BC and Canada's Pacific Coast


ben

New member
Upcoming Trip

OK guys, my summer vacation are getting close, yes like all of you I'm a bit worried about the reliability of my "machine" but I think that with good love and care she will do fine. She is running strong at 140000 km (90k mile) / original engine with no oil or coolant consumption at all, compression is good and temperature gage is in the middle at any condition, no head leaks for now. I think that it is a fine machine and for sure the best small camper in the world, and I have to say, pretty cool too. My upcoming trip is big: Montreal Canada / Vancouver Canada / Oregon USA / and if possible!!! California USA and back to Montreal…, yea, it's big and long and I have only 1month + 1 week to do all that beautiful trip, yes, about 15000km (9400mi), but hey!!!!, we have only one life to live…(with 3 credit card just in case).
I am leaving Montreal Monday the 9 of July and i am very exited about this trip, i bought the West mostly for that trip. What a adventure, that is all the Westfalia name is all about… What a beautiful continent we live in, it's big and wild!!!!

Wish me luck!!!
Best regards, Ben
 

ben

New member
Good day (87 westy, No air, no cruise control ), I am back from a 10000 miles trip, Montreal-Vancouver-San Francisco-Montreal.
14 States and 5 Provinces laterÂ… We add NO major problem with the vanÂ… apart of some bad fuel injection connector problem. (lost of power in different situation but mostly on very twisted road with medium and humid condition) I met very nice people and saw a lot of westy on the west coast (specially on Vancouver island), beautiful landscape and very nice sunsetÂ…We saw all kind of driving condition, from only 45F to 104F in Nevada, humid and dry condition, the worse twisted road you can imagine, some very bad and steep hill, the van as been more reliable than most 15 years old vehicle i have ever seen, i apologize for one of my fist post call "bad engine", i was scared a lots of time as i was so far from any big town but the van never lets us down. I am amaze about the reliability of this 14 years old van. I had a few spare parts like Air flow meter, Oxygen Sensor, Fuel pump and Idle stab. Here is the small problem i add:
Idle stab. control box (located behind the right tail light) wiring problem / Corroded wire (fixed by cleaning the connector!!!). Alternator screws getting loose and hitting the alternator fan!!! (almost a fire). Drive axle Allen screws (6 or 8!!!) getting loose. Fuel injector connector having a bad contact!!!. Oxygen sensor connector corroded (by the way, for sure my Westy does not go into a safe mode when the OS is disconnected) I had a great time camping in the van, we did 37 days and night on the van and have no regret what so ever and would do it again tomorrow. (wish i add a 6 cylinder some timeÂ…)
Regards, Ben
 

Dave Hampshire

New member
BC's Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands:
79 Westy, Early Vanagon Galley and Cabinets (plus propane and water tanks)

This was a fun, super scenic and Westy-friendly trip that my daughter, who was 8 at the time, and I first took in the summer of 2002. We repeated the whole thing again this summer (2004), with the addition of the wife and a 10 year old Border Collie. We used the Discover Camping (www.discovercamping.ca) website to reserve all of our campsites. As you'll see why, this was a smart investment for the peace of mind.

There are various combinations of the trip, depending where you start from, but ours began on Vancouver Island, which is our home. Our trip was a total of 7 nights on the road, 8 days in total. Departed with a full propane and internal water tank.

Day 1 - Powell River Ferry from Comox (Little River) to Powell River. Sailing time, about 90 minutes. Upon landing at Powell River, head to Saltry Bay Provincial Park, 20 km south of Powell River. This is a wonderful, ocean-side campground that is nestled in huge, second-growth forest. As will all of BC's parks, the induvidual camp sites are un-serviced (all campgrounds have outhouses and scattered water taps) and pets are supposed to remain on leashes. Beautiful tidal pools, good swimming (salt water of course) and exploring. You can have campfires at your site in the steel ring if there isn't a ban. We camped here for two nights. Westy Sightings: A pristine 79 (other than ours!) and a nice 88 Vanagon

Day 3: Leave the Park, turn right and drive 90 seconds (yes, it's that close!) to the BC Ferry terminal at Saltry Bay. Sail to Earl's Cove Ferry Terminal. Sailing time, about 45 minutes. Gorgeous scenery viewed from the decks of the ferry. Upon landing, drive to Sechelt, which is about 60 km away. Sechelt is a nice town, with a couple of big grocery stores and other amenities. We stocked up here on a block of ice for the Coleman cooler that we bring in addition to the internal fridge. Grabbed some groceries while we were at it. Look for the signs to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. Campground is about 4km from town. This is a big campground just off of the sandy, protected beach. No campfires, regardless of season, to protect the air quality. Personal opinion: a good idea, really, since some people will burn from sunrise to..sunrise, filling the park with smoke. Campground does have Group Fire Pits, so one can gather some friends in the evening to roast the marshmellows. As it's a bigger campsite, this one has shower facilities. Westy Sightings: A beautiful restored 78 from BC and a couple of Vanagon Westy's, one from California. We stayed two nights at Porpoise Bay.

Day 5: We departed the campground, after a very quiet pack up, at 7 am when the gates opened. It was a Friday, and we didn't want to get caught in a huge ferry line up. Leave campsite and drive to Gibsons, heading for the Langdale Ferry Terminal. We arrived at the ferry just before 8 am and we caught the 825 am sailing to Horseshoe Bay. This ferry sailing is about 40 minutes, and it takes you thru some of the most beautiful coastal scenery BC has to offer. BTW, all of the driving to this point has been awesome, with great views and lots of scenic pull offs to snap some photos. From Earl's Cove to Langdale, it's a mix of mountainous and sea-level terrain, but the Westy (re-built 2.0 litre 2 years ago, engine stock)with all of us, a mountain bike and the camping gear handled it like a champ. Slowly, compared to other traffic, but we all know that. BC Ferries has an optional reservation system (currently $15 CDN per reso over and above your ferry ticket) and this next ferry is the only one that we reserved.

Day 5, cont: At Horseshoe Bay, about 25 km North of Vancouver, head to wherever your heart desires around Vancouver. Lots of tourist stuff, such as Stanley Park, as well as shopping etc. This was our longest travel day, as there are only a few ferries per day that head to The Gulf Islands. Our destination was Galiano Island, one of the most picturesque and quiet. Our campground was Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park. As it was a Friday, we booked passage on the 4:10 ferry to Galiano.

Day 6: Galiano, like it's Gulf Island neighbours of Pender, Mayne, Salt Spring and such, are magnificent and each have what must be the largest VW per capita numbers in the country. Montague Harbour is by far, the nicest campground that I've had the pleaure of staying at. Each site is in the trees, but are only a stone throw away from the beach. Lots and lots of tenting sites, but very few vehicle sites. Again, our campsite booking saved the day. As it's a Marine Park, the campsite is surrounded on two sides by the ocean and both protected bays are full of moored (on anchors) sail boats and pleasure craft. Sunsets are calendar perfect and the vibe around the entire campsite and island is super mellow. We stayed here three nights, and on our second night, we caught the free shuttle bus (it comes to the entrance to the campground) to The Hummingbird Pub. Yes, we took our 10 year old as large parts of the pub are classed as a restaurant. Bus is a funky, short wheel base school bus from the early 70's and the stereo pumps out tune after tune from Bob Marley. Paint on the outside looks like it would have been at home at a Grateful Dead concert. Very, very cool. We stayed three nights at Montague Harbour and we didnt' want to leave. Good times. Westy Sightings: A couple of Eurovans (CDN spec with Westfalia markings), 4 or 5 Type II's, including 3 Westy's , a late-version Vanagon Westy (89-90?)and an 80-83 Vanagon Westy with funky, psychodelic artwork that drove thru the campsite.

Day 8: Again, an early, quiet pack up. Not wanting to sit around a ferry terminal for three or four hours, we got to the Sturdies Bay Ferry Terminal early. Popped the top, and cooked breakfast in the parking lot. One more reason to love the Westy! Took the ferry to Long Harbour, on Salt Spring Island. This one is the "milk run", so we stopped at Mayne Island and Pender Island, before landing at Long Harbour. We saw two pods of Orca's during our sailing. We were definetely on "gorgeous scenery overload". Once on Salt Spring, we stopped to buy some famous goat cheese and flowers, before heading to the ferry terminal at Vesuvius. This ferry heads to Crofton on Vancouver Island. We then drove north to Courtenay and home.

Westy Notes: No problems at all! Our big travel day, thru Vancouver, was on a day that broke several temp records and the van performed flawlessly. Fridge was pre-cooled for 72 hours ahead of departure and we ran it on propane at every campsite, as well as for the longer ferry waits. Fridge is a Dometic RM182-A. I haven't re-filled the tank yet, so I'm not sure how much is remaining after all that use. I did most of the cooking on eithr a Coleman propane stove or propane mini-BBQ that I put on the picnic table.

Some variations for the trip: Take the ferry from Galiano (Sturdies Bay) to Swartz Bay and drive 30 km to Victoria and tour the world famous city. Or tour the north part of Vancouver Island.

I like this trip because it combines some great driving, ocean cruising (even if it's on a ferry..the views are great!)and some interesting, out-of-the-way campsites.

Ferry routes and costs can be found at www.bcferries.com Remember, there are different schdules for different seasons, so keep that in mind if you're doing your planning in winter or spring versus summer.

If anyone needs any additional info, feel free to e-mail me.

Oh..if you take this trip, bring lots of film, or lots of memory for the digital camera!

Cheers!

Dave
 

rklann

New member
Hi....Looking for best places to camp on Vancouver Island.... I'm a relatively new resident to Victoria and haven't done much camping on Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands. I'm looking for suggestions for excellent places to camp for weekend trips and longer trips. Any suggestions? Thanks. Rhonda
 

Dave Hampshire

New member
Hi Rhonda,

Check out the Discover Camping link in my post above and you can scope out all of the BC Provincial Parks in BC that take reservations. Of course, there is a lot more parks out there that offer great camping but no reservations. Once in Discover Camping, you can follow the links to Parks BC and the entire map. And loads of private campgrounds are out there too, but you'll "risk" parking next to a monster RV or twenty.

A nice option is to use one of the hundreds of BC Forest Service camp sites on the Island. A link to the website, with maps and PDF downloads is:

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/rec/rec.htm

As always, let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return...and take out what you take in. E-mail me if you need more info!

Dave
79 Westy
 

judlandis

New member
Just back from 10 days on Vancouver Island in the Westy. Great place for Westying. Distances not so terribly long, temperatures in August not so terribly high (we're still recovering from our bright idea last summer of Westying in Utah in August).

Tofino and Straight of Juan de Fuca camping is beautiful but often cold and fogged in. Interior lakes are warmer, sunnier, less visited, and have "primitive" forest service campsites with huge sites, and we're primitive too so we fit right in. Take the dirt road from Cowichan Lake to Port Renfrew and see what "active logging" looks like in BC. We avoided Victoria, as it's overrun with bus tourists in summer, and we generally are trying to find a lower population density when we do these trips.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, we made no reservations and were able to figure something out every night. We wanted to be able to go here and there on a whim, and it worked out pretty well for us.

US dollar not what it used to be; we got $1.19 CDN for each US dollar. In '02, it was $1.37: 1. 89 Octane fuel on the West coast is getting close to US $3, so shorter driving distances are looking better & better to us. (The guy in the class C Ford motorhome we talked to reported 6 MPG from his 460 V8, so we felt better about our expenditures).

Westy performed flawlessly. I put the tool box under the back seat before departing, and didn't touch it until I removed it while unpacking upon our return. And this van has 176K on it.
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same locale.

mrvalu Member Posted September 04, 2005 03:28 AM

Just back from a 5300km. tour of the West, from Victoria to Calgary then south where we picked up the Lewis and Clark trail at Missoula and followed it to Portland, then south along the coast before heading home to Vancouver Island. Impressive scenery along the way!!......too many highlights to list here.

'Rusty' averaged 20.3mpg(Imperial) or about 24mpg(U.S.) at an average of about 85-90km/hr or 50-55mph. We were fully loaded with bikes, golf clubs and a lot of stuff we didn't use, so I'm very happy with the fuel consumption of the 1 year old, VW remanufactured 2.1L engine running Mobil 1 15/40 oil.

Comments on upgrades I've made to Rusty:
-I highly recommend the 3 window acrylic tent from GoWesty....cooled the interior as well as could be expected during some very warm weather.
-KYB shocks and 15" tire (Michelin HydroEdge)and wheel package GoWesty )...very positive road feel(albeit a little stiff) with almost zero wind buffetting from semis, and superior cornering ability. I run 45psi in all 4 tires, stay well below max load rating and have never experienced any hydroplaning even during heavy rain. Just my opinion.

We counted 167 Westies in 30 days but only 3 in all the campgrounds.

Craig
'86 Bronze GL
 

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