Sunday, November 8, 2015

Out In The Wild

I glance over at a dog taking a dump on the grass while the owner makes no effort to retrieve the pet waste. 

"Some folks think they're out in the wild when it comes to cleaning up after their pets," Frank says.

I nod my head in agreement.

This morning, we are at the Buckley Bay Road Rest Area, a hidden gem between Highway 19 and Highway 19A. It is well maintained and has plenty of rules governing it. For example, we stayed the full night in Big White across from the sign which stated the 6-hour restriction. In the precious morning hours of Sunday, November 8, we boiled some coffee and took a saunter over the gravel path to the viewpoint. 

Our point of view is that we full-time RVers are a clean lot, in general. Although, there were a few bits of trash strewn around, the lookout benches were tag-free.

Sweet flowers curbside
Along the path, we stopped to admire a few flowers curbside still in bloom, hanging on to the last bit of the fall season. Nearby, a magnificent large-leaved tree showed off small fruit which hung precariously, nearly ready to release their grip and fall to the ground.
Fruit-bearing tree
Among the precious flora and fauna, stood a man-made metal lamppost covered in man-made graffiti, and a rock just outside the outhouses was altered with a silhouette of a person.

Mystery message

Mystery silhouette
Susan on the Viewpoint path
Our sight from the point was filled with a panoramic layout of the Buckley Bay Ferry facility to Denman Island, the Strait of Georgia, and Denman Island.  Wafting over the aroma of our brewed coffee held securely in capped containers, were the fragrances of wet leaves, decaying short and long grasses, invasive plants, and tree bark. As we stood among the magnificence, we absorbed the sounds of cars motoring up Buckley Bay Road, the brash broadcast telling of the ferry about to depart and a few voices wafting up the hillside in our direction but too low to make out what they are saying.

View of Buckley Bay Ferry Terminal
Our destination today is the library in Courtenay, located a memorable twenty-minute drive north of Buckley Bay. With earplugs in place, we sit among the chatters and absorb whatever we are reading, writing or exploring on the Internet. We highly recommend that you get a library card throughout your travels. The facilities are a clean and safe environment with well-maintained washrooms and kind folks at the front desk.

Tip No. 2: Don’t lug stuff you’re not going to use.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day One - 13 To Go!

Big White at Robert's Lake Rest Area
It started today. November 1st, 2015, is the first day of our adventure on the road until we lock into our next house sitting gig, fourteen days from now. I’m writing under a glaring lamp filled with tiny LED bulbs fastened directly above our large crib board which also serves as our eating centre, a laptop computer station and a wonderful flat space when we need to set something down.

“This is it!” Frank says. “Our new lifestyle begins today.”

We clink our coffee cups to commemorate the day.

Moving out of the apartment
Many moons ago, we formulated the idea to change our life’s program based on our purchase of a passenger bus, complete with a wheelchair lift in the back. Our twenty-three-foot motorhome is now our only home. We live in it full time. What a pleasure!
Stuff in storage
This morning includes firing up the propane heater, flipping up and securing the murphy bed, percolating coffee, and fixing a dry cereal, toast and fruit breakfast.

We’re in the honeymoon stage of our undertaking. Our daily morning ritual, so far, still consists of a hug and a kiss and gentle pleasantries. Watching the morning news on our large television screen is no longer an option; it and most of our stuff has either been sent to the auction, sold directly or passed along to family and friends.  And, now, at this isolated location on Highway 19A, north of Campbell River, we are listening to CBC on our crank radio.

Picnic table at Robert's Lake Rest Area
Workman keeps the rest spot clean
Outdoor luxuries
After breakfast, I push open the bus door and step into the wonderful world of nature. I inhale the rainforest fragrances of wet grass, punchy mushrooms, magnetic moss, steadfast evergreens and the pungent odor wafting from the nearby outhouses. My feeling of solitude is interrupted by the blast of a large logging truck rumbling past, and Frank’s nudge on my elbow as he hands me a second mug of dark roast coffee.

“Life on the road, Honey, until we can’t do it anymore. What a great idea this was,” he says. 

“Yes, it’s great,” I say.

Frank returns to Big White with our drained cups while I roam about taking photographs of our pleasant surroundings. Up the road from here, we drop in to visit a friend in Woss, and then mosey on to Port Hardy to visit family. We happily claim the freedom.

Tip No. 1: Get organized by charting how your time on the road should look and feel.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Archeological Find At Orchard Meadow

Archeological Find

On Monday, January 11, 2015, we drove 34.7 kilometres west on Highway 28 and turned north on Strathcona Dam Road. Our destination was Orchard Meadow, a campground with 13 sites in need of a camp host couple.

Our direct route, Greenstone Creek Forest Service Road, was covered in ice and snow so Frank gripped Big White’s steering wheel and plowed forward. I became frightened when the bus shifted to the right where the only destination was to plummet down a steep embankment. Frank eased her back onto the path and we carried on bravely. Our travel time was forty-five minutes.

The truck’s diesel engine roars so loud it blocks our attempts to have full sentence conversations. “I hope we don’t come across a logging truck,” Frank shouted.

“Yah,” I hollered back.

Orchard Meadow Marker
Just as we arrived at Orchard Meadow we heard the distinct thunder of a logging truck come from behind. The driver bellowed his horn to warn us. Frank plowed Big White into a snow bank covering a roadside pull out. The monster truck roared past throwing up gravel, ice and mud. Frank turned off the ignition and we stepped into the deep snow. We were drawn to the lake ahead and made our way to its edge.

“Have a look at this,” Frank said.

He drew my attention to a fire pit set below the water line.

“It reminds me of an archeological site,” I said.

Historical Wharf
Mist Over the Lake
Other artifacts included a dilapidated wharf, a makeshift boat launch, remnants of recent activities by winter explorers including a beach fire crater, several broken bottles of alcohol and one shoe. We also took in the dramatic mist that floated over the water across the way.

Once back inside our warm bus, we had a picnic and talked about the prospect versus unlikelihood of hosting Orchard Meadow as a summer job.

Our excursion home took two intense hours and was 129 kilometres long. We headed east and got caught up in the labyrinth of logging roads. We got lost. There is no phone service in the back woods and we chastised ourselves for not knowing which roads to take home and not telling anyone our destination that day. Critically, we had made the decision not to return the way we had come.
Sample of Road Conditions
With patience and determination Frank plowed the bus through deep snow, over downed trees, under fallen trees, through deep water-filled puddles and black ice. We eventually found Highway 19A. This familiar road took us home peacefully.

2015 The Year of Endurance