MAP – driving Calgary to Vancouver

Update.  I ended up driving only about 2000 km. in 4 days.  The plan below was WAY TOO MANY HOURS behind the wheel. 

I skipped the backtracking to Jumbo Pass.

I have 4 days, up to 3000 km in my rented CanaDream Camper Van

Short hikes and bike rides along the way.

Here’s my itinerary, so far.  Of course I’ll change this on a whim once on the road starting Friday August 21. 

Dreaming of Senja, Norway

I loved my trip to Lofoten, Norway in 2018.

What’s next?

Senja, even further north of the Arctic Circle.

click for larger version

Norway’s second-largest island, rivals Lofoten and Vesterålen for natural beauty yet attracts a fraction of the visitors.

Norway is the most expensive place I’ve ever been.

So I’d fly in with a bike and camping gear.  Sleep most nights outdoors.  Norway has a freedom to roam law so you can tent almost anywhere for free.

The weather is frightful, of course.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

my Quad Lock phone accessories

What’s cooler than a man wearing a HIP pack with a phone belt clip?

A man wearing a fanny pack with two phone clips!   😀

My trusty Otterbox case has served me well. And saved me many, many times. I’ve never broken a phone. The belt clip is … OK.

When I got a second phone I tried, instead, the Quad Lock belt clip.  It’s better than Otterbox, overall.  Quad Lock was rated #1 on Wirecutter.

There’s a cheaper alternative called Nite Ize Wraptor.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I only tried that belt clip because I was looking for a way to mount my new phone on the handlebars of my touring bike.  The belt clip is compatible.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


My Strathcona Park hiking/cycling week

I spent 6 days in British Colombia’s 1st Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, my first time to the main part of the attraction.

Cycled first to Buttle Lake Campground.  Fantastic.  I highly recommend it for car camping.

Next day I cycled towards Gold River to try the Kings Peak hike.

It didn’t go so well.  But the cycling was excellent.

From there I headed for Flower Ridge – 2 days, 1 night.  Much better.

As Strathcona has no electricity and no mobile phone service, I relied on solar power.

My best hike was Bedwell Lakes trail.

I do recommend Strathcona for one and all.  In fact, I want to return for some longer hikes after August 1st when there will be less snow and easier navigation up high.

Strathcona Provincial Park (1911) contains the highest peaks of the Vancouver Island Ranges. Some notable mountains located within the park boundaries include:

  • Golden Hinde (2198 m)
  • Elkhorn Mountain (2166 m)
  • Mount Colonel Foster (2129 m)
  • Mount Albert Edward (2093 m)

Exploring Strathcona Park is the best guidebook. It’s not inexpensive, but worth it. Great maps. Colour photos. Comprehensive coverage.

Author Phil Stone is truly an expert.

I’ll be carrying a dead tree copy on my bike.

And I plan to be spending quite a bit of time in Strathcona over coming years working towards establishing a possible coast-to-coast Vancouver Island route.

Detailed map.


My China Creek CURSE !

Cycling Parksville to China Creek B.C. 

During 21 days in place in Parksville, I did some research into what kind of outdoor adventures are ethical and legal on Vancouver Island during COVID-19.

National Parks were already closed.

Provincial Parks, including all protected areas, conservancies, recreation areas, and ecological reserves, did not close until April 8th, after I had returned to Parksville.

Anyone found in a closed park after April 8th could be evicted and could face a $115 fine. All front country campgrounds also now closed.

Legally, that leaves Crown Land. Any Canadian can camp free for up to 21 days on Crown Land unless posted otherwise.

BC Ministry of Tourism Culture and the Arts maintains more than 1,200 recreation campsites (on Crown Land) under its Recreation Sites and Trails BC program. …

It looks to me like the more remote free campsites are still open. Those with no road access, no camping fee. No services.

Most Crown campsites with fees are closed, on a case-by-case basis.

Ethically, I don’t want to add any demands on medical first responders. Happily we have many empty hospital beds right now — but I was still enthusiastic to avoid injury.

So … I took off on my bike. Late afternoon.

About 3 hours later I set up camp in a remote wilderness spot close to little hiked Qualicum River Trail.

Next morning I passed excellent Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park Visitor Centre. Already closed — though the Park itself was still open.

From there you can cycle into logging roads. Clearly the NO ACCESS sign means no access for motor vehicles.  Clearly.

I’d cycled these logging roads and trails to Port Albeni last summer.

This time I stayed on the main route, Lacey Lake road.

Got lost twice. Pushed the bike a fair bit uphill through mud.

During the day I saw 2 guys on ATVs and 1 other cyclist. Said I was the first other bike he’d seen over 5 days on these trails.

Good physical distancing, I reckon’.

Just before Port Albeni one of my paniers broke. Again. I’d fixed it last season with a zip tie.

Fed up, I decided to stop at one of the Port Alberni bike shops. All open. All busy during COVID-19.

The small shop had only 2 brands of saddle bags. One was the colourful, waterproof Ortlieb, so popular with Europeans. I’d been envious for years.

Though expensive, I was a very easy sell. I paid CDN $240 for a set of two.

At the time the cost on was 157.99. 

Very quickly I left civilization on logging roads in the direction of Bamfield.

It was 5pm when I decided to camp in a wilderness spot near China Creek on the Alberni Inlet.

I was keen to set-up my new Solar Panel system — BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charger — which had gotten great reviews.

I hung around for 10 minutes making sure it was charging my iPhone and Apple Watch, then took off on the Alberni Inlet Trail to visit famed China Creek campground which I’d never seen.

I set it up on a log with a good angle to catch the setting sun in the west.

I’d hiked the Alberni Inlet Trail (section 1) in 2019, but stopped short of the China Creek campground where section 2 begins. In fact, later on the same trip my bike broke down just short of China Creek. I hitchhiked back to Port Alberni and phoned my Dad for rescue.

China Creek campground and trails are gorgeous.

About 6pm I got back to camp. All my gear was there … except the solar charger, iPhone and Apple Watch. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Stolen? … By whom? 

Seemingly thieves were around. In the wild.

I decided to move camp to deep in old growth forest. Far from sunlight.

By next morning I’d decided to quit. Again. Again at China Creek. Second year in a row. 

I cycled back to Port Alberni. Called my Dad for rescueAgain. Second year in a row. 

The RCMP are not interested in any crimes valued less than CAD $5000.

But on Find My Phone I located both phone and watch. In a house in Port Alberni. The thieves. … I locked both devices and remotely put on a message offering a reward. With a phone number.

I reported the incident online, including the house address, to the RCMP.

Realizing they’d been found, the thieves phoned me. Said they found iPhone and watch in a ziplock bag. Would be happy to return both — but were afraid of the virus. I’d have to drive back to Port Alberni to collect them.

I did. Thrilled to get my electronics back. … Let’s call the CAD $85 solar charger the reward.

And let’s call China Creek cursed.  😀



MUST LISTEN – The Adventure Podcast

Every week I listen to Dave Adlard and Kraig Becker discussing adventures around the world.

Always entertaining.  And informative.

They’ve just posted their official 100th episode:

Our Favorite Podcast Moments

Through 100 Shows


____ Here’s my review of the very start from Dec 24, 2017. 

For years Kraig has been my main source of news on outdoor adventure on his site called The Adventure Blog.

He and Dave are co-hosting an extension of that site with a weekly online radio show.

Both are gear nuts. From episode 1 they’ve already convinced me I NEED two products:

The new Omni smart helmet. Indegogo.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

And a Dji spark drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Check out the podcast here.

My 14-day quarantine is over

Returning to Canada from Bermuda (zero positives at the time) I was asked at the Toronto airport to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. And watch to see if I developed a fever or other symptoms:

Stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home from international travel.

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
  3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).


Since that time I’ve only had one encounter I considered at all risky — a hotel check-in clerk near the Toronto airport.

When I got to the room I washed my credit card, the room key and my hands very thoroughly.

Physical distancing at my parent’s place in Parksville went well. Just 5 of us in contact. And one friend.

We had no thermometer but it was clear I had no fever — only my usual Spring allergies.

I’ll continue with the physical distancing, minimizing contact with people. But I do feel freer now to spend more time outside running, hiking and cycling in the wilds of Vancouver Island.

As far from people as possible.