2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

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2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:11 pm

2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - Aug 20-27
:moto: :cheers: :kumbaya: :boogie:
The first annual VIGiL will be held at the end of August where we'll be circumnavigating Vancouver Island on some of the best motorcycle roads on the West Coast. We start in Victoria, head out West to Port Renfrew and Tofino, climb North through logging roads to Cape Scott Provincial Park and Port Hardy, and then back down along the Straight of Georgia to finish where we started in Victoria.

Status: We're in the planning phase, so nothing below is finalized. Some of the camp sites fill up quick, so we'll need to act fast to reserve them once we've decided exactly where we're staying.

Leave a comment below letting me know if you're interested in joining the ride, or if you have any questions. This is my first time coordinating a ride like this, so I could use some help from anyone interested in coming along: selecting camping sites, researching good places to eat, options for dealing with a break-down (these are Urals after all), is this too much planning?

General Route
Note that this is not the final/official route, just the approximate one for now.


Itinerary
Day 1 - Victoria to Lake Cowichan - 200km - 3.75hrs riding time
Road Condition: All paved.
Accommodations: TBD...camping near Cowichan Lake.
Description: We meet first thing in the morning in Victoria at the top of Beacon Hill and Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Highway. From there, we head out to Port Renfrew and then up to Cowichan Lake where we can meet up with any Up-Islanders who didn't make it all the way down to Victoria.

Day 2 - Cowichan to Tofino - 350km - 5.5hrs riding time
Road Condition: About 200km of gravel, 150km pavement.
Accommodations: TBD...camping near Tofino.
Description: This will be a challenging ride - there's a lot of gravel and we're heading out to Bamfield, which is one of the more remote towns on the Island. Afterwards, we make our way up to Port Alberni and on to the final stretch to Tofino with time to set up camp, have supper and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Day 3 - Tofino to Gold River - 350km - 6hrs riding time
Road Condition: Almost all paved.
Accommodations: TBD...hotel/motel in Gold River.
Description: After saying goodbye to Long Beach, we have a very scenic ride ahead of us through old growth Western Red Cedars and past a number of lakes and waterfalls. After 2 days of camping, we'll treat ourselves to some hot showers in a hotel/motel.

Day 4 - Gold River to Port Alice - 200km - 5.5hrs riding time
Road Condition: All gravel.
Accommodations: TBD...camping near Port Alice.
Description: This is the shortest leg of the trip, but it may prove to be the most challenging - these are some of the most remote roads that Vancouver Island offers. We'll ride past Muchalat Lake, Vernon Lake, Woss Lake, Atluck Lake, Kathleen Lake, Victoria Lake and Alice Lake. If we make it...I mean, when we make it, we'll set up camp and call it a day.

Day 5 - Port Alice to Port Hardy via San Josef Bay - 200km - 6hrs riding time
Road Condition: Gravel to San Josef Bay, pavement to Port Hardy.
Accommodations: TBD...camping near Port Hardy.
Description: The goal for today is to make it out to San Josef Bay where we'll do a quick 2km hike to see one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island. Then, we set out for Port Hardy which is the Northernmost town on the Island.

Day 6 - Port Hardy to Campbell River - 300km - 5.5hrs riding time
Road Condition: All paved.
Accommodations: TBD...hotel/motel in Campbell River.
Description: Now we turn the bikes South down past Telegraph Cove and Sayward for a relaxing day of scenic riding at our own pace. We'll check-in to a hotel/motel for the night to w@$# off the funk from the previous couple days of riding and camping.

Day 7 - Campbell River to Victoria - 300km - 5hrs riding time
Road Condition: All paved.
Accommodations: The end; go home.
Description: The final day takes us down along the Straight of Georgia along various beach drives and ocean roads. We'll take a break near Nanaimo to say good-bye to anyone who's living up-island or going back to Vancouver via the Nanaimo ferry. Before we get back to Victoria, we'll take a quick detour up into the Highlands along a great little stretch of road - Finlayson Arm Rd to Munn Rd to Prospect Lake Rd. The official end point will be at Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe for dinner and a pint before we say our final farewells.
Last edited by Boulevard_beck on Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:22 pm

I have a few questions/comments I wanted to put out there:
1. Should we open this up to other motorcycle groups? I.e. I'll mention this over at CURD obviously, but what about Horizons Unlimited, or ADV, or Meetup.com or any of the various Facebook groups? The more the merrier?
2. I'm looking for ideas on where to camp. If there's a great place you know about, pass it along, please.
3. Is the riding time too long? We're averaging 5-6hrs of riding each day. With breaks and lunch, this could turn into 8 hours on the road. Is that too much? Should we extend this to 8 days and space things out a little more?
4. Should we do more camping? Less camping? My preference is usually for a nice bed and a warm shower, but motorcycle camping is always a lot of fun, too. Right now, it's 2 nights of camping, 1 night in a hotel/motel, then 2 more camping and another night in a hotel/motel. Thoughts?
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby URAL CT » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:53 am

B_beck...nice first cut on the plan. I heard that Vancouver Island is really beautiful. Long haul for me but I've done extended rides before.
I'll be interested just doing pavement though. This old bod don't do very well on gravel/off-road stuffs anymore. When I travel, I figure/plan on 45 mph average speed...remember, these are Urals. Me, I just want to play tourist & leave the shenanigans to the young 'uns and the likes of Mr. Cob. You can set up meet points or places where the riders can gather & recount the excitements of their ride, truth, less than truth, or bs acceptable. Does not have to be daily, so at least everyone can free range, then gather up for the stories. I generally plan this way cuz I'm retired but I can still follow schedules. :mrgreen: Just sayin'... Keep the planning fires burnin', bud! :cheers:
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby siberman1 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:15 pm

A week seems like a long time on a ride IMO. Sure, MOAB in UT is a week, but it has "Day-Rides" so you can join the group anytime during the week and still enjoy part of the fun experience. A large campground is considered "Home Base" to arrive/leave as you need to do so. You have parking and congregations of folks for BBQs, games. grin & mingle, etc. In your scenario, there is no "home-base" so you either go on the whole ride, or start the ride and drop out (and back to Victoria) somewhere.

Unless NW Ural folks or Canadians are different, there may not be many takers. I am familiar with Victoria, etc, but even getting to a start point in Victoria is around 1500Km (one way, about 980 miles) which I would have to trailer. I was interested at the very first when I saw thread, but not with the current schedule. If someone needs to trailer a Ural to Victoria, where do you leave the car/truck+trailer in Victoria?

This is just my observation and my thoughts, Yours may differ.

YMMV
Last edited by siberman1 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby URAL CT » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:53 pm

What Siberman said...but then again B_beck is just soliciting for some input. I agree with Siberman, there need to be a base somewhere. No issues with me cuz I do not trailer unless it's a ride of shame :oops: :P First meeting/greeting place could be Victoria, share plans...etc, that could take a day in itself. It there is anyone that live on the island & have ample real estate to park trailers, pickups, etc... that may work. With regards to group traveling, what we've done in the past is...every morning, during coffee, I gotta have coffee first thing in the morning, we establish a meeting place for the evening camp, then everyone takes off to wherever they want to go & do, then meet up that evening at the designated camp/gathering place; campground, motel or both, cuz not everyone wants to camp. :mrgreen: Usually, if more than 2 riders, a group wanting to do similar adventures will form. That way no one is hindered from doing what & how they want to travel. Like loosely organized rides much like an "organized chaos" :P :mrgreen: Only organization in place is where to meet up that evening. Cell phone would be a nice to have to communicate changes, delays, etc...but for us south of the Canadian border, ya gotta watch out for roaming charges. I got bit by this when I broke down somewhere in Ontario, I got nailed by over $150 USD, ouch! There is a way around this though. :wink:
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:01 pm

Good feedback URAL CT and siberman1. I like the idea of establishing start and stop points, and then people can do whatever they want in between. Some people will want to go fast and some people will stop for a million pictures - this allows for every type of rider to be happy. 7 days averaging 6 hrs of riding however will probably end up being too far. I might have to build in another day to lower the overall average riding time.

I also like the idea of having points along the route where people can join in for part of the ride, and depart back home as their schedule allows. I can think of a few spots where that would work well - breakfast on Day 2 in Lake Cowichan for people who want to visit to Tofino, breakfast on Day 4 in Gold River for people interested in North Island riding, and breakfast on Day 7 in Campbell River for anyone who's just looking to ride some nice ocean roads back down to Victoria for dinner.

I can see why you'd suggest having a base, but given that we're covering the entire Island, I'm not sure there's a good central location to act as a base. That's good for a meetup or a gathering or something where everyone sets up camp in one spot and then does little day trips if they want to or just hangs out in camp if they prefer. This trip is more like the Dakar: a long and challenging ride from one point to another each day. What I might suggest is that if someone else organizes a Vancouver Island Gathering, we could work them both together by having the VIGiL pass through the home base of the Gathering and maybe even having a rest day to hang out with everyone before continuing along the route.

Keep the feedback coming, I appreciate it!
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby URAL CT » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:43 pm

Oh, B_beck...I misunderstood the objective of the ride. :oops: I'm into touring/sightseeing on the island not "dakar type" of riding. Sorry, I'm out of my league on this ride. :) Your map looks good, though, I may just modify it to fit my style of Ural riding. Thanks for the info! :cheers:
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby rivers » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:01 pm

b-b, nice job on the initial plan. Certainly covers the majority of a large island. I'd like to make it back over there in Aug and maybe meet some of you folks but not going to sign up for it. A little too structured and scheduled for me (my personal hang up). I'm more a leisurely exploration see what's what guy rather than schedule/goal/destination oriented. Been known to stumble upon a spot I like and just hang awhile. If a temp BC fishing lic isn't too outrageous, might try to snag a fish for the frying pan. :)
Thanks for starting this adventure. :thumbsup:
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:08 pm

Boulevard_beck wrote:if someone else organizes a Vancouver Island Gathering, we could work them both together by having the VIGiL pass through the home base of the Gathering and maybe even having a rest day to hang out with everyone before continuing along the route.

Maybe I should just do this: organize the meetup somewhere like Tofino over the course of 2 days and make this meetup take place in the middle of my own trip. That way, we all win. I'll do the big Vancouver Island circumnavigation, and I'll make sure to be in Tofino for the meetup with everyone else. We'll have a beers and a bonfire on the beach, rivers can supply the fish, maybe we'll all go for a little ride somewhere. And then when it's over, I'll continue on my way around the Island. This could work...I'll give it some thought.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby rivers » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:20 pm

Again, just "my personal views". I like the group camp meet up somewhere . Then in the evening as a mass group or smaller groups or individuals hammer out what the next day involves for each person? I don't know of any campgrounds etc that could accommodate a small to med group? Though Tofino is a nice place to see and ride to it's somewhat off the main drag. I (think?) most folks would be arriving on island via the Port Angeles or Vancouver ferry system? I'd think an easier centralized meet up would be better depending on the ferry schedules. Maybe somewhere around Nanaimo? It's an easy no brainer run from the Victoria ferry dock. Figure most of us will need a bit of time getting oriented, buying groceries, fuel etc before hitting camp. Just some random thoughts.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:05 am

Just a quick update on the planning. It's starting to look like this will be a solo trip, so I might end up cutting out Tofino, since I've been there before. This changes things up a bit in terms of start/stop points, but it also starts to follow the original VIGL map almost exactly.

Day 1 - Victoria to Lake Cowichan - 200km - 3.75hrs riding time
Accommodations: camping near Cowichan Lake.

Day 2 - Lake Cowichan to Mount Washington - 306km - 5hrs riding time
Accommodations: somewhere at the mountain resort.

Day 3 - Mount Washington to Woss Lake Provincial Park - 250km - 4.5hrs riding time
Accommodations: back country camping.

Day 4 - Woss Lake Provincial Park to Port Hardy - 175km - 5hrs riding time
Accommodations: hostel.

Day 5 - Port Hardy to San Josef Bay to Port McNeill- 200km - 4.5hrs riding time
Accommodations: AirBnB in Port McNeill.

Day 6 - Port McNeill to Miracle Beach Provincial Park - 250km - 4.5hrs riding time
Accommodations: BC Parks campground.

Day 7 - Miracle Beach Provincial Park to Victoria - 300km - 5hrs riding time
Accommodations: The end; go home.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby MrPark » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:07 am

Boulevard B.... I may be in on this if it looks like you're doing this solo or maybe with one other. I've been up to Vancouver Island once on my Strom and would love to do it on my Ural. I'm just not one for large group rides as I've found it always turns into a major cluster f%#@! Keep me informed on your plans as I'd love to do something like this.

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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:53 pm

MrPark, I know how you feel about solo trips. Alone there's a lot more freedom to do what you want, stop where and when you want, and take as much time as you want. With a group, things get complicated and sometimes it's just go, go, go.
I'm planning on documenting the trip (http://www.vancouverislandgrandloop.com) so I'll likely be stopping lots and the pace will be pretty slow going sometimes. I wouldn't want to slow you and Petey down :p
I'll keep you posted on the trip. It would be nice to have some backup in case the bike needs a fix on the road. Even if we just meet up at each at camp each day or something.
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Jocanadian » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:41 am

Hey boulevard beck I live on northern Vancouver island and am interested I joining in on this adventure but time/work gets in the way I'm new to riding Urals but I'm hooked for life an so is my dog lol would love to meet up and ride with other Ural riders and probably ask to many questions.
I was looking at your map and would like to see about possibly meeting in port alice or further south and joining in for awhile. Also can provide a lot of local knowledge cheers jo
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Re: 2016 VIGiL (Vancouver Island Grand Loop) - August 20-27

Postby Boulevard_beck » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:05 am

Jocanadian wrote:Hey boulevard beck I live on northern Vancouver island and am interested I joining in on this adventure but time/work gets in the way I'm new to riding Urals but I'm hooked for life an so is my dog lol would love to meet up and ride with other Ural riders and probably ask to many questions.
I was looking at your map and would like to see about possibly meeting in port alice or further south and joining in for awhile. Also can provide a lot of local knowledge cheers jo


Terribly sorry, but you're about 1 year too late. I rode this last year and had a blast. The Ural held up perfectly and it was a trip of a lifetime. San Josef Bay is amazing. If you're ever down in Victoria, give me a ring and we'll go for coffee and chat about Urals. Cheers.
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