We left Victoria shortly before 10am heading north. After a short stop at an information booth we landed in Parksville where we ate our picnic lunch looking out at the beach and then headed over to see the sand sculptures. The competition had been held on the weekend and the creations are on display til Sept. 1st.
Now this is a sand castle.
Stopped in Coombs at an insanely busy set of shops, the most fantastic being the Goats on Roof Old Country Market that sells toys to dishes to gourmet cheese, fresh bread, mouth watering desserts and the biggest single scoop ice cream cones I've ever had the chance to eat.
There is sod on the roof and yes, goats munching away.
We checked into our B&B at 4pm and it was even nicer than the photos. Settled our stuff and then drove to Qualicum Beach for a walk along the water and dinner at Lefty's. For once the menus opened the right/correct way.
Gourmet breakfast. I picked well!
We knew there was a chance of rain and sure enough as we drove over the mountain range to the Pacific shore it started lightly and then settled into a steady shower for the rest of the day. We had our umbrellas, we had our raincoats and planning ahead, had dry shoes and socks, in the trunk of the car.
After checking at the Information centre we headed into Ucluelet to see and tour a boat Paul read about that is now part of a holiday resort and then continued to Amphitrite Lighthouse.
WOW. Great big rocks , crashing waves, rain and fog. Loved it.
It was a little tricky getting photos while holding the umbrella but I managed.
Once you head toward Tofino you enter Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. There are no private buildings. There are no trails but the nature ones and you can visit all the sites and walking areas for under $10.00 per day per person.
I had marked out the ones I wanted to see but after reading the Bear Watch for the bog scratched that off my list. We drove into the parking area for Long Beach and discovered the Wickaninnish Centre that houses an interpretive area on the culture and heritage of the Pacific Rim as well as a restaurant. Paul managed to get us window seats so we sat out of the rain eating crab cakes watching the waves roll onto the beach and the hearty surfers out trying to catch a good one.
After lunch we reopened the umbrellas and walked the sands .... low tide.
Paul doesn't look unhappy does he.
We drove into Tofino and decided it wasn't necessary to try and find a parking spot. Nothing scenic, just gift shops and galleries ( we've seen enough ) and tourists jammed shoulder to shoulder.
We made several stops on the way home and as evening fell the rain stopped and the sky cleared so viewing was great. We saw BEARS. We stayed in the car and managed to get a few poor shots of a mother and her cub.
Back at our B&B shortly after 9pm.
Another gourmet breakfast. They have a revolving menu and if you stayed for 6 days you'd get a different meal each day.
Clear skies. Perfect for Cathedral Grove. It is an old growth forest area with two sections accessed from right along the highway. It has carefully laid out with paths, good signs so you learn as you walk and the 800 year old cedar tree is truly the tourist favourite.
We were lucky enough to get there before the crowds so had decent parking and we felt quite alone in sections of the forest. This made up for the walks we missed yesterday.
Most common accents we have heard this trip...German and French
The cedars in the forest have very shallow root systems.
We stopped in Nanaimo for lunch in the revitalized downtown where there are great little cafes, art galleries and trendy shops. When the coal mines in the area closed it was predicted that the city would fail. It has flourished and they have done a great job in the core of blending the old with the new.
Home by 5:30 Paul driving 771 km aided by my wonderful map reading....3 highways to remember and the odd tricky bits in town
The end of our holiday holiday.
this is a very condensed version