Wednesday September 28th, 2022: And I was thinking this would be our first departure from a work camping job that there would not be a whole bunch of tears. But as we were making our way through the park before eight o’clock this morning we were stopped by Cortney & Jade to say good bye! So much for that tear-free exit! Love to guys and we will miss you as well!
So it is maybe not really fair to call this actual vacation time, all we have done today is head south from Country Maples Resort and make a U-turn on the TransCanada Highway 1, and then headed north a whole 22.5 kilometers (14 Miles) to Ladysmith and the repair shop. But when living full time in our motor coach everyday is not spent doing neat things or exploring amazing places, no there are a always a few days spent just taking care of our home, and those days are not always glamorous.
And while the coach is having a number of items repaired some of the items just can not be repaired right now, and other items need to be ordered. So today it was all about what we can get here on the island and we will take what we can get for now. Many items that we require are just not available off of any shelf, an example of that is our coach uses a braking system that is air over hydraulics to operate the disc brake system, so there are flexible hydraulic hoses that get the brake fluid to the wheels and the brake calipers, we have a couple that have got some wear marks and need to be replaced. But they need to be custom made, the length of hose with the required fittings, and of course anything custom made is more expensive, and takes time.
So our appointment was 8:30 this morning and by 10:30 we were back out of shop while we wait for parts to arrive from the mainland and or custom manufactured, so now where do we go and what do we do? Luckily there was an empty parking lot next door so we pulled into the lot while we decided where to go, being boondocker’s we have no need to connect to power or water, and this lot seemed to be totally empty so we decided to just stay here, until we hear about the location and delivery time of the required service parts.
I disconnected the toad and made a trip into the town of Chemainus to a branch of the CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) where I had ordered some Mexican Pesos in preparation for the Mexican part of our adventure. But this parking lot overall was a very quiet all day, with a little traffic on the road beside us and an occasional vehicle through the parking lot, and although the TransCanada Highway was only a few meters away the traffic noise seems minimal.
Miss Laurie made some chicken quesadillas for dinner, and we watched the news and some of the damage being done as hurricane Ian rips through Sanibel Island (one of our favorite spots) on the Florida gulf coast on it’s way across the State, before catching up on a couple of YouTube videos and then heading to bed where I read for a while. I read books on my iPad and have used a app called “OverDrive” and it is going away soon so I’m learning how to use a new app called “Libby” it is to be the replacement for “OverDrive“. I use these app’s because they are connected to my library back in Hamilton Ontario, so I can borrow eBooks from my library with no cost, and as a bonus a group of libraries have joined resources to now I can borrow from Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Ottawa, or London libraries with just my Hamilton library card. And now that we are on the move and I have my new glasses I’m reading again, along with listening to a few audiobooks.
Thursday September 29th, 2022: Next morning, same parking lot, I had gotten up to do a security check around three o’clock when a vehicle pulled through the lot, but it appeared to just be a turn around. I read for a little while before heading back to bed, where I turned on my matrass warmer to take the chill out of the bed, our battery bank was at 83% so lots of power, so I decided to spoil myself with a little warmth.
It was near seven o’clock before I climbed out of bed again, Miss Laurie was already up having fed Mister Sam, he is getting two (Fancy Feast) meals a day right now because he needs to eat before taking his pill. Coffee was perked and my coffee had a little blessing this morning, ok this must mean we’re officially on vacation! Breakfast this morning was fried eggs and sourdough toast and a second cup of blessed fresh perked coffee. The sun is rising over the trees, both warming the coach and allowing the harvest of power as it hits the solar panels
We are going to take the toad into Ladysmith today to First Street, and First Street is claimed to be one of “Canada’s Greatest Streets“, certainly quite a claim but I’m not in a position to prove it one way or the other. But on this Great Street of Ladysmith, there is a bakery that is famous for their cinnamon buns. the “Old Town Bakery“, for some of their “Island’s Best Cinnamon Buns” now you maybe remember we had visited this bake shop earlier this year, it was the maker of the butter tart that I trashed in my blog, so I was not in a big rush to go back, but when we were there before they were sold out of cinnamon buns, but they explained that the second batch of buns is ready near eleven o’clock every day, so we went back today.
So this is what Miss Laurie picked for our six cinnamon buns, so here is another one of things I guess I just didn’t know, cinnamon buns come in different flavours … like who knew? But our lunch today was as you may have guessed, was a cinnamon bun, mine was an apple crumb cinnamon bun (the one in the bottom right hand corner) and Miss Laurie’s was a peanut butter cream cheese cinnamon bun (the one just to left of the apple one). And apparently it was very good because she said had she known how good they were we would have been here for cinnamon buns much sooner!
Now you may well wonder what we do when we are just sitting in a parking lot waiting for repairs on our coach? And that is a great question, so I get a chance to work on my blogs and believe it or not I put a lot of work into these blogs, we also get a chance to look for things we want to see or do at our next camping or boondocking spot. We do not leave the coach unattended for long periods of time without someone keeping an eye on it, after all it is our home and basically everything we have is with us. And the way people steal everything that is not locked down here on Vancouver Island, we aren’t leaving it long in an empty parking lot, that is for sure.
So we are going to the shop first thing tomorrow morning therefore I’m thinking we just stay here in the parking lot again tonight. We need to get on the road shortly after noon tomorrow as we are driving to Campbell River for tomorrow evening at the Thunderbird RV Park, and google has it at 178 kilometers (110 miles), google also states that it is 1 hour and 56 minuets away, which will translate into around three hours in real life on a Friday in the coach, and we hate pulling into a campsite in the dark, so I will be pushing hard to get on the road.
Well happy anniversary to me! Apparently I have been creating these blogs for four years now, and while that is not entirely true it has been four years since I did start the blog and secured the web address, it wasn’t until the next spring in Florida that I started writing in earnest. A lot of the delay was the lack of good reliable internet, as much of the blog is a cloud based system, and at that time we didn’t know that free internet in campgrounds was just a myth. We are so much smarter know and while a wee bit older, I have not run out of things to talk about yet.
Miss Laurie prepared sausage on a bun for dinner, not bad for a parking lot dinner, we watched the news, then caught up with some YouTube videos, we shut the television off at dark as we want to try and remain as stealth as a forty foot long motor coach can be, and the bright flickering light from a television set does not say stealth in any form. So at seven thirty I’m back on my laptop finishing off todays entry, then I will likely read on my iPad for a couple of hours or until I fall asleep.
And for anyone that may be interested we harvested 230 amp/hours (2,760 watts) of solar today sitting in the parking lot, our battery bank tonight at 8pm is over 90% from the roughly 70% that they read this morning, and this is after watching six hours of television, some microwave & toaster time plus all the water pump, lights and fans that are just normal use, plus charging my laptop, two iPads, and two cell phones. The weather has be good sunny with a high of 22°C (72°F) and expected low tonight of 11°C (52°F) and a great looking week ahead of us.
Friday September 30th, 2022: And we are up early this morning and I had hopped to be sitting in front of the big bay door but that spot was taken with a leftover job from yesterday. So we started today with toast and perked coffee with a little blessing added, we finally did get moved into the shop by ten o’clock, just the back of the coach as all of todays work is taking place near the rear axle area, we are hoping to get down the road shortly after noon, but time will tell.
Well lets just say, our day did not unfold as we had hoped or expected. And because this is really the start of our vacation I have decided to to keep it positive so all I will say is that we actually did not hit the road at near 6:30. This was going to mean at least an hour of night driving, our first night driving since November 2017, it’s just not something we do, we like to see the sights and scenery while we travel. And if I have said it once I must have said it a hundred times “NO campgrounds after dark” & “NO driving the coach after dark” so I just broke a couple of our main rules today. But I didn’t want to loose another day of our vacation, after all we only have three months of vacation but only three days in Campbell River!
So we did get tucked into site #1 here in Campbell River on Vancouver Island in the dark, we didn’t even drop a leveling jack, all I did was plug in the power supply before Miss Laurie made us another sausage on a bun for dinner, it was just quick and simple, and because he did not arrive till just before the office was closing at 8:30 so we were not long out of bed.
Saturday October 1st, 2022: I’m not sure why but I was up again at 3:00, so I sat and finished reading my book, and around at 4:30 as the lawn sprinklers we coming on, I headed back to bed, just to rise again at 7:00 but this time I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise, and a view of Salish Sea out of our windshield. As I sit here in the recliner looking out through the windshield at the Salish Sea (formerly the Georgia Strait), I’m thinking the late day drive was a good choice, but I do need to clean the windshield. Breakfast this morning was a cheese omelet, and of course there was some fresh perked coffee with a wee Irish Cream blessing, we are on vacation!
In an effort to try to stay informative, this section of the Salish Sea directly in front of the coach is part of the Alaska Marine Highway, and for those of you like myself I had never heard of this before, but apparently this is used by all the cruise ships as it is a very sheltered and protected route, so most use this passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. So, we have watched a number of cruise ships pass in front of the coach, there was even one passing when we pulled in on Friday night. After our second cup of coffee we have picked our adventure for today’s day trip.
Quadra Island is part of an area referred to as the North Gulf Islands, it is 310 km² (120 square miles), it has a population of under 3000. It is reachable by ferry only, and we are heading across to the Island on the ferry to explore a provincial park the “Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park” and get the kayaks back in the water, a salt water adventure.
The ferry passage takes only 10 minutes, and service runs every hour, a real quick turn around, no reservations, just first come, first served. Round trip passage for the toad, kayaks, and two passengers $41.10, so decided to try and catch the 10:30 passage, the ferry dock is only a couple of kilometers down the road from our campground. We did catch the desired ferry, and were on Quadra Island a few moments later, with a ten minute passage most people just stay in their vehicle, being tourists we had to get a few photos so wandered around a little. After landing we made our way across the island to Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park where we found a suitable place to launch the kayaks, we entered the water in the Drew Harbour and made our way around the spit to the Salish Sea, on our list of things we want to see are Orcas, Whales, Seals, Eagles, and every time we start off with great hope and are often disappointed, but not today.
Orcas, Dolphins, Seals & Eagles oh my! We had noticed a seal or two as we were preparing to enter the water, they are very camera shy and difficult to get a good picture from the kayak, but as we made our way around the end of the spit, I was noticing a number of schools of fish, and fish normally mean seals, so we were hopeful. Laurie had seen a couple of dolphins from the ferry on our ten minute passage, but we had never experienced dolphins while in the kayak, well today we experienced a pod of nearly fifty, certainly an amazing experience. We tucked in to have some lunch, and were entertained by a seal just far enough to be out of a photos range but close enough to be seen swimming nearby, We then seen an Eagle attempt to catch a fish then landed in a nearby tree, then after turning around and heading back toward the end of the spit we seen a pod of Orcas, again well out of a camera shot, but I counted four huge dorsal fins out of the water at once. All and all an adventure for the books.
We explored the rest of the southern (populated) end of the island, as most of the north part of the island has just logging roads, and no population, the Cape Mudge Lighthouse at the southern tip is the southern entrance to the Discovery Passage or the Alaska Marine Highway, we then moved back to Quathiaski Cove for our return passage back to Campbell River and our coach. I pulled out some chairs and Laurie and Mister Sam sat watching the water, and birds, while I cleaned the windshield of the coach, and a few moments latter there was a cruise ship passing in front of us.
Miss Laurie made pizza for dinner, as we caught up on some of the news, then just after the sun set there were two fully lite cruise ships met in the passage almost in front of the coach. We ended the evening with a couple of YouTube videos and the most recent installment of “The Rings of Power” and some food network programing.
Sunday October 2nd, 2022: Well a little better start today, it was six o’clock before I rolled out of bed, it is still dark but there is a slight glow as I look across the passage to Quadra Island, the start of another sun rise and another day of vacation! After our adventures yesterday I had not added anything to the blog, I was just content to sit and watch the world pass by our windshield, so I was working on the blog this morning when Miss Laurie got up, the water in the passage is flowing south this morning and Laurie asked if I had seen anything on the water, and I laughed and said not yet, but I was trying to keep an eye on it. We had heard of whale sightings in the passage but what are the odds? But a few moments later I seen a pod of dolphins breaking the water as they passed by, after viewing with binoculars there appeared to be a pod of around ten, possibly feeding as their movements were in every direction not like the fast movement of the pod yesterday, ah fresh perked coffee with an Irish blessing.
The weather today is another bonus day with a forecast high today of 26ºC (79ºF) with lots of sunshine, there is a breeze today, so we defenaly picked the correct day to go kayaking, the breeze will be fine for hiking. So todays adventure will be to Elk Falls Provincial Park, where there is a suspension bridge over the Campbell River, as well as a waterfall. And as we are camping almost at the mouth of the Campbell River our adventure today is only a few kilometers up the road.
We loaded up and headed to the park, to find a large parking lot with numerous vehicles, the disadvantage to weekend adventures. There are a number of hikes in the area, but we we just picking the bridge and falls adventure. Only 1.1 miles according to my alltrails app, rated at moderate, I think the only reason for the moderate rating was the number of stair steps at the falls area, but an amazing hike through old growth forest. Could explain all the photos of trees that I ended up with, it was too peopled to be real enjoyable but was worth the time.
We made it back to the coach by noon, so we had our packed lunch while sitting at the coach and then headed a couple hundred yards up the road to the Campbell River Estuary where we put the kayaks back in the water to do a little exploration, again lots of people coming and going and we seen very little wildlife today, although Miss Laurie got to spend sometime trying to get photos of a seal. The estuary actual runs directly behind the RV park and was an option when booking a site, infact a site on the estuary is the summer home of YouTuber “Love your RV” who has posted great of wildlife from the area.
We were back to the coach before four o’clock, and sat to enjoy the view for a while, I decided to reload some items onto the toad as tomorrow is a moving day as we start our journey south. Miss Laurie made some video calls as our internet service has be spectacular here, while I enjoyed a cold beer. Dinner tonight was chicken, baked potatoes, and peas, making use of the air fryer while on shore power. We caught up on the news, then watched 60 minuets, before catching up on some YouTube videos, watching some full-time YouTubers looking for higher ground in North Carolina. Miss Laurie has done some laundry while on full hook-ups, and we headed to bed near nine thirty.
Monday October 3rd, 2022: A few moments to six this morning on Day 1826 of our adventure as full timers, yes it has been five years as of today that this journey began. It looks like another great sunrise over Quadra Island as I sit in my recliner, watching through the windshield. Miss Laurie has just perked a pot of coffee, and has started the last load of laundry, and again this morning there is a wee Irish blessing in my coffee. Our check out time is 11:00 today and we will most likely take advantage of our time here till then, our travel time today will be less than one hour as we head south to Royston Refuge here on the Island.
Well today we are just a short journey south down Highway 19, only 60 kilometers (37 miles) today and we are at our Harvest Host location for tonight. We have met the host couple and their children, as well as some fellow campers all the way from Newmarket Ontario, and we are planning on visiting Cathedral Grove today. MacMillan province park is located on the west end of Cameron Lake on Highway 4, it is home to the Cathedral Grove which is an old growth forest, part of the coastal rain forest. There are trees in this area that are in excess 800 years old, Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Hemlock. With the largest Douglas Fir that measures in excess of 9 meters (30 feet) in circumference. There is a great board walk through much of area, with lots of information boards to explain what we were seeing, I was amazed that these trees grow close to two hundred feet tall, and when they do fall down, other seedling actually start to grow on the fallen trunks, pretty amazing.
We made it back to the coach by 6:00, Miss Laurie warmed up some of our precooked burgers for dinner, then we sat out by the fire till nine o’clock before calling it a night. The night was quiet, and there was very little road noise, the main thing we are looking for at a Boondocker’s Welcome is a sense of safety and to eliminate the fear of a knock in the middle of the night to ask you to move on, and this offered both of those.
Tuesday October 4th, 2022: And it is another six o’clock morning, the sunrise this morning was beautiful, although there seems to be either smoke or haze in this morning’s sky. I was graced with a little kitty lap time this morning as Mister Sam seems to be accepting the moving process again, that’s a good thing because we have a lot of moves in the next three months. And with that in mind today is another moving day, again a short move but one mile or one hundred miles the preparation is the same. It has been a lazy morning, with just being kicked back, Miss Laurie made an omelet, and I’m now on my second cup of vacation coffee, as I catch up on a few blogs, as there always seems to be a number of blogs on the go at once.
Today we hit the road just after noon, we were only moving down the road a few miles, in all actuality we were heading back north on Highway 19, to the Black Creek area so a whole 37 kilometers (23 miles) to the L&K Ranch. L&K Ranch is a small hobby farm, that produce homemade jams, they have a couple of horses, and it is operated by a retired couple who offer a spot for fellow boondocker’s to stay, we are settling for a three night stay, beside the horse paddock, we have met the couple and have already picked out our jams, and as much as they are retired both seem pretty busy, we will be sitting down for coffee on Thursday morning, until then we are on our own to keep ourselves amused. We have decided today will be a down day, and after a little lunch Miss Laurie & Mister Sam have settled onto the bed for an afternoon nap while I peck away at the laptop key board.
Our spot may not be the best for harvesting solar, but the surroundings are amazing, Mister Sam is not quite sure what to make of the horses just outside of our window, but there seems to be more birds which are always a favorite. And there were more preserves’ that we purchased, but seem to have disappeared already, a pepper jelly and a zucchini relish, there were many others to chose from but this should be enough to tide us over for a while. The space has a separate driveway and is across the paddock from their residence, they offered us an electric connection and a water supply, which was above and beyond of our expectations.
Our evening was peaceful and quiet, we are well away from the main highway, cellular service is a bit spotty and we were offered a password to the internet but our hub seems to be working well enough, we are planning on getting back to some new adventures tomorrow, but tonight is taco night followed by a little mindless television, as we take a few moments to breath, it was a slow start to this week, but it has been crazy great after we got going.
Thank your for all the comments this week!