Day 32 CCR: One Final Ride In Canada
Tomorrow we catch a ferry for a 1 1/2 hour ride to Vancouver, then ride 25 miles to the nearest border crossing, and the Canadian portion of the CCR will be completed. So, today, we took one more ride to see just a little more of Canada.
At the beginning of the ride I stopped in at the Victoria Harley-Davidson dealer to purchase another t-shirt so I’d have bookend shirts representing the beginning of the ride and the end of the ride. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, at Rugged Rock Harley-Davidson, I found a cool shirt that represented St John’s well. Unfortunately, the Harley dealer in Victoria didn’t have nearly the selection of shirts, and I finally ended up buying one that just said “Victoria, B.C” and makes me a walking billboard for Harley-Davidson. But at least I have a wearable souvenir from each end of the CCR.
Following the disappointing shirt shopping, we headed west and north along the Vancouver Island south and west coast toward Port Renfrew. Coastal property is primo real estate and Vancouver Island is no exception. There were very few places along the coast that weren’t privately owned, but we stopped at a couple of Provincial Parks and walked to the water’s edge, trying to stretch the CCR a few more yards and our time in Canada a few more minutes.
The ride would have been more exciting if the road had been in better shape. Pavement breaks, heaves and pot holes kept our speed somewhat below the maximum most of the time, and watching for road dangers meant less looking at the beautiful scenery of the Vancouver Bay/Pacific Ocean or the majestic cedars, firs and spruce that cover most of the land on the island.
One of the nice stops along the way was French Beach Provincial Park. A short walk from the parking area through massive conifers took us to the beach, where a few early risers were staking out their locations on the beach and at the picnic and playground areas. Don’t think of Florida sand beaches when trying to picture French Beach. Think instead of Pebble Beach with real pebbles. Hundreds of smooth rocks of way more than 50 shades of gray lined French Beach, but nary a grain of sand.
I knew Washington State parallels the southern end of the island but expected when I got to Port Renfrew I would have an unimpeded view of the Pacific Ocean. But Botanical Beach at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park just beyond Port Renfrew required a significant hike from the parking area to the water’s edge. I wanted to move on to the interior, mountainous part of the island, so I contended myself with a photo of the park’s entrance sign. That would be the western-most point of the CCR, just as Cape Spear was the eastern-most point.
Following lunch at a small Port Renfrew cafe that could have included a gigantic freshly-baked muffin if my will power had been less, we headed east away from the Pacific and into the small mountains that make up the interior of the southern part of the island. Once again, serious deficiencies in the road surface kept us from fully enjoying the ride as we tried, not always successfully, to avoid bumps, dips and holes in the road.
We stopped at a large interior lake, discovered a small community park on its western shore, and then wondered why an amateur DJ had set up his equipment, including a very loud amplifier, and was blasting music to all five of the people on the beach or in the water. It was wierd.
Again, all the prime property seemed to be taken up by private ownership and houses and docks and boats stood in the way of a casual tourist enjoying the views. I’m sure, with enough time (which we didn’t have) peaceful public places could be found along the lake, but we didn’t have the time, so we moved on.
Even though the Canadian portion of the ride will end tomorrow, the blog will continue to be posted until I return to Maggie Valley. Please keep checking in.