Day 15: Leaving Friends and Familiar Roads

//Stephanie//

 

We had packed up most of our things the night before, but there are always little things to remember when you’ve had time to spread out and rest for a while. Checking our things twice, we were finally ready to leave our friends in Victoria.┬áIt was such a bittersweet morning, we were excited to travel on roads we had never been before, and we also were so sad to leave our second family. We glued our little animal trinkets on the dashes of our motorcycles, and after hugs goodbye, we drove down their driveway.

Leaving Victoria took a while, mostly because of the construction and traffic, but also because it was just hard to do. By the time we were at highway speeds again it was after 4:30 in the afternoon, and we were just starting our journey. Some drops of rain started, and we pulled over to zip up our vents and put on our rain mits. This was the first time I had ever ridden motorcycle in the rain, and I was nervous! Bear reminded me that it was still important to ride motorcycle like I normally would, looking out for cars, using my blinker, being aware of my surroundings. The only difference, was that the roads were wet and water was hitting my visor.

This made sense and helped calm me down, and I found a sense of comfort in my fancy Aerostich suit. It really was waterproof! So were my rain mits! The mits also have a squeegee on the thumb, so it is really easy to sweep your thumb back and forth on the visor, and the drops disappear instantly.

So here we were. On an adventure. Riding motorcycle in the rain, north of the town with the people we loved so much. We were doing it! We were really going north!

This kept blowing our minds, and it was easy to get excited for the adventures ahead. But first, we needed to eat. I was starving as we pulled into a diner in Nanaimo, and I was surprised that I was able to eat an entire double cheeseburger and side salad all by myself. I have an enormous hunger from riding motorcycle!

We filled up our thermoses with coffee and hit the road again. We asked how far it was to Tofino, which was on the opposite side of the island from where we were, and the gal said it was about 3 hours drive. We thought we could make it, but we also decided that we would be OK if we needed to stop and camp before we got there.

Driving across the island was exciting, and the first time we had the sun in our eyes. It was bright, especially as it glared off of the freshly washed roads! We rode up a slight mountain pass and then down into a town called Port Alberni. It was just stunning. The recent rain showers had left the sky with billowing white clouds, rainbows, and steam rising from the forests. It was just breathtaking! What a beautiful place.

We got gas and continued on our way, climbing up more mountain passes and now becoming aware that there was gravel all over the roads. I got a bit nervous, since everyone had warned us about gravel on roads, and rode very slowly. It was getting colder and colder, and we realized that we were way out in the wilderness. The sun had set by now and it was getting quite dark, but we were nowhere near a campground.

We rode and rode and laughed so hard when we saw a sign that read: “Pacific Rim National Park Reserve?” Seriously. There was a question mark on the sign! Were they sure that it was a park? We’ll never know.

We were both tired by the time we got to Tofino, and we rode all the way to town. It didn’t look like there were any campgrounds in town, so we asked the gas station attendant where the closest one was. We got there and were shocked to see the rates were the same as in Big Sur, but it was dark and we were tired. Fortunately for us, there were hardly any campers that night. So we didn’t feel bad putting into camp around midnight to set up our tent. Once it was set up we decided to see how close to the beach we were. There was a stairway just a few hundred feet from the tent, and it opened up to what must be the most beautiful beach!

The tide was out and low, and the waves sounded very far away. The stars were just incredible. Bright and faintly silhouetted by black trees and islands, Tofino must be a stunning place in the daylight.

As we were walking back to the camp, we decided to leave a heart on the beach. We started in the point in the middle, and walked out to make the bumps, then in towards each other to make the bottom point. We shuffled our feet the whole way, guessing at the size and dimensions of the heart. As we closed the shape and walked away, we were so happy to be here together. What an amazing journey, with such an amazing journey partner.

 

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