Vancouver Island Chapter Run to Renfrew

June 7, 2003

Saturday, 7 Jun - what a gorgeous day! We had picked this date because there was to be a low tide just after lunch. What we couldn't predict was the weather. But luck was with us and the day was sunny and bright.

We met at the WestCan Mall parking lot in Langford. Lucy and I got there early in the 1800 and it wasn't long before the rest of the group started to arrive. By the 10:30 drivers meeting we had nine cars, unfortunately someone was having a new roof put on the house and couldn't join us for the drive out, but we did appreciate the support at the start.

Highway 14 out to Port Renfrew is about an hour and a half drive. The road starts out nicely, smooth and paved with gentle tree lined curves leading into Sooke. Between Sooke and Jordan River there were frequent glances out across the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the tang of salt water was in the air. Traffic was light and it was easy to cruise along at the speed limit just enjoying the sights. It was just after Jordan River, in fact the first turn and hill after, that the road started to become a little more interesting and challenging. In addition to the occasional one lane bridge that would pop up with little notice, there were a number of tighter corners that did not have speed reduction caution signs alerting the driver to their presence!! But the prudent driver who was watching ahead usually got a hint that something was up when the road ahead could not be discerned because of the tightness of the corner. And equally suddenly were the stretches of beautiful new blacktop, two generous lanes wide, pave shoulders, massive new conrete bridges, all giving the urge to push the right hand pedal down a bit more then one should. It seems that when the old wooden bridges had washed out the government miracuously found a pot of money to build this grandiose monument to modern high speed traffic flow. Unfortunately the new pavement was only in the immediate vicinity of the new bridge and one was quickly brought back to reality by the return of rough pavement and narrow shoulders.

And before you knew it you were in a reduced speed zone on the outskirts of beautiful downtown Port Renfrew. A few in our group opted for the picnic lunch on the sand and windswept beach at the head of the inlet. The rest retreated to civilization at the Lighthouse pub and restaurant, a new establishment with a very well appointed interior and varied menu. We were offered a large table in the dining room so we could all sit together and share our thoughts and stories about the drive and other Volvo related stuff.

But the real purpose of our drive was to see the tide pools at Botanical Beach. So after a short photo session in front of the pub we were on the road again. But this drive was to be much more sedate. It is only a mile and a half out to the beach but the road is not paved and is rather dusty. So it was a much slower pace. One more surprise was the addition of pay parking at our final destination - something new since Bob and Jim Monnastes had done the initial route check last summer. Oh well, we hadn't come this far to be deterred by a bit of provincial park beaurocracy. The trails were clearly marked, one just had to remember that the easy down hill hike to the beach would be all up hill on the return leg. The beauty of the foreshore area at Botanical Beach made it all worth while. The shallow basins carved into the stone bed of the beach were filled with all sorts of colorful creatures. And the rock formations etched out by the surf were equally fascinating. It wasn't long and our group was scattered a considerable distance along the coast. But we also kept a wary eye on the tide and weather and when the wind shifted and the offshore fog bank started drifting back into the treetops we decided it was probably time for us to head back. As one member of our troop was heard to lament - I'll bet that mist is full of salt air, I can just imagine it seeping into the joints of my car and causing all sorts of mayhem and rust!!

The drive back was equally fun. We tried not to bunch up, each proceeding at his/her own pace in accordance with individual capabilities. Gregg Morris' early departure so he could have a clear field ahead was duly noted. We are still awaiting a detailed report from Rose, his navigator, on his average speed obtained on this leg of their trip. It seems that a number of our group had noted on the way out, the presence of a small food stand at Jordan River. All who stopped on the return leg agreed on how good the ice cream cones tasted.

All too soon we were back in civilization. Many thanks to those who attended and supported this club activity. And a special thanks to our out of town supporters for taking the time and effort to join us. I am already giving thought to a new route for next year, although I am equally open to suggestions if you know of an interesting route or spot to visit.