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Old 01-13-2016, 01:03 PM   #1
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Three unemployed guys explore Vancouver island

I have always wanted to explore the North West coast of Vancouver island, so I posted a couple threads here and on Expo. I got two firm replys, one from Johny5 Johny5's stealth camper van - Expedition Portal and one from Chriswh86 who lives in Port Alice. I took the ferry to Nanimo and then another to Quadra island to spend the night with a friend. After a great steak dinner and a quick trip to view the Cape Mudge lighthouse, I got the ferry back to Campbell River where I met up with John. Since it was getting dark, we drove just a few miles up the highway and turned off on a snow covered road. About half a mile up the hill the snow got pretty deep but there was a reasonably level spot to stop. While John was getting turned around I decided to just bust through the berm. That was mistake number one as I made it about two feet before becoming totally stuck. Ten minutes with a shovel didin't help, so out came the winch cable. We spent the night camped in the middle of the road thinking no one would be using it any time soon. That was mistake number two as at about 0600 someone pulled up behind me, but all I could see was a light bar lighting my van up. They backed up and left before I could get dressed and get out, so I went back to bed. After coffee, I backed down the road a short distance across a bridge and again tried to bust through the berm to turn around. That was mistake number three. Out came the winch cable again. We had agreed to meet Chris at a remote camp site that was a couple hours away by logging road and my navigation was pretth good until the last turn. I missed the campsite and continued up the side of the mountain getting ever deeper into the snow. We passed several places where it was obvous other folks had become stuck and turned around, but I kept going until it became obvous we were going to run into trouble if we continued as the snow kept getting deeper the higher we went. After very carefully turning around (without getting stuck) we headed back down where we found Chris waiting for us. He had heard us go by and flagged us down at the bottom.

To be continued...................
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:09 PM   #2
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What the heck are you doing? That looks a lot colder than Baja!
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:36 PM   #3
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My main goal on this trip was to make it to the West coast of the island, as far North as possible. This was to be the starting point of my TCAT trip. Gravel Travel Canada - Home This is a route across Canada from the West coast of Vancouver island to Newfoundland mostly by dirt roads. Chris lives at the North end and kindly had offered to show us around. We followed him through the mountains to Side Bay where we planned to camp on the beach. Once we got there we worked out a route to the sand that crossed a small river and then ran up as high up the beach as possible. The big issue in my mind was how high the tide would be coming up the beach. Chris had a photo of the tide levels for that day, and after much discussion it was decided that we would probably be ok for the night. We camped on the highest spot we could get to and began collecting fire wood. As the tide began to come in there was more discussion about how high it would get as we were not that high up, and it was obvous that the waves had washed over our spot within just a few days prior. I asked Chris if he was sure the date was correct on his tide book photo, and he was pretty sure, but not positive. That night, we had a huge beach log fire and I went to bed pretty early. High tide was due at about 0100, and I kept waking up to look out the window. Chris had made marks in the sand to gauge the tides aproach, and at one point he turned his back to the ocean and got soaked by a wave. Oh yea, it was damn cold too, but he was a trouper and he and John stayed up until after 0100, when they finally went to bed when they thought it was finally going out again. The next morning, I got up early to find the water no more than 20 or 30 feet from the van. Never the less, this was a spectacular remote camp site. It's hard to describe how beautifull it was, hopefully my photos will give you an idea. Lots more coming................
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:39 PM   #4
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Ramsey, it was rather odd going from T shirts and flip flops to wearing five layers within a few weeks, but it's totally worth it, I'm from Alaska remember?
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BajaSportsmobile View Post
What the heck are you doing? That looks a lot colder than Baja!
No shit! Too many years in Alaska have apparently adversely affected his decision making.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:32 PM   #6
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Great pics!

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Old 01-13-2016, 10:52 PM   #7
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Great start on your story! Not sure if you're still on the island but if you plan to drive through Vancouver make sure to let me know. My house is open and I'm sure you guys wouldn't argue to a warm shower after the island weather! Lol
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:51 AM   #8
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Hi,

Lots of firewood on those beaches.

Let me know when you get moving east. Few SMB's around. Plenty of craft beer though.

I went through the graveltravel.ca website and really like their routes.

Travel safe.

Regards,

Gavin


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Old 01-14-2016, 10:17 AM   #9
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During the night, in addition to the tide coming in, a storm came in too.I was awakened several times by the wind buffeting the van around, or the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.Once I woke with a start as the inside of the van was brightly lit. Looking out the window showed that the camp fire was burning very brightly as the wind fanned the flames.In the morning, there was nothing left of it, the wind had allowed every last bit of wood to burn to ash which was then blown away.There was rain too.The previous night our vehicles were very muddy, but by morning the side facing the ocean was completely clean while the other side remained covered in mud.John and Chris had stayed up well past 1am watching the tide level, so we didnít get a real early start the next morning, but once we did get going, we didnít go far. Our next camp was another beach about 10 miles away named Gooding cove.We were again right next to the water, but much higher up with a better escape route should we need it.The previous nightís storm had passed and the sky was blue for a few hours, but then the wind came back.We were in a protected cove but could see the open ocean where the waves began to build.In a few hours, waves were crashing over the off shore rocks with huge swells being generated by a distant storm. On the opposite shore from our camp was the Quatsino light house.We wondered how often the keepers had visitors and if they were entertained by seeing our camp fire in the night. Coincidently, one of the free papers I had picked up on the ferry had a full page story on the light houses of the BC coast, and there was a half page photo of the Quatsino light, which was described as ďPerhaps the most difficult lighthouse in B.C. to reach, located on the extreme North Western edge of Vancouver IslandĒ The following morning, I took a walk down the beach nearly to the end, but the sight of fresh paw prints in the sand convinced me to turn back.The prints were from a large cat, and itís well known that Cougars make a good living on the island.I also came across some Japanese tsunami debris in the form of a rusted 55 gallon drum, but not much else worth noting. All in all, it was another amazing camp site.................
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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A couple more photos for now.
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