"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oh Canada!

Happy Canada Day! Who knew?

Well obviously the whole country of Canada, but not us. Many weeks ago we scheduled our ferry passage from Port Angeles, WA to Vancouver Island, BC for July 1, not realizing in was a bit of a Canadian holiday, just the equivalent of our July 4th.  The light dawned just the day before we traveled that we might run into some congestion in our destination port, Victoria, the largest city on Vancouver Island. Yes, in fact there was a huge celebration right where the ferry discharged us, and all traffic was to be rerouted. Rick did a quick Google maps redirection, and we were confident we could get through it. That was before our walkie-talkies gave out, and I had no phone (because we didn't buy the Canadian package for my phone - just Rick's), so no communication and no Google maps to guide us just in case I got lost...

But let's go back to the beginning of the day. We checked out of Gilgal Oasis by 11:00, ready for our long travel day. We usually try to travel only a couple of hours, but this was going to be a full six hours at least.

We had to arrive at the ferry an hour early for the whole check-in and wait around process. That gave me some time to catch a few last pictures of local wildlife, real and imagined.

Right on time they loaded us into the belly of the Coho, one of the Black Ball Ferries that service Washington and BC ports.

Bye bye for now, USA!

There were many bicyclists on board, who had just finished a ride up and down Hurricane Ridge! Many of the about 400 cyclists who made the approximately 3 hour round trip ride had come over early in the morning from Victoria, and now were heading home on the 12:45 ferry.  We had a great talk with three of them, Barry, Dave and Dave, who gave us some local advice about what to see and do on Vancouver Island.

The upper deck was pretty full of bikes. The ferry is the largest and fullest I've been on, with two very long passenger decks and a maxed out vehicle deck.  Although the passage was smooth, the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca rolled more than I expected them too. After about 1.5 hours we arrived in Victoria. 

Our reroute took us along the water and around downtown. We could just see the rooftops of the famous Empress Hotel, which is about the biggest thing in town. We have been told that we must go there for tea, and we will when we return to Victoria in about three weeks to see the queen, I mean the sights.

We did actually get through the city and out the other side onto Route 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, with no problem despite not being able to communicate. We got to the Salmon Point RV Resort and Marina by about 6:00 and had a restful dinner at the excellent restaurant there. 

Next day we took it easy, and even though it was raining (what else is new), by afternoon I was ready to explore a little so I headed into Campbell River, the closest town. 

The drive along the shore on Route 19 yielded sightings of many bald eagles and this surprise:

 Transformations on the Shore is an annual event in Campbell River in which local professional, semi-professional and amateur artists are given huge logs of wood to go at with chain saws and other carving tools. The results range from humorous to dramatic. Here are a few of my favorites.

 I thought this one of three otters was the best. 

The weather is supposed to improve in a few days, but in the meantime we've got RV repairs to take care of: power cord reel, sewer hose, backup camera and brake break-away cable. That will keep us busy until we can take in more of the adventures here on Vancouver Island.

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