Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Canadian Adventure - Day 9

Friday 11 August 2017

Nanaimo to Ucluelet via McLean Mill and Tofino - a journey of about 250 km.

Another 'blue sky apart from the smog day'. To start with anyway.

I managed a 4 km jog along the seafront in cooler conditions than yesterday's 35°C. Then we said goodbye to the Painted Turtle, stashed our overnight bags in Charlie, and wandered down to the seafront for breakfast.

A supermarket expedition ensured we wouldn't go hungry for a while, then we set off towards Port Alberni with the intention of getting elevenses there. Whilst we weren't distracted by the vineyard that delayed Robert, Lyn and Louise in 2015, we were distracted by some slightly clearer visibility by Cameron Lake, and by signs on the outskirts of Port Alberni for the McLean Mill. This had been recommended by Jonathan. Coffee was duly sourced, after which we enjoyed a stroll around the site of the sawmill that operated from 1926 until its closure in 1985. Most of the buildings had fallen into a state of dereliction before the City of Port Alberni acquired the site in 1988. It has been a challenging project to restore the buildings and return the mill to a properly operating condition.

Our visit coincided with the final stages of the setting up of the site for a music festival, the Five Acre Shaker, which takes place this weekend and features about forty performers on two stages, together with the usual accoutrements of a music festival. We were sorry to be moving on just before the first visitors arrived. We would have been interested to see bands like 'The Hip Replacements' and 'Looprechaun' in action. (Or would we?)

Lunch was taken - a couple of tasty quiches from the supermarket - under a canopy by the second stage - deserted before the arrival of the hordes, in hot sunny weather.

The drive to Tofino saw clouds appear for the first time on this trip (Day 9!), and with the clouds, which were partly sea fret, came plummeting temperatures - 25°C suddenly dropped to 15°C. By the time we reached Tofino our fleeces were being dragged from the depths of our luggage.

Tofino turns out to be Canada's answer to St Ives. Surfboards and other watersporty things abound and there are long sandy beaches nearby. The town was full, as Sue discovered when she tried to book accommodation there.

Like St Ives, Tofino isn't short of galleries. A Canadian artist, Roy Henry Vickers, owns the most upmarket of these. He's the brother of Arthur, who we met yesterday, but whilst Arthur sells just his 'high end' full size originals and limited edition prints, Roy reduces his masterpieces to cards and small block mounted items, one of which we bought for Sue to add to some nice earrings she acquired yesterday.

Back along the road we finally arrived at Ucluelet at around 5 pm. The receptionist at Little Beach Resort was expecting us and we were soon installed in chalet number 10, at one end of three adjoining chalets. We have all manner of facilities in one room, with a separate toilet. It's a  bit odd to have both a king size bed and a huge bath with jacuzzi in the same smallish room, not to mention the refrigerator, TV and microwave, dining table etc, etc.

Ucluelet is a place that despite being in the shadow of Tofino, is a notable destination in its own right. Lucy is still trying to get over her dismay when, some sixteen or seventeen years ago she brought my daughter here, only to be informed by the stroppy teenage nanny "It's bloody cold here, let's get back in the car" - she might have said the same today.

Sue went for a run whilst I made some tea that tasted awful so we strolled up the road for some beer to wash down our salady meal. Excellent. We still can't identify the reason for the horrible tea - all the components seem fine.

A most enjoyable interlude this evening involved readings from Robert's 'Brexton Travels' blog from his own Canadian Adventure with Lyn and Louise in 2015. Apart from the interest deriving from their route and activities, whatever gadget or addled brain Robert was using produced some very entertaining predictive text.

Today's pictures:

• The Painted Turtle Guest House
• By Cameron Lake
• McLean Sawmill locomotive 
• McLean Sawmill - the mill
• "Dead or Alive?"
• A Tofino view
• Our chalet at the Little Beach Resort

4 km run and about 7 km of walking in several outings.

4 comments:

BrextonT said...

Platypuses you find our routine helpfully:)

Phreerunner said...

Pardon Robert?!

BrextonT said...

Pleased you find our route helpful. :)

Phreerunner said...

Not exactly 'helpful' as we read your blog after we arrived here, but it was interesting to 'compare notes'. Our routes have been very similar so far but they diverge soon.