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Three Weeks in British Columbia #12, The Last Ferry, Au Revoir Canada, and My Favorite Photographer

January 31, 2018

All too soon it was time for us to leave this land and people we’d come to love. Intriguing how someone living just a few feet away from the U.S. Border (more of an abstraction than an actual obstruction) can be so much like us yet still so different from us.

In all our lives, this was the longest visit to Canada we’d ever experienced. Of course we bragged on our half-Canadian grandsons and son-in-law Duane, whose falling in love with our daughter made all this possible. We know we’ll be back–there’s so much more to see!

After making one last stop at one of Canada’s ubiquitous Horton’s (mouth-watering coffee and sinfully fattening doughnuts), we purchased a pound of their coffee so that we might periodically drink a cup for old times’ sake.


Then we boarded one of the biggest ferries yet—and watched Vancouver Island gradually recede from view.

By my side, as has been true for the last 58 years, was Connie, my still lovely bride—and, serendipitously, the photographer who has visually fleshed out the abstractions I wrote about in this B.C. blog series.

Oh my! The Washington state shore is just ahead, and the U.S.A. We’re happy to see it coming—but when we look back, there’s moisture in our eyes.

The Travelers Four


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Three Weeks in British Columbia #10 – Tofino to Butchart Gardens

January 17, 2018

It was anything but easy to bid adieu to the Tofino coast. All too few places in our increasingly homogenized cookie-cutter world are able, or willing, to hold out against the forces of kitsch and style-sameness. But because Tofino is still unique, it’s a place we’d love to return to again. But Connie and I had deadlines to meet, and Byron and Kim jobs to return to (in Kim’s case, a classroom full of children).

Since the whole of Vancouver Island appeared to be booked up, Byron had a mighty tough time finding room vacancies anywhere in the south part of the island, much less anywhere near our destination, Sidney-by-the-Sea. Finally, at the very last minute, two rooms came miraculously open in the Sidney Best Western. We breathed a sign of relief, ate a leisurely breakfast, loaded up, and headed south on winding Highway 4.

Eventually, on hitting Highway 19, civilization began to swallow us up again. Housing and commercialization grew more congested with every passing mile. Our goal was to get a place on the Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry. Once we reached the dock area, we were initially pleased that so few cars were ahead of us–that was before we chatted with some of the people around us. “Be forewarned, it’s a small ferry!” A small ferry? We hadn’t yet even seen such a thing in British Columbia. But since no one appeared to know just how many vehicles would make it on, we could only wait, and pick wild berries conveniently growing next to the roadway.

Finally, about an hour later, a small ferry boat docked and disgorged a small number of vehicles. A bit later, boarding began–we all but held our breaths: We made it–and we were only the 21st vehicle. Turned out the car just behind us didn’t make it, and would have to wait an hour and as half longer for the ferry to return.

Once on land, we headed to our next destination: the world-famous Butchart Gardens. In June of 2010, we had visited the fabled gardens for the fourth time. I titled my June 26 blog, “Measuring Our Lives by Butchart Gardens.” We’d first come here in 1968 before our daughter was born.

But now, here we were again, for the fifth time! And we wondered, Will it be ‘Same ol’ same ol’ this time? Since people come here from all over the world, and many, like us, return again and again, those who design the gardens are always changing trails and flower configurations and locations. Result: No two visits are ever the same! And each time, the gardens appear more beautiful than the time before.

How much poorer would be this earth if it was stripped of its beauty! Twould be like a lifetime of murky skies.

Or as Keats put it in his “Endymion”:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of quiet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

* * *

Would we live long enough to return here for the sixth time–only God knows.