Travel on Vancouver Island

Ferry, Black Bear and Port Hardy

written in the dusk of July 3 in a river side campground:

Quatse River I am camped beside

Quatse River I am camped beside

It is 9:15 and I am ready for bed. I am tired. I have been finding it hard to leave great conversations with a host and go to bed. Often I am headed there at 11:30 and still wanting to post on my blog. Tonight I am in a campsite just outside of Port Hardy. This is not something I can do very often but it is quiet here. I didn’t take an electrical site on purpose. That way I have limited time on the computer. I made supper. Did some cut and paste in my scrape book and now I am writing this. There is supposed to be wireless here but not at my campsite so I won’t spend time up loading to the blog. I sense an early night coming on. Sigh. I thought about taking the tent out. It is beautiful, but Vincent was a little offended that I would think that at all so we are cozied up. I have everything I need. I can hear a night bird chirping. It is beautiful. I think I will try to camp more…although the budget doesn’t really allow for that.

Jane's mini house in Sointula

Jane's Mini House in Sointula

Today I slept in. It must be all of those late nights. I didn’t even wake up til 8. I got up and Jane and I did some errands around Sointula. What a nice place. I could picture living there. It seemed all too soon that I packed up to leave. The ferry was late and then I was glad I had gone early because there were lots of people trying to get on (that Friday thing again) and lots didn’t make it. The last vehicle to pull on was a truck towing a trailer. I couldn’t believe it because after negotiating the narrow ramp down to the ferry deck with just inches to spare on each side, the trailer was about 2 feet too long for the ferry. What now. The trailer certainly couldn’t back off and there was no room to move forward. The ferry crew gathered in a group and talked it up. Finally they put lots of blocks under the wheels of truck and trailer and went anyway. There was some trouble raising the ramp so we could launch but it worked. I think that on a longer sailing they couldn’t have done it but with the short Sointula to Port McNeil trip and very calm seas, I guess they could. I am glad I was not the one in that situation. That was one packed ferry.

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Another Two Ferry day

Really poor internet here so things are backing up:

Written at 11:30 pm July 2

Just a quick note because it is late and I have no internet connection.

First let me just say that the Sawyard Canada Day parade was great. Close to the water with a great view of the mountains. There was a brisk wind blowing the flags it was beautiful. It seemed like the whole community was out to kick up their heels. There was a live band, a bouncing castle for the kids and hot dogs for everyone. Karen, Evan, Holly and I went. There were a couple of old cars that would have made Vincent jealous so we left him at home. The whole event had a relaxed, homey feeling.

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This morning I left Karen’s headed for Port McNeil, Alert Bay and Sointula. It was going to be another two ferry day. I left Karen’s almost too late and so I was in a rush to catch the 11:30 ferry. Thank heavens it was an 11:35 ferry or I would have missed it. I was really impressed by the two lane,’scenic’ road with a 1oo km speed limit sign on it. I never like pushing Vincent much over 100 km on the big freeways so to get up to that speed on these narrow roads was hard. Once I got there though, I liked it. The curves were there but they seemed to be banked just right to maintain a good speed. My only problem was getting behind slow people. There were not too many passing lanes. I did manage though. I might become a good driver yet. Continue reading

Happy Canada Day

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A picture taken somewhere in my crossing of the country - can you identify the place?

Good morning. I woke up this morning to see the sun burning off a mist that had come in off of the mountain last night. Everything is muted and glowing. I feel like I am in a landscape painted by an imaginative and loving hand.

I am sitting thinking about Canada and what it means to be in a country that stretches between 3 oceans and 5 time zones. I am still in awe of the size of it and of the people who call this place their home. In the nearly two months that I have been on the road I have seen geographic variations enough to boggle the mind. I have also passed through huge cities that have taken up space on the land and tiny communities that are so tucked into the surrounding earth that they are hard to identify. I have met people who have made their livelihoods in many ways and who hold different things dear to their hearts but I have been unfailingly treated with generosity and caring.

In the small communities nestled close to the bosom of the earth, the politics of the country and the province seem very far away and yet decisions made with the broad stroke of pens by people who have probably never even seen some of the landscapes under their jurisdiction have broad implications and probably affect the lives of those living further away from the centers of power in bigger ways than those pen wielders can imagine.

So, how should Canada Day be spent? Well certainly in a huge celebration of the idea that brings us together as one unit, one people, Canadians. I also think that we should open our hearts and minds with generosity and love to all of the others who live together under this amazing and often flawed Canadian umbrella. If I could have a wish on the Canadian star my wish would be for each and every policy or law maker/governor of this great country to be required to take a trip similar to the one I am on. I would hope that their venture would give them perspective on the job they are about to take on.

Looking back over these words I realize that my trip so far has not cured me of my romance with my Canadian roots, if anything I am more infatuated now than ever. Maybe too much so to give me an unbiased view…but then again it is Canada Day and it is a day to celebrate the good things. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Sayward

Today dawned bright with a cool north west wind. I woke up and as I boiled my tea water I watched the humming birds outside the kitchen window scrabble over the feeder, complaining in irritated chirps when another one sidled up to the bar for a sip. I had a sore throat so had and extra helping of vitamin C.

Karen, Evan and Holly decided to take me out and show me the town. We all put on wind breakers and headed out. I was amazed at the variety of different landscapes that Sayward has to offer from flood plains, to mountains, ocean and of course forests.
welcome-to-sayward

First we drove through town, over a single lane Baily bridge and to the waterfront where I had a great view of the narrows of the Johnstone Strait. I couldn’t be sure but because of the frothing white caps on the water it seemed to me that there was a wicked current through there caused by the tide passing between close land masses. There were no boats to be seen while we were there but I have to say, I couldn’t imagine me paddling my kayak in those rough waters. Karen assured me that kayakers do enjoy it there though. Continue reading

Wood carving, drumming, writing and traveling

The last few days have been busy and I have not had a lot of time to write so here I am to try and pull it together.

Ellen was a great host in spite of her push to get the house in perfect shape for the real estate showing that will be tomorrow. As she painted and cleaned she thought about great things for me to see and do. I almost got to a jazz concert but ended up side tracked by something better. One afternoon I headed for a visit to the I-hos Gallery where the local first nation displays the work of local artists. While there I was very taken by the work of Andy Everson. Most of the stuff he had in there had a story attached to it and maybe it was the marriage of art and story that had me, or maybe it was the idea of straddling two worlds, but I was hard pressed not to spend my gas money on several prints. I will find myself some of his work when I don’t have to roll it up and send it home. Continue reading

Comox Valley

I have an internet connection today so I will take a bit of time to catch up.  On Thursday I left the ferry and headed into Comox to visit with Dominique and family.  What a dance down memory lane. A house with 3 children, 5, 3 and 10 months. Wow! It is intense, it is joyful and it is tiring especially for Mom and Dad. I took a Grandmother role which is great fun.   A little sad though as I looked at these babies and imagined my grand babies. Lynden tells me that Austin is rolling over. I am missing the landmarks…but it was magical to see Talia take her first un assisted steps just after I walked in the door. Continue reading

Riding and Rambling

I am having a wee bit of trouble getting online…so here are some ramblings from yesterday.

Written on the ferry June 25 :

Vicki and Hisola

Vicki and Hisola

Today dawned sunny and bright. Phoebe took a group out for a trail ride while I pulled my stuff together and did some laundry. By the time she got back the sky was looking threatening and it was time for me to go. “Come on,” she said, “lets go out for half an hour, I would love to show you the area.” and so we went. I was on Hisola a beautiful little Canadian horse. I’m glad I went even though none of my body parts remembered the years that it used to ride. Actually it was a little embarrassing but Hisola was kind and intelligent enough to make me not look too bad. The woods were deep and magical. Tall ferns, huckle berries, black berries and salmon berries lined the path. At one point we went through an area where everything was covered in a soft green moss. (no pictures ’cause I was hanging on with both hands) The spicy smell went straight to my head. It ended all too soon and then I headed for the ferry. By then the skies were threatening to really rain. Continue reading

A Rainy Day

Today it poured rain, sometimes in sheets. The land dry land was so happy to have it that you could hear the parched grass singing. It was just not a good day to take the horses out for a ride so we sat inside for the morning telling stories and getting to know each other. It was great. Phoebe confessed that she had to do something about Vincent who was getting a little carried away. I think he will be fine now after a little reflection on his past evening.
busted

In the afternoon we pulled on rain gear (boy am I glad I had my rain coat, boots and pants) and we did some barn work. Then we headed back to the house to dry off and have supper. After we ate, both of us felt bloated so we headed to the beach for a walk. Rain or not, this place is beautiful.

I took this with my camera

I took this with MY camera!

It's pouring

Pouring

meeting-the-locals

Meeting the locals

And yes, I did pick up one teensy piece of drift wood but I am sure Vincent won’t even notice….do vans get hang overs

I am trying for a trail ride again tomorrow morning but I can hear the rain on the metal roof as I head to bed…so maybe not this time. Off to Comox in the afternoon. oooo a ferry in those waves. I really need to get that motion sickness medication that Celeste mentioned.

Emails, Blogs and Horses

Just a short note. It is too late to write much but after a conversation with a friend back home I realized that if you get an email from Quest across Canada and are inspired to hit REPLY to send me something that occurred to you when you read it, I get an email in my inbox. That is great. I know you are thinking about me and I feel very connected. However, if you want to put a comment on my blog page…you actually need to go to the website (by clicking on the link at the bottom of your email) Then you can fill in the comment box and it will show up on the website.

The advantage to me of you actually commenting on the blog site is, as I speak to people who are potential sponsors of my quest, they go to my site and the only way they know how much traffic I get is by the comments on the blog.

The disadvantage is, there are certain things that you just don’t want to say in a blog post (I know) and if you email me…you will probably get a response. If you post on the blog…not so much. I do read it but I don’t want to clutter it any more than it already is with my thoughts…that is space for your thoughts.

The bottom line is…I love hearing from you….however you do that.

Vincent with a new friend

Vincent with a new friend

Today I moved to Phoebe’s farm. I met Phoebe through her mother Barbara Kingscote who wrote the book “Ride the Rising Wind.” That book was a huge inspiration to me when I was planning for this trip. When I finally contacted Barbara and she found out that I was coming to Powell River, she insisted I call Phoebe. I did and here I am. I am going to spend a couple of days with her

When I arrived Vincent made himself right at home on this little homestead style farm. He has been galloping through the fields all evening much to the distress of the old farm dogs. I think that just before I went to bed I saw him rolling with all four tires waving in the air. Amazing how a little sea air and horsing around can make an old guy feel young again.

another-buddy

Sailing

Quetzel

Quetzel

I went sailing and am alive to tell the tale. Well, I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t survive, not really. I just remember my last sail. I got so sea sick that I didn’t enjoy it at all.

We started out at 3:00 on the good ship Quetzal (that is the name of a parrot like bird from central America) a Catalina 27. Linda, the first mate is just learning the ropes (literally) and so Laura was teaching her how to wo(man) the lines. It was her fouth time out as a sailor. I was impressed and started to wonder if I could learn a bit of this craft too….but for the time, I was a passenger and did my best to stay out of the way. Continue reading