Monday, September 29, 2008

Cowichan Bay, BC

On the way back from Campbell River we headed south towards Cobble Hill to visit some friends. It was past noon so decided to find a place to have a snack. We started at Ladysmith where they are re-vitalizing the downtown area. We stopped here before for a meal and didn't wish to visit the same place twice, so continued onward to Chemainus, where it was a little to touristy for our tastes. We travelled southbound on some backroads through farmland and eventually came out at Cowichan Bay.


Of course, this isn't the best pix but I wanted to catch the name on the banner.


Cowichan Bay is a seaside community with gift shops and a few restaurants. It is not far off the highway and is just south of Duncan, BC. There are lots of watercraft anchored in the bay and along the piers.


We discovered this "gem" years ago on our travels and would really love to have one of these homes along the waterfront


Half of the house is on "stilts" and your rear sundeck overhangs the water, and you have your private float for your boat


Or you could purchase your own Floating Home. Two of these were currently for sale, but I do not know the asking price. I really like the idea of not having to cut the grass but I would presume there are much more costly things to take care of in a marine environment.


Many people have told us that the Rock Cod Cafe was the best place for fish and chips, so this is where we went. Of course we had Salmon steak and other assorted goodies. Perhaps next time we will order the fish & chips and find out how good they are.


It was a beautiful warm day. After lunch we just sat on the dock in the sun and evaporated our worries away.


Weatherwise we were very fortunate to experience summer-like weather. It was forecast for rain 3 out of the 4 days we were away, but today there was no rain in sight.



It was a perfect day to be on the Wet Coast of British Columbia

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tahsis, BC

All summer I had been planning to take a trip over to Vancouver Island to visit my Uncle in Campbell River. I was going to take either my motorcycle or Scooter but I mentioned it in passing to several people during the past couple of months but there were no takers. This is more or less the way it has been for the past couple of years. So this year things were going to be different. I planned my first solo trip to the Maxi-scoot rally during August as sort of a test run to see how it was like to travel without a riding buddy. And I survived, so perhaps there will be more solo rides in my future plans. Of course, there is a limit to how many weekends I can be away by myself


thus as I was doing my planning I decided that we would go to Tahsis if the road wasn't too bad. We took the early ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point, which is just south of Nanaimo. The plan was to take the Oceanside route along the inner coast up to Campbell River, have dinner with my uncle and head east on Hwy 28 the next morning towards Gold River. We left the house at 6am to allow enough buffer time to make the 7:45a ferry. It is a 2 hour crossing to Nanaimo, then north on Hwy 19A stopping to see all the sights. Our ferry docked at 10am (2 hour crossing), but we didn't arrive at CR until just after 3pm.
The next morning we had a quick breakfast and headed out at 9am towards Gold River. It is a beautiful road, all the curves are banked to our benefit and there were no nasty surprises. No reducing radius turns, No reverse camber corners, nothing nasty to get you into trouble. It is said that this is "probably" the best motorcycle/scooter road on Vancouver Island (but of course, this time, we were in the car, but I have a mental note to come back in the future with one of my 'bikes' .
This section of road is all paved and it can be travelled easily in an hour and a "bit" .


From Gold River heading east the road is paved for a few kms, then turns to gravel


There are a few "single lane" wooden bridge crossings over creeks & rivers


I would say that the road is mostly well groomed. We encountered a grader about half way to Tahsis that was spreading new gravel to fill in the ruts, but loose gravel is not good when going around corners. At any speed over 45 kmh I could feel the rear of the car slide/skid, so we could make time on the straights, but slow down into the corners.


We didn't see very many cars/trucks along the route and we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We went up and down a few "hills" and there were a few shelf roads along the side of the mountain, and of course NO guard rails and a big drop down the hill if you made a mistake. This section of road from Gold River to Tahsis is about 68 kms and it will take you about 1-1/2 hours (as we stopped often to take pictures). They call this the "Tree to Sea" highway

Eventually, we make it to our planned destination. Here is our first view of Tahsis


The road winds its way around the end of the bay as the main town is on the south side of the inlet.


Originally there was a large mill here which employed "a lot" of people. Then the mill shut down. You can see the mill site on the left as you enter the Village. All the buildings are gone and all you can see are the remnants of the footings.


In recent years they are trying to attract fishermen (tourists) as they are known for the best salmon fishing on the West coast


They have a very nice marina here complete with a floating restaurant, actually a mexican restaurant (Cantina Marina), and we were hungry only to find out that they had just closed for the season 3 days earlier. All this way and we had to settle for only a Cappucino .



If you enjoy fishing (or boating) and lots of solitude, then this is the place for you.


It was a relaxing day and the scenery was great . Great roads for a car but not so great for any two wheeled machines, dual sports excepted.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ergonomic Brake Lever

Well, what do you know. I ordered a right brake lever for my Kymco Xciting 500Ri and it arrived.


Very fast delivery from the Kymco Canada parts distribution centre in Toronto. My scooter got damaged on the return trip from the Maxi-scoot rally in Stevenson, Wa. That weekend I rode 1,800 kms on my X500Ri and on my way home I wanted to make a stop in Burlington to pick up some motorcycle accessories at the local Suzuki dealer. I was rushing in order to catch them before they closed, traffic was slow and I was impatient. All these factors contributed to my situation.


I suppose I am very lucky that this was the only part damaged. Look how much the lever bent as compared to the new one below. Flashbacks of the incident makes me think that the full weight of the fully loaded scoot was probably over 550 lbs and all that pressure on the poor lever absorbed the impact and saved me from having more damage. Actually the curved lever was very ergonomic and I got used to the "feel" of it.


I realize that this is a simple job (even I could do it). Just one nut and bolt to remove and voila, "done like dinner" . But my dealer is a great guy.


Makes me feel guilty. Like I am standing in the background while 2 Kymco techs muddle over who is going to remove the one nut.


I suppose in retrospect it is a 3 man job. Ben to hold the closed end wrench on the nut, and Gary to use the flat head screwdriver from the top. And of course, I am the historian, photographing the procedure. In a few minutes my scoot is returned to better than new condition. My baby has a new front brake lever with Zero mileage on the odometer.


Operation completed in no time at all, and with such little effort from moi. I'm a happy camper again.

I am going on another adventure for a few days. I am not sure whether I will have internet access so I may not be able to make a post until mid to late next week. My plan is to travel over to Vancouver Island up to Campbell River, planning to take an early morning ferry to Nanaimo, BC and travel the coastal route north. The weather is not forecast to be that good but perhaps I can salvage a few pictures along the way - stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


For some reason Summer has returned. Forecast was for sunny and warm. What to do, what to do . . . I don't know what to say except that perhaps I've been "skootered-out" if there is such a word. I have put on a few miles in the last little while, which includes my 1,800 kms to Oregon for the Maxi-Scoot rally in Stevenson, Wa. I had BIG plans for today. My plan was to ride to Sumas on my SV650 instead of my Scooter and try to meet up with the riders from WCB MC. They were leaving the Seattle area around 9:30am with an overnight stay in Hope bc, and a lunch stop in Sumas (on the US side, presumably). That would mean shoveling and gurgling my breakfast and making a hasty exit towards the highway. I listen for the border reports and find that there is already an hour wait at Sumas. Also there appears to be some problem with my Nexus card not being recorded by the scanner at Homeland Security (Border crossing). I have been crossing the border more frequently lately and every time my Nexus card does NOT register and the guards seem to be giving me a little more attention, so I thought that I would try to enter the US from Sumas instead, but as the border line was too long I decided to just relax and mosey around town instead.
We have been meeting at this biker friendly cafe for eternity and walked up the street to find a community garden


I've never really taken the time to see these large sunflowers up close before


I tried to catch the "bee" in action, but by the time I got the camera focused, it flew away


Then I decided to head down to False Creek. For those that are not familiar with the geography of Vancouver, it is surround by water on 3 sides. The only solid land is from the East, otherwise you have to travel over a bridge to get to the main downtown area. and then there is Granville Island which is joined by a causeway. There is also a company that operates passenger ferries within False Creek which will take you to several drop off points, including the West end (some say that the West End has one of the highest population densities in North America) .


There is a Market on Granville Island and there are many places to eat. This Fish & Chip outlet is very popular with the locals. Outdoor seating and a great view of the water.


This is the Government Wharf (National Harbours Board) home of the fishing fleet. That's the Burrard Bridge in the Background.


That yellow building on the other side (on Granville Island) is a trendy waterfront restaurant, nd marina.


I then rode over to the eastern side of the Inlet which gives you a different perspective


The city (Harbour Board) is trying to remove all the derelict boats from this area as it is an eyesore for the tourists.


Vancouver is a great coastal city (surrounded by water) with many restaurants with water views


The SeaWall (walkway) goes for many miles and circumnavigates the complete inner waterway. It is very popular with bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers and walkeers alike. You can travel from the West end of Vancouver (near Stanley Park) and walk all the way to the western beaches of Jericho and Locarno. Vancouver is know for miles of great sandy beaches.


Oh, that's the Cambie Bridge & BC Place in the background . It's hard to get around town without going over a bridge. All in all a relaxing day just taking in the sights of the city. Vancouver, BC Canada, a great place to live (& scoot).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mount Baker, WA & SOB's: Scooters of Bellingham

The SOB's ( were planning a weekday ride to scale Mount Baker. Originally it was to be on Sept 15th, but moved it up one week to accomodate David who was moving to Conneticut. This was to be his last weekend in Bellingham and his last ride (for now) with the SOB's. It was a beautiful sunny warm day and co-incidently I had booked this day off so I was free to tag along.


I got off to a late start and it takes an hour to get to Bellingham from Vancouver (not counting the time at the US border crossing) so I could not get to the starting point but as everyone was raving about the Rocket Donuts I think that I missed some food action and will have to make a mental note to visit Rocket Donuts sometime by myself.


As there is basically only one road Mount Baker Highway to get there, I figured that by the time I got closer I would be seeing some 2 wheeled machines soon. But I didn't until I got to the top at Artist's Point;


Turns out to be a lot of old Indians and Harleys in the parking lot. It was the first day of their Rally. These riders are part of the AMCA: Antique Motorcycle Club of America, Inc. I checked their website and they did have a rally to Mt Baker from Sept 8th to 10th with headquarters somewhere in California. there were bikes from all over the country.

The the scooters started showing up.

and about time as I was getting hungry and was looking forward to our group lunch further down the hill in Glacier, WA

of course, with such beautiful views in all directions, we had to find a place in the middle of the parking lot surrounded by cars.


Scooters of Bellingham (SOB's) are a vintage scooter club, mostly Vespas and a Kymco or two

our ride leader TOM (on the left)


this is Robert, the Reverend, notice he is not standing behind his bike



in a bit after taking some group pictures we headed down the mountain


one of the best things about scootering is the social interaction with other scooterists

Almost forgot, scooters don't do too bad on gravel roads either, with those "large" tires

Whoa, what's going on here ? why is Robert walking around by himself in the forest

someone suggested a short HIKE to see the Nooksak river

Robert, the Rev has a habit of running out of gas, but this time it wasn't him

I thought this scene a little ironic as the Sign for Mt Baker is pointing at the mountain

I had a great time today, better than working for a living too bad it had to end. We went our separate ways with happy memories. The SOB's are great people and I am glad to know them. I actually want to be an SOB but you have to live in Bellingham.