I made a trip to Tofino in British Columbia the first week of August. I was off Monday through Thursday and, on a lark, I thought I would make a quick solo run. I didn’t need to make a real plan, because I knew where I wanted to go, and there was only one possible route.
I got out of the house late Tuesday afternoon, with the objective of getting to Tsawassen on the lower mainland in BC, and catching the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I’d stay at a motel there, and ride out to Tofino on the coast in the morning. It was a glorious evening; the weather was warm, and I had nothing but time.
My motel choice was pretty typical of the kind of dive I stay in when on motorcycle trips – a bed, a shower, and hopefully an acceptable margin of cleanliness. I found the Harbour Light Inn to be a little better than I expected for the money.
I awakened Wednesday to a beautiful morning, and a day of endless possibilities. I found a small French cafe called Le Petit Choux (translated as The Little Cabbage, I think) in the old town section of Nanaimo.
I had a delicious vegetarian breakfast. The wait staff was friendly and prompt. I spoke with a couple of locals for a little bit, and then set out for the coast.
There’s only one road into and out of Tofino. The scenery was beautiful, with vibrant green forest surrounding small-to-medium-sized sparkling blue lakes. The traffic was light, and the road was curvaceous so, as you might imagine, I rode fast and low under the radar.
After arriving in Tofino, I had a walk down to the pier.
I then had a very nice fish & chips lunch at The Schooner. It was good, but pricy, which is to be expected in a tourist-filled little fishing village in the summer.
Back on the road, I retraced my route to Nanaimo where I would catch the ferry to the mainland and home. I arrived shortly after a ferry had departed, and they are on a two-your cycle, (the crossing is two hours). I decided I would get my Nexus card and Passport from my pocket to be ready to present them to Customs. Once the ferry was docked I would be the first off, and it was a short ride to the border crossing at Blaine. However, I couldn’t seem to locate my Nexus card. I remembered that I’d had it out while in Tofino. I’d taken it out of my suit pocket when I shed my suit for my walk around town and lunch, and I didn’t recall seeing it since then.
A Nexus card is a trusted-traveler document that allows someone with a squeaky-clean record to use a fast lane when traveling into the U.S. or Canada. If you cross the Canadian border a lot, it’s well worth going through the process to get one, as the lines for the general public can be hours long. I wasn’t too worried about having to wait in a long line this time, as it would be late evening on a Wednesday when I would be crossing, and traffic would be very light. What concerned me was that I would have to report it lost, and then go through the whole process to get a new one issued. The other thing is, I HATE LOSING ANYTHING like that.
Resigned to the loss of my card, I consoled myself with an ice cream at the ferry terminal coffee shop . While enjoying my ice cream and fiddling with my cell phone, the chairs around me slowly filled with my fellow travelers. One of them happened to be a little pink dog. Had they put something in my ice cream?
After an uneventful ferry crossing and trip home, my Tofino trip was complete.