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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Dreaming....scheming and all things in between!

We started the day with a special weather report and it was still snowing!

All I can say about this weather statement is YIKES! We haven’t had much winter out here on the Island and it looks like that is about to change!

We awoke to a lot more snow on the ground today and it snowed until about lunch time.

This morning I had to be woken up at 9:20am for a Facetime call with our grandson Owen in Cranbrook! I can’t believe I slept in that long again, but I guess I was ‘listening to my body’ as Richard likes to say. I think it was the fact I stayed up too last last night doing some research on long exposure photography and then decided to read my book until the ’wee’ hours. When you don’t have to be up with an alarm, you can sleep in as long as you want!

Little baby Owen Benjamin is 5.5 months old and loves his jolly jumper. He has this crazy mat that makes a noise when he jumps on it and he smiles and laughs as he jumps up and down. Such a cutie! It was nice to see him today and we look forward to another visit on FaceTime soon! He is eating solids now and he is sleeping better for mom and dad too!

Yesterday when I knew it would be very cold today, I picked up the ingredients to make a big batch of ground beef and bean chilli in the Instant Pot slow cooker today. After our FaceTime call with baby Owen, we got started on the chilli making, so it would have all day to cook.

Just getting started on the cooking. Yummy...!! It might be too spicy for some people but we are really looking forward to a hot bowl of this for our dinner shortly.

After our FaceTime call and making the chilli, I did my big workout today in Newman, including doing 25 minutes on the cycle trainer. I really enjoy setting up my IPAD Pro in front of me in our bedroom, when I’m cycling and catching up on You Tube videos. One of the series I follow is a couple who live full time in their airstream trailer called “Keep Your Daydream” or ’KYD’. If anyone is interested in watching their videos, they just finished Season 9 of living in their trailer. They publish a new video every Sunday evening at 7pm and last week was their wrap up video of Season 9, where they talked about their favourite RV park, their favourite place they visited, their best hikes etc etc. It’s a great 20 minute video each week and the music and videography is first rate. The couple have a drone which they use to get great shots of where they are staying or hiking. What I like about their KYD videos is the suggestions that we have for the future on places to go and things to see in the U.S., that they have already experienced. Do I sense a road trip with Newman when the border is open and we’ve had our vaccines? You betcha! So many wonderful things to see and do in our future. Dreaming and scheming about where we will go and what we will see!

Speaking of day dreaming, we got to thinking about what we would want to do in our future and where we would like to live? I had this brain wave about perhaps we should buy an RV park on the Island and then we could have some business income and write offs as well as have a home at the RV park, with a view of the water, or on the water. We talked about it and I googled it and sure enough we found a spot up in Campbell River for sale that looked interesting, so we thought...let’s head up there today!

We left kind of late because we were waiting for the snow to calm down and the roads to be clear.

We definitely didn’t want any of this kind of action on our trip today up Island!

Campbell River is 47 minutes north of Fanny Bay, up the main Hwy 19. The speed on the 4 lane highway is 110km/hr and there is never any traffic to speak of. Richard says he feels that that Hwy 19 is better than the 401 and QEW put together. Great road, no traffic, well maintained. good speed and away you go!

We gassed up Jerry in Buckley Bay before heading to the Hwy 19. Buckley Bay is such a great place to stop. Fresh seafood, Subway, General Store, Liquor Store and a gas station. What more does anyone need? Oh ya...the ferry to Denman and Hornby Islands too!

We had gotten off the Hwy 19 just south of Campbell River and were heading up the Coastal Hwy when I asked Richard to pull over please at Oyster Bay Shoreline Park.

Oyster Bay Shoreline Park is a favourite spot with birders located on the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south bird migration route along the west coast of North America. Over a million birds migrate on the Pacific Flyway, and thousands stop over or stay on Vancouver Island throughout the year. Nesting Boxes have been erected to attract Purple Martins, a member of the swallow family. The loss of suitable nesting habitat and competition for nesting cavities from European Starlings and House Sparrows, both introduced bird species, has lead to the Purple Martin being listed as a threatened species in B.C. In 1985 only 5 breeding pairs of Purple Martins were recorded nesting offshore of southeast Vancouver Island. Thanks to a recovery program in the region there have been breeding pairs recorded recently at Oyster Bay and in the Campbell River Area. In the winter, the protected bay of Oyster Bay is an ideal place for migrating or wintering waterfowl and shorebirds to rest and feed. We have tons of Purple Martins in Fort Erie and we love them along the shoreline, because they eat the mosquitoes! We never have mosquitoes at night when we sit out by the Lake!

Cormorants hanging out on a rock in Campbell River.

We decided we would hike around the Oyster Bay Shoreline Park and get down to the beach to take some shots of the beautiful, stunning mountains over on the B.C. Mainland.

Coastal Mountains on the mainland of B.C. with some of the many islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland in the foreground of the photo.

More stunning mountains on the mainland of B.C. across the Strait of Georgia/Salish Sea.

I am shooting Richard as he is shooting me! Bundled up as it was -2C on the water and it was cold and windy!

He was happy he found his toque today because it was so cold!

This causeway and breakwater at Oyster Bay Shoreline Park was originally constructed of old ships to protect the lumber booming operation. With the construction of the breakwater, the prevailing winds, waves and northward flowing lateral drift of the ocean caused sediment to accumulate south of the causeway. Overtime a considerable amount of land has accumulated in this area, forming the park. A proposal had been made to build a yacht club marina in the bay which inspired the public to lobby for the protection of the open space as a wildlife refuge and park.

As we were hiking along the beach to see the mountains, Richard found someone to talk to...(of course!).

Mark and his dog Ellie speaking to Richard.

Mark has lived in or just outside of Campbell River for 15 years. He rescued Ellie from the Victoria, B.C. Humane society a few months ago. Ellie is about 10 months old and was chained up the whole day and eating garbage out of a trash can when she was rescued.. Mark and his wife have 3 other dogs at home, as well as some chickens, mini-pot belly pigs and some rabbits! Mark is originally from the U.K. and after deciding that they wanted to emigrate to Canada, they knew they wanted to live on Vancouver Island, but had to figure out where on the Island. He really loves Campbell River for the outdoors as he is a landscape architect. He and his wife used to run a B&B out of their home (sound familiar) and then after a while they moved outside of Campbell River to a couple of acres, so they could have more animals. His wife is the Manager of a fishing lodge on the river in Campbell River. He told us that in the summertime there are lots of tourists that arrive in the area looking for eco tourism opportunities. When they had their B&B they would send their guests to the bear watching adventure company which operates out of Campbell River. The guests would go out on a boat to a nearby island, and sit on the beach and watch grizzly bears swiping fish out of the water to eat, while the owner of the charter boat, would watch over the guests with his shotgun handy. Mark enjoys fishing for Dungeness Crabs. Mark says he takes his 14 foot boat out to an area where the water is 100 feet deep, baits the trap with some rotten meat and drops the trap. After 2 hours he pulls up the trap and usually he has crabs! He says this time of year is perfect for crabs, but he wasn’t going out on the water today, as it was too rough. Mark also told us about Salmon Point (which is just around the corner from the spot Richard and Mark are looking), where he and his wife will go on their boat and have a feed of fish at a local pub and will then boat home. He says its a great spot and the cops are even friendly too! We enjoyed speaking to Mark who was very interesting and informative on the Campbell River area. After our 15 minute chat, we were frozen solid trying to walk back to Jerry, Richard looked at me and said “We learn more about a place in 15 minutes talking to a local than we would ever learn from going and doing research on the internet!”

We left the park and drove to the commercial property I had found just north of Oyster Bay shoreline park, which had a big “For Sale by Owner” sign on it. The 2 acre lot had 5 - 1000 sq ft cabins, a big garage and a 2,000 sq ft home on the property. What they had advertised in their listing was a view of the Ocean - but from what we could see, that was a very obstructed view and perhaps a view if you stood on the roof! We had the crazy idea that if we were to buy the place, we could add some RV sites to expand the business. We may have to pick the brain of St. Stephen on this one! I’m not sold on the spot we saw today, but we did like the Campbell River area for its tourism potential.

We headed up the Coastal Hwy into Campbell River to get a hot chocolate at Tim Hortons to warm up my hands and my belly!

Close to the Tim Hortons on the Coastal Hwy, in Campbell River we saw this sign on the side of the road:

Other points of interest on the 50th North Parallel are: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Chibougamou, Quebec, Northern Newfoundland, Lands End (The Lizard) south of Plymouth on the English Channel, England, Krakow, Poland, Frankfurt, Germany, northern Mongolia/China, Sakhalin Island and south of Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. One of the things I found interesting about learning about the 50th parallel was what the opposite or ‘antipode’ parallel to the 50th parallel is and that is in the Indian Ocean about 400 km southeast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The ’antipode’ is about 21,500 surface km away, or roughly 13,600 km by direct (through the earth) line. Another cool thing was that on Tuesday when we were down in Ladysmith, B.C., we were at the 49th parallel. We sure are doing a lot of exploring in Jerry to be going between the 49th and 50th parallel all in one week!

We drove home in 47 minutes as the sun was setting over Vancouver Island. We arrived home just after 6pm and we still had some daylight in Fanny Bay. It’s nice that our days are so much longer now so we see more daylight and don’t feel like we need to be home before dark at 4pm! Tomorrow we are definitely stocking up on some provisions of food since the weekend weather looks like we might be hunkering down in Newman, if we do get the amount of snow that is being called for.

The nice thing about dreaming and scheming is it doesn’t cost a dime, other than the gas we put in Jerry to go and drive around and check things out! We’ll keep dreaming and scheming and if its meant to be, we will definitely figure it out!

Now back to dreaming about warmer weather and golfing again next week!

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