Hey it's been a long day
Mount washinton Ski Hill Road that I missed on the last day's report
The only thing stirring in the campsite was me and the only sound was the river rolling by, even the birds had not begun their song yet. I pushed the loaded bike out to the entrance and fired her up, heading east slowly into town (Campbell River). I pulled up at the local Tim Horton’s for a morning fill of Coffee and bagel, and I’m pretty sure I was the first customer. The Morning sun was just over the horizon as I headed up highway19 north toward Sayward. The air was chilly and I almost pulled over to put the liner in my jacket. Not long after turning north, the sky turned leaden and the moisture in the air thickened to the point of fog, remaining that way for the rest of the day. A deer the size of a large dog ran out not long before Sayward Junction, just to see if I was paying attention and I was. I do like the braided brake lines though as they allowed near lock with very good feel. The deer did the dance of death in front of me then hopped off into the bush and disappeared. Sayward really is nothing to look at save for the small crowded Harbour, unless you are taking a whale watching tour.
Sayward, BC Harbour
The Cable House, apparently the letters aren't as strong as the walls
There is one notable stop of interest, that being The Cable House Café. It is made of thick Steel Cable from the logging trade, and I have never seen another building like it. It seems to be a favorite of the locals, which usually means the food is good, although I can’t personally vouch for that. I did take the opportunity at Sayward to put on my neck protector and the liner in my jacket as the temperature had been steadily falling as I came north. The next stop on the tour du jour was Telegraph Cove (another whale and bear watching destination) and if the sun had been out it would have been postcard beautiful.
The FZ above Telegraph Cove
As I was stopped above the cove a guy on a well used Suzuki DR 650 came over to say Hi. He was a member of the Adventure Rider forum, “The Pack Rat” hailing from Toronto Ontario and he was packed for the long haul (including the requisite extra tire which I could see was overdue for installation). After a photo shoot and a bit of map consultation with pack rat, he was looking for some gravel and I pointed him down the right road (hey what are fellow ADV’ers for). I once again headed northward turning off toward Port Alice on Island Highway # 30, and I can now say that I have a new favorite road!! It should be touted as the “Dragon of the Island” because for about a full hour there are no straight sections, really!
It must have been paved in the last year or two at the most because the surface is nearly flawless. It is without shoulders and lined very closely by trees the whole way, almost tunnel-like in some sections. It was like being on a roller coaster where you control the only car. I thought that I might have to have the smile surgically removed by the time I went out and back, as there are no other roads in or out of Port Alice. Thank you to the B.C. Government for money well spent, more please. I think that I may retire to Port Alice so I will have to stay fit.
Welcome to Port Alice, you'll be all smiles by this point!
The small Harbour at Port Alice, my new favorite destination, and not for the town.
After that wild ride I headed for Port Hardy to set up camp.
I was here
The Sunny Sanctuary was just a large grassy parking lot beside the highway so I scoped out Wildwoods campground
that was nearby. It was absolutely beautiful as well as only a few miles from the Bear Cove Ferry Terminal. The shower rooms and laundry were a bit grubby but the campground more than made up for this. They even had a bike specific camp area that had a central parking area surrounded by 4 raised campsites, all nicely protected by towering trees.
The big picture, bring friends
A tip for this campground; If it is raining ask for spot #31 as it is incredibly well sheltered by massive trees and has a nice cave-like tent spot at the back. Another good Campground in Port Hardy is Quatze River Campground
very near the junction of the main highway and the road out to Coal Harbour. It probably has the best of both worlds with a very modern store, shower and laundry building as well as nice camp spots. I probably would have stayed there if I had spotted it first. I had some interesting but quiet guests around my camp site and was treated to a chorus of eagle and other bird calls all the time I was there.
Monster of the forest floor
I had a great meal down at Ivy’s pub at the marina, after setting up camp, real fresh fish (Halibut) and chips. Afterwards I blasted back down the highway to Port McNeil and other than the marina not much to see.
Run of the mill sea port
The Cape Sutil
Then out to Coal Harbour as the day was still young. The coal Harbour road was fairly good but anti climactic after the wild Port Alice road. I drove out onto the Wharf at Coal Harbour so that I could get a nice shot of the huge wooden Seaplane hanger that was used by the Canadian Air force during WWII.
Coal Harbour Wharf
WWII Sea plane base
I swear that every house in Coal Harbour was for sale, don’t ask me why. After this last bit of exploring I called it a day (a good day) and headed back to camp to sit by the fire pit and relax. The campground only had a handful of other guests, mostly rented campers driven by Europeans.
The best is yet to come…..