Hornby Island by Enfield Bullet 500 (September 2000)
(c) 2000 Bruce Clarke

The following is a transcription of a journal I kept while visiting Hornby Island, BC on my 1995 Enfield Bullet 500 Deluxe motorcycle. The total distance I rode from Victoria to Hornby Island was about 505 kilometres (314 miles).
This journal may be freely distributed so long as it is unaltered. I have recorded my notes in metric measurements. At the time of this trip, $1 CND = $0.67 US. 100 kilometres = 60 miles; 1 meter = 3 feet; 0 Celsius = 32 F; 20 C = 70 F; 38 C = 100 Fahrenheit.
I've typed up my notes exactly as I first wrote them. Some of my notes were written late at night, so some entries were very terse or used poor grammar.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000:
 (Victoria, BC -> Hornby Island, BC: 250 KM - 150 miles)
I left Victoria just after 7 AM under a cloudless blue sky and with a reasonably mild temperature of +8 Celsius. Last week I had bought a tankful of poor-quality gasoline, so had since drained and refilled my Enfield's tank. As I rode up over the climb of the Malahat Summit my motorcycle's single cylinder engine kept popping and stuttering every half-mile or so. I was getting worried that something was seriously wrong with my Enfield. I stopped to buy a fresh tank of gasoline in the small town of Duncan, and immediately the problem almost disappeared.
The temperature warmed to +15 C by about 8 AM and traffic was light so I made good time under the warm sunny sky. I see lots of other motorcycles on the road. I stopped for a few minutes to buy a coffee and some gasoline at Parksville. This very cute blonde 25-year-old chick was buying like 20 pieces of Double Bubble gum (the one with the Bazooka Joe comics).
I reached Buckley Bay at about 10:05, just missing the 10 AM ferry boat. The fee for a motorcycle and rider is $18.50 CND - but this is a round trip ticket. The weather really couldn't be much nicer as it's +20 C and there's no cloud in the sky.
The little car ferry docks and unloads. This scruffy-looking goof in a pair of BC Ferries coveralls makes this funny-little gesture that doesn't seem to mean much of anything. He then gets irate and yells at me "Let's go - the light is green!" I'm a bit stunned by his snotty attitude. I quickly kick over the Enfield with just one kick and ride onto the ferry. I thought about giving Mister Overalls the finger for being such a jerk but then thought better of it.
The barge-like ferry putts across the waters of Baynes Sound for about ten minutes. After docking I ride a very hilly winding road across Denman Island to the next ferry dock. This section of road was very entertaining from both a motorcyclist's point-of-view and a scenic aspect. There are excellent views of the other Gulf Islands. I pass many quaint little fruit-stands and organic farms. You can really feel a strong hippy presence: I half-expected to see a roadside stand selling hemp products.
I catch a second barge-ferry from Denman Island to Hornby Island. Half the passengers are tourists (obvious from their rental car bumper stickers) or locals sporting hemp clothes and lip-rings.
On Hornby Island I have a short but slow ride across the island as I have to follow behind a string of old pickup trucks and work vans. At first I thought that it was the lumbering old work trucks that were holding up progress but then I see that they're being held back by - you guessed it - the tourists in the rental cars.
I ride to the Coop general store, then turn left to the place I have reservations at: the Sea Breeze Lodge ( http://www.seabreezelodge.com/ ) They have several cabins sitting on a small cliff overlooking the beach. The scenery is really terrific: Texada Island is hazy in the distance. The sky is blue with just a few fuzzy streaks of clouds; the ocean is rippled with varying shades of blue scalloping off to the horizon. I go for a walk on the rocky beach and find wierdly-sculpted outcroppings of lava rock, bubbly with gas pockets.
After unpacking in my cabin I ride back to the Coop store to pick up a bag of groceries. Returning to the cabin I have a snack of tea and cookies while lying on the deck overlooking the ocean. I brought along a small pocket radio as the cabins have electricity but no TV or stereo. Listening to the weather report I confirm that the weather will stay nice for Wednesday and then start to cool off by late Thursday-early Friday. I cook up some spaghetti for dinner and spend an hour or two walking on the beach. At night the stargazing is excellent.
Wednesday, September 27, 2000:
 (Hornby Island, BC)
I was very tired and went to sleep at 8:30 last night. I left the blinds for the bedroom window open - it was so dark the only thing I could see were some lights on distant Texada Island reflecting across the water. I woke up just as the sun was rising, painting the sky pink. I still felt tired but when I looked at my watch I was surprised to discover it was 6:40 AM.
I got up and made some pancakes for breakfast. Looking at a map I decided to spend the day walking around Hornby Island. Hornby is fairly small (about 8 KM by 6 KM) with a year-round population of about 1,000. Most permanent residents make a living as organic farmers, running bed & breakfasts, creating art, etc. I walked along the old road past the Coop store. I noticed that a section of road here was widened for bicycle lanes. Although most of Hornby's residents think this is a great idea, a few are quite vocally opposed, as the wider lanes will "encourage car drivers to drive faster and with less care." Eh? So let's make everyone keep driving cars on narrow lanes that they have to share with bicycles? Yeah, that makes lots of sense.
The road climbs up along a cliff's edge facing south. The cliff drops dramatically to some farmer's fields. The fields are peppered with trees such as ash, elm and maple. The trees are now well into autumn colours of emerald green, yellow, and pumpkin orange. Just past the farmer's fields are the blue waters of Georgia Strait and the green hills of Vancouver Island. It's really a beautiful scene.
I notice that a lot of the properties here have signs saying things like "Cabin with ocean view for rent", "Tent sites available", etc. During July and August the island is crowded with holidayers, causing problems with water, sewage, garbage, etc. but the other ten months of the year are very quiet. Some folks make enough money in summer to tide them over for the rest of the year; others board up their cottages and head south for the wet winters.
I reach the fishing boat docks at Ford Cove, then turn around and walk back the way I came. I'm thirsty so I stop at the coop to buy a chocolate milk and a newspaper. I happen to be wearing a T-shirt that says "Indian Motorcycles, Springfield, Mass." The clerk looks at this and tells me that he was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. At noon I walk into the Tribune Bay Provincial Park. This is a well-sheltered bay with an excellent wide sandy beach. The temperature is now about +22 C - perfect for lying on the beach in the sun. As I lay there reading the newspaper I almost drift off to sleep a couple of times.
About 4:30 or so I walk back to my cabin. I cook up the remaining spaghetti and then sat on the deck looking over the ocean. Listening to the radio it sounds like tomorrow will be cool and cloudy with rain late in the day. Around 7 PM the wind really picks up as the sun sets.
Thursday, September 28, 2000:
 (Hornby Island -> Victoria, BC: 250 KM - 150 miles)
After sleeping reasonably well I woke up at 7 AM. It is indeed cloudy and cool so I decide to pack up and ride home before the rain hits. I catch the 8 AM ferry off Hornby Island. I have an uneventful three-hour ride back along the Island Highway to Victoria under cloudy skies. When I reached Mill Bay I decided to take the small ferry from there to Brentwood Bay.
Drivers: Reasonably courteous. Some big logging trucks and equipment to watch out for.
Speeds: Most of Vancouver Island's highways are 80 to 90 KPH, with some stretches of 100 to 110 KPH. Speeds drop to 50 KPH when passing through the many small towns.
Roads: pretty good conditions. Usually well marked with signs for curves, distances, etc.
Fuel: about $0.80 CND per litre.
Food: Supermarkets and restaurants in the local towns.
People: Friendly and helpful.
Weather: September can often be very pleasant weather-wise on Vancouver Island, as we usually get an "Indian summer".
Helmets: Yep, required.
Bruce Clarke