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Island Adventuring

We had the day to kill on Saturday, as the wedding didn’t start until later, so Eric and I decided to rent bikes and explore Quadra Island.

I had grossly underestimated the size of the island. I kind of had the image in my head before we arrived of it just being the resort and a marina, with maybe some forest. But there was a small town (like four stores), and people live there (it has a population of nearly 2,500 according to Wikipedia). Even though we were biking for two hours we didn’t quite get to explore the entire thing. It was really hilly also. MAN it was hilly.

You can see Eric huffing and puffing up the hill in the background. I had to abandon my bike a few times to walk.

I’m eating like an absolute champ around here so it was nice to squeeze in something active.

We also did some general exploring around the resort, and Eric found a friend.

Eric the Eagle!

I am not sure how Eric the Eagle and Eric the Man both had nametags… Such a coincidence.

Sunday morning (Canada Day!) we woke up basically just in time to make it to brunch, and rolled ourselves out of bed and into the lodge for some food.

I saw this along the way:

And it made me laugh, because that man kind of looks like Richard Dreyfuss, and that is absolutely the shirt he let Bill Murray borrow in What About Bob.

(source)

I saw some of our family and friends in the restaurant, so we did the ol’ “how are you feeling this morning?” thing, and regaled each other with tales of what time we eventually went to sleep after the wedding. And then I loaded up my plate with buffet goodness…

And then Eric and I waddled back to our room for a nap.

We awoke about an hour later feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. We took the water shuttle from our resort to Painter’s Lodge to see what kind of activities were going on for Canada Day.

We do actually say ‘eh’ a lot in Canada. That is one thing that is not just a stereotype. It’s when you ask a question and you want someone’s feedback, like “Wow, that’s a beautiful sunset, eh?” I don’t think there is any other word that works as well as ‘eh’ does in this context, so I fully embrace saying it. How else would I end my questions, eh?

Anyway, we immediately saw this when we docked at Painter’s Lodge.

That’s a big salmon, eh?! Campbell River is known as the salmon capital of the world (self-proclaimed, I am pretty sure), and Painter’s Lodge resort is famous for its fishing. They have these stations set up right on the dock so they can clean the fish immediately. And if you are staying there and catch a fish, the resort staff will clean it, cook it, smoke it, or freeze it for you so you can either eat it there or take it home.

We also saw a ton of seals. The salmon guts go right back into the water so the seals pretty much stalk the dock for food. I didn’t get a decent picture of them, but they were cute. They reminded me of my cat Winnie.

After Eric made another new friend…

We picked up our car and headed to downtown Campbell River to check out the Canada Day festivities.

We found a parade!

And it reminded me of the parades that used to happen in my hometown, with random vehicles decorated, and tractors.

We also came across a market on the water with tons of vendor booths selling various jewelry, pottery, and other knick-knacks. And they had a few authentic European food stations set up, so I made a beeline for the pierogies as soon as I saw them.

They weren’t quite as good as our Ukrainian Nana’s homemade pierogies, but they were still delicious. And that coleslaw was actually pretty good also, and I usually am not a fan of that stuff.

We perused the market for a bit, before continuing down the water to the historical pier.

There were a lot of boats. Boats everywhere!

So many clouds also. It was overcast and chilly. But we still wanted ice cream, so we got some from a little shop on the pier and sat down to take in the view.

And then we headed back to our car and continued along the highway for about 20 minutes to Saratoga Beach.

It was pretty, but man it was cold. I really wanted to swim in the ocean, but it was just too cold. I’m not usually afraid of cold water swimming, but I was already freezing in my jacket. I couldn’t do it. Ah, one day I will swim there.

But we had a good time walking along the beach enjoying the view and looking for crabs and shells.

When we finally got back to our resort, Eric met up with our Dad for an intense game of chess.

Please note the denim on denim. If my dad isn’t wearing a tropical shirt, he is wearing denim.

I watched them for a bit before heading to our room to leisure around. I thought maybe since the chess was life-sized it would make it more exciting to watch. I was wrong.

Later that evening, Eric and I again took the water shuttle into town to meet up with Chrissy, Allie, my aunt, and their friends for dinner at Quay West, a restaurant located right on the ocean with a beautiful patio.

We were also there to see the fireworks display, which were set to go off on the wharf right beside us.

Our reservations were on the patio (for optimal fireworks viewing), and beautiful though the patio was, it was FREEZING. We are Canadian though (eh?!) so we sucked it up. Well, after some of the boys ran home to grab a ton of sweaters to pile on us… Then I sucked it up.

I started with the seafood chowder, mainly to warm me up, but also because I wanted to try the local seafood.

This picture is not doing the chowder justice at all. It was really good, and had tons of seafood in it.

For my main I obviously had to get salmon, since I was in the salmon capital of the world.

It came topped with crab, shrimp, and cheese, alongside corn on the cob and rice. And the salmon was honestly amazing. I was not disappointed.

And I would have gotten dessert, but Eric and I had to book it back to the resort. The fireworks started to go off around 10:20, which was bad timing for us, as we had to take the water shuttle back to our resort and the last boat was at 11. We were only able to stay for a few fireworks before we had to head back. But hey, if this was the only thing to go wrong during our island vacation, I will take it. It was great to see everyone at dinner, and I will take that over the fireworks any day.

And that was our last day at April Point.

(View of the resort from our water shuttle)

I will miss this view from our cabin patio, even with the clouds.

And I will miss these people.

But at least I took a million pictures. I had a great time! And my vacation in the west isn’t over just yet!

The next day we packed up and left for Salmon Arm (where my mom and Eric live, in the BC interior) at 5:30 am, but that is a story for another post.

Hope you guys are all having a good week! And Happy Fourth of July to all my American chums, eh?!

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Well This Is Just Ridiculous (traveling from Ontario to Campbell River, BC)

Oh my gawwwd, I cannot get over how well everything worked out yesterday. I was traveling for a total of 13 hours, and there were countless things that could have gone wrong, that I even expected to go wrong! But they didn’t! I was surprised, and I feel very thankful for an easy day of traveling.

My cousin Allie is getting married today on a little island off of Vancouver Island (near Campbell River, if anyone knows the island).

Me with my cousins Chrissy and Allie and their beautiful babies last fall. Allie is on the left.

So yesterday morning I made the big trek across Canada to the beautiful British Columbia.

Please note that Canada is huge. HUGE. My flight was five hours long. That is almost as long as it is from Ontario to England!

My brother Eric was meeting me at the Vancouver airport, and he already lives in BC, about a six hour drive from Vancouver. I was a little bit worried about this, as he was taking a Greyhound bus and then transferring to another bus to get him to the airport, and I know, like his big sister, he is not very bus savvy.

Somehow, he arrived at the airport at almost exactly the same time as me, and found me immediately. I was so happy and excited that I started jumping up and down like a four year old in the airport as soon as I saw him.

We picked up our rental car with no hassle, and made our way to the ferry!

We were taking the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, and it was the first time I’ve ever been on a legit ferry (Toronto Island ferry does not count), so I didn’t know what to expect. We were early for boarding, which I was ALSO worried about because it’s a long weekend, so I thought we might have to wait for five hours. But we ended up being able to get on the next scheduled ferry, and we had an hour or so to kill after we parked our car in line, so we were able to peruse the marketplace a little bit. We had some lunch, and I had a taco salad with chicken that was amazing.

And then we noticed the gelato station…

So we had a little dessert. I snagged a cup of chocolate peanut butter while Eric went with cookies and cream.

So creamy and delicious.

And then I saw this amazingness.

Which I’m pretty sure is what Cely‘s dreams are made of.

But I was able to hold back. Though I’m not sure if I will be able to do the same on the way home.

The ferry itself was awesome. The sky was fairly overcast over the mountains so our view wasn’t as good as it could have been, but the sun was out directly over us and it was gloooorious.

And a little bit windy at times.

Vancouver weather in general really made me appreciate our weather in Toronto, where it is just sunny and hot. No surprise clouds or rain. It’s usually pretty beautiful for most of the summer. But Vancouver was extremely overcast, and I know the entire province of BC has been suffering a friggin’ lot of rain lately.

After about two hours, we reached Nanaimo, and easily departed from the ferry. We then made the two-hour drive up Vancouver Island to Campbell River.

Something I definitely noticed is how quickly the weather changes here. It went from sun, to rain, to overcast, to sun, to overcast, to rain, back and forth, our entire drive. It was still quite overcast over the mountains, but we did have some good views.

Ontario is so flat. It’s so nice to drive with mountains!

Once in Campbell River, we headed to Painter’s Lodge, the sister resort to April Point, where my cousin’s wedding is happening and where we are staying until Monday. When we walked into Painter’s Lodge, I immediately wanted to get a picture of the view, as it is right on the ocean and absolutely beautiful.

I thought I was being all sneaky taking that picture, but now that I look at it I see that everyone in it is watching me… They like it.

Painter’s Lodge really was beautiful.

But it was not our final destination. We went down to the dock to take a water shuttle over to April Point, which is on an island.

Our water taxi.

Eric and I arrived on the island, checked in, and headed to our cabin to quickly change before we saw everyone at dinner. Our room is awesome.

Eric gets to sleep on the pullout couch. 😉

The view from our patio is pretty awesome also!

There are whitecaps on the mountains behind the ones in the pic, but it is too overcast to see them. I saw them peaking (literally) out this morning, I’ll have to get a better pic if I can.

I can’t believe we are staying here for the weekend. I am so pumped. I also feel so incredibly lucky to have had our amazing beach view last weekend at Leah’s Bachelorette, and then this view this weekend. I just feel very blessed right now.

After we freshened up a bit we headed over to The Big House for dinner and to see everyone.

The dinner spread was ridiculous.

I was starving and absolutely loaded up my plate.

And we took in the beautiful views…

There are about 120 people coming to the wedding tomorrow, and at least half of them are staying at the resort and were at dinner. Since my Dad and his girlfriend do not arrive until tomorrow, Eric and I don’t know a lot of people, but we made new friends.

Allie and her husband-to-be Keith were both glowing with happiness. They were so excited to have everyone there, and many people made the trek from Ontario like I did. I’m so excited for the wedding later today.

Eric and I were exhausted from our traveling adventures, so we packed it in pretty early. We went on a small walk to explore the island first though, and along the way we saw a deer!

We wanted to get closer to it, but Eric, being a teenage boy, was all loud with his foot shuffling, so I instructed him to stay put and be quiet while I quietly snuck up to the deer.

For about 10 seconds, I was a deer whisperer. The deer actually came out of the bushes and started walking towards me. I thought she was going to come right up to me. I felt like Snow White!

But then I got shafted.

The deer said S’laters and ran off into the bushes.

And then we went home to bed and The End.

On the agenda for today is finding some breakfast (I am now three hours behind), and then Eric and I plan on renting some bikes and exploring the island. We hear there are bears so maybe we will see one! And then of course it is wedding time.

I hope you guys are all having a great weekend!

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