Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the Pacific Rim Highway

“When it says, ‘Slow’, it means it,” we were cautioned several times in Nanaimo before setting out on the twisting, two-lane Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim Highway 4.

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The  highway cuts across the forested spine of the island and was our route from Nanaimo on the island’s east coast to Tofino on its west coast.  Short of using a boat or plane, it is the only route between the two.

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The scenic route some 124 miles (208 kilometers) long, twists and turns past spectacular mountain peaks, stunning lakes, many power lines and concrete road barriers; the latter two, every shutter bug’s bane. 
Come along as we set out on the Pacific Rim Highway: 

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We took a break from the highway at Port Alberni a deep port city some 51 miles/82 kilometers from Naniamo. We drove to its Harbour Quay, a delightful mix of tourist accommodations and industrial businesses.

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VancouverIs2013 051Set in the Alberni Valley it is on Vancouver Island’s longest inlet, Alberni Inlet.  With a population of some 18,000, the town’s motto is: Gateway to the West Coast

Directional signs pointed towards the Chase and Warren Estate Winery and Emerald Coast Vineyards, but those we tucked away in our ‘future trip’ file.

VancouverIs2013 053One place we couldn’t resist was off in the industrial looking area of the Quay – Home of the Cod Father.  The clever name got us in and the display case filled with smoked salmon was a feast for the culinary senses. . .teriyaki, lemon and honey, some spicy concoction . . .the selections far too many.  We finally chose two types and set off for our destination.


By early afternoon we were approaching the west coast – the sky had turned heavy and gray, the ‘highway’ narrowed and coiled:

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But by late afternoon, we’d arrived in Tofino where they obviously didn’t want anyone confused about being at the end of the road:

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If You Go:



Thanks to Tourism Vancouver for the excellent map showing the route of the Pacific Rim Highway. (It is also called Highway 4). 

VancouverIs2013 196The route is a beautiful one, but not for the faint at heart or those who have a fear of being on road trips. 

The warnings we had received were on point: the twists and turns make it a slow go.  Sadly, we passed two accident scenes – one on our westbound trip, another on our eastbound. One was an upside down car and another was a car smashed into a tree trunk. . . and both, even more sadly, were on straight stretches of the highway!

That’s it for this Travel Photo Thursday so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox!

16 comments:

  1. Love the way the highway twists and turns and coils. What a wonderful journey you are on :)

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    1. It was a most interesting route through our neighbor to the north! Thanks for stopping by today Johanna!

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  2. Great photos and great tour of this area!

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  3. What a beautiful drive, Jackie. It's not only good to go slow for the turns but so you can take these lovely shots.

    I guess after the twists and turns those drivers decided to speed on the straight stretch. Hope there were no serious injuries.

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    1. It does bring a new image to mind when I hear the phrase, slow travel. Sadly, there were some serious injuries in the first wreck - we were also told that some of those serious wrecks can close the road for hours because it is so narrow traffic has to be stopped. Travelers should keep that possibility of delay in mind!

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  4. Great tour, I enjoyed visiting this area and the beautiful countryside

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    1. Thanks for stopping by today Noel. I've been on the road and didn't have a chance to visit all the participants yet - I'll be visiting you soon!

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  5. Where did you stay in Tofino? That's definitely one of my favourite places to visit. The last time I drove that road was for my 50th birthday. My husband surprised me with two nights at one of the lovely beachfront hotels.

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    1. As I mentioned in an earlier post the room rates were breath-taking in Tofino. I'll be featuring our hotel later this week, Leigh, hope you stop by!

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  6. What a gorgeous area! Next time I am in BC I really have to do some touring. There are so many roads like this across Canada, and sadly most people don't heed the warnings that slow means slow. I have seen a few accidents on similar roads in Nova Scotia.

    I hope you enjoyed your smoked salmon. One of my favorites!!

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    1. The salmon was great - a must return to kind of place should we find ourselves there again. It really is a beautiful area Nancie, I know you would love it.

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  7. This looks like a very scenic drive. I always make my husband drive so that I can either enjoy the scenery or take a nap. That "Home of the Cod Father" name really made me laugh, and that eagle carving is wonderful!

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    1. I do love riding shotgun as we say out here in the west. . .my duties include double checking the maps and taking aim with the camera!

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