You can already imagine by the infrequency of my blog posts lately, that I must be having a fantastic time on Vancouver Island in British Columbia with my two sisters Faye and Betty (and her family). We’ve had a blast in the past week! When I first arrived, Faye and I toured around the Comox Valley for a few days while waiting for Betty to start her holidays, stopping in at some thrift stores and The Freakin’ Coffeeshop http://freakincoffeeshop.com/ for a ‘world famous’ cinnamon bun. Betty had prepared all month, by cooking my favourites: delicious Barley Soup, Sheppards’ Pie, and Cabbage ‘Rolls’.
Last Friday night we were in full VA-CA mode!! Let me tell you abit about our adventures:
In Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley, there are berries, berries, everywhere! Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries: wild, organic, pick-your-own, or store-bought. Plus cherries, apricots and veggies like new potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuces. We enjoyed a Queen’s feast! Faye and I stopped in at Best Berry Farms for certified organic fruit and Shamrock Lavender Farm http://www.shamrockfarm.ca/lav.html for a ‘Happy Vacation’ gift for Betty.
While driving around, we saw dozens of Vancouver Island Black Tailed Deer just calmly sauntering around without a care in the world, munching on grass on residential lawns or roadways. A sign on the roadside “Expect Deer on our Roads” said it all. These deer are unlike our Ontario White Tailed Deer (who dart out frantically in front of cars or away from people) : the Comox Valley Deer live in harmony with the humans of the area, unafraid of anyone. There are also many majestic Bald Eagles, especially in the Comox Bay estuary.We went up to the quaint town of Cumberland which is nestled at the base of the amazing Comox Glacier in the Vancouver Island Mountain range a few kilometers/miles from my sister’s place in Courtenay. We visited my niece Brodie, who is a very talented singer/songwriter just about to release her first CD http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/brodie.dawson and http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_1084611?utm_campaign=opengraph&utm_content=song&utm_medium=link&utm_source=facebook#!/brodiedawson
We ate a tasty pizza from a new family run pizza restaurant in Cumberland www.riderspizza.com before heading back down to the city. The Comox Valley is an amazing place: you can ski in the mountains at Mount Washington or hike right there in the incredible Strathcona Park and a half an hour later you can be on the beach with a breathtaking view of the Comox Glacier to the west or the mainland Rocky Mountains to the east! Like I said, AMAZING!!
Across the street from my sister Betty’s partner Rob’s house is the Puntledge River where glacial water flows quickly from Comox Lake to the ocean. Brave people on inflatable tubes and rafts ride the white water current down the river all day long.. We walked the trail beside the river and watched several ‘tubers’ having a blast.
We ventured up Island to Campbell River, first stopping at Seal Bay Park for a little 3 km hike. EVERYTHING is bigger in British Columbia! Some of the old growth Douglas Fir trees are bigger around than my car! We travelled along the road weaving beside the inside passage of the Strait of Georgia and stopped to view the Cedar tree Chainsaw Art displaying incredible statues carved with a chainsaw. Then we arrived at Rob’s sail boat at the marina in Campbell River and stayed for a little visit on board. Campbell River, at the 50th Parallel, is a Native Community, like many other places on Vancouver Island. The Native influence is everywhere. Of course, we HAD to stop at the Thrift Store before heading back.
We arrived back in Courtenay at 5 p.m. rush hour traffic………… or “Rush Minute” as Betty calls it since nobody rushes around for anything! LOL
On my last full day, we went on a road trip (!!) to Victoria at the southern tip of the Island to pick up relatives arriving on the Clipper Ferry from Seattle, Washington, USA. Normally a 2 hour drive, it took us over 8 hours!. What a beautiful drive! Ocean on one side and mountains on the other side! The usual 45 minute drive to Parksville actually took us 5 hours because we stopped at every Thrift Store along the way as well as a bakery and a garage sale. LOL! We brought along a picnic lunch and ate at the Parksville beach.
Almost at Victoria, we drove through the Malahat, a 25 km (16 mile) mountain route which connects ‘Vic’ with the rest of Vancouver Island. This section of the TransCanada Highway # 1 has sharp, winding curves which climb up and down the mountain pass through rugged, steep slopes. There are several scenic rest-stop viewing areas with unbelievable vistas of the Saanich Peninsula, Saltspring Island, and Mount Baker in Washington State. The ferry was on time and after a quick visit with my nephew Curt in Victoria, we drove back up to the Comox Valley, arriving home after 10 p.m. Thanks goes to my sister Faye who did all the driving!!
For this past week, we all stayed at Rob’s beautiful home – he was SO gracious putting up with the “Cluckin’ Triplets” as he called us. LOL Thank you SO much, Rob! The weather was just perfect too with temperatures in the low 20’sC (70F) – and NO humidity or mosquitoes!
I write this as I’m flying over Lake Superior near Thunder Bay, Ontario. It’s good to get home to see my kids who have been taking care of everything on the home front, but I’ll miss my Sistas Betty and Faye ’till next time………..