Day 6: Victoria, B.C. KOA to Burlington, Wa KOA

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The day started off with a blessed amount of sleep and just the right amount of get up and go to get on the road after a late breakfast. It was with hesitation that I headed out of the Victoria West, KOA back towards the harbor at Sidney to head back into Washington state, we had on the plan to see Butchart Garden, a highlight of our trip but didn’t change the fact that we were as far from home as we were going to get and the next step was a return home to all of the normal things that life is built around.

Consistently today I attempted to take the time to remind Katherine and myself that we were on vacation and we should find a way to enjoy ourselves, even upon entering the garden I re-doubled my effort to provide that reminder.

Butchart Garden was, to me, more interesting than Disneyland and more beautiful as well, everything was green and manicured, with flowers nearly everywhere. The only negative to the garden was the simple fact that it was hot, and by hot I mean a hot in Canada that they haven’t seen in quite some time. It was as though Central California’s heat had followed us up the coast line and settled for our stent in Canada, welcoming us with it’s warmth. The gardens on any cooler day would have taken the entire day or afternoon to experience, we however nearly rushed through the entire garden to see the plants and had to relax at lunch and look through the plant identification booklet to see the things that we had missed and still wanted to see.

One of my remaining questions after seeing the Butchart Garden is, “Do they allow people to have their weddings here?”. The gardens have an amazing amount of open time to the public, their summer hours are from 9a.m. Р10 p.m. This is unlike any other garden that Katherine and I have ever seen, and on any cooler day than the day that we visited it would be a magical place to have a wedding ceremony performed.

Katherine and I spent every last moment that we could allow ourselves at the garden before heading back to the ferry port that would send us back home. Even spending as long as we had at the Gardens we still had some time before the ferry would arrive to take us home so we elected to spend it relaxing in one of the local, Sidney, Starbucks coffee houses enjoying a cool smothy.

When the time came to head to the ferry we did so with haste as to not be the last vehicles that would board, customs was a breeze, we again however didn’t receive a stamp stating that we were coming back to the United States, not so much as a welcome home or anything really. It is posible that according to the people at the border crossing figured that it’s just an every day thing for people to cross from Anacortes to Sidney, it was for Katherine and I the first of many such adventures to places outside the United States.

Onboard the ferry back to the United States, Katherine and I took time to ask a couple from Washington how hard it was to bring their dog’s with them to B.C. And found out that it was actually pretty simple. Fears about what it would talk to get our dogs across the border with us was almost the only reason that they hadn’t come with us on this trip. At least at the time that this post was written crossing the border with a canine took only proof of the standard vaccinations. Next time we decide to head to B.C. Our boxers may very well be going with use so that they have the attention that they are used to and don’t have to stay outside tearing up our yard for lack of attention.

Our return voyage to Washington started at just the right time for a photographer such as myself, the last two hours of any day are often the time to be out with a camera taking pictures, it was for this reason that I had booked this particular voyage. Not only was the time right for photographs we additionally we were very glad to find the heat of the day quickly melting away in the chill of the Alaskan waters, standing on the upper decks the boat we were warmed by the sun and cooled by the wind, a perfect combination.

Initially at least the photographs able to be taken aboard our return voyage weren’t as good as good as I had anticipated, we did however have quite a number of hours until the sun would set over the North Western horizon.

Day 5: We stayed put at the Victoria West KOA

Wanting a day off before our return Katherine and I elected to stay put in the previous nights accommodations and tour around our newly embarked country. After a lazy morning playing Uno, cards, and browsing the internet a bit we made ready to head down to Victoria to see the Government buildings and take in some of the sights. A quick 22K from our campsite we were in Victoria and headed to the downtown area, our first obstacle was to find a place to park, and though I didn’t make quick work of it we were quickly parked alongside the government building setting off to see the sights.

First stop was almost a must, the Government building itself, we walked to the Harbor side of the building to get a clean shot of the Buildings face then up to the steps. At the steps we found that they offered a free tour of the building, an opportunity to walk through the corridors and get a lesson on the history of Victoria and British Columbia. Anyone planning on a visit to Vancouver Island, a visit to the Victoria government building is highly recommended and on the short list of things available to do that are free in the Vancouver area.

After having a look through the government building we set out to find some lunch, and some cash, though I could readily use our Visa I wanted to have some cash on hand to save the international charges encumbered on each charge. Not that it would really matter that much but lunch was amazing, I don’t even know how to describe it other than to say that it was a ‚ÄúWest Coast‚Äù sandwich with all the right tastes blended together including cranberries.

I had a tough time with the parking in the downtown area and quickly had to run off to check on the car twice to ensure that we didn’t end up with an international parking ticket. It was for that reason that we left Victoria on the second of such returns to head back to the KOA and find some food along the way. Though it was with frustration that I left Victoria for the fact that the government building is outlined by thousands of lights in the late evenings I had experience enough of the hustle to return to recharge the parking meter.

Day 4: Astoria, Or KOA to Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C. KOA

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The West Victoria, B.C. KOA is a place just off the highway, with only a few things to do. The weather would often bee cool if it weren’t for the heat wave covering almost the entirety of the

Our day started early in a rush to get on the road, with this being our only scheduled activity on the entire trip it was imperative that we be on the read without delay. We had in front of us a 4.5 hour drive at the end of which we were to get on a Ferry from Anacortes, Washington to Sydney, British Columbia, Canada. That was quite an undertaking as it was time imperative that we make our ferry to Sidney, BC so that we didn’t miss our reservations at the KOA. In typical Ford fashion we made it to the Ferry just in time to load and then leave.

This was the first time that Katherine and I would be outside of the United States since being married, and what a build up it was, looking forward to the cooler weather out on Vancouver Island. The ship took off quickly after our boarding with our Outlander, though I’m not sure how long the boat was actually docked in the first place for how quickly they are able to come and go from all of their ports.

Being the first time on a body of water directly connected to the Ocean, it was very fun to be out on the water, there was a since of excitement that couldn’t be broken. There were many things to photograph and many other photographers to talk to; we chatted about equipment and all of the many other things that a photographer can talk about. The boat moved quickly over the water to their first port destination, to take on additional passengers, it seems that a person is able to be picked up from any of the ports on the way to Sidney but not dropped off, that due to the fact perhaps that it is an international sailing. Stops along the way were Orca’s Island and another port that I forgot to grab the name of, every island along the way having it’s own charm.

During our sailing from the last port to Sidney we came across a Bald Eagle that had become water logged from it’s fishing and was attempting to swim it’s way to shore. The boats captain, wanting to be environmentally conscious I am sure, stopped the boat to attempt a rescue of the water logged eagle. During the launching of the rescue craft from the ferry the bird managed to swim very close to shore and by the time that the rescue craft got close enough to assist it landed itself on shore, there was a cheer from the people who had gathered on the rear deck to watch the attempted rescue. The rest of the sailing was spent watching the passing islands and looking at the wildlife accustom to the passing of the passenger ferry and other motor boats.

Upon landing in Sidney with the ferry Katherine and I were at the ready with our passports, hoping that we could get a stamp on them for entering Canada, they were not obliged to accommodate, and neither did I ask, though I guess that I should have. We were asked some basic questions about our intent upon entering Canada and with almost all the correct answers they allowed us onto the island to continue our adventure. One of the first things that we noticed was that the weather wasn’t as cool as we had expected, our extra set of shirts and shorts were going to come in handy as we dealt with the heat of Vancouver Island.

We spent little time looking around and headed directly to the KOA so that we would know where it was and figure out the rest of the evening after our tent was up, for the first time before sunset. Arriving at the KOA we were graciously greeted, our paperwork quickly filled out and our destination spot assigned. We quickly setup our camp sight and headed back into town to find some sustenance as Katherine and I had only had a snack style lunch during our voyage on the ferry. As a suggestion we quickly headed down the mountain to find a place called ‚ÄúThe Little Thai Place‚Äù not quite sure what to order we got what sounded good, the results of which were great, our salad more spicy than anticipated was very enjoyable and the entree full of a flavor all it’s own, we decided that we could come back here if time allowed.

Dinner complete we found some fixings for breakfast and headed back up the mountain to settle in for a good nights rest. The events of the long day and extraordinary amount of sun had sapped all of the energy out of us and we were ready for bed.