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      09-01-2011, 07:34 PM   #1
Veritable
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2011 E90 M3 - Northern Vancouver Island Trip - 56 Pictures and 7 Videos

Did a trip in the past weekend, going to the northern part of Vancouver Island, which contains some of the most isolated (but paved!) and best driving / riding roads in BC.

Here's the pictures and videos I've taken on this trip. As usual, the photography equipment was a Canon EOS 50D, with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens, usually with B+W Circular Polarizer. Video equipment was a GoPro HD Hero 960 with closed back, and sunction cup mount at different locations.

I've done this trip about a year and a half ago, so the routes were pretty similar. This year I added Strathcona Parkway to the list, which accesses the Mount Washington Alpine Resort from the outskirts of Courtenay, BC. Apparently it's a highly-rated skiing destination, but I don't know much about such things. What I do know is, although short, the road to get there is one of the best driving roads available here.

So, here it is. Strathcona Parkway, done with the front bumper cam:

If I had any lingering doubt about trading my 2008 6MT E90 M3 to this all-but-identical 2011 7M-DCT E90 M3, that machine-gun upshift during the overtake done at 0:30 completely erased it. DCT, when mated to this fast-responding fast-revving engine, is awesome. OMG.

Here's the pictures taken at the alpine resort:




Here's the road itself:



A video of the (slightly more) sane descent of Mount Washington, showing you more of the scenery of Comox Valley, the bread basket of Vancouver Island:


One thing I wanted to do this time, was to take pictures of highway signs marking those great driving roads alongside my car. Kind of like putting notches on the gun barrel, so to speak. Childish, I know Here's one for BC Highway 28, Gold River Highway, which I was doing next:


Here's the video of that road, that cuts across the width of Vancouver Island at its midsection, mostly passing through Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest in the whole province:


A few pictures alongside this road:







Welcome to Gold River:


From there, I strapped the GoPro onto the rear bumper for some exhaust noise loving. Stock exhaust, btw:


A couple of pictures on the way back:




Then, I headed north on the Northern Island Highway, BC Highway 19 north of Campbell River, BC. It's one of the most isolated roads in the province, with its 220km length accessing FOUR settlements. It's not particularly tight or twisty, nor does it have exceptional scenery, but the road is smooth, you can do "sensible speed" (110 - 120km/h) throughout without being an idiot, and no traffic. A definite "driving in Canada all by your lonesome" feel:





The end of the line for the Northern Island Highway, Port Hardy:




I guess I should thank the carrot for being able to drive this far? This stretch of BC Highway 19 wasn't even paved until the 1970's. Erecting a statue to celebrate the paving of a road? I can dig that


A view out of my hotel room balcony. I always love overhead shots for some reason....


Day 2 started out with a short trek out of Port Hardy to Coal Harbour, on the Coal Harbour Road. Whereas it takes you about an hour to traverse the width of Vancouver Island at the midsection (on the Gold River Highway), this far north it only takes you about 10min. I even almost went a bit airborne going over one of the ondulations. Here is Coal Harbour Road, going from East Coast to West Coast:


Here's "West Coast," Coal Harbour waterfront:



And here is the road itself, Coal Harbour Road:





Re-traced my steps a bit down the Northern Island Highway, and here I notched a couple more scratches on my barrel, with the sign of BC Highway 30, Port Alice Highway:

...and the Northern Island Highway itself, BC Highway 19:


Here is the main event, BC Highway 30, Port Alice Highway. I apologize for the video being a little bit long, but other than the first 10min or so on that road, the whole thing is just a twisty stretch of tarmac perfection. The speed limit is 80km/h, and honestly it wasn't easy for me to even maintain that speed. Here is the front bumper cam:

The highlight definitely was the fully-banked corner that curves around a small lake at 6:45. Awesome road.

Here is the paper mill outside Port Alice, the end of the paved road:




The memorial for Norseman Flight 695, a fatal military air accident that happened here during WW2. Northern Vancouver Island was an important military base against the possible Japanese invasion of the West Coast:



Port Alice marina:






Welcome to Port Alice:



Here's the road itself, Port Alice Highway, BC Highway 30:






Alice Lake:







From there, back to the rear bumper cam for the way back to the Highway 19 junction:
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      09-01-2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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Veritable, I always love the pictures and videos you post of your driving trips. Makes me want to get into my car and drive. And get a GoPro too! (for when I get my M)

You're lucky to live in BC. I was there this past summer and it's a beautiful place. Wish I lived somewhere that wasn't far from mountains and water too. Maybe later.

Thanks and your new M3 is beautiful. I think Melbourne Red looks very good on the sedan.
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      09-01-2011, 08:58 PM   #3
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wow, i would die for some roads like that down here.. VERY VERY NICE.


Thanks op..
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      09-10-2011, 01:15 AM   #4
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Sorry for the bump-age, but I've decided to upload the Google Maps route of that trip.



Mileage was just a tick over 1250km done over 2 days.

I've actually recorded every single tank of fuel I've put into this car since I bought it, so here's the fuel consumptions for those couple of days. Not surprisingly, driving relatively hard but then compression-braking for the corners = pretty decent mileage.

Fill-up #1 - Strathcona Parkway and Gold River Highway (C and E on the map):
-> 34.4L
-> 11.78 L/100km (19.97MPG)
-> $48.47 CAD

Fill-up #2 - Northern Island Highway + Coal Harbour Road (F to G, then to H):
-> 32.7L
-> 11.76 L/100km (20MPG)
-> $49.35 CAD

Fill-up #3 - Port Alice Highway + Northern Island Highway (F to I, then to B):
-> 51.42L
-> 11.40 L/100km (20.63MPG)
-> $72.96 CAD

In comparison, my last tank, about 50% city driving and 50% in-city limited access road driving (so 50-60mph speeds), was....
-> 52.02L
-> 14.74 L/100km (15.96MPG)
-> $76.94 CAD

Ugh, I need to go on more trips, so I'd use less fuel, lol.
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      09-10-2011, 01:44 AM   #5
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Very pretty shots
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      09-10-2011, 07:42 AM   #6
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Awesome road trip! Congrats.
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      10-02-2011, 11:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for loading the map!

I'm thinking of going back to BC again. Maybe I could do that route if it might be worth it with a decent enough rental car. Would you say Vancouver Island has better driving routes than areas on the mainland?
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      10-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #8
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Very beautiful pictures and amazing video. That looks like an awesome drive - thanks for sharing.
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      10-04-2011, 03:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieDriving View Post
Would you say Vancouver Island has better driving routes than areas on the mainland?
Not necessarily, though I will say that navigations for the Vancouver Island routes are much easier, because as you can see, the roads are usually dead-enders, one way in and one way out. So, you can get onto the roads and enjoy the trip, without having to worry about missing a turn or whatever.

For the Northern Island as well, the pavements are quite good, probably due to the lack of traffic. And the latter, as well, is also a good thing

The downside for a Vancouverite to get there is the ferry costs. I did 2 road trips to the Island in August, and ended up spending close to $1k CDN in total

As for the mainland, there is unfortunately no great driving roads in the Lower Mainland area. For the good stuffs that rank up there with the routes in the original post, you'd have to go about 3-4hrs out of town, via Sea to Sky / Duffey Lake (Hwy 99) or the Crowsnest (Hwy 3). Both are trafficky, though, and the Duffey Lake Road is notorious for patchy pavements due to frost heaves

Have you checked out my post from my last year's trip, done in the Labour Day weekend? I drove pretty much everything worthy to be driven in the Southern Interior over those 3 days: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=429197

Didn't have a GoPro back then, though
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      10-04-2011, 09:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritable View Post
Not necessarily, though I will say that navigations for the Vancouver Island routes are much easier, because as you can see, the roads are usually dead-enders, one way in and one way out. So, you can get onto the roads and enjoy the trip, without having to worry about missing a turn or whatever.

For the Northern Island as well, the pavements are quite good, probably due to the lack of traffic. And the latter, as well, is also a good thing

The downside for a Vancouverite to get there is the ferry costs. I did 2 road trips to the Island in August, and ended up spending close to $1k CDN in total

As for the mainland, there is unfortunately no great driving roads in the Lower Mainland area. For the good stuffs that rank up there with the routes in the original post, you'd have to go about 3-4hrs out of town, via Sea to Sky / Duffey Lake (Hwy 99) or the Crowsnest (Hwy 3). Both are trafficky, though, and the Duffey Lake Road is notorious for patchy pavements due to frost heaves

Have you checked out my post from my last year's trip, done in the Labour Day weekend? I drove pretty much everything worthy to be driven in the Southern Interior over those 3 days: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=429197

Didn't have a GoPro back then, though
Awesome, awesome, I am very appreciative of all this info! I am not very familiar with the West Coast, having only gone there once so far, so this is a perfect resource for me.

And wherever I go next with the car that I think is good, I will also post the route and some video too, to share back.

Thanks again.
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      10-05-2011, 01:28 AM   #11
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wish i live in Vancouver!
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      10-05-2011, 03:28 AM   #12
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      10-05-2011, 10:03 AM   #13
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Great pics. I love Canada; such an amazing place.
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      10-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #14
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great pix and vid! thx for posting the map, since i've never been there before. Vancouver is on my list...another reason to go!
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