Saturday, November 28, 2009

I have not been to Vancouver Island for quite a few years now, and it was time!
I had hoped to spend a couple of weeks in the area, but my 'navigator' and her cat were available for a shorter time, so we made it a quick trip.

We drove as far as Revelstoke the first night after work, ate at a restaurant with a friend from there, and camped in his driveway.

Then, it was off for the coast the next day, still pleased with the fact that there are no more tolls on the Coquihalla highway. It was a stat holiday, so the drive through Vancouver was not bad at all. After a quick visit in North Van, we caught the last ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, and found a roadside spot to sleep near Nanoose.

From there it was on up the island past Courtenay (soon to be flooded) and Campbell River.
We had hoped to have a good look around Telegraph Cove, but it was dark when we got there and pretty much deserted, but we walked the boardwalks and enjoyed the sea breeze.

From there we caught the Port McNeill ferry to Malcolm Island - and the town of Sointula, of Finnish origin (that of my navigator).

We located a nice, deserted campground on the north shore of the island. The heavy bush provided some protection from the wind, but we enjoyed the sound of the rain on the roof at night, knowing that all the snow and ice was finally melted from the truck and camper.

From the forecast, we had expected and were prepared for nothing but rain, but were pleased that the sun made occasional appearances.
A few locals came to walk their dogs in the morning, but otherwise, we had the place all to ourselves.

We toured the island a bit, making the locals wonder what us 'tourists' could possibly be doing here at this time of year!
We had missed the early ferry, so continued the tour out towards a lighthouse on the west end of the island.
As usual, the cat was waiting for us to get back.

Sometimes she preferred to ride in the back of the camper, but it was a bit cool, so she snuggled under the blankets to stay warm.
Then, it was a long drive down the island to Victoria, at the southern tip. The new island highway is four lane much of the way now, so it is a lot faster than it used to be, but south of Nanaimo it is slow going.
We checked out the waterfront.
And toured the Undersea Gardens ...
And drove by the Empress Hotel,
opting to have our 'afternoon tea' elsewhere. We also toured the Craigdarroch Castle, but I guess I neglected to take photos!
We took the Saturday evening ferry back to the mainland, and drove to Hope to spnd the night before tackling the snow and slush on the way home.
Nevertheless, it did snow a bit overnight, as you can see where we stopped to look at the Othello Tunnels.

Unfortunately, they had closure signs up, warnng of the hazards of falling snow, ice and rocks.So, with 4 wheel drive engaged, we slushed it back up and over the Coquihalla, and Roger's Pass on the way back home.

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