Saturday, 5 December 2015

Beginning the Trip South- to Anacortes, Washington USA

We hitched up,

We found this is a very effective way to hitch up- I still guide John back though.
retraced our trip

What went up, has to go down!

The mist soon cleared

and moved back to Parksville to stay at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park campground.

We have been very lucky with wide, private, level sites.

This park really is lovely, possibly one of the best we’ve seen in our travels. The sites here are huge and the campground well laid out.

Beautiful, cared for campground

Most of the trees are relatively mature second growth firs and cedars but there are many Douglas firs at least six feet in diameter scattered through the campground. Before we left, we walked the path to and along the beach.

Path to the beach

We drove north on the highway, along the coast to Courtenay,

A beautiful drive north

Ferry to the smaller island just off the "mainland" of the Island
and just over the bridge to Comax. We walked around for a while, and of course found a café for lattes.

Then, after we walked around the Parksville campground, we headed back to Living Forest RV Campground in Nanaimo.

A bit of mist on the river just before the entrance to Living Forest.
Our site this time was a long back-in site

with a view over the lower levels to the Nanaimo River and the Strait of Georgia. This is a very well run and well-managed Park. Staff are excellent to deal with, friendly and helpful. With an excellent monthly rate in the winter season, and excellent security, we decided to stay there until we left for the US, rather than going to Victoria.

View from the back of the Airstream
The first night we were back, John opened the shower door and it literally fell apart in his hand! The glass came out of the rubber strip in the frame and the whole door came apart on the hinge side.

The entire door was only being held by one screw at the top of the frame fitting into a groove at the top of the door. 

The screw fits into a groove on the top of the door
So the door had to be propped on the small stool for a week or 3

Nothing would go back together, so we decided a new door was the only answer. Next day we headed off to Home Depot and found one we thought would fit.

A perfect door- it just wouldn't fit the Airstream
It was a bit higher, but the right width and we figured it would work. Their installer was to come to check measurements. When he called and we said it was an Airstream. He said, “No way, he wouldn’t work on any trailer especially an Airstream.” The campground has a general contractor they are pleased with, so we called him. He went with John to look at the door, and figured it would work just fine, so we bought the door, and he took out the old one and took off the frame. The next morning, he was ready to install the door, but discovered he couldn’t use the new one. It was too high and the frame was too wide to fit on the bulkhead. We searched the internet, and Airstream Forums for similar problems and solutions.

But no luck! Nothing would fit.
He sent us off to a glass company who custom makes doors.

A view of the city we became very familiar with as drove along Hwy 19

Nanaimo from Hwy 19 as we drove to Home Depot, Best Buy,
Crystal Pacific and the Dodge dealer for the truck
They had a perfect pivot door. Their installer came to measure, and determined that their door couldn’t be used in the trailer either! Meanwhile, we are planning to leave to fly to Toronto and Montreal to visit, see doctors and dentists, and take John’s mum to a variety of appointments, and also reset our travel insurance. Crystal Pacific Glass found a company who, for a price, would custom make a door for us that would fit. It was going to take 2 weeks to make us a door. Since we were going to be away, the timing worked well. While all this is going on, my computer was going slower and slower. I took it in to get it looked at, and the technician thought the hard drive was going fast, so gave me instructions for making an image. I took it back in, and they were going to check it and send it out to be fixed. Guess what- it would be 2 weeks!

 As we were dealing with this, we managed to walk around some of Nanaimo,
A luxury yacht in the harbour

a downtown street

and enjoy a couple of excellent lunches at the Pirate Chips, but we didn't have their specialty dessert- a deep-fried Nanaimo Bar!

A wonderful restaurant for fish and fresh-cut chips

Meanwhile John picked up a cold, on the day we met his cousin for a lovely walk out to Dukes Point,

View across the bay to Nanaimo

and the mountain behind Nanaimo

Rocks on the shore with different rates of erosion

The path

and watched a BC Ferry leave for Vancouver.

The ferry leaving Duke Point in Nanaimo
Within a few days, John’s cold became a miserable cough.

While we were waiting and between contractors, we drove down to Ladysmith to walk around the town.

It is an interesting, and walkable town.
Originally a hotel. Note the ornate brickwork-a Hindu symbol, the left-hand swastika, of the Kali and magic, in Buddhism, a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

The main street

The Temperance Hotel, now shops

A great latte shop and super desserts

The view from the park by the lake
It was developed as a coal shipping port with a copper smelter added in 1902.

We drove down to Victoria to stay overnight with friends, as I too started coughing, and got an early morning drive to the airport.
A cheerful sight at Victoria Airport

After an easy flight, and ride on the new UP train to Union Station in Toronto, we took the GO train to Oshawa. We saw all our dentists and doctors, and got flu shots over the next few days, before driving up to Montreal to visit John’s mum. She had some appointments too, and a few errands to do. Back in Toronto, I had one more specialist dentist appointment, we each had a doctor’s appointments and prescriptions to pick up for our 6 months of meds. We did manage to see family in Toronto

A special great-Grandson's, Hunter's, 5th Birthday-
with Mommy Meaghan and sister Violet
and in Montreal

Congregations are being amalgamated, we will lose 
our beautiful stained glass windows in the church, as we will be moving.
before we flew back to Victoria. We picked up the truck at our friends' home and drove back to Nanaimo. Our new door was successfully installed the next day without a hitch.

The glass is called "raindrops", fitting we thought

After several trips back to Best Buy to work with the Geek Squad, my reset computer finally had the data and programs back, and, after almost a month, I could work on my pictures and blog again.

The weather had turned cold [for Nanaimo] and rainy. At night we thought Violet was tap dancing on the roof of the airstream, with the rain and drips from the trees above!

We took the truck in for an oil change before we left. The mechanic found a leak in the exhaust manifold, and they wouldn’t be able to get the part until the following week. The repair was covered by the power train warranty (5 years or 100,000 km.; Big Brown had covered 98,000 km.) so we caught a break.

So, before we left, that weekend, we went on a trip down to Chemainus. We had stopped here briefly a couple of years ago, but had not walked around the town. It is a charming town

A unique building, now a group of shops

Fairly new building, designed to fit into the town

with beautiful murals,

This was a favourite of ours

Click on this to enlarge it to read the story

The Hermit mural

with yellow footprints on the sidewalks
The yellow footprints lead one all over town from one mural to the next
 to lead you around town to view them. Hidden off a main street is a Secret Garden.
The Secret Garden- an oasis in the summer
Soon the truck was ready, the shower fixed and the computer running smoothly and fast once more. We were ready to leave Canada to begin our trip to warmer climes.

We left early in the morning,

Frost on the fields and ice on the puddles, a good reason to head south

drove to Sydney

Homes along the waterfront on the way to the ferry
and boarded the Washington State ferry to Anacortes Washington.

Driving on the US Ferry
It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride.

Looking back at Sydney
We stopped at Friday Island,

The Marina

The town at the pier
and wound through the San Juan Island to Anacortes.
Mount Baker in Washinton was visible most of the way to Anacortes,
but the best view was just as we arrived

Almost at Anacortes...

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