Vancouver —> Vancouver Island
The roadtrip was about an hour from where we camped to Horseshoe Bay Terminal in West Vancouver, and we discovered the highway we had been taking in the dark for the past two days was the infamous Sea to Sky Byway. The surprises of Bop give me all the feels, though I’m devastated we don’t have any footage of this highway! Another stolen Google image. Get over it.
It was our first time being on time for anything, ever. In fact, we were early, 30 minutes before the scheduled sail time. We sat in a line of cars awaiting to check in and pay the fare. We used face wipes to wash our bodies and changed clothes in the car while trying not to let the surrounding cars, which were very close to us, see our nipples.
When we pulled up to the fare booth, the lady asked us a series of questions to make sure we weren’t carrying any dangerous goods, you know typical ferry biz. She asked if we had any gasoline or fuel tanks. We didn’t, but we told her about the isobutane/propane mixed cans we had to use for the jet boil (portable stove).
Sweet Oh Canada lady had no idea what those were. Chris explained that we had three of them in separate cans that we only use to fire up the JetBoil so we can eat. It was her understanding that said fuel mix could be consolidated into a single can, and next time we should do that but she’d let it fly this one time. It might be one of those things you had to be there for to understand how hilarious this was to us.
I was so excited about this ferry ride. It was like being twelve again, sitting in my dad’s truck waiting to hit up the roller-rink on a Friday night. I was sick to my stomach with excitement, filled with that roller-rink feeling. Not only was this our first ferry ride, but it meant we were going to an island. Islands are cool. No matter what age.
An hour and a half later, we reached our destination: Nanaimo: “The Harbour City”
First things first – WiFi. We stopped at the nearest Starbucks and got to work on finding places to camp. We decided to roadtrip to the west coast of Vancouver Island #winginit. To the peninsula, and the seaside sanctuaries of Ucluelet and Tofino.
After three hours of meandering byway through the lush rainforest of the Pacific Rim, we made our way around Ucluelet in search of the promised campgrounds. “FULL” had seemed to be the theme with camping lately. And once again, we were out of places to camp. We checked out local hostel that we didn’t feel like paying for, so we ended up driving to Tofino. I’m so happy we did. This little surf town made an everlasting mark on me.
We set up camp at Green Point Campground, located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, between Ucluelet and Tofino, and just a short walk to the beach.
After camp was set up, we felt like Skol-ing some Vikings and eating real people food. No cell service, so we drove until we found a sign. This method proved foolproof, and we ended up at Jack’s Waterfront Pub. See photo below for further details and try not to drool.
The next morning we planned our roadtrip to Victoria. But first: Ocean.
Since coffee was essential for any drive over 30 minutes, we dropped by the Tofitian. The pirate ambiance lured us in. They also had very cool merch, AND I LOVE MERCH!!! We spent some time using the free WiFi, sippin’ craft espresso, and ravaging their pastry inventory, and on our way we went.
We had rather shitty weather from the moment we arrived on the island (little did we know, this storm would only get worse as we traveled south down the U.S. coast – a story for another post). This was somewhat heartbreaking as it dampered (lmao) our outdoor and ocean activities. We dreamt of kayaking to the broken group islands and camping in oceanic solitude for a couple nights, a place lauded as a “kayakers paradise” consisting of over 100 scattered islands off the west coast.
Unfortunately, the tides were too high, the rain was too whack, and this adventure remains regrettably unchecked on our bucket list. What better reason to return, right? I advise everyone to roadtrip here and check out the broken islands kayaking trip. It looks unreal!
ATTENTION! You are about to witness the WORLD’S LARGEST hockey stick. Located in Duncan, B.C., en route to Victoria.
Four hours later and we reached Victoria. It was evening, the rain had let up, and the God’s graced us with a little bit of sunshine – finally! We found WiFi at a laundromat where we murdered two birds. Outside of exploiting the city’s lax vagrancy laws, there was very limited camping near the city, so we chose to stay at an Airbnb for $20.
The shared bathroom was real. At any given moment Fish could have popped through his bedroom door that opened directly to the toilet. We were spoiled with touch lamps and fun bed sheets. 5 stars for Fish.
A day in Victoria
Beacon Hill Park
The peacock population in this park was infinite. They were omnipotent, and we were delighted.
After strolling around the park, we zipped down the coast of Victoria. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures or videos of this drive, but it was beautiful. We lucked out with glorious weather this day. On the left side of the road were expensive, architecturally unique homes and a few golf courses. On the right were scattered parks and endless ocean. The Olympic Mountains loomed on the horizon, made even more mystical by our knowing we’d be atop them in a matter of days, gazing from miles above at the city we were presently wandering.
We had the windows down, music up, and enjoyed our little cruise. Or, Cruze if you will (SMH).
Here is a map that shows where we started at Beacon Hill Park. We went right and drove until we looped back to downtown Victoria.
Fairmont Empress Hotel. This is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria, and I can see why. It had an elegant, victorian feel inside and out. This 464 room hotel overlooks the Inner Harbour on the face side, and gardens in the back. They have an incredibly green lawn, mowed to perfection. Anthony Rudh would give it a 10/10.
They had an insanely expensive ($80) “tea time” inside their “tea room” and a beautiful restaurant where we poked around. The dress code is “sophisticated and smart casual.” Um, does this flannel count?
China Town, Downtown Victoria
This statue of QueenVictoria herself below was situated just to the right of where the photo above was taken.
AND FINALLY – THE MAPLE LEAVES!
After our self guided tour through the beautiful city, we were hungry. We took a few slugs of Canadian whiskey and looked for a patio with happy hour, ending up at Browns Socialhouse.
Our final night in Canada. I remember wishing time would slow down, and we weren’t even halfway through Bop. So many of our “last days” were spent questioning if we should stay another night. Wondering if we missed anything. We joked about doing this roadtrip again backwards once we got to the end. It doesn’t sound so bad now.
We checked in to a Holiday Inn Express, took advantage of another shower, another bed, and their legendary free breakfast. Come morning, we set sail for the States.
Anacortes Ferry Terminal – From Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA.
We have been YEARNING to see a whale pop it’s big ol whale body out of the water since we’ve been near the ocean. I remember seeing two boats outside of my window and I quickly ran onto the nearest deck. Chris and I were off on our own the majority of this ferry ride, but the whale jump quickly brought us together. After much research I still couldn’t tell you what kind of whale this was. But it was the most glorious sight.
Canada, you were a dream — from your underwhelming drive in to your mind blowing landscapes and your incredibly unique cities. I feel so fortunate that we were able to explore your remarkable land in only eight days. Looking back, it’s clear that wasn’t enough time, there never is. I look forward to our return. To see and do everything we missed, and so much more.