Week 2 of our vacation 2022

Wednesday October 5th, 2022: Damn it’s dark here this morning, we are still at L&K Ranch this morning our Boondocker’s Welcome host in Black Creek, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, and there is absolutely no light anywhere. Even when we boondock in the desert, there is always a little light pollution on the horizon, but nestled in here between all these tall trees there ain’t nothing to see but stars, but it’s also only five o’clock in the morning, now you might wonder why the hell am I up at that hour, and the true answer was to answer a call of nature, and that drew my attention to the total darkness and the silence. Oh I’m going back to bed, cause it is too damn early to start my day, but it also amazes me how much I enjoy this quiet time in the morning, Mister Sam has just had his morning treats and is now curled up on my lap, and I’m just thinking about how lucky I am to be enjoying this whole adventure.

There are times that I think I need to pinch myself, to make sure it’s not just an elaborate dream, but then I get a tweak in my back or a throb in my knee and I know it is real, but the past five years have been amazing and as we charge head first into year six, I’m just thinking “bring it on”. Well I never made it back to bed, I got into an audiobook that I had downloaded a week ago “I alone can fix it” a novel on the last year of the Trump presidency, and the presidential handling of the pandemic. And then Miss Laurie got up and put on a pot of coffee, and then there was no going back to bed, today is a overcast day, I think it’s mainly smoke haze, but either way there is no sunshine, which means there is no solar being harvested today either. Coffee with a wee bit of vacation Irish blessing and some sourdough toast with blueberry jam for breakfast this morning, the lack of sunshine is going to change our plans a little this morning, as it appears that the sunshine should return this afternoon.

Every few weeks Miss Laurie gets that urge to weed something, well that urge hit today so she has volunteered to weed a strawberry patch here on the Ranch, so I got out he trusty shovel and off she went for a few hours of weeding medication. I stayed back at the coach and did serious stuff like changing the batteries in our wall mounted clock, and then just sat with my feet up for a while. When Laurie came back to the coach she took Mister Sam to meet one of the horses in the paddock, the horse was quite curious but I don’t think Mister Sam was impressed.

Mister Sam making friends

As you can see from the photo, the sun came back out this afternoon just as the forecast had indicated, so we sat outside and enjoyed some lunch before returning to the coach, where we enjoyed a day doing nothing, something we have not done much since landing on the island. And it was a well needed break, we have been going pretty hard since starting this vacation, and we just needed a day off. So not a lot to tell about today, but don’t worry we will be back in vacation adventure mode tomorrow.

Thursday October 6th, 2022: A 6:15 start this morning, and this weather continues to be a huge bonus as the west coast has been setting new high temperature records everyday for the last week or two, while fall is normally the start of the rainy season here on the island. The lack of rain has become a very serious issue for much of the province with extreme fire risk as well as severe drought conditions, this for the same province that greeted us back in May with 28 straight days of rain. But this morning we are going to have coffee with our host couple, this is where the “Boondocker’s Welcome” program really shines, as most of the host’s are campers as well, which makes them a great source for information of the surrounding attractions.

We met with our host’s at 9:00 for a cup of coffee, and sat and chatted till close to noon, we learned so much about our hosts as well as the immediate area, they moved to Vancouver Island ten years ago and have made this little Ranch a wonderful experience for their family as well as visitors like us. The area that we stayed was a grassed area with its own drive, we are a forty foot motor home and had no issue backing in, there was lots of room for our slide as well as area for some outdoor seating, they offered water, and a 15 amp power supply, that I made use of on the overcast day (Wednesday) to recharge batteries. Larry is a retired mechanic that is still is fixing an occasional vehicle, Karen is a lab technician and is still taking shifts at the local hospital, they also have the jam business, and usually have music jam sessions once a week as both are musicians. Definitely an amazing couple, and we learnt a lot from them, we headed back to the coach for lunch before heading out for our next adventure.

It is salmon spanning season in British Columbia, and on the west coast there are a variety of salmon species, unlike the one species on the Atlantic side of the continent. Here they have, chinook, coho, sockeye, pink, & chum salmon here in the Pacific waters, and all these species spawn in the local streams and creeks, so today we are going to find some spawning salmon. Bear Creek Conservation Area is only a couple of kilometers down the road, so off we head to explore this local area.

Bear Creek Nature Area contains approximately 1,350 meters of frontage along the Oyster River, four kilometers from its confluence with Georgia Strait. Bear Creek Nature Park protects a portion of floodplain and wetland along the Oyster River that provides important habitat for fish and wildlife. The upland second-growth forest buffers the floodplain/wetland and the river. There is a fish hatchery as well as numerous spawning areas that have been created on the area, as well as a number of hiking trails along the river and through the forest, photos of fish working their way up the stream were hard to come by

The Oyster River Enhancement Society operates a fish hatchery for Coho, chum, pink and chinook salmon within this nature park, and there are a number of spawning areas, as well as capture areas to obtain the salmon roe to supply the fish hatchery located on the property, this human interaction increases the results of the spawn many times over that of nature on its own. The issues this year because of the drought conditions is the difficult the salmon are having getting up the river to their spawning areas.

Friday October 7th, 2022: 6:30 and I slide out of bed, today is a moving day as we start our trek to the border, we are only moving down the road to just south of Nanaimo to The Living Forest Campground, this is a big campground, with many price levels of sites, from Ocean view or the the back of the park, but they had a spot with a 30 amp hook up that will fit our need tonight. Because check in time is 1:00 we need to take it nice and slow this morning, leaving here at 11:30 will put us there at a reasonable time.

So a cheese omelet for breakfast, and of course a cup of perked coffee, with a wee Irish blessing, then just kick back until we find our hosts and and thank them again for hosting us. This will definitely be a redo visit if we ever return to Vancouver Island, it is stops like this that renew our faith in people. At 11:30 we pulled onto the road and connected the toad, for our journey, this part of the trip was without any issues, and we were checking in at 1:30, our site is classified as a pull through site, but is not like any pull through I have ever used, we needed to disconnect the toad which was fine as we needed to go into town anyway.

So because the sewer connection is nearly at the road I need to go and purchase a replacement sewer hose, I had two ten foot long hoses, but the old one had developed a leak, not a good thing on a sewer hose, and today our five year water hose has decided to develop a leak as well, but I can repair this, just not today so a trip to Canadian Tire and we have a new sewer hose. I also wanted to stop and exchange some money to American dollars, I have put it off hoping to get a more favorable exchange rate but that has not worked, so off to a local CIBC for a few hundred American dollars.

And here is where the day really went to hell in a handbasket, my debit card has a very low daily limit, so I waited in line to obtain some American cash from a teller, well the teller said none was available but the ATM should have some, with my low limit on my card I knew it would not be much, but I would at least get some. so I went to the ATM and processed to request a couple hundred American dollars, the rate sucked with a cost of $286 Canadian for $200 American, but it is what it is so I clicked process. So imagine my horror when the ATM spit out $200 Canadian and debited my account $286 Canadian, back into the branch with money in hand and the emailed receipt on my cell phone, and a very sympathetic branch agent took all my information, and then because I’m old offered to help me at the ATM, where we tried another transaction of $20 American, and of course the ATM spit out a $20 Canadian bill.

Now in reality the Bank actually has nothing to do with the ATM machines so no correction was going to happen any time soon but the agent suspected that someone had placed the wrong money bin in the machine. So nothing could be done, the Agent would contact the ATM person and then they would have to figure it out so presently I’m out over $90 in exchange fees, and not real pleased. The agent did find $100 American so I did get that at least, but now my best hope is to find an ATM in Victoria tomorrow that dispenses American dollars and hope that the same ATM idiot doesn’t look after that machine. So by now its 5:00 and I have made it back to the coach, now Miss Laurie can start the laundry as I try to digest what has transpired.

Because we are connected to power, dinner tonight was pizza in the air fryer, then an adult beverage and I’m working on the blog, as we catch up on the news before watching a few YouTube videos, then the next episode of the Rings of Power. and turning in just before ten o’clock.

Saturday October 8th, 2022: I’m up at 5:30 this morning, just that call of nature thing, and today is going to be a busy day, as we cross the border back into Washington state today via the Blackball Ferry Line from Victoria to Port Angeles. Our passage is at 3:00 so we will need to be at the dock by 1:00 which should work out pretty close if we leave here at our 11:00 check out time. But there are lots of things to do before we pull out, laundry, showers, as we expect to be in a Walmart lot tonight.

Breakfast this morning was a fried cheese omelet, kind of like a cheese omelet but you add the cheese to the outside and fry until the cheese melts and starts to get a bit of a crust, you have got to try it. Then of course add to that a blessed cup of fresh perked coffee, Mmmm good, a great start to the Thanksgiving weekend. We pulled out of our site at 11:02, just to be a rebel the as we got to the TransCanada Highway we headed south to Victoria and the ferry terminal, the GPS showed a 12:47 arrival time but because of traffic and road closures we pulled into the dock a few moments after one o’clock. The parking lot was full, so I’m going to assume that the ferry would be quite full as well, we loaded early so we got off early, because we are crossing the border there were all the usual crossing questions, all went well and we made it to the Walmart shortly after 5:00.

Dinner was first on the agenda, Miss Laurie warmed up some precooked burgers, a few potato chips and we are good for the night. Next off to Walmart to restock, you see to cross the border there are lots of restrictions on food, so we have to cross with the cupboards pretty bare, so this is a major replenishing trip. And of course there was maybe an ice cream treat for desert, so as we settle in for the night, I’m catching up on the blog and Miss Laurie is stocking the cupboards. It is dark and the moon is rising, almost a full moon tonight, a quick glance at tomorrow is showing me a big driving day as we head west on the US-101 toward the ocean shore.

Our view from the Walmart at Port Angeles WA

Sunday October 9th, 2022: Walmart’s are not our first choice for boondocking spots to stay, but this one met our needs, first to restock supplies, and a place to spend the night. We have a big day ahead of us, and I have an early start planned that will start with fueling up Thunder, I have only added 40 liters (10 gallons) this summer, so the last real fuel stop was back in May, as we were working our way north, so today will be an expensive fill up. So fried eggs and toast for breakfast, and of course a cup of fresh perked coffee, before we pulled out of the Walmart lot and headed west on US-101 to a Safeway grocery store with a fuel station, 83 gallons (314 liters) of diesel fuel later, we start the push down the road to Long Beach in Washington State.

Now any of you who have traveled on US-101, know that it is a beautiful drive much of it through the Olympia State Forest, along lakes, the ocean, forests, and picturesque small villages as it winds it way south. Straight stretches of highway are scarce and many of the curves bring you down to a crawl, then add in the hills and valleys, let’s just say while beautiful, it kept me busy guiding our coach through. When we hit the ocean the marine layer had us driving through heavy fog, todays drive was too long, with close to five hours of driving time, the distance traveled was 260 miles (420 kilometers) so again today we have broken more of our travelling rules, driving on weekends, driving more than four hours a day, this actually should have been a two day drive.

Our camping spot for the night was at Willapa Bay Heritage Farm, another “Harvest Host”, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet we love these stops, it gives us a chance to met extraordinary people doing some pretty amazing things. At this Harvest Host, there were goats, chickens, as well as varieties of vegetables, and some fruits. We sampled apple varieties that I have never even heard of before, we had fresh tomatoes that were grown in different conditions to change and concentration the flavours, we sampled goat cheese made fresh on the farm as well as walked the flower gardens, the property had been a Rhododendron farm and many huge Rhododendrons still grace the driveway as you enter. They ask for a $20 donation to the farm and in return they hosted a happy hour at 6pm, where they provide samples of the farms produce, before giving everyone a chance to feed the goats, and of course the opportunity to milk a goat the next morning. This particular Harvest Host offered full hook-ups and had an amenity package available such as showers and towel service, a great offer for people in small trailers or vans, where long hot showers are a true luxury. We needed none of the extras but could see the value on hot summer nights. The host has room for six guests at once and said the during the summer months happy hours would occasionally turn into impromptu musical jam sessions, these are experiences that you just can’t or at least don’t get from regular campgrounds.

We returned to the coach and caught up on a few YouTube videos, before turning in shortly after nine. A little earlier than normal, but we were both tired after our long day, falling asleep won’t be a problem tonight.

Our spot at Willapa Bay Heritage Farm at Long Beach WA

Monday October 10th, 2022: Well Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian families! I’m awake at 5:00 this morning, that whole nature thing, but with Mister Sam curled up on my lap it gives me a chance to catch-up on the blog. Yesterday was very busy, and again our Host was amazing and we learnt so much as we always seem to. We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, hot turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and peas, a hell of a meal after a big day driving and just working off of our batteries, we have so much to be thankful for it only seemed fitting to celebrate with some traditional turkey. Well I have to admit I did go back to bed shortly after six and didn’t get up till after eight, we are socked in with marine layer of fog this morning, we are not going nearly as far today so much less stress as we aim toward Portland Oregon. As we are only a few miles from the state line from here at Long Beach, so we are planning on a noon departure time today.

Today turned out to be the tale of two days, we started this morning with a heavy marine layer and a forecast high of 61°F (16°C) and we drive 100 miles inland to the Portland area and the forecast high was 81°F (27°C) as well as from the farm in Washington, to the suburbs of Portland Oregon. So why you might wonder have we left the coast and headed inland, well this journey has taken us close to one hundred miles off of course, but it gave us a chance to meet up with Lincoln, and we have no problem veering off course to spend some time with a friend. We had volunteered at the “Boyce Thompson Arboretum” when Lincoln was working there and we had spent a number of evenings sitting around listening to his tales and taking in some of his knowledge of plants. So it was automatic to want to have a couple of beverages and catch up with what has happened in his life.

We have made our first visit to an elks lodge to camp, we are at Lodge #1862 in Hillsboro OR, we are staying for two nights for a $20 per night donation for a level cement site with 50 amp hook up, there is water near by and we will add a little water before we pull out on Wednesday morning, this could prove to be a valuable addition to our options as we head further south, we have two weeks till we need to be in Yuma AZ to meet up with our group. After we returned from our meet up with Lincoln we watched a few YouTube videos and little television before going to bed near ten o’clock.

Tuesday October 11th, 2022: And a 6:30 start this morning after a good nights sleep, it was a quiet night, and this will be a bit of a down day, as we look for an adventure in the Portland area. But after a lazy start, and a cinnamon bun for breakfast we have decided to take a down day, we are working on our FMM which is the required visitor card for our Mexico adventure. There were a couple of repair items on the rig today, a loose screw here and there, so a little love was required, to make it all better, I’m working on the blog as I hope to publish it later today, as we are still working on our adventures for the next week. As we move closer to California it becomes difficult to find open spots for our stays, and free spots are very uncommon. So we remain very flexible on our route decisions and have not decided where to make the push east yet whether it is to Reno NV or Interstate 40 toward the Lake Havasu area it is all open at this point.

Ok it has been a day of jumping from one website to another, but I think we have come up with a route and timing that should get us some good time on the coast, then a push east to land in Yuma by the 28th of the month, and while not confirmed yet we are well into the process of finalizing much of it, a combination of Elks Lodges, Harvest Host Stops, and throw in a couple of Casinos and we should be in good shape.

Dinner tonight is a Costco chicken, we picked up one last night on our way home, a $7.99 Cdn chicken in Canada is only $4.99 US here in the States. Along with the chicken, Miss Laurie served roasted potatoes, with some Swiss Chalet sauce on the side, yea this living on the road is a tough life, we watched the news and then some of the food channel, just a quiet night to follow a relaxing down day. As we head back to the coast tomorrow.

So a belated Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian Family & Friends!

Blog 453

Day 1834

One thought on “Week 2 of our vacation 2022

  1. Terrific that your host camps have been nice – I am sure it makes the long trip just a little easier .
    Take care and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

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