Friday, 19 September 2014

What I did on summer vacation: Hornby Island or Bust

Ha!!  I wish.  Hornby it is.

photo here
Well, what do you know? Looks like school might finally be back in session next week, after more than three full months without classes! It looked like the teacher's strike would drag on indefinitely, but they surprised us all with a negotiated settlement this week, so this is officially the end of summer. What better time to tell you what I did on my summer vacation...  ready?

I rode my bike!! Surprise! Mostly we stuck around town, checking out the local attractions.  You know, like the Flying Beaver.  Everyone should visit the Flying Beaver at least once.  So that's what we did.  Then we set out dark and early one morning with our hearts set on Hornby Island.

We crossed the Lion's Gate bridge and rode through West Vancouver along Bellevue Avenue to Horseshoe Bay as the sun dawned on a gorgeous new day.

The grass along the seawall in West Van is so lush it's just psilly.

There's nothing silly about BC Ferries, however.  Specially not their new and anything but improved schedules and sky-high fares.  It can't possibly be true, but it seemed the walk on plus a bike price was twice what it was last year. It was certainly substantially more expensive. No wonder the lack of ferry traffic is starting to weigh heavily on several coastal communities. I am sure glad we were paying for neither a truck, motorhome, nor trailer.

But at least bikes are first on, first off (for the most part).

Outside Nanaimo (No-Mind-Oh) we were shooting for the moon,

but settling for Sexcessories in Parksville

they have both a front AND rear entrance, y'know.

After exploring Parksville we out for Qualicum Beach

slower than I'd like it.

You can see Hornby from Qualicum Beach.  It's encouraging to lay eyes upon it. Even with a way to go yet, it's a sight for sore eyes, or at least it is if you've been there before so you know what's in store.

And it really is a looooooooong haul, hauling a trailer all the way 

to heavenly Hornby Island,

though twelve hours and three ferries further along from our 6:30 A.M. start we did finally arrive safe and sound.

We were only there for two nights and a day, but we definitely made the most of the time we had. We started off the morning with a quick trip to Ford's Cove for a few supplies, 

and we couldn't help but notice how the Fall Fair was in full swing.  It's a tight-knit community, this one, and yet we were welcomed all around.

There were a few farmers' peddling there wares

but most of the stalls belonged to artists and artisans.  You could find jams, jellies, and preserves galore, along with jewelery, candles, t-shirts and more.

It's a truly peaceful place, 

with a remarkably laid-back attitude.

We had lunch at the fair, and then set off to explore the island and its many grapes.

They grow like weeds round here, so you'll find a fair few wineries if you keep your eyes open. The pub by the ferry landing called The Thatch, but it should be called The Vine, cause the deck is covered with them.

The original plan had been to sail to Hornby from Vancouver, but that fell through, and when it did, we decided to ride instead. Probably just as well, because it was such a lovely weekend that there really wasn't anything in the way of wind. 

You probably already guessed that I was okay with the change.  My legs like a good workout, and we managed over three hundred kilometers in three short days.  And while a calm, sunny day might make sailing difficult, it sure makes for great shadow play.

I love Hornby for lots of good reasons, not the least of which is its cycling culture.  I fit right in, and that's always a good feeling.

(a fun rack in Fanny Bay along the way)
It's one of my favourite places, Hornby, so even though the ferries have become prohibitively expensive,

I will always try to find my way back again.


  1. il Pirata est Mort19 September 2014 at 10:22

    Well done Babble! Love that trailer. How much heavier was it after the stop at the toystore?
    One of my favorite beauty tips came from Sophia: "Never make noise when getting up from a chair."

    1. Thank you. She's da bomb, that woman, still stunning at 80! xx

  2. Wow Ms. Babble ! Beautiful stuff. The bar is obviously (to the pilot set) a reference to the deHavilland Beaver, their other products being the Otter and DHC-3, etc. All of which are super expensive (to a poor corrupt official like me!).

    I wanted to do a little distance / camping during my time off but alas was not to be.
    It's great to see you riding about post rehab.
    And do not complain... you have more than champagne glasses worth!! More exposure please!

    Is it Friday yet??


    1. I like the old Harvards, used to fly passenger in the odd airshow way back when... there aren't many of em left these days, but they sure make flying fun. After a few of those rides, and the stunts the pilots pulled off I wrote off the possibility of ever going sky-diving. After all that, I just couldn't imagine why anyone would ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

      You can still do a distance trip over a long weekend, you know. You just have to give up on the idea of resting your legs before you return home is all... :)

  3. Replies
    1. It was gorgeous. I loved every single minute of it. Well. Almost. There is a small stretch of the journey which must be undertaken on the highway, and what with the cars screaming by at at least 120 km/hr, it quickly becomes quite stressful. And noisy.

  4. What they said.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm fond of fondling - thanks for the tour!

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