Day 7 – Powell River to Tofino
Distance: 279 Kilometres
Temperature: Low 15 / High 29
What a difference a day makes. I think the Rodmay Hotel in Powell River takes first prize for the worst place I’ve ever stayed in. Not a lot of sleep last night as apparently the pulp mill runs 24/7, which is unpleasant.
We left Powell River on the first ferry this morning at 8:10. I must say the people in the town are very nice and extremely friendly. I think the hotel is a poor reflection of a really neat little town. We were first onto the ferry and off on our way.
We made a quick detour through the town of Comox and Courtney – both of which are nice little towns. The detour was to give me a quick rest from the symptoms of sea-sickness. It was a relatively smooth journey across the straight, but I still felt like shit when we got to the other side. Just a slight bit of pitch and roll and I was down for the count – stupid inner ear! 😉
We took our time working our way down highway 19a to Parksville. I had been jokingly singing The Monkeys – “Last Train to Clarksville” and substituting “Parksville” into my stirring rendition. So much so that when I used googlemaps to find my way I actually had a map from Comox to Clarksville, TN. 🙂
The ride across the island was great and it got progressively hotter as we made our way inland (29 celcius) then cooled back down into the low 20s when we reached Ucluelet and Tofino on the far side of the island. We made a few stops for drinks and snacks along the way to take breaks from the insane traffic – unreal, it was literally bumper-to-bumper all the way across the island.
The journey was well worth it. Tofino is an absolute gem. I’ve been to the west side of the island several times but never went all the way to Tofino. We are in a fantastic little hotel that overlooks the ocean (not like last night, really overlooks the ocean) and there are tons of sights we’ll venture to see tomorrow during the day. We decided to stay an extra day here since we have outstanding weather and really want to explore as many of the small walks, sights and beaches as we can.
We had, what I can honestly say is, the best seafood dinner I’ve ever eaten anywhere. We had dinner at the Sea Shanty and had the Tofino Ciopino – clams, mussels, crab, salmon, halibut in a red sauce. OMG!!@! It was insanely good. Not to mention that right next door in one of the high trees is a bald eagle’s nest – so we watched them swoop past us several times. How cool is that?
Tomorrow some foot work and lounging on the beach, perhaps beachcombing. The weather is supposed to be excellent tomorrow – mid-20s.
While Mike has been writing his update I’ve been lounging on our deck looking out at the marina and soaking up some late-day rays. Really, a tough life. As he says, we’ve come a long way from the less-than-stellar accommodations we occupied last night. Neither one of us slept particularly well – the pulp mill, stifling heat, creaky bed, and irrational fear of non-existent creepy-crawlies took care of that! We did stop at a great little coffee shop on our way to the ferry this morning, so I hope our stay in Powell River was more a product of the end of town we occupied and not the town as a whole.
Anyway, things were looking up once we chucked our Rodmay keys through the drop-off box and bought that coffee. The ferry trip over was pretty relaxing for me – I’m lucky I don’t et motion sick like Mike does, though the ferry docking does make me pretty queasy. The ride across the Island was nice, and hot! I wasn’t expecting that, really. We stopped at Cathedral Grove to wander around the old-growth forest for a bit, which was amazing. Seeing all those trees certainly makes you marvel at both nature and human stupidity – it boggles the mind to think that we cut down 1200-year-old trees to make deck chairs or toilet paper or whatever.
As Mike said, the traffic here was ridiculous. i have to admit I was a bit worried about what I’d find in Tofino. When everyone tells you a place is marvelous you really want to believe it, but sometimes, well, it’s not. In this case, everyone is right (phew!). Our hotel is great (unlike last night, it has running water – it’s really the little things, you know?) and dinner was fabulous – cioppino with amazing garlic bread. We sat overlooking the water and watching the boat tours and sea planes take off while we ate. Two bald eagles even perched on a tree within sight and regularly flew overhead. They must have known we were coming, since Mike has been saying all the way from Vancouver the he hoped to see some (“Another golden eagle. Huh. Where are the bald eagles? I want to see a bald eagle.”).
I was saying to Mike on the walk back here that I can’t believe we came all this way on a motorcycle. It seems so weird. I know he does it all the time, but I don’t (I’m afraid my ass will attest to that) and it’s amazing to think you can travel so far on two wheels. It’s really been an interesting way to see the countryside. Even packing light has been refreshing (though here’s a traveler’s tip: when you pack really light, don’t forget your pajamas in a Super 8 in Merritt; it’s not the kind of late-night realization you want when you’re unpacking in Vancouver).
I also can’t believe tomorrow is Friday – this whole week has gone by far too fast. Better make the most of everything, I guess!