The end of the road
My parents were excited for me to head to Tofino as they had traveled there in the early 70s when it was a funny mix of hippies, draft dodgers, fishermen and First Nation people. It was literally the end of a dusty, dirt road far off the beaten path.
It’s not like that anymore, that’s for sure.
Tofino has been found.
I spent several days camping/hanging out in Ucluelet and Tofino, drinking beer, eating any kind of food out of food trucks that was available (tacos! oysters! fresh fish and chips!), hiking around, and seeing some epic sunsets, because, as it turns out, when there are forest fires all over the PNW, the sunsets are amazing.
From Tofino, I hitched a ride back to the center of the island. Those hills, with no shoulder, were not worth riding. And plus, I got a ride with this super cool guy Sheldon who lives in Ucluelet and was headed to Port Alberni to get materials to work on the house he is building (swoon!). We chatted the whole way out, exchanging stories of travel and adventure and were fast friends.
He dropped me off in Cathedral Grove so I could check out the big trees – and then since it was early in the day (amazing how fast you can go when not pedaling your own way!), I rode out to the other coast to spend my last night on the island.
My campsite on the east was the first time I ran into fellow bike travelers. There were at least 4 of us there! And all sorts of fun people to talk to – including a woman traveling by bike for the next month (and we had the same bike!) and an adorable young couple with two (also adorable) kids who had lived in Brooklyn for a few years. The four of us talked late (you know, like 9 or 10) in the night before we all went our different ways the next day.
From there, I rode into the Nanaimo to get on a ferry, head to West Vancouver, catch up with a friend for beers and dinner before catching a plane back to NYC.
All told, the trip was about 380 miles – some hard days, some really easy days, but mostly a great experiment in learning to travel by bike.