Vancouver & Tofino - am I crazy?

Feb 7th, 2009, 05:50 PM
Original Poster
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Vancouver & Tofino - am I crazy?


I am turning the big 40 on March 3 and want to go somewhere different. (The African safari I have dreamed of is on hold indefinitely.) Anyway Wickaninnish Inn has always been on my list of places to visit one day.

We are considering flying out from Iowa on Saturday, February 28 to Vancouver & spending the night in Vancouver. Traveling to Tofino on Sunday & spending 2 nights at the Wickaninnish. Departing the Wick on Tuesday, March 3 for Vancouver. One more overnight in Vancouver & flying all day on Wednesday, March 4.

Is this enough time or will we be running from one place to the next, wondering what happened to our "relaxing" vacation? Hubby can't take too much time off at this juncture, and maybe we should wait till we have more time to explore the Pacific Northwest. Please give me any input thoughts - after all, I'll be 40 and not as young as I used to be! Ha! Ha!

JennyJoline is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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If all you want is a relaxing vacation, you could just go to Iowa City. If you want to see a lot of interesting places, have a chance to walk the ocean beach, see the snow capped mountains, and learn a bit of a different culture, then go to Vancouver and Tofino. Yes your trip will be rushed and no you won't have time to see everything. We didn't have time to see everything with a week on Vancouver Island, but we saw a lot and whetted our appetites for a return trip sometime in the future. I would hope this adventure leads to many more return trips and trips to explore other areas too.
rm_mn is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 05:06 AM
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Thank you for your perspective. Yes, you are right - Iowa City is not that far away! My husband likes to do crazy things like go to London or Paris for the weekend and that has driven me up a wall in the past. (It takes me awhile to adjust to the time zone change.) But I really don't think this will be THAT rushed - and for some reason I just don't want to be in Iowa on my b-day, so that rules out Iowa City! LOL I may try to see if we could work at least one more day in the schedule, but even if we can't, I am leaning toward going. Besides, it is more of an adventure this way, yes?

JennyJoline is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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You will be very busy traveling, and if you can add another day that would be better. Pls look at the ferry schedule from VAncouver the city to VAncouver the Island and book on line and get directions before you go.
Pls also call teh Wikkianish before yu leave to amke sure the road is open.. this time of year rock slides and mud holes are possible and it is a VERY long drive on a gravel road.
Weather will likley be rainy stormy..not much fun for hiking and seeing teh sights but the Hotel will be cozy.
1JAR is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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I'm not sure what gravel road the previous poster is referring to. The road over the mountains to Tofino is paved and so is the road from the main road into Tofino to the Wick itself.

But if you're going to do this with so little time, I'd recommend flying from Vancouver to Tofino rather than spending at least 5 hours traveling each way. That could also give you more time in Tofino if you are able to manage the connections so you don't have to overnight in Vancouver each way.

It is likely that the weather will be less than ideal for outdoor activities but when I spent Christmas in Tofino a couple years ago, we didn't let that stop us from getting bundled up and putting our rain gear on and walking on the beach. Storm watching is big out there on the coast.
NWWanderer is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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The road over the mountain was not paved when we were there last year it was a VERY LONG drive with long lines, construction vehicles and potholes that almost swallowed ou rental car.

The new website still shows contruction tho w single lane driving.

Also has all sorts of info on travel inclding ferry info.

It is a lovely drive with lots of spectacular things to see.

Beawar tho that you may not be able to fly into Tofino as the weather may not permit...much better to see in Summer or Fall.
1JAR is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 08:04 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 54've given me a lot to think about. I'm not sure now with the time constraints we have if we should go now or wait till another time of year. We're looking into flights to Tofino, but if they are somewhat iffy - depending on weather - that also gives me pause. I'm assuming these are pretty small planes we're talking about.

Thanks for your input!
JennyJoline is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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"The road over the mountain was not paved when we were there last year"

That road has been paved for at least 40 years now.

It may be that parts of the road were being repaved-summer is the time when most road maintenance is being done on mountain roads-although I hesitate to call Highway 4 a 'mountain road' they're just big hills really.

This from DriveBC

Highway 4 Both Directions

Maintenance along Cameron Lake for roadside baRrier improvements 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Mon-Fri through Feb 27. The road is reduced to single lane alternating traffic. Updated on Thu Feb 5 at 12:08 pm. (ID# -13809)

Feb 05, 2009 12:08 PM
Highway 4 Both Directions

Winter Highway Maintenance 25 km east of Port Alberni 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Mon-Fri through Feb 13. The road is reduced to single lane alternating traffic. Updated on Sun Feb 8 at 2:52 pm. (ID# -13830)

Sam_Salmon is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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OP is coming from IOWA so yes "the road over the mountains" would be MOUNTAINS not hills to the OP.
And once again, yes last summer the road was gravel for very long,long miles due to contruction ---the same construction that confirms it is still going on in WINTER.

That drive was difficult for someone who grew up in the PNW, traveled on gravel roads alot and visited Tofino many times and OP is coming from IOWA, I still think OP is better to enjoy Tofino summer or fall.
That was the OP ?--won't have much time for relaxing vaction--should we wait.
1JAR is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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I'm driving to Tofino on Sunday so
I'll be able to pave the way as far
as road surface conditions are
concerned and report back to y'all.
mimiiam is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Jenny, I would call the Wick and get a sense from them on how often the flights are cancelled--I wouldn't think it's very often but who knows. But yes, the planes are small so if you're not a fan of flying on small planes, it might make sense to re-think going to Tofino on this trip with so little time.
NWWanderer is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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While I agree your itinerary seems a bit rushed, if you're used to going to Paris and London for the weekend from Iowa, this trip will definitely seem "relaxing"!!!
dfr4848 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 10:48 AM
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Seems to me as though there is more enroute time than relaxation time. One or the other, but not both.
Bobmrg is online now  
Feb 13th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Small world, I moved from Iowa City to Vancouver Island when I was 6!

Anyway, of the 5 days of your planned vacation, I count only one -- March 2 -- on which you won't be travelling most of the day (assuming you don't fly from Vancouver to Tofino). NWWanderer correctly notes that ground transportation either way is at least 5 hours. 60 minutes from Vancouver to the ferry if you take into account the fact that vehicle reservations have to be claimed at least 30 minutes before departure, 90 minutes on the ferry and then another 2-1/2 to 3 hours to Tofino.

The risk of coastal flight cancellation at this time of year is principally fog, although it can be high wind or, more exceptionally, snow.

If your outbound flight to Tofino can't leave, no problem, you at least have the driving option. But if your flight back to Vancouver can't leave, can you secure a way back to Vancouver in time to catch your flight back home?

littlemountain is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Well, we're in Tofino now and I am
happy to say the road from Parksville to Tofino through Port
Alberni was in the best paved condition we've ever seen it! No
construction anywhere and certainly
no unpaved or gravel stretches.
mimiiam is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 07:40 AM
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That's good to know, thanks for the update. And lucky you, being in Tofino!
NWWanderer is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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......and the weather is SPECTACULAR
- not a cloud in the sky, warm sun
and high surf. The only downside is
Sobu being closed for another month!
mimiiam is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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..make that SOBO; plus Raincity has
closed for good......tant pis!
mimiiam is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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Do you mean the Raincoast Cafe? I hope not...that's one of my favorite places to eat there.
NWWanderer is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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....sorry, too many 'rainy' resto names!

Yes, she closed it after a 16 year run - it's now Spotted Bear
and the menu was very Tofino typical if you get my driftwood.

Sobo isn't re-opening for another month and the MBL was only
doing weekend suppers so we were forced to eat at two restos
we had always ignored - Shelter and Schooner.

Shelter was jam packed on a Sunday night - with a line-up
waiting to be seated. Mostly under 30's and no scimping on
wine or entrees. Schooner was full on Monday night. Tough
City doesn't seem to be suffering from the recession!

Huge new destination resort in Ucluelet - very Moderne -
very non-West Coast. Not sure who they are marketing to
but certainly not kayakers or fisherfolk!

We go over to Tofino once a year and it's interesting to
watch it morph into a place far far removed from the hippie
village we once knew. Of course, we've morphed too! lol!
mimiiam is offline  

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