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Tuesday, 12 May 2015 00:00

Heading East from Tofino

columnist Eoin KennyNANAIMO – I’ve made the turn in Tofino and Newfoundland is now at least a few kilometers closer than it was last night. 

 

 

I’m snugly tucked up in the Travelodge in this former Hudson’s Bay Company bastion, where the firing of the noon-day cannon hearkens back to its former status as an HBC coal mining centre dating to the 1850s. 

I spent yesterday exploring the Ucluelet area after a comfortable night with Jackie, former Texas-Edmonton journalist, and her husband Gerry. And Fergus, their handsome Sheltie! 

Jackie and Gerry have pledged a dollar a mile for the Ride for Sight and I thank them for their generosity in every regard. Jackie’s also going to write me up for the Ucluelet paper, the Westerly News, where she’s the managing editor! 

After a quick breakfast of fresh-made cranberry-cinnamon-raisin rolls made from scratch by Jackie’s son Bradley, I headed out to explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Don’t know why British Columbia changed its tourism motto from Super. Natural. Because it is. 

And moreso because B.C. Hwy. 4 from Coombs, near Parksville, all 160 kilometers to Tofino is another fantastic two-lane road sculpted by nature with motorcycles in mind.

Post Cards From a Lone RiderMy first stop out of Ucluelet was Wickanninish Beach, where surfers awaited the tide and the surf by building sunshade-windbreaks from driftwood logs, I walked along the hard-packed sand, but it was too sunny, warm and still for an all-black riding suit and boots! 

 

 

 

Had an emotional moment explaining the ride to a young Vancouver couple. Sometimes the magnitude of what I’m doing gets me verklempt. It’s a lifelong dream come true! And I’m missing Mindy, especially since today is our anniversary! Eighteen years! 

Post Cards From a Lone RiderNext stop was Radar HillRadar Hill, a Pacific lookout station during World War II. Only the concrete foundation remains but there is a lookout that features tbe KapÝong Memorial - in honour of the brave men of D Company, 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, which took heavy losses during a fierce battle on 22-25 April, 1951 during the Korean War 

 


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them. 

The view from the lookout to Meares Island and the surrounding peaks was beyond words. I’ve seen some amazing scenery so far in this ride and I’m only a bit more than a week into it! 

I thought I’d go to Tofino to scout out where I’d leave from on Monday, but by the time I got there, I realized it made no sense to drive such a long distance twice. 

Post Cards From a Lone RiderI pulled up to the public boat launch, intending to dip the rear wheel in Pacific water. But caution, fear or perhaps just common sense made me leery of taking the 550-kilo BMW down the steep concrete – and slippery with seaweed -- launch ramp. I had visions of Jackie’s headline being “Bike Slip on Boat Slip”! 

Instead, I filled a broken fizzy water bottle, mindful Tofino dumps its raw sewage in its harbour, and poured it on the back tire as an obliging young man took several pictures! That was Hollywood enough for me.

 

 

 

 

Post Cards From a Lone RiderThe harbourmaster suggested I visit another spot just a few blocks up, where a sign topped with a leaping orca proudly proclaimed the spot as the western terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway. 

 

 

 

Mark RichardsonMark Richardson, a former Ottawa Citizen of my acquaintance and now a resident of my hometown of Cobourg, literally wrote the book on the TCH. I’m using Canada’s Road: A Journey on the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John’s to Victoria – his book on the 50th anniversary of the completion of the cross-Canada. From the back to the front, of course!! 

After a tasty locally sourced fish taco and Mexican soda, I tootled back to Jackie and Gerry’s in Ucluelet, where the three of us and Jackie’s son Bradley – he of the cinnamon buns -- had a very homey dinner in the lounge of the posh Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

A second helping of the ooey-gooey good treats and I was on my way into the sun this Victoria Day morning. Kennedy Lake looked like a Rorshach inkblot. This ride is providing all the therapy a soul could wish for. 

Postcards from a Lone RiderI’m going to meet up with my first city editor from the late, great Brampton Times tomorrow, then run into Victoria. But now I must eat. 

Please don’t forget the Ride for Sight. 
 
 
 

  

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Last modified on Thursday, 14 May 2015 06:14

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