Coombs, BC [goats on the roof]
August 6, 2008
I am in Parksville. Yesterday, my plans for yesterday and today changed about every 2 hours. You are lucky I wasn’t sending emails out, and are spared the minutia.
After I sent the email out yesterday morning, I realized that I had asked Meredith her opinion of where to go/what to do. She nixed several places I had heard about. Told me I needed to go to Tofino, Ucluelet [both on the west side of the island. half hour apart], and she mentioned Parksville several times…even mentioned 2 places for me to stay here.
Victoria is on the southern end of the island. There is a highway that runs along the eastern side of the island, and one, maybe two roads that cross the island to the west side.
My goals are to drive north along the eastern shore [6 hours to Port Hardy] and also to cut across to visit Tofino on the western shore [drive north 2.5 hours, then cut west].
Yesterday my only question/concern would be: which to do first?
I saw a Gremlin [car]. When’s the last time you’ve seen one of those [or a Pacer]?
Lots of wineries and fruit stands. I had my fill of strawberries in WI and MN, then I had my fill of cherries all thru Canada to Vancouver. Am currently eating my fill of raspberries and blueberries.
Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that the highway is “near” the eastern coast, but NOT next to it. Besides lookout/viewing areas, I hardly saw the water. The landscape w/o the water, is just OK.
I got to Parksville, which just happens to be the turning west point and decided I needed to suss the situation out [see if further north the landscape suddenly gets the “wow” factor]. Meredith had highly recommended me staying here, so I decided to do that.
I am unsure why she’s is so keen on Parksville, and have decided that maybe this is the best there is. To me, it’s just an ok little town. The big thing here are the beaches, and I’m not a beach person. The tide does seem to recede greatly – several hundred meters, and the water is warm. They claim it’s around 70’, I’m not sure about that, but I would consider it warm.
I made 3 friends yesterday, all of whom said that the drive north is exactly the same as the drive from Victoria. I have had my fill.
The big thing to do here [besides the beaches] is to go to Coombs. It is a little community about 10 minutes away that sells a bunch of artisan products, has a health food store, a café, and several ice cream places. The store/café has a grass roof and goats live up there.
While standing in the café line, I met Sandee, her 2 poised, well behaved daughters, and her mom-in-law. Sandee is a spitfire and I loved her company. I had lunch with them and then hung out with them while the daughters and MIL shopped. Sandee grew up just north of here and they are staying there with friends.
Her hubby and father-in-law come here each year to go fishing. Depending upon the size the fish, they come back each year with between 200 – 300# of fish. They catch the limit, take it to a place to be cleaned and shipped to them in Calgary.
Sandee says Tofino is “mind blowing”. It’s rugged, the edge is a Provincial Park [Long Beach], the trees are only so high cuz of the wind, you won’t find anyone swimming in that water…the COLD Pacific Ocean…which is the only thing between you and Japan. [You had to hear her say it to fully enjoy.] Hanging out with her was thoroughly delightful.
We were looking at maps, and she said that all that land [where there are no roads – the middle of the island] is full of pot growers. The gov’t stopped flying over the land cuz they kept finding too much, and now they just rely on people squealing on their neighbors.
After that, I went to the coffee shop…and met Anne Marie. She’s a little older than myself, teacher and wheel chair bound. I talked with her all afternoon re things to do on the west side/coast. She told me I would be a fool if I came all this way and didn’t drive the 3 hours [along twisty turning roads] to Tofino. Just a fool. She said it’s something I just have to see.
I then went and explored the beach[es]. As mentioned above, the water is warm…but not warm enough to entice me [at 5pm].
Later I had dinner with Anne Marie, her hubby and her son, who is 10.
All around an enjoyable day.
Am off to Tofino to have my mind blown. I wonder if that includes a stop along the way to a pot growing farm?