Cougar tracks: The initial pawprints

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Cowgirl, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    “So are you going to camp?”
    “Camp?” I gulped as my hands grew clammy and I started to shake. “Hell no, I don’t camp!”
    But it was too late – I was firmly in the throes of ex-husband induced post traumatic camping disorder. The flashbacks started: visions of tiny, wet pup tents, cold, damp clothes, icy toes and icier disapproval. My long time ago ex-husband had been a die-hard ubercamper and I had been a camping neophyte. It was not a match-up made in heaven and I still bore the psychological scars. I had vowed to never spend another night in a tent.
    Last fall, after owning several strictly street-oriented motorcycles, I bought a V-Strom and started planning some adventures. This May I am planning on heading south from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:City>Victoria</st1:City>, <st1:State>BC</st1:State></st1:place> for 2 weeks and exploring the coast down through <st1:place><st1:City>Washington</st1:City>, <st1:State>Oregon</st1:State></st1:place> and parts of <st1:State><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:State>. Then in June/July I am going to spend 4 weeks on a trip to <st1:State><st1:place>Colorado</st1:place></st1:State>. The plans for both are to have no plans and stay in motels, B&Bs or hostels along the way. I was discussing these adventures with co-workers when the camping question came up.
    Now I&#8217;ve been reading ride reports on ADVrider for some time. Seductive adventures close to home and from wide-flung corners of the world. And in a lot of them people camped with no ill effects. The thought started to worm its way into my brain &#8211; maybe I could camp sometimes. Including camping in the &#8220;no plan&#8221; plan would allow for a lot more flexibility. It would be on my own terms and in my own way. It had been almost 30 years after all &#8211; it was time to make the attempt.
    #1
  2. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    689
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Welcome to the Orange Wee Club! :clap

    I'll be watching your ride report with interest when the time comes, especially as I'll be doing some touring myself around that time. Some camping is a good idea because it brings you closer to what you're out there for. Camping gear is a lot better than it used to be... have you picked any out yet?

    EDIT: Oops, sorry, didn't realize you'd already done the trip! Carry on.
    #2
  3. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    Yes, the rest of the ride report will be posted today and tomorrow :D
    #3
  4. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
  5. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    Once I convinced myself that I could actually survive the ordeal of camping I leapt into the fire with both feet. I read numerous threads about gear and drooled over websites full of camping equipment. It seemed the trick was to balance between necessity, cost and bulk. I decided to avoid the obvious choice - a slick, purpose-oriented but pricy outdoor equipment co-op - and made my way to a local Victoria institution, Capital Iron. After two hours dashing around the camping department with a pleasant, knowledgeable saleswoman who more than matched my enthusiasm with her own, I left with a good sleeping bag in it's own compression sack, a Big Agnes, a tiny stove, a dry bag (orange, of course) and a few other necessities. The finishing touch was a marvelous little tent gifted by a friend. I was set!

    So where to go to try it all out? A friend suggested a trip to Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Perfect! The departure date was set for the following week. Then began my obsession with the forecast. There was still snow on the summit between Port Alberni and Tofino. Would it be gone in time? Was there a storm brewing for the west coast? Would there be ice going over the top? Finally I had to concede that Long Beach would have to wait, it was just too early in the season for it to be feasible. Instead I would stay on the east coast of the Island and make my way north to Campbell River and Seymour Narrows. I planned for 3 days.

    The night before departure I packed all my gear. My entire camping kit fit in the top box - I was so excited!

    [​IMG]
    (WTF, she finally posts a f&$%ing picture and it's of camping gear :huh)

    Clothes and toiletries (that's a whole other story) in one side case and rain gear, spare riding gear, shoes, a few tools and other miscellaneous stuff in the other. Oh, and one special item, just in case :wink: :deal I was ready!

    [​IMG]

    The day dawned bright and sunny, birds were singing and all that stuff - away I go!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well, almost :lol3 One last stop for a couple of essentials that I had forgotten.

    [​IMG]

    I live near the northern tip of the Saanich peninsula close to where the ferries to and from Vancouver dock. To get anywhere north first I have to head south toward Victoria and dip around the bottom of Saanich Inlet. Luckily some of my favourite back roads take me there. Once on the northbound highway I could stay on the main inland highway or wind along the slower coast road. Really, is it even a choice?

    The view to the east from the Malahat summit on the northbound road. Below is Saanich Inlet and the Saanich Peninsula.
    [​IMG]
    Northeast
    [​IMG]

    From the Malahat I descend back to sea level and Mill Bay
    [​IMG]
    On the far shore there's a Canadian Coast Guard ship docked. You can see it between the windshield and the mirror. That'll come up later.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
  7. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    From Mill Bay the road continues along the shore to Cowichan Bay. This is a quaint little marine community that caters to boaters of all kinds and is home to numerous houseboats. There is a deep sea dock for freighters to load lumber and logs bound for the Orient as well as anchorages for merchant ships to wait for space at the docks in Vancouver.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking back over the fields towards Cowichan Bay. You can see the superstructure of the ship anchored in the bay.

    [​IMG]

    Trumpeter swans winter in the area. Yes, birds actually fly south to Victoria - it truly is the balmiest part of Canada.

    [​IMG]

    It's a lovely day however the snow isn't that far away.

    [​IMG]

    From Cowichan Bay the road takes me to Chemainus.

    [​IMG]

    Chemainus is justly famous for the murals painted on many of its buildings. The scenes depict the history of the area and it is obligatory to take at least one picture of a mural.

    [​IMG]

    The next village on the northbound route is Crofton. There is a pulp and paper mill here, you can definitely tell from the smell! The barges below are filled with wood chips used in the paper-making process.

    [​IMG]

    From Crofton I wind my way back to the highway and head to Ladysmith for gas and lunch at Tim Horton's. If you've been to Canada you know about Timmie's. It's a coffee/doughnut shop founded by a hockey player - you can't get much more Canadian than that! In the east the rule is that as the Tim Horton's you left disappears in your rear view mirror the next appears ahead of you :D
    I again leave the main highway and enter the farmlands of Cedar, following the backroads to Nanaimo.

    [​IMG]

    The destination for the day was Rathtrevor Beach near the community of Parksville north of Nanaimo. This is where I would find out if I really could face my fears and sleep in an actual tent.
    #7
  8. muskieken

    muskieken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Buffalo NY
    nice trip, nice bike, love that color,
    thanks for the report
    #8
  9. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Do you have any more pics from Cedar? I've never taken those roads but I hear it is a nice area....

    Great RR by the way!!:D
    #9
  10. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    Thank you. I'm afraid I have no more pics of Cedar - it is beautiful there but I succumbed to the siren call of the road and couldn't bring myself to stop. Just come with me next time :freaky
    #10
  11. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,753
    Location:
    Seattle
    Love your introduction!
    #11
  12. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,753
    Location:
    Seattle
    And cool jacket - never seen that before :thumb
    #12
  13. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,346
    Location:
    Back to the Island, Sidney, BC
    I saw it at the Seattle Motorcycle Show in December and had to have it! It's an Olympia Airglide 3 and the colour scheme is called "toxic".
    #13
  14. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,087
    Location:
    Summit County CO
    Yay, Cindy! I'm so glad you're writing up your report. Vancouver Island is one of my favorite destinations.
    #14
  15. Sidmariner

    Sidmariner n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    North Saanich, BC
    Great report Cin! Knowing just how damp and chilly it was the week you took off makes this report especially impressive. I'm still getting cold to the bone going outside. It's not so much the thought of sleeping under canvas that bothers me; it's getting out of the sleeping bag in the morning that is daunting. Way to go!
    #15
  16. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,051
    Location:
    okieland
    great stuff and stuff. havn't been boppin around that area for a long time. your pics make me want to head back up. thanks for the rr
    #16
  17. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,128
    Location:
    Stuck somewhere in motorcycle Purgatory
    NICE. :nod

    That sure is a bright orange bike! :D
    #17
  18. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT

    :D :clap:clap
    #18
  19. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,721
    Location:
    Pagosa Springs, CO.


    Do we know Timmie's,, may I add it is the best thing since "sliced bread". Wife and I left here for the Peg, Winnie, on the RT last June to see grand daughter. Our first stop on the up side of the border was Timmie. When we left a week later we knew we had choices, head straight back to ND or go as far west on # 2 before turning left to ND. We pictured many Timmie's along the #2 route.

    We looked for Timmie's all the way to Weyburn where we finally found the first and last one for us on this trip.. Withdrawal after that, turned south into ND.

    Great RR Cowgirl, keep us smiling.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
    #19
  20. LumpTheBeezu

    LumpTheBeezu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    183
    Gorgeous bike! (Yep, I'm biased!!) Following your report, and anxious for the next installment! Keep 'em coming! :D
    #20