Vancouver to Chilliwack and wondrous worlds within

August 18 – After coffee, we packed up and drove to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay.  This was our sixth ferry of the trip and a big one, the Queen of Surrey.  It has two car decks and can hold up to 1500 passengers and 362 vehicles.  It took us about 45 minutes to get to Vancouver and we drove in traffic across the Lions Gate Bridge only to discover that the RV park we were spending the night in was back on the other side of the bridge.

Queen of Surrey / Photo courtesy of West Coast Ferries Forum

Queen of Surrey Photo by West Coast Ferries Forum

We eventually made our way to the Capilano River RV Park and found a camp site.  The sites are very small and crowded together, but not as bad as at the park in Victoria.  We discovered later that Andrew and Amy had camped there just the day before after her bicycle ride from Seattle to Vancouver.  We parked and walked to a nearby mall to find a pharmacy and post office, eat dinner, and head back across the Capilano River to the bus.

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Capilano River RV Park

A man emerged from the older white Chevy Astro parked next to us.  He introduced himself and told us that he writes articles for the German National Geographic and that he and his wife had just come back from Alaska where they were recording Alaskan brown bears, aka Kodiak bears.  He was telling us how large they are when Mag asked if they were as big as Grizzly bears.  “Much bigger” he reported and brought out his laptop to show photos he had taken during the trip.  The male Kodiak bear averages 1000 to 1200 lbs. but can reach 1500 lbs.  Adult male grizzlies average 400-800 lbs.  That’s the short version.  Here is a link to his website. Sprechen sie Deutsch?

www.schriddels.com

We showered in the nice clean RV Park facilities and then slept fairly well considering we were under the east end of the Lions Gate Bridge.  We had plans for the rest of the week to stay in a downtown hotel so that we could walk to most of the places we wanted to see.  The next morning we drove through Stanley Park, stopping to take walks and pictures.

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View from Stanley Park

Then we were on to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC.  We spent three hours at this fantastic museum.  It had large native peoples exhibits as well as well-organized displays from around the world.  We cannot say enough about the well thought out displays at this museum.  It’s a must if you visit Vancouver!  Prepare for an overdose of pictures:

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MOA

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The international section of the museum, known as the Multiversity Galleries, was quite large and impressive.  The drawers you see under the displays are all full of artifacts under glass.

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

Multiversity Gallery

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Multiversity Gallery

We checked in at our downtown hotel and went to look for parking.  The Roadhaus + rocket box is 8’ 6” and wouldn’t fit in the hotel’s parking garage.  The nearby street lots were undesirable so we ended up parking more than a mile away in a well-lighted bus lot.  We walked back to the hotel, stopping for a delicious dinner at Cavo, a sidewalk cafe serving Mediterranean food, which Maggie had been craving.

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Cavo

We were up early the next morning as our friend Bernie was picking us up for coffee.  Bernie is one of our favorite people – always interesting, always entertaining and an icon in the VW Bus Community.

Here is a link to a recent BBC article that features Bernie:

Freedom rides on four wheels

A coffee aficionado like ourselves, he wanted us to try the “Best coffee in Vancouver” at a place called Revolver.  They use many different varieties and grind just enough for each cup.  They use a variation on our pour-over method.  Lar says it was the best cup of coffee ever.

Revolver Coffee

Revolver Coffee

After coffee, Bernie drove us through Chinatown and dropped us off in Gas Town where we could do the tourist thing.  We enjoyed traipsing through the shops and buying trinkets and t-shirts for family, but it was a bit tiring.  We lunched at an Indian Restaurant and engaged in people watching.

Gas Town

Gas Town

Steam Clock

Steam Clock

Gas Town

Gas Town

We then walked over to Chinatown where we visited a few of the shops, then took a break and of course had coffee.

China Town

China Town

China Town

China Town

China Town

China Town

Waves

Waves

At the coffee shop we asked around to see if anyone could tell us where to find the Jimi Hendrix shrine that Mag had read about.  No one had heard of it.  Mag did some web searching and found the address and we soon located it on a side street.  It was interestingly minimalistic (i.e., not much there) but we took photos and moved on.  It seems Jimi’s grandmother, Nora Hendrix, had worked as a cook there when it was  “Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse” and Jimi had played there when he lived in Vancouver.  The story goes that he lived in the building for a short time.

Jimi Hendrix Shrine

Jimi Hendrix Shrine

It was going to be a bit of a walk back to the hotel and it appeared from the maps that there was a casino roughly half-way there.  We disagreed on which route to take, but Mag gave in and we went the way Lar suggested.  We eventually made it to the casino (enough said).  Although it was not a profitable venture, there were two good things about the casino:  It was ALL nonsmoking and it had a slot machine that looked suspiciously like a VW bus!  We made the long walk back to the hotel with cameras, backpack and purse, and bags of tourist junk – an exhausting day!

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Edgewater Casino

August 21 – Mag’s 68th birthday.  We walked down Hornby Street to the water taxis that would take us to Granville Island Public Market.  We spent roughly three hours walking around the market area.  Like the market in Seattle, there were all kinds of food, flowers, and other goods.  The bakery goods were irresistible so we had coffee and a pastry.  We did some more people watching and added boat watching as there was a show of wooden boats at the market’s marina.

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

We took the water taxi back across the bay and walked to the hotel.  Later in the day, Bernie and Vivian picked us up to take us to dinner at Naam, a vegetarian restaurant.  The food was delicious and the company was great.  Vivian is one of the most traveled people we have ever met – and someone we can completely identify with!  They then drove us all around different areas of Vancouver before stopping for coffee and almond cookies.

The Naam ... Photo Art by Nick Kenrick

The Naam … Photo Art by Nick Kenrick

Vancouver

Vancouver

Up early the next morning, we packed up and Lar made the long trek to retrieve the bus.  We were heading out to Chilliwack to visit Maggie’s friend and former roommate, Sharon, and her husband Mike.  Mag and Sharon shared an apartment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, some 26 years ago.  It was time for a reunion!

Arriving in Chilliwack in the afternoon, we enjoyed a visit sitting on Sharon and Mike’s patio in perfect BC weather.  It turns out that Mike is a fantastic cook and he made a delicious dinner of curried beef and rice.  He gave us a tour of the greenhouse and garden that supplies many of their vegetables.  We noted an entire bookcase full of cook books and decided we just might stay!  Now both retired, they each have their hobbies.  Sharon is an artist and now has an art studio in the backyard.  We enjoyed both of their masterpieces – both artistic and culinary.

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Sharon & Mike and the art studio

The next morning, after chowing down on Mike’s huevos rancheros and tortillas, we drove to the Heron Reserve, one of their volunteer projects.  We walked a couple of trails and took a few pictures, then drove to downtown Chilliwack for coffee and a walk around.  Dinner that night – a coffee slathered pork tenderloin with corn on the cob and salad – was fabulous.  We dined on the patio and then played a few games of Mexican Train.  It was going to be difficult to say goodbye!

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

 Java Art

Java Art

Maggie and Sharon had a great reunion visit and called up another former roommate, Helen, who lives in Ontario.  Now if we can just figure out how to all get together!

The next morning we lounged around the patio with coffee, had a late breakfast, and headed off for the border crossing.  We needed to get rid of a few Canadian coins, so stopped at Tim Horton’s and picked up a box of donuts (!).  We were randomly stopped at the border but only got a cursory search.  They asked what was in the rocket box and Mag said “a didgeridoo”.  They opted not to open it.  Back in the U.S.A., land of cheap(er) gas and groceries.

For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry

Coffee Obsession Digression

We are going off topic here as a Public Service Announcement.

It’s time to talk coffee.

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For those of you who reside in the Pacific Northwest, you are excused – go have a carmel macchiato latte with low-fat milk and a double shot or something.  For those of you living in a relative java wasteland, listen up.  If you have a Starbucks, even one that is located in a grocery store, and you buy coffee there, give yourself a pat on the back.

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At least you’re not drinking stuff that comes in a red or blue plastic tub on the shelf at Walmart.

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Still, we are sorry to tell you that you are missing out.  Do you drive more than a half-mile without seeing a coffee drive-thru or espresso hut?  You obviously do not live in a serious zone of caffeination like the PNW.  We would like to bring you out of coffee purgatory and into java nirvana – out of the darkness and into the light as it were (except we prefer the dark roasts).

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We spent our summer in the Pacific Northwest – specifically Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia – where it is difficult to find a bad cup of coffee.  Every town, village, or spot in the road sports at least one espresso hut – but often, many.

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In one small town we passed through in Washington, there were four in a two-block area.

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Our current hometown in Oklahoma has only one grocery-store Starbucks and nothing else.  Nada.  Zip.  A big zero.  A few years ago there was a coffee hut on one of our busy streets, and there used to be a coffee house downtown – although their coffee wasn’t very good.  Restaurant coffee in the area is of the “made it this morning, been sitting on the burner all day” variety.

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We would like to make the case that more good coffee – and more coffee drive-thru huts – are needed in the middle of the country.  Please help elevate the coffee tastes in your area.

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Support your local coffee hut if you have one.  Consider a start-up if you don’t.  We’ll be there!

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And while you are at it, join our Panera for Ponca Facebook page – at least they know how to make coffee.

With coffee love,

Larry and Maggie

The Grand Circle – Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

August 7 – We headed north out of Victoria on Highway 1 with Campbell River as our destination.  Driving north past Nanaimo, we turned on to 19A which went along the coast of the Strait of Georgia, which runs between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia.  We got to Campbell River and were directed in by our good friend Phil Z.   Lar and Phil had traveled together through British Columbia, Yukon, and parts of Alaska several years ago and Lar was anxious to catch up.  We looked forward to traveling and camping with Phil on the Sunshine Coast.

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Straight of Georgia

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Phil & Larry

We visited and took a walk along the shore to a nearby pub for dinner.  There is a good bike/walking trail along the shore which passes the 50th parallel.  The weather was excellent, with comfortable days and cool nights, ranging 58-60 degrees.  We had been fortunate to experience these same nighttime temps for the last several weeks.

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The next morning, Phil drove us up to Mt. Washington.  It is a ski area in winter with tubing tunnels for the kids and a conveyor to bring them back up the hill.  During summer, they have other activities including chair lifts for hikers and bikers to get up the mountain.  We had lunch there in the bar and grill and walked around a bit.  Phil and Maggie seemed to be in sync.

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Tubing Tunnel

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Maggie & Phil

Seeing as how it was too cold and windy for a hike on the mountain, we opted instead to take another shore walk to get coffee and ice cream.  Here we plotted our trip across the Salish Sea to the “Sunshine Coast”, which required taking a ferry—one of several on this trip.  Our plan was to camp on the coast and eventually join up with other friends, Cheri and Trevor from Gibsons.

We were up early, packed and followed Phil to the ferry – a 40 minute drive.  Phil is currently driving a Honda Element as his Westy is undergoing a major renovation – both inside and out and including an engine transplant.  We got on the ferry – first in line – and went up to an upper deck for coffee and breakfast.  The ferries we’ve ridden so far have fairly decent coffee and food.  In fact, everywhere we’ve traveled in the PNW, we noted that it was difficult to find bad coffee.

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Ferry to Powell River

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Ferry Breakfast

We got into Powell River and stopped at a coffee shop to get a few minutes of wifi.  And then one of those Vanagon synchronicity events imposed itself into our morning.  A fellow came up to the table, pointed at the Roadhaus, and said “Are you the people with the VW?”  We nodded assent and he began talking about a bus he had previously owned, which had been wrecked.  He introduced himself as “Roger” and after a short conversation, Phil said “Oh, I know you”, and they talked a bit and Roger said to Phil “Oh yes, I know who you are.”  Phil then pointed at Larry and said “This is Larry Chase” and Roger said “Oh, I know you—Roadhaus”.  Maggie then asked Roger what his last name was.  “Whitaker” he replied, and she said “Oh, you’re the one who rolled his bus in Wyoming, lost your cat, and then recovered it a few days later!”  It turns out that the cat made the national news.  Roger entertained us with a few stories about the area and how he came for a vacation and never left.

Wavey the Cat

Wavey the Cat

Wavey the Cat Story Link: Click Here

We pushed on north to a free campground called Dinner Rock which is right on the coast.  We lucked out and got the primo campsite on the rocks above the shore with an unimpeded view of the sea and Savary Island.  We set up camp and noted two other Westys nearby.  We spent a leisurely afternoon watching boats, birds, and the occasional seal.  We cooked outside and had a spaghetti dinner, noting the presence of mosquitoes.  The sunset was gorgeous and lasting, but the mosquitoes increased in numbers and soon ran everyone inside.  When I looked out  at the screen, there were a couple dozen mosquitoes attached, trying to get in.  Our bug zapper, “The Executioner” came in handy once again.

Dinner Rock Campsite

Dinner Rock Campsite

Sunset at Dinner Rock

Sunset at Dinner Rock

Mag awoke at 5:30 and peeked out to see a full moon shining across the water from Savary Island and got up to take pictures.  After second coffee “on the rocks”, two women came by who turned out to be in the Westys parked near us.  They visited and told us they lived nearby and that they were glad we had gotten the favored camp site since we were from out of town.

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Moon over Savary Island

We took Phil’s car into Lund, the town north of the campground and the northern terminus of Highway 101 – the Coast Highway.  We had lunch at Nancy’s Bakery and walked around the village.  We drove over to Marine Park – a Provincial Park campground and marina.  Back in camp, it was dinner, sit by the water, and experience another peaceful evening.

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Nancy’s Bakery

The Historic Lund Hotel

Lund Marina

Lund Marina

The next day was relaxed with a short hike up to an overlook, lots of relaxing by the water, and cooking on the outside stove and the camp oven.  We made popcorn and Lar grilled chicken for dinner.  Mosquitoes again made the nighttime unpleasant, but we slathered ourselves in insect repellent and stayed out for one last sunset in this beautiful place.

On the rocks

On the rocks

Dinner Rock Sunset 2

Dinner Rock Sunset 2

The next morning we packed up and drove into Powell River where we scored coffee, showers, and laundry.  We headed off to Saltery Bay to a campground close to the ferry we would take the next morning.  We walked down to the water to Mermaid Cove where a mermaid statue is located 60 feet down offshore, seen only by divers and fish.  We were off to bed early and awakened to light rain.  We had to pack everything up wet.  We invited Phil into the “living room” for morning coffee while it rained.

River City Coffee

River City Coffee

Mermaid Campground

Mermaid Cove Campground

We lined up for the ferry next morning from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove – a 45 minute ride.  We drove into the small community of Egmont where we stocked up on last-minute supplies (and ice cream bars).  We drove on to Klein’s Lake where we would meet Cheri and Trevor and found a nice site on the south side of the lake with a dock.  We sat out on the deck in camp chairs and watched canoes and a turtle that seemed to be begging for treats.  We put the awning out as it began raining lightly.  It continued to mist and rain intermittently so the three of us sat and visited until almost dark.

Ferry to Gibsons

Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove Ferry

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Mag .. photo courtesy of Phil Zimmerman

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The next morning everything was wet and dripping but the rain had stopped.  We went for a walk around the lake and then Lar took a swim off the dock, while Mag declined.  We moved to the campsite next door when it became available as it had an unobstructed view of the lake.  Late in the afternoon, a woman showed up in a Westy with her dog and said that she was supposed to meet Trevor & Cheri there.  It turned out Trevor had replaced her skylight that morning and she was invited to camp with us.  She said her name was Krystel and she reported that she was 80 years old and was the original owner of her Westy.  We thought her quite adventurous to be out camping with strangers in her bus.  We helped set her up in the site next to us.  Trevor and Cheri rolled in later. as they had stopped to pick up a canoe that Trevor had built.  Trevor and Cheri are more “new old friends” that we have known for some time but never met.  It was time to remedy that situation.

Trevor's handmade Maine Guide Boat

Trevor’s Maine Guide Boat

The sun came out and dried a few things out.  We visited and went off to bed, glad that the rain had stopped.  We later saw some precursor lightning off in the distance.  Before long the rains came in force.  It thundered, lightninged and poured through the night.  Lar got up around 0500 and adjusted the awning which was sagging badly.  By morning, everything we had not put away was soaked – all the cooking supplies on the picnic table, lawn chairs, etc.  It continued to rain as we moved things under the awning and put a tarp over the picnic table.  The camp area was a mud bath and we pondered the name “Sunshine Coast”.  Phil allowed as how he had experienced enough of camping in the Honda and headed back home to Campbell River.  We were sorry to see him go.

Phil, Cheri, Trevor & Larry's hand.

Phil, Cheri, Trevor & Larry’s hand.

Phil Cheri, Trevor, Krystel & Larry

Phil, Trevor, Krystel, Cheri & Larry

We hiked a couple of miles up to the Sunshine Coaster Trail and back.  We saw the first of several black slugs that are common in the area.  Cheri and Trevor took the canoe out onto the lake and Lar and I sat out on the dock experimenting with the digeridoo.  Trevor and Cheri commented later that they thought there were elk bugling in the forest.  Other friends of theirs, Tammy and Chris, and Nathan and Kim, arrived and camped with us.  That evening we sat around under the awning while Chris played banjo and sang along with Tammy.  Cheri introduced us to her birthday present – a bottle of Sortilege Maple Syrup whiskey – which she graciously shared.  It was a very pleasant end to a soggy day.

Slug

Slug

Didgeridoo

Didgeridoo

Tammy, Chris & Cheri

Tammy, Chris & Cheri

 

Larry, Maggie, Cheri & Trevor

Larry, Maggie, Cheri & Trevor

Cheri's birthday treat

Cheri’s birthday treat

The next morning we packed up and got a late start to hike the Skookumchuck Narrows Trail.  You have to love some of the names, native inspired, that are found in the PNW:  Snoqualamie, Dosewallips, Kootenai, Coquitlam, – well you get the idea.  The spellcheck is going nuts.  We had lunch overlooking the marina in Egmont and then hit the trail.  Skookumchuck means “strong waters”.  The narrows are a spot in the long Sechelt channel that constrict the flow of water into and out of the Georgia Strait.  At high tide you get rapids and at low tide you get whirlpools.  The tide was going out and we watched someone’s dock float down the inlet and circle the whirlpools.

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Skookumchcuk Narrows Trail

Skookumchcuk Narrows Trail

Skookumchcuk Narrows Vegetation

Skookumchcuk Narrows Vegetation

Skookumchcuk Narrows

Skookumchcuk Narrows

On the way back to the buses, we stopped at a bakery/coffeehouse in the forest.  It is about 1/4 mile from the public parking area, so a walk for anyone wanting goodies – but well worth the walk!

The Green Rosette Bake Shop

The Green Rosette Bake Shop

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The Green Rosette Bake Shop

After the hike we headed out toward Gibsons, stopping at Sechelt for showers at the marina.  There happened to be a wedding in progress at the marina and, as we were heading for the showers, the bride was being escorted off her yacht and up the gangway.

Pender Harbour Marina

Pender Harbour Marina

When we arrived in Gibsons, we camped with Trevor and Cheri at Chris and Tammy’s place, although they had remained at Klein’s Lake.  They have fixed their sizeable yard up so friends can camp there – complete with covered table and chairs, fire pit, and the all-important pit toilet.  Let us digress for a moment here to note that Mag’s only real complaint about the Sunshine Coast was pit toilets.  She says she would be happy to never see one again.  She says the only thing they are good for is developing strong quadriceps.  Enough said.

Trevor built us a campfire, which was a real treat because we had been under a fire ban all the way down the coast.  Nothing warms you up like a roaring campfire.  Trevor and Cheri provided salmon and we roasted veggies in the oven – a nice hot meal to add to the warm fire.  The next morning we had scrambled eggs and fresh biscuits to get us going.  They took us for a tour of their office and work space – vanagonwestfaliaparts.com – and then we took the canoe to the beach and launched it so that Trevor could row it home.  This is the easiest way to get it home as the access to their coastal cabin has been described as a “goat trail”.

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That evening – after obligatory laundry duties – we went down to the marina and walked around.  Cheri previously lived on her boat and also once managed the marina – Smitty’s Marina – location of the old Beachcomber TV series. She gave us a tour and a bit of history of the places there.  One “boat” was of particular interest – owned by a woman who has covered the 4-part structure with flowers.  Each section has a motor attached since all structures there have to be “sea-worthy”.  Trevor showed us the wooden boat he had built and took us for a ride around the bay.  The weather was perfect.  We dined at a Mexican restaurant and then said our goodbyes.  They went home and we camped again at Chris and Tammy’s in preparation for heading out in the morning for the ferry to Vancouver.  We loved the Sunshine Coast, even when the sun wasn’t shining – and we particularly enjoyed friends old and new.

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Flower boat home

Flower boat home

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For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry

Victoria – Land of Hope and Gloria (Ray Davies, The Kinks, 1969)

August 4 – The MV Coho got underway as we drank our first coffee of the day.  The first 20 minutes or so were a bit “rock and roll” as we traversed the shallows and considered whether or not it was too late for dramamine.  None was needed, however, as we leveled out in deeper water.  The ride was approximately 1-1/2 hours and brought us into downtown Victoria.  The city is named, of course, for Queen Victoria, but was populated by Coast Salish peoples long before Europeans set foot here.  We parked and walked to the downtown area where we found a deli on Government St. and had a croissant sandwich and good coffee.

Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC

Victoria

Victoria

Victoria

Victoria

The weather was perfect as we walked around and visited a number of tourist shops, buying some odds and ends and t-shirts.  We parked in a lot next to the harbor and watched the seaplanes and water taxis.  We visited the small Chinatown area and bought a tablecloth and prayer flags.  We ate an early dinner at a Mexican place on the edge of Chinatown.  Victoria is a place of many ethnicities and we enjoyed the resulting variety of foods available.

Seaplane

Seaplane

Water taxi

Water taxi

China Town

China Town

We drove to the West Bay RV park where we would stay for three nights.  It was just across the bay from downtown which made for a convenient location – but the RVs and campers were jammed together in very small spaces.  The RV on one side of us belonged to a French Canadian family with twin girls who appeared to be about two years of age.  They were adorable as they sang songs in French and in unison.  However, when they began to cry and scream, three feet from our window, their cuteness diminished.  This went on for some time but fortunately not after about 10 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Westbay Marine Village

Photo courtesy of West Bay RV Park

Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens” and next morning after breakfast we headed off to Butchart Gardens north of the city. A bit pricey at $32 a ticket, we found it very well organized and laid out.  The Gardens are beautiful with several different themed sections.  The downside, however, were the busloads of tourists arriving at the same time we did.  It was quite crowded, so we hung back and waited a bit, having coffee until the crowd thinned a bit.  We spent a good half-day walking and photographing and eventually had lunch at the Blue Poppy restaurant on the grounds.

Prepare to overdose on flower pictures

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We drove back into town and walked around a bit but were ready to call it a day after so much time on our feet.  We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory and came back to the campground.  We were unable to change camp sites, so remained next to the twins another night.    Their sweet little voices could go from quiet to ear-splitting in a nanosecond.  Their cuteness was all that saved them.

Totems @ the Royal BC Museum

Totems @ the Royal BC Museum

After an early wake-up call from a grandchild who forgot about the time difference on the west coast, we showered and went into town for breakfast at a place called Jam.  The cafe came highly recommended by Andrew and Amy and was a highlight of our gastronomic experiences.  We each had a different variety of Eggs Benedict – one vegetarian and one bacon with tomato.  It was excellent.  We noted from our time here so far that most of the young people we’ve encountered seem to be sporting tattoos—quite elaborate ones.

Photo courtesy of Jam

Photo courtesy of Jam

We drove to the Royal BC Museum and spent 3 hours enjoying the exhibits.  The First Peoples exhibit was outstanding, as was a special Vikings exhibit.  The artistic designs of the PNW native peoples are unusual and captivating.  We shopped at the gift shop and ate at the deli before walking around the Neo-Baroque style government buildings and Empress Hotel where we did not have high tea.  As we walked, we passed a line of young people all carrying signs that said “Slow down”, “Smell the flowers”, “Be Here Now” –  and other such messages.  They all gave a high-five.  We soon came to another line of young people with signs that said “Need a Hug?” or “Free Hugs”.  Mag decided to partake of the hugs.  You never know when you might need one.

Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

1st Nation Exhibit

1st Nation Exhibit

1st Nation Exhibit

1st Nation Exhibit

1st Nation Exhibit

1st Nation Exhibit

Parliament Building

Parliament Building

Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel

Hugs-A-Rama

Hugs-A-Rama

We walked along the bay downtown and back to the bus.  We did laundry at a local laundromat where Larry maximized use of the laundry by washing almost all the clothes he had.  This led to a serious fashion faux pas and one daughter’s suggestion that this might be considered a “cry for help”.

Some photos don't need a caption

Some photos don’t need a caption

We had dinner at the White Spot and Lar had poutine with his burger.  Poutine is apparently a staple in these parts – french fries with gravy and cheese curds—as if french fries alone were not bad enough.  Mag had zucchini sticks instead.  When we arrived back at the RV park, our noisy neighbors were gone and another RV was in their place.

Poutine

Poutine

We got another early wake-up call from the new neighbors who were up and packing their camper at 0415, leaving at 0445.  We took showers and packed up, stopping for gas and groceries on the way out of town, headed north toward Campbell River.  We thoroughly enjoyed Victoria, but it was time to get out of the city and get camping!

For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry

Potlatches and Pies

Potlatch – a feast of sharing practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

We reached our friend Hobie’s house in Olalla around 5 in the evening and we all took a walk down to the beach to sit and visit and have a beer.  Hobie is 87 and we have to work to keep up with him.  He is a good example of one who continues to exercise both mind and body and who reaps the benefits.  Hobie designed his home here on Prospect Point in 1991.  We noticed some similarities to his winter casita in Tucson.  Hobie fixed us dinner and we spent the evening catching up on recent events.

Prospect Point

Prospect Point

Hobie & Larry

Hobie & Larry

The next morning, Hobie was off to the Y for an exercise class and we went off to the library to work on the blog.  Later, we went on a longer walk on the beach with Hobie to Anderson Point.  In the afternoon, sitting in Hobie’s front yard, we enjoyed his view of Puget Sound.

Anderson Point

Anderson Point

The Roadhaus had been exhibiting some worrisome behavior – particularly backfiring fairly often – and so Lar elected to take it in to a shop in Bremerton to be checked out.  We went to Helmut’s German Auto where Steve checked the codes, coming up with only the idle control valve as a possible issue.  He suggested the injectors might need cleaning and recommended a heavy duty injector cleaner called BG44K which we picked up at Napa. This unfortunately didn’t seem to help the problem.

Bremington

Bremerton

Back at Hobie’s we enjoyed his crockpot pork dish and Mag’s spinach salad.  We spent a final night visiting before heading off to bed.  We were up and packed early, showered and said our goodbye’s.  We did some shopping and had lunch before driving to Bainbridge Island to visit Andrew and Amy, more of our Vanagon/WetWesties friends. We stopped in downtown Bainbridge to walk around some of the shops and have a pastry and coffee.

When we say “friends”, we often mean friends we haven’t met yet.  That’s the way it is with Vanagon folk – we know each other through the community and become acquainted through Facebook, group e-mail lists, etc.  It was obvious to us long before we reached Bainbridge that we would be visiting “new old friends”.  Before we arrived, there were pictures of Andrew’s homemade pies to lure us in.  And then there was this:

Sweet

Sweet

Amy and Andrew welcomed us in, we had a nice visit, and then went to the marina for dinner.  The weather was perfect with outdoor seating overlooking the marina.  Back at the house, we were treated to two kinds of pie – yummy!  Amy is a serious bicyclist and told us of her upcoming ride from Seattle to Vancouver – An impressive 190 miles!

The next morning we were up early for our planned trip to Seattle.  After a quick breakfast, Andrew drove us to the ferry.  We just missed the 0815 so we had more coffee and made the 0935.  The ferry was a 20-minute ride that brought us right into downtown Seattle.

Seattle Ferry

Seattle Ferry

Thank goodness for cell phones.  Lar often gets distracted by shiny objects or wanders out of sight, leaving Maggie to wonder where he has gotten off to.  On hikes, we carry walkie-talkies, but in the city we figured cell phones would do.  Maggie’s fears are not unfounded:

IMG_2071

Seattle

Seattle

We walked over to 1st Street and pretty much stayed on 1st all day, visiting the Pike Place Market which was several blocks long with 2-3 levels.  The market was very crowded and had huge displays of fish, fruit, flowers, trinkets, t-shirts, and much more.  There were restaurants and coffee shops everywhere –  most notably the original Starbucks which had a line halfway around the block.  It was a noisy, raucous experience with buskers, panhandlers, and throngs of tourists – a people-watching feast.  After the market, we walked around the area and bought a couple of bus stickers, a wind-chime, and a tie-dye shirt for Lar.

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Public Market

Public Market

Public Market

Public Market

Public Market

Public Market

Street Performer

Street Performer

After a delicious lunch in a tiny little Thai restaurant, we stopped for tea and crumpets where we watched as the crumpets were being made.  We walked to the Seattle Art Museum.  Along with all the hustle and bustle on the street, the Blue Angels were flying over periodically, adding to the noise.  Lar jumped into the street to take a photo of a 21-window bus (sigh) and had to be pulled back onto the sidewalk.  Chaotic, to say the least.

23 window beauty

21 window beauty

SAM

SAM

After a 7-hour day, we were ready to get back on the ferry for Bainbridge.  Andrew was waiting for us at the dock and took us home to Amy’s wonderful homemade pizza – and more pie for dessert.  We are always amazed when people feed us this well.  Don’t they know it will be hard to get rid of us?  After dinner, Amy and Maggie moved into the kitchen to avoid overdosing on Vanagon talk.  After an evening of visiting, we were off to bed early in hopes of catching the ferry to Victoria early the next morning.

Andrea & Amy

Andrea & Amy

Up at 0515 the next day, with NO COFFEE!, we threw everything together and headed out for Port Angeles.  Andrew sent us off with our very own pie!  The ferry schedule was for 0815 and with Lar’s competent driving, we made it by 0745.  We were #11 on standby but made it on to the ferry as the next-to-last vehicle.  We headed up to the coffee shop for our first cuppa of the day – finally.  Victoria, British Columbia, here we come…

Photo courtesy of Black Ball Ferry Line

Photo courtesy of Black Ball Ferry Line

For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry