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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Planning our escape!

Guess how many miles it is from Fanny Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C., to Plant City, Florida, USA? I asked Richard that question and he was way off! And no cheating…just guess!

It’s really far…..

A really long way away...

Did you guess? In miles?

4,290 miles!!!

This morning I spent the morning planning our RV route as far as Palm Springs. Some RV parks are great and they allow online booking, but its the RV sites that you have to call and check for availability that slow the planning process down. We are still not sure when we’re going to arrive in Plant City, Florida. We’re torn between going fast after Palm Springs to try and make it to our home in Florida for Christmas, or to go a bit slower and try and get to Florida for New Year’s Day. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

One thing that we did book today that we are very excited about is staying near Pebble Beach in an RV park for 2 nights and playing golf at ’The Links at Spanish Bay’! A few years ago Richard and me played golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links, as well as Spyglass Hill Golf Course. We never had the chance to play ‘The Links at Spanish Bay’, so while we are in the area, we thought why don’t we try and get a tee time? Lucky for us, there was an 11:50am tee time available on December 8th at Spanish Bay. We’ve requested a caddie as well. There is no point in trying to enjoy our round at Spanish Bay with a golf cart. Its much better to have a caddie to help us around the course. Pebble Beach is probably my favourite place on earth to play golf and having the chance to play another course at Pebble Beach will be amazing!

Since 2015, The Links at Spanish Bay has co-hosted the PGA, LPGA and Champions tours during the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational presented by Dell Technologies. Spanish Bay has also hosted fun events such as the Shivas Irons Games of The Links and NorCal Toyota Challenge, but the environmentally sensitive habitat areas of the course limit the gallery to an approved 5,000 — too small for a larger event such as a full PGA TOUR tournament. As a result, the course also holds several smaller participant tournaments each year. Every evening at dusk, a bagpiper puts ‘The Links at Spanish Bay’ to rest. I’m sure we will hear that bagpiper playing, since we will probably be finishing up our round, just as he plays.

While I was working on the road trip, Richard decided to start doing some maintenance on Newman. The rear right turn signal light was not working and the motion flood light outside the front door was burned out. Richard went and asked to borrow Owen’s ladder and Owen said he had a bulb for us that would fit the motion light. What a great guy!

Checking out the motion light to see if the bulb is burned out.

Richard was able to cleaned up the turn signal contacts and the turn signal light started working, so he knew he didn’t need to replace the bulb.

Taking the motion light apart to replace the bulb.

After spending the morning planning our big RV journey, and Richard doing some light maintenance on Newman, it was time to visit the local Christmas craft shows. The first stop today was in Fanny Bay.

Rudolf guiding the way to the Fanny Bay Christmas Craft Show.

The small Fanny Bay Community Association Community Center.

In the entrance to the Fanny Bay Community Association Community Center there were old pictures that Richard was checking out.

One of the photos that Richard found interesting was the original 1930’s ferry to Denman Island, which was a barge being pulled by a tug boat.

Fanny Bay Christmas Craft Show.

There were quite a few vendors in this small building. I didn’t find anything I was interested in, but Richard did!

Homemade shortbread made by the local ladies auxiliary. As good as the Cumberland bakery shortbread!

After visiting the Fanny Bay Christmas Market, we headed over to Cumberland where I had read that their Christmas market was spread over 2 buildings, so we knew it would be a bit bigger than the Fanny Bay show.

Waiting in line to check in and make our donation to the Cumberland Museum & Archives, where the Cumberland Museum Winterfaire show was being held. Check this guy out in shorts! It was 8C today, but it definitely wasn’t shorts weather! They wear shorts on the Island all year long. I’m not sure why, maybe to prove they can?!

We were just here on Thursday, but we didn’t know the museum would also be a part of the craft show!

Behind this facade is a building where the craft show was held. We had no idea that this facade actually concealed a large building, which is attached to the museum & archives.

There were more interesting vendors in Cumberland. Richard bought a jar of homemade whiskey cherry jam.

There was a nice live trio playing music and singing to entertain everyone at this building, during the Cumberland Museum Winterfaire. While Richard was taking their picture, they asked if he would take their photo with their phone.

After we finished up in this first building, we exited the building to find ourselves in front of an interesting looking food truck. Since we hadn’t had lunch yet, we decided to split a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Babes Cafe.

Waiting for lunch on the picnic table outside the Cumberland Museum & Archives.

Grilled cheese with rosemary jam, and ham. What a delicious sandwich!

The cheese was oozing out of this toasty warm sandwich. Such delicious comfort food!

After eating our sandwich, it was time to cross the street to check out the other building for Cumberland Museum’s Winterfaire.

There is still snow on the roof of the Community Centre in Cumberland.

And snow on the ground too!

We walked around the Community centre and I picked up some Super Cream from the Hornby Island Soap company, which is good for sensitive skin. We also picked up some more delicious shrubs from ‘Heavenly Libations’. I’ve been enjoying a glass of shrub every evening as I write the blog, and I didn’t want to run out on our road trip!

I can’t wait to try these new flavours! I think they would also go well with vodka, gin or rum! I mix them with soda water that we make in our Sodastream device. Shrubs were originally popular in the 17th and 18th century in England and were typically made with rum or brandy and mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit. In America, during the colonial era, shrubs were made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water or carbonated water. Shrubs gained popularity recently in 2011, as the acidity of a shrub makes it well suited as an aperitif or used as an alternative to bitters in cocktails. The term ‘shrub’ is borrowed from the Arabic word ‘sharab’ meaning ‘to drink’.

We enjoyed visiting the Christmas markets today, and picking up some nice small things to help support the local economy.

We had parked Kramer, the Kona at a spot that most of the mountain bikers use to park their vehicles before they up the trails in the Cumberland Forest. If you look at the picture below, you will see that almost every car has a large bike rack sticking off the back of it!

Lots of bike racks on the back of those cars. Ron Porter, I think you need a big bike rack for your new bikes!

And what do bikers need to do after biking the muddy trails?! Hose their bikes down at the Cumberland bike washing station. There was a lineup 10 deep of people wanting to wash down their muddy bikes after riding all day!

We headed into Courtenay next so Richard could pick up some replacement bulbs for our neighbour Owen at the local Lordco. Lordco is a great spot that caters to automobiles and RV’s, so Richard likes going there, because they always have what he needs for Newman! I wish Lordco was in Ontario! It is always polite to replace what you borrow from a fellow RV’r, so I’m glad we took care of that errand today.

On our way back to Fanny Bay, we stopped at the Fanny Bay Oysters shop in Buckley Bay to pick up some more steelhead salmon to cook on the BBQ tonight for dinner. Richard was soaking cedar planks for most of the day, so we are really looking forward to a nice BBQ cedar plank salmon - with a nice soya, maple, garlic, ginger glaze for our dinner this evening!

We had a phone call this evening from Jim, from Fernie! We’re going to be meeting up with Jim and his lovely wife Dani, in California for a few nights, so it was nice to pick his brain on some things we wanted to know about our trip down south. Jim and Dani have made this journey down to California, many times, so having a first hand resource for us as we plan this trip is very helpful.

I feel pretty good about what we accomplished today as far as planning our trip. We know that things always come up that might affect our plans, but its nice to have a destination in mind every night, with a booked RV site, rather than trying to do this trip without reservations. It makes the journey a lot more leisurely if we take our time and only drive so far each day.

Tomorrow we’re meeting up with friends from Courtenay for brunch. It is nice to make plans and having our B.C. vaccination status has sure made anything we wanted to do in B.C. a lot easier. I guess as we head down south we’ll have to figure out what the protocol is for proof of vaccination, but I do know we’ll be erring on the side of safety!

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