a walk on the bay and a drive to nanaimo, plus photos of the rockies

I am in Nanaimo and will be in Campbell River, for two weeks of training. My former co-workers in the Mississauga Library are amazed and envious. Training in Mississauga ranged from nonexistent to inadequate.

I'm at a lovely hotel in Nanaimo with a view of the harbour, but I'd much rather be home setting up my office or organizing closets. Allan and Diego are going to visit me on the weekend. I don't know what this training will entail, other than mandatory first aid. I'll keep you posted.

Yesterday we took a break from working on the house to take a walk on the bay. We drove five minutes from the house to a paved path right on the water. It was so quiet and peaceful. A few other people were walking, some families were in a playground. Mostly it was just water, trees, and sky. It was overcast, making the scenery even more dramatic. It's hard to believe that this is our backyard. (Photos to follow.)

On the walkway, there are interpretative signs posted about the wildlife. Even better, there is wildlife. I saw a bald eagle swoop down over the water, then sail up to the top of a tree. By the time I got the attention of Allan, M, and SIL, there were two of them, perched on two nearby trees, surveying their kingdom. It made my day.

Also yesterday, we drove to the tiny Port Hardy Airport to rent a car. No one was at the counter, but there was a phone number to call. A woman asked, "You're at the airport? You have a credit card, driver's license? OK, I'll be right over."

Ten minutes later, she appeared, her feet in slippers. "I was pickling. Beets! I think I brought some with me on my shirt." Later: "You're lucky, yesterday a guy called, said he got a ride. That's the only reason I have anything available." The Ontario driver's license raised a few questions, which we answered; she shook my hand and welcomed us to town. She was hilarious.

Unfortunately we forgot to make both of us drivers... so we ended up calling her in (and possibly waking her up) today as well. The rental car outlet is supposed to be open on Sundays, but if there are no reservations, no one comes in. Who can blame them? After all, the airport was locked! We were very apologetic, she was very good-humoured.

While Allan and I were dealing with the rental car, M and SIL were driving to Campbell River to return the U-Haul truck. I drove down shortly after them, then we met up and went to Nanaimo.

This was my first opportunity to see the north island drive during the day. It is beautiful. A winding, hilly road, forest all around, with mountains beyond. Often the hills were shrouded in mist and low-lying clouds. Sometimes you can see the mountains on the island's west coast, huge and snow-capped. Signs are posted for the turnoffs to the few north island communities, but the road feels so remote and solitary.

On a decidedly less beautiful note, I'm not happy about all the damage from the careless movers. I know they're only material things, and replaceable. But it was all completely preventable. This makes the scam with the US dollar conversion rate even worse. I don't know what recourse we have, if any. I'll investigate this week.

Bonus: photos of our drive through the Rockies are here on Flickr. They're not great -- taken on the fly through the windshield -- but it might give some idea. By the way, I believe those two black animals are dogs.


Amy said...

Those photos are amazing---when I take photos through the windshield, they don't look nearly that vivid. What camera were you using?

I hope you can get some satisfaction from the movers. What a shame.

impudent strumpet said...

Ignorant non-driver question: how far is a five-minute drive, in the sense of how long would it take to walk? #LeastImportantThing

Also, I don't know if it's just the photos, but it looks like there were so few cars in your pictures of the Rockies!

laura k said...

Amy, we have a Nikon DSLR and a decent lens. Are you using a cellphone camera?

Imp, there were very few cars on the road in the Rockies. Weekday, off-season, maybe?

In Mississauga, I lived 7 minutes away from my workplace by car, and it took about 20-25 minutes to walk. I'm hoping to walk to work in PH, at least sometimes.

allan said...

Since we left Campbell River and drove up here in the dark and rain, I look forward to a bright, non-rainy drive on Saturday morning with Mr. Diego.

I think the five-minute drive was probably three. We drive a few houses down from ours to a turn, down a hill with four or five side streets, the road curves to the right, 200 yards on, and we park. Water! A park! Seaweed!

Pics: I did not post many (if any) of the shots featuring dirty windshield streaks. Just kept cleaning the windows. The scenery did all the work.

Note to self: Do not go to the grocery store at 4:30-4:45 pm, even on a Sunday. It's busy. ... Maybe 10:30 am is better, on Tuesday?

Kim_in_TO said...

Nice photos! It looks a lot less precarious than I imagine whenever anyone says "drive through the Rockies".

impudent strumpet said...

Actually, that raises an ignorant city girl question: are there sidewalks in such a small town?

laura k said...

Not at all ignorant. There are sidewalks in the "downtown" -- Main Street and a few other side streets. None in our neighbourhood or any neighbourhood that I've seen so far.

When I was a kid in the suburbs of NYC, my grandmother, who lived in Brooklyn, used to complain about our neighbourhood: "there's no place to walk". I never understood this. My mother said it meant there were no sidewalks. I didn't see what the issue was.

Sidewalks did get put in as the town grew and sprawled. But here I am in a town with no sidewalks. My grandmother would not approve.

Then again, she disapproved of almost everything.

allan said...

There are no sidewalks on our street - or the two little cul-de-sacs off of it - but they are on some non-"downtown" streets that are used mostly for driving. There may also be bike lanes here and there, but I can't remember.

laura k said...

There was another comment from Amy... now lost to the mist of time.

Amy said...

I think I only said something about using a cellphone camera. Nothing too important.

But where do comments go when they disappear? I've not had that happen---to my knowledge---on my own blog, but I know that it has happened with comments I've made on other blogs.

laura k said...

But where do comments go when they disappear?

This sounds like a riddle for the Zen master.

In this case, I was probably using my phone to approve comments -- possibly in the car, so there's movement -- and tapped on the wrong link, and deleted it. Because I did see the comment come in, but it didn't post.

Other times, comments seem to get hung up when people are trying to post them. Readers say they wrote a comment and clicked publish, but it never came in.

In the past if you were not logged in, it would cause problems. Google/Blogger seems to have fixed that.

Amy said...

OK, good to know. I try to remember to cut and paste and save any comments that are long enough that I couldn't easily recreate them---if I think they're even worth saving.