Trip – again to Port Renfrew area

Can’t waste a sunny weekend staying at home, so off we went Saturday morning for an o/n trip to the area NW of Port Renfrew. Yeah, we go there a  lot is seems, but it is secluded and pretty.

Before setting up camp we did some exploring on the Sad Lake main logging road. BTW, there is no Sad Lake in that area, no idea why the logging company gave the road that name. We got close (less than 1 km) to the southern boundary of the Carmanah-Walbran provincial park, and ran out of road at about 615 meters elevation. Most of the hills in this immediate area have been logged below this elevation and now we found construction of a new road to log some of the smaller trees (about 1 meter diameter and less). A fair amount of  Yellow Cedar, lovely wood. I wonder what the market is for this species now that wooden boats aren’t very popular?





Nice view of the ocean fog from up there.


Oldish truck being used as a fuel tanker


A little further west. This is about as thick the trees get in this area. Combo of elevation and rocky ground. No shortage of rain here.


And then we headed to our old campsite. I’m telling you, the Dometic engineers just nailed the design specs for the Westy propane fridge, well at least for us up in the temperate rainforest 🙂 Yes, solid ice in the Barbie sized ice cube trays. A rather poor surface area to volume ratio with these cubes, they don’t last long in the G&T.


Yup, same spot, same picture. Poptop canvas different though.


Just about then the dogs started casting about, some scent got them alert. Looking down from our campsite, 3 bears. Look to be 2 yearlings and what I presume to be the mother.

IMG_2423 - Version 2





Ok, all the LED lights on.


Next day we explored further. Nothing much to report except coming across a bear carcass. Been shot, hind legs were a few feet away, the paws cut off. Bear hunting pisses me off. The fuckers who buy bear paws and gall bladders should be… well, I won’t say.


So on the way back we took a few side tracks, exploring. On one track the van started to lurch and miss. This got worse so I stopped in Port Renfrew to fiddle with the engine. Nothing looked amiss, no vacuum leak or bad connection.O2 sensor was disconnected, no differance. At the worst point (and it was not consistent) when I moved the throttle valve just off fully closed, I mean *just* off, the van would miss, stumble, almost die. This was me moving throttle by hand. I replaced relays, checked evap/emissions tubes. Nothing seemed amiss. Then it would run well enough to get going again. For minutes it would be normal, then it would buck and die. For most of the trip I either had to have the pedal full down, or else coasting. I suspect the throttle position switch. Will check it out.

  1. #1 by Paul on July 8, 2013 - 9:47 pm

    Thanks for the pics Alistair. We just took the Ferry from Comox to Powell River after spending a great week on the Island. Victoria to Campbell River. Now staying in Lund (end of the road ) for a couple days. Regards Paul Gordon.

    • #2 by albell on July 8, 2013 - 10:16 pm

      where are you headed next Paul?


      • #3 by Paul on July 9, 2013 - 2:13 pm

        Well, we only planned on a week out here and it has been 10 days already. I think we will work our way back to Vancouver then fly back to Ontario. We met friends out here and have been traveling with them. It’s time to start planning seriously an engine refit. Met an American direct from “Busfusion” who had a 1.9 TDI transplant. Just creates more indecision because it looked and sounded great. Did the LED mod and it looks fantastic. Mounted the dimmer in where the ashtray used to be. Who smokes anymore? Good luck on the rest of your travels. We really appreciate the pics you have posted. Thanks, Paul and Kathy.

      • #4 by albell on July 10, 2013 - 7:12 am


        you’ve had good luck with the weather on this trip eh? About the 1.9 tdi,t kind of van do you have? Thoughts about re-gearing if you go tdi?



  2. #5 by Paul on July 11, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    Hi Allister, I have an 87 with a 2.1
    The body is in great shape as far as rust and I have put many mods into it. Vitrifrigo fridge, Propex heater, ecetera, ecetera. After doing some of the mountians on Vancouver Island I realize that a trip out here would be nothing less than painful. It is taken to Florida each year for 3 months in the winter and in the last 4 years I have passed two vehicles on the hiway, one was parked the other was hauling hay. I don’t think I would consider re-gearing. From what I have read going to a 16″ tire would compensate for the difference in gear ratio’s. I may be wrong. The diesel seems to be a whole lot simpler way to go as far as fuel management and such. Who should have to carry around a spare computer on their travels? Is that a fair trade off for a lump in the engine cover? I still have to do more research as far as the bell housing, starter requirements. Will just keep plugging away. Waiting in Abbotsford tonight for a flight to Toronto tomorrow. Just loved the Island and already want to go back. Regards, Paul.

    • #6 by albell on July 11, 2013 - 8:20 pm

      Hi Paul,

      plenty o’info about gearing a tdi on the net. You know they make max torque and hp at a lower rpm than the old idi diesels, so hence the re-gearing. I wonder how much you can get by tires/wheels without the van looking silly 🙂 Time to hunt out a tire calc.

      But wait, are you going tdi or 1.9 idi?

      Hey, we drove around the mountains (Kootenay etc) in a stock diesel ’82 westy. Slowly.



      • #7 by Paul on August 9, 2013 - 5:00 pm

        Hi Allister, Paul here back in Southern Ontario. I saw your last pics posted and it reminded me to show you a couple of my LED install. Inspired by yours of course. Housed them in 1/2″ aluminum channel to mitigate the direct glare and put in a dimmer switch, who smokes anymore? Also forgot to mention one of the highlites of the Island trip was the functional steam powered sawmill just outside of Port Alberni. amazing
        Do you have an email address that I can send photos? Cant seem to do it on this Shooftie site. Regards, Paul.

      • #8 by albell on August 9, 2013 - 6:32 pm

        pm sent Paul


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