Vancouver Island

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by mtbdemon, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. mtbdemon

    mtbdemon Long timer

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    I live in Portland and thinking about riding 101 as far north as I can then pickup the nearest ferry to Vancouver island and then try to ride around it as best as I can. However, after looking at a map, there doesn't seem to be a road that simply goes around the island.
    However, there does seem to be a fair amount of gravel roads. So the question, has anyone done much riding on Vancouver Island and if so, what are the roads to ride. I'm riding a KTM 620 (640) so gravel roads are not a problem. Thanks!

    ken
    #1
  2. what broke now

    what broke now Petroleum Brother

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    Check out inmate Gunnerbuck's ride reports, he lives up there and puts on the miles.
    #2
  3. DeFens

    DeFens Been here awhile

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    My wife and I have made a few trips to Vancouver Island. The coastal highway (19A) from Nanaimo to Campbell River is fun - as is Hwy. 28 to Gold River. Very scenic and twisty. If you have time, camp at Strathcona Provincial Park. We camped at Ralph River campground on Buttle Lake, which was great.

    There are lots of gravel roads in that area that are fun to explore, and you can head north from Gold River to the northern shore via gravel. Not sure about road conditions there - sometimes a bridge can be out.

    We've also toured around the Tofino area. The road to Tofino is paved, but not great condition, narrow, and very twisty (i.e., ideal for an ADV bike.)

    We haven't gone too far afield off the main roads, but what we've seen so far has been great, and fun riding. (R1200GS and F650GS).
    #3
  4. hvman

    hvman Been here awhile

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    Do a little reseach on current conditions of taking hwy 18 NW of Duncan out past Lake Cowichian to Bamfield, then head to Port Alberni. Its been a lot a years since I was there, but it is really pretty. From Alberni to Tofino is pretty, paved and usually a bunch of traffic, its the closest place for Canadians to see the Pacific coast. North of Cambell River there is some cool stuff, but many hours of pavement lined with tall trees, not much to look at. The ferry over to Powell River makes a fun loop, coming back down the mainland side towards Vancouver.
    #4
  5. mtbdemon

    mtbdemon Long timer

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    Sweet! Thanks for the info from all-I will keep searching. I'm thinking of doing this the first week of Sept
    #5
  6. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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  7. mazembe

    mazembe Adventurer

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    First week of Sept should be a great time to visit weather wise and with school back in ( baring no settlement in the teachers strike) it will be less busy on roads at campsites.The route along the coast to Renfrew ,up into Lake Cowichan and out to Bamfield is a great choice.If you do that route plan to stay at the campsite at Pachena Bay.Nice shallow bay that warms up nicely in the summer.Vancouver Island has essentially one north south route with sections of older roads following the south east coast and another main route out to Pacific Rim National Park.There are many kilometres of other routes throughout the island both pavement and gravel with a range of signage.Some good info on the Vancouver Island threads.How long are you planning to spend on the island ?
    #7
  8. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    Did some riding up there a couple of years ago.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=721403

    I think I heard the Coho Ferry out of Port Angeles occasionally sells out, you might check into reservations. On other trips, I've found 101 in Washington less than inspiring after Raymond. I thought Hood Canal was much prettier. I've heard good things about "Griptwisters Dual Sport Route", that sounds fun.

    Once you get to Vancouver Island, I loved it. It was great up there. Keep meaning to do a bigger trip around the Island...maybe next year. You could always check out BC Riders for some tips and contacts up there. I rode from Port Renfrew (Not much there) to Lake Cowichan and that was sure pretty. The lake has full services, as does Port Alberni. Port Alberni to Torfino was one of the prettier rides I've ever done.

    TIP - Bring your own alcohol, it's very expensive up there.
    #8
  9. matloik

    matloik kludge

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    It's a BIG island. Unless you have at least 2 weeks, or like to ride 8 hrs a day, you won't see the whole thing, coming from Portland. My wife and I rode up there on an 8 day trip, almost 2 years ago, in Sept. It was a great trip. I recommend it.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=824871
    #9
  10. mtbdemon

    mtbdemon Long timer

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    Planning on taking a week to do this ride from PDX. I have been look at a few maps and there looks to be many gravel roads to explore. Also, I just discovered that my passport has expired so no I new to put the fire under getting a new one!!
    #10
  11. Sabre

    Sabre PrĂȘt? Allez!

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    +1 for the ferry Coho (the Black Ball Line) from Port Angeles. My wife and I enjoy riding to PA, staying at the Downtown Hotel (Google it...great place!), then taking the first sailing in the morning to Victoria. For variety you can plan your return from Nanaimo, either Departure Bay to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) or Duke Point to Tsawwassen.
    #11
  12. K7MDL

    K7MDL 2015 Tiger 800XCx, 2006 TE450, Jeep Wrangler

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    A few that I have taken were form Port Hardy up to Cape Scott, and to the west coast side on forest roads via Holberg and around part of Quatsino Sound to Winter Harbour. Al very small establishments mind you. One of my favorites roads was the ~1.5-2hr trip each way to Zeballos. IT is just a little eco touring/fishing/logging town. I mean very little, but the particular road scenery was quite good.

    My overall favorite place on the island is Barkley Sound with a 55 mile or so hard dirt logging road between Port Alberni and Bamfield. You can catch a water taxi/boat/supply boat (MV Lady Rose I think it is named) to see it more by water or maybe catch a fishing trip as this is prime halibut and salmon season. The area also has killer guided kayak camping trips that you camp out on an island near the surf line and tour around the nook and crannies of the many islands. Awesome trip and I am not a kayaker.
    #12
  13. what broke now

    what broke now Petroleum Brother

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    There is still some active logging up there, and they run these wide bunk trucks, which have the right of way, and when loaded on a downgrade, use the old water-cooled brakes. Looks like hell on wheels, with the ground shaking and steam billowing up behind. The sight of one bearing down on you from a blind corner can separate you from your training.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12132157&postcount=13

    [Borrowed from another thread]
    #13
  14. mazembe

    mazembe Adventurer

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    The other thing to consider in your route plan is fire closure as we are extremely dry right now and not much rain usually happens before now and the end of September.I did the ,Port Renfrew,Cowichan Lake loop today and explored some gravel roads on my way from Cowichan Lake back to Victoria.I ended up at a locked gate that is manned by a security guard for the logging company .He was not happy at first to see me as they are shut down and trying to keep everyone out.I explain where I came from and that all the other gates were open and saw no signs and he seemed less pissed about it. Alot of the southern half of the island is privately owned forests with a couple of land owners so access can be more restricted. But with the fire danger so high they are understandably more nervous.Main logging roads are part of the highway system and don't get shut.
    #14
  15. mtbdemon

    mtbdemon Long timer

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    Thank you all for the great info! Based on this, should I consider waiting until late Sept to make this trip? Would the weather still be decent? I know thats a tough question as each year is different. I have great Klim gear so not worried about getting wet, but would like to see the country side. I hope I can renew my passport in time.

    Ken
    #15
  16. K7MDL

    K7MDL 2015 Tiger 800XCx, 2006 TE450, Jeep Wrangler

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    I have found early to mid September to be a good time to visit the island. One year I had to wait for the fire closures to lift in mid September. The roads were a bit rough from lack of maintenance equipment operating.
    #16
  17. mazembe

    mazembe Adventurer

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    Most years the weather is still hot in late September and warm through most of October.We had a very warm spring this year so this has made the fire situation worse.Vancouver Island has great year round riding and the south east of the island is in a rain shadow giving us alot less than the west side of the island.
    #17