Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching Up

A week or ten days ago we decided that we needed a Vancouver Island trip to suppress the hitch itch we are feeling while waiting to head south across the Medicine Line for the winter. We won’t be leaving here until around the 3rd of November and that seemed a long time away. Brenda had some furniture for John and Gina, our friends out at Nanaimo, so combine that with the fact that I have a truck, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. We loaded the entire bedroom suite in the truck, well packed to prevent damage, and headed west on the Thursday before the Canadian Thankgiving weekend. It was a beautiful day to travel through the Rockies and the Selkirks out to the coast. Blue skies and crisp clean air for most of the way, well at least until we came upon the “fragrant” air of the Lower Mainland. The population density as well as some pretty intense agricultural operations have this area smelling a little like a feed lot. But we just held our breath for a couple of hours till we jumped on the ferry and left that all behind.

Three Valley Lake-2

The shots above and below are of Three Valley Lake, a widening of the Eagle River between Revelstoke and Sicamous, B.C.

Three Valley Lake-1-1

The ferry leaves the mainland from the Horseshoe Bay terminal and we had a little time so we popped into town and picked up a sandwich for our supper.

Horseshoe Bay-1

With all the pre-Thanksgiving traffic we had a little time on our hands as although we made it in time to catch the 3:10PM ferry, it was full and we were relegated to the 4:30 sailing. Oh well, after some 600 miles of racing through the mountains we were ready to stretch our legs a little and breath in some of that sea air.

Our destination for the weekend was friends of ours Bed and Breakfast, “A Riverside B&B”, and it is a beautiful peaceful spot. John and Gina have taken an old building on their place along the Nanaimo River and turned it into a luxurious peace of paradise in the woods. What with the beautiful decorating, the clawfoot tub, and the sound of the river rushing by it is a place to let the cares of the world wash off your shoulders. Not to mention the fresh baked apple pie and the fresh flowers that await all guests. Their goes my diet shot to h**l.

A Riverside B&B-1

We spent Friday relaxing and doing some touring up around Nanaimo Lakes while John and Gina did some of that working stuff. Guess someone has to pay taxes so the rest of us can enjoy life. Smile

Saturday we took off for Coombs to pick up a few things at the Market there. There are many small unique stores surrounding the market but we had pored through most of them back in June when we last visited so after a quick walk by we got the stuff we wanted from the market and headed off down the road.

Here is a photo of Brenda, Gina and John checking out their purchases. In this friendship I am the newcomer, just a measly 10 or 12 years, these others friendship goes back to their misspent youth. And oh the stories they have to tell.

Coombs Market-1

After stocking up on some staples like Saskatoon Jam we were off to my favourite Mexican place. Gina’s Mexican Cafe, no relation to our friend Gina, is what I think is the best Mexican restaurant north of the 49th parallel and is a regular stop on our trips to the Nanaimo area. Now every year they shut down at closing on Saturday night before Thanksgiving and stay shut for the week while they touch up the decorating and give the whole place a spit and polish cleaning. So it was important for us to get there today as it was the last chance for this trip.

Gina's Mexican Cafe-1

The food was a great as ever and only surpassed by the company at our table. Notice there is no food yet on the table, once that makes it there my camera is left to fend for itself.

Sunday we just loafed around most of the day, or should I say I just loafed around, John had to pull the pump out of his septic system and other than being the official photographer and substitute supervisor I stayed clear of that operation. I really would have liked to help but there just wasn’t room down in that culvert for two guys and Meg had the supervising pretty much figured out herself. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Every job needs a Supervisor-1

Brenda stayed busy as she was making fresh rolls for us to take to Gina’s families Thanksgiving Dinner later in the day. Wow, lots of folks and I am not sure that they even noticed a couple of Albertans in the mix, in fact there were so many folks we may not have been the only strangers to enjoy their hospitality.

Monday we ran down the coast to Chemainus to have a look around at some of the shops and much to my chagrin Sad smile many of them were closed for the day, I guess so they could enjoy Thankgiving dinners with their own families. Now I am not to worried as we have been here before and will probably be back again sometime in the future.


Chemainus has many murals on the building walls and here is a photo of one that caught my eye.

After strolling up and down the street a couple of times we figured we should head on down to Cowichan Bay to see what there is to see there and maybe catch a bite to eat. We stopped at the Rock Cod Cafe for fish and chips and in keeping with my program to try to limit my intake as much as possible although I had the Captains Plate I opted for the grilled version instead of the usual breaded one. How’s that for restraint. Not the best fish and chips I have ever eaten but it filled the gap.

Cowichan Bay-1

The docks at Cowichan Bay

All good things have to come to an end and we bid John and Gina a fond farewell till next time and headed back east. Along the way we wanted to stop at the Adams River to check in on the Sockeye Salmon run that is going on there this time of year, every year, since time began. I got a few photo’s of the fish but seeing as how I left my polarizing lenses back in the truck they are not the best.

I was speaking with a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fellow along the river bank and he was telling me that although the Adams River is a major contributor to the Fraser River system and usually has a run where the returning fish number around a million and half, a big year can bring up to 3 million. However this years run is the biggest in over a hundred years and the estimates are that up to ten million fish will make the arduous journey up the Fraser and Thompson Rivers to the place of their birth here in the Adams River to spawn. Now Brenda and I didn’t get an accurate count but we have been here before and this year far surpassed what we had seen other times. You can see by the fins protruding out of the water that the river is thronged with fish making their way upstream to the spawning beds. It is truly a spectacle of nature that is not to be missed.

Sockeye Run

I stole the picture above from an article from the National Post that does a superb job of describing this awesome spectacle.


  1. Sounds like a great trip. I'd love to get back to Vancouver Island some time.......

  2. What a beautiful trip you took. Love the shots of the fish. Glad to hear there is lots of them this year. Stay safe.

  3. Your first two pics bring back memories of my time spent in the Okanagan Valley back in the early 70's. I remember that Sicamous area well.

  4. Nice post. Nice photos.
    - Mary Ann

  5. Well, once again beautiful pictures JB.. Looks like a really neat getaway.
    Looking forward to seeing you both again this winter.

  6. Looks like you had a great trip. Can't wait to see you both.