Déjà Vu

When the coronavirus hit just over a year ago, Betty and I were sheltered in place in the Arizona desert. Should we stay in our relatively isolated location, or should we head back to Manitoba? Travel was not recommended, and borders were closing. Since we were unsure of continued health coverage, we decided to cut our travels short and head back. 

Flowers have been blooming everywhere around Nanaimo for more than a month now. These are at a neighbour’s campsite.

Now we are in beautiful Nanaimo, British Columbia, having spent the last six months on picturesque Vancouver Island. While COVID-19 has been relatively rare on the island, another variant of the virus has been spreading through the province, across the country, and around the world. Should we stay in our comparatively safe home in Living Forest Oceanfront campground, or head back to Manitoba? Again, travel is not recommended, and while interprovincial borders are not closing, nearly every province is introducing new rules on what can stay open, and what needs to close. It’s déjà vu all over again!

Trees are also in blossom all around us. Bright and beautiful!

Vaccination schedules also vary between provinces, and we may not be eligible for injections here, as we are not B.C. residents. Manitoba Health allows us to be out of province for seven months of the year, but we must soon return to maintain coverage.

Charlie visits a flowering bush.

Besides, we really, really miss our kids and grandkids! So we’re headed back.

A long-time resident of our campground has used his vivid imagination to decorate his campsite.

In preparation for our return to Manitoba, we have been getting the motorhome serviced, and it is now ready to head out on the road again.

This week we added new tail pipes to our motorhome, replacing rusted and damaged originals.

Our original plan included extended visits with friends across the western provinces, and tours around B.C., particularly Vancouver Island. But we haven’t even been to Butchart Gardens or downtown Victoria on this trip! Visits with friends didn’t happen on the way here, so we said we’d catch up on the way back.

The site we occupied for most of the winter (#191) wasn’t available for April, so we are now in #9 until we head out later this month. The park is very well maintained, and all staff are extremely friendly and helpful.

Now with the more virulent variants, those visits won’t occur on the way back to Manitoba either.

Betty continues her creativity. These placemats are recent additions.
My sciatica has lessened somewhat, allowing me to get back to the driving range again. Beyond the green grass in the foreground, you can just make out the snow-capped mountains in the background. Stunning scenery!

Under the circumstances, it is our hope that we and others will be immunized by the fall of this year, so that Betty and I can try this trip all over again. I have saved our original travel schedule, and we have a campsite in Living Forest booked for next fall and winter. If everything is green-lighted, we can then head down the west coast in 2022, visiting national parks in Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah, before heading back to Manitoba. This year and next, we’re hoping for déjà vu all over again, just without the virus!

“I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high, o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils…”

Hope you’re keeping healthy and safe!

Purple flower power!

Cheers!

Betty’s Coach Creations

For the past few months, our motorhome has turned into a factory of sorts. New products are being created on a daily basis. And one never knows what to expect!

All colours and styles of socks can be found in Betty’s fun factory!

Fortunately, this factory isn’t one of those dirty, smelly types – no pollution here. Unfortunately, while other factories are intended to make money, this one costs!

Our granddaughter, Isabella, enjoys the quilt that so matches her personality!

All of our bills are relatively low as we shelter in place in beautiful Nanaimo, British Columbia for winter. Except for the fabric, wool, yarn, thread, and all related items Betty can find at a local store or on-line. It’s a high price to pay for this creative genius, but I guess it’s worth it in the end.  All of the “products” are give-aways to family and friends, and their appreciation puts smiles on our faces – payment enough!

Our other granddaughter, Georgia, peeks over the top of her new quilt, made for warmth with love from her Nana.

The day after my last post, North America got hit with a major winter storm, knocking out power in Texas, and stopping or slowing travel across the continent. In one of our favourite destinations – South Padre Island – the sea turtles needed to be rescued and warmed at the convention center, before being released back into the Gulf of Mexico. What an experience for them and their rescuers. We’ve visited the SPI convention center, but have never seen a slower moving crowd of delegates! lol

A rare snowfall blankets our campground in Nanaimo, B.C.

Nanaimo wasn’t left out of this winterland fun, as the attached pictures show. 

Having grown up in snowy Winnipeg, Charlie loved to roll in the white stuff!

For us, the snow lasted almost a week, and now those spring flowers are up and blooming. What a gorgeous sight!

I took this picture last week of these bright purple flowers in an outside garden at our campground.

In addition to her quilting, knitting, and sewing creations, Betty didn’t let us down on Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, or as our family tradition calls it “Pancake Tuesday”. Betty battered up for a delicious feast of “English pancakes” – the skinny, flat kind of crepes that we sprinkle in lemon and sugar, before rolling up and filling our pie holes. Lol  

We had no lemons on Pancake Tuesday, but limes worked just as well to cover these mouth-watering delights! (Sorry I didn’t dress for the occasion…)

Living in a factory might be considered an unpleasant experience. But our feet are warmed by hand-made bamboo and wool socks. If an evening chill arrives, we can wrap in any number of colourful, comfy quilts. And if and when we venture out, there are wide varieties of colourful masks to wear. What could be better!

From the Coach Creations Collection: A quilt for our grandson James, to wrap him in love until our return to Winnipeg.

Keep comfy and warm and stay safe. The winter’s almost over and Betty’s Colourful, Crafty, Coach Creations continue!

Have a warm cup of something, until the spring arrives!

Cheers!

Mapping A Journey To Justice

For the past few months, Betty and I have been staying put in our home on wheels. Due to the ongoing world-wide spread of the coronavirus, we have hunkered down in our campsite on Vancouver Island. Unable to travel to warmer climes, it is the only place in Canada that sees little or no snow, with the campgrounds open year-round. We are happy to be here!

Had to pick up some fresh flowers for my valentine. Love her lots!

At the same time – as mentioned in our last blog post – I have been immobilized by sciatica. The nerves running all the way down my right leg constantly throb in pain, shooting sharp jabs down its length with any unexpected movement. Diagnosed with bone spurs on my lumbar spine last month in Nanaimo hospital, I have since attended the Urgent Care clinic in Ladysmith for a medication top up. Needless to say, I am not operating at 100%, and am looking forward to a return to normal – hopefully sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, I’m not going anywhere fast.

We’re not the only ones waiting around. In the background you can just make out a line-up of ships, waiting to get into Nanaimo harbour.

All this to say that I’ve had quite a bit of downtime lately, and as mentioned in my last post, have been using that time to write my memoirs. Rather than a single chronological narrative, I have described thirty memories of life adventures that could be told as campfire stories. 

On the lower right, you can see a grey heron, also waiting for a meal to come by.

There might be some irony here. Often when Betty & I have sat by the fire with fellow campers, they will ask: “So Graham, what do you do for a living?”. My elusive answer: “I am retired”. Their follow up: “But what did you do before retirement?” Usually at that point I will try to change the subject, because I have always found it difficult to answer in one or two words, like Nurse, Mechanic, Lawyer, etc. How do I describe the unique journey I’ve taken through life, in a concise, understandable way?

No-one has joined us by this fire yet.

Not all of my campfire stories are alike. Do I just tell one anecdote, or a series of disparate memories. All are tales of my unique encounters with Canadian criminal justice, and for the sake of this travel blog, they could be described as my roadmap of a journey to justice. They’re going to have to read the map!

The heron swoops low over the choppy Nanaimo River, looking for dinner.

On the crime victims’ side, this journey led to the development of a plan for an oasis along their route to healing. On the offenders’ side, the map describes a path to redemption, making amends to the greatest extent possible for harms caused. Neither path can turn back the clock to a better life – there is no time travel here. But the paths do describe both small and large ways that roadblocks preventing a future, more abundant life can be overcome.

Mapping A Journey To Justice

A number of times the victim and offender paths crossed, and campfire tales describe the nature of those interactions. Through Safe Justice Encounters, for instance, crime victims sought and received answers from the crime perpetrators that were not addressed in court. The Paying Forward Project provided opportunities for victims and community members to safely meet those serving long prison sentences, challenging them to develop a clearer sense of victim empathy. The inmates were encouraged to use their time for the betterment of others. The result was the creation of time-consuming, intricate jewellery by the prisoners, which was then sold to the public. All proceeds went to support crime victims.

Campfires are great places to share short and tall tales.

These are just a couple of the 30 stories written off-the-top-of-my-head in the past two months. When Betty and I return to Winnipeg in May, I hope to access the stored materials in our son Andrew’s basement. Among the memorabilia are pictures that help to highlight some of these tales.  Don’t know yet whether the finished book will be for our children and grandchildren only, or whether it will be more broadly circulated, around future campfires, for instance. 

Our first snowfall of the year yesterday. It should be gone with tomorrow’s rain. The tarp keeps our firewood dry. No campfire tonight…

Given the travel restrictions over the past period, I have found the reminiscing and writing to be a worthwhile use of my time. This journey to justice wasn’t without its detours and bumps in the road. But I hope my campfire stories can help our kids and grandkids understand where I’ve been all this time, and how we can all better travel the road of life. As Roy Rogers would sing: “Happy trails to you, until we meet again!”

Cheers!

A Wild Ride So Far

As the case with most reasonable people around the world, Betty & I have not gone anywhere this year. But it’s been a wild ride nevertheless!

The reflections in the water of the Nanaimo River belie the wild turbulence around us.

We passed up Christmas hugs with our kids and grandkids – zooming on the 25th as we shared the opening of presents on-line. It wasn’t the same. Our Westjet tickets have now been put on hold for a year, and we’re hoping that the airline will still be in business for an in-person visit next December.

Clouds part for a while, revealing blue skies over Nanaimo.

In the meantime, we settled in for a quiet winter on Vancouver Island. Or so we thought… January 6/21 will be a day that goes down in infamy, as a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol. The upheaval sent shock waves around the world, and the healing process will take some time. Our prayers go out to our American neighbours, that they can soon become the United States.

Some of the events we’ve been experiencing are “Once in a blue moon.” Well, here’s the blue moon over our campground!

At the same time, the world has been experiencing a pandemic that just doesn’t seem to want to quit. Despite efforts to introduce vaccines, the infection, hospitalization and death rates continue to climb provincially, nationally, and internationally. Hopefully we are nearing the top of the roller coaster, and we’ll all come plunging down soon. But as with most roller coasters, just when you think the ride is over, we are thrown into more unexpected twists and turns with new variants. This is one wild ride I would be happy to get off!

A ferry makes its way past Gabriola Island, heading into Nanaimo harbour. Background mountains are snow-capped, but there’s none on the ground here…yet.

Speaking of unexpected twists, my family doctor and rheumatologist in Winnipeg were unable to adjust my medications without another in-person assessment. So this week I ended up at the Nanaimo hospital with severe pain down my right leg. After blood tests, x rays and other tests, it was determined that I have bone spurs on my lumbar spine which are causing sciatica. I am now on a number of new meds, in hopes that this pain can be overcome. The care at the hospital was exceptional, and I am most thankful for the compassion and professionalism of all staff there. Of course, it makes all the difference that I have my own private nurse with me now. Thanks Bet for continuing to put up and care for me!

On days when it’s not raining, I like to get out on my bike. That’s me heading down the hill to the beach.

The days are getting longer, and we’ve actually had a couple with sunshine, although it’s raining just now as I write this. We have experienced no leaks in our motorhome, and the dehumidifier has worked well to keep the interior moisture level down. But our outside sign hasn’t faired so well. Despite many coats of exterior Varathane, moisture appears to have gotten behind the finish, damaging the wood. I guess I’ll have to wait until we’re back in Winnipeg to see if it can be repaired.

Our Reddoch Retreat sign isn’t doing so well in the wet conditions.

Betty has continued her quilting, knitting and sewing, so this down-time has actually been very productive for her. 

One of Betty’s latest creations. Arizona saguaro cacti quilt – a work in progress.

I have been taking the time to write my memoirs, despite having no available reference material. While I have day-timers in storage at Andrew’s, covering 1972 – 1987, and 2005 – present, I am missing notes from the critical years 1987 – 2005. Without those, I thought autobiographical writings would be inaccurate. I do have Annual Reports and Meeting Minutes, but Bet’s position is a story based solely on who, what, why, when, and how would be the height of BORING!

A collection of “Campfire Stories”, before my memory completely fails…

So instead, I have been writing off-the-top-of-my-head tales that I’m calling “Campfire Stories” about different life experiences. With 23 written so far, I have a goal to cap the collection at 30 stories. Each is 1,500 – 2,500 words long, or 4 – 6 pages, about the length of a tale around an evening campfire. Betty & Lisa are serving as proof-readers, hoping that I’m not putting them to sleep with my musings.

We still have some dramatic campfires, when it’s not raining. Those are sparks shooting up from the popping wood. The fire starters made by our granddaughter, Isabella, sure help when the wood is wet!

Ok, maybe sleeping though 2021 wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if it’s going to continue the way it has started. Hope we all can survive and thrive, regardless of the twists and turns on this year’s wild ride!

Cheers!

Have Yourself A Very Little Christmas!

Betty quilted another Christmas tree for our home on wheels.

Have yourself a very little Christmas
Let your bubble be tight
From now on
Our COVID will be out of sight.

Have yourself a very little Christmas
Keep the virus at bay
From now on
Our families will be miles away.

Wish we were as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Could gather near to us once more.

Through the years we hope to be together
If the rules allow
Wear a mask and never let your guard go down
And have yourself a very little Christmas now

Six feet apart, of course!

A few more of Betty’s masks, made with love.

Those of you who have read previous posts will know that I often have a song rattling around in my head while contemplating the theme.  We have all experienced a lot of holiday music for the last few weeks, and when I went to bed last night, it was Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas going through my noggin. 

Betty created this festive runner for our table.

But when I got up at 2:00 am to begin writing, I couldn’t help but think that the words and sentiments were off, just a little… With apologies to the original songwriter, I re-wrote some of the verses to reflect the fact that we are more likely to have a very little Christmas, instead of a merry little Christmas this year. Hope you can still find some humour somewhere though.

Following is a pictorial update:

Saw this palm tree when leaving the bank the other day, & couldn’t help but snap a pic.
This one is on a boulevard between two major Nanaimo streets.
Looking across the harbour from downtown Nanaimo, to the snow-capped mountains beyond.
I finally got out to a golf driving range last week. The course, open year round, is about 7 minutes from our campsite.
For fun you can try to hit your ball into this minivan, or into the green dumpsters beyond.
Betty is continuing her quilting. Here is one of her latest creations.
Here’s another.
And some more colourful socks. You won’t get confused with the ones from the department store. lol
Been in Nanaimo for more than a month now, and finally got some Nanaimo bars. Yeah!
One of our Christmas traditions is a large family trifle. This little one is for just the two of us this year. (sad face.)
We will miss all of our family this year, but particularly our dear grandkids: Isabella, Georgia and James.
We still have Charlie with us, with visions of sugarplums (or big juicy bones) dancing in his head as he naps on the couch. lol
We will be missing all of those family traditions, including having Santa keeping watch beside our tree. He’s been there for over 60 years! BTW, I recently saw a documentary on the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet. Film footage from his 1950s family Christmas showed the exact same Santa in the background. Makes me wonder about the history. I know Buffet was invested in Coca Cola. Was this a Coke Santa??

Anyway, I hope everyone can have yourselves a very little Christmas this year! Wear your masks & keep safe!

Wish we were as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Could gather near to us once more.

Cheers!

Christmas Cheer!

If you have read the last couple of entries, you will have noticed my curmudgeon mood for the past month. The incessant rain has for now apparently ceased for a while, but the dark days are still with us for a few more weeks. (I haven’t felt the sun on my face for over a month now.) I have a telephone consultation booked with my rheumatologist in hopes of adjusting my meds. But in the meantime I am not used to this painful limited range of motion. With the coronavirus continuing to spread around the world, we are all having to get used to a more limited range of motion, so I shouldn’t complain…

Charlie says “hang in there”!

Betty & I will miss getting together with our family in Winnipeg for Christmas. There are so many traditions we have taken for granted that will not occur this year – from many small and large family gatherings, to joining with the rest of an audience to stand as Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” is performed.

Some twinkle lights and garland brighten the long dark evenings.

As is her nature, Betty has worked hard to bring some Christmas cheer into our little home on wheels. Following are a few of her handicrafts:

There’s not really room for a Christmas tree in our motorhome, so Betty quilted one that lights up at night!
These colourful candles shouldn’t burn our house down.
Betty’s been busy knitting bright socks to keep our feet warm on these cooler days.

So we just have a few more weeks until the dark days are over (or should that be as Florence + the Machine sang – The Dog Days Are Over. lol).  Lighter days are to come, and vaccines for COVID-19 are on the horizon. My arthritis meds will be adjusted, and Betty & I will dance with Joy To The World! In the meantime, she is forcing me to watch every sappy Christmas movie on TV. Guess I can’t stay a curmudgeon forever!

“Away in a manger…”

Hope you can recognize the true gifts of peace and joy in this world, whatever your circumstances. For now, keep social distancing, wear your masks, but still have some wonderful Christmas cheer.

Our palm tree lights up our island get-away with festive brightness.

Cheers!

Frustrating Fixes

This post can be seen as an addendum to the last whine with its list of alternative alliterative titles. If you don’t like whine, please feel free to stop reading now. LOL

We all have good days & bad days. Sometimes it’s good weeks/ months/ years and bad weeks/ months/ years. It’s all relative, but it seems like 2020 has been a uniquely bad year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus. And for us, it sure seems the past few weeks have brought more than their fair share of frustrating little fixes.  Here are a few of the almost daily repairs:

  • When we attempted to leave Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, one of our rear automatic levelers wouldn’t retract. A mobile RV repair tech got us back on the road three days later, and we now have four new solenoids to install the next time this issue arises.  ($175. for service call, $260. for 4 solenoids (incl. shipping, taxes & duties) and $120. for an additional 3 nights in the campground.)
  • One of our Smart headlights burned out & needed replacing. ($40.)
  • One of our Smart TireMinder tpms sensors broke off – somewhere on the road. It is surprising that the remaining broken tire valve held air until I could get to a tire store for repairs. (The valve stem replacement was $50., and the tpms replacement was another $50.)
  • Our heated winter water hose sprung a leak, as a result of high water pressure in our campground. I have since installed a water regulator, & hope to have repaired the hose. ($20. for new hose end & adaptor. If I had to replace the hose, it would be another $150.)
  • While not technically a “repair”, Telus informed us that we had each used up our 15G of data, at least a week prior to the end of our billing cycle. While we are not usually high data users, we had been researching local outlets needed on our travels. I added another 3G, but somehow it disappeared in two days. As a result, I was unable to update our blog until yesterday, when our new monthly cycle began.
  • Living Forest ran out of rental propane tanks (there is no mobile propane fill-up for motorhomes in the park), so we had to order a 100 lb. tank from Rona, and are still waiting for it to be delivered. ($200. for new tank) 
  • Our repaired windshield wiper still needs an adjustment to prevent it from running off the window and then slapping back on. If this continues, I’m sure something is going to break!
  • Since we got new front brakes installed in Penticton, we have had a vibration from our front left tire. I now have an appointment at a Nanaimo tire store for March 31/21 to have it diagnosed and repaired.

Those are just a few of the grinding little daily issues from the past few weeks. I know all of these pale in comparison to what others are going through, so that’s enough whining for now. Time to switch over to the other kind of wine! Hope you have the patience and stamina to put up with whatever comes your way, and that your days see more sweetness and light, rather than darkness and gloom…  (Betty says for me to keep working on that attitude adjustment. Lol)

Cheers!

Our Island Home

Our new winter home is at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia, on beautiful Vancouver Island.

I need an attitude adjustment. Betty & I arrived at our winter campsite two weeks ago, and it’s a great spot! More like a provincial or state park than a private campground, our site (#191) is large, quiet and private. Tall trees and shrubs border our angled site, with neighbouring RVs on staggered lots, rather than on top of each other in a grid pattern. So what’s my problem?

Our pull-through site (#191) has lots of room to park and put up our add-a-room.
As is our custom, our sign lets people know where to find us. A picnic table & fire pit are also included. BTW, those are real live plants below the sign.

Before I share my problem(s), let me relate how we got here.

The road back from Tofino & Ucluelet was just as tricky as the journey west.
Construction had the highway closed for much of each day, with one lane open for alternating traffic.
The views were amazing, as long as you weren’t driving…
The old growth forest, Cathedral Grove, was just as majestic on the trip east as it was heading west.
Now at our campground there are forest sites, oceanview sites, and oceanside sites.
Of course the oceanside sites have a long waiting list.
A campground cafe – closed because of the Coronavirus – has a patio with a great view of the Nanaimo harbour.
Because of COVID-19, full-time snowbirds like us are unable to travel to Florida, Texas or Arizona for winter. The only area of Canada where the weather is mild enough to winter in an RV is southwestern B.C,, including southern Vancouver Island. As a result, many campgrounds are full. We were fortunate to be able to book the last pull-through site (#188) in Living Forest for next November to April 2022.

So what’s the problem? This is where Betty says I need an attitude adjustment…

The title of this post could have been:

RELENTLESS RAIN

or

ACHING ARTHRITIS

or

CORONAVIRUS CONTINUES

or

DEPRESSING DARKNESS.

Our overlandish odyssey has taken us to 39 states and 9 provinces so far, with all having advantages and disadvantages. On Vancouver Island, Betty & I love that the temperature rarely drops below freezing, and snow is not a common sight. But the rain…

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last summer, and a rheumatologist in Winnipeg has been testing which medications are effective for me. Unfortunately, the meds I am currently taking are not working, and the damp climate is making any movement much worse. I will be unable to attend my next appointment with her in early January, due to the Coronavirus.

Ah yes, the Coronavirus. While we are sufficiently sheltered in our campsite, Betty & I have watched with consternation the continued growth of this pandemic. Months ago we booked flights back to Winnipeg for Christmas, but have now just informed our kids and grandkids that we will not be joining them this year. Likewise, we have not been getting together with friends and acquaintances on Vancouver Island, and it feels sad to have to maintain this level of isolation. But we know it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

Finally – although I’m sure I could go on and on, but who would want to listen when there are far worse troubles in the world – the depressing darkness. As with the rest of Canada, we are approaching the shortest day of the year. The sun rises late and sets early, but because of the majestic tall trees around us, it rarely reaches our site. The lights are on in our motorhome for most of the day, but it’s not the same as experiencing the consistent sunlight we had in Arizona last winter!

OK, that’s enough belly aching. I’m sure I’ll get used to the rain; find a better treatment for my sore joints; celebrate a COVID-19 vaccine; and enjoy the lengthening days after December 21.

In the meantime, Betty will still be encouraging my attitude adjustment. Wish her well as she practices patience in putting up with her curmudgeon husband!

Cheers!

Betty finally puts Saskatchewan on the map.
I add Alberta.
British Columbia is the 9th province we’ve visited since December 2017.

Incredible Island Interlude

There was nothing but sunshine today on Vancouver Island as Betty & I enjoyed a restful day at the beach – Long Beach that is. Tomorrow we are on the road again, heading to Port Alberni, on our way to Nanaimo. But on this day off, here are a few pics from our incredible island interlude:

This is the beach where we spent the day: Heavenly!
Before we left, Betty had some quiet time, contemplating life and looking over the harbour behind our campsite.
There are still little blooming flowers all around us – daisies, dandelions, and these little blue things…
Deer appear quite plentiful in our campground, and often come by for a visit.
Our campground is actually right in Ucluelet, where the streets are much steeper than anything we would find in Winnipeg. lol.
It’s a relatively short drive from our campsite to Long Beach, within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
All along the way, a bike/ walking path fringes the highway.
The newest stretch appears to run all the way to Tofino. It is paved, and very impressive!
On the beach were long strands of bullwhip kelp, like this one.
It was great just to walk on the beach in the sunshine.
The tide was going out, and little streams formed artistic paths through the sand on their way back to the Pacific Ocean.
The waves were quite large today.
They pounded the rock in the background with a mighty crash.
As the tide ebbed & flowed, it circled large rocks on the beach.
Betty & Charlie took a break on this one.
So I set my camera’s timer up to capture part of this incredible island interlude.

That was our day today – at the end of October on Vancouver Island.

Cheers!

Surf City (Tofino, B.C.)

It was overcast but mild today as we watched the surfers catching a wave at Pacific Rim National Park’s Long Beach.

“And we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one
You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun
You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one
You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun, now
Two girls for every boy…”

A couple of surfers are on the lookout for the right wave at Long Beach, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Long Beach is a great destination for surfers from around the world, even on overcast days..
Almost every other vehicle in this line heading to Tofino had a surfboard on top.

Jan and Dean were excited about going to Surf City, USA in 1963, but Betty & I were amazed when we arrived in Canada’s own surf city this week! From prior visits we were aware that the west coast of Vancouver Island attracted surfers to Pacific Rim National Park’s Long Beach. High waves regularly roll in on the wide sandy beaches, and the temperate climate makes the surf sustainable, especially with a standard wetsuit. But we didn’t realize just how popular the area has become!

The majestic Cathedral Grove trees are amazing! We were sorry that all stopping points in the area were closed.

From Parksville’s Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Betty & I headed on the twisty narrow road that heads through the majestic Cathedral Grove old growth rain forest. We were looking forward to a hike among the natural Gothic architecture. But possibly because of the coronavirus, the pull-outs along the road were all closed, so we had to press on.

Our motorhome had to breathe in to get through some of the narrow stretches on Highway 4.

As we approached the west side of the island, we came upon a major traffic bottleneck. A rockslide on Highway 4 completely closed road access to Ucluelet and Tofino in January of this year. Now the road is back in operation and being widened, but a lengthy stretch is reduced to one lane, which alternates direction every hour, and closes completely for a large portion of each day & night.

It’s difficult to get the full perspective, but this jack hammer is operating 6 stories up a solid rock face, bringing down the wall in order to widen the highway.

We were happy to reach our site (#9) at Ucluelet Campground, and especially glad to discover that we had water, sewer, and 30 amp. electrical service for $30./night.

From our campsite, we can watch the tide roll in and out, as the boats bob in the harbour.
On the small island in the middle of this picture is a group of sea lions that make their way up the coast from California each year. We can hear them bark for our campsite.
Betty & I enjoyed the sculptures outside the food truck in Ucluelet where we stopped for fish & chips. That’s a surfer passing behind her.
This one, hung with shells, provides a glimpse of the mountains beyond, hidden by low lying clouds.

I haven’t checked with the Ucluelet locals as to whether there is a rivalry with Tofino for the “Surf City” title. Surf shops and boards are ubiquitous in both locations, although Ucluelet is a little less busy/ more laidback.

Surf shops appear on almost every block in Tofino & Ucluelet. Many pedestrians walk the streets – most are in their 20s & 30s, with the majority appearing to be very physically fit.
There’s another board, hanging out the back of the truck in front of us.
Many of the local resorts cater to surfers from all over.
Our gps often took us to the end of the road. Thankfully we were in the Smart car & able to turn around.
Here is another pic of one of the geodesic domes shown in the last shot. They have a great view over the waters at Tofino.

In our winter travels from Manitoba, I always light up when we finally reach the southern palm trees: Paradise is at hand! Well, to the best of my knowledge, this southern end of Vancouver Island is the only climate in Canada that can sustain the beautiful palm tree. It’s great to see them again!

Palm trees in Canada. Yeah!
I likely have more pictures of palm trees than I need, but they make me smile…

Today, in addition to our drives through Tofino and Ucluelet, Betty & I stopped in Pacific Rim National Park, for a long walk on a Long Beach. Charlie loved it too, and as we watched the surfers catching a wave, we joined Jan and Dean in singing along with that old surfer song:

Tomorrow’s forecast is for blue skies & sunshine, but I couldn’t resist posting this cloudy pic anyway, as the sun tries to peak through. This is low tide at Long Beach, btw.
At low tide, there are miles & miles of sandy beach to walk along and contemplate life.

“…You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun…”

A surfer with a bright coloured board passes Betty & Charlie, heading in the other direction.

Cheers!

Charlie loves Long Beach too! He likes goin’ to Surf City to have some fun!