The West Coast In and Out tour – Part 2

Photo: Destination British Columbia

What the? Missed part 1? Fear thee not Tinkerbell, you can read that here. Otherwise, here’s part 2 …



To add insult to injury, on yet another damp day I found out there was a marathon in town and that my plans to get to the aquarium would be tricky thanks to heavy traffic and morning road closures. My other plan (to see the Capilano suspension bridge) was also thwarted by the incessant rain, so I sucked it up and made camp at the Comfort Inn, wasting my time between BBC iPlayer and writing up the FZ-07 test (the BBC won out).

The Comfort Inn eventually wanted their room back so I suited up and made the quickish trip downtown to the all the more luxurious Granville Island hotel and my temporary fantasy life. Funnily enough, it’s situated on Granville Island which in turn is right in the heart of Vancouver. Odd name though – as as far as I can tell it’s not actually an island. Let’s just call it Granville.

I had arranged to meet up with an old friend, Patrick Harkness, who I’d met a while ago on a previous adventure out west when he kindly offered me a bed for the night and then left me the keys to the house when I found myself stuck and they had an appointment with a much-needed vacation.

I never fail to be impressed by that kind of trust and kindness (no matter how misplaced it may be) and we spent the afternoon in a bar catching up with middle-aged life before heading back to his house to meet up with his lovely wife Danette and his two new kids (well, new to me anyway).

Vancouver's a big city with a big view. Photo: Destination British Columbia
Vancouver’s a big city with a big view. Photo: Destination British Columbia

An afternoon well-spent, but alas I was wondering how Destination B.C. would take it after having sent me a small book of activities and a tourist pass for this great city of which went unused (note – you need to  include beer vouchers!).

BTW, Granville Island Hotel is really quite lovely and the (so-called) island is host to an eclectic and popular market, albeit a little pricey. Well worth a visit if you find yourself in Vancouver, with an old friend and the need for some catch-up brews.


Hahahahahahahahaha, and I thought the rain may have finally done its thing. Although I left Vancouver dry, by the time I hit the hills of North Vancouver, it was back to heavy soul-sucking drizzle. At least today I had three ferries to dry off and warm up on.

This is what the Sunshine Coast looks like - when it's sunshiny. Photo: Destination British Columbia
This is what the Sunshine Coast looks like – when it’s sunshiny. Photo: Destination British Columbia

The first came at Horseshoe Bay, with a relatively short hop to the town of Gibsons Landing, still somewhat famous as being the setting for the Beachcombers. From here the road is not very interesting and rather populated until you get past Sechelt where it gets progressively more and more fun until it comes to an abrupt stop when the land suddenly ends at Earl’s Cove where you need another ferry (this time free).

By now I was getting pretty fed up of being cold and damp, so I decided to call the day quits and go try to catch the earlier noon ferry from Powell River to Comox where I could check into the rather schmancy sounding Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa. Not that I would be able to afford to step out of my comp’d room once there.

Alas, CMG's luck held strong, and all Rob got was rain. Photo: Rob Harris
Alas, CMG’s luck held strong, and all Rob got was rain. Photo: Rob Harris

As is B.C. Ferries policy, the motorcycles are first on and off (big round of applause for B.C. Ferries please) and this let me get a good start and ahead of the traffic. Then something very strange happened.

The sun came out.

As any traveled motorcyclist understands, this is a game changer and suddenly the spa sounded foolish and the original destination of Lund was back on the agenda. So I pulled over, shed the waterproofs and perused the itinerary provided by Destinations B.C. for a suitable lunch suggestion.

“The Shingle Mill Pub is located on pristine Powell Lake, which was created during the last ice age” sounded just the job. With a deck that sits a little out on said lake and views out across the lake surrounded by lush green mountains, it was as if B.C. wanted to give me one last taste of what could be for the lucky motorcyclist.

With a dry road and hot sun soaking me with an unfamiliar sense of well being, I headed for the end of the road and mile marker zero of the Pacific Highway. Lund (about 30 minutes north of Powell River) and has developed nicely since my last visit about 10 years ago.

Eventually the sun came out, though, and Rob cheered up. Here's the FZ-07 in Lund. Photo: Rob Harris
Eventually the sun came out, though, and Rob cheered up. Here’s the FZ-07 in Lund. Photo: Rob Harris

The Lund Hotel – a small but still somehow grand structure literally at the end of the road and overlooking the sea, was really all there was to Lund when I last visited 10 years ago. That was it, and it wasn’t bad, but now it’s been joined by a bakery, gallery, restaurant and the odd rather expensive-looking house that wouldn’t be amiss within the pages of Dwell magazine. To put it simply, Lund is getting some attention and it’s working well.

It’s the kind of place that you just want to sit down on a terrace, sipping a good coffee and breathe out a long breath and absorb the calmness. It’s that perfect stop after a great ride, something that is sadly rare in Canada and all too often wasted in a soul-draining Tim Hortons.

Alas my ferry called (“Rob, it’s the ferry, you need to get back on the road and catch me”), enabling me to complete the tour’s loop back to the starting point of Comox. And that spa? A very nice way to end what, despite the rain, was a much needed fun five days on two wheels.

Since the CMG per diem was spent on the first day ($10) I ended up on the deck chairs eating a Subway sub and supping another fine IPA I found at the liquor store, all for the price of a starter at the Spa’s restaurant (I must try and find a way of upping the CMG travel budget).


After a few days of rain, it was fantastic to be rewarded with a beautiful sunset. Photo: Rob Harris
After a few days of rain, it was fantastic to be rewarded with a beautiful sunset. Photo: Rob Harris

Of course the next day was simply spectacular as I rode the short trek up into Courtenay to drop the FZ-07 off at Courtenay Motorsports and then a cab to the airport for a day of air travel back to the east coast.

Yes, it was a rather wet trip and it’s hard to find the happy in the rain on a motorcycle – especially one without any weather protection! But it’s also hard to not be wowed by the soul-lifting spectacle that is our west coast. In your face nature, snow coated mountains, cathedral trees, ever-lasting beaches, it just goes on. If you can get all that with blue skies and a splash of sun then it can’t be beat.


And here’s the tourism bit about what ‘Arris did, where he stayed and all the other bits  (slightly edited to control the gushing).


Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, Vancouver is home to two million people who enjoy a mild climate, breathtaking scenery and a wealth of recreational activities. 

Sunshine Coast

Tucked into the southwest corner of mainland British Columbia, the Sunshine Coast is part of the BC mainland. Here the mossy rainforest drops from a sculpted shoreline into the Strait of Georgia, and winds itself northward beneath the Coast Mountains from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound. The region offers a wide-range of year-round activities such as sea kayaking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, scuba diving, fresh and saltwater fishing. 


Granville Island

This vibrant urban oasis buzzes with life from dawn to dusk. Boasting a  Public Market with an array of vendors selling fresh produce and gourmet goodies, the Granville Island Brewing Company and unique shops, restaurants and galleries.


Shingle Mill Pub, Bistro & Restaurant
6233 Powell Place
Powell River, BC
Phone: 604-483-2001

The Shinglemill Pub was named after the community that occupied the property during the early and mid part of the 1900s that grew up around a mill that produced shingles. The pub is located on pristine Powell Lake which was created during the last ice age, and is now a favorite recreational area for locals and visitors.

Nancy’s Bakery
1451 101 Highway
Powell River, BC V8A 4Z2
Phone: 604-483-4180 

A local’s favourite, this charming bakery offers fresh-made baked goods including vegetarian and gluten-free treats. 


Comfort Inn and Suites
1748 Capilano Road,
North Vancouver, BC,  V7P 3B4
Phone: (604) 988-3181

Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston St.
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
Phone: 604.683.7373

The Granville Island Hotel provides a waterfront property ideally located for exploring the Public Market or kayaking on False Creek. 

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa
4330 Island Highway South
Courtenay, BC V9N 9R9
Phone: 250-338-1323 or toll-free: 1-800-663-7929

Every Kingfisher guest room and luxury suite features a deck or patio where you can enjoy a stunning panorama of sea, islands and mountains.  Spa amenities including a heated outdoor pool, sauna, hot tub, West Coast steam cave and fitness room.


British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

BC Ferries is the largest ferry system in the world,with 36 vessels serving 47 ports of call on 25 routes throughout coastal British Columbia. (And they let motorcycles on and off first. Sweet. – ‘Arris)


Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.


  1. Nice article…. but PLEEZE! Not another nice word for BC Ferries, the biggest rip off. $40 to take a car on a 10 minute ferry ride! Good on bikes, boo to the ferry!

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