Van Island: Time To Be A Soccer Mom

The blender sounds and the Rob doth rise.

There’s food and coffee on the table and a smiling spirit laughs at my morning groans. It’s time for another day, but this time solo because some people in this province actually have to work. The only things I’d booked were a hotel and some guided surf in Tofino – why die when you don’t have to, y’know? The rest was all free touring time.

I left for the ferry just over an hour early and just over an hour later I passed the sign saying 10km to the ferry. Hmm, that didn’t quite work out. I forgot again that “normal” people have to work on Tuesdays, so there was crazy traffic. Luckily I was late enough that I wasn’t too early for the next one. And since my brain was clearly working at full capacity, I was considering whether or not I’d have to leave the Starbucks line-up before I got my coffee. I decided I had about five more minutes before loading, so I stayed. Then I walked out to the bike and umm, well, where do I put my coffee? Shit. How did I not think of that? Welp, lid off, let the chilly morning air at ‘er, baby sips, and drink it to a point where I can put it in the saddle bag without spilling. I finished it about a minute before I had to drive onto the ferry. Well done, Rob. Really starting to feel like an athlete here.

The ferry ride was around an hour and a half so I finished a frustrating/mind-rattling book on loan and spent the rest of the time contemplating reactions to life events. Time very well-spent, albeit strange. Love that depth time. Dug it, as it were.

We pulled into Victoria and I asked if she was named after the city, then I headed straight downtown for some grub. By this point I was getting pretty used to people waving at me thinking I was filming every second of the trip with the helmet cam. The answer is always “no,” even if it’s yes. Get a girlfriend; embrace confusion.

From Victoria I went north along the scenic Malahat Mountain highway (I have no clue if that’s the name) and played Finding Nanaimo. It took a good hour and a half, but I think my film’s better. I only stayed long enough to buy a coffee (and drink it while the two guys right beside me discussed hating Harleys). Now, I know I often say and do weird things, but they still should’ve known that my helmet on the table was for the Harley outside their window and not for my daily life.

I rolled into Tofino around 6pm after one stellar ride through Pacific Rim National Park. Lots of twists and turns, mountain climbs and lake-side winds. I was finally comfortable with the terrain and speed limits and then whoosh! Mr. Black Bear got real White Man and pulled that sidewalk both-going-same-side awkward dance, but he was running, and the truck in front of me had been blocking my view of the road’s shoulder so I missed him by only a few feet. I wish I’d had the camera on for that one…just not facing me while I yellowed my trousers.

Here’s an encounter I did catch on camera:

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For context, he isn’t too close if I’m stopped, but I was trucking at 120km/h and he crossed the road twice. A deer being a silly moose.

The hotel was right on the edge of town and it was the only one I could find on late notice and with sub-$200 rooms left. Popular city right around now, but still a pretty small place. I couldn’t believe how isolated it was. I figured there would be towns lining the entire coast from Victoria to Tofino, but instead the route was straight across the middle. When I walked up to the front desk, the girl was explaining to a couple that the keys weren’t working so they had to call the desk every time they wanted into their room. They looked so disappointed and confused. I laughed.

Then it happened to me.

They did give me a $25 voucher for the sea-side diner though. That was gone in 20 minutes flat and I felt rejuventated. I asked around the diner and heard of a decent place to film the sunset so I rushed out and caught the last 45 minutes of it on time-lapse, so hopefully that turns out well. This was my set-up:

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Atop Radar Hill, ten minutes south of Tofino.

Once the sun had set I packed up and hoped not to run into any bears on the hike back. Instead I found a few people who wouldn’t even know if a bear were following them, or if they did, they’d sure be mellow about it. I talked to ‘em for about ten minutes, and after they’d gotten out “hello” we talked for another five or so. (Where were they getting it; I want it.)

Big day tomorrow! Another early morning and a few hours of surf. The in-room movies here are too expensive, so it’s lights out early, or good imagination and  lights out kind of early. I’ll be sad when I don’t hear the blender.