Wow, it is hard to believe that I have been on Vancouver Island for close to three weeks. Where does the time go? A question that I ask more and more often as each year goes by.
I have been traveling, not far and discovered today that I have only covered half the island. How is that possible? I have been seeing interesting and sometimes amazing things. I have been meeting really nice people. I have been having fun.
I thought that by coming this far north I might escape the fires and the smoke and for the first week and a half that was true. Not any more. I woke this morning to the smell of smoke. There are a few fires burning near by. Fire is inherent to the west. The last few years have been worse than usual, I believe.
I have changed up my plan on how I travel. I have found these past months that I have been getting lonely more often. So…I decided to intersperse traveling alone with staying with others. It has been working well. Each year I join two organizations. Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts.
For a small amount of money, as a member of Boondockers Welcome, I camp in people’s (Hosts) driveways or on their land. I meet the locals, get great suggestions on where to hike and tour. Often in the evenings my hosts will come and visit and catch up on what we have been doing during the day. It is very relaxed and very social. I stayed with Cathy and Dave for a few days, at Mesachie lake. Cathy and I became instant friends. We hiked together and talked, a lot. I felt like I left with a new friend. All of this has been a game changer for me and I find I am less lonely and sad.
Harvest Hosts I have not used as much this year, though my friend Peggy and I celebrated Thanksgiving at a winery in southern New Mexico in 2017, thanks to them. Harvest Hosts is a membership program that provides access to a network of wineries, farms, breweries, museums and other unique attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight. I have enjoyed the places I have visited with this organization. I am not sure how much I have saved because well I seem to spend money at the wineries and the cheese factories. It is fun and most places offer a beautiful setting to camp in. Elsie likes them a lot.
I have been working my way “up island”. I have been to beautiful places both inland and along the west coast. Here are a few of the highlights.
- Arriving in Sidney, BC was a fine welcome. It is a very beautiful area right on the coast. I stayed three nights at McDonald Park. The campground hosts were waiting for me. Julie and Ron had contacted me through the Roadtreking Facebook site. They were waiting with maps and many good suggestions while visiting the Sidney area. I was able to ride my bike on paved paths to the Farmers Market and around the inlets. It was a fine welcome to the Island.
- Although I was planning to stay out of Victoria, I ended up there more than once. They have a marvelous system of bike paths. It is an easy way to explore a busy city.
- I told myself I wasn’t going to Butchart Gardens and yet I ended up there for a half day of walking and exploring the beautiful flowers and gardens. On a very warm day it was a great place to sit in the shade. When I told the parking attendants that I had a kitty in my RV they found me a nice shady place for Elsie to stay. With the windows open and the Super Fan on she was quite comfortable.
- The west coast of Vancouver Island is beautiful. It is filled with very tall trees, Douglas Fir and Cedar, to mention a few that reach the beaches. The coast tends to be mostly rocky and rugged. Even though the water looks inviting, it is cold. I got in as far as my ankles. I stayed at Provincial Parks (French Beach and China Beach. My favorite place on the lower section of the coast was Jordan River. I finally found a campsite right on the beach. I loved going to sleep to the sound of the very small waves crashing on the shore.
- I met two delightful women while I was camping on the beach. I was included in a family get together and a walk to the coffee shop. I like being included.
- I have stayed with three Boondocker Hosts since my arrival on the island. Each one has been unique and different and all of them have been a joy. I like including this in my travels.
- When one hikes here, one hikes to beaches or waterfalls or both. I have seen many waterfalls. They still take my breath away.
- I have done some special things. Everyone told me to go to Tofino Beach. I did. It was filled with tourists, a bit too hectic for me. While I was there, I did something I have always wanted to do. I took a seaplane flight. It was a half hour scenic flight. Mostly I wanted to take off and land on water. I did and it was so fun.
- From Port Alberni I took the local mail and delivery boat for a beautiful cruise out the sound close to the ocean. It was interesting to see what this working boat does. At one person’s dock, they delivered a refrigerator. They stopped at a post office on a dock and delivered and picked up mail. We ended at the town of Bamfield. it was a small town at a point of land. You can get to it by boat, or seaplane or a rough logging road. It was pretty isolated. We docked at the coast guard lighthouse buildings. I hiked to Bradley Beach and then did the half mile or so walk along the boardwalk in town. It was a good day.
- I am getting ready to move, tomorrow. It is time to move north and hope I reach the north end of the island soon. If I don’t make it, I guess I will just have to return.
It has been a good and interesting journey here. I am glad I came. When I leave here I am heading to the San Juan Islands for about 4 days, visit a friend and then I am not sure where.
I am finding I think more often about a permanent home. Is this the end of my wandering life in my small motorhome? I am not sure. The verdict is still out.