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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

St. Stephen knows best!

This morning started out with leaving our RV park at 8:06am for a 9:12am tee time at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club. As is our usual practise, Richard has his shower first and then I follow. As I got up to use my bathroom sink I turned on the overhead light which was working again last evening, and it now doesn’t work.

Last night before bed the light was working.

The light fixture is not working this morning!

St. Stephen had said to Richard that the light wouldn’t stay working for long, and sure enough, he was right!

We arrived with lots of time for our tee time today in Qualicum Beach, and since we were early, we sat in Jerry and got caught up on our emails before getting out of the car. As Richard got out of the car a woman who had pulled into the spot kitty corner to us got out of her car and yelled over at Richard “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY PROVINCE?!!” Richard moved a little closer to her and said “Excuse me, I didn’t quite hear you, what did you just say?”. She said again “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY PROVINCE?!!!!” Richard could not believe what he had just heard, but he politely said “I’m a local now, I’ve been on the Island since the beginning of December!” Imagine?! We were both fuming by the time we got to the first tee where Ken and Curtis were waiting for us.

Ken & Curtis our golf buddies from Qualicum Beach.

Curtis was playing the red tees with me today, so when I told him what had just happened to us, he wanted me to point out the woman to him. I was so angry as I headed to the first tee that my first drive was ‘crushed’ down the fairway. I said to our buddies ”that was her head on the tee!”. A few expletives might have been said by our foursome about this woman and her behaviour, and we proceeded to have a fun day. Oh my goodness! Ken said “That’s the other side of Qualicum coming out!” As the average age is 68 years old in Qualicum Beach, I guess some people feel it is their duty to ‘police’ the Covid situation for the entire Vancouver Island. After the fact I said to Richard you should have come up with some more interesting comebacks for the woman such as “I’m on a mission from God”, or “I’m working a secret operative on Vancouver Island, sent by the Ontario government”, or any number of other witty comebacks. We have been here on the Island as Richard said since December 1st. When we left Ontario on November 3rd there was no ‘travel advisory’ in effect. The only travel ban was the Canadian/U.S. Border for non essential travel, which still remains in effect. We are still in a state of shock that someone would think to make a comment like this to us, who doesn’t even know us, but judges us because of our Ontario license plate! Anyway, that is enough ranting on how our day started today!

I finally had a good golf game today. 3 pars and a 42. Qualicum Beach is a long golf course without much roll at this time of year. The 6th hole is a par 4 that after a good drive and a 3 wood, I was still 125 yards from the green! It is a hole where you hope to get on in 3 and 1 putt if your lucky. Today I made a 5 on it, which feels like a par!

I had retrieved Curtis’ ball from the deep rough after an errant tee shot. It was nice enough outside today to golf in just a sweater and a down vest.

Richard had a day where all of his putts did this:

They went right by the hole, or stopped on the edge, but didn’t go it.

After bidding our buddies farewell and having quite a few belly laughs as we golfed today, we decided to head out on Hwy 4 west to see if Cathedral Grove was open yet. I so very much want to photograph this old growth forest before we leave the Island, so since it was a +7C sunny day, we thought, why not go and check it out.

We drove along Hwy 4 and when we got to Cathedral Grove, it was still blocked off to cars with a snow fence. Since there was no where to turn around, we decided to keep going and head to Port Alberni for lunch. We had been to Alberni once before in December, on a foggy day, so we wanted to see what the town was like on a nicer day.

We parked Jerry downtown Port Alberni and decided to walk around. Jerry’s cousin was parked almost right next to us!

We walked around downtown Alberni which had a lot of vacant and derelict stores. It was a bit depressing to see the state of the downtown area.

At the top of the downtown street looking back to Jerry in the distance. There were a lot of boarded up stores and a very neglected downtown street.

A nice cheery mural on a wall downtown.

An interesting wood carved bench downtown Port Alberni.

Gears downtown Port Alberni. In the background was an excellent kitchen and housewares store called ‘Flandangles’. There really weren’t any other stores worth visiting on both sides of this street.

The sculpture in front of the Port Alberni City Hall was created by Jake James from Sooke, Vancouver Island, B.C. The sculpture is supposed to represent the “industrial decrepitude of the area, coupled with the potential that nature tourism has to revive the region.” I’m not so sure that sentiment is working for them, based on what we saw in the downtown area of Port Alberni.

A needle disposal unit on the front lawn of City Hall. I can’t say I have ever seen a needle disposal unit out in public before that was not in a bathroom.

We attempted to go for lunch at a Bavarian spot, but it was not open since Covid for lunch.

Richard really enjoys a good schnitzel and was hoping this spot would be open for lunch.


The sign on the lamp post says “Arts District”, right next to the Salvation Army building.

Salvation Army Port Alberni.

Old fashioned murals painted on the walls downtown.

The Capitol Theatre mural.

Pulp and Paper mills in Port Alberni looking down the Main Street towards the mountains.

We decided to go into a bicycle shop on the main street of Port Alberni to learn a bit about e-Bikes today. E-bikes are definitely something we have on our shopping list, but we have not done any online or in person research yet.

To access the bike store, we had to go through the Healthy Habits health food store.

Richard trying out this step through Scott e-bike with a Bosch battery that has 4 speeds and was a ‘pedal assisted’ e-bike capable of 19km/hr. We tried the Trek e-bike as well, but liked the Scott frame better. The handle bars were adjustable on the Scott so that we could ride with a straight back rather than being bent over which is much better for me in particular. The rear wheel in the Scott bike had a locking mechanism built into the wheel. Since we have just started our research on e-bikes, we didn’t buy one today, but the sales person was very knowledgeable and provided a great explanation of the capability of the e-bikes. At $3799 this was not going to be an impulse purchase today!

After visiting downtown Alberni, we decided to head to the harbour where we knew there would be more options for lunch. Just as we were leaving the bike shop, Richard received a phone call from the Parts & Service department of Arbutus RV which said they did not have a light fixture that would fit our bathroom light and to try the RV wrecker in Alberta called ‘Murhphy’s’.

We looked around the harbour in Port Alberni for a spot for lunch and we found a delightful little place right on the harbour called ‘Starboard Grill’.

Starboard Grill, Port Alberni harbour

Waiting for our meal at Starboard Grill. There were not many people having lunch today.

Richard had the salmon in tempura batter and he said it was delicious!

I had the taco salad which was good too!

We finished our meal around 2pm and then drove back through the Alberni mountain pass to Coombs.

Coming down from the summit on Mount Alberni.

We had seen a collectibles store sign in Coombs on our way out to Port Alberni and thought we would check our the collectible store on our way back. We drove up a dirt road thinking what kind of a store will be at the end of this dirt road?

Hmmm? When we saw the outside of the store, I decided I really didn’t want to go in and check out the store. It was quite unusual to say the least (those are hats tacked to the outside of the store) and I didnt’ think we would find the light fixture for our sunroom back in Fort Erie in a store like this!

Driving back down the dirt road from the collectibles store we also saw another business advertising on the gate of their home.

An interesting way of advertising for their business. We know now where to get leather goods repaired! What a find!

After our crazy spur of the moment kind of day, we headed home to Newman. As I was writing today’s blog we got a phone call from St. Stephen saying he was coming back from Campbell River and were we up for a quick visit. Next thing you know St. Stephen and his lovely wife Karen are knocking at our door! We showed St. Stephen our light that is troubling us and he took one look at it and said we have a ‘short’ in one of the connections and he will be back to fix it one day for us before he leaves the Island. What would we do without St. Stephen? He actually said tonight that we could replace all of our lights with the LED ‘hack’ job strips and we would save a ton of energy on our batteries by having the LED strips in our lights. It might be something we do in the future. St. Stephen certainly does know best! Now we don’t have to worry about calling the wreckers to see if we can find a replacement ballast for our light fixture!

Let’s hope we don’t have any more issues with Newman after St. Stephen leaves the Island for good on March 15th! We just need Newman to get us home to Fort Erie in April so we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan and we make the passage back across the country with a well behaved Newman!

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