August Long Weekend to Telegraph Cove, in no Hurry for Anything.
Author: Aaron Way
To start this trip was supposed to be on the May Long Weekend, but due to a family emergency it was delayed to further notice. After consulting calendars we worked out this weekend was free for the both of us.
I showed up at Shawn place to seeing him ratchet strapping a 20L water jug with a small cooler on top to small rack of his VStrom with a military duffel across the passenger seat. I guess I gave him look because the first thing out of his mouth was, “I am working with what I got, and if it works, is it wrong?” I had no comment at that time so I just shrugged and replied with “you do have a point”
We were off but first food. So after a stop at a local breakfast joint, we pointed north. For those that have heard the horror stories about going over the Malahat, this mooring was easy going. One slow down at the bottle neck and only one person trying to kill someone with their driving.
We decided not to just hammer up the inner highway but jump over to the coast highway or old island road. We traveled along the coast. Sliding through little communities that google did not even give the names of on the GPS.
The views where amazing. Beautiful beaches, rocks, open ocean. People where swimming, sun tanning. And generally relaxing. At a couple beaches you saw people out digging for clams. Also being a sailor seeing the sail boats moving along nicely with good wind, had me thinking it would be good day to sail as well. But that is for another weekend.
Along the way I saw up ahead a red object in the middle of the road. Closer I got the more I could see it was a folding chair. Someone is going to be pissed when they find out they are sitting on the ground this weekend. I looked in my mirror, of which I can see the corner of my bag and chair strapped to the bike. WHERE IS MY CHAIR????? I reached back and the straps where tight. This meant I forgot to strap the chair on when I put the bag on last night. A parking lot was up ahead and it was time for a stretch. I was leading so I wheeled in and Shawn followed. As soon as I was off and double checked I told Shawn we need to stop at a Canadian Tire. Once he stopped laughing we asked Google where the Campbell River on was and modified our rout a little.
What I now know about Campbell River. Very nice people at Canadian Tier. The needed folding chair was on sale, and McDonald’s milk shakes are the same.
The trip to the camp was uneventful, Shawn did re-strap the water jug and cooler tower. Every time he took off or gunned it the tower leaned back to about 45degres in all the not good ways. To get to the camp area we had to go down a gravel laneway. I was leading again and after making it so far I did not see Shawn in the mirror. I stopped and waited a few min. turned around and headed back thinking crap did he lay is down. What I came up on was nothing but comical.
Shawn was on the side of the road. Bike was up right. I stopped and first thing he did was hand me a beer. I reached for it and he was nope take your helmet off first. And then moved his finger showing it was stopping the beer from spraying. Then the picture came into focus. The tower came crashing down on with the first gravel pot hole he hit.
So after consuming the beer we picked up remaining beers. Said a couple words over the lost ones strapped the water jug so it was not losing water due to the road rash holes and off to the camp area.
We found a beautiful spot on the land side of the road but had our own little beach across the road.
Once camp was set up and organized to the best two guys on a road trip are going to do. We took out chars and surviving beers to the small privet beach and watched the clouds and mountains reflect off the water and the white caps move along.
Thoughts of how many people do not know that this part of the island exists. I was told by several people there was nothing worth seeing on the north end of the island. I am assuming these people also feel 3 stars or less is roughing it and there is no breakfast in bed.
The mountains where so interesting to look at. Not as tall or as rugged as the Rocky’s but just as enchanting. We discussed how we would approach climbing to the summits and pros and cons of the routs we could see from our view point.
Soon the feeling it was time for dinner. Hotdogs on a stick over the fire. NOPE fire ban on and we can do better than that. How about some steak with just salt and pepper in a pan. With instant mashed potatoes and carrots. A fest for two kings.
At this time, I realized I only packed one cut for coffee and drink. Batting 100 on this trip. Forgot a chair, and one cup. Shawn being the resourceful one went to work cutting a beer can into a goblet. It worked very well and used it all weekend.
Once the dishes were done back to the beach to watch the sun set and with no light pollution the emergence of the stars. Sawn keep looking for and pointing out satellites I was just watch the starts emerge and do their thing. Where then treated randomly through the evening with shooting stars. Remember there is nothing to see on the north end of the island.
The next late morning we got up and made the coffee, sausages, and pancakes. Not too bad for a one burner stove and we are on holidays so eating well is required.
Dishes done camp squared away and we off on the bikes, to return later. We popped into Port Hardy for fuel and beer. I took them this time in my top case. Back on the road to our planed destination. The small former fishing and logging village of Telegraph Cove.
Telegraph Cove is interesting little place packed full of history and nature. Originally the community was only assessable by boat. Road access did not come until the road to the north of the island was built in the 50s. Every building has a little story about the people that built the house, lived in it over time and anything interesting happened there, on a plaque attached to the building. It is a self-guided history lesson. People from all over the world made their way to this little community when it was a functioning lumber mill. Now people come from all over the world to see how the past was. And to go see the whales. There is a whale watching and a bear watching outfitters based in the old wear hose witch is also a whale museum complete with whale skeletons hanging above the floor.
We had some sea food and a drink for a late lunch/ snack on the pubs patio that overlooks the marina and ocean. It was nice to watch the personal cursing and fishing boats of all sizes and shapes come and go. The most entertaining was the bear watching boat come back. The patrons getting off where a mix of sturdy as a oak, traded there land legs for sea legs and forgot to switch back before departing and one lady wanting to kiss the ground to be back on solid ground. I do wonder how she faired on the ferry back to the main land.
Back on the bikes and off heading back to camp. The Road on the way into Telegraph Cove is very windy and hilly. On the way in we stayed conservative but now we kind of know what to expect, bikes did what bikes do and we got on the lean on the way out to the main road.
Once back to the camp dinner was first on the agenda. More hotdogs on a stick. NOPE again. This time marinated stakes and mac and cheese from a box. One burner Gormay. With drink of the gods. Living like a king in my option.
Once cleaned up it was back to the beach with drink if the gods in hand. The sun set and stares where amazing until the cloud cover moved in. or that might have been my own fogginess setting in. It was a good night with a good friend.
Morning was little slow moving. Coffee black and strong. Sausages and Oat Meal. Not much talking just a few grunts. Packed up camp and loaded the bikes. Little desiccation about route back to Victoria. We decided to travel half way on the Old Island Highway until Cortney then jump on the New Island Highway back to town. Traveling was nice and relaxed nothing exciting. Beautiful view of the beaches and inlets again, this time with no one really around. The main highway was normal traffic flow. We were figuring most people that had to travel where up and moving first thing in the morning and with us slow out of the tents, and being that much further north we were behind the rush.
We got to the intersection where we parted ways with a wave. Down and around the bend a little further and rolled back into the driveway. Walked in the door and was greeted by my beautiful wife that gave me welcome home kiss and get in the shower command.
When reflecting on thus weekend. I would recommend this trip to anyone that likes bike camping or not camping. Telegraph Cove has lots of places to stay. Most of the old homes that have a history are a motel set up. There is a couple hotels in the community as well. A little more timing and logistics are required with having a ferry ride involved but for right now if you are on a bike you go to the front of the line with no reservation needed for the ferry.
Happy Travels & Keep Two wheels down..