Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Vancouver Island
    June 24, 2012

    I asked Bill, “If you had one day on Vancouver Island, where would you go?”

    He said Victoria was a pretty city and if I was looking to tour around a beautiful populated area I should definitely see it. But with my desire to ride twisting scenic roads, he suggested I ride to the west coast.

    It was a three hour drive across the island but I had to make it back to Departure Bay by 7pm to catch my ferry to Vancouver. I hoped to get back to Nanaimo early enough to grab a drink and possibly dinner with Bill, but I knew it would be a stretch with only one day to see the island.

    He told me to be sure and stop at Cathedral Grove, an old-growth Douglas fir forest in MacMillan Provincial Park. There are 800 year old trees there. With trunks 30 feet around, they tower 250 feet above the ground, arching their branches through a canopy resembling the internal crown of a holy house of worship.

    Excited to ride and eager to make the most of my day, I woke early and left the hostel just after dawn. I didn’t bring much for food with the last minute planning, so I stopped at a little diner on the way out of Nanaimo on highway 19.

    I headed north to Parksville before turning west onto the Alberni highway. It is a beautiful windy road cutting across the mountains and contouring the edge of Cameron Lake, perfect for any motorcyclist.

    When I came to Cathedral Grove I was not impressed with the amount of traffic and cars piling up on the sides of the road. It was yet another natural gem built into a tourist attraction to withstand large amounts of people.

    I walked the cut trail bordered by a fence to keep foot traffic obedient to the path provided. The trees were impressive and magnificent giants. But I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing, like something had been taken from this special place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I felt the spirit had left these trees, their purity tainted. They looked out of their element, no longer native to their own home. Similar to a wild animal fenced in an enclosure, they were protected yet trapped, for all to see.

    I asked myself, “What else could be done to protect this unique environment from the swarms of people flocking to natural paradise for all the same reasons?” We all want to see something amazing. “How else could these trees be saved from constant visitors?”

    The reality is, everyone deserves to experience and see the phenomenal natural wonders existing in this world. All we can do is protect what we have left. Unfortunately, protecting such an environment from chains of RV’s, cars, and people, means laying down asphalt, putting up fences and signs, and digging toilets into the ground.

    I walked the short path leading around the giants and waited my turn to capture my own photos, the same pictures everyone else visiting would bring home. After appreciating the spectacular forest, I quickly hopped back on the Radian to pursue the coast in solitude.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I rode through Alberni before highway 4 turned into the Pacific Rim Highway. It was serene following along Sproat Lake and Taylor Arm Provincial Park. It was green and lush as a rainforest covered in moss delicately suspended in the canopy of hemlock, spruce, and cedar trees.

    The road continued winding around the edge of the mountains before cutting beside Kennedy Lake. I followed the edge of the crystal water riding along the seat of the mountain before the road came to an end.

    There was The Pacific Rim Visitor’s Center there, and I stopped for a map to make my plan.

    I could turn right and head to Long Beach and Tofino. Or I could turn left and head to Ucluelet.

    I asked the girls in the Center if they had one day on the island where would they go. One girl told me to check out Long Beach. It’s a massive sand dune large enough to avoid crowds of people and a beautiful piece of the coastline where many go to surf. She warned me however, to be sure to get a park pass from any kiosk in the parking lot since I was entering the Pacific Rim National Park. Otherwise, I’d be sure to get a ticket.

    The other girl suggested if I wanted to hike, to go to Ucluelet. She highlighted a couple trails on my map along the coast she remarked were gorgeous.

    They both agreed Tofino was a fun town to visit, but with only one afternoon, it may be too far to really enjoy it.

    It was close to noon and I had just a few hours to enjoy the coast before heading back to Nanaimo. I was ready to just sit somewhere alone and have a picnic. So, I turned right and headed towards Long Beach. But before too long, I saw a sign for Wickaninnish Beach, so I sporadically turned left and decided to check it out.

    I parked in a sandy edged lot surrounded in jungle like trees hearing the crash of the coast close by. I could feel and taste the salt in the air. I found the park permit kiosk and used my credit card for a daily pass. It was $8, a little steep I thought, but then again it is a National Park, which I’m happy to give back to.

    I taped the permit to the inside of my windshield tucking it as low as possible, hoping no one would take it for themselves.

    After strapping all my gear down to the bike, I walked along the white sand path towards the sound of the ocean. As the trail led me out of the trees, I summited a hill with a view of the horizon touching the sapphire water as far as I could see. There were piles of driftwood logs stripped smooth of their bark and bleached white from the sun.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I climbed and scrambled across the stacks of sea trees until I found my spot hidden away from others. Nestled against the back of a trunk, I ate my lunch, baking in the sunshine, gazing to the Pacific.

    [​IMG]

    I wandered down the beach admiring the colorful smooth pebbles mixed in the pure white sand. I collected several as I explored around a rocky teal lagoon on the other side of Wickaninnish Interpretive Center. There were purple mussel shells everywhere, reminding me of the beach in Juneau Billy and I stumbled across.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As I took my time making my way back, I stopped in the Center perched on top of the rocks. I admired several exhibits on the history and native culture of the Nuu-chah-nuth tribe and Ditidaht First Nation people. There were beautiful artifacts including a hand-carved canoe, tools, and intricate arts and crafts.

    [​IMG]

    By the time I got back to the Radian, I had just a little over an hour to finish enjoying the coast before heading east.

    It was another 15 minutes north to Long Beach, and 30 minutes to Tofino. Ucluelet was 15 minutes south and closer to my way back.

    I decided to head south and jump on the Wild Pacific Trail for a short hike around the coast of Ucluelet.

    I followed the gravel path through a beautiful green landscape that contoured the edge of Barclay Sound all the way to a light house on the edge on a cliff overlooking the water. Although I didn’t have time to hang around, the view of the coast was gorgeous. I hiked the two mile loop back to the Radian at a quick pace, but I still enjoyed every moment of it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After fueling up, I headed back to Nanaimo without stopping, giving me just enough time to catch a quick drink with Bill and his wife. I purchased my boarding ticket and met them at the bar next to the ferry terminal to say goodbye. I’m glad I got to see them.

    It was a great adventure visiting Vancouver Island, and a beautiful trip back to Horseshoe Bay.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have just one more week at the Aquarium now, and then I’m on the road again, destined for San Francisco.

    [​IMG]
  2. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,447
    Location:
    Idaho home of the fiesta bowl champ BSU bronco's
    BEAUTIFUL. I rode the same ferry on my way home last July..great memories. It was damp when I was there, like your pics, more blue sky.:lol3
  3. Bullspit

    Bullspit Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Splitting Lanes Between MI and CA
    I had the same reaction at the Redwoods in California as you had in the big trees there. When they pave around them to make it easy for people to walk among them (and protect them somewhat), they take away something of the tree and our experience of the tree is diminished.
  4. elkgrichard

    elkgrichard Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    242
    Location:
    Rocklin, Cal.
    I've been to the Redwoods and it didn't bother me about the paving around the trees. Trees are not like people and don't know what the heck is going on around them, they just continue to grow and prosper once protected like that. People try to humanize everything, nature is just not that way. Nature always adapt to conditions despite the human brutality.
    Some of these protection laws in my opinion go too far. I've noticed areas that have been closed off to the public so that only special groups can go in and enjoy such as the Sierra club. We now have vast tracks of land closed to public access and or development. All or nothing type thing for the conservationist movement. I'd rather see a balance with some better access to these areas and some sensible use like single track motorcycle trails. Development is not always a bad thing if implemented in the proper way.

    I'm not saying we need a bowling alley in the middle of Yosemite but a few single track motorcycle trails would be nice. Or some land for sale so that people could have a house with one hell of a view.
  5. bESS

    bESS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    304
    Location:
    wet coast, bc
    Anna:

    You made the right choice. I like Ucluelet much better than Tofino and we also walked the Wild Pacific Trail, but during a wet and stormy November a few years ago. The water was really angry at the time, making for huge waves and tidal surges. We didn't even go to Tofino on our last visit


    Too bad you didn't visit Vancouver Island the next week when you left for SFO. You could have taken a couple of more days and then take the Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles instead and go around the Olympic Peninsula on your way south. One of the best beaches is Rialto Beach just west of Forks. You would have liked it as it is the last virgin beach/rain forest in North America.

    bob
  6. CurDog

    CurDog Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Anna...Thanks for sharing your heart and passion with us. It has been a joy to read your RR.
  7. Dirtbike

    Dirtbike Ernesto The Great ??

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Ont
    This was a great way to start my morning.... Now I will be day dreaming for a whole week... Great RR
  8. Beezer Josh

    Beezer Josh Moto-Amish

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,200
    Location:
    15.6 miles from the U.S. Capitol
    Great ride report!! I just caught up today and am looking forward to more. I love your introspection. In case you wanted to know more about this wreck (the Seattle No. 3), it was built in 1898 and was abandoned sometime in the 1930s. If you would like to know more, click here.
  9. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    323
    Location:
    Tampa Fl
    Thanks for the next installment!
  10. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,706
    Location:
    Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
    Back in 2010 I was considering riding up to Ak and the budget was at $100/day. Now I think it might go up to $150-$200 a day....just for budgeting purpose.

  11. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,447
    Location:
    Idaho home of the fiesta bowl champ BSU bronco's
    I went last July and your numbers are spot on, especially if you stay in the motels. I really enjoy Anna's riding and writing.
  12. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    323
    Location:
    Tampa Fl
    Thanks, that is actually a very simple explanation that helps out a bunch! I'm planning one in a coupe years. Have another one planned before that.
  13. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,706
    Location:
    Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
    Thanks! The problem here is the oil price. As it goes up, everything else does. ( Very diferent when it comes down...it takes time you know:huh)So, food, oil, tires, motels, etc . I was planning to be on the road for a month, so do the math. Basically it has doubled....and considering the overhead I have, which includes sailing the bike from PR...it gets difficult for me at this point time.

    I really like the way she describes every detail, every interaction and her inner voice. It is refreshing and keeps you coming back for more!:clap

  14. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    323
    Location:
    Tampa Fl
    Pretty cool, I'm from PR and heading down to visit next saturday. Will be near Dorado.
  15. Roadinator

    Roadinator Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    313
    Location:
    DC & WV
    Can't believe I just spent 90 minutes going through this RR at work. Crap, now I have to stay late and make up the time, but well worth it. Great job and I was pulling for your success! My sister lives in Charlottesvile and we use the Crozet exit to get there; so when you started with why you are doing it and where you started from (and of course the bike also gets it's props) I was hooked.
  16. Storyteller

    Storyteller Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Lickity-Split and the Big Ditch, MI
    ...you are doing! Great adventure, great reading, great stories...in short...great for you!
  17. EvanADV

    EvanADV Big Bearded Boy

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,341
    Location:
    Joplor, NC
    Reading this inspired me to write a report of my big trip I did in 2010. Thanks for sharing all you have. I'm staying tuned for the rest.
  18. EffinNewGuy

    EffinNewGuy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    This RR is too good to be this far back.

    If you haven't read the whole thing and subscribed, then you hate baby seals.
  19. elite1

    elite1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Pittsburgh-The Steel City
  20. Lacedaemon

    Lacedaemon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I just lost most of a morning of work reading this. I'm actually kind of glad it's taking a while to get the reports out - it let me catch up even though I started out months late. Now I feel like part of the thread instead some sort of behind the curve onlooker.

    looking forward to seeing the rest of you report as it comes out. Take your time, it's worth the wait, plus I need a break from the report to get stuff done!