Friday, October 22, 2010

East Central Island Wanderings

After a few days of ‘driveway camping’ in Courtenay, it was time to head a bit south, catching up on a few odds n ends along the way, like fuel and propane.

The Horne Lake Caves provincial park looked like a good place to camp and explore, so I turned west off the island highway to check it out.  The pavement soon ended and the potholes began on the predominantly logging road.  My backroads mapbook showed a few lakeshore campsites on Horne Lake, so that’s where I was headed.  Unfortunately, the provincial park has no camping at all, and one of the regional park campsites was secured by a huge gate. CIMG2305

I wish someone in BC Parks would tack a ‘closed’ sign on their highway park signs, especially when the closed campground is several kilometers or more off the main route.  Parks Canada is notorious for closing campgrounds and facilities early, but at least they are good at putting ‘closed’ signs up before you drive in to them!  Listen up, BC and Regional Parks people.

I carried on past, looking for a lakeshore forest service (?) campsite, but the logging road soon got a bit more rustic for a 5th wheel and signs on the open gates said they could be closed and locked at any time without notice!

Since I was there, I hiked up to the entrance of the single cave in the park that was open and accessible.  It looked pretty dark (!), wet, narrow, muddy, and I did not have proper lights or equipment, so I left it for another time.  During the summer months, guided tours are available in a variety of the caves.CIMG2302CIMG2303CIMG2301CIMG2300

Eventually, I returned to the main Horne Lake Regional Park campsite, which was pretty much deserted, but open with a reduced fare of $10 plus hst.


The campground is located on a point of land between the lake and the Qualicum river, with some sites in heavy timber, and some out in the open.  I chose the latter, so I could set out satellite dishes if desired, as well as for the view.  The view down the lake was very nice, and the morning fog burning off made for some good photo ops, especially after a night with a full moon and a campfire.


Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on your point of view, I heard one of the trailer tires going rapidly flat just as I was setting up.  It was a good time as any to see if the spare tire actually fit and had air in it!  As planned for this type of occasion, no jack was necessary to raise the tire; I simply drove onto some blocks with the other tandem wheel till the rear one was off the ground.  The spare had air and fit, but I was still glad I had my air compressor with me anyway.

Next day at the OK Tire shop in Parksville, I used the same wood blocks to aid the shop in replacing the patched tire.

Got a bit of a propane problem to figure out.  I have two 30 lb tanks, one on either side of the rig, with a self-switching regulator arrangement.  Unfortunately, it claims the far tank is out of gas even when it is full.  The tanks all work fine, but I have to manually move the tanks to the other side to get the gas out of them.  I guess I will have to start replacing hoses and regulators till the problem is eliminated.  In the meantime, I just haul the tanks to the side that works.CIMG2313CIMG2315

OK, I know that Rick and Paulette are camping nearby in the trendy Surfside RV park in their shiny new rig!  Perhaps I will have to track them down for a coffee in the next day or two!

Hailey continues to enjoy the rolling camping adventure!


   Found this large tree growing in the campground that started on an old stump, and now is completely draped over the old stump!CIMG2309       

A couple portions of the Horne Lake road are rather narrow, where a few of these ‘pebbles’

CIMG2318 CIMG2319 intruding on the travel surface.  Might be interesting in the dark with a high rig!

Good to see Wandering Willy has started to wander south again, and I know Al is packing and planning for his departure as well.

After I get back to Alberta and straighten out a few things (like work), I’ll be doing a final re-pack and heading south as well.  Can’t wait.


  1. Ivan

    Have the same problem with my propane. When you find the fix let me know.

    Have a good trip


  2. Ivan

    Have the same problem with my propane. When you find the fix let me know.

    Have a good trip


  3. I like those pictures with the fog over the lake.

  4. Love all your pictures, as usual, but the tree growing on the stump is my favorite today. This place reminds me of Crazy Woman Canyon in Wyoming. Stay safe.

  5. Probably good to get some of those tire & propane problems taken care of now before the big trek south. We had the same tank set up on our Rockwood 5ver too but I think both tanks worked. Had the slide stick out once but was able to handcrank it in from underneath with a supplied bar. I remember those BC logging roads from years ago & would be a little nervous traversing up one of them for sure. Ruts & bumps, not to mention the risk of heavily loaded lumbering logging trucks headed down. Been there & had that happen!! Yikes!!

  6. Good luck with the propane problem, I have a similar one with my camper, so will be interested in the solution as well.