On July 2 we drove from Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island’s east coast, to Tofino, on its west coast. We had done this drive once before, eight years prior, and the people who maintain roads in British Columbia had clearly been hard at work in the interim. But this time we had Toto in tow, so we were more aware of every twist and turn. A lot of the road had become smoother, and maybe a little wider.
But not all of it. The last 30 miles or so before you get to the coast are winding and a little narrow in places — not to be helped without carving away mountainsides, and probably not worth the hassle. But that part of the road is also quite bumpy now. Plentiful patched potholes, some quite large, made for slow going. It was also hot — about 95 degrees F when we stopped for lunch in Port Alberni, mid-island — and that kept the boys’ tongues hanging out for much of the drive. That and the curves, we think. Wally has come a long way, as a traveler. We kept telling the boys what troopers they are. But he’s never been fond of curves.
One gratuitous note about the driving experience: TinMan and Toto really, really handle well on this kind of road. We’re so pleased that the rig feels safe, easy to drive, etc.
Anyway. We got to Crystal Cove Beach Resort mid-afternoon, checked in, and got settled.
The resort is a collection of upscale cabins at the south end of McKenzie Beach, a stretch of sand you’d literally murder your grandmother and sell your puppies to the Klingons just to be able to walk. What a gorgeous place. The beach, I mean. And the resort — all log cabins and lawns and gorgeous landscaping and meticulously maintained flora and a fake creek for cryin’ out loud — it’s super.
At some point, I don’t know when, the resort said WAIT A MINUTE WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO WITH THIS LAND? So they carved out a hundred-or-so not-so-spacious campsites, not beachfront, but not far.
A very few are reasonably spacious. I had read on the Escape Forum about campsite 8, and so reserved it, and it lived up to its reputation for decent size and privacy. And it was a short walk to the resort office/lobby/cafe where one can get free coffee or purchased espresso drinks, and a few pastries. And one can check out a disc from the extensive DVD & Blu-Ray library. It’s all included, and it’s lovely.
Well, we are just learning what we like and don’t like about camping in this place or that. So we are going to have a few left turns against traffic not and then and only realize later that we could have simply gone round the block to the right.
Campsite 8 is on a small side ‘street’ in the the resort, which is a good thing for privacy. The main streets double as soccer pitches and skate parks and motocross lanes and promenades for $600 baby strollers. All of which is very sweet but not our thing, at least not on every trip.
So that is the good thing about the side street. The bad thing is that it’s not paved. It’s gravel. And that’s okay — who doesn’t like a gravel campground road? It’s not supposed to be suburbia after all.
But in this case the side street was a little light on the gravel and a little heavy on the sand. Wait, sand? You would have thought, being right next to a sandy beach. But, no — it’s dirt.
So what’s wrong with a little dirt? Nothing. Camping is all about dirt! Just ask Wally. But there was one more element: drought conditions. Dry, powdery dirt. Yes… it was dust.
Well, okay, what’s wrong with dust? Nothing, because it’s a lightly traveled side street, right? Well here is where it all broke down. It IS lightly traveled by campers and their vehicles. But it is apparently the main travel artery for the resort’s roughly 725 Club Car brand golf carts, which are used by the staff to do maintenance things, and possibly to zip down to a private grove and smoke a doob. I have no knowledge of this, and I’m not accusing anyone on the resort’s staff of being anything less than wonderful. They truly are. But man there sure was a lot of Club Car traffic on our little lane.
Each Dust Cart (did I say Dust Cart? I mean Club Car) transit — they seemed to come every 2.7 minutes — left a little cloud of dust that settled upon TinMan, and on Toto, and on everything and everyone in the campsite.
You’ve seen terriers, and I suspect other animal breeds, shake vigorously to rid themselves of excess water after a dip or a walk in the rain. Now imagine Tyler and Wally shaking the DUST off their fabulous double coats.
In the trailer.
Well, hey, it’s camping, what the heck, we’re at the beach, we’re all going to get dirty, right? Absolutely.
So, that first afternoon, we escaped the dust and walked the cove and the beach. We met many interesting characters, including….
Much more to savor and share about Tofino. But not now. Now is leftover pizza time.Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.