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World of Weekends: Beach biking in Tofino with Chams and Thea

Jun 16, 2017

RAV4 World of Weekends Tofino

In World of Weekends, couples from across Canada take the RAV4 out to play. In Part Three, Thea and Chams visit Tofino for the first time.

A wanderer by nature, I’m always on the move. Originally from the Biot, a small town in the South of France, I’ve travelled around quite a bit before coming to Canada and settling down in Vancouver.

A baker by trade, I spend my summers riding around Vancouver on my food-bike, or mobile pastry shop, selling my gourmet take on traditional cream puffs. I whip up tons of different flavors, from Yuzu-Coconut to Caramelized Banana and the locals seem to love them. Distributing them is always a ton of fun since I get to hang out with customers all day long. That said, finding time to hang out with my partner Thea is what I look forward to the most. On our latest adventure, Thea and I have decided to take the new RAV4 for a spin all the way to Tofino, six hours away, far enough to forget all about the downtown hustle and bustle.

We’ve never been to Tofino, and though both of us have travelled the world, we have very little knowledge of what’s actually around us here in beautiful BC. A nature lover’s paradise, Tofino has a reputation as the perfect place to go kayaking, fishing, and even whale watching. The area also draws a crowd for its top tier restaurants, which make the most of some delicious locally sourced ingredients.

RAV4 in Red in front of Graffiti Wall

For those unfamiliar with the geography, Tofino is on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, so the only way to get there by car includes a beautiful ferry ride. Just as the sun comes up, our boat departs. We have two hours to stand on deck, cleanse our lungs with fresh sea air, and take in the incredible view. Or at least, that was the plan. After ten minutes on deck, we get so chilly that we have to retreat and warm up in the car. As we sink into the leather seats, we cozily doze off, rocked by the waters of the Salish Sea.

Tofino is exactly how I imagined it would be, cozy and picturesque.

After the ferry, there’s still a couple of hours of driving ahead of us. The road to the other side of Vancouver Island twists and turns quite a bit, both working with and against the natural landscape. In all of my travels that’s a common theme that I’ve had to contend with; as hard as humans try to fight nature and shape our own path, sometimes we just have to surrender.

It’s important to take care of what’s around us, especially when the beauty of the place comes from its mostly untouched scenery. On the flip side, we have to make sure to keep an eye on the gas gauge since there don’t seem to be many gas stations around. Thankfully, the RAV4 gets us far on a single tank, all the way to the end of Highway 4, where Tofino awaits.

RAV4 World of Weekends Tofino Driving by the woods

Tofino is exactly how I imagined it would be - cozy and picturesque. Because I grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, I love being close to the water, and here, the ocean is always in sight.

We arrive at the Wickaninnish Inn, which is relatively quiet since it’s not quite high season yet. Tofino is busiest in the summer when surfers and whale watchers come to enjoy the warmer weather before taking to the sea. Right now, it’s still pretty calm, and we almost have the place to ourselves.

To make the most of our momentum and avoid falling asleep in our room, we quickly drop off our bags before heading out to Long Beach. As we reach the sand just in time for low tide, we see surfers who were brave enough to go in on such a chilly day taking a break. I don’t know how they do it; while we’re standing here with our beanies, coats, and scarves they’re just about ready to go back into the freezing water, dressed in nothing but a drysuit! I think that maybe it’s just us and that we need to toughen up, but in the distance, we spot a few families, all bundled up as well.

After a good night’s rest at the Inn, we are up bright and early Sunday morning to explore the area by bike. The local trail blends into the woods, and it’s a good thing I have experience maneuvering my food-bike, or I might not make it back from this ride in one piece! Thea handles the terrain much better than me - she’s a natural. The trail leads us all the way to a lighthouse where we stop to take a breath and a couple of Instagram-worthy pictures. After all, what’s a weekend excursion if you can’t make your pals jealous?

World of Weekends Chams Thea Biking

After we return the bikes, pack up and check out, we make sure to save the best for last. For our final meal in Tofino, we head over to Wolf in the Fog, a sea-view restaurant that only uses incredibly fresh and local ingredients. Regularly making best in Canada lists, the menu is built on fishing and foraging, both longstanding traditions in BC.

We went all out and ordered four dishes, each more creative than the last: pickled herring, butter baked shrimp, spiced octopus, and Moroccan sausage. For dessert -if you can believe we still had room- we enjoyed a sticky toffee pudding. The presentation was spectacular across the board, showing off all the local ingredients on plates of beautiful china. As we look out into the distance, the ocean stretches out to quasi-infinity and thinking of leaving this foggy paradise starts to get us down. Alas, if we don’t leave, how will we ever return?

Back in Nanaimo, we make sure we’re well equipped to stand on the ferry deck a little longer if only to wave goodbye to beautiful Vancouver Island, but it isn’t long before the car’s heated seats call our name. As we get home, Thea points out how much ground we covered in only two days. I guess it’s easy to keep driving at the wheel of a car made for adventures like these. As we unpack our bags, we start planning our next getaway. I’ve always wanted to go to Portland, and then Cannon Beach. Maybe we can plan on taking more than just a weekend, and see where the road takes us.