Today is a big day! We get to explore Vancouver Island, a place that the Champ has wanted to see ever since we went to Vancouver with our mom, sisters and brothers a few years ago. First on the agenda, take the BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Nanaimo BC. Now up to this point, if you said “ferry,” I would picture the boat that transports cars from Balboa Island to the Newport Peninsula. Let me tell you…it was NOTHING like this. Keep in mind that we are driving an RV, which, by itself, would never fit on the Balboa Ferry. The ferry we rode on today was GI-NORMUS! Our RV, along with several 18-wheelers, numerous other boats/campers/trailers and many passenger cars, fit on the ferry. My planner husband knew the particulars of taking the ferry way before we left, so we had our reservation paperwork in hand and knew to arrive an hour before our scheduled departure time of 8:30am… All this meant, of course, that we needed to leave our campground at zero dark hundred, ONCE AGAIN! (I’m seeing a trend here Good thing I’m naturally an early-riser!)
Once we arrived in Nanaimo, we jumped on old Highway 19, the road that hugs the shoreline, and went in search of our first meal of the day. We agreed upon the highly rated restaurant Pacific Prime at the Beach Club Resort in Parksville, BC. We were not disappointed! The view from our table was breathtaking and the shrimp/scallop nectarine and beet salad I ordered was delicious. The Champ and his sidekick enjoyed the bison burger and the fish tacos respectively.
Even better than the view and the food, was the engaging conversation we enjoyed with a few locals there. First on deck…Candice, our server. This young gal was friendly, outgoing and bursting with personality, and when she learned we were from California, immediately resonated with us. From Nainoma, this gal loves LA, has a passion for comedy and has big dreams in this arena. We encouraged her to try out her stand-up routine on us, but in fairness, it was a bit too early in the day to deliver zingers. Nevertheless, we exchanged information and offered up our place to stay on her next visit to California. Check her out on Twitter…Candice Hall@theCandiceHall!
Then we met the hotel’s Food and Beverage Manager, Ian, who came over to our table to say hello (after spotting my UCLA cap, gave us a little ribbing on behalf of his team, the Texas Longhorns). He used to live in Irvine, CA and returned home to Parksville to take care of his aging parents. It was interesting to talk to him. When discussing the world-famous California drought, he shared how far-reaching the effects of our plight are having way beyond our borders. Turns out in the last year his food costs have increased 5-12%, which, of course, drives up his menu costs. I’m too limited in my thinking. It never occurred to me that our drought has had a worldwide impact. I need to work on that…note to self…think more globally, Sandy!!
Something else I think is interesting… it seems to me that most every Canadian we have met is quite enamored with the US, particularly California. Granted, Canadians, on the whole, are very nice, friendly people. So, perhaps they are just being polite; or, are they genuinely intrigued with the notion of coming to the US? Or is it because most of those people are of a younger generation, which is generally-speaking more enamored by experiencing new things? Or…is it the green grass syndrome, where we all subconsciously think that life somewhere else would be better than where we are? If there are any socioligist/psychologist types out there reading this blog, feel free to research this idea. I will gladly report your findings!
Back on the road again after lunch on old Highway 19. Driving along the picturesque coast is calming and beautiful. The cedar trees along the highway are truly majestic. We made our way to our campground for the night, the Thunderbird RV Campground on the Campbell River. On one side was the river and the other side, the Pacific Ocean, where the fishing boats share the waters of Discovery Passage with the arriving/departing cruise ships. Ours was the ocean view. After getting our bearings at the campground, we took the advice of the office ladies and headed over to Painters Lodge on the Campbell River. From there, we could catch a shuttle boat over to April Point on Quadra Island and have dinner on the water. During our 10 minute wait for the shuttle, Greg sauntered up to a couple also waiting on the dock and had a nice, friendly conversation with them. He learned all about them…he’s a wheat farmer from eastern Washington who had just harvested his crop and had an early vacation, because of the drought. Do you know one of the many things I love about the Champ? He is one of the friendliest, kindest, most engaging people I know. I’m pretty sure he is the reason why both our kids can engage any one they meet in conversation. (Of course, it couldn’t be from me, because I’m so shy and demure, haha!!)
Enjoying our delicious dinner while watching a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean was the perfect way to end our day! We are blessed!!
Tomorrow…we’ll explore the west side of Vancouver Island. We’re excited about what lies ahead!!