back to the cottage (stopped at a liquor store to score some after dinner brews for back at the cottage) and hang on the deck to enjoy the sunset with good friends and lots of laughter. So much laughter that the folks who were upstairs had to knock on the floor as a kind way of asking us to keep it down (sorry to whoever you are!). All in all, another spectacular day in BC on Vancouver Island. Time for sleep to get ready to head to Victoria in the AM. Night folks.