With the red VW golf collected on Tuesday morning we hit the highway heading north (William on the Avis desk was absolutely gobsmacked that Craig had never had Salisbury steak) towards Tofino. Our only stop (apart from the road works) was at the Coombs Old Country Market for lunch where we had hoped to see the fabled goats on the roof! Sadly the goats were elsewhere today but we picked up some beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables to take to our Airbnb in Tofino along with some lunch.
The journey took just shy of 6 hours and after picking up some supplies for the next few nights from the local supermarket we checked into the Fred Tibbs condo's that were situated right on the water, at the sea plane terminal (much to Craig's delight). We properly indulged ourselves this evening and, had a 'homemade' meal of tikka masala! Having had a long day and not much sleep in Victoria we crashed into bed, after watching some TV.
The next morning we walked to the Tonquin trailhead and enjoyed the walk out to both Tonquin beach and then onto Third beach. Although it wasn't beach weather we enjoyed the fantastic scenery with the refreshing smell of sea water reinvigorating us. Sadly despite being in wolf territory, no wolves were seen.
Once we got back into town, we completed one of our favourite tasks, the laundry! We also got to enjoy a light lunch in Shed which has definitely grown from the coffee shop we visited for a quick breakfast 2 years ago! Speaking of 2 years ago, we took some time that afternoon to drive south to the Long Beach Lodge, a resort we had spent 6 nights at during our honeymoon, and we got to spend some time at outdoor cafe on the beach reminiscing over a drink (a 'hauf' for the driving Craig) as we took in the majestic view on a sunny but rather windy afternoon.
After some chill out time back at the condo we went for dinner at the Wolf in the Fog a truly excellent restaurant for a meal! We hadn't been able to book a table for this evening so we chanced our arm at 9pm and managed to sneak a seat in the lounge area. The meal was fantastic although extra care had to be taken (by Craig) so as to ensure no spillage from plate to mouth due to the lower set table.
The next morning, we set off early to complete the rainforest trail loops (2 separate loops taking in the temperate rainforest). The near silence of the rainforest was amazing with only the slight, distant roar of waves to remind us of our proximity to the ocean. The humidity also took us by surprise as the air felt almost heavy amongst the ancient trees. The trails had been billed as taking 1.5 hours total time but we whipped around in just over an hour (clearly all this hiking is paying off!) After a recommendation from Keith and Heather we stopped off at the Wickaninnish Inn on our way back to Tofino to admire the views of Chesterman beach out to the Pacific Ocean. We were a bit muddy to go into the main restaurant but we enjoyed our contented hour sat at the Driftwood cafe with a hot drink. Katy thoroughly enjoyed her very indulgent hot chocolate.
After some more laundry (something about this advert), some chill out time but, most importantly, some game day preparation, we sat down to the kickoff of the 100th NFL season. Thursdays game was the Packers vs the Bears with the Packers ultimately winning out (Katy had a minor heart attack when Craig reacted to Adrian Amos's INT in the 4th quarter). Afterwards we watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Katy's choice) before heading to bed for a fairly restless nights sleep for both of us.
The next morning we woke up to discover we had both been badly bitten overnight on our feet and lower legs by what we suspect were black flies (midgie type creatures that are black and a bit bigger) that had flown in during the day. Between scratches on our red welts we managed to pack up, check out and be on the road again at 10:00. The road back down to Victoria was very slow with road works, camper vans not moving over and generally busy traffic. We decided to carry on as the parking around Cathedral Grove was carnage and instead stopped off in Nanamio for a quick bite to eat. We arrived back in Downtown Victoria for 16:00 (William was still surprised Craig hadn't tried Salisbury steak) and headed up to our accommodation, the Ocean Island Inn.
When we arrived there was a general odour of urine (poetic licence, not the actual word used) as we stepped inside the front door. The next red flag was when the gentleman checking in, in front of us, was looking for reassurance from the staff that no one could just walk in as 'people were looking for him'. When it came round to our turn to check in there was a complication with our booking as it appeared it had only been booked for 1 person and the room we had chosen is normally only let to single travellers. The member of staff consulted her manager and for a further occupancy fee we could both stay in the room. However, after going through a cage door, we arrived at room 24A and were utterly gobsmacked that the notion of both of us staying in this room was even considered. The bed took up the entire room, running wall to wall with only enough space at the foot of the bed to open the door with a bin and fridge taking up most of that floor space (for reference, the picture below was taken standing in the doorway).
As we were both tired and clearly unable to stay comfortably in this room we calmly checked out (emotions had been running high in the room, so Craig spoke to reception as Katy was pretty confident she would burst into tears if she tried) and booked into the Hilton for the night. It was definitely an expense we hadn't planned for but we ultimately, the right decision and one we would make again. We were also able to have our best nights sleep in a long time which was fantastic.
That evening, we went back to Brown's Socialhouse for drinks after dinner, a place we had previously run up a $250 bar tab in one sitting whilst visiting on our honeymoon. We were nowhere near this time around but the cocktails were still as good and very much enjoyed after a bit of a stressful day!
Tomorrow, we head back into the states, to Seattle.