Are we almost there yet? a Lexus, tent and sexy seniors saga continues..

Should we alert relatives we are coming or does that just give them time to ‘disappear’? It is getting late, the ‘Goats on the Roof’ at detour to Coombs cost us a small chunk of time, but it was a great place to visit .. all sorts of attractions. The goats were not out though.. darn! We make it to our destination, Port Albernie on Vancouver Island. www.oldcountrymarket.com

It soon becomes apparent that our new purchase (a four man tent) is going to see the light of day.. or the darkness of night, whatever. We are directed to an obscure campground on an out of the way road, that we would never have found (and we did get lost) without directions.

This place is great, we pick a site with no power because we are suckers for punishment. It is rustic.. but a dirt path leads to real bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. The pre-requisite picture of a bear on the loose is stuck up on the bathroom door. I say to gf that we should not only set up our new tent, but also the pup tent as a decoy for the bear.. we would have a 50/50 chance at least!

Well the tent sets up fast.. thanks to the run-through demo set up we did at Walmart, much to the managers dismay apparently. We are thankful for the air pump purchase and it takes over an hour to get a little bit of air into the mattress.. wth? We change nozzles and it blows up in under a minute.. one of us is pretty smart, right gf?

Loving this new spacious tent.. room for a pee-pail, IT HAS A TIGHT FITTING LID! .. and there is a bear loose for crying out loud. We can almost stand up in it, and so begins our first night on the island. The campground has a small kitchen area attached to the office and they serve minimal meals. We appreciate this because our ‘roughing it’ does not include cooking, no way.. no how!

Well.. we never thought we’d be sleeping in a tent either, but it was quite enjoyable and it made the hotels even more so when we booked them. This campgrounds has everything including ‘goats on a roof’ but a different kind of roof. Animals running free (including bears) a Laundromat and even deluxe cabins.. a retro ‘Air Streamer’ camper caught our attention.

The owners carved this place out of a gravel pit and it is an amazing accomplishment. They are so friendly, and it is very much a family endeavor, which I can especially appreciate. They were in the process of building a website and expanding the kitchen and menu which I could also relate too. There is always dedicated hard work and endless to-do’s when you own your own business.

They raise range free chickens no pesticide fruit, (wild raspberries and blackberries) vegetables. They make their own maple syrup and you can even go for a horse ride. Having a passion and loving what you do makes hard work and dreams come true.. visit this place if you are in the area. www.arrowvale.ca

The gf and I set off in search of elusive niece.. she finally acknowledges my emails.. she is in the middle of moving. We go to the pier (she works at a Mexican bistro here) it is a quaint and lovely, actually change that to an exceptionally beautiful place, with shops and stores and the ocean and mountains as a backdrop.

There is a fountain and totem poles and a real ship/yacht B&B moored here off the pier and we wonder what that would cost. A musician is strumming a guitar and people are wandering about. They are eating ice-cream cones, others are at outside tables with coffee and homemade doughnuts or Mexican dishes prepared from scratch!

I eye up the musician and idly wonder if he is single .. until he pulls out a cigarette and lights up, singing and strumming and smoking.. really? I am enveloped in a big hug from my niece.. I love this girl, the child of my second youngest sister (that left this world too early). This whole trip has been about my desire to visit her and check out her chosen partner in life.

my niece and I

She is genuinely glad to see me and I am relieved to have finally found her. This trip has not been in vain. She buys our lunch and points us to a place to visit in a national park, where the Salmon go to die.. oh, and it has waterfalls. We arrange to visit her that evening in her new house with many bedrooms .. sigh (alas we have already paid for another night camping).

falls and spawning grounds

The Salmon were not spawning thank goodness.. although it would have been a sight to behold, we realized that the downside would have to be the smell! These fish spawn and then die .. well at least they die happy, or do they? Do fish make love or do the males fertilize the eggs after or what the heck happens here? I better start watching the nature channel instead of Americas Got Talent.

We spend a great evening with my niece and her soul mate.. we deem him worthy and I am so happy to have met him. Reconnecting and spending time with my niece has been a joy and I promise her I will come again, maybe stay with her for a whole month.. she makes a grimace until she realizes I am just kidding.. or am I?

As we prepare to leave she gives me an unexpected gift.. some of my sisters ashes. This is so unexpected I am speechless, my emotions overflowed down onto my face.  I related to her that the last trip I made this way was with her mom. In fact many places along the way on this trip reminded me of my sister Robin.

We have an extra passenger now and I am so happy .. who knew this trip would bring my sister back to me in this way, and make my heart so full?

Journeys of the heart are never forgotten..