Monday, April 4, 2011

Givin' 'er in Campbell River

"That's booty!" Mike excitedly exclaimed as I bent down to retrieve a pair of pricey, polarized, wear-over-existing-prescription-glasses sunnies. While he admitted to being slightly hungover from his wife Barb's birthday the night before, minor overindulgence wasn't going to slow Mike from showing three long-time travelers around Campbell River.

Mere minutes after walking in their door two days before, Quadra Island wine was in my hand, Barb was giving me my weight in Canadian hardcovers and Mike was jumping on the sofa chanting "D-bag, d-bag, d-bag," as I recounted yet another too familiar tale of a man being too good to be true. Lesson: Inquire if lovers are betrothed.

Hungover and happy, I set out with Mike and Barb to cycle what felt like the entire Island, hike a secret path to waterfalls, pop into a sunny pub, relax in their hottub and dig out my one clean top for Barb's birthday. NDP supporters, generously flowing booze and killer food compliments of fellow travelers and Mike and Barb's "new children" Kelsey and Ty solidified the evening as a returning-to-Canada highlight.

(Mike and I at waterfalls via a secret trail)

(Mike and Barb taking in rare Island sun)

I rolled into CR on the high of reconnecting with a friend in Tofino. Blessed with long sandy beaches, a town vibe that's All Island, struggling industry and wronged Aboriginals and the most impressive crew/camp house I have ever seen (they have a housekeeper!), catching up with Andrew after too many summers was seemingly secondary to the stunning islands, big wooded coastal trees and sunsets that held us long after our beers were finished and the actual event over.

(Looking out from Tofino)

(Waiting for the water taxi)

(Bedroom view!)

No Island visit is compete without a stopover of some sort in Victoria and I was fortunate to have two one-nighters with Chetwynd friends. In town for a teacher's conference, Gus met my float plane from the Sunshine Coast and we promptly got to the bottom of several pints before he passed me off to his lovely wife Rachelle. More afternoon brews, light shopping and an evening meal crawl followed before being passed off to Gus again. Several pubs later, we were exploring the Leg grounds and poking around the Empress telling ghost stories.

After meeting downtown Dan and I too set about getting to the bottom of several Island-brewed bottles before hitting up a uni pub. A few hedge dives, horrific nachos and cheese that are always a good idea at the time and a hungover farewell to the sea, I was Alberta and snow bound.

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