Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kapoor Main Line to Bedspring Suspension Bridge

Yesterday we did an interesting motorcycle ride out of Shawnigan Lake on the Renfrew Road towards Koksilah River Provincial Park. After the park Renfrew Road eventually joins up with the Kapoor Main Line logging road and goes in a north-west direction following the Koksilah River.

While travelling on the muddy logging road we passed Sunny Daze Campground, a favourite place to stay in the area for 4x4 adventurers and events like Dual Sport BC's annual Orca Run.

Once we were past Sunny Daze it became very evident that this was an active logging road with lots of trucks passing us carrying full loads of timber. The Kapoor Main Line was well marked out with km signs and gated at certain points along the way. One posted sign at one gate stated that the gate was to be closed and locked at 4 pm. We figured we would have to turn back by at least 3 pm.

At one time the Renfrew Road (Kapoor M/L) went all the way to Port Renfrew. Today the road does not go through and stops at Williams Creek, where at one time was the site of the unique Bedspring Suspension Bridge. Unfortunately the bridge deck rotted out and was never replaced.

The goal was to make it as far as the old Bedspring Suspension Bridge crossing. But because of time constraints concerning the possible gate closures we ended up turning around at around 3:15 pm, about the 22 km marker. Although we never did make it to Williams Creek, it was an adventure and we have already started talking about coming back sometime in the future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gordon River Forest Service Road

What a day today on Southern Vancouver Island. With temperatures hovering around 12 degrees Celsius it proved to be a good day to attempt a motorcycle ride from Honeymoon Bay to Port Renfrew via the Gordon River Forest Service Road (FSR).

Going up to Lake Cowichan started off with a coffee at the Tim Hortons located on Hwy 1 at the Drinkwater Road exit in North Cowichan. From here a quick trip up Mount Prevost was in order. While travelling to Lake Cowichan a few drops of rain started, eventually stopping at Honeymoon Bay. Luckily we never had to put on rain gear.

The ride started off very muddy from Honeymoon Bay with snow on the sides of the forest service road following Sutton Creek. We passed a few logging trucks and heavy equipment on route to the turnoff back towards Lake Cowichan on the Caycuse Hookup.

From here the road was in good shape and very scenic as it travels next to Gordon River. The only issue was at the turnoff for TR4 for Baden Main, TR10 for Loup Creek and Gordon Main all meet. Eventually we figured it after seeing signs of km markers stapled to the trees on Gordon River Main.

After crossing the bridge over Gordon River the gravel road turns to rough pavement en-route past the Port Renfrew Marina and the Deering Bridge over the San Juan River.

Once in Port Renfrew we made our way to the Coastal Kitchen Cafe for a well deserved coffee and french fries. We both marveled at this route compared to the Harris Creek road for the shear joy of letting the motorcycles perform on the gravel road. Definitively a good choice, will try later in the summer when the water level of Gordon River goes down and try to find a swimming hole.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Port Renfrew Loop from Saanich

It proved to be just a perfect day today on southern Vancouver Island. With this in mind another opportunity for a motorcycle ride came up.

Starting off in Saanich to Hwy 1 then north to Duncan where gasoline was nearly 4 cents less per litre. After filling up at the Chevron headed inland on Highway 18 to Lake Cowichan. The conditions were excellent with surprising enough very little traffic. Although there was quite a few other motorcyclists who had the same idea.

From Lake Cowichan the trip took us to Mesachie Lake where the completely paved road to Port Renfrew starts. Highlights of this trip included Harris Creek Canyon, Lizard Lake, Renfrew Creek and some exploring on the Gordon River Main FSR past the Port Renfrew Marina.

Once at Port Renfrew the weather was crystal clear with very little wind. The ocean and beach area along the bay inside of Port San Juan was incredible.

After a quick coffee at the Coastal Kitchen Café in Port Renfrew it was off on the road again going south to Jordan River and Sooke. Just a note the Coastal Kitchen Café was very busy with everyone's plate looking very delicious especially the fish & chips which featured fresh halibut.

Coming back to Victoria on the West Coast Highway 14 was fairly quick with little vehicle traffic. The only unfortunate thing was an accident scene Near China Beach with the remains of a motorcycle in the ditch and the RCMP watching over it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Motorcycle Ride March 4, 2010

What an opportunity to get out for a motorcycle ride today, with clear blue skies and a high temperature of 11 degrees Celsius for in the middle of winter, it doesn’t get any better.

The day started off with a ride to Sidney for an Americano coffee at the Serious Coffee on Beacon Avenue with Ron from BC. From there down Wallace Drive to Willis Point Road, Ross Durance Road eventually to Millstream Road, Hwy 1 north to South Shawnigan Lake Road. What a treat, great conditions and no traffic.

Turning off South Shawnigan Lake Road along West Shawnigan Lake Road the conditions were excellent with beautiful views of the lake and Old Mount Baldy in the background. From here the road meets Renfrew Road and circles back to the small community of Shawnigan Lake.

Along the way a short detour was made for a small 15 minute walk along the Trans-Canada Trail to the Kinsol Trestle. The trestle which crosses the Koksilah River has been closed and in need of major repairs for a number of years. From notice signs posted at the trestle it is in the process, through grant money, of being reconstructed and made safe to be used again.

Going back to Victoria was made easy by taking Shawnigan Lake Road back to Hwy 1. Again the ride was really nice by the fact there was little traffic and conditions favourable.

3rd St. Cafe in Sidney

An opportunity came up yesterday to go out for breakfast and because it was during the week plus a little later in the morning just before the lunch crowd, the 3rd St. Cafe in Sidney came to mind.

Heavily rated and often recommended as one as the best places for breakfast in the Capital Regional District this is one place we had to try.

The small café located right on Beacon and 3rd street across from Starbucks can’t be mistaken by the large crowd that’s inside enjoying the great food. The sign in the doorway said it all. “Small Place Big Flavour” as well as “no camping allowed,” and “please be patient and we will eventually serve you.”

If you do arrive at peak times it can be crowed at times so please be prepared for a wait. The 3rd Street Cafe does have a wait list if you would like to browse the shops in Sidney. Breakfast runs at around $15 per person (which includes coffee and tip).

The facility sits around 30 people at max. The owners recognize this and really try and get you seated and served right away. If you are by yourself there is a bench area for quicker service rather than waiting for a table.

Breakfast is served all day as well as lunch after 11:00 am. The 3rd St. Cafe is located at 2466 Beacon Ave in Sidney. Telephone (250) 656-3035 for days and hours of operation.

Reviews: 3rd St. Cafe