Hello Starfish in the Sand

We checked the tide table/chart to ensure we went to Lang Bay during low tide to see all the critters.  We were not disappointed.  We saw starfish, crabs, sand dollars, mussels — all very exciting for prairie folk.

   
    

 This crab had seen better days.

   I love this twisted tree.  

Daisy is ready to take flight.  
But Poppy wants to dig deeper. 

Tomorrow is our last full day here.  There is still so much to see, so we have to choose wisely. 

Powell Lake

We packed some snacks and a change of clothes (in case we got wet) and headed out for another adventure. The Bike Race was on in full force.  We watched as some heats left down the trail near our campsite, but we didn’t wait around to see who won. There are contestants from around the world. Last night, we met people from California who were cheering on a family member, and camped next to us is a couple from Switzerland who are cheering on a friend. Who knew this was happening here?  Not us!  This is a big deal.  There were 4 semis carrying the bikes, several shower trailers, toilets, massage tables, charging stations, and sponsor displays — all changing locations every couple of days for this race.  The participants pay $2000 to compete, but it pays for a moving city!

  
We stumbled upon Powell Lake accidentally today. I had first heard about it in a blog.  A couple from California had come here for a visit and fell in love (I understand completely).  They bought a float home on the lake and moved here permanently when they retired.  They started the blog and wrote some e-books about Powell River.  They provided my first introduction to this place.  Out on the lake, I’m sure I glimpsed their float home, but we didn’t sail in closer to check. This lake is huge. 

  

   
 

Float home:

 
How do you renovate your float home?  You hire a barge to bring your lumber and generator.  This is what we saw while we were leaving:

  
We had an incredible day. Daisy was feeling well enough to come along with us. Both girls are exhausted from all their fun in the sun. 

  
We had dinner at another fantastic oceanside restaurant called Coastal Cookery.  People were taking pictures of their meals, but neither of us brought a camera.  Our meals were beautiful as well as delicious.  I had local tuna — pan-seared, but raw inside.  

Tonight’s final picture is a trail at Valentine Mountain.  

  

Tents, Palms, and a Whale

Daisy has been sick for the past couple of days, so we haven’t been too active.  She did have a big walk yesterday because she seemed well, but she was still sick.  Poor little thing.  Today we took it easy for her sake.

After lunch, we drove to Lund, which is at the end of Hwy 101.  We heard that a campground there may be for sale.  What a sweet campground!  This one is fairly perfect, but due to its location, we are not sure if it makes much money.  The owner has also built 2 cabins and converted a shed to a sleeping shelter for kayakers because once kayakers had arrived wet and tired and needed somewhere to crash.  They asked if they could sleep in the shed.  After that, he fixed it up into tidy quarters.  There was a couple using it today.

We stopped in at a beach that we had heard has good access for kayaks.  While we were checking it out, we got to see an orca spouting water and playing around.  Of course, I couldn’t get any worthwhile pictures.  However, it was mesmerizing to watch.

When we got back, the ferry was coming across the strait from Vancouver Island.  The town was abuzz with excitement because the racers from the BC Bike Race were on the ferry.  Many people from town go down to the dock to welcome them, so we went too.  It was almost like a parade as the racers disembarked.

Pipers welcoming the racers:

  
 There are 600 racers.  Here they come: 
Their gear travelled ahead of them.  During the afternoon, the race staff assembled tents, set out the luggage, stored the bikes, etc.  We were shocked to see that Willingdon Beach Park had been transformed into a tent city!

  
  
 

And finally, yes, there are palm trees here! 

Beaches and Dogs – Friday

This morning, we drove to a few neighborhoods and beaches.  While we were getting ready, the girls were snoozing in the quiet of the campsite:

 Daisy stole Poppy’s chair.  
Poppy didn’t even notice.

 

We have both forgotten the name of the first beach we visited.  It is south of Powell River.  We met a man originally from Germany who was out for a bike ride.  He is 80 years old and looked 60.  He biked the 10 km there for exercise.  He gave us some ideas for businesses.  For example, he said many people heat with wood, but it is hard to get wood delivered.  He said a pick-up truck and a chainsaw and an agreement with the paper mill is the start-up.  He also said that there are many opportunities for people who want to provide services for seniors.   Unfortunately, I did not get to talk to him as long as Paul did because I was cleaning up Daisy’s “tossed breakfast” all down the truck door and on her bed.  Poor baby.

   
      

The next beach we went to was Palm Beach.  In case you are wondering, there were no palm trees there, but lots of houses and businesses have palm trees on their properties — planted, not in pots.  Really!

This picture shows how dry it has been here.  The grass is dried out everywhere.  There hasn’t been any rain.  It looks like Saskatoon in August.

   
 

The Incredible Hulks

The ocean, like Lake Diefenbaker, defeated us again!  Did it see the Hobie coming?  We had no wind, but we still went out today.  We launched at Willingdon Beach (with some difficulty), and travelled north until we came to the old Townsite where the city installed concrete ships as breakwater.  Our friend Gregory had told us about these and sent pictures from his visit.  We weren’t sure if we could get up close, but some women on the beach near the Townsite said we could, so off we went.  There is one by itself, which we were able to float right around.  The others were closer to shore.  These were war ships.  This grouping forms the largest breakwater of its kind in the world.

http://www.thesunshinecoast.com/about/gianthulks.html

  
Trees are taking root.   

Poppy is gettiing a better look.  

The rest of the hulks:

  
Daisy hadn’t been feeling well earlier, so she stayed home.  Poppy was pooped and tried so hard to sleep on the trampoline, but couldn’t:

   

Of course, she got to go “cracker dog” at the beach near the Hulks, and that added to her sleepiness.  Here is the Hobie beached near the Townsite:

  

Two ferries can’t be wrong

This is Powell River’s motto.  Any town that chooses a motto like that deserves a visit.  How could we resist? Currently, the town is trying to attract people to move here.  They constructed a website which includes interviews with newcomers.  Most people telecommute or start a business because there isn’t much work here.  You can’t beat the natural beauty.  It feels quite tropical here, but maybe you should take that with a grain of salt — I’ve lived on the prairies for 20 years now.  We did laundry and hung it to dry, which took most of the day, even with the ocean breeze.  

Our campsite is on the ocean, but on a cliff.  There are some sites down below, directly on the water, but they are close together.  Ours is shaded by gigantic cedars.  We can see the water sparkling and hear the waves lapping at the shore.  It can’t get more peaceful.   The two ferries were not wrong.

   
This is the cliff behind our campsite.  At the bottom is the Sunshine Coast Trail, and beside that is the ocean.

   

We have reached the beach!

We made it to the beach:  Willingdon Beach, Powell River

We took the first ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale.  We were parked next to the big logging trucks on the lowest level.  The ferry loading and unloading was slick.  They kept everyone orderly and moving quickly from each side to keep the boat from tipping.  It was very well orchestrated:

Ferry from Horseshoe Bay

Ferry from Horseshoe Bay

Here are the foot passengers getting off first.  They lined up in front of our truck.

Foot Passengers

Foot Passengers

The first ferry ride was only about 40 minutes.

Then, we drove up the lower Sunshine Coast to Earl’s Cove.  We took the Earl’s Cove ferry to Saltery Bay on the Upper Sunshine Coast.  That ferry ride was about 50 minutes.  I had taken motion sickness medication (which wasn’t needed at all), so I feel asleep before we had even started moving.  Darn.  I took a few videos of us loading and unloading, though.

Here we are lining up for the second ferry:

Earl's Cove

Earl’s Cove

We arrived in Powell River on Wednesday (yesterday) at around 5 pm.

Reach the Beach – Day 4 (Tuesday)

We had our tour of the third and final campground just before lunch. It is a gorgeous property, but small (just over 2 acres). We think that the buildings were constructed in 1999. That was probably when the hook-ups were installed. Most of the equipment was removed by the previous owners (compressor, tools, appliances, mattresses, and even picnic tables). There are 3 hotel rooms and 1 suite. Also, there is a special campsite for a campground host and a bonus site near the entrance by the hotel rooms.

Surprisingly, the house and hotel rooms are in great shape. No one had gone in and ransacked the place. Having a hotel is a little stressful because of the whole bedbug issue.

Riverhaven: office, house, motel

Riverhaven: office, house, motel

One of the motel rooms

One of the motel rooms

Kitchen of main house

Kitchen of main house

The campsites are quite close together, so there isn’t much privacy. Neither of us liked that. It is different than government campgrounds. I suppose private campgrounds have to cram as many in as possible so that they can make a living.

The hook-ups are all very modern; however, many were on the wrong side for trailers. Our friend Rick, who has stayed there before, explained that this is because many motorhomes like to nose in rather than back in. That makes sense. It would take some juggling when people call for reservations.

Hook-ups

Hook-ups

Since every site has full hook-ups, the wash house is small: only 1 toilet and 2 showers in each room.  This is all part of the main building.  You enter into a room where the washers and dryers once were.  To the left is the women’s washroom, and to the right is the men’s.  Both washrooms have tiled floors with modern fiberglass shower stalls.  These were among the top washrooms that I’ve seen in a campground.  Nothing was done as an afterthought.  The whole complex was thoughtfully planned.

One of the shower stalls in the men's washroom

One of the shower stalls in the men’s washroom

Diversification of Income

Below the utility room, there was a room that was only accessible from outside, down some sweet stone steps.  Now, I am no exotic gardener, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t used to grow mushrooms.  What do you think?  I think we could grow our own strain and call it “Riverhaven Heaven Bud.”  We wouldn’t need to use the Airstream like Ricky and Julian did in Trailer Park Boys.

Root cellar

Reach the Beach – Day 3, Part 2

We had a lovely drive through the Okanagan today.  Heading to Hedley!  We stopped at the Airstream dealer in Penticton to get a few more LED interior lights.  There is also a dog park across the street, so it was fun for the whole family. We turned off on Highway 3a to get to Hedley on Highway 3.  The Similkameen Valley is gorgeous.  We have never travelled here before.  It is rolling and winding with rugged rocks and sage brush.  There weren’t as many ranches as I would have expected for such scenery.  When we got to Keremeos, we saw many young people with big backpacks and dogs also carrying little backpacks.  When we got to our campground, we asked the host about this.  She said that most of these kids are here from Quebec to pick in the orchards.  As soon as they arrive, they try to get a dog.  WHY??  She had no idea; however, the local humane societies have all stopped adopting to these seasonal workers.  The dogs looked happy enough, but it is HOT here and it is only going to get hotter and drier.  Do the dogs go into the orchards during the day?  We have no idea. We got some luscious fruit at a roadside stand: fresh juicy cherries and tart apricots.   We eventually made our way to Hedley.  It isn’t far from Penticton, but it is slow going around all the rolling hills.  We are staying at the campground next to the one we are going to see tomorrow.  There is a fence separating the two.  Talk about close competition!   Will Riverhaven be River Heaven? Poppy gives this campground 4 paws up.  We walked down to the river and she enjoyed splashing around.  The babbling river masks the highway noise.  It smells green here.  I wish I could post smell-o-vision.  This is a little touch of paradise.  This is the view from our bedroom window:   After dinner, we walked over to see the campground that is for sale.  We will officially see it tomorrow, but we had to check it out today.  When we looked over the fence, the campsites didn’t look too shabby.  There were very few weeds.  However, upon entering from the front, you can see the effects of abandonment.  The weeds were bursting through the stone pathways.  We really wondered how things went down last August when it was foreclosed.  The guests put their garbage & recycling in the appropriate bins, and there it has sat.  One campsite had children’s water toys left behind and garbage bagged up, but not deposited in the bins.  It is a reality check to see someone else’s hopes and dreams dashed. A glimpse from over the fence: 

Reach the Beach – Day 3

Campground #1.5 

In the morning, I checked my email, and the agent had sent a message that the neighbouring campground may soon be listed and that we should check it out.  We had planned to go anyway to see the competition.  We knew it would have the same noise issues, but it also had beach access to draw in more customers.  We are so glad we went.  We parked along the highway and immediately noticed the campground was full, and there was a 25 foot Airstream parked there.  Things were looking up!

We met the owner.  He and his son purchased it 3 years ago.  Back then, only about 8 sites were usable, but they expanded up the hill.  It is 13 acres with beach access.  The highway is actually ON the property.  It was never expropriated by the government, so that is a concern.  The highway separates the campground from the beachfront house.  Campground patrons walk across the highway to get to the beach at the house.  There is also a dock.  The owners divided the house into 2 apartments and rent those out.  

The campground was full because they have mostly seasonal sites.  The people rent for the season, but most only come on the weekend.  We talked to a couple who stays for the whole summer.  They have had the same site for 2 years, and they have added rockery, planted a small garden, built an Inukshuk, and added solar lighting to the nearby outhouse.  What great customers!  

The current owners cut more campsites into the hill, and the higher you go, the quieter it gets.  It was much more peaceful.  

The icing on the cake is that it has a large sheltered kitchen with a pizza oven!  Yes!  They also had a sink with a propane hot-water-on-demand unit attached to the side of the building.  We don’t know yet what it will be listed for.  I left my camera in the car because I hadn’t expected to get a tour by the owner.  Paul took a few with his phone that we may upload later.