Tag Archives: Victoria BC

9/20/2019 Victoria & San Juan Island, Day 10






A pile of driftwood along the walkway was once a work of art welcoming visitors to Victoria. It is “On The Rise Again”.  Check out: fan-ta-sea-isle

Climate Change Day 9/20/19

Yesterday three feet of rain fell near Houston Texas.  The Trump administration has ignored an internal report blaming changes in the weather and crop yield in central America for an increase in migration to the U.S.  “Climate Change, is a Hoax”, the Donald.

low broken clouds dot the sky this morning.  Today could go either way, overcast with scattered rain or partially sunny and warm.  Either way, we’re due out of Salish Haven by 11 and not due at the Sidney ferry until 4:30.  We may park by Beacon Hill Park on the south coast or check the north side of victoria.

Jerry has asked that we drop by Whidbey Island for a day or two. We could easily do this over the Deception Pass Bridge from Anacortes to Whidbey. The down side?  That would push our trip to Banff, Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone out a few days, closer to winter weather.  We could winterize if necessary.

I’m no closer to knowing how successful whale watching is here.  The water taxi driver happily said it’s great now.  A fellow camper at Salish said otherwise.  We hoped to ask people arriving back from a trip and did not run into groups departing a tour.  I’ll focus more on asking around today ahead of our San Juan and Orcas Island leg.

Blue Skies & Warmer

It’s a beautiful day.  The sun is shining on Victoria Harbor.

“Late Checkout”, Tom entered that in our site record.  We have another hour to lounge around before leaving at noon.  The harbor is busy this morning; lots of float planes landing and taking off. The yellow oval water taxies are seemingly everywhere.

I took another shower here.  Why not?  The only down side: there is insufficient water pressure to drive the fancy shower head.  It is manageable.  “Could you take this garbage for me/”.  On the way I passed a group, 40 strong, gathering behind the “clubhouse”.  I had noticed that many of the motorhomes the arrived yesterday were rented from a “something.com.de”.  This was an RV tour group. I didn’t have a chance to ask where in Germany they’re from.  Moving quickly they headed toward the water taxi stand.




A Sidney Mural





Sidney to Friday Harbor Ferry

I booked both a ferry spot for the 5:55 sailing and an RV site at Lakedale Resort at the lakes.on San Juan Island.  Working backwards we should be in line at the ferry at 4:25.  Sidney is a short drive from Victoria though we should stop for a few things.  We’d also like to walk Sidney some; we’ve never visited.. 4:25 less two hours for a visit, drive time, a stop for supplies, and time to  navigate the ferry, left us with maybe an hour “extra”.  We left for Sidney at noon.

Traffic near Victoria has been light every day, but not today.  Even a checkout gal at Save-On mentioned the traffic. Once we were on 17 north, the traffic thinned and we made good time.  At Sidney we followed signs for the ferry.  GPS gal, set to go to downtown Sidney, has something to say about that & she was silenced. The first time I drive right past the ferry entrance and on to downtown Sidney.  I pass a sign about single file for the ferry; that was it. Sidney is a town of 10,000 with a main street (Waterfront I think) that runs to a small park with a shell for performances, and a wharf.  There is no place to park an RV  without going a number of blocks off the main street.  I stopped and Ellen looked at me like I had grown two heads. Let’s either park closer or find the ferry.  “OK”

Back to the sign about “single file” and more slowly this time. That road runs toward the water, then turns 90 degrees left.  There’s a wide lane on the right for vehicles that runs up to the 90 degree turn and ends.  I parked t the end of that lane and saw a closed gate to the right.  There were signs about the ferry and ferry schedules posted.  “We’re here, I think”.  If we had found the ferry, we were first in line. Ellen wasn’t convinced.  I asked a gardener across the street, “Is this the entrance to the San Juan ferry? “ “Yes.” and his buddy said with a grin, “Don’t believe him, he’ll get you towed?”  We left Li’l Beast sitting all alone in the ferry line.  As in Victoria, Sidney has a seaside walk that took us to the wharf downtown.  The restaurant on the wharf looked inviting.  It sits beside a retail/wholesale fish market.  At least the seafood will be fresh. 



Walking toward the restaurant, my phone rang.  Typically I ignore calls I don’t recognize. This time I picked up.  It was a gal from Lakedale Resort who noticed we’d be checking in after hours.  She gave me information about Lakedale, how to work the shower, where my welcome package would be, and to go right of the lodge to avoid the low overhand.  Cool.

We sat on the enclosed balcony and ordered halibut fish and chips.  Two for me, one and chowder for Ellen.  The halibut was excellent; the breading was far too thick and sat like a lump in our stomachs an hour later. Not the best dining experience.   We walked Sidney, found Roger’s Chocolates, and left with some chocolate covered cashew nuts, a sampler of chocolate caramels, and a bar of something Ellen grabbed.

Back at Li’l Beast, a line of 20 cars and motorhomes had formed behind us.  A fellow opened the gate a few minutes later.  “Here, fill this out and give it to the attendant when asked.  Oh, don’t try to make the turn into the ferry from here.  Go left and around the block and come strait in that way””.”But I think I can make the turn.”  To which he said,, “I don’t want you damaging our fence. Go around the block”  “OK”  I’m sure he has had experience with “know betters” who tried and failed to make the turn.




Cog, our Mascot, Watches the Ferry


Getting on the ferry is a multi part experience complete with a concession stand.  First the gateman gave us a card to fill out.  Then we drove around the block and through the sharp right turn.  Then the gateman checked us off his list of reservations and motioned us forward to the ticketing booth.  At the booth, we presented our form with our names and we were given our boarding ticket and returned our form stamped with “3”.  Drive to line 3 when you get there.   Then we queued for our passport check before boarding.  The van conversion ahead of us had Hawaiian license plates.  It’s not every day you see a car from Hawaii. We sat here for maybe 30 minutes (marveling at the Hawaiian couple) until the border police arrived. “Where are you from”  “How long were you in Canada” “Why did you visit” “Where are you going”. and that was it.  We queue up in line 3 behind a Subaru.  Here we waited for the ferry to arrive and disgorge it load.  People milled about, Ellen too.  I nearly dozed off.  Ellen returned with a cup of vanilla caramel ice cream for each of us.


Spieden Island


The Sidney-Friday Harbor-Anacortes ferry is huge.  The group going to Friday Harbor loaded first. Li’l Beast stood at the ferry’s prow, just behind one other car.  We chose port side seating and played a number of hands of Phase-10.  We seem to split wins and losses evenly.  Once underway, the ferry moved quickly.  The San Juan Islands are beautiful to behold.  There are many islands, most covered in tall pine. People with binoulars scanned the water for whale and the islands for wildlife. We forgot to grab our binoculars.  Going through the strait along Spieden Island, the ferry slowed. Spieden Island is full of deer.  Someone at a table behind us said they were “Japanese Deer” a smaller variety.  “weren’t they brought in by helicopter?”  “No, you’re thinking of the Olympic Peninsula”.






Friday Harbor & Lakedale Resort

We approached Friday Harbor as the sun set.  Friday harbor is smaller than Sidney, and quaint.  That’s the impression we had as we drove through.  Customs such as it was was a breeze.  “Do you have anything to declare?”  “No”  “OK, enjoy your visit”.  GPS Gal took us right to Lakedale Resort.  Check the one star reviews for this resort and you’ll find one wherein some fellow drove up a very narrow road, couldn’t turn around and had to go to the end to turn around, damaged the side of his motorhome, and groused at the resort for not compensating him for his loss. Contrast this with the resort’s call with information about our stay.  I suspected that we’d have not problem settling into our site.

We backed into very level site “J” in the trees with ease.  The road to the site was wide and easy to follow.  No Problem.  We’re close to the showers and have water and electric.  There’s no sewer and that’s fine.  The only downside (as Ellen reminds me from time to time: no WiFi) There actually is wifi.  It’s at the general store and doesn’t reach “way out here”.

We settled in for the night on a brand new Island, new to us.

9/19/2019, Victoria BC, Day 9


A Salish Sunrise

Victoria BC

Today is a sunny day.  We were up as usual around 7:10.  “Hey Siri, Play NPR”. 

Sidney to Friday Harbor ferry and campsite reservations were the first order of business after morning coffee and some lounging about.  Both came easily: we’ll take the 5:55 ferry to San Juan Island.  There was one RV site at Lakedale Resort open, we took it.  We could have stayed at the state park on Smallpox Bay (right?), but chose to go with electric hookup not dry camping.  We’ll drive to the bay unless other plans intervene (kayaking and whale watching).


2nd Thing We Saw, 1st Was the Tesla 3 Behind



Shades of Buchart Gardens


Ovation of the Seas, 4180 Passengers



Li’l Beast @ Salish Seaside from the Walkway


Along the Walkway




Lots of Activity in the Harbor Today


The Johnson St. Drawbridge


Johnson St. Victoria BC


Tongue-in-cheek Pizza Parlor Humor

The West Bay Walkway starts close by Salish RV Haven.  It runs along the outer and inner harbors to the Johnson St. Bridge.  The walk to Victoria feels effortless with the views of the harbors from the trail.  Benches dot the path, though we didn’t feel the need to stop.  The new luxury marina is finished.  Boom and Batten, the marina’s “high end” restaurant, is open and inviting. We stopped for a look-see, and headed on to Victoria.  A building facing the Johnson St Bridge has a mural announcing Willie’s Bakery.  We went looking and failed to find a bakery in the building.  “That’s a Google search!”

I wanted a hamburger at “the Local”.  With Ellen’s blessing we stopped for lunch, waiting our turn to be seated.  Ellen had two prawn tacos that were too spicy for her.  I offered half of my burger for a taco and (sadly) she accepted.  The taco was good, but the blue cheese and bacon burger was far better. 

Searching for Willie’s Bakery, Google brought up “permanently closed” in red letters. Ellen asked, “which street is the Crust Bakery on?”  Google again:  Fort St up ahead a few blocks then left.  We passed the Dutch Bakery and noticed a bus stop or waiting area on the street and a woman passing out pastry samples.  It looked to be from the Dutch Bakery. Undaunted, we walked the twenty feet to The Crust.  The was one couple ahead of us and another followed behind us.  The Crust is always busy.  As we left a woman from the bus stop waiting area made a bee line for the Crust. 


Our Favorite Bakery in VIctoria


Again Their Almond Croissants Were Sold Out

We continued our walk around the inner harbor past The Empress. the Parliament Building, and the Black Ball Ferry building toward Fisherman’s Wharf.  There were two motorhomes queued for the ferry.  Checkout from Salish is at noon.  With our ferry departure at 5:50, we’ll be parking somewhere in Victoria.  Parking along the wharf is for 2 hours only.  That won’t work. As we walked we scoped out parking, but found nothing.  Parking at Fisherman’s Wharf is for cars only, “no RV’s”.

Foot traffic around Fisherman’s Wharf was unusually brisk.  We figured most were cruise ship passengers.  We  asked at the water taxi stand and sure enough, the woman who sold our tickets said “it’s been non-stop since early this morning.  Ovation of the Sea with 4180 passengers is in town.”  With most traffic headed into Victoria, we had a taxi called for us to take us back to the West End, the other direction.  “You will turn left sometime soon, right?” I asked our driver.  “Yes, but I have to wait for that plane to land.” We had to stop at a buoy while a float plane came in for a landing. 


One of a Number of Interesting Totem Polls

A light drizzle started as we disembarked and walked the few hundred yards “home”.  There’s been a light rain falling since.  Confortable weather to curl up with a book.

Tomorrow we’ll catch that 5:55 PM ferry to San Juan Island and a new adventure.  The island is small enough to bicycle around.  We could also do kayaking and/or whale watching from Roche Harbor weather permitting.


Houseboats at Fisherman’s Village Victoria BC


Replacing My Old Home Depot Travel Mug.

The Beast remained home today.  We put mileage on our shoes.  As you can see from the photos, today was overcast and cool; a vast change from yesterday.  Victoria is visually stunning.  The shopping we do is usually targeted.  We seldom just browse shops to see what’s there.  Shopping is not a leisure activity.  The one exception is visiting art galleries.  If the artist’s work appeals to us we’ll make many loops through even a small shop.  Great art evokes an emotional response in us.

Victoria is a thriving city/town. I expect San Juan Island will be primitive.  The difference should be interesting.  Orca Island may be still more primitive.  Fun.  

9/18/2019, Butterfly Gardens, Victoria BC, Day 8 part 2

Victoria Butterfly Garden

Do not be fooled by one star reviews of the gardens.  We had a spectacular time here.  The insect world has so much variety, it is hard not to be impressed.  I particularly enjoyed the tortoise who knows how to escape his pen.  His keepers have no idea how he gets out, but there he was walking the walk.  “If they all learn how to escape, we’ll have to fix that.  As it is if he’s happy getting loose, we’ll let him.  We just cannot have all the tortoises loose.” There are only six of them.

The butterfly garden is close to Buchart Gardens.  I plugged the address into our trusty GPS.  Please enter a valid address!  It could not find 1461 Benvenuto Ave!  Smart Phones to the rescue.  I got turned around and U-turned a few times getting there.  We arrived at 3:35.  The gardens closes at 4.  We thought we’d have to come back the next day. “No, we stop letting people in at 4 but we stay open until 5.”  Cool.

To the right of reception is the insectarium, a series of glass enclosures with very interesting “bugs” inside.  The first larger one houses leaf cutter ants.  “We feed them leaves two or three times a day.  We have to change the leaf type every few days or they’ll stop feeding.  In the wild they change the leaves they eat every few days.  That way they don’t decimate one plant variety.  The plants can recover in between.”   The other enclosures hold stick bugs and beetles.

The butterfly garden is through a double door past the insectarium.  Each variety of butterfly has favorite plants that the garden has in abundance. Inside are numerous butterflies, tortoises, parrots, a few lizards (hard to find), and a pair of mechanical flamingos.  I photographed and videoed the flamingos before realizing that aside from a side to side motion with their beaks in the water, they did not move.  I deleted my photos and videos.  Who wants to see a mechanical bird anyway.

On the way out I mentioned the mechanical flamingos.  “Oh you mean Mango and Houdini. They were born in 1976.  Flamingos live for 50 or 60 years.  These two are old guys.”  I had gone back a few times to see if they were live birds.  One of those times Houdini ruffled his tail feathers.  Then  I knew they were real, and took a video and some photos.  They moved so little and in such a regular pattern that they look mechanical!


9/18/2019, Bushart & Butterfly Gardens, Salish Seaside, Victoria BC, Day 8

Photos, lots of photos below.


Salish Seaside RV Haven

With just two shower stalls and more than 14 RV sites, it can be a wait for a shower in the morning.   There was one woman waiting for a free shower when I arrived.  “Clearly you are first in line.”, I said.  She almost rolled her eyes, “clearly” unspoken but intended. 

“Are you from the US?”, breaks the ice every time.  “No, I’m originally from Belgium and moved to Germany.”   She spoke French, Dutch, German, and clearly English.  We talked about US language classes, travel in Europe and here in the US.  She is traveling with her daughter, her husband, and their six week old baby.

I don’t know what it is about women from Belgium, but this is the second time “wow”.

The weather was overcast this morning.  New was the clear blue breaking through here and there.  It promised to be a better day today.


Bushart Gardens

I purchased tickets to Bushart and Butterfly Gardens on line.  It saves a bit to do so.  Imagine not being able to access the ticket at the gardens.


The drive to the gardens was on a rolling, bumpy two lane road with construction and flag women now and then.  It’s refreshing to see women working on road crews.  I’ve seen it in the U.S., but not very often.  We waved every time.




Bushart Garden’s parking lot is huge.  It was mostly empty at 11:50.  We parked beside three other RVs in an area that could park 40 or 50 RVs and Busses.  “The gardens must be huge.”





We skipped the gift shop and the local artist gallery, and walked past the coffee shop.  We stopped at the restaurant, noticed capellini con vongole  and took one of the last 2:45 reservations.  Into the gardens we strolled. I enjoyed the sunken gardens most.  Walking a path I a heady floral scent hit me in a wave.  A woman’s perfume?  Could this be a plant?  The scent faded, then grew.  I wonder how I looked sniffing the various plants along that path.  Pretty funny I’d guess.  I found the source.  A tall stalk with a spray of white flowers that I’d never seen before.  I asked a horticulturist what the plans was.  She said the name has changed, but the common name is bugs bane.  There are two photos in the array below.

The Japanese garden was very well done.  The Italian garden seems small.  We were “gardened out” by then.








Bugs Bane has a Wonderful Scent



















The capellini was good though the vongole were disappointing.  The clams were not as fresh as I’d like. I do not recommend the restaurant’s vongole.  However, their tomato soup is wonderful.

9/17/2019 Salish Seaside RV Haven, Victoria BC, Day 7

Yesterday Revisited





Hi, I’d Like Some Funk, Please.




Ellen Preferred The Raptor to “My” Wolf


A View from Finn’s Seafood


Along the E&N Rail Trail



Yesterday’s Walks

My GPS watch is charging. It was nearly out of charge this morning. Yesterday we walked a total of eight miles and I feel good.

This is great, let me explain.  All my life (until recently) I’ve been active, exercising 2 hours a day 6 days a week on average.  I played racquetball for hours, ran an hour a day, and/or did weight training.  I’ve been in great condition and pain free. 

Last December my replacement xbox came with Battlefield V, a single person shooter with thousands of players across the world.  I could play in a team of 32 players against another team of 32 players.  It is fascinating, challenging, rewarding, and frustrating.  I’d found a new addiction.  I’ve played practically every day for an hour or two in the afternoon and three to six hours in the evening.

About a month ago, after not exercising much for months, I hopped on an exercise bike for a two hour extravaganza.  This sort of all-or-nothing approach to exercise is “me”.  What was startling for me was the pain I was in the next day and few weeks.  My legs: hamstrings, inner leg, ankles, and lower back screamed in pain.  After sitting for a while I couldn’t stand straight without pain and had to stretch my lower back to stand.  This was agony; a new experience for me, and something I hoped was temporary.  All those TV ads for solutions to back pain made sense to me now.  When would this stop.

Each time I exited Li’l Beast, I’d have to stretch my lower back to stand straight.  It was painful to walk, though the pain subsided a bit with each step.  Sitting still during the 3 hour performance of Hamlet in Ashland led to a stiff neck that has hounded me these past few days.  More agony, pain was layered on pain.  This Sucks!

However, as we walked more I found the pain in my legs subsiding.  The pain in my lower back eased a bit each day.  My stiff neck was less stiff.  Then we walked everywhere yesterday.  This morning I feel great (again). My neck is still a bit stiff, I have a bit of leg pain, but my back feels normal again. ASTOUNDING.

I conclude (and for me), that some form of exercise is necessary every day to maintain a moderate level of neuromuscular health.  Muscles atrophy much more quickly than I had imagined.  Becoming couch potato for a few months, exercising my fingers on the xbox controller and nothing else did me in!

Consider the implications for society at large.  A sample of one is not statistically significant, but not if you are that “one”.

Morning Sunshine

I wish!  The skies opened up at 5:55 AM.  We awoke to a symphony of timpani on the roof.  The timpani have subsided, though the rain is still heavy at 8:26.  Welcome Fall in the North West.  62 F says the outdoor thermometer.  It’s a cool day and probably will not warm much with clouds masking the sun.  We’re in for a gloriously gray day, 

There are a few markets on Esquimalt.  The first two were so small, we didn’t bother to stop.  The Save-On Market looked to be a good choice and it is not far from Salish RV Resort.  The parking lot has a median between parking rows.  There is no way we could park in that cramped lot.  “Look over there, there’s lots of parking.”   The parking lot Ellen spotted was at the Da Vinci Center, an Italian American organization. 

Returning with our groceries, a woman said from her open window, “You cannot park here.  People pay for those spaces.  If an owner wanted to park there you’d hear about it!”  I apologized, “We’re just leaving. Sorry.  We’ll be gone in a few minutes.”  I looked the center up.  They host speaking Italian lessons and cooking classes.  They even have an October guided trip to Italy scheduled in October.

For some reason Li’l Beast’s GPS wanted us to go over a bridge into Victoria.  Luckily that bridge was under construction; and closed to traffic.  We headed south to another bridge into Victoria when the GPS woke up and guided us away from the bridge and right to Salish Seaside RV Haven.


Salish Seaside RV Haven

This is one of a very short list of favorite RV stops.  What makes Salish so special?  The view for one.  Proximity to Victoria via the inner harbor water ferries; two.  Proximity to the path around the inner harbor to Victoria; three.  The relatively new clubhouse, four.  Good WiFi and Sat visibility, five.  It is a small RV “camp”. Add to that we simply “feel good” here.

At check in we were met by the same personable, well spoken fellow who was here last year.  Tom has a wonderful true British accent, speech pattern, and mannerisms.  Check in was fun.  The office has a small selection of gifts and clothing for sale.  I have a new travel cup to replace the Home Depot one I’ve been using.   We’re snug in space 9 overlooking Victoria and the inner harbor.   We’re in site #9 for a few days.  We have a view of Victoria, the inner harbor, and float planes coming and going.

The wind has shifted.  Float planes taxi all the way from Victoria to our RV park, turn, run toward Victoria to take off. 

A lazy day of reading, playing cards, talking, watching floatplanes come and go, and planning.  We drove a total of An RV neighbor said the salmon run this year is poor.  Orcas follow the salmon and they’re also not here.  We are planning on a kayak experience off San Juan Island and a whale watching tour from Orcas Island, weather permitting.  We will play that by ear.

I read in the upstairs rec room by the fireplace with windows all around  while our laundry washed and the rain fell.  It’s a slow day today, and welcome after yesterday.  Our neighbor’s comments about the salmon run has Ellen thinking we will not go whale watching.  I’m more confident the weather will break.  We’re not due on Orcas Island for five days.  Change is inevitable.

The timpani drummers are at it again! Let ‘em wail away.  As rainy as it is, the inner harbor is visible and not socked in.  There’s hope for tomorrow.  No fettuccine for us this evening, though I did grab a personal chicken pot pie at Save-on earlier.  We definitely will not starve.

I’m reading Richard North Patterson’s “the Outside Man’.  It started slowly and it’s building.  I also picked up Moment of truth by Lisa Scottoline with a “New York Times Bestseller” banner.