Day 6 – Vancouver to Sunshine Coast/Powell River

Distance: 173 kilometres
Temperature: Low 16 / High 25

Mike:

We decided to take the second ferry this morning from Horseshoe Bay. We felt like there would be enough time to explore, briefly, some of the sights along route 101 north of the Sunshine Coast.

I remembered that traffic in Vancouver could be a nightmare during the rush periods. Boy, was I wrong…. The traffic across the core wasn’t an issue at all. With all the lane reversals and the high occupancy lanes we were able to get out of town in less than 20 minutes. Calgary council, are you listening?

The weather was absolutely brilliant today. Not a cloud in the sky and mild to warm as the day went on. The Sunshine Coast certainly lived up to it’s name today as it was incredibly sunshiny and beautiful.

We were lucky with the ferries today and caught each one literally as they were ready to depart. The great thing about boarding on a motorcycle is that you are rushed right to the front and get special priority for boarding – nice!

Our first stop was Gibsons. It was neat to go to the town of the old CBC TV show “The Beachcombers.” I watched every episode growing up so I snapped a few photos of Molly’s Reach and the Persephone – no jet boat or Relic though – I’m sure no one has ever joked about that in Gibsons before 😉

As we journeyed up the coast we stopped at places that were accessible and that we thought might be interesting. There was no shortage of beautiful coastal towns and scenic vistas. There is an absolute abundance of plant life along the shores – roses and various flowers, cedars, old growth forests and the like. Very impressive.

ONe of the highlights of the day was a stop for lunch in Garden Bay. On the recommendation of some riding buddies from Vancouver we checked out a little pub on the seashore. Cheap and delicious food and we were able to plunk down on the edge of the marina under huge cedars and maple trees. Very cool!

Our end point for the day was Powell River. We had booked our room over the internet last night. Description – Single room, Queen bed, beautiful historic district and the oldest hotel in Powell River. Sounded fantastic. Wait there’s more – there’s an ocean view. Well sometimes reality doesn’t quite match the vivid and creative description.

We rolled up to the Rodmay Hotel in the historic part of Powell River – read, modern ghost town. Vacant buildings, wrecked cars and a pulp and paper mill. Sometimes you can be wrong with appearances from the outside – not this time, this place should be restored or leveled – it’s not historic, it’s a wreck. Our ‘suite’ turned out to be a room on the front of the building, facing the pulp and paper mill (directly across the street) and, as a special bonus, is not really inside of the hotel’s front door – it’s basically a stand-alone. Oh, my, god! No security and no privacy, all for $110/night. I think they could see I wasn’t impressed right from the minute we entered. We changed the room for one upstairs away from the convenient entrance to the street. Ever see the movie – “The Shining” – well, this place looks like the huge lobby from the movie – we’re still waiting for the rivers of blood to start flowing through the halls and the small odd children to ride their tricycle through the halls. Creep city! Oh well, it’s only one night.

We did get a chance to catch the first reel of the new Harry Potter movie. The theatre, the Patricia, is one of the oldest in Canada. It’s quite well cared-for and is quite beautiful inside. Admission was $8.00 for an adult, which is a bargain compared to the huge mega-complexes in the city. It was completely packed full – a couple hundred folks all rushed to the theatre.

An interesting and eventful day, to say the least. Tomorrow to the Island.

Fiona:

As Mike noted, we’re writing from what might possibly be the creepiest hotel ever. It’s definitely the creepiest hotel i’ve ever been in. Right now, I’m writing as Mike tries to get a shower going. The instructions on the door say “Please let the tap run for five or ten minutes.” If I lean forward a little, I can gaze out at the pulp mill across the street, and there’s a creepy/weird picture of a girl with no face holding a goat and a doll on the wall beside me (it reminds me of that girl in The Ring). Certainly picturesque! It’s kind of sad, really, because there’s so much potential in this building, and the town seems so deserted. What a difference from where we started out this morning. i guess that’s all part of the adventure.

The rest of the day has been all sunshine and ferries and fabulous ocean views. Everyone warned us that Gibson’s Landing was really touristy, but we didn’t find it bad at all – maybe because we were there so early in the day. As Mike said, we took a look at Molly’s Reach and the Persephone and wandered around a bit before hitting the road. The advice we’d been given was basically to just turn off whenever we thought there’d be something interesting, which is how we ended up at Robert’s Creek for a bit, looking out at the ocean. We wanted to check out Skookumchuck Narrows before we got on the ferry, but here we discovered one drawback of being on a bike: the hike to the view is about 4 km, and we had nowhere to stash our stuff or change, so we had to pass it up this time. We’d both love to come back to the area for a few days – as Mike said, it’s the perfect place to bring a stack of books and just sit on the beach and relax, but there are also plenty of great trails to explore.

The pub at Garden Bay was definitely a highlight of the day. Nothing says ‘vacation’ more than sitting by the water with a cool drink and great food. The ride in was beautiful, too. Definitely a place to go back to.

We’ve spent most of this evening trying to figure out a plan of attack for the Island – it’s great to be here in the summer and enjoy all the fabulous weather, but finding accommodation in some spots is proving to be a bit challenging. It looks like we’ll just fly by the seat of our pants and see what happens. I’m sure it’ll work out, no matter what happens.

Assuming there are no hauntings, we’re getting out of this place early and heading for the ferry. So onward and westward! Hopefully the sun is shining.

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