Ferries Not Fairies, The Start

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Brilliant yellow and orange leaves colored central Alberta’s trees, yet we woke to branches sagging under the weight of fresh overnight snow. It hadn’t accumulated on the roads and would probably all melt by later that day, but we didn’t stick around to find out.

For this October road-trip my brother and his wife joined Mister and I. We left shortly after sunrise for a scenic three B.C. Ferry, instead of the usual one, venture to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Our first day goal is always to make miles, put as much distance between us and home as we can. So after 10 1/2 hours in the van we arrived at Clinton, BC. Not as far as our younger selves would make in a day, but we also have more time now, since we’re all retired. (Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday, talks about a morning mishap that delayed us.)

Clinton nestles in the hills of BC’s Cariboo region, and we were glad the historic Cariboo Lodge we booked was unharmed. The town was one of many evacuated during this summer’s devastating wildfires.

The next day we traveled highway #97 to #99. A pretty drive they say once it nears the river. A little high, and exposed (as in no guardrails) at times for me, but more so for the sister-in-law who has a height phobia.

Familiar with many roads, Mister or I, try to remember to have her sit on the side of the van which will be on the inside of the road when we’ll on a picturesque section like this. Where our heads were this particular morning, who knows.

Both us girl sat on the passenger side which offered unobstructed views across the narrow shoulder, off the edge, and into the valley far below. The men, being the boys they sometimes are, seemed to enjoy our muttered curses. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith in Mister’s driving. He did nothing crazy, but sometimes on roads like this it’s hard not to sweat and apply pressure to my invisible brake pedal.

At Lillooet’s Tourist Information/Museum we met one of my sisters and her husband and they joined and followed us for the rest of the trip.

The section of highway #99 leaving there needs a mention. If you have a tendency to get car-sick from side to side cornering motion, or travel in a large RV, be prepared if you head this way. Make sure your cupboards and fridge doors are latched, and you may want to have something handy if you’re prone to seatbelt rash on your neck.

Mister and I, do a lot of back-roads so we’ve been on many windy and even hair-raising paths, but this was a top five windiest road ever for us. It’s a pretty drive, just be aware. The good part was it isn’t as high and open as the previous stretch.

After lunch in Whistler, B.C. the Sandman Inn at Squamish, was our stop for the night. Another without ocean-views but we were within minutes of the first Ferry terminal.

In the morning we boarded the Horseshoe Bay ferry which goes to Langdale.

My advice if traveling on multiple B.C. ferries is to check into the, B.C. Ferry Experience card, it saved four of us in the one vehicle a hundred dollars overall.

Once across to land again our first stop was in, Gibsons. A small charming town some may have heard of because of the Canadian television series, “Beachcombers.” Filmed there from 1972-1990. It made the still operating waterside restaurant, Molly’s Reach, a well-known place.

Our next ferry departed further north on the Sunshine Coast highway 101, so after exploring Gibsons, off we went. This path goes through one of my favorite spots of the area, Sechelt. Unfortunately, on this trip we didn’t stop there or at any of the beaches along that stretch. All I’ll say as to why not, is communication skills were not 100% between Mister and I right then. A rarity but it happened.

We continued to Earls Cove for the ferry to Saltery Bay. From there it was a short drive to Powell River, and the first of our 11 ocean-side accommodations. Beach Gardens Resort Hotel, is older but with nice rooms and balconies facing a marina on Malaspina Strait.

We enjoyed beautiful sights, and it’s where the pictures for this post were taken. My brother’s candid shot of me and one I took of him the morning we left to board our third ferry, the one to Vancouver Island.

There are two places on the island where we stayed that deserve mentioning more than just their name so stay tuned to find out which they are and what made them special.

Have you been on a ferry?

Was it the large multi deck onewith restaurants and gift shops or the one open car level type?

These three we were on are the large type, but open ones travel between the many smaller islands and Vancouver Island.

I would also like to wish all my American readers

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!!

Watching The Tide Roll Away

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For those who don’t know, I can get a bit obsessed with walking shorelines in search of my favorite beach treasure, sea glass. I’ve set an alarm and been out long before the morning sun, and I’ve been out late in the evening, depending on tide schedules.

I’ll stroll the same beach as many times in a day as our schedule allows.

I’ll wear or use whatever Mother Nature requires, a raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots, earmuffs, and I’ve even needed a flashlight. I always pack these options.

This post’s title is a line from, “The Dock of the Bay.” My recent holiday’s theme song.

As soon as I got to the water’s edge this tune played over and over in my mind. Its melody, the salty sea air, and the lapping waves put me at peace and kept me company if I was alone.

In October, one of my brothers and sisters, and their spouses did a road trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with Mister and I. All of us had been to most of the places we visited, but never together as adults, and the others hadn’t been on the island in years.

Those interested in joining Mister and I were warned that I had an agenda for this trip. Being a coastline journey I was going for ocean-views every night or as often as possible, even if the cost per night was higher than normal rooms. Everyone was game.

I did the route planning, online research and reservations. The family refers to me as their personal travel agent and guide. The pay sucks, but it’s a hat I enjoy wearing as long as things go well. I lied, their smiles are pay enough.

Something I’ve learnt during previous travels is many coastline accommodations are private motels and hotels. Owning such prime real-estate means they remain successful and rarely sell out to the big new chains. We enjoy the uniqueness of these often older places, but I rely on reviews when checking their condition and upkeep.

Either I did a good job booking, or this group was easy to please, or they pretended to be, because I heard minimal complaining. Rooms were clean, had comfortable beds, and a few exceeded our expectations.

Out of fourteen nights away, 11 had water views.

They were steps from the ocean’s edge. Some rooms overlooked marinas, (my brother and I have a boat fetish) others had open coast lines, some with sandy shores, and some with rugged rocks.

For me, it’s hard to top waking up to these views.

Something odd happened though, I’ve never slept so much and done so little exploring on a trip. Typically, I’m a let’s go here, let’s do this kind of traveler. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I’m somewhere other than home.

We had a busy summer, so perhaps down-time was needed to recharge or maybe the cold I caught on day two and the medicine I took affected me. Whatever it was, wasting hours which I could have spent, even if just, enjoying the scenery unsettled me. Yet, I usually went to bed long before my normal time and slept later, often missing the sunrise.

The main goal for the trip was for the six of us to spend time together, and this we achieved. We joined each other for meals, and sometimes for beach walks. Of course no trip is complete for females without some clothes and other shopping. But, we weren’t the only ones who purchased items.

The group liked to snoop through local shops, which we did wherever we were. That resulted in a few found treasures, the biggest (literally) being the large wooden sail boat ornament my brother bought.

Since we all live in Alberta, having fresh seafood was a must on the list to do. By the time we got home some complained they were getting, chowdered-out, as we called it. Not me, fish was my main food source while we were gone, and I miss it. But, not as much as I miss walking the shores.

Do you prefer privately owned Motels or Hotels or large popular chains?

Are you an Explorer or Relaxer while on vacation?

The next two posts will have tips for those who may find themselves traveling on our same path.

Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday

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A recent fall journey began with an evening rain shower that turned to snow during the night. By morning enough white stuff accumulated to require a snow-brush and ice scraper to clean off T.C. (our van), but the roads were bare and all participants woke raring to go.

Taking a road-trip while the beautiful fall colors are out is so worth leaving shorts and sandals behind and packing bulkier and a bit more clothing. Mister and I love to travel at this time of the year.

The luggage stowed inside was for two siblings (myself and one of my brothers) and two outlaws (our spouses). Not to worry, there was more bags than what you see above by the time we returned. (Insert Smiley face here).

Us four have traveled together before. To Las Vegas and last summer we explored the Washington and Oregon coast. This time we headed to Canada’s west coast and Vancouver Island. Our numbers increased to six though on the second day when one of my sister’s and her husband met up and joined us.

The weather system that brought the overnight snow was small, so it wasn’t long into the drive before even the fields and ditches were bare again.

Unfortunately, the trip started like no other; it started with a bang, and not a good kind.

An hour and a half after we set out two animals appeared from nowhere, and as a pair they ran across the highway in front of us. Mister slammed on the brakes which gave the lead one just enough time to escape, but nothing could be done to avoid hitting the second.

Tears filled my eyes as I walked back to check the animal lying motionless on the pavement, knowing very well its state. I apologized to it and hoped death came in an instant so it suffered no pain.

Within seconds Mister appeared behind me and pulled the body out from the path of oncoming traffic. I’m not sure I could have done that.

No humans were injured. The van’s under shroud was ripped off, and a good portion of the front end was either cracked, or broken. Lucky for us though, the air bags didn’t go off, the headlights remained intact, and although the air conditioning radiator was dented T.C. ran fine. Damages were all cosmetic.

Nothing could change what happened, and with a highway not being the safest place to hangout we all got back inside and headed for the next town.

Mister and I stood in the mall parking lot while he made the appropriate phone calls. My brother ran into a store and bought a roll of Gorilla tape. It was needed to hold dandling and vibrating pieces safely in place, so we could continue on our way.

As a side note, this was our first time using Gorilla tape, and we were impressed by its strength and staying power through rain and winds.

My superstitious nature kicked in often during the next fourteen days as I worried about the, “Bad things happen in three’s,” theory. Then, I would hear my mother’s words, “Things happen for a reason.” Perhaps that delay saved us from a more severe incident, we will never know for sure. With us all safe at home now, I can report any other mishaps were minor compared to our start.

I intended to post sights and finds on my blog while on this trip, but the ocean always beckoned for me to spend my spare time strolling the shores.

Truth be known, I need little encouragement to do just that.

The only writing I did while on the road was in our daily travel journal. This is a practice I’ve done for years now. We enjoy looking back on the information, to reminisce, or use it to reference things when revisiting an area.

Do you keep a travel journal?

Can superstitions unsettle you?

Have you ever had a rough start to a holiday? If so, did you continue or turn back?

 

The Power of A Photograph

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I scrolled a photo album for a picture with the power to calm my troubled mind.

Family pictures bring me the most joy, but I choose the above holiday shot because I’m sure seeing a place is more interesting for strangers.

Shores and Coastlines are always a happy place for me to visit. This is the sun setting on the walkway at Seaside, Oregon.

Are you ever amazed how a simple picture can trigger emotions?

Do photos do this for you?

There are two other common memory triggers. I’m often shocked how quick, and out of the blue, the past will flash when you hear a certain tune or smell a certain scent.

Without going into detail, we’ve had a somewhat crappy week, and I’ve been sporting puffy eyes.

Why, the puffy eyes you ask?

I Could literally be the “Town-Cryer”.

As in, that’s my coping mechanism. I cry when I’m sad or receive unsettling news, when I’m stressed, when I’m overtired, when I’m happy or I laugh too much, and if someone else gets teary eyed, no problem, I’ll join them.

When my gene pool was filled, I must have gotten extra emotions, and a sensitive waterworks trigger. If not that, I’ll blame aging and adulthood. I’m sure others will agree that at times, those both suck.

Who here can tear-up reading something, or watching a TV commercial? (Surprise! My hand is up.)

Have faith in me, my family and friends, I’m stronger than I may appear. (Smiley Face)

I hope your days are running smoothly.