Campbell River, BC July 24 Wednesday
Wednesday was a driving day. We were traveling from Victoria to Campbell River, a town of about 35,000 on the Georgia Strait. This is the water passage that connects Vancouver with Alaska and is taken by many cruise ships as well as ships connecting the island to the mainland. Forestry is still big in this part of the island. Campbell River is a large fishing port, especially for salmon.
Thanks to the recommendation of our Evergreen hosts in Victoria, we made an intermediate stop in Chemainus. This small town was devastated in the 1980s when its large lumber mill revamped to be more efficient but cut employment dramatically. The town re-positioned itself as a tourist location with the help of artists.
There are 41 wall murals located around the town, depicting its history. We walked to see most of them, it was a great day to be out and about. Chemainus now has numerous restaurants and artists’ galleries. Wednesday is also farmers’ market day.
The murals show the town’s ties to First Nations, to Chinese laborers that worked the hard jobs in early years, to various industry scenes, to artists, and to scenes of normal day to day activities. We were quite impressed.
We continued on local back roads to our lunch location, also a recommendation from our Victoria hosts. The Crow and Gate pub has only been around since 1972 but it was one of the first to build outside urban centers. It sits amidst a series of small gardens and is very relaxing.
The pub was busy and we shared our large outside table with two couples who had returned from a 2.5 month motorcycle visit to Europe. We seem to be encountering a number of world travelers as we do our own travels which pale in comparison to other’s experiences.
On our way to Campbell River, we stopped in Nanaimo. This town is a major ferry hub to the mainland. Our ferry trip on Friday will leave from here. We looked up the ferry site and that was a wise decision. There are two ferry departure points, about 15 minutes apart. The back road we had taken into town did not have any signs pointing to our ferry so we had to get directions from the people at the first, wrong, site.
Once we had checked out the ferry site, we drove on to Campbell River. About 10 days ago we had changed our overnight lodgings to this town from another one about 100 miles further north. Campbell River is a little more lively and less distance to reach and to travel back to the ferry Friday.
We arrived early enough to walk the harbor area and just sit and enjoy the view. Later on, we went out to see the full moon. We had some Internet connection issues which allowed me to be awake at 12:30 and spot a cruise ship sailing along the Georgia Strait.
Ed and Chris July 25 8 AM