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The Shake-down Trip

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

After a couple of days getting Wanda road-worthy and prettied up, I began the task of collecting and assessing my camping gear and trying to acquire important things I would need in the van. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos which purported to offer a list of essentials. I hit the local thrift store, Canadian Tire, Ikea, and Home Depot.... and yes, I even ordered from Amazon. (I know, my inner social justice warrior is screaming but sometimes Amazon is the only place to find stuff. #lamejustifications)

Forest fires were a major problem in British Columbia this year. Combined with pandemic issues and large evacuation areas, authorities were asking people not to travel to or through many areas in the Interior of the province. The closest provincial parks were fully reserved and didn't hold first-come, first-served sites. It looked like there might be some availability on Vancouver Island, so I decided that's where I was headed.

I got a lovely spot at Rathtrevor Beach Campground, near Parksville. I have a fondness for this area as it was the first place I did an "away" student-teaching gig. A friend had grandparents who lived at the edge of this park. This is a very shallow bay that almost empties during low tide. It's a great beach for wandering and looking at shells. The water is fairly warm.

I'm a bird nerd and love to see wild birds doing their things. These little birds swarm the water's edge for all the tasty treats. The least sandpiper is a tiny bird that migrates thousands of miles between its arctic breeding grounds and wintering grounds as far south as Chile and Brazil. Unfortunately the population is declining.

I only had my spot for a couple of days, so I found a place to boondock up island and headed there for Saturday night. As part of the "Harvest Hosts" group, I was invited to stay at the Coastal Black Estate Winery in Black Creek. They have a tasting room and patio. They specialize in berry wines and ciders.

After I chose my spot, and practiced my flute well away from the business, I came back to check out their shop and patio. The patio was nicely shaded with pretty plants and a huge aviary, full of canaries of all different colourings. There were at least 6 nests with nestlings inside and they were all singing loudly. Unfortunately photos through wires always look bad so you'll just have to imagine.

I decided to have a sample flight of their ciders: Raspberry, Blackberry, and Hopped Apple. Absolutely delicious... the blackberry cider is particularly potent. I think my favourite was the Hopped Apple but I may need more, just to be sure.

I enjoyed my afternoon sampling the ciders. I bought some to take back to the van where I did some quality control tasting while watching storms passing by, but missing the farm. I think I had a fabulous view, what do you think?

The next day was time to head back home after enjoying coffee as the sun rose. I decided to take a slow drive towards Duke's Point and get the ferry to Tsawassen from there. I knew the coastal route would be pretty. At Ralston, there is a breakwater of 14 old ships which were deliberately beached. On the other side of the breakwater, timber was gathered and the booms/rafts were created.

Eventually, I boarded the ferry and was pointed homeward. and our first journey ends. I have a better understanding of the systems and stuff I might want or really don't need. I know I can comfortably spend time roadtripping, although there are some comforts that will need consideration. I seem to have plenty of power for my needs. The levels never dipped below 80% I'm really happy I decided to get the window installed. If I am to spend any time in Wanda during poor weather, I will need to be able to look out. It wasn't an issue on this trip but I can see it definitely getting claustrophobic if there was a run of poor days.

Keep your fingers crossed that the fire crews are able to get the fires under control and things will improve for residents in central BC. I'm still hoping to get to see my sister, Amanda, at her place just outside of Calgary. I won't consider going over the Rockies in the middle of winter, so the window of opportunity is shrinking rapidly. I'm really looking forward to spending more time exploring the natural wonders and amazing parks in BC, Canada, and the US. I love the smells and sounds of forests, mountains, and beaches. My brain declutters and I am comfortable with the rhythms of days and nights.... but I hate being cold and wet. So far Wanda has been warm and dry inside but she hasn't been really tested yet. Who has ventured forth to do some travel since the pandemic started? What was your experience like? How are you feeling about shared transportation and events? Even though I'm fully vaccinated, I'm not ready for crowds yet, but I'm getting closer. I'll travel domestically for a while yet. I just don't see international travel happening for me before 2022, at the earliest. Remember to hit the like button or make a comment. Share the blog with a friend. Let me know you're out there. :)


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