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Trip Report - British Columbia (Long w/lots of pics)
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kevinbassplayer
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:16 pm    Post subject: Trip Report - British Columbia (Long w/lots of pics) Reply with quote

Thought I would just share a little bit of my recent trip to British Columbia, keeping it Westy-Centric. I left Chico California at 5 am for Canada on Aug 3rd. Getting in the van and leaving was the hardest part. After months of preparation, was I really driving to Canada, alone, with no set itinerary? As the miles rolled on it became easier and easier and I really began to crave the adventure and the unknown. Drove up Interstate 5 to Weed, CA, first fuel stop. Next leg was to Bend OR via highway 97. High desert route with few hills, Wes loved it. Fuel in Bend then took highway 197 which was a mistake due to MANY hill climbs and turns, it dropped steeply to the Deschutes River and then had to climb over a mountain range, added about 2 hours maybe 3. Finally came out in the Columbia gorge and took I 84 to Portland. Hit bumper to bumper traffic in Portland, my clutch leg was giving out. Stopped and made a late lunch and took a 20 min nap at a rest stop on I 84. Wind was howling in the Columbia Gorge and was blowing the van around pretty good, had to keep a death grip on the wheel. I was feeling a second wind so I kept driving to Everett WA, just north of Seattle. At this point I had been driving almost 16 hours virtually non-stop. Stealth camped in a residential area, very quiet and dark, slept well. I Left Everett WA for Bellingham, fuel and breakfast in downtown Bellingham. Reminds me of Chico, hip and historic downtown.

Left Bellingham for Vancouver Canada, border crossing took just over and hour. Got waved through, stopped and exchanged some money and headed to Vancouver to Pjackman's house from the Samba.
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Headed out later on the bike and watched fireworks over the harbor, also saw a great band, Wide Mouth Mason. Out at the area were I watched the fireworks they had the submarine "Ben Franklin" on display, I used to work for a guy who designed it. On Sunday 8/5 I went for a 24 mile bike ride around Vancouver. Rode around False Creek, across to the North waterfront, gastown, over to Stanley Park, over the Lion's gate bridge, went back to Granville Island. Watched a game of cricket in Stanley Park, I think I figured out how the scoring worked after watching for a while. Had a shower at Patrick's, first one of the trip, then we went to a backyard event called "in the house" they were having a Brazilian night with food, 2 bands, samba dancers and a martial arts dance demo of some sort, was pretty cool. Bought a CD from one of the bands, "Boca Do Rio", turns out these guys are from the Bay Area! (S.F.) Odd thing I've noticed around Vancouver is that I keep seeing people that look like other people I know or have known, almost as if this is some sort of city in a parallel universe that has a copy of people in the U.S., very strange. Another curious note, my odometer on my bike reached 3,000 miles today. I first reached the 1000 mile mark in BC on Salt Spring Island 3 years ago, the 2,000 mile mark occurred in BC last summer (I think on Denman or Hornby Island) and now the 3,000 mile mark here in Vancouver.

On Monday 8/6 headed to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and took the ferry to the lower Sunshine Coast. Went back to Gibson's to check it out. Gibson's landing area was beautiful. Had lunch at Molly's Reach, burger and fries, expensive but I was super hungry. This apparently was the site of a Canadian TV shore, the beachcombers for 19 years. Went to the beach at Robert's creek park, drove though the "town" then back to Porpoise bay park campground. While bike riding at Porpoise bay I had a mini bike crash that caused the pedal to take multiple small chunks out of my right shin, had to doctor it up, and is still healing. Broke the van cup holder by stepping on it, re-glued it.
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On Tuesday 8/7 Stopped at the Iris Griffiths Field station and interpretive center then drove to Egmont, set up camp at Strong Water campground, very nice with showers and an area to wash dishes which you just don't see at many campgrounds. Rode the bike out to the Skookumchuck Narrows, a kick ass trail through a temperate rain forest. Talked to a guy that was at the campground with a 1976 VW Westy, real nice one took a pic.
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The next few days put me on the upper Sunshine Coast. In Lund a women called out to me Kevin? I said yes, do I know you, she said she was so and so from Vancouver, I told her I was from California, she looked shocked, she told me that I had a twin, also named Kevin in Vancouver. I told her I believe we all have someone out there somewhere that is our twin. Parallel universes existing within our own? In Powell River I grabbed my acoustic bass and headed out to Local Locos cafe for open jam night. Jammed some covers and blues tunes then called it a night at about midnight. Met Rodger Whittaker, another Westy nut that has a 5 speed turbo diesel Westy imported from Germany. Spent a day on Savery Island. Savery is a beautiful small island that is ringed by sandy beaches. Rode my bike all over the island, went for a couple mile hike around Indian point. Stopped at the Mint Tea House, awesome place run but a German dude, Heider Hennig. The mint is made entirely of recycled beach combed materials. Had a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato and a nice chat with the owner. Grabbed the shore taxi back to Lund then moved to the Okeover arm campground, located on an arm of desolation sound. Rodger from Powell River stopped by to check out my van and we both went over to talk to a couple with an 86 Westy. Moved back to Powell River for 1 last night and talked with a guy from Vancouver that had a 1990 Multi-van that he picked up new at the Westfalia factory in Germany, drove around Europe for a month in it then brought it back to Canada.
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Headed over to Vancouver Island and drove up 19A coast route to Campbell River. Stopped at the latitude 50 marker to take a picture of Wes again, the old wooden sign had been replaced with a large granite monolith that obviously was not quite finished as it had some places were it looked like they were going to attach some plaques or something. It was inscribed on both sides "50th Parallel" and Campbell River on one side. Went to the Campbell River museum, it was really cool. The woman at the front desk asked me were I was visiting from, I said "Chico California" then without missing a beat a guy standing across the room says "the party school". The Campbell River Museum has lots of great "first nations" artifacts. Took the ferry over to Quadra Island, drove to Heriot bay and the We-wai-kai campground. Sitting at the campground typing on the laptop when two young boys walked by the van and the one says to the other, "cool, I want one of those". Big smile on my face. Spent a lot of time at Rebecca Spit. This has got to be the coolest place in the world for drift wood; you could probably build multiple houses with all the wood without even having to saw a single piece as there is every shape imaginable.
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At the campground on Quadra there were 6 Westy's Wes but I was the only non Canadian model and they all had British Columbia plates. In Powell River while I was bike riding I saw to girls in a brown Westy with California plates coming out of the parking lot of the mall but didn't get to talk to them and then never saw them around town again.

An observation; my footprint here at most campgrounds is very small, small van, very few items out around the camp, I produce little garbage. In contrast, most families I saw were excessive; large trucks, gigantic tents, bikes, kayaks, boats, fires all day long, giant tarps and other gear. How is the Earth to sustain this? While the sunsets here are beautiful you can just make out the orange haze of smog, which a guy I was talking to was telling me most of it is being blown over from China.

After 4 Ĺ days on Quadra it was time to start the long haul ďhomeĒ. Drove the coast 19A route and stopped at Qualicum beach to cook up the last buffalo burger patty I had left over from the Campbell River farmers market. Traffic was a little hectic around Nanaimo which was a bit of a shock since I hadn't had to deal with any since Vancouver. From Victoria up to Sydney was tons of traffic. I got off on Lochside drive to enjoy some last water views, the whole drive from Quadra to Sydney was about 4 1/2 hours. The next day I jumped on the Washington State Ferry to Anacortes, cleared customs, and began the drive home. U.S. Customs took forever to get though and when I finally got to the customs officer the first thing he said to me was "this thing sounds great, sometimes I see these vans coughing and sputtering though here", made me laugh. Traffic in Washington was horrendous, way worse than L.A. were I grew up.
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I drove until 11 pm which put me just a few miles north of Eugene Oregon so I stopped at a rest stop and set up shop for the night. I slept maybe 4 or 5 hours then woke up, made coffee and headed out. Made a quick fuel stop just south of Eugene and kept going. Stopped for a quick bite in Grant's Pass and kept going all the way to Weed CA. Fueled up in Weed then made the final push to Chico. A fantastic trip, I'm already planning my return.
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Van Stats:

Total trip miles: 2178
Best MPG: 21
Average MPG: 18.1
Mechanical Problems: NONE!

My MVPíS

Several MVPís of this trip: my wood floor, which made clean up take 2 seconds, my broom which doubled as my cruise control stick, I got really good at driving the van with it! My French coffee press, and these quick dry towels for dishes, and all my new interior lights. The cup holder too, but I stepped on it several times and had to re-glue it, right now it looks like itís done and needs replacement.
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Many thanks to all the great and wonderful people I met on the road, hope to see you again soon! Thanks for reading!
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tds3pete
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin-

Thanks for sharing..........it really took me back.

Between the three Westy's and one EVC I have own(ed), I've been to every spot you visited except Savery Island. The Pacific Northwest and British Columbia are prime Westy country. There are tons of great places to go and the vehicles are appreciated by the locals.

I appreciate your comment about the small environmental footprint taken up by Westy travel. If only VW would get with a nice new diesel 4wd vehicle so we could take the next step to biodiesel.

Thanks again. Happy travels.
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those pics bring back sooooo many memories of great trips up the Sunshine Coast. Last trip we did a circumnavigation of Savery Island in some rented sea kayaks. Incredible place.

Stinkin' hot in New Mexico right now and the Westy is sitting right outside the door, calling to us:

"Sunshine Coast! Sunshine Cooooooast!"
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backcountrymedic
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome trip Kevin! Glad you had such a good time. Amazing how travelling alone can open up your heart and mind, and surprisingly can make someone more outgoing. Thanks for the great pics and post!

-Jared
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madmax25
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats! Sounds like you had a good time.
Some of that scenery looks pretty familiar...Me and 2 buddies got back yesterday from a very similar 10 day trip to B.C. in the Westy to celebrate graduating High School. Some beautiful places up there.
Don't want to hijack the thread, but here's my friend's nightly blogs from the trip-- http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=10435706 (pictures take a minute or two to load and it starts from the bottom. And I'm the guy with the beard.) We took I-5 straight up to the border, stopped in Seattle, took a ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, another ferry from Victoria to Washington, then beelined it back. I wanted to see the sunshine coast everyone was talking about but we ran low on funds and had to cut a few legs out of the trip. Sad Amazing how fast money disappears when you're on the road.
The westy was awesome. Those crazy Germans knew what they were doing when they made these beasts. The worst problem was the tach light dying, and we actually got 21.5 mpg on one tank Smile

I think I want to live in Canada now.
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j8
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: awesome trip, awesome trip report kevin Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing the run down as well as both scenery and van pics! Glad to hear you had such a good time. Thatís what the van is for, man!

-julia
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LowNSlow77
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next time you come this way you should try going out to Tofino. One of the few places in the world where Westfalias look commonplace. My wife is convinced they go to Tofino to spawn.
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Lanval
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Epic!! I love it ~ it's like the Odyssey, without Odysseus's arrogance, but with pictures.

Thanks Kevin! BTW, having grown up in Eugene/Springfield, I suggest you plan a trip just to the greater Bend area and other points of interest. My Dad worked for the BLM, and I spent many a summer in some lost portion of Oregon and Washington.

Most inspiring,

Best,

Lanval
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kevinbassplayer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LowNSlow77 wrote:
Next time you come this way you should try going out to Tofino. One of the few places in the world where Westfalias look commonplace. My wife is convinced they go to Tofino to spawn.


I went to Tofino last year, what an awesome place! Thanks everyone for taking the time to check out my post's. I can't wait to go back to BC, I'm already planning a new trip for next summer and plan to take a min of 3 weeks, maybe even a month.
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24inchstance
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice Kevin... Very nice.
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nomadik
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really wish I would have been around when you were here, but I was east without my westy, instead in someones car that just loved that AC enough to make me cough.

I hope you will check out the west kooteanys next time, same kind of stuff I guess.

Glad your to hear that you made it to Loco's

What you were saying about the gaint campers is just what bugs me sometimes too.

One time I seen a transport truck with a hugh 5th wheel, with a Jeep on it, a jet ski, and a ATV, I had a feeling the guy had a real nice chain saw to play with to make that nice firewood he had piled up like he was trying to survive a winter. I regreat not getting a picture. It looked like he was having a really poopy time too and convinced me that perhaps the overkill can ruin a trip like that. I have a hard time keeping track of one item at a time and not letting it get to me. For sure the most fun you will ever have you just need your shoes for.

One thing that I am trying to stop doing is using those little propane tanks for a heater, I feel so bad throwing them out, what a waste just for a little propane.
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zippyslug31
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Wind was howling in the Columbia Gorge and was blowing the van around pretty good, had to keep a death grip on the wheel.


Laughing Laughing Laughing
Been there, done that..... MANY times!
As being located in the greater PDX area, all I can say is "welcome to the gorge, we hoped you enjoyed your stay, please stay clear of the guardrail at all times".

Awesome story/pics. Thanks for sharing.
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin,

Great trip report and photos, thanks!

On a side note, I just found this site:
http://www.westfaliarentals.com/
They are a Vancouver BC based Westy rental outfit.

On their website, they have several BC tours listed, complete with maps, nice photos, and written itineraries.

Anyone planning a longer road trip to BC might find these to be useful resources.
(I have no connection to this business, merely trying to pass along a good link.)

- CJ
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Microbusdeluxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin:
Nice report, but shhh about B'ham, WA. Please don't take it personally but we have a saying up here: "Don't Californicate Washington" However as you noticed the greater Seattle area has become as smoggy & traffic jammed as LA with miles of generic chain stores and malls. We're fighting to keep Bellingham from becoming another corporate sprawlsville.

The saving grace is that, by and large, Westy owners are the type of folks who appreciate authenticity, which is why there are so many of us up here (a half dozen at least within 3 blocks of my house).

At the risk of giving away one of the coolest places in BC you need to go up to Bella Coola in the fall. Grizzly bears munching down salmon right in the campgrounds, beautiful mountain climbing & hiking, friendy locals.
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kevinbassplayer
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bella Coola is on my list to visit. I've missed going to BC the last 2 summers since I went to Burning Man last year and I'm getting ready to go again (next week!) Going to New Zealand in Oct and renting a Toyota camper van for 3 weeks, can't wait. Plan is for another BC trip in May 2010 but probably in my girlfriends Eurovan (what are the odds, she had the Euro before we met!) BC is always in the back of my mind and seeing this post come up was great!
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Texxxxx
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great travelog, Kevin. Very nice!
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westy87
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We toured the U.S. for six weeks this summer in our Westy, and while in New York was thinking - do you need a passport to visit Canada??
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pjackman
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the new passport requirements here Shocked :

http://www.consular.canada.usembassy.gov/passport_requirement.asp

Hi Kevin. Nice to hear that you'll be traveling with a partner next time. New Zealand by camper should be wonderful. I'd love to go back there. Lise and I are driving to eastern Utah on Sep 11th for 2 weeks of cycling and hiking.


Last edited by pjackman on Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kevinbassplayer
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Patrick,

Nice to see you are still on here! Thanks again for the wonderful time I spent with you in Vancouver, been wanting to get back but like I mentioned other things keep coming up. My van is still going strong and I still love it. I'll look you next time I'm up that way, take care!
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Bruce Wayne
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you stopped just south of Eugene for gas,where? Creswell? Cottage Grove?
I'm in Creswell.
Tofino is nice,we need to get back up there. great pics.
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