June 17-24 2006: Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

June 17: Victoria to Rathtrevor

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Got onto the road just after noon and slowly started making our way up Island. We had no real plan for the day other than to get on the road. Making it over the Malahat seemed like it would be a success. No hurry, just taking it pretty easy!

We hit the Thrifty's on Admiral's road to pick up some groceries. It was an immediate flashback to our trip last summer – we could have been anywhere. An unfamiliar grocery store in a new town. Picking up supplies. It was great to feel like we were on the road again!

Me on the Beach at Maple Bay

When we hit Duncan, I suggested a scenic tour. It has been a few years, but I have bike the road that heads from Duncan over to Crofton before, and it is much more pleasant than the trans-Canada. Cheryl was definitely up for it. A tiny bit along the road, we saw a road sign for Cowichan Bay, which neither of us had been to, so we decided to head for it. Am I glad we did! It is a very picturesque little town, tiny little houses nestled right against the Bay. It was particularly festive because there was a boat show taking place. It was jammed with people and cars. One old guy pulled out in front of us driving an old Ford model T. And once again we had flashbacks to our trip last summer. Where are we? Rossport in Ontario? Some little town in the Maritimes?

Looking South Towards Maple Bay

We looped through Cowichan Bay and ended up back at the TransCanada south of Duncan. Eventually we came back to the same intersection that I suggested the original scenic tour from, and took it again – this time passing by the Cowichan Bay turnoff and heading for Maple Bay. Another place neither of us have been to. And once again it did not disappoint us at all! It reminded me a lot of the smaller gulf islands – little windy roads, really nice houses, stunning views everywhere.

Sailboat and Mt. Maxwell

Great views over to Mt. Maxwell on Salt Spring Island and over to Land's End road on the Saanich peninsula. We found a path down to the water and met some of the inhabitants of the tide pools. Crabs, limpets, barnacles, starfish, snails. Also saw either a very big seal or a sea lion. Had a nice picnic lunch in the van, once again flashbacks!

Salt Spring Island in the Background

Finally got back to Duncan again, this time took the road to Crofton. Really nice little road, winding, great views of the Lake. Then proceeded through Chemanius and finally wound up to Ladysmith on sideroads. Neither of us really had any idea there was so much nice countryside between Duncan and the water. I kind of pictured Duncan being right up against the water, not so. All great places to come back and see again.

Tearing through these places on the TransCanada, you would think that all there is to these smaller communities are strip malls and ugly commercial/industrial sites. The contrast to the roads we were on was really something. Once again, a flashback to last summer – so much of the new “growth” that we saw was in the form of ugly strip malls that seem to say that nothing matters except maximizing profits for developers. Let's forget about building a nice community or creating a town that people will like to live in, let's just get as much money out of the land as fast as we can!

Finally getting through Nanaimo, about 4 hours after we left, we decided we would check out Rathtrevor and see if we could get in. They had a few sites, so we took one. Had a great walk on the beach, and hung out at the campsite. It was kind of rainy so I figured I'd postpone a bike ride until tomorrow.

Cocktail hour at Rathtrevor

Young Artists

The artists are astute for their age


Hornby Island
Hornby Camping
Sechelt Camping