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Old 09-09-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
matloik OP
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Portland - Olympics - Vancouver Island

Portland – Olympics – Vancouver Island

My wife (Susi) and I (Mat) just got back from our first real trip together on motorcycles, after many local day rides in and around the Portland and Mt. Hood areas. We made this trip Susi’s b-day trip (we won’t say how old she turned this year, but it was somewhat of a notable one). We rode from Portland, Oregon, where we live, up the Washington coast on the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles; from Port Angeles we took the Coho Ferry to Victoria, BC; we spend 5 nights on the island; and then rode home down the east side of the Olympics and then a straight shot down I-5 back to Portland. Trip was fantastic … we had blue skies the entire time … we camped every other night.

PLAN

The plan was to take 8 days plus or minus and ride up to Vancouver Island, BC. We mapped out a general route, mostly to see where we could get to if we averaged about 200 miles a day. Our preference is to spend a bit of time, do some hiking, etc., at each place we end up, and not necessarily spend all day in the saddle seeing how far we could ride. Not that we felt like we needed to stick to a specific route, but we actually ended up riding pretty much the route we Google mapped beforehand. Forgot to reset Trip2 so we don’t know how far we ended up riding, but it was somewhere between 1200-1400 miles.

Click on the route image below to take you to Google Maps.



BIKES

We rode our 650s. I’ve had my ’08 Versys for a bit over a year; Susi just got her ’11 G650GS not too long ago. Susi had a Giant Loop Great Basin bag plus a dry bag which held her sleeping bag. I used a set of cheap soft panniers that the previous owner of Susi’s bike tossed into the deal. Bikes and luggage worked out great for the trip. No real issues.



Unfortunately, as you can see, we had a little at-the-time unnoticed photographic malfunction for our departure pic.

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Portland Area Off Pavement Rides ~ Hood River Rides ~ Vancouver Island Trip
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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DAY 1 – Portland – Astoria – Ocean City

We got an early start on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend as we wanted to get ahead of traffic headed to the coast. We expected to hit a lot of traffic, especially on Hwy 101, but it turned out traffic was surprisingly light that weekend.



We only had one reservation for the trip—at a hostel in Port Angeles the night before our morning ferry—so we were not sure what to expect as far as being able to find a campground during the holiday weekend. We ended up at Ocean City / Ocean Shores, Washington, only to be turned away at the state campground—it was full (turns out the website-indicated non-reservable spots meant just one tent site). But we found a private campground that had a couple spots left.



For our camping accommodations we opted for a tent covered by a tarp. I like this setup as you can have all your stuff—even bikes if you want—under the tarp in case it rains.

We walked down the beach a couple miles to an Indian casino and partook of such a venue’s uplifting atmosphere and gourmet cuisine.

Snapped a pic of the gaming floor before security promptly told me that was not allowed.



Lots of kites on the beach, including this 16’ diameter disk.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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Day 2 – Ocean Shores – Hurricane Ridge – Port Angeles

On the second day we rode up the Pacific Coast of Washington, starting out with a brief stop at the beach from our campground.





Stopped at Ruby Beach.





After checking into the Toadlily House in Port Angeles, we rode up into the Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. It cost $5 per bike (same as walk in per person) but the short hike and views up top were worth it.





Evidently there used to be skiing up here.







No pic of our accommodations at the Toad Lily, but we did notice this in the closet the next morning. We stayed in a tiny cabin of sorts in the backyard of the main hostel house. I'm pretty sure this is not a tea kettle.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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DAY 3 – Coho Ferry to Victoria – Port Renfrew – Lake Cowichan

The next morning we woke up early to catch the 8:15 am depart ferry. Oh, I guess we did have these reserved also, not knowing what to expect this weekend. This ferry is different than all (?) the other ferries in the area in that motorcycles have specific spots on board as they need to be tied down—or up to the inside of the boat rather, with ropes. Sometimes this crossing can be less than smooth, and this is not a huge vessel. They have room for 12 bikes. I think it cost $36 per bike and rider. Reservations before the day of sailing adds $6 to the cost.

Rode around sleepy, foggy Port Angeles to find coffee.



There were two guys on Goldwings already waiting when we got to the docks.









View of Olympic Mountains above Port Angeles.





Arriving into harbor in Victoria.



We decided to roll straight out of Victoria upon arrival. We’ll stay in the city before we leave Vancouver Island. We rode the southwest coast of VI to Port Renfrew, and then inland to Lake Cowitchan. Went for a hike on the point at Port Renfrew and ran into a few bikes with ADV stickers. One guy I talked to (sorry, didn’t get a name) asked about Radioman since we were from Portland. Mark, if you’re reading, if you didn’t know by now, you’re a bona fide ADV celebrity!.

One pre-ride prep thing I did was waypoint a bunch of campgrounds; but we actually did not end up staying in any of those. More useful were the “information center” waypoints. In the town of Lake Cowichan we picked out a campground off the map on the reader board. We were tired and didn’t want to ride much more so we chose the closest which was a ‘municipal’ campground. We didn’t have high expectations, but this ended up being a very nice campground. Our site sat up on a hill overlooking the lake.



After unloading, I rode back into town for beer, a bag of ice and food. No IPAs but a good summer lager in a can:

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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I'll follow this one. Just the kind of trip I'd like to do myself, although from the other way. North to south and back.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Day 4/5 – Ucluelet / Tofino

I still don’t know how to pronounce it—is it u-clue-let? I thought someone said the first ‘L’ is silent. Well, I guess we are predictable as anyone. Everyone we talked to who knew the island asked/assumed we were heading to Tofino at some point. We actually stayed in Ucluelet in a little cabin; Tofino is the more popular tourist town of the two west coast destinations. The fog was thick in the morning as we did a hike on a section of the Wild Pacific Trail.











Checked out and headed to Tofino.




Didn’t get many pics of Tofino. If you go there stop for most excellent fish tacos at Tacofino.





Did I mention we had perfect weather?!
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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Nice RR and great pictures
Good to see some pics from places we just have been recently

Right now we will stay almost in your neighborhood, in Gresham , for a couple of days
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
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Nice Labor Day weekend is a great time to go to Canadia! You guys scored on the weather. Keep it coming, thx
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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Great trip, great shots, good beer & sweet rides...what are the bags you've got on the Versys Matt?
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:42 PM   #10
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DAY 5 Night – Camp at Little Qualicum Falls

From Tofino we headed back, toward Victoria. Left later in the afternoon so we only got past Port Alberni … found a campground just after Lake Cameron—Little Qaulicum Falls. No pics other than our campsite.





Oh, by the way, the road out to Ucluelet/Tofino is an awesome ride—twisty all the way, on good pavement.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squishy View Post
Great trip, great shots, good beer & sweet rides...what are the bags you've got on the Versys Matt?
Hey Squishy. I don't know anything other than they are Nelson Rigg, toss-over soft saddlebags. They are nothing special; I'm not sure I'd buy them--they were free. I didn't even use a rack as the Versys exhaust and muffler is underneath.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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Looks like a great trip
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:44 AM   #13
GtiKyle
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Very cool! Looks like a good time.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matloik View Post
Went for a hike on the point at Port Renfrew and ran into a few bikes with ADV stickers. One guy I talked to (sorry, didn’t get a name) asked about Radioman since we were from Portland. Mark, if you’re reading, if you didn’t know by now, you’re a bona fide ADV celebrity!. [/IMG]
It is amazing how many ADVRIDERS there are out and about!! It is a great community.

Appreciate your Ride Report Mat!
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:24 PM   #15
Scott_PDX
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Right on guys - looks like a nice way to travel. I just might have to try that camping every OTHER day thing. Like th Noah tarp, I've got one I carried on a couple of trips, but have yet to set it up (It's my Rain Protection).

Looking forward to the rest of the story.

-= Scott
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