Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove on BC Ferries’ Island Sky

Our third sailing on a BC Ferries boat, the Island Sky, took us on the 9.5 nautical mile crossing from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove on Day 40 of the trip, June 4th. It was a gorgeous day for this particularly scenic ferry route, which takes 50 minutes according to the BC Ferries schedule.

As usual, I was up early writing that morning. As is often the case, my dedicated blogging intern, Molly, was hard at work as well at 05:30.

My cat Molly in the RV
The Saltery Bay ferry is only a few minutes drive away, but we left early to allow another stop at Saltery Bay Provincial Park. It’s a wonderful spot for another dog walk, and Tucker was particularly enthusiastic about it. I need to try to get a video of his funny foot-marking dance 🙂

Saltery Bay Provincial Park, BC
Arriving at Saltery Bay at 10:40. During this trip, I’ll be driving or ferrying about 95% of the 564-km (350-mi) Coastal Circle Route. Only the section from Horseshoe Bay to Richmond will be missed, and “been there done that” section many, many times before. Hello BC says to allow 3 to 7 days for the route – I took 36 days to get it and some side trips done this time 🙂

BC Coastal Circle Route
At Saltery Bay, you pay for the next 2 ferries – Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove, and Langdale to Horseshoe Bay. The cost totalled $257.35 for me and 51 feet of RV. Having an Experience card saved $15.70 on this ticket.

Saltery Bay ferry terminal, BC
A general view of the terminal.

Saltery Bay ferry terminal, BC
The Island Sky approaches the dock at 11:05.

Saltery Bay ferry terminal, BC
Loaded and ready to depart. As has been the norm for the past month, the ferry was at perhaps 25% capacity.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
I’m sure that you never get tired of this incredible coast even if you sail it regularly. Just as I never tire of the drive to Skagway, even after doing it hundreds of times.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
Pulling away from the Saltery Bay dock at 11:25.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
I couldn’t figure out what exactly this pair of obviously very specialized vessels in Saltery Bay harbour was doing. Neither had a name visible so I could try to Google them. Something construction related…

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
Goodbye, Saltery Bay – it was a great visit, and I hope to be back with Cathy some day.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
The Island Sky has a comfortable lounge area…

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
…but pretty much everyone was outside enjoying the warm sun this day.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
There’s not really anything to say about some of the photos….

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
The ramp I was on to take this photo is an upper car deck.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
A power line stretching across a channel that must be well over a mile wide. I wonder at what point a marine cable becomes the better option.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
Some of the logging cut blocks we passed were very high on the mountains. That must have been some fine timber to justify building roads up there.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
In the full-resolution photo, half a dozen cabins and homes can be seen along that piece of shore.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
The light on the right marks the entrance to Earl’s Cove. This photo was taken at 11:55.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
The coastal freighter Klassen was tied up at a private dock beside the ferry terminal.

Sailing from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
About to dock at Earl’s Cove, at 12:10.

Docking at Earl's Cove on BC Ferries' Island Sky
Once ashore, I drove up to the Timberline RV Park, and decided that it would be suitable for my planned 2-day visit. I’ll tell about the rest of the day in the next post, but at the end of the day, I drove back down to the ferry terminal and took some photo of it for the record.

Earl's Cove ferry terminal

Earl's Cove ferry terminal
On a sunny day, this picnic area would be a lovely spot to wait for the ferry.

Earl's Cove ferry terminal


More Powell River area exploring – beaches, and the historic Townsite

Day 40 of the trip, June 4th, would be my final full day on the upper Sunshine Coast, and I had a lot that I still wanted to see. Powell River’s historic Townsite was the main focus, but I also wanted to see more beaches and more forests.

There are a lot of public beach access trails along the Sunshine Coast, all marked with standardized signs. Some of them are trails that are barely visible, while a few are more major access points with parking lots. This one I found at the end of a road near the B&B I was parked at in Stillwater was one of the largest I’d seen.

Beach access at Stillwater, BC
Judging by the number of large signs on the fences along the trail, the property owners aren’t happy with the presence of this one.

Beach access at Stillwater, BC
The beach is pretty typical for the area.

Beach at Stillwater, BC
A closer look at the gravel, mostly granite, that makes up most of these beaches.

Beach gravel at Stillwater, BC
Back up on Highway 101, I stopped to get some photos of the Stillwater water system, with a large pipe that feeds, I expect, from Lois Lake.

Stillwater water system on BC's Sunshine Coast
I decided to stop and have another look at the Lois River Canyon, to see if I could figure out a way to see more of it. I wonder how many people who cross this bridge regularly have no idea what’s down there.

Lois River Bridge on BC Highway 101
As intrigued as I am by the canyon, exploring it will take more time than I had available. Next trip…

Lois River Canyon, BC

Lois River Canyon, BC
When I got back near the Powell River mill, the light for perfect for having a better look at The Hulks. I thought about chartering a boat to have a really close look. But…

The Hulks - derelict ships forming a breakwater at Powell River

Finally, back to Powell River’s historic Townsite with all the time I need. A plaque erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada near the upper end of the business district describes why it is a National Historic Site: “Powell River is an exceptional example of a professionally planned, single industry town dating from the early modern period in Canadian town planning. The oldest sector, begun in 1910-1911, focuses on the mill, the first newsprint manufacturer in western Canada and, for a number of years, the world’s largest individual producer. Immediately to the east stands the original residential core which marches up the hil in a compact gridiron pattern commonly used in early planned towns. Neighbourhoods, which placed workers in the same occupation together, consist of groups of homes having a small number of standardized designs. As the mill expanded, the original town was extended in the 1920s and additional housing of sympathetic design was constructed to the south along gentle crescents laid out on the heavily forested hillside. Further residential development took place in suburbs located beyond the original townplot. As a result, Powell River’s townsite largely retains its early 20th century appearance. A pioneer in Canadian town planning, the community also illustrates the emergence of an industry of international importance.”

The Hotel Rodmay was getting a paint job, I hope to replace that awful yellow. I went into McKinney’s Pub & Eatery, but they had just re-opened after a licence problem, and food service wasn’t open yet. The Townsite today has few of the commercial necessities of a functioning community, and that illustrates a large part of why it has survived in a historic sense. A new Powell River developed further away from the mill and its terrible smell. With the new town supplying everything needed nearby, there was no reason to bulldoze anything in the Townsite to modernize it.

The historic Hotel Rodmay, Powell River Townsite
The front of the hotel is the lower facade facing the mill, which would have been logical when it was built by Andrew McKinney in 1911. An addition to the front was made in 1924, and 20 rooms added to the rear in 1930. The name comes from the second owners, Rod and May McIntyre. They bought in 1917 when McKinney sold rather than sell liquor as many patrons wanted.

The historic Hotel Rodmay, Powell River Townsite
A look at the classic lobby with its grand double-staircase leading to the upper suites overlooking the mill and ocean.

The historic Hotel Rodmay, Powell River Townsite
Another commercial gem, at the upper end of the business district, is the Patricia Theatre. Now the oldest continuously-operating movie theatre company in BC, the original opened in a tent in 1911. Two years later, the first Patricia Theatre building was constructed, and the current theatre replaced it in 1928. For the new building, an organist was brought in from Vancouver to entertain patrons during intermissions. Murals of graceful peacocks adorned the walls.

The historic Patricia Theatre, Powell River Townsite
The ticket lobby and entrance have changed very little since 1928. As the theatre is still being used, it’s wonderful to be able to smell popcorn as you stand here, as people would have 89 years ago – not many historic sites can offer that!

The historic Patricia Theatre, Powell River Townsite
At “Church Corner” are St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and St. John’s Union Church. The lumber and labour as well as financial support for both churches was donated by the Powell River Lumber Company. Both churches are now privately owned. The next two photos show St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, which is in need of some tlc.

The St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Powell River Townsite

The St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Powell River Townsite
From the churches, I went into a residential area – first the labourers’ homes, then down to the larger management homes overlooking the mill and ocean. There is now a lovely walk slanting gently down the slope in front of the large homes.

Historic homes in the Powell River Townsite
The view of the mill from the management homes is largely obscured by trees and rhododendrons now. The smell (“the smell of money”, it was often called) has also been almost entirely eliminated by modern scrubbers, as well as by the downsizing of the mill.

The Powell River paper mill
Dwight Hall was built in 1927, and was said to be the finest community hall in the province. It had a stage and a large kitchen, and a dance floor that could accommodate 800 people. Named for Dr. Dwight Brooks, co-founder of the Powell River Company, it was boulght by the District of Powell River in 1957, and is still used by the community today.

Historic Dwight Hall in the Powell River Townsite

Historic Dwight Hall in the Powell River Townsite
The former Provincial Building was built in Mock Tudor style in 1939, to house the provincial courts and jail, as well as the offices of the BC Provincial Police, the forest service, and many other departments. Today it’s the home of The Old Courthouse Inn.

The Old Courthouse Inn, Powell River
Finally, a look at some of the wonderful detail in the old hospital, which has been converted into apartments. Now happy that I had had a good look at the Townsite and understand its significance, I started back towards Stillwater.

The historic hospital in the Powell River Townsite
Driving south again, I stopped to get a photo of Willingdon Beach from an angle I hadn’t seen it before.

Willingdon Beach, Powell River, BC
The temperature had risen to about 24°C by the time I got back to the motorhome at 2:00, and it would soon reach 27°C. I decided to take a break and work on my tan instead of my many other projects. Bella and Tucker were happy to stay mostly in the shade – they’d been in the motorhome while I did the morning exploring.

Relaxing in the sun in front of my RV
That evening, the dogs and I went to the beach access across the road from the B&B. The next photo shows the beach that’s at the end of that trail.

Beach at Stillwater, BC
On the opposite side of the highway from the road to the B&B is a logging road that’s signed as an access to the Sunshine Coast Trail and the Powell River Canoe Route. I decided after our little beach walk that we needed to have a look at it. I could add another day here if it was amazing.

Access road to the Sunshine Coast Trail and the Powell River Canoe Route
The road is in pretty good condition, passing through a wide variety of logging cut-blocks, second-growth and even a bit of old-growth forest.


Fifteen minutes after leaving the highway, we reached Lois Lake, where there is a large BC Recreation Site campground. The road wasn’t very big-rig friendly (unless you’re a logging truck), but there was an old 36-foot Class A motorhome there anyway.


A family of Canada geese was feeding at the shore of Lois Lake about 40 feet away.

A family of Canada geese feeding at the shore of Lois Lake, BC
Tucker watched the geese without making a sound. He’s getting better and better about understanding that I really hate small-dog noise as he matures. When he barks and gets corrected he sometimes switches to a funny little growl/natter, but this time there was no sound at all.

My little dog Tucker
On the way back to the motorhome, I took a different road, and went through this beautiful grove of large timber, some old growth, some second-growth. On the waterfront below this area is Stillwater Bluffs, a similar grove that’s in the process of being permanently saved from logging.


That had been a very enjoyable day, with plenty of variety. I was now as ready as I was going to get to take the next ferry on the following day, to the Lower Sunshine Coast.



Exploring the Sunshine Coast from Powell River to Saltery Bay

On Day 39 of the trip, June 3rd, I moved just a few kilometers south of Powell River, to property owned by former Yukoners I’d met, and spent the day exploring south to Saltery Bay.

Willingdon Beach Campground had been perfect for seeing the Powell River area. At about 09:00, the local sailboat club arrived to play out front. I thought that Bella and Tucker might be intrigued by the boats during another walk, but as is usually the case, they weren’t.

Sailboats at Powell River, BC

Sailboats at Powell River, BC
A final shot of campsite #64 before packing up to go.

Willingdon Beach Campground
Beside my site are these large figures of Popeye and Olive Oyl, as well as Brutus. They were originally on a parade float that the local Rotary Club made in 1969. They were made of paper mache, but when they were retired, they were given to the City, who fiberglassed them and installed them here.

Popeye and Olive Oyl at Willingdon Beach Campground
My local friends Barb and Dave had moved their RV down to the campground, and were hosting a few beaders for the weekend. I spent a bit of time with them, and then just before 11:00 headed out to meet Dawn Kostelnik, who moved here from the Yukon 3 years ago.

Willingdon Beach Campground
By noon I was set up at an RV site behind Dawn and Rick’s B&B. The property has 6 full-service RV sites, but until Rick does some work on them, they’re just available by invitation. I was on one of the 2 sites on an upper terrace that Dawn calls The Penthouse 🙂


This is the view from The Penthouse.


A German couple is spending the summer at the B&B, and their gorgeous Irish setter, Lilly, took an immediate liking to Tucker. Bella got really jealous so I held her while the other 2 played.

My little dog Tucker playing with an Irish setter
Dawn told me that the Lois River, on the highway just north of their property, has a great canyon that was worth checking out, so that was the first destination for the dogs and I to explore.

Highway 101 North
At the south end of the bridge, a section of old highway leads under the bridge and a rough trail leads to the river from there. The limestone canyon is indeed spectacular, but with the dogs, difficult to navigate, as there are no trails or obvious routes to explore on once you get down there. Unable to get any photos that I was happy with, I went up onto the bridge to try from there.

Lois River Bridge, Highway 101 on BC's Sunshine Coast
The next 2 photos give an idea of what the small section of the canyon that’s accessible looks like. It appears that getting into the canyon below the waterfall is extremely difficult. The hole that the two men are standing near in the upper photo is so deep that the bottom can’t be seen even from the bridge viewpoint.

Lois River Canyon south of Powell River, BC

Lois River Canyon south of Powell River, BC
From the Lois River, I drove south to the Saltery Bay Provincial Park picnic area. This was a much more dog-friendly place to play with the kids.

Saltery Bay Provincial Park picnic area
Continuing south, I saw a sign pointing to a campground and scuba diving area. I obviously needed to have a look at that.


The sign was pointing to the Saltery Bay Provincial Park campground, which is also the access point to a popular dive site called Mermaid Cove. The campground is very nice, and this road leads to Mermaid Cove. You can take vehicles down the road to unload kayaks or dive gear, then have to come back up to park.

Road to Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay Provincial Park campground
Mermaid Cove is stunning! What an amazing place for divers, kayakers, or photographers.

Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay Provincial Park
A couple of kayakers were just getting ready to head out for the afternoon (in the photo, you can just see their boats on the far shore), though a light wind that had just come up was bothering them.

Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay Provincial Park
Just offshore here, in 60 feet of water, a 9-foot tall bronze mermaid attracts divers from around the world. Sculpted by Simon Morris, she was placed here in 1989, amid a garden of sea urchins, anemones, sea stars and other creatures.

Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay Provincial Park
What perfect diving conditions.

Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay Provincial Park
The final destination for the day was the Saltery Bay ferry terminal, just for a look. The ferry Island Sky makes the 9-km crossing to Earl’s Cove on the southern section of the Sunshine Coast every couple of hours.

Saltery Bay ferry terminal
I headed back towards the motorhome, went past the Snack Shack, then did a U-turn about a mile later and came back. I needed a snack. Or a very good burger, which is what I got 🙂

Snack Shack near the Saltery Bay ferry terminal
It was a wonderful afternoon to spend time enjoying the view and the quiet back at the motorhome.


Bella and Tucker agreed 🙂


I had a look at the upper floor of the B&B, which wasn’t rented. Called the Stillwater by the Sea Suites (Stillwater is the name of the area), it’s very nice, with an even better view than the RVs in The Penthouse have.


I returned to Saltery Bay at 7:00 pm, and spent a very enjoyable evening with Dawn and Rick. We have a lot in common besides the Yukon. One of those things is this regularly-driven custom 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk, still sporting Yukon plates. A 1956 Power Hawk was the second of the many Studebakers I’ve owned.


Watching the ferry arrive, from the Kostelniks’ deck.


One of things that I hadn’t gotten done before leaving Powell River was having a good look at the historic Townsite, so that was #1 on my list of places to see the next day.



More Powell River exploring, and beers at Townsite Brewing

I didn’t have many plans for Powell River other than having a good look at the historic Townsite on Day 38 of the trip (June 2nd). As it turned out, though, it was quite an eventful day, meeting some former Yukoners, having some excellent local beers, and spending more time with my local friends.

The day started as most do, with dog walks and lots of writing and photo-sorting/editing time. Just after 11:00, the dogs and I headed out for some exploring. I thought that Bella and Tucker needed some good play and socialization time, so went to the Visitor Information Centre up the hill to enquire about a leash-free park. After a long search, the staff fund that there was one, but another staff member came along and warned me that some small dogs have been hurt by big dogs there. I also asked about any commercial campgrounds down Sechelt way, and was told that they only deal with the Powell River area.

Visitor Information Centre in Powell River, BC

We drove a few blocks to the leash-free park, a fairly small fenced and grassy field, but there were 2 very large dogs there playing ball-fetch, so given the warning that I’d just gotten, we continued on.

Wandering around town, I found a nice waterfront trail, and small towns being what they area, Barb and Dave were just leaving! They came back down and told me that the trail is a good place to give the dogs leash-free time. The trail is a really nice for a long walk, but there were too many people and other dogs (all leashed) to let my kids loose.

Waterfront walking trail in Powell River, BC
The ocean water is so clear! More and more, I really wanted to go diving, but having not brought my scuba certification card, that wasn’t an option this time.

Clear ocean water at Powell River, BC
I was able to get some good photos of the Salish Orca, the new ferry that I’d come over from Comox on, as she left the dock in the sunshine.

Ferry Salish Orca leaving Powell River, BC
The amount of small-dog poop along the trail was maddening. None from big dogs, but “it’s just little, you can’t even see it” must be some people’s attitude. People like that make us all look bad. I noticed that the poop-bags that the city supplies are both very large and very heavy weight – I much prefer the more efficient ones I buy by the roll from Canadian Tire.

Leash and clean up after your dog! Powell River, BC

As I was in the car getting ready to leave, a woman came over and asked where in the Yukon I was from. When I said “Whitehorse”, she introduced herself. It’s a long story best told over a glass of wine or three, but I knew Dawn Kostenik by reputation as a realtor and writer, though we had strangely never met. I walked over to her car and met her husband, Rick, and we very quickly discovered many mutual interests. They invited me out for a beer at their place, and offered a place at their B&B that also has 6 RV sites. I had to figure out how the coming days were going to progress, so departed by just thanking them for both offers.

Right above the walking trail parking lot, I found this lovely viewpoint with totem poles and interpretive signs. It was built by the Rotary Club.

Powell River, BC
This lovely water fountain was also at the viewpoint, but the doggie part needed cleaning so I kept my kids away from it. The fountain was installed by the Powell River Garden Tour Committee in memory of a member.

Powell River, BC
The day was marching on rapidly, so I dropped Bella and Tucker off at the motorhome and then the historic Townsite was the next stop. What better way to start a walking tour of a historic town than with beers and then lunch? Townsite Brewing is located in the old Federal government building.

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
Ooooo, look at all the beers! When in doubt, try a flight 🙂

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
There we go – from the left, the Tin Hat IPA, Zwarte Dark Whitbier, Zunga Golden Blonde, and Suncoast Pale Ale.

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
For me, the Tin Hat India Pale Ale was the winner, and I had a full glass of it. Great body, with a real bite to it.

Tin Hat India Pale Ale - Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
New beers being added as I sat there 🙂

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
Townsite Brewing is a comfortable place that’s very popular with locals. Unfortunately, not only is there no food service there, there’s no cafe or restaurant in the Townsite! I’d have to go back into new Powell River.

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
On the entrance hall in the brewery is this painting of the hut at Tin Hut Mountain on the Sunshine Coast Trail. It was painted earlier this year by Powell River artist Anna May Bennett.

Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC
I was really hungry, but tried to see a bit of the Townsite. Looking down towards the mill, I tried to imagine what it was like here a few decades ago.

The historic Townsite at Powell River, BC
Above the mill workers’ small homes are some much grander homes for mill managers.

The historic Townsite at Powell River, BC
The original hospital has been converted to apartments, many of which have great ocean views.

The historic Townsite at Powell River, BC
One of the things that I noticed as the number of long-unused parking lots from the days when the mill have 2,500 or so employees instead of the current 400.

Powell River, BC

I had to eat, so went back to the RV and had lunch/dinner. Then it was, of course, time for a dog-walk, and it was a long enough one that a nap seemed to be next in order. The “nap” turned out to be a very long one 🙂

That evening, I dug through my papers and had another look at the strange course of events that led me to meeting Dawn and Rick. It had started a few days earlier when I was fretting about the cost of ferries and thinking about cancelling the Sunshine Coast part of my trip. That evening, in my pile of campfire-starter newspapers was this article. I took that as a message that the Sunshine Coast needed to remain on the itinerary. Note the name of the writer – Dawn Kostelnik. In the article, she was talking about buying the property that she had just invited be to stay at. Spooky, eh? 🙂 I sent Dawn a text, saying that I’d like to see them again, and to stay at their RV site for a couple of days.

A Sourdough on the Sunshine Coast, by Dawn Kostelnik
Dusk in front of the Willingdon Beach Campground, at 9:15.

Powell River, BC

Powell River, BC

The next day, I’d move halfway to the next ferry, which was only 27 km away, and start exploring a new area.



Exploring a bit of Lund and Powell River

Day 37 of the trip, June 1st, was a day of exploring with my RVing friends Barb and Dave Rees, lunch with them at Lund, and then lots of walking in Powell River with my dogs.

The Willingdon Beach Campground, which I had booked at Barb’s suggestion, was working our great for our needs. Central to everything, with 2 good dog walks, one at the Willingdon Beach park and breakwater, and an interesting one through the forest. I’d soon find out that there were a few other trail options as well.

Willingdon Beach breakwater, Powell River, BC
Barb and Dave Rees came by at 10:00 to continue my orientation tour of the area, showing me some of their favourite places. I think this is Haywire Bay Regional Park – lovely spot.


We swung by the administration office building for the Tla’amin First Nation – beautiful.

First Nation offices, Powell River, BC
Our next stop was Dinner Rock, a place I see photos of often on Barb’s Facebook posts. The rock itself was the site on a shipwreck on the night of October 11, 1947. Two women and 3 infants died when the M.V. Gulf Stream went shore due to a navigation error, and a white cross on the top of Dinner Rock is dedicated to their memory. The ship now rests at the foot of the rock, 150 feet below the surface.

Dinner Rock, BC
The grim history notwithstanding, Dinner Rock is a particularly beautiful spot to spend time.

Dinner Rock, BC
Next we went to the Desolation Sound Resort, which has some really unique cabins overlooking the water. As with every other tourist operation I’ve seen so far, the lodge property was pretty much devoid of guests.


The deck and hot tub of the cabin seen in the photo above. Add a bottle of wine and your favourite hot tub partner for a wonderful evening.


On the back of the Rees’ car is a bumper sticker that reads “We Support the Third Crossing”. That third crossing isn’t another ferry route or a bridge as it probably sounds, but a road into the interior, to connect with the rest of BC without the need for any ferries. Most of the route is already in use by logging – only some 35 miles of road would need to be built. Back 50 years, that’s how what is Highway 99 north of Pemberton started – as the Duffy Lake Main, we drove those logging roads every now and then just to get into some spectacular backcountry.

We Support the Third Crossing - Powell River, BC
Just before noon, we arrived at Lund, which is the north end of Highway 101, the Pacific Coastal Route. Dave checked in to the “End of the Road Parking” office to let them know that we were going for lunch at The Boardwalk – that makes parking free.

End of the Road Parking office in Lund, BC
The more of these tiny communities I visit based around a marina in a sheltered cove, the more I like them. Initially I found them very confining, some even claustrophobic, but at least in the shoulder season when the weather is lovely and there are few people around, the vibe is very special.

Lund, BC
A little 2-vehicle ferry and freight boat (with a landing-barge bow) was loading on the far side of the harbour. Check out the hilarious name for a work boat – Giderdun II 🙂

Giderdun II ferry
One of the signs at The Boardwalk Restaurant makes the claim “Best Fish and Chips on the Coast.” Your Culinary Explorer immediately went to work to see if he could verify that claim 🙂

The Boardwalk Restaurant in Lund, BC
The ling cod and chips were certainly one of the best fish and chips on the coast. The salad was exceptional, the view spectacular, the vibe and company as perfect as I could have hoped for. The summary: The Boardwalk Restaurant was overall the best fish and chips experience on the coast.

The Boardwalk Restaurant in Lund, BC - Best Fish and Chips on the Coast
Giderdun II was a great name for a work boat, and check out the water taxi – Comintagetcha! Having a good sense of humour would count here in Lund at times, I have no doubt.

Water taxi 'Comintagetcha' in Lund, BC
This “Mile 0, Highway 101” monument was built in 2009. A sign explains that Highway 101, the Pacific Coastal Route, is a series of interconnecting highways that runs from Lund to Quellon, Porto Monte, Chile. That makes it one of the world’s longest roadways at 15,202 km. For me, by the end of this trip I’ll have driven Highway 101 all the way from Lund to Ensenada, Mexico – in many legs over the span of 46 years.

Mile 0, Highway 101 - Lund, BC
We had a look through an excellent art gallery, and then before leaving Lund, at the RV park. It’s really nice and I thought about moving up here for a day or 2, but decided in the end not to. The reality is that I have to leave pretty much every place before I’m really ready to.

RV park at Lund, BC
Back in Powell River, we did a quick tour of the historic Townsite which I’d come back to for a thorough look, then one more stop – at a viewpoint overlooking “The Hulks.” Well known to anyone with an interest in West Coast nautical history, I would think, the 10 concrete-hulled ships that now surround the log pond at the pulp and paper mill create the world’s largest floating breakwater. Using decommissioned ships to create breakwaters isn’t unusual, but keeping them floating is. Four of the hulls have become too expensive to maintain, however, and are going to be sunk.

The Hulks floating breakwater at Powell River, BC
Back at the nearly-empty Willingdon Beach Campground, it was time to get Bella and Tucker out for a walk. But first, I went to te campground office and booked another night – I was nowhere close to being finished with the Powell River area.

Willingdon Beach Campground, Powell River, BC
I decided to take the kids up the forest trail that I’d joined Barb and Dave and a friend on the day before, to get a better look at all the old logging equipment. The trail route actually began life as a logging railway in about 1910, operated by the Michigan and Puget Sound Railway Company. Bell and Tucker are still rather a nuisance to walk through these forest with – there are just so many amazing sights and smell that are new to them. Yes, I could short-leash them and put a stop to their exploring so my walks are easier. Cathy could try that with me, too, but doesn’t 🙂

Forestry trail in Powell River, BC
This massive log car needs a person beside it so you can see how large it is. I didn’t bring my tripod, though. The Powell River Forestry Museum Society has been responsible for getting and interpreting all of the equipment along the trail – over 20 pieces of all sizes.

Forestry trail in Powell River, BC
In 2003, some 1,100 hours of volunteer labour resulted in this new Second Beach Trestle, built of Western red cedar.

Second Beach Trestle, Powell River, BC
From the trestle, we took a rough trail down to Second Beach, and with nobody around, Bella and Tucker got some freedom to play.

Second Beach, Powell River, BC
Staying on the beach, we eventually reached the log pond that The Hulks protect. It was great seeing them from water-level now. The beach had been a much tougher walk that than the trail, so we went back to the campground via road and trail. It was a really good 5-km walk in total.




From Comox to Powell River on the new ferry “Salish Orca”

May 31st, Day 36 of the trip – starting the second half of the adventure if my 10-week plan works out. This was an easy day, with only about a dozen kilometers put on my motorhome. It was mostly a ferry day, sailing across the Salish Sea on BC Ferries’ brand-new boat the Salish Orca.

I didn’t need to be at the Comox (Little River) ferry terminal really early, but it was as good a place as any to wait, so I was checked in before 07:00 for the 10:00 sailing. I asked the clerk about the Experience card, and it saved me a few dollars. It’s basically a pre-loaded debit card. My 51 feet plus me cost $209.20 in total – I loaded $467 on the Experience card to get me right to Horseshoe Bay, the end of my ferries for this trip. The red tag is put on an RV’s propane tank to confirm that it was shut off.

BC Ferries tickets and Experience card
I had plenty of time to sort photos, do some writing, walk the dogs, take some photos…

RV at BC Ferries Comox terminal

BC Ferries Comox terminal
It was just me in the lot for a very long time 🙂

RV at BC Ferries Comox terminal
Well, me and a bald eagle or two.

Bald eagle at BC Ferries Comox terminal
The departure lounge is efficient, and comfortable enough for short stays I expect, even with the hard plastic seats.

The departure lounge at BC Ferries Comox terminal
At 09:20, the Salish Orca slipped quietly into her berth.

Ferry Salish Orca at BC Ferries Comox terminal
At at 09:50, it was my turn to board.


The ferry was perhaps 20% full, so loading was simple.

RVs on the BC ferry Salish Orca
I was of course interested in the pet area…

Pet room on the BC ferry Salish Orca
…but was disappointed to find that it’s just luggage storage but for dogs. If you walk on with your dog, I guess this is the only option, though. Poor doggies 🙁

Pet room on the BC ferry Salish Orca
With relatively few vehicles to load, the boat was ready to go long before the 10:00 sailing time.

BC ferry Salish Orca
I went exploring the boat (or is it a ship?) before sailing time. I couldn’t find any stairs going to the upper decks, and the elevators are strange and slow. Strange? Well, you get in, push an upper floor button, and the door on the opposite side you got in on opens, and you walk into another elevator. I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe in Poland where the boat was built it makes sense 🙂

Elevator on the BC ferry Salish Orca
Elevators aside, the Salish Orca is lovely, inside and out. Darlene Gait from the Esquimalt First Nation created the design for the striking hull painting. It replaced the 52-year-old Queen of Burnaby on this run. A local described the Queen of Burnaby to me as “an old rust bucket”.

BC ferry Salish Orca
Right at 10:00, we pulled away from Little River.

BC ferry Salish Orca
Though there’s not much to see on this route, the Salish Orca has some nice outside viewing decks as well as plenty of indoor seating. It’s licenced for a total of 600 passengers and crew. (as well as 138 vehicles)

BC ferry Salish Orca
There’s a nice bright children’s play area.

BC ferry Salish Orca
The computer area is convenient for working, and charging your equipment.

BC ferry Salish Orca
Back in the motorhome at 11:20, with the Garmin showing the approach to the Powell River dock.


It’s only 3 km or so from the ferry terminal to the municipal Willingdon Beach Campground, located on the ocean right at the edge of downtown Powell River. I had booked 2 nights at $30.50 plus taxes per night. Although there was nobody in the office, I had been assigned site #64, so went to get set up. As I was doing that, my RVing friends Barb and Dave Rees showed up to take me on an introductory tour. Barb and Dave put a lot of miles on every year, and to help finance that, Barb writes books about their journeys and related RV subjects, and Dave makes jewellery.


I didn’t take my camera or take notes, but we covered a lot of ground, in the new town and the historic Townsite, and out in the hills. We stopped for lunch at a pub overlooking Powell Lake. In the afternoon, we went for a walk at Inland Lake, and Barb took this photo of Dave and I with their fur-kids, Cheena and Pali.


That evening, despite occasionally heavy rain, Bella and Tucker and I took a couple of long walks along the shore and through the forest. The next day, Barb and Dave were taking me out to Lund, the north end of Highway 101, for “the best fish and chips” 🙂




A visit to the Comox Air Force Museum

On Day 35 of the trip (May 30th) I drove the motorhome 95 km from Englishman River Falls Provincial Park to the Comox Valley Airport. The destination was the Comox Air Force Museum, but it was so good that I spent the night in a parking lot. The next morning, I was only a few minutes away from the ferry to Powell River.

I posted on Facebook as I was about to leave Englishman River that “The ferry to Powell River is only an hour away but there’s goats on a roof, an air force museum and who knows what else on the way so I’ve allotted 23 hours for the trip 🙂 ” but ended up not going to Coombs where the goats are. Having taken another wander around the park, though, I didn’t hit Highway 19 northbound until about 11:30.

BC Highway 19 south of Comox
As I neared Comox, I was thinking about stopping at the visitor information centre. When I saw “a Snowbird on a stick” beside the highway, taking the next turn was an easy choice. That took me to the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre.

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Comox
The Visitor Centre is beautiful both inside and out, and does an exceptional job of offering travellers anything they might need. Among those things is a computer area, with strong wifi, power, and computers if you need one. My battery in my laptop was almost dead, so I caught up on my blogging and social media while it re-charged.

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Comox
The interactive Vancouver Island Exhibit Gallery is a fun place for kids of all ages. There are several places to get your photo taken – on a mountain bike, in a sea kayak, and a few others. By the time I got back in the RV, over an hour had passed – that wasn’t my usual Visitor Centre stop!

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Comox
My Garmin didn’t know where the Comox Air Force Museum was, and I ended up on some back roads. I made it, though, but the parking lot at the museum is very small so I continued on, and found a fairly large pull-off near the Comox Valley Airport terminal.


I didn’t get back to the museum until 2:30. They close at 4:00 pm, but I figured that an hour and a half would be about right – it’s just a small facility. Was I ever wrong!

The museum is located right beside the main entrance to Canadian Foces Base Comox, home of 19 Wing Comox. The entrance is guarded by this McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo, #101057. In 1984, each Voodoo squadron painted one of their aircraft to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the RCAF, and 409 Squadron used a modified version of the “Hawk One Canada” design that they have used for several years.

McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo #101057 at CFB Comox
Here’s an overall view of the museum building.

Comox Air Force Museum
I began my tour in a side hall, which is used for rotating displays. Currently, most of it has a display of uniforms. This is Royal Canadian Air Force No. 5A Battle Dress, used from 1940 until 1968 when the RCAF ceased to exist, becoming part of the unified Canadian Forces. This is the uniform that my Dad would have worn. Being able to personalize this museum in such a way makes a big difference, I think.

Royal Canadian Air Force No. 5A Battle Dress at the Comox Air Force Museum
This case of aircraft models could be fun: “Think you are good at aircraft recognition? Do you really kn ow RCAF aircraft? PROVE IT! Ask for the AC Recognition Challenge clipboard at the front counter.” While I’m curious about how I’d do, there wasn’t enough time.

Aircraft Recognition Challenge at the Comox Air Force Museum
Now on to the main part of the museum. It was immediately apparent that I hadn’t allowed nearly enough time. “Welcome to the Comox Air Force Museum. Our museum presents the history of 19 Wing and CFB/RCAF Station Comox and the Squadrons stationed here, now and in the past.”

Comox Air Force Museum
I realized very quickly that I wasn’t going to have as much time as I needed here, so the plan was to make a quick sweep around and look for the highlights – or to be more accurate, the content that resonated with me the most. Having visited the former RCAF Station Coal Harbour a few days before, this was the first panel that I spent some time with, to see how Coal Harbour fit in the system.

Comox Air Force Museum
This case shows a model of the Stranraer flying boat, a type that was in service at Coal Harbour.

Comox Air Force Museum
There is a section devoted to “West Coast Aviators” – local heroes. The five men profiled have impressive records. The medals, model aircraft, diary excerpts and other material in the cases adds a lot to each story.

Comox Air Force Museum
Above the first West Coast Aviators panel is a “battlefield trophy” – a Fascist Italian roundel that was cut from the wing fabric of Fiat CR-42 “Falco” which was shot down over North Africa.

Comox Air Force Museum

As I was reading the local hero stories, the museum’s Deputy Director, W/O Michael Barnucz, came over and introduced himself, and we spent a while discussing this museum and museums in general, from funding to displays. What we see in the museum now is the result of $250,000 spent on display panels in recent years. After 36 years in the air force, he’s about to retire, but the museum seems to be in his blood. As I’ve said before, it’s always a pleasure talking to people who are passionate about what they do.

This amazing photo shows a de Havilland Mosquito from 409 Squadron flying under the Eiffel Tower in 1945!

Comox Air Force Museum
This is one of the panel which describe some of Canada’s peacekeeping roles. I hadn’t known that August 9 is National Peacekeepers’ Day.

Comox Air Force Museum
Canada lost 2 aircraft while serving with UNMOGIP – the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. A CC-108 Caribou in full UN markings was destroyed while parked in India in September 1965, and a CC-138 Twin Otter, also in full UN markings, was destroyed while parked in Pakisan in December 1971. There were no casualties is either attack. The display case at the bottom includes pieces of the wreckage and expended cannon rounds from the Twin Otter event. By now, it had occurred to me that this museum, in book terms, isn’t a biography of CFB Comox, it’s an autobiography. The depth of the collection and the stories told is quite remarkable.

Comox Air Force Museum
For many people, Canada’s air demonstration teams are their only emotional connection with our air force, and they are well described here. The first demonstration flying team was formed by Lieutenant-Colonel William “Billy” Barker, VC, using 4 captured German Fokker D VII scout planes! Since 1971, the Snowbirds have been the air force’s ambassadors.

Comox Air Force Museum
This diorama, depicting RCAF Station Comox in the late 1950s, was donated by the family of Flight Lieutenant Joseph Noel McPhee, who was killed in March 1945 when the Lancaster bomber he was flying on a night mission was shot down over Germany. He was 23 years old.

Comox Air Force Museum
As I walked around engrossed in the displays, this mechanic surprised me a couple of times – I thought he was real 🙂

Comox Air Force Museum
At one point while I was high-grading information, I had gone to the front desk to ask if there was any information about Dakota 576, the DC-3 crash that my niece had hiked in to. I was told that they didn’t, but a few minutes later, he came out with a file folder that had much more information that what’s posted online so far. This newspaper article was one of the pieces in that folder.

Comox Air Force Museum
There is some wonderful art to complement some of the stories.

Comox Air Force Museum
I’ve had a special connection with 442 Search and Rescue Squadron since my days working with CASARA, the civilian volunteer side of that mission, in southwestern BC. I have a lot of stories stored away from those days – some funny, some tragic…

Comox Air Force Museum

Comox Air Force Museum
I could have spent 20 minutes just at these panels telling the story of 443 Fighter Squadron’s part in World War II.

Comox Air Force Museum
I hadn’t known that the RCAF had a Marine Section. It was formed in 1935, and during World War II peaked at 941 officers and airmen operating 384 boats “of all types and shapes.” This case holds a model of a High-Speed Rescue Launch, a crest from Marine Section Pat Bay, and a “dog-tag”.

Comox Air Force Museum
These panels describe the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, which was first flown on March 25, 1958. Despite incredible performance (recorded at 1,217 mph at 50,000 feet altitude), the project was cancelled 11 months later. Aviation enthusiasts often blame Prime Minister Diefenbaker for the scrapping, but this panel says that “records now available indicate the Arrow was becoming unaffordable. The Canadian Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended the termination of the CF-105 program.” It doesn’t explain while all of the aircraft were sent to the scrap pile instead of saving them for museums.

Comox Air Force Museum
One of the interesting pieces in the Arrow collection is this crest, designed for the first Aircraft Control and Warning Systems Technicians in anticipation of the aircraft entering service. It was never worn.

Comox Air Force Museum
Some of the funniest pieces in the collection are these shoulder patches worn by pilots, navigators, technicians, and maintenance supervisors in CF-101B Voodoo squadrons.

Comox Air Force Museum
Some of the large Squadron crests on display have been beautifully crafted.

Comox Air Force Museum
For a kid who grew up with the dangers of the Cold War hanging over his head, the panels describing what happened, and some of the tools used, were very interesting.

Comox Air Force Museum

Comox Air Force Museum
Even the nuclear protestors of the 1950s and ’60s are seen here.

Comox Air Force Museum
Although W/O Barnucz said that I could stay past the museum’s 4:00 pm closing, I didn’t want to keep him, so left and went over to their Heritage Air Park. I hadn’t realized that it was actually part of the museum, with the same operating hours, so I made a quick pass through. This is McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo #101030. The Voodoos were in service from 1961 until 1990, when they were replaced by McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornets.

Comox Air Force Museum
A look at the far end of the air park, with an Aurora and DC-3.

Comox Air Force Museum
Canadair CF-104 Starfighter #104731. The CF-104 was never based at Comox, but was in service from 1961 until 1988.

Comox Air Force Museum
Looking back at the Heritage Air Park entrance.

Comox Air Force Museum
I was starting to think that I’d stay parked there for the night. Being that close to these aircraft, even with a fence between us, felt really good.

Comox Air Force Museum
This is the museum’s Heritage Stone memorial area. Each stone, crafted on Vancouver Island from marble mined near Tahsis, is engraved with a person’s name, a coloured Roundel and lighting flash as seen on RCAF and CF aircraft.

Comox Air Force Museum
At 4:10, I saw W/O Michael Barnucz waiting to lock the gate so took this final photo and left. We chatted for another few minutes, and he again offered to stay until I was finished, but “finishing” in a yard full of old aircraft would not be quick!

Comox Air Force Museum
Not sure yet where to spend the night, I drove the Tracker to the ferry terminal to see if that might be a better option. The beach is fairly nice but, no, I didn’t want to park there.

The beach at the Comox ferry terminal
These deer warning signs are seen everywhere in Comox.

Comox Air Force Museum
When I got back to the motorhome just before 6:30, the light was wonderful. This helicopter is Boeing-Vertol CH-113A Labrador #11310.

Comox Air Force Museum
This propeller from an Argus maritime patrol aircraft was installed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron.

Comox Air Force Museum
That evening, there was a parade at the 888 Wing Air Cadets next door. I didn’t go over, but all sorts of pomp and ceremony, and music and drums, went on for hours 🙂

888 Wing Air Cadets, Comox
As well as the old aircraft, there was plenty of new aircraft action in front of me. At the far side of the parking area was C-GSBJ, the first Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 corporate jet I’d seen. This one, from Prince George, BC, was built in 2010.

C-GSBJ, Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 corporate jet at Comox
Walking around the fence, I hadn’t even noticed before that the air force museum had a building with vehicles in it.

Comox Air Force Museum
Peeking over the fence at Avro CF-100 Canuck Mark 5 #100790. The Canuck was in service from 1951 until 1984.

Comox Air Force Museum
I had a good night’s sleep (nobody came knocking on the door telling me to move 🙂 ), and it was a lovely dawn.

Comox Air Force Museum

Comox Air Force Museum

I hooked the Tracker up and left the Comox airport at about 06:30. It’s only 8 km (5 mi) to the ferry, but I appreciated that nobody question my overnight parking and didn’t want to overstay my welcome at the airport. The next destination would be Powell River, the start of a week or so on the Sunshine Coast.



A visit to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park

After Cathy flew back home, I had 2 days to spend on Vancouver Island before taking the ferry to Powell River. After some thought over my morning coffees on Day 34 of the trip (May 29th) I decided to move to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park for that night. I remember the park from a visit on a bicycle trip in 1967, and figured I was about due for another look.

Sunrise had been glorious to watch from the Living Forest Oceanside Campground where we’d camped for 3 nights. This photo was shot at 05:40.

Sunrise from the Living Forest Oceanside Campground in Nanaimo, BC
At the 11:00 check-out time, I moved the rig to the campground entrance area, disconnected the Tracker, and drove the motorhome to a gas station a couple of blocks away. I had checked out the gas station access, and it was too tight go in with the Tracker on the back. Back at the campground I waited to see f I could get together with one of my relatives again, but she got busy with a dog rescue, so I hooked the Tracker up again and headed north.

My RV and toad at the Living Forest Oceanside Campground
It’s only 55 km (34 mi) between the two campgrounds, and much of that is on the 4-lane Inland Island Highway. Just before 12:30, I turned off the 4-lane.

Off-ramp on the Inland Island Highway
A few minutes later, I was at the entrance to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. This photo was actually shot the next morning as I left – it was still sunny when I arrived.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
There are no bad campsites at Englishman River, which has 103 sites, 55 of which can be reserved ahead. I set up at #37, unhooked the Tracker, put the dogs in the car and then drove back to pay the $23 fee at the self-registation area at the entrance.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The trail from the campground to the lower falls was signed “Closed” due to a fallen tree and downed fences, so we continued on about a kilometer to the day-use area trails.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
I decided to do a full circuit of the park, which has 3 km of trails, and started down the trail to the lower falls. The forest is, of course by now, beautiful and powerful. BC Parks describes it as a “lush second-growth and old-growth forest of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock, arbutus and maple.” When the slopes get steep as you approach the canyon, the trail is fenced.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The lower falls of the Englishman River are small, but the canyon is impressive. This photo was shot from the footbridge that crosses the river at the bottom of the canyon.

Lower falls at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Below the bridge, the river becomes calm again.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The bridge and the foot of the canyon.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
When we reached the upper alls, I was disappointed in the views that were available from the trail. Many people were, of course, going around the fence to get good views. It seems to me that cutting that screen of small trees down would keep people safer.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Having Bella and Tucker with me on leashes, the options for exploring the river are more limited, so we headed back to the car, across the upper bridge. It does offer a good view of the falls and the tiny slot of a canyon they fall into far below.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The drive back to the campground.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
It was getting very warm – about 24°C (75°F) – but the campsite was a lovely cool spot to take a break.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The fores in front of our campsite was also a lovely place to wander. Then I put the fur-kids in the motorhome for a nap, and I drove back to the day-use area for a more thorough look.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The day-use parking lot is huge, so I expect that this park gets very busy, at least for a few weeks a year.

Day-use parking lot at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
At the waterfall end of the parking lot there are both outhouses and a plumbed washroom.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
It surprised me how small the washroom was given the size of that parking lot. When there’s almost nobody here, though, it’s clean and functional.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Back at the upper bridge, and a small viewing area.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
To get this photo of most of the waterfall, I created a vertical panorama from 2 shots shot from the bridge with an 18mm lens. The bottom of the canyon was so dark that the panorama-maker software wouldn’t even recognize it as an image.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Looking straight down from the other side of the bridge. That part of the canyon is perhaps 10 feet wide.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Looking up into the forest canopy. The day was about as perfect as it could be for exploring the park.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
This trail follows the river upstream above the falls.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The little beach is where the trail ends. I expect that it’s much larger when the river is at lower summer levels. From what I could see in the water, it may also be more interesting with more of the heavily-eroded rock exposed.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
A closer look at the character of the river and rocks.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Walking back downstream, I took unofficial side trails to the river at a few spots. This is just above the waterfall. A fun place for inner-tubing except for that 60-foot drop ahead! The slot canyon at the bottom would make that drop unsurvivable.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
I finally found some falls views that I was happy with. The best views of them can only be seen from a drone, I think. This images shows the drama and power of the falls…

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
… while this one taken from the same spot shows a calmer part just upstream.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
Walking back to the car, I stopped to this lovely deep carpet of unknown flowers.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
When I got back to the motorhome, the happiest cat in the world was in her usual position. Laying on her fleece, watching birds and squirrels, and having her family close by – Molly’s simple pleasures in life.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
On a dog walk, that night, I noticed one of the signs that are on all of the water faucets: “Notice. This water is for park use only. Removal of water from this park may result in a $75.00 fine. BC Parks.” How odd…

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
I’ve been taking a lot of photos of oddly-shaped trees over the past few weeks. My guess is that a person or heavy snow bent the tree when it was young, but it was able to keep growing despite the injury.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
The next morning, the dogs and I went back to the falls for a last look before moving closer to the ferry. This is the day-use picnic shelter.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC
A final look into the slot. Englishman River Falls is certainly one of the finest karst-formation waterfalls that I’ve ever seen.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, BC

At 11:30, we began the drive towards Comox, where an Air Force museum was at the top of my list of places to see.



Exploring Nanaimo – boats, planes, beaches, and a foster pup

Days 32 and 33, May 27th and 28th, were Cathy’s final days travelling with us. She had to fly back to Whitehorse to get back to her job, so we planned a couple of low-key days of wandering around Nanaimo. Also, though, I had finally made arrangements to visit the new family of one of our foster puppies from December. I had been excited about seeing the former Blueberry for months – she was the first of the pups that really burrowed into my heart.

We didn’t really have a plan for Nanaimo. After getting set up at the Living Forest Oceanside Campground on Day 31, we made the short drive to downtown Nanaimo. We drove through part of the historic downtown, then ended up at the harbour. From the parking lot, this is the old and the new Nanaimo – the octagonal Bastion was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1853.

The Bastion in Nanaimo, BC
It felt so good to have some sunshine in a spot like this – we haven’t had very much of it on this trip.

Nanaimo harbour, BC
The harbour is a busy place, with all manner of boats and planes coming and going, and we enjoyed just watching the world go by.

Nanaimo harbour, BC

Nanaimo harbour, BC

Nanaimo harbour, BC
By 6:00 pm, Miss Bella was overwhelmed and tired. A safe spot was what she needed. Love and trust – this little girl melts my heart.

Murray and his dog Bella at Nanaimo, BC
On the walk back to the car, it struck me that if a painting with just 3 bars of color is worth millions of dollars, imagine what I could get for this!! 🙂

Abstract at Nanaimo harbour, BC
This is the last remnant of the ugly industrial harbour of Nanaimo into the 1970s. The transformation really is quite remarkable.

Nanaimo, BC

Three family members joined us around our campfire for a couple of hours that evening. Two had been at the family dinner at my sister’s a few days earlier, but one I had never met. Her and I have been Facebook friends for a long time, though, largely because of our mutual passion for rescue dogs, and it was great to finally meet her.

This was our forest campsite at Living Forest Oceanside Campground the next morning. It was fairly spacious, and washrooms and trails were close by.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground aT Nanaimo, BC
The campground loop road is funny – it should be a one-way road, but isn’t, and that can get complicated.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground at Nanaimo, BC
We use TripAdvisor a lot. It lists Neck Point Park as #1 of 75 things to do in Nanaimo, so after exploring some of the huge campground, we began our day there, arriving at about 10:30. This is Morningside Beach, where the parking lot is located.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
I found this warning sign to be quite funny, with “Bear” taped over “Cougar”. Wild beasties abound! 🙂

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
The park is only 36 acres, but the variety of terrain is amazing, with “rugged rock cliffs, pebble bay beaches, and winding trails through Garry Oak groves.”

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Stairs take the main trail over rocky outcrops. There are a few beaches to explore, lots of benches, and 23 interpretive signs to help visitors undrerstand this special place.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
At the top of the rock to the right is a steel pole with a shelf on top. One of the interpretive signs explains that this was a datum point for mapping early North Nanaimo. It was also used for nautical charts, and as a landmark by sailors. The sign hints that the shelf once held a light, but that’s not clear.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Walking back to the car, a couple of people went by on stand up paddleboards. It was certainly a superb day to be out on the water.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
A feature worth noting at Neck Point is the dog-friendly stairs. There’s a rubber mat down one side so dogs don’t have to go down the open grate stairs, which provide great traction for human footwear but are tough on dog paws.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Family time at Neck Point Park. There are 20 chicks there, but two other Canada geese were watching from about 30 meters away, so this is a babysitting outing.

Canada geese at Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Pooped-out pups – time for a little nap!

Dogs asleep in the back of the car

We went back to the campground and dropped the dogs off, then went to what TripAdvisor reported as the best fish and chips in Nanaimo. While the Crow & Gate Pub rates a very high rating for location, atmosphere, and food, there were no fish and chips on the menu.

We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around the campground, did a bit of walking there, then after dinner, went back to the harbour. We just can’t get enough of that place.

Nanaimo, BC

The next morning, Cathy’s final one on the Island, was a lazy one. We didn’t get on the road to visit Brianne, our foster pup’s new mom (and the rest of the family) until after 10:00.

Here’s a flashback to December when I had a garage full of rescues. This was Blueberry and her mom, who was called Elderberry.

Rescued husky and one of her puppies
Blueberry is now called Aurora – Rory for short – and is as healthy, happy, and social as I could have hoped for. She’s often quite submissive, which her mom is as well. Those were crazy days when she lived with us, and it’s hard to imagine that she remembers Bella and Tucker, but maybe. Rory really wanted to play with Bella, but Tucker was being a jealous brat.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
All 3 of them did play for a bit, but they were moving much too fast to get any pictures. When Bella was finished, Rory wasn’t quite 🙂

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
Rory’s mom, now called Klee, sure cloned herself with his pup. Not only physically but in the way they act, they are virtually identical.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
“Bye, Dad.” The visit was far too short, but it was wonderful to meet her family and to see how well everything has worked out for everyone. I particularly loved seeing Brianne’s 2 little boys who have a very special dog to grow up with.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC

We took Bella and Tucker back to the motorhome for a nap, and then we returned to the harbour. We had things to do now that weren’t dog-friendly.

First, we wanted to try again to taste the best fish and chips in Nanaimo, so went to Troller’s down on the dock. It was very busy, not surprising on a day like that, but we found a couple of bar seats. I had the 2-piece ling cod and chips. It was very good, and great value at $15. We’ve had excellent fish and chips at so many places now that I’m not willing to award a “first place,” but I certainly wouldn’t argue with Troller’s position at TripAdvisor.

Troller's Fish & Chips in Nanaimo, BC
We had a couple of hours to kill before Cathy’s flight, but that was no problem. We walked a bit, and sat and watched the harbour action a lot. Nanaimo harbour is now one of our favourites. It’s beautiful, an extremely comfortable place to wander or sit, and there’s a lot of varied action with planes, boats, buskers, people, and dogs.

Nanaimo harbour, BC
Cathy checked in and then we spent a half hour or so in Harbour Air’s very nice departure lounge high above their seaplane dock. At 4:47, there she goes in a Turbo Otter, off to connect with an Air North flight at YVR. *sigh*

Harbour Air Nanaimo, BC
A final photo of the harbour before making the short drive back to the RV park. The Norwegian Sun is one of my special ships – in 2012, Dad and I sailed on her from Vancouver to San Diego, and Nanaimo was our first port of call.

Nanaimo, BC

The kids and I had a very quiet night – the world has a very different vibe when Cathy isn’t there and all of us were sad. The next, I’d move somewhere not too far away, but I didn’t know where yet.



Moving from Brown’s Bay to Nanaimo

Days 30 and 31, May 25th and 26th, weren’t very eventful in a blog way. They were days of short drives and another family visit, but we ended up in Nanaimo for an in-depth look at a bit of the city.

We really had a hard time pulling ourselves away from the Ripple Rock RV Park at Brown’s Bay. While it was the priciest RV park we’ve stayed at, at $52.50 per night with taxes, it was worth every nickel and we will be back.

Ripple Rock RV Park
One last look at the quality of the Ripple Rock RV Park, then just before 11:00 we pulled away. I mentioned that I had heeded some advice to unhook the Tracker and have Cathy drive it in because of the condition of the road, but I felt that had been unnecessary and hooked it up to leave.

Ripple Rock RV Park
As we were packing up to leave, I got a few photos of one more interesting boat. This is the coastal freighter Sea Trader en route to Alaska. As well as the containers, there are 2 good-sized boats on her deck.

Coastal freighter Sea Trader
Passing some construction on Highway 19, which at this point is called the Inland Island Highway. We had avoided it as much as possible on the way north, but having seen the more scenic 19A, we took advantage of time time saving.

BC Highway 19, the Inland Island Highway
That night, after an easy 115-km drive, we camped at my eldest sister Val’s place at Qualicum Bay again. It’s such a comfortable piece of property, and Bella and Tucker love not needing leashes for a day.

RV camping in my sister's yard
It was tough saying goodbye the next day as Val sent to work. We only had 80 km to go to our next RV park, so didn’t hurry to leave.

Murray and one of his sisters
As we left Brown’s Bay, Cathy had reserved a site for 2 nights at the Living Forest Oceanside Campground just south of downtown Nanaimo. Not surprisingly, no oceanview sites were left, but our forest site was really nice. The large property is beautiful, and 300 sites are scattered around it. There are several excellent walking trails. This is the view from the cafe, which hadn’t opened for the season yet.

View from the cafe at Living Forest Oceanside Campground, Nanaimo
A closer look at a couple of freighters that can just barely be seen in the above photo, with a ferry added.

View from the cafe at Living Forest Oceanside Campground, Nanaimo

We started our Nanaimo exploring that evening, but that will be the next post.