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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Timing is everything…

Sometimes in life we are in ‘the wrong place at the right time’, or the ‘right place at the wrong time’.

Or how we feel about this trip…’Wrong place, wrong time!’

If you read our last blog from Wednesday November 17,th, you’ll know that we were exploring and hiking in Lantzville. Guess what happened in Lantzville yesterday, the day after we were there?

The Island Highway 19, in Lantzville developed a sink hole yesterday and the road is closed in both directions now until the sinkhole is repaired. The Island Highway, is the main North/South road connecting the North and Mid Vancouver Island to the South Island. With the record amount of rainfall last weekend, the roads are now developing sink holes. Its a good thing we already explored Lantzville, because there is no way we would be heading there now to do any hiking.

And then yesterday morning this is what we woke up to!

Oh my goodness! I thought it was raining outside until Richard opened our blinds and I saw this white stuff on the ground! OH NO…SNOW!!!

Kramer the Kona was also covered in snow later in the day, when we went to go out.

That did it for us! Or as the proverbial saying goes that was ’The Straw that Broke the Camel’s back’.

If you’ve ever wondered where the expression comes from, it comes from a theological debate between Thomas Hobbes and John Bramhall in 1654-1684.

Anyway, seeing the snow did it for both of us…we’re outta here!!!

Since it was snowing for most of the morning yesterday, we decided to plan our escape from the Island. We needed to unwind some things like our ferry crossing which we had originally booked for December 8th. The ferry is the most critical piece of getting out of here, because if we can’t get a spot on the ferry, we can’t leave. We also looked at what I’ve got booked next week. A hair appointment and seeing my osteopath, Abbie. Both of these appointments I don’t want to miss. So based on looking at when we would be free to leave and when the ferry was open for us, we decided we are leaving Fanny Bay next Saturday, and heading to Fort Victoria in Victoria, for one night and then taking the ferry on Sunday, November 28th to Tsawwasen, and crossing into the U.S. the same day. We were toying with the idea of taking the ferry directly from Victoria to Port Angeles in Washington State, but we were concerned about the remoteness of ending up in Port Angeles, given the changeable weather conditions this time of year.

We also had to unwind the car rental on the Island, which Richard was able to do fortunately and we will be able to get a refund for the 2 weeks we won’t be needing the car. We also got a partial refund on the ferry, since we now don’t have Jerry our tow car with us. I’m really glad we hadn’t booked a lot of RV sites in the U.S. for our road trip, because we only had to unwind one spot north of Seattle for 2 nights.

After we spent the morning changing our plans, we felt so much better about knowing that we would be leaving and heading south to warmer weather soon. We’re not sure how long our trip will take us to get to Florida, as we do want to enjoy the journey, but we’re glad to be getting out of snowy conditions soon!

Since we spent the morning planning our escape and knew that we needed to be in Courtenay for our 5pm dinner reservations, we thought that we should take a trip up to Cumberland, which is very near Courtenay. We had never visited the Cumberland Museum and Archives, so we decided it would be a good indoor place to go, on a snowy cold day!

When we were here earlier in the year, the Museum and Archives was closed for renovations.

Ginger Goodwin was a pioneer in the B.C. Labour movement and a passionate advocate for health and safety in the workplace. 12 km of Highway 19 in Courtenay/Cumberland are dedicated to Ginger Goodwin. Ginger Goodwin was an important historical figure on Vancouver Island who came to Cumberland in 1910, took part in the 1912-1914 Vancouver Island coal miner’s strike and became an important figure in the labour movement toward establishing workers rights. 260 people died in work-related accidents in the Cumberland mines. Ginger Goodwin was shot and killed on July 27, 1918.

Cumberland was a bustling coal mining community from 1889-1966 with miner’s entrepreneurs and their families streaming in from across Canada, the U.S., Europe, China and Japan. Founded in 1889 by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, Cumberland was originally called ‘Union’ after the ‘Union Coal Company’. In 1898, the post office address of Union was changed to Cumberland and many of the town’s streets are named after the famous English coal mining district of Cumberland, England. The area was also home to the fifth largest Chinese settlement in B.C., as well as a small Black Community, and 3 Japanese settlements at #1 Town, Royston Sawmill and #5 Town. Cumberland remained an active coal mining town until 1966, enduring devastating mine explosions, 2 World Wars, and intense labor disputes. Cumberland was a major centre for trade and commerce on Vancouver Island, shipping coal to markets worldwide. As the coal industry declined though, the local population decreased and workers left the community or shifted to logging, fishing or other industries on the Island. In the past 20 years, Cumberland has shifted once again from a sleepy little village to a significant destination for outdoor recreation, culture and tourism. The off road biking trails in Cumberland are some of the best on the Island.

One of our favourite reasons to visit Cumberland is the bakery, which we think is the best on the Island! This photo was taken yesterday afternoon. Cumberland is at a higher elevation than Fanny Bay, so its colder in Cumberland! The temperature yesterday was +6C in Fanny Bay, but only 3C in Cumberland.

We really enjoyed our visit to the Cumberland Museum and Archives. It was worth taking the time and effort to visit.

Our dinner reservations in Courtenay, before our theatre show were at Il Falcone.

IL Falcone Restaurant downtown Courtenay. The tree in the photo is a cherry tree, which the restaurant uses in their dishes.

The menu at IL Falcone was amazing! The prix fixe menu included either an appetizer and pasta for $49 or a half order or pasta and a main dish for $59.

Richard had a half order of pasta with shrimp and scallops and a main of….

Duck! The sauce for the duck included the cherries grown on the property at IL Falcone!

I had an appetizer of mushrooms and goat cheese which was delicious!…and of course a glass of rose #roseallday

My spaghetti carbonara was huge, so half of this delicious meal came home with us!

The sour cherries in this decadent lemon mousse dessert were grown on a tree outside the window where we were seated. I love this about the Island! Imagine growing your own cherries and using the cherries in dishes being served in the restaurant! What an amazing meal we had at our 5pm sitting for dinner. We were definitely stuffed and hoped that we wouldn’t fall asleep during the theatre production we were going to see!

O Christmas Tea, a British Comedy at the Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay, B.C.

We definitely had good seats for the show! Row 3 stage right!

The production of ‘O Christmas Tea’ was very humorous and had audience interaction throughout. The two main actors ‘James’ and ‘Jamesy’ would put on their masks, use hand sanitizer and descend down the stairs on either side of the stage, to interact with the audience. The production involved having randomly chosen audience members dressed up as ’Queen Elizabeth’, ‘God’, ‘a shark’ and ‘Captain Hook’ in different parts of the show. After a very entertaining 1.5 hours, the show was over, and there was a very orderly, row by row exit of the theatre, with the back rows exiting first, while those still in the theatre were to remain seated. All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves and it was so nice to be back at our first live theatre production in over 2 years!

Again this morning we woke up to a huge frost. We were supposed to be playing Campbell River Golf & Country Club today at 11:20am, but with the frost delay, we were advised that our new tee time would be 12:50pm. With a 12:50pm tee time, and sunset around 4:30pm, we knew that we wouldn’t likely get all 18 holes in, so we resigned ourselves to only playing 9 holes today. The frost sure is a drag, since we really wanted to play all 18 holes at Campbell River, as we had heard the golf course was pretty nice.

The good news about not having to leave early for golf this morning, it allowed us time to put together our itinerary for our trip down south. We spent quite a bit of time yesterday trying to figure out how to where to park Newman downtown Seattle, and we came up with NOWHERE! The RV resort we had originally booked for 2 nights in Seattle couldn’t accommodate us for our new dates, so we had to try and find somewhere else to stay. Once we found a spot for 2 nights in Seattle, we started planning our route down the West coast.

Our biggest disappointment this morning though was calling Bandon Dunes Golf Course only to find that there was absolutely NO availability for any tee times at any of their golf courses during the time we would be staying near Bandon, Oregon. We did put our names on a waiting list in case there are any cancellations, but we are pretty far down the cancellation list, so we don’t think we’ll be able to play any of the Bandon Dunes courses on this trip. When we called today, they said they were accepting bookings up ‘til April next year. December is also ’low season’ with the cheapest rates all year to play at Bandon, so we can understand why its so popular in December, when we want to play.

We were able to make a tee time at Bandon Crossings though, which Jim from Fernie highly recommends, so at least we will be golfing in Bandon, even if its not at the Bandon Dunes courses that we wanted to play. As we worked away on our route this morning, we were able to book our RV parks up until Napa, California where we plan on spending 2 nights, so we can explore wine country! Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a bit more time and we’ll keep planning our journey to Florida. Its a fine balance between wanting to get to Florida and enjoying the journey along the way! I had to remind Richard today about this fact as he is so used to doing 12 hour driving days, and I don’t want this trip to be like that!

Campbell River Golf & Country Club, clubhouse.

These three guys greeted us outside the club house at Campbell River Golf & Country Club.

Back nine, 12th hole. The Campbell River Golf & Country club was completed in 17 months and opened in 2017. The par 70 layout features bent-glass greens and rye-grass fairways and was designed by Graham Cooke on what was the site of the former Sequoia Springs Golf Course. The course is owned by the Mainland family who also own Seymour Pacific Developments, which builds and manages multi-family residential properties in Western Canada. No expense was spared on this golf course. Even the washrooms on the golf course are amazing!

There are 3 Comfort Stations on the golf course! And a place to return and get another sand bottle, which Richard loved!

15th - a sneaky dog left right par 5. I managed to par it with a good, long putt!

An ‘almost’ hole in 1 on this par 3 - 16th hole today. My ball landed about one foot directly behind the pin. Richard made a birdie on this hole!

The 17th hole was a killer. The #1 handicap hole, 540 yards long with water in front of the green. I played the white tees and Richard played the blues today because both had a 119 slope rating.

The 18th hole was a 170/155 yard par 3 with water to the left and right of the green. A bridge led off the hole, which apparently the club just constructed last year because there is a similar bridge on the 12th hole at Augusta where the Masters is held every year, and they wanted a bridge just like Augusta!

Bridge leading off #18. As you can see there is really no ‘bail out’ area off the tee which is at the top of the photo. Luckily neither one of us landed in the bunkers, which led into the water. I scraped together a par on this tricky hole with a great chip close to the pin. The 18th hole was rated the 5th hardest hole on the course and we could see why!

After golf I went into the pro shop to shop, and I have to say that this was one of the nicest, well stocked pro shops, I have ever been in! A pro shop that carries Lululemon!!

The pro shop was huge and so nicely laid out! The natural lighting with tons of windows really made the shop an inviting place to shop.

Amazing brands in this pro shop!

Richard was the big winner from the pro shop as I bought him two shirts by this funky west coast brand called ‘Johnnie-O’. He’ll definitely be ‘stylin’ in his new golf clothes!

While I was shopping Chris, the golf pro gave me some information about the future developments for the club. There are plans to make the golf course a destination by building a hotel as well as a convention centre on the property. The golf course is open all year round - only closing 3 days last year, due to bad weather. With courses in the rest of Canada closed for the winter, I can see why people would want to travel to Campbell River for golf. Storey Creek Golf & Recreation Society is also in Campbell River and of all the golf courses we have played on the Island, these two were probably our favourite golf courses. Campbell River was in great shape today, with excellent drainage and conditioning. What a beautiful spot to golf, even if we only were able to get 9 holes in today.

Proposed hotel on the Campbell River Golf & Country club property.

‘Start the car!’ Some Black Friday shopping bargains a week early!

After golf we were pretty hungry, since we didn’t have lunch before we golfed. I had remembered our friend Owen from our RV park in Fanny Bay mentioning a good fish and chips restaurant on the harbour in Campbell River, so Richard texted Owen to get the name from him, and we headed down into Campbell River for lunch.

Dick’s Fish & Chips, Campbell River, B.C.

Two piece halibut & chips! I had one piece halibut and chips. The fish and chips from Dicks was the best we’ve had on the Island! We went from the worst fish and chips the other night in Parksville, to now having the best fish and chips! Dick’s was recognized as a place to eat in Lonely Planet’s Canada and B.C. Guides! What a delightful find! We had to eat in Kramer, the Kona, as there was no seating in the restaurant, so now Kramer smells like fish and chips! The fish and chips was wrapped up in paper, so we just spread everything out on our laps, and munched away on our lunch/dinner at 4pm!

After our fish & chips I walked over to the harbour in Campbell River just as blue hour was starting. What a beautiful time to take photos!

Campbell River, looking over to Quadra Island. One of the interesting tidbits I learned while walking the harbour from a sign on the water, was that the coastlines of the world, including islands measure 221,208 miles in length. Canada with 52,455 islands has 151,485 miles of coastline (or 68.5% of the world’s coastlines), with much of that being in the Arctic, where ice is an issue. Russia is second with 23,396 miles, Australia has 16,007; USA, 12,380 and China 9,010. Isn’t that a cool stat?

As we headed home the sky was turning purple, red and golden. What a beautiful day on the Island!

Neat sky as we drove home tonight.

The colours were pretty special tonight on our drive home to Fanny Bay.

Timing definitely matters in life! I know that one of the best decisions I ever made was to go for a job interview that I was encouraged to go to by a colleague in H.R. I was just finishing up one role and was looking for a promotion after finishing my MBA, and at her suggestion I went for the interview. That career move at the right time, opened up a lot of doors for me, that wouldn’t have been available to me, had I not been in the right place at the right time, with the right mindset to want a change of career. Sometimes we have to go with our ‘gut‘ instincts when making decisions because there is no ‘right or wrong’ decision. We feel like this decision that we are making is the right move, at the right time, to leave the Island early. It is not what we had originally planned, but we’re flexible enough to know that its ok to change plans, roll with it, and see what happens!

Tomorrow is a big day on the Island. There are Christmas Craft Shows going on tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what the local artisans have been working on! I’ve got to work out my plan of attack, so I can make the most of the day tomorrow hitting up all the little local communities, to make sure we get to as many as we can. And its a good thing we filled the car up with gas in Campbell River before heading home to Fanny Bay, as there will now be fuel restrictions on ‘fill ups‘ for non essential travel because of fears of hoarding. Oh my goodness…just another reason to get out of Dodge!

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