Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sunshine Coast and Island Scooter Ride (Part 3)

Here's the last entry about my Sunshine Coast / Vancouver Island trip.

Comox - Nanaimo
Distance: 120 km
Time: Two and a half hours

I proceeded to the Powell River ferry terminal where I had a nice chat with a couple of motorcycle riders, one with a very comfortable, very big Harley and one with a very serious looking BMW complete with a built in GPS!

After getting on the ferry, I grabbed breakfast and then relaxed as the ferry took the 80 minute crossing to Comox.


I left the ferry and headed along Highway 19A - the old coastal highway, also known as the old island highway or the Oceanside route. I was an excellent ride. The highway was not very busy, was very scenic, and actually went right by the ocean at many points.

This huge prop in Union Bay made a nice still life with my scooter.

I stopped in Fanny Bay while a scallop truck went to drop nets into the water.

Qualicum Beach was very nice and I was tempted to stop there for the day, not just get some gas.

I got into Parksville, a popular retirement city, and the wonderful Oceanside Route ran out! I had to join up with Highway 19 for 27 km until Nanaimo. The speed limit was 90 km while many cars and big trucks zoomed by. There wasn't really much scenery and I ended up in the breakdown lane most of the time.

It was during this harrowing time that I decided it would be silly to attempt to ride from Nanaimo to Victoria. The only way I can figure out how to get from Nanaimo to Victoria is Highway 1. Another couple hours of riding in the breakdown lane while traffic screamed by me was not my idea of fun.

At Nanaimo I headed to Departure Bay and took the ferry to Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay - Maple Ridge Distance: 70 km Time: 2 hours

I was able to take Marine Drive again without having to go on the freeway - phew!

This time, I was not in a hurry so I was able to stop several times to take photos.

Not only were the views amazing, but there were incredible houses along the way. Definitely million dollar views.

Some vistas forced me to park in any scrap of dirt that was available, others I could only appreciate as I went by on my Vespa.

A great detour was Lighthouse Park. I stopped there and wandered around a few of the trails. The trail markers clearly showed the names of the trails but not the distances - how was I supposed to know how long the trail was? I finally went back to the parking lot and sheepishly noticed the stack of map guides at the entrance to the trails.

I saw this great view of Lions Gate Bridge as I approached West Vancouver.

I stopped in for a visit in West Vancouver at my brother-in-law's house. He has a spectacular view of Lions Gate Bridge as well.

I continued onto Maple Ridge, feeling that I had had another satisfying adventure on the scooter but still happy to return to my own bed. Now, to talk to my wife about that treehouse I want to build...

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