Vancouver Island and the Tale of the Snotty Sick Sock
I am just too tired to write this right now. Anne is still asleep next to me, and I've been trying to get motivated to write this for over a week now, but we've both worked alot, and we were feeling under the weather for a few days (I went to bed at 8pm cos I couldn't hack it anymore!). But I'm gonna pause this journal for a few hours til I'm more enthusiastic. There's plenty of photos that Anne will sort through, and they'll be up in no time.
yooooo this is Anne. I've just read through James' delightful journal but feel I should add my comments to a. defend myself and b. add humour and romance to the story. Kind of.
OK so its actually been 48 hours since I attempted to start this, but here goes.
We picked up our hire car at 7am and headed to Tsawwassen ferry terminal (yes that is spelt correctly), which was about a 45 minute drive from home. It was as easy as anything to get on the ferry and we were on our way by 9:05 am. The crossing lasted 90 minutes ish, and Anne and I occupied ourselves by sharing a decent breakfast, buying a computer magazine (that was me obviuously), and wandering around the various outter decks taking pictures. The crossing is to Schwartz Bay and you go between quite a few lovely islands on the way occasionally seeing some really nice houses where surely you can only reach them by boat!
Once landed, it was a 30 minute drive to Victoria. Once we had parked, we wondered around finding some nice little shops and tucked away arcade type places. We saw the parliament building which is very pretty, and the posh ............ hotel. We had a a drink in a nice little cafe, and Anne got very excited as she found an advertisment for something like "the best christmas shop in the world". This then became "our" top priority, and we went off to find that. Sadly though, the shop was closed, and Anne lay crying in the street for several hours. Not really, but I could see it happening. Anne wasn't bothered as it was tackytastic and I could see all I wanted from peering at the window. The market square was very quaint and cute though! We both wanted to see as much of the island as possible, so we were very aware of time, since we only had 2 days to explore! That said, We went back to the car and set off again.
From Schwartz Bay you drive south to Victoria, but then you take another road North towards Nanaimo (another harbour town). There are maybe 4 major roads on the entire island. We'd basically decided to head for Tofino which is on the west coast. Tofino is a mecca for surfers and had lots of beautiful mountains around it and many activites of the outdoor type. Anyway, you go past Nanaimo then take the west road towards Ucluelet and Tofino. In between the East and West coast, there aren't many civilizations. Just lots of grand lakes and windy (as in twisting not blowy) roads that sometimes followed the river. There were a fair few lookout points which served my back pain well. We stopped and shared a chicken wrap at a Tim Hortons Cafe which we both like for its cheapy cheapness! I think it took about 5 and a half hours to drive from Victoria to Tofino. OOH I MUSTN'T FORGET!!! We also stopped to eat some homemade sandwiches which I through together at 6 in the morning. Anne got a tummy ache around that time, and then as we twisted along the open road, she put her hand over her mouth and warned me to pull over. I did so. She then made me walk away as she stood by the side of the road and wretched a little bit. I feel I must add that we also had a soup from Tim Hortons and the sick came out of my nose too. Hence the need for the sock. We had a little bit of water left, but no tissue, so she used a pair of my white socks to wipe herself down. I managed to get a couple of photos soon after. I'm sure you all wanted to know that bit! She felt better afterwards by the way.
Along the way we played amusing what if games involving bears and cougars as there were signs at most of the sites we went to. A few were what if you saw a bear commit suicide, if a cougar pushed a bear off a mountain, what if you saw a bear canoeing, etc etc. And then, in Ucluelet there was a mural of bears as humans. Cycling and boarding. See pictures.
About 10 miles out of actual Tofino town, we were headed North again on the coastal road, we happened to see a sign telling us that we had just entered a "Tsunami hazard area". Up until now, the weather had been mostly sunny with a little cloud, so I was not worried. We took many pictures of the various warnings mind you. The coastal road to Tofino was in a National Park, with many trails and beaches to stop and look at on the way. So even though It was getting late, and we had no accomodation booked or food to eat, we stoppped along a few places on the way. Most notibly, "Incinerator Rock". We never did find out why it had this name. It was just a very large rock on Long beach which is where all the surfers go. The sun was thinking about setting so we wondered around this beach for a while, looking at the pretty big waves crashing down. I think they were the biggest waves I've seen in realy life, but it wasn't their size that was scary, but more the randomness and chopiness of the water amongst some of the outcrops of reocks that we could see. There was only one surfer, and as far as we could tell, he was in the part of the sea signposted as the most dangerous! Most of the carparks along the National Park required a steep charge, per person as opposed to per car, so we didn't stick around for too long.
We drove into Tofino which had an abundance of hotels and a few scattered restaurants, some more posh than others. We drown down a deadend road where there 2 hostels. One had no vacancy, and the other (a C&N hostel) looked nice, but we decided to have a quick look elsewhere. Needless to say, we ended up back at that hostel as the sun had all but dissappeared and I was getting worried! We walked straight into the kitchen, for there didn't seem to be any kind of office. We looked around tentitively, until we found Pete the owner. A semi-strange but nice fellow who gave us our key, and a few half hearted options for where to go to eat. Our room was big but minimalist but we both really liked the building. We chucked our stuff in, then went out on foot to look for food!
I feel I must add that I loved Tofino. I loved the little cool huts for shops (see pictures). They were like shacks with christmas lights and people were eating outside. A very nice atmosphere.
Going on foot was a bad idea, as from the car, everything seemed alot closer together. (Dad you can tell Nana that I still have that problem!) After Anne started an uneccesary arguement, we settled on an expensive looking place called We sat at candlelit table by a large window and ate some fancy.......PIZZA!!! Anne had a duck and goats cheese one, and mine was Chicken and peppers. They were both really tastey, but Anne didn't like the waitress and her massive facial mole!
It was just that I was asking the waitress for her opinion on what we should do the next day and she was very negative. And when I put my money down she was like "do you need change?" and I felt I had to say no even though it meant she recieved too large a tip. Plus "do you need change" doesn't say thanks for the tip.
The next morning we had planned to do some kind of possibly water based activity. Though upon opening the blinds, the weather had turned. Just going outside would have been a water based activity! We packed all our stuff up and then ran to the car, then drove about 50 metres to a kind of bakery that Anne had spotted before. We went in and it was really lovely inside. You could see everything being made in a room behind the counter, and all the scones and patries etc were all really nice looking. They had rooms downstairs and a room with a view upstairs. So we bought a cranberry scone and a fried breakfast thing to eat upstairs. They were both the most tastey things ever! The breaky was awesome sausage and bacon, an omlettey looking thing and seasoned homefries. We saved half the scone, but I was really pissed off for the rest of the day that we didn't buy more before we left!
There was so much more I wanted to do in Tofino. Apparently you can catch a boat to an island with hot springs. The springs are in little coves next to the ocean so the ocean water laps in. This sounds awesome but downy waitress said we wouldn't have enough time. And we wanted to kayak or hike or go to the rainforest. So the rain saved us a little by deciding our fate which was to do nothing but drive and see more of the island that way. We stopped off at Esowista, a little village on the shore which was eerie and lacking life besides 2 dogs that sat out in the rain. Poor cute dogs. There were also signs alerting us to deaf and handicapped children playing. Toys lay in the middle of the road. And there was a tiny shop.
So because of the rain, we sort of toodled back along the long winding road. I think Anne went to sleep for a while, but I can't remember. Probably though. We also went to Ucluelet and saw some deer! We stopped at several lakes (Kennedy, Sproat and Cameron) along the way and drove over quite a few amusingly named creeks. We eventually got back to the East coast, but still had a few hours before the ferry, so we decided to head North along the helpfully signposted coastal road. At this point, we were getting hungry and decided to look for somewhere to eat asap. We drove all the way from Qulicum Bay, past Royston and quite a few tiny villiages including Deep Bay which I really liked, until we got to Campbell River. Turns out there was nowhere to eat on the entire journey, except a little shody cafe, but we both wanted more of a pub type meal! OOOH, I also musn't forget. We stopped at some roadside lavatories and as I waited for Anne to come out, as she was speaking to me, she fell down a few steps in a completely comical way and ended up with her face pressed up against the wonky banister. I wish you were all there.
Anyway, in Campbell River we found our glorious pub, where we sat inside with the hairy yokels. Anne had a burger, and I had my long awaited lasagne! Perfect desperately hungry food. So we then headed back along the main highway to Nanaimo where we would get the ferry back to West Vancouver (a different route home if you hadn't realised). We had time to bosh around Nanaimo realy quick, but it wasn't much, and then when we found the ferry terminal, there had been an electrical problem with one of the ferrys and we were looking at a nearly 2 hour wait! Fortunaely though, I had my laptop with me. So as we sat in the car queue (line-up), we reclined our seats and watched new episodes of Heroes with the laptop on the dashboard! This was awesome. We bought tea and watched long awaited episodes in the comfort of the Yaris. I'm sure the cars surrounding us were proper jealous. We eventually left on the ferry around 8:30pm. We spent most of the 90 minute trip looking for an imaginary vending machine with some cheap sweets in it that Anne had supposedly seen on the other ferry. This wasted most of the journey time, and just like that, we were on the other side, driving home.
I drove just short of 1000km in the 2 days. Its not good for you. Plus the stupid Canadian roads are pretty slow, not that I could have driven the little Toyota much faster! I should mention that Anne did her bit of right side driving on day 2, and very good she was, considering that I have become someone who just doesn't cope well as a passenger and needs to be at the helm as it were.
I'm so so sorry that its taken me so long to finish writing this. I started it a week ago, and I kept getting bored and coming back to it. We both have 2 days off now, so I think Anne will write about another adventure of ours tommorrow maybe? And there's plenty of photos too.
I hope you are all well back home, and the weather is better for you than it is here. We're meant to go to a library today, but its pissing down for a while now and its pretty cold too. (How will we manage with a real winter.....?!)
Ta'ra for now, James x