Finally, a westy trip (Pachena Bay)!

Happily, we got out for a short trip in the westy this past week.  We traveled to Pachena Bay (near Bamfield) on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The first 2 days there were for a class school trip for our eldest daughter. Our family stayed on for an extra day to cycle around the area and visit Bamfield and then traveled to our old favourite camp spot at Rathtrevor Provincial park.


Pachena Bay near Bamfield, BC

The beach at Pachena Bay is gorgeous. The kids had fun in the waves and the beach was almost deserted except for people we traveled with. The campsite there is excellent too: nice staff, clean facilities, great sites, some right on the edge of the beach.


Pachena Bay campsite



Near north end of the west Coast Trail

Next time we get to the Bamfield area I want to try going up the logging roads circled in red in the image below as I suspect the view would be incredible. We were a bit short of time for that this trip.


Westy was well loaded down… I need to find a more convenient method of stowing eldest daughter’s bike. I may add another rack at the back once I have the high capacity oil pan and engine skid plate in place. (soon hopefully)


Westy with 4 bikes and lots of stuff…

The beach at Rathtrevor Provincial Park (on the East coast of Vancouver Island) didn’t disappoint either although it was interesting to notice the differences: sand at Pachena was noticeably finer and the waves much bigger, more people of course at Rathtrevor, and the view of the coastal mountains.


Beach at Rathtrevor Provincial Park with coastal mountains in the background.

All in all the westy ran nicely although I decided that given as at present I only have a dirt/gravel driveway to work in I am going to pay someone to install the new HC/HC oil pan (Bostig’s high-capacity, high-clearance pan for the Zetec engine). After that I can install the Bostig engine skid plate and then possibly a 2″ receiver hitch that I saved from a previous syncro. It mounted to the factory syncro skid plate thing so I’ll have to modify it somewhat.

We are planning a few more ‘westy trips’ this summer although where to remains to be seen…

Oh, one somewhat sad note: Rathtrevor Provincial Park no longer has an “over-flow” camping area. Until this year, one could arrive any day in the busy summer season and still get a place to stay but now they have turned the ‘overflow’ lot into more regular campsites (in pursuit of more revenue I suppose). All sites are reserve-able so the net effect of that is that if one wants to stay there in the busy summer season you best make your reservations in January. So much for spontaneous trips including a stay at Rathtrevor.  Sad as it has been our favourite place to camp for close to a decade (and we certainly don’t plan our camping trips 6 months in advance).

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9 Responses to Finally, a westy trip (Pachena Bay)!

  1. Peter Sauer says:

    sounds like fun, next time maybe we can go in there with the X90 and spend some time or a whole day in there putzing around then come back to the oversized MH later in the day. Peter

  2. edbee says:

    Hi Peter, yes, there would be some advantage to having a ‘base camp’ vehicle like your motor home, or for us the westfalia, and using another vehicle for the logging road expeditions: for you the X90 and for us either the mountain bikes or if I could figure a way to bring a small off-road motorcycle that would be perfect. As it is now, it is a bit difficult to convince the whole family that we should spend time exploring a logging road that might lead to nowhere when they have the next beach camp spot in mind… but I’ll keep working on that 🙂

    • Alistair says:

      What you said about convincing other parties to go up one more logging road spur…
      But keep trying and scout out the area with google earth, or Apple maps ( noting that some of the places I frequent have more up to date satellite images on Apple maps compared to google) and reduce the false lead percentage 🙂

  3. Peter & Judy Sauer says:

    EDBee which road did you take to go into Bamfield, as the last time there say 30 years or so ago the road was a old logging road and it was one bitch of a drive in a old 54 International neck breaking 4×4 manual with Armstrong steering. Did you take the Big Truck in if so you would travel over the Pot Holes making it a much nicer ride. How is the work coming along on the truck?

    • edbee says:

      Hi Peter, we traveled both to and from Bamfield via the main logging road from Port Alberni (called Bamfield Road) and that road was freshly graded and in pretty good shape. We just took the westfalia which is a 4 wheel drive (although we didn’t need 4WD for this trip).

      Work on the old truck is progressing slowly and I am getting it ready for a trip to vancouver sometime in July. It seems at some point fairly soon I will have to replace the exhaust manifold gasket (at a minimum) as it is pretty noisy. Hopefully the manifold is still flat enough to seal up with a new gasket.

  4. Peter & Judy Sauer says:

    ED BEE Can u not install a bike rack on top of the westy roof where it lifts up if you do it will and I know you will to make sure no leaks. Were in process of installing a 195W Solar Panel Mono C. with Charge controller etc should give me around close to 11 AMP’s to help keep batteries charged as running a Gen set for 4 hours is costly.

    • edbee says:

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, eventually I will get a solar panel for the westfalia as well. Currently, the only real load on the battery now when camping is the fan on the fridge (fridge runs on propane while we are camping) and the one interior light we use in the evening. In the future though I’ll install a prpane cabin heater which will make for greater electrical load (but mostly to be used at the time of year when solar panels of lease effective in the PNW).

      Yes, there would be some advantage to having all the bikes way up on the roof: less dust in the chains on super dusty roads like our return from Bamfiled but I think that would be offset by the extra work of loading and unloading the bikes as well as loss of clearance when driving logging or other roads with low overhanging trees.

  5. Alistair says:


    We explored the hills behind pachena a little bit last summer. Didn’t go up that one, found one we liked south of that. Our high view was looking more southwest.

    How was the road to bamfield? Are they keeping it graded ok? Did I mention last year that the flora leak forestry site is closed?

    We went out around port renfrew this last weekend. Main logging roads were rough, the secondaries worse.



    • edbee says:

      Hi Alistair,
      We traveled via Port Alberni both “in” and “out” and the roads were in great shape overall. The grader was working as we were on our way westward. On the way out I was able to travel at from 70 to 80 kph on a fair bit of the route as we got closer to Port Alberni even though it was gravel. We would have made a loop out of it (gone in via Lake Cowichan/Youbou) but on the way in we were traveling with a “convoy” from eldest daughter’s school and the vote was via Port Alberni (good thing the roads were still wet so no dust issues) and then we wanted to go to Rathtrevor on the way home.

      I was hoping for a view of the Broken Group Islands as then we could have said to the kids “mom and I went on a kayak trip paddling around those islands many years ago”. I thought that would be a good selling point in trying to convince my wife to take a detour up there but time was tight already so we didn’t try the road.

      Re traveling at 80 kph on the main logging road: I was making my tires work hard (15 inch Nokian tires – 205/70/15C WRC) and they seem to have taken the abuse without issue. Sometimes when going that fast you can be surprised by potholes and while mostly you just fly right over them , other times, well I think the tires take a bit of a beating but back on the highway everything was smooth as silk again so I am pretty impressed with those tires.

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