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Vancouver Island Road Trip Index:

North Island

Need to hit the road and just drive before stopping to dial it back for a few days?  Point yourself north of Campbell  River, passing by charming but busy Telegraph Cove and on just a bit further to Port McNeill the “Gateway to the Broughton Archipelago”.
 
Long known as a sea kayakers jumping off point for Nootka and Kyuquot Sounds,  Fair Harbour offers no services. However you will find a government wharf, rough boat launch and a Forest Service campsite (summer caretaker on site) and ample parking.
 
Drive to Gold River and climb aboard the working freighter Uchuck. This former WWII minesweeper passes through the stunning beauty of Nootka Sound into the rolling Pacific Ocean and onward to the village of Kyuquot. 
 

Mid Island – West Coast

It started out like all of our well planned road trips with no real plan as to where we would end up. The initial thought was to wander the temperate rainforest of Cathedral Grove.
 
We recently took the opportunity to wander about downtown Nanaimo and to my great surprise the area is steeped in history.
 
 
 
Buying a heritage home and launching a new business in the same year was insane, but at the time it didn't seem like shear madness.
 
The 1950’s were an adventurous time. The depression of the thirties and the horror of the Second World War were well behind us and the world had become a kinder place.
 
I can't remember when I first heard of the ghost ships of Royston but I was intrigued. Back in the 30's the Southeast winds blowing down the Strait of Georgia were creating havoc on the booming grounds…
 
Last year one of my favourite road trips occurred on a wet, typically grey west coast winter day when it was suggested we see the neon light show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was a wonderful reprieve from the doldrums brought on by a lack of sunlight .
 
Recently I met my friend and fellow vagabond in Nanaimo where she suggested that spelunking and a picnic would be a fine thing to do. Spelunking?
 
It's been a long wet winter and spring, so today is perfect outdoor walking weather. My companion and I decided that the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market would be our first stop.
 
The Oceanside Route takes you as close to the water as you can get… travelling north from Nanaimo to Courtenay; this is one of our favorite routes.
South Island
 

South Island

It is a little known fact that the first commercial winery in BC was not in the Okanagan but right here in sunny Saanich when in 1921 the Growers Wine Company planted fields of loganberries to produce their Logana wine.
 
We continue our Vancouver Island wine tour by crossing the Saanich Inlet on one of the smaller vessels in the BC Ferry fleet. After a 25 minute cruise there is a nice drive along the waterfront to Mill Bay.
 
Depending on your temperament this road trip can take you from 1 to 3 days, keeping in mind that you are travelling 255 km (158 mi). This scenic route has been named one of the best driving experiences by the enthusiasts we spoke with.
 
We had just finished a late brunch at our home in Horseshoe Bay and were relaxing with the local paper. An article explained that the ferry system is financially strapped and that rates will be going up while service goes down.
 
Victoria is known for its heritage and laid back attitude to life. One of the best ways to enjoy this is to tour the waterfront. We started in front of the Parliament Buildings and headed east to Fisherman's Wharf.
 

Off Island

Salt Spring Island is one of the most accessible of the Gulf Islands offering 3 BC Ferry terminals, float plane docks and marinas. Whether you're walking, cycling, driving, cruising or flying in, this island with amaze you.
 
The Sunshine Coast is aptly named as it's drier and sunnier than all other destinations in the area. Sun-warmed beaches, marine adventures, and picturesque coastal scenery are all part of this road trip.
 
In every life there are a few times when something or someone of astonishing beauty seduces every rational, objective fiber of your being. Occasionally the beauty runs deep and true. Call it complete goodness. And thus a spell is cast, the rules of normal behavior and judgment no longer apply.
 
Every time winter descends I get the distinct urge to drive south. With this in mind and with no real chance of escaping the cold this year, I thought I would publish the following road trip from our recent past:
 

Vancouver Island Articles Index:

We decided to have a look at what the automotive industry thought about the current crop of 2012 vehicles. Not that any of us at Elmhill can afford a new car but there’s no harm in peeking at them. We had a look at how the Globe and Mail, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports and Vincentric graded the class of 2012. 
 
 
I hate lining up for anything but when it comes to breakfast in Victoria, I make an acceptation. The fact is, you have to, or you don’t eat.
 
In 1911 Thomas Wilby, a 45 year old journalist engaged in the writing of travel articles, convinced the Office of Public Roads in Washington, D.C. to send him on a road trip from New York to San Diego and back. 
 
Coast Salish Wool Dogs
The Coast Salish people had a long history of weaving before we Europeans came this way. They wove beautiful white, nobility blankets that played many roles in their life.
 

 
One of the best movies of all time is Citizen Kane. The story was based on the life of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. But had it not been for his honeymoon road trip where would his dynasty be today?
 
 
 
This is the time of year when I look back at past adventures and look forward to future ones. What to see in two, oh, one, three.
 
We cruised out of Cowichan Bay on a sunny day and headed south to do some whale watching as we heard that there was a super pod of Orcas gathering around San Juan Island.
 
 
Orcas Among Us
Way back in the ‘60’s we had pods of Killer Whales frequenting Vancouver Harbour on a regular basis. By the 1970’s they had all but disappeared. 
 
 
 
For 20 years the non-profit Seaside Cruizers Car Club has been putting on an annual car show contributing the net proceeds back to the community.
 
It all started when Major James Francis Lenox MacFarlane purchased a farm in Cobble Hill sight unseen.  Eventually the Major met with his friend Arthur Flint at the Goldstream Hotel to make plans to travel to his farm for the first time.
 
Steam Into Port Alberni
Port Alberni sits at the end of the ruggedly beautiful Alberni Inlet tucked away from the sometimes harsh West Coast weather. Explorers found the sheltered waters of the Inlet in the late 1700’s and it was deemed the perfect spot for a settlement.
 
 
 
John Steinbeck once said, people “ really need sea-monsters in their personal ocean - an ocean without its monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep”.
 
 
Vancouver Island Farmers Markets
There is no doubt that buying local products provide a healthier lifestyle while going a long way to support local businesses.
 
 
 
During this most excellent lunch we thought it a brilliant idea to visit as many Vancouver Island marine pubs as possible over the boating season. 
 
 
 
Wild Whale Watching
I suppose there was a time when keeping whales and dolphins in captivity was critical in the effort to educate people to revive the species. It didn’t work
 
 
 
Wanna Buy a Lighthouse?
Last week I received a surprising email from my friend in China who informed me that the Point Atkinson lighthouse in West Vancouver is for sale for $200,000.00!
 
 
Vancouver Island is a giant playground with endless opportunities to explore, discover and seek adventure.  As a resident I appreciate my surroundings all year round and find a dozen reasons a day to stay.
 
The Yuquot Whalers Shrine
In 1966 an archaeological project was conducted in Yuquot (Friendly Cove).  It was determined that the indigenous peoples had inhabited the area for 4500 years!