June 19th, 2011 - Start of Blacks’ Expedition
The road to Tahsis truly is the road to adventure. They say Tahsis is the birthplace of British Columbia, but it is in no way a big city. The village consists mainly of a pub/beer store, a marina and a few unique houses. On our first visit we merely filled our gas tanks and picked up a few beers to share. We camped at a free forestry campsite 2 km’s out of town and were the only people there. I found it therapeutic to slay wood and enjoyed using my newly sharpened axe (Mr. Whiskers). The next morning the sun broke through the previous days overcast, perfectly complimenting our hot breakfast of coffee and oatmeal. I felt an urge to see more of Tahsis as the first visit seemed nothing more than a beer run so I rode solo back into town with the hopes of making some kind of connection to the small village. As I walked the docks, now deprived of any activity, I could see what used to be a booming fishing community. Situated on an inlet, Tahsis is a prime location for fishing but has become obsolete due to its remote location.
As I rode back to camp I realised that I had found that connection that I was looking for, not in Tahsis itself, but in the road to Tahsis, a road that cuts through mountains and valleys in an epic gravel adventure! The road is 64 km’s long of pristinely graded gravel that winds its way past rivers, lakes, waterfalls, caves, old growth trees and plenty of wildlife. One black bear had a look of sheer terror as we sent him running up the bank. I’ve never seen a bear look so scared. I can say without a doubt that I enjoyed every inch of that road. Erin on the other hand didn’t share my love for the road to Tahsis. Still not fully comfortable with gravel she found the road exhausting and was drained of any livelihood when we stopped at Gold River. The original plan was to head north on a gravel road through the mountains and pop out at the town of Woss, not too far from Port Hardy. In an attempt to remedy Erin’s mood I opted for the long way around back to Campbell River and then north to Port Hardy. This route was all nicely paved highways and I hoped it would lighten Erin’s spirits. However, as the day continued I found Erin doing 65 km’s an hour in a 90 zone… She was done for the day and we made camp outside the town of Sayward. The next morning after a talk with a fellow camper and local scrapper, who hooked us up with some free kielbasa, we headed north to Port Hardy. Erin was rejuvenated and rode like a veteran of the road keeping up a good pace behind me.
So here I am, on the vessel Northern Expedition, on route to Prince Rupert. This ferry has done an excellent job of showcasing B.C.’s coastline and for the most part travels ridiculously close to the shore. We even saw a short glimpse of some killer whales… too short to get any pictures but I did manage to photograph a little grey whale. The bikes patiently await their next adventure, strapped securely in the belly of the ship. Upwards on onwards we go to the great north and the Arctic Circle.
PS, If anyone talks to Phoenix, ask him to update the GPS thingy, I sent him an email to his interncomic…. but haven’t heard back. Also tried calling him. The dotted line in the ocean is me conserving the battery on the GPS, but that was the ferry route. Also I seem to have lost the track from Qualicum Beach to Campbell River, Oh Well.