Leaving Hadia Gwaii was rather bittersweet because we had such a lovely time. Jenn and I were sad to leave, and we were SO excited to be heading to Vancouver Island for our next stretch! Having driven from Hope to Prince Rupert once already, we planned our return trip to be as quick as possible. The weather had turned a little so it was much cooler than the 40c Stevie had endured previously, and we even had some rain along the way. That made driving in Stevie much more pleasant, and she made the journey to Vancouver in 3 days. Of course, they were long days and the dogs weren’t too happy with us!
We don’t have many pictures from this part of the trip, so we have included some random bits of fun from our first month on the road. Damn, I can’t believe it’s been a month already! So please enjoy such quips as:
Jenn: Are we driving too fast? This feels fast.
Jer: Nope we are fine.
Jenn: But look, there is a cop.
Jer: it’s OK, Stevie doesn’t speed.
We left Skidegate on Haida Gwaii on the 10 AM ferry, arriving in Prince Rupert about 5:30 PM. We considered staying in Rupert for supper, but both felt like putting some miles behind us would be a better choice. So, we put pedal to the medal Stevie-style and after 5 or so hours we landed back at the Riverside campground in Smithers. Luckily, they had spaces available and we happened to bump into the site manager right away.
Getting ready for bed one night:
Jer: OMG What?
Jenn: I got toothpaste in my eye!
Jer: How the hell….
The next day we packed up quickly and motored all the way to Lac La Hache for a return visit at the Big Country campground. When we checked in this time, Jenn chatted with the owner John and discovered that he just happened to be from Haida Gwaii, and amazingly – he knew Jenn’s dad from back in the day! He told Jenn that Tom was such a nice man, and that he actually had an 8mm film of Tom (stashed somewhere in his house) outside his bakery. John said that when Tom saw the camera, he giggled and dashed back into the bakery. It was such a nice moment watching Jenn as she heard something new about her dad. She threw out a bunch more names of people from there, including her stepdad Sam, and John knew every single one of them. Sometimes we live in a very small world.
A good song comes up on the stereo so I turn up the volume.
The next song comes up and Jenn turns down the volume.
The next song comes on, it’s Pearl Jam, Jenn hits skip.
The next song comes on, I turn up the volume.
Jenn turns down the volume again.
(OB: Jenn finally hears a song she likes and turns volume up a little bit. Jer immediately turns the volume ALL THE WAY down because he’s up to some big, important driving task that requires him to concentrate. He typically finishes this task in time for the next “life sucks, let’s write thrash music about it” song to come on and he turns the volume back up.)
Nothing is said…
A Christmas song comes on (I have an excellent mix of Christmas tunes) and both reach for the skip button.
A U2 song comes on, Jenn hits the skip button (OB: because it’s about the 50th U2 song on the playlist). I whine, Jenn rolls her eyes and hits the replay button.
A Sarah McLachlan Christmas song comes on. We look at each other and say oh what the hell, and turn up the volume 😊
This cycle repeats for 30 days….
After a nice pleasant evening, we had a choice to either head to Whistler for a night, or make a run straight to the ferry. With such a pull for “home,” we chose the latter, and packed up the dogs for another long day. The only really interesting stop of the three days was a quick leg stretch at bridal falls. Having lived on the west coast almost all our lives, neither of us had ever been there before. Well I recommend that you do stop if you’ve ever driving by, it’s a quick 7 minute hike and the falls are beautiful!
One morning over breakfast…
Jer: These bug bites are super itchy, I’m going to take some Benedryl. <pops 3 pills>
Jenn: Hey do you want Bailey’s in your coffee?
Jer: Of course!
After 2 cups
Jer: Maybe Benedryl and Bailey’s isn’t a good combo…. I think I might go have a nap.
We made the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen by about 6 PM, and found out the Nanaimo ferry was “really late.” We weren’t sure how late was late, but asked if we should head to Victoria instead and were advised that would be a really good idea. So, we hopped on the 7PM and after landing, took the Malahat (a notorious island highway mountain pass…) up to Nanaimo. We passed the Nanaimo ferry terminal about 10:30 and didn’t see any cars, so I’m not so sure we saved any time 😊. I should note that for the entire trip Stevie has pretty much been the slowest vehicle on the road, but the island is a special place. I feel like all the drivers should have been embarrassed that Stevie was motoring past them in the fast lane up the mountain, but none of them seemed concerned. Regardless, we made it to my mother in law’s house safely. Donna was ready to greet us with open arms. Of course she was most happy to see her grandpuppies, and they were simply thrilled to see her again. It’s so good to be back in Nanaimo – Saela and Pepper agree!
While driving on highway 19 between Hope and Lac La Hache…
Jenn: Is Stevie OK?
Jer: Stevie is fine.
OB: OMG she isn’t , she’s overheating and we are going to die in the desert.
Jenn: Are you sure? I feel like I smell something burning.
Jer: Stevie is fine.
OB: He doesn’t know anything, we might catch fire and then what will happen to the dogs?
Stevie struggles up a hill and starts to skip
Jer: OK, maybe we should pull over
JB: Damn it, we are losing time here!
Jenn. Good, I think the dogs need to pee anyways.
OB: We could have gone to Italy…
We were so ready to laundry and clean out Stevie, only to find out that Donna’s dryer had conked out ☹. I think it was probably just a simple fuse, but you have to take the entire dryer apart to fix it, and an in-home repair was going to be at least $200. Donna suggested we go check out Restore (the Habitat for Humanity donation sales center) for a replacement. Now if you’ve ever been to Restore in Calgary, you know it’s kind of lame. I’m not sure if it’s too many people and everything gets picked over quickly, but we’ve never had luck there. Well Restore in Nanaimo is just awesome! The selection is excellent, and we found Donna a new dryer that was better than her broken one, and the thing only cost us $80 including tax! After a quick and mostly painless installation (aluminum dryer hoses are SHARP!) Jenn and I were able to put 7 loads through the machine and it works perfectly!
While driving between Lac La Hache and Hope in the rain…
Jenn: Is Stevie OK?
Jer: She’s fine.
OB: It’s raining and we are going to hydroplane off the mountain and into a ravine and DIE!
Jenn: Maybe we should slow down…
Jer: We are already way under the speed limit
JB: Damn it, we are losing time here!
It’s great to be here and we’re enjoying having home cooked meals and sleeping in a real bed again, though we’ve gotten used to having some sleeping space. It is taking some getting used to having Jenn, the dogs and I all crammed into a queen bed. In Stevie, there isn’t room for both humans and two dogs in either bed, so I’ve gotten used to stretching out on the bunk above the cab while Jenn and the dogs fight for space in the smaller pull-out bed on the floor. Probably the top two things we will be happy to return to in our Calgary home will be the king sized bed and our own bathroom!
Jenn: I don’t really like beer
Jer: But you keep taking us to brew pubs
Jenn: They have stickers for Stevie 😊
We think our GPS unit has a bit of a speech issue, which is kind of funny considering Jenn does speech therapy. We giggle every time we need to stop at a gas station as I punch in the closest Chevron. Now you and I would say we are going to SHEVron, but the GPS pronounces the CH as you would in Cheese. Maybe this is why we buy so much Chocolate and Chips every time we stop at Chevron. Don’t get me started about going to the “EEEEsso” gas station. 😊