August 1st - 6thTable of Contents
Summary August 1st – August 6th, 2001
August, 1 2001 Victoria International Hostel, Victoria, B.C.
Today was a travel day. I am going to make a concious effort to make this entry short and sweet. I have been so lame with writing in this for the past 5 days, that I need to go back and do some entries from a couple days ago. – So, I woke up at Devora’s house, said "Howdy Neighboor", and was off to the Safeway to get some groceries, while she made breakfast. It was a delectable dish of Scrambled Eggs with broccoli and cheese, grilled potatoes with onions, and bites of leftover steak, and wonderful wheat bread toast with rasberry (nutrasweet) jam. Yum Yum. I got everything I needed at the Safeway, and I was super efficient about it also. I went in, got what I needed, and was out of there. Quick fast in a hurry, flavor vision ain’t blurry.
So, then I drove to Canada. It was a slow drive; there was a lot of traffic along the way, and people drove like idiots. Typical. When I got to a rest stop, I looked at a map, and realized that it might have been better for me if I had taken the ferry from Bellingham to Victoria. It was a more direct route. The way I came, I kind of went past Victoria to Vancouver, and had to come back. But it turned out good in the end.
I got to the border, and decided to take the advice of the gas station people I saw after I came back before. I took the truck exit, and it was amazing the difference in time delay. I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO WAIT AT ALL!!! – I drove right up to the customs stations, had my choice of three different booths, picked one, and drove right up. Same usual questions. "Citizenship?" "U.S.", I said. "Purpose for your visit to Canada?", the woman said. "I am on my way up to Alaska this summer", said me… "Is this your first time in Canada?", she asked. "Nope, I visited last week". "Do you have an I.D. I can check?" "Sure, and I whipped it out." – She also asked if the time I had been through last week was the first time I had been to Canada. I told her about being close to Niagara Falls, and rock climbing. She let me go through. Before I pulled away, I asked her about the Ferries to Victoria. – She pointed me towards a gas station / information place up the road.
I went in, and they didn’t have specific information, but told me that she thought the Ferries go every hour. The directions seemed simple to get there, so I took off down the road. It was about 4:00PM, so I hoped that I would make the 5:00PM ferry. Traffic was fine, and getting to the ferry was a breeze. They had long column like lines that folks lined up in waiting for each of the ferries. I was in column 39, and it was 4:45. While I was getting ready to find a bathroom, I noticed a woman walking by who didn’t have a happy look on her face. I didn’t think twice about it, and went to the bathroom to throw a whiz.
I came back out, and got in my car, I looked to my left and back, and noticed that she was sitting in her car with the hood open, and it wasn’t starting for her. I of course walked over, and made an effort to help her get it started. – It wasn’t cooperating, and the lines started moving, so I said good luck, and moved along.
When my line finally started moving, she was still sitting there in line trying to get it started. I felt bad for her. Once aboard the ferry, I went up to the top deck with my video camera. There was a cute hippy looking girl who was on the same deck as I. I took a couple shots of her, and of the docks and stuff that was all around.
Then after I had finished filming a bit, I went down and talked with her. Her name was Veronica or something. We talked a bit, she was on her way to Portland to see some friends. By way of Victoria, and a couple Islands off the Vancouver Island. She was from Alberta, and was going back to school. A little while later, a guy from England, Raaj, which was short for Rajeesh, who had talked with on the bus came up and asked us for the time. This was an in for him, and he and she started chatting like old friends.
I think the culture in Canada, and England is more similarly related. They seemed to know a lot of the same music, and have the same taste in Beer. I didn’t know many of the band’s or brands of beer they were talking about. Life in the states is certainly different it seemed to me than there experiences. I felt a little out of touch, and old.
They both seemed cool though. They both smoked, and smoked pot too. We were talking outside, and it got really cold, I bore it, but after a while we headed back inside. They were both "On holiday" with just themselves, and were using the bus as transportation. I offered them a ride to the Hostel, and thought I might stay the night also, just for fun. Raaj mentioned a band that was playing at a local bar that he had met the folks on the way over who were playing. It was a hip hop (two dj’s and an mcee), and they were playing at Lucky. It happened to be right across the street from the Hostel.
So, now I am in the Hostel in the Kitchen area typing away, we are going to go check out the band in a little bit. Up towards Port Hardy tomorrow. After checking out Victoria during the day. They have a museum that I might check out, and they have like a miniature village type deal, and that seems interesting.
Raaj, asked if they could spark up in my car on the way to Victoria from the Ferry. I said no. It wasn’t that big of a deal. But, I think they would have liked to be able to. I said it was ok for him to roll a joint in the car, but not to smoke it. He rolled them with a bit of tobacco, to make it easier to inhale.
I saw a couple that was about to get married, because the woman had "Henna" Tatoos all over her hands and feet. I totally think they are cool. Those are the kind of writing decorative that is becoming hip in the states with 13 year old girls. I think it’s cool, because it’s more permant than decals, but less permanent than real tattoos. I read about them in a Tattoo book that Heather had, that belonged to "bubble Boy."
Saying goodbye to Devora wasn’t too bad, but I was a little sad to go. She was a lot lot lot of fun. She rocked. So did her hot tub.
August 2, 2001 Somewhere, about 10km south of Nanamio on Vancouver Island, B.C.
Today I was a busy tourist. I rode my Mountain Bike on BMX trails, and thought the better of jumping over large obstacles, I rode two ferries, witnessed some people smoking pot under a veranda, went up to Maxwell Peak and looked at clouds, Witnessed replicas of the Civil War, WWII, got stranded on an Island, and am still jonsing for a real slice of pizza.
I woke up in the Hostel, quite early for the slamming of washroom doors, and snoring of dorm mates, tried to sleep some more to no avail, then decided to go downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. I had my normal fare of Raisin Bran and Skim milk. Sans Tomato juice. Went back up stairs and packed. I saw the cute traveler going down as I was going up the stairs. I am sad I missed her. I get the sense it would have been tough conversation though, with her thick accent and all.
Then I walked to my car, and headed to MINITUARE WORLD… - Downtown Victoria was a quaint sailing / port. It had quite a few expensive hotels, around the main bay, on Governor street which seemed like the main drag into downtown. I parked next to the Royal British Colombia Museum, and the Parliament building. Walked a few blocks and found the MINI replica place.
Miniature world was a bunch of diagrama’s, or models of various in Victoria’s history, and other parts of history represented in small scale models. There is 20, 30, and 40 scale models. I think most were 30, with a couple 20, and one 40. The smaller the number the smaller the replica’s. Many of the models were interactive. I pushed buttons to make propellers turn, trains move, streetcars run, and coal mines activate. There was a fantasy castle model, which had replicas of many European Castles. I like that. The first part of it was lame. It was about this fantasy portal to other regions of space that was discovered in 2135.
After Mini world, I walked around a bit, and checked out the visitor center. Then I was hungry, and went to the car. I was kicked out by a policeman who said I was nearing the 2 hour limit. I went to look for another parking spot. Found one, then walked back to the visitor center to ask about walking tours. I got the self guided one, which had three tours. It was ok in the beginning, but ended me up in a mall. How historic is that? NOT. I kind of picked on the second tour, then walked back to my car.
I decided that I wanted to ride my bike around Victoria. I found another parking lot which let you have 2+1/2 hours for 2 dollars. That was good. I bought it, then unpacked the bike, and started riding. I set my stopwatch, because I wanted to make sure I didn’t go over the time. 8 minutes 35 seconds later, I found some BMX trails, and rode around them for 5 minutes or so. They were fun, but I wasn’t feeling to aggressive, since I had street clothes on, and my fanny pack, so I avoided many of the large jumps. – They weren’t really meant for mountain bikers anyway. They were meant for the little BMX bikes.
I rode some more, then made my way back to the car. Then headed to the Royal British Colombia Museum. It was a little lame. The part in the beginning about Natural History and such on the second floor was LAME with a capitol L. Then there was an exhibit on Emily something or other. She was an artist who apparently did a lot for Victoria, and Canada. She was direct, and sometimes rude. My favorite quote of hers was "I hate like the devil words. Artists communicate with paint, and conversation does not come easy." Or something like that.
Upstairs was a little better. They had a good First Nations exhibit, and "Old Town Victoria" exhibit. I liked learning about the different kinds of masks that depicted various things, and animals.
I left, and headed back to the car to head up to the port I had come in on the day before to go to Salt Spring Island. I got there about a quarter to 4:00PM, and the next ferry was at 5:00PM. I thought it was at 4:00, and they were just putting me on the next. So, when they were almost finished loading the row next to me, I asked the traffic director dude if this was the 4:00PM to Salt Spring. He said "No"… then following a long pause… "This goes to Galliano, and Mayne" … Salt Spring should be coming around the bend soon." – I felt better knowing that I hadn’t missed the 4:00pm.
Then I was beat from walking around, and crap all morning, so I took a nap. Made me feel 100% better. Then I manged on Bavarian Pretzels from Safeway, and Orange Juice. Yumm. I woke up, and headed onto the Ferry. I got out a little on the ride, and took some pictures and stuff. But it was raining most of the way, so I spent majority of the time in my car. I did take mpg of us landing.
Then got to Salt Spring, and went to the local pub to get directions to the park and such. Gave me a map to Mt Maxwell, and the rest of the Island. Gange is the main town area, and has shops and stuff that might be interesting to me. I went up to Mt. Maxwell on the way to Gange. It was one of the worst, most narrow, most steep, poorly maintained roads that I have encountered on my trip so far. – My reward for taking the road to the top of Mount Maxwell? – Nothing, I couldn’t see a thing for the clouds that encumbered the island. It has been raining most of the day, and solidly since I got to the Island. So, I got to the top, and checked out the viewpoints, I could see only clouds. Bummer.
I pulled into Gange, and felt like Chai Latte, I found the coolest little café, and sat down in the open air shelter and started reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakeauer. – Thanks Devora. It instantly captivated me, and I’m sure will be a great read. Then I walked around downtown, which was about the size of three blocks. Saw some hippies. – This place has been described twice to me by different individuals as "A little Hippy town", so rightly so, I saw them. Two had a bunch of stuff sprawled out under a pagoda, and were eating. Another two were smoking pot the end of a pier. They saw me, and looked me up and down before taking another hit.
I saw a couple picture worthy things, but my camera was in the car. It was also full. I was in a rush to make the 8:30 ferry back to the mainland from a more northern port, Vesiuvius than the one I came in on. It was 8:00 when I got all the pics downloaded from my camera to my laptop, and started taking some of the town of Gange. I got a couple good shots and headed to Vesiuvius. I got there at about 20 after 8:00PM, and no one else was there. I went down to look at the schedule, and got paranoid.
Did I ever mention that I am a little more paranoid than the average bear. Well, I read the sign wrong, and thought that I had missed the last ferry off the Island from Vesiuvius. I thought that it was at 8:00PM, and it was 8:20 now. So, I decided to drive the 31km back to the other port, and see if I could catch that ferry. When I got there, I was short on gas too. – The sign said that the last ferry from this port was at 8:00pm. So, I figured that I was stranded. I looked at a revised schedule, and it indicated that the ferries from Vesiuvius were still correct, and had remained the same. 8:30, 9:30, 10:30… SO, I headed back up there to see. I thought maybe this sign was ½ right, and the other ½ wrong. – And the sign at Vesiuvius was the other half wrong and the first right…
I got threre at around 8:55, behind someone else who was waiting, and walked down to look at the schedule again. I had misread the posted notice, and interpreted the changed Port Margy schedule to be the one for Vesiuvus. So, there was an 8:30PM ferry, it just hadn’t arrived yet. So, I drove from port to port, and back again for nothing. – The next ferry was due in ½ hour, but I had a major pizza jones, so I went back to Gange which was 6km from Vesiuvius, to try and find a pizza place. The one I found open didn’t sell individual slices. Only pies, and pasta. Bummer.
I drove back to Vesiuvius, and waited until about 10:30 for the ferry. It totally skipped the 9:30, and went straight for the 10:30. – It was free too which was kind of cool. I didn’t expect that. On the ride, I wanted to re-organize my ride in sleep mode, so I pulled forward, so that I could get my back hatch open, and hit the guy in front of me. He came out, and wasn’t too pissed. His rear bumper had already been in an accident before, and was all rusty. I asked him if it was ok, and he said "It will be fine".
When I got back to Vancouver Island, I followed him towards town, because I certainly didn’t know how to best get back to I1 north. I had hoped to get to Nanaimo tonight, but I ended up here. I was sleepy, and this looked like a good place to rest. Good Night.
August, 3, 2001 Warf Parking lot next door to I.V.’s Pub in Port Hardy, B.C.
Mostly travel today. I got a latish start from the rest stop. I kind of took my time, and waited for my morning poop which didn’t come until around 9:00ish. I read while I waited. Then I started North for Nanaimo. I arrived in the Port city adjacent to several gulf Islands around 10:00am. The signs off the Provincial Route 19 towards the local Information Centre (Correct Canadian Spelling) were easy to follow, but once there, a sign on the door read "Centre moved to 150 Commercial Street". – That would be fine, except for the fact that I didn’t have a map, nor any idea how to get to commercial Street.
I drove around a bit, and found a mall parking lot where I parked my rig. I walked a little bit to a local Marina, and found it pretty and stimulating, so I decided to walk around a bit. On the far side, I caught site of a river otter diving under the water towards some sailboats. I followed it’s bubbles for maybe 50 feet or so, trying to catch a glimpse, but then they stopped. I don’t know where the otter went to. I little trip around some beautiful Gulf Side Condos, which were right next to the B.C. Ferries port led me to a Trail / Park map.
I followed the trail down the other side of the Marina, and towards the North end of town. I saw bunches of people walking their dogs, folks crabbing on one of the piers, other folks watching the sea planes take off. Still others exercising in the brisk windy morning air. It was cloudy, and drizzled / rained a large part of the day.
I had my camera which seems to be behaving normally, except for the water residue inside the lens. – I hope it holds out for the rest of the trip. – The thing is indispensable. I twiddled the loose change in my pocket, and my keys in the other while I strolled around the paths that made up the parks / piers / Restaurants / shops that is downtown Nanamio.
On my way back I gave some change to a young man strumming his guitar on a park bench. He reminded me of Nathan. – Not as talented of course. I then realized that there were several vendors in a space above the pier. I walked up, and browsed their wares. – Nothing caught my interest.
I found my car, and then drove back the way I had come. I happened upon Commercial street, and turned up it. On my way, I passed several vagrants, and people who seemed to be living on the street. – I think that kind of thing is more accepted around here, since the town is generally a tourist town, and ½ way point between the North end of the Island and Victoria. Especially since there are signs at the rest areas that say "Please limit your stay to 8 hours". – Gotta like a town that is vagrant friendly.
I went to the Visitor center, and asked about the "Petroglyph Provincial Park", which was in the AAA book that I have. At the chamber of commerce, I got directions and spoke with the bleached blonde pregnant woman about interesting things to do in Nanaimo. – She asked where I was from, and when I said New York she exclaimed, "You don’t have an accent." – I think I responded something like "Feh getta ‘bout it." I also asked her how long it was to Port Hardy. She got a surprised look on her face, like I was in a supermarket in Florida asking someone how far it was to Spokane, WA, and responded "At least 8 hours". – "hmm" I said. She looked it up, and it turned out to be more like 6+1/2.
I then checked out the ‘glyphs. – They were cool, but tough to see with all the forest leaves, moss, and pine seeds all over them. Then I headed South to catch the highway north again. There were some lame square tablets in the ground at the beginning of the trail, which pissed that I had come here for them, I thought were it, I re-read the sign. – It was a few yards walk away. – Oh, ok…
It rained pretty heavily on the way to "Qualicum Beach". – I decided to take the OceanView Drive up on alternate 19A towards the next town. While I was at the shore, I was taking some quick pictures, and two female hitchhikers strolled up behind me. I said "Where are you guy’s going?" – "Palmer bay" they responded. "Let me go to the bathroom, and I will take you there." – "Cool, that was easy, they responded."
When I got back looking for the washroom, I moved some stuff around, and fit them and their bags into the Subaru. – I got this baby efficiently packed. I can still fit two people, two very full backpacks, and two day packs in her. – With room to spare even. NICE…
They were both from San Francisco, and in college just finishing a research project that involved hitchhiking around Vancouver Island, and nearby, and interacting with people in there respective disciplines. One’s name was Bridget, and the others was odd and it escapes me. The one who I don’t remember had just broken her collar bone, and was debating whether or not to seek medical assistance prior to getting home in 5 days. – I reflectively said "Wow, that would be a tough choice for me too.", and remembered that I have to continue my Cobra payment. We had fun talks about life, and what they are doing. Then it was at their stop.
I let them off near the ferry, and headed back on the road to Campbell River. On the way out of town, I saw a guy with a sign to go there, and didn’t pick him up. I had already re-organized my car. – It was funny how I missed talking with people when I had let them off. It was kind of like how a child must feel when a new toy is just taken away from them. – Let down and empty.
In Campbell River, I found the Info. Centre, and asked about the Highest Peak on Vancouver Island, and the Highest Waterfall in Canada. Both were in a Provincial Park in the middle of the Island. The waterfall was only accessible via Nanaimo, a canoe ride, and 15 mile hike. So, I wasn’t going to see that. The peak was also quite a ways hike into the park. – Neither did I want to see that.
I opted for the Elk River Provincial Park, and the Campbell River Hike. – It was supposed to take an hour 45, I did it in an hour. I hoped to see "Pink’s (Salmon) are in the water now (spawning)", as the Info Center Attendant had said. – But I didn’t see any. I did see what I think was an individual tending to his pot plants, on the side of the trail. He had stowed his bike, and was hiking in some area that definitely was not a worn trail. Mountain Biking was illegal on the trails too, and he had a backpack, and an aura that meant grass.
I got back into town, and stopped at the Supermarket and bought food. I bought some OJ, and once back in the car had a swig. – The cashier asked if I needed any bags, to which I pensively said "No, I think I’ll be ok." -- It didn’t taste too good, and I looked at the date. It had expired yesterday. I thought about it a bit, went back inside, and asked to return it. – All the remaining six OJ’s that I liked were also expired on August 2. – So, I got some pulp. I should be ok with that. I told them of the remaining 6, and they didn’t really seem to care about it.
On the road to Port Hardy. It was a windy, narrow drive the entire 2+1/2 hours. I like kilometers. It makes things seem like they are going by much faster. The road had a ton of trees, and beautiful Mountain Vistas. The majority of the roads along the main thoroughfare were logging roads. Often there were signs, visible from the car "Forested 1985 – Replanted 1985 – Fertilized 1992." --- I like seeing things like that. – Even though the scarred Mountain sides tell the tale of serious logging activities. It looks like somebody’s first shaving experience where they missed several spots, and ended up cutting themselves several times.
In Port Hardy, I went first to the Ferry port to see if anyone was there. Nobody, then I looked for places to park overnight on the road back. There were none legal that I could see. A very promising spot was a rest area right next to the Ferry port, but there was a large sign saying "No overnight camping". Bummer. In town, it was raining again. I still had a pizza jones. I would swear, nobody in Canada sells individual Pizza slices.
As, I got out of my car near the one pizza place, and approached the two locals who were conversing outside of it, they asked "You gonna leave that running?" "Sure" I said, they both responded – "Oh, they’ll take it from you. You better watch out." They were kidding with me of course. – Then I asked later about places to park for the night, and they both recommended the rest area. I asked about the sign, and they seemed to indicate that because I had out of state plates, and the cops know the Ferry leaves the next morning they won’t bother me. – I thought that was cool, and will head back there later.
They also told me to hit I.V.’s for some local fare. – Food was ok, service was lame, company was lamer. Not really what I was looking for, but I got to have a couple slices of "West Coast Toast". This was a bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, shrimp and crab topped with Cheddar Cheese, and "Special Sauce". It wasn’t that great. The bowl of chowder was fabulous though. Had celery in it which added a nice kick.
August 4, 2001 "Queen of the North" Ferry from Port Hardy, B.C. to Prince Rupert.
Today, I met two wonderful enrichers of children’s lives on a Ferry. Last night, I drove to the rest area near the entrance to the B.C. Ferries port in Port Hardy. When I got there around 12:00AM. I pulled in ignoring the sign that plainly said "No Overnight Camping", and pulled up between the three or four other R.V.’s that were parked on the far right end of the parking area.
As soon as I had parked, and set up my sleeping area, I crawled in the back, and tried to fall asleep. I heard some booming coming from the direction of the Ferry. At first I thought it was the engine or something, but it turned out to be someone’s "BOOMING SYSTEM". I heard many different dance tunes that I can recognize from dance bars. Someone was having a car party, because I heard girls squealing intermixed with the High’s of the Treble, and the boom of the bass.
The guy next to me, opened his little screen in the side of his camper, and turned on the light, took a look at me, thinking that it was me that was making the noise. – It was of course not. I thought that I would be able to sleep through it, but 3 songs later, I had to jam and find other accommodations.
I slept up the road near where the "Central Coast Ferries" had their port. – I must say that sleeping in the car when it is raining outside, sucks eggs. I get way too hot, and the entire inside of the car get’s condensed, and unsleepable. – I woke up last night twice dripping with sweat. Unfortunately, I can’t roll the windows down for risk of getting wet in the rain. – So I suffer with getting wet by sweating. PUKE… I will possibly use my other sleeping bag tonight, and experiment with the temperature thing. – Hopefully it just doesn’t rain.
SO, I woke up early and drove in the rain to the Port. I got there, and waited in line with the rest of the folks. I was lucky to be one of the earliest people on the boat. I could have taken advantage of it and gotten a seat, but I sat in my car, and had breakfast. – Then I went upstairs and freshened up.
Exploring the boat was fun. There are 7 decks. My car, and the lowest car deck is #3. #4 is also a car deck, #5 is kind of the main lounge deck. It has a restaurant and bar on one end, and a café / a la carte’ on the other end. – There is also access to the outside decks on that level. That is where I am now, in the Lounge Area / Bar, listening to our resident entertainer play music for us. "Your drunk, Your drunk, you silly old skunk, as blind as blind can be, that is a blanket that mother sent to me."
The sixth floor has cabins, and the main forward viewing / lounge area. Most of the people set up their stuff on some of the chairs in this deck. – I didn’t. – The seventh floor either has more cabin’s, or nothing, but outside access.
It is a pretty big boat for a Ferry, with several amenities. I am very happy with the experience so far. You can tell when the boat goes over some waves, because it lists slowly. It is not at all like a typical boat ride, it’s actually almost worst, because it is much slower, and more gradual. But I am used to it.
So, we got started quite late. – It took them an hour and ½ to fix some breaks on the port side lifeboat. -- > I’m glad they fixed them.
So, after that I went around, and scoped out the rest of the boat, and met Christina and Vicki. They are both teachers on Vancouver Island, and on Holiday to the Queen Charolette Islands. They are both very fun, and we have been hanging out most of the day.
The ride is long. It is about 15 hours in total. I attended some interpretive lectures on the route, and bears. The islands around are covered with coniferous trees, and pretty much nothing else. We saw humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, salmon jumping in the water, bald eagles, bunches of other boats, and several lighthouses along the way. It was a beautiful, albeit foggy and overcast ride. It rained a large portion of the day. During the rainy times I tried to stay inside, and during the non- rainy (not sunny) times, I was often outside taking pictures of the islands, and of the wildlife.
It was a fun, relaxing day. The musical director on this trip should be rewarded. I have heard Alman Brothers, John Lee Hooker, Paul Simon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Denver, as well as an excellent guitar player.
I got some great information from Christina about Fibro Mialgia, and other things. I wrote it down on another sheet of paper, actually my bookmark for "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakeauer. That is a great book.
The two interpretive folks who put on the lectures about the islands, and bears and stuff were named Sandy and Mel, (Male and Female), both live in Prince Rupert now temporarily.
-That is all, I am tired.
August 5th, 2001 Undeveloped Campsite on the shore of a Lake 15km east on Provincial Route 16 from Prince Rupert.
Last night I woke up around 2:00AM with an incredible need to relieve myself. I woke up, and drove to Safeway, closed. Then I found the 7 / 11 right next door. I had already reached maximum capacity both front and back, and was about to explode. Walking was difficult. There was one woman working at 7 / 11. I walked past her, and straight towards the bathroom. It was locked. I asked "Is anyone in there?" She responded, "Oh… no, it’s locked. Here is the key, and she held up a large plastic thing that said read "Washroom Key, and attached to it was the key." – I hobbled back to the counter, took the key, and returned to the entrance of the bathroom. I keyed in, and didn’t have time to wipe the seat, I pulled em down, sat down, and let it go. Any longer, and I would have probably shit myself. Five minutes later, that little ordeal was over, I thanked her, (She was surprisingly cordial for someone just using the ‘lou, so I made sure to get my gas from them the next day. ) and drove back down to the Cow Bay Merchant Parking lot, where I slept.
Next morning woke up again, needing to pee. I drove this time to Safeway again, which was open. There was only one bathroom, and someone was in it. So, I waited until they were finished, and used it for the necessities, brushing my teeth, and washing my face.
Then I went back to the car, had breakfast, washed my dish, and felt like sleeping some more. I did for a bit, until a large dog interrupted my rest for about an hour by it’s barking. After my pseudo rest, I found the Visitor Centre. I had heard all sorts of announcements on the radio in the morning for "RiverBoat Days" in Terrace. They had a soapbox derby, fireman "follies", as I call them, concerts throughout the day in the "George Little Park", and other events.
I asked the info guy how far it was to Terrace, and he said "’Bout an hour and ½." – So, I decided to head there today, and spend tomorrow in Prince Rupert. The drive to Terrace, although mostly rainy, was incredibly scenic. It reminded me very much of Glacier Park, with a couple caveat’s. One, there were about 1/10th the people on the road as there are heading to Glacier. And if you have ever been to Glacier, you know it’s fairly remote, and not too many people often head there. Two, The road was mostly flat, and followed a River, so there was no real steep switchbacks, and difficult slow turns. Three, there was a lot more water involved. Most of the time I followed alongside the river, in front and to the south of the road were mountains, often whitecapped peaks, with hugging, and weaving in and around them. The ride in itself cheered me to get over the fact that the weather was sucking.
Terrace was ok. I headed to the Info place, and got the low down. The two attendants were college girls attending University in Victoria. – The one who helped me mentioned that most of the Big Event’s happened on Saturday. – I didn’t really care. The events that were still going on today were the "17th annual Slingers Race", the "2nd annual Wild and Wet Wheelbarrow Race", the 1st annual BMX / Skateboard Competition, and the Concert’s in the Park.
The Slingers Competition was waiters and waitresses going head to head, in relay races, or individual competitions, carrying a tray full of glasses, and a bottle of champagne. The two water glasses were filled with water, as was the wine glass, and bottle. The competitors had to go through an obstacle course. Duties included, circling a chair, stepping over a teeter – totter log, through a high tire like thing, then another chair. They had to put the tray down, take off the stuff, then put it back on, and go back the other direction.
It was amusing, especially with the audience in the beer garden screaming wildly cheering for there favorite group or individual. One particular waitress was awesome. She was built like a Mac truck from her shoulders to her thighs, but had surprisingly nice legs. She friggen cooked, I mean she was super fast going through the course. Her closest competitor, was like a good 10 seconds behind. A couple of times in the races, one of the people dropped a glass, and it smashed. The announcer, and proprietor of the BackEddy Pub, who were the hosts this year, said "That was a smashingly good time."
After I got bored with that, I went to check out the Skateboard / BMX competition. As it was "pissing" as one kid I overheard it referred to. It was kind of raining / drizzling a little, the competition was delayed. At 3:00, it was supposed to start at 2:00PM, they had a meeting to go ahead with the BMX freestyle comp. The skateboarders would have to wait until tomorrow.
It was ok, they went right to the finals, since there weren’t enough contestants to have prelims / etc. I got a lot of it on tape. A couple of the runs that the older guys made were pretty awesome. I was impressed, but not blown away. Give me a freestyle / BMX bike that is dialed in, and 30 minutes, and I could pull some crazy stuff.
Then I headed down to the Park to eat some dinner, and listen to the bands a bit. – Ok, nothing great, I got some interesting shots. Then around 5:30, I headed back to Prince Rupert. Although it was again raining on the way back I stopped intermittently, and snapped some shots of the impressive vistas.
I even stopped to offload some of the pics to the laptop. Once back in town, I found an internet café, and grabbed my e-mail. – It took a while to get hooked up, because the guy didn’t know what there configuration was doing, but I got broadband for a bit. It was nice to have, but I didn’t bide my time right, I should have worked first, then done my internet in a burst. It would have been cheaper, I will do some work on this guy tomorrow, then go in and burst for about 30 minutes.
Tomorrow, the B.C. Museum, maybe a shower, and work on the web site. Also, apply to pay my Verizon account on line. DO not forget that.
I have been thinking about going about writing differently. I don’t seem to feel super creative at night, and it seems only like an exercise to dictate, and capture what I have done during the day at the end of each. I like writing when I feel creative, and about things that don’t really have to do with my day. – I will think about this more later.
August 6th, 2001 Ketchikan Alaska. (M.V. Kennicott from Prince Rupert bound for Ketchikan, AK)
I woke up in a nice little "off route 16 from Prince Rupert to Terrace", non developed campsite, and was pleased with my morning view. I took some pictures before heading back into town, and starting my day. I ambled around a bit, bought some groceries at Safeway, and signed up for a Safeway club card. I didn’t give them my phone even though there was a spot for it on the sign up sheet.
Then I had breakfast, and organized my vehicle in the Safeway parking lot. Then headed down the block to the Museum of Northern British Colombia. It was mostly First Nations artifacts, totems, and replicas. It was a good museum, although a little small. – The last exhibit was native peoples just doing things in town, fishing, playing baseball, talking, etc. But there were some very good shots. – I would like to be able to have the skills + timing to get some of those shots. Pictures of people are the most interesting. Especially when you catch them in a little bit of a magic moment. I often times see those moments, but am unable to capture them because they are so fleeting and haphazard.
Then when I was about to leave the museum to head to the Java dot cup cyber café to do some internet, I remember what another tourist said about the Salmon Cannery exhibit, and asked the Information Desk dude about it. He said "The best time to arrive there is between 12:40 and 1:00, because that’s when they start the tours." He also said, "It takes about a ½ hour to get there," because it’s in Port Edward which is the next township over.
It was about 12:15, and I figured that if I spent an hour there on the tour and was back in Prince Rupert by 2:00PM at the latest, I would have plenty of time to go online, update my website, and still be at the Ferry Dock by 6:00PM to depart for Ketchikan.
As it turns out, the Salmon Cannery is actually an authentic Fishing Village with many shops and exhibits, and there are different tours on the hour. The 1:00PM tour was the fishing methods tour, the 2:00PM tour was the cannery line tour, the 3:00PM show was a one man 7 act play that depicted the history of the canneries. – I bought the one admission which got me entrance into all the tours, and I could check out whatever I wanted. 2:00PM back in Rupert was beginning to be a pipe dream.
I walked around a bit in the cannery, and looked at some of the exhibits, then it came upon 1:00PM, and time for the fishing methods tour. I really wanted to get the "Line" tour, and see how they did the canning, but that was at 2:00PM, it was 1:00PM now. – Oh, by the way, it was raining / drizzling pretty much all this time. It had rained all through the night, and most of the day was wet with small occasions of just clouds.
The tour guide was a young man who had just graduated High School, still had acne, was tall and blonde, and had quite a wry sense of humor. Looking at a tank full of "Fry Salmon", he said "This used to be full with quite a bit more fry, more like twice as many as there is now, and when we fed them, I would ask the tourists to watch to make sure that none of them fell out of the tank." It was a real feeding frenzy. But then… some of them started to die. So, we reduced the number." I had what could be called ½ way between a laugh, and ½ between a giggle, but it lasted for a while. Really it was just the way he said that little remark. Very funny. I wish I had recorded that. Me and another cute woman with short brown hair on tour looked at each other after he said it and our laughs lasted a little longer because of it.
Later I met her. Her name was LouAnn, and she was a leader for a kind of work study program for college students. I talked to one of the other students, and she told me that they had been away from home for 7 months. "We spent 3 months in Quebec, three in Manitoba, and the last four in Terrace, B.C." – She had Dreads, and all she talked about was "Partying", and missing it so much, and wanting to get home so she could "Party" with her friends some more. It had been seven months since she had last "Partied." –
Since she emphasized it so much, I figured this was her way of asking me if I had any pot. I didn’t, and decided to just ignore the innuendo. I was more interested in talking with the Leader of the group, the girl with the short hair, even though dread head was slightly intriguing.
So, LouAnn was kind of cool. Definitely reserved, and not really extraverted. Earlier when I saw her before the tour, I got a nice look and a smile, so I figured she might think I was cute or something. – Later when we were sitting down for tea, she was still cool, so I figured that she probably wasn’t interested, had a boyfriend, or was interested in girls. I still got her e-mail, and may write her some time. She lives near Toronto, and maybe I will drop her a line on my way back through Canada.
The fishing methods tour was interesting. The quirky wry tour guide added his own little sense of humor to it, which made it more tolerable. We learned about gill netting, purse seining, trolling, and trawling. All were kind of fish specific, and were slightly different.
After tea with LouAnn, I checked out a little of the 7 act play, was not too interested, and made a not so graceful exit towards the end of the 5th? Act. I motored back to town, concerned about my fuel level most of the way back. Because I was quite low, and it was about 15km back to town. I made it back to 7/11 and filled up. My gauge was touching the last empty line.
Then I drove to the front of Java dot cup, and got the stuff together that I wanted to put up on the site. I kept wanting to do more, but I figured that I would need an hour to do everything I needed. I wanted to be at the Ferry Terminal at 6:00PM, and it was getting on quarter after 5, so I grabbed what I had ready, and headed into the Café. I bought a Cranberry juice cocktail to accompany my updates. – I got on, and pushed all my stuff up that I needed, and still had a little time to do some other asthetic updates. However, I forgot to send an e-mail to the group stating that I had sent an update, so people might not know it’s there. – Oh well. It’s only a couple pages of text from the wedding anyway. I may endeavor to do some updates tomorrow.
Then I got down to the Ferry terminal, and there was a sign that said "Alaska Ferries Stop Here". – It was about 6:15, and the Ferry was supposed to leave at 7:00PM. – I was a little nervous, got out of my car, and started walking towards the booth. There was a fence around it, because U.S. customs was also in the building, and I had to walk back the direction that I had come. Then someone in a reflective tank, yelled "Is that you?" gesturing at my car, I said "Yea", he asked "You leaving tonight?" "Yes Sir" I yelled back, "Come on down then" he called up to me. – I boogied back to the car, and drove down to him.
I had to get my tickets and such, and went inside the office. A younger guy working the computer gave me my ticket, and helped me re-arrange my schedule a little to include the port of Sitka. – As I was getting done, a huge group of about 50 kids came through the office from the left side. They all had to go through customs, and were quite loud. One of the older guys working behind the booth yelled "Settle Down!", to which they slightly responded.
I went back to my car, and went through customs. I had wondered how they were going to do that, if it was going to be in the port of Ketchikan that I was going to have to go through, or here. It was here, the woman wasn’t like a typical Customs person, she didn’t care how long I was going to be in Alaska, she was more concerned about what I had bought in Canada. – Which was really nothing besides food.
The next woman’s job was to collect my ticket. I asked her if I was back on American Soil, and she said "Yes you are". – It was a very positive, kind of coming home to see family feeling that I had when I got back on American Soil. I was surprised to notice how much I really missed my country of citizenship, with all it’s faults, and a lousy president. It was a happy good feeling. – I was on my way to Alaska.
On the M.V. (Motor Vehicle) Kennicott, I started to walk away from my car thinking that I would have access to it thoughout the trip, as I did on the B.C. Ferries. No such luck. When I walked towards the elevator, I read a large sign that said "U.S. Coast Guard Regulations restrict access to the car deck during passage". I took the elevator up, and asked the first person on the boat that looked official. – It turned out to be a U.S. Forest Service guy. – He confirmed my concern about the inaccessibility of my car during the ride. Bummer.
So, I ran back downstairs, (we were on Alaska time by the way), I am still not sure how this relates to Pacific Time. I think Mountain and Alaska time are the same. I think this because I had to move my clock back an hour instead of forward like I had thought. I pulled out my climbing gear out of my one backpack, and filled it up with stuff for the trip. Food, water, books, layers of clothing. Then I frantically made a sandwhich, because I was hungry, and headed up on the ship.
The difference between boat’s and ships is that you can have a boat on a ship, but you can’t have a ship on a boat. – So, I walked around the ship. It was MUCH bigger than the B.C. Ferries, with many more decks, and a lot more room. The life rafts had kind of plastic covers on them, to shield those folks inside from the elements. The upper decks didn’t really have good access to the side of the ship that you could check out the water and views that well. – It felt much more like a resort vessle, than a Ferry. I liked the homey feel of the B.C. Ferry much better. But now I know that many people bring their sleeping bags up, and sleep in some of the nooks and crannies of the different decks that are sheltered. So, I know to bring mine next time. I didn’t this time, because I didn’t really think about sleeping too much.
I talked to a guy named John from California who was with his Son John. – It was his last kind of vacation before college, and he was going to take him back up to where he had lived for 18 years of his life. I told him my story, and he again warned me that Alaska sometimes catches people. – He said that "I went up there to spend some time with my friends for a long weekend, and ended up staying for 18 years." –
Then I talked to a couple from one of the Canadian Provinces. They were very nice, kind of quirky maybe, but they were heading up with another couple to visit a place where they knew some friends. – Then I found a guy on the back of the boat who had been on the same Ferry as me to Prince Rupert. I recognized his face, and went up to talk with him. His name was Jurgen, he was with his girlfriend, I can’t remember her name, and a girl named Narelle from Austraila who had met them in a Hostel the night before.
We all talked a lot and I entertained them a good bit. Politics, how crappy our president was, Racisim, and how serious a problem it is in their country. Belgium. Trying to rent Station Wagons, sleeping arrangements, etc. – They both had very good english. They knew a lot of different languages, because Belgium is like that. They knew Spanish, German, Dutch, French, and English. Where we were going, and what made us do it. How long a vacation from work we got. – They each get 4 weeks. Europeans have it made man.
Then we went to check out the Tongass National Forest guy talk about the ride and such. – It was a little boring. Later Jergen and his girlfriend took a break to eat, and I ended up talking with Narelle. It was good light hearted conversation, and I was in such a good mood to be going to Alaska finally, that I think that made it much better.
She was an O.T., and had like myself quit her job to go visit her Aunt and Uncle in Whitehorse, in the Northern Territories. – She had just spent a week on the Queen Charolett Islands. She said they were incredible. I didn’t get a chance to check them out when I was in Rupert. – We talked about drugs, and working, and life, and where we had been, it was good talking. I had fun with her.
We played cards and dice later, and agreed that I would visit her in Whitehorse on my way back down to Rochester from Alaska. Whitehorse is on the way to Banff and Jasper from Alaska. Then I curled up in a corner to sleep for an hour before we docked. It was about 1:00AM. The place that I was sleeping was right next to the door to the outside, and a ton of kids walked through it getting off the Ship.
I woke up to my Alarm, and stood up to see that we were coming into port. – I threw a whiz, then went outside to take some quicky pictures of the dock. Some of them came out cool. Then shook hands with Jurgen, and told him that Narelle had my e-mail in case he wanted to keep in touch, and I went back down to the car deck.
It took us about 20 minutes to get the cars backed up, and unloaded. – When I drove off the boat, I went to the nearest parking lot, arranged my vehicle for sleep mode, and drove off in search of a place to bed down. – I found a smashing place in the Airport Parking lot. It was free long term parking, and unattended. So, I squeezed in beside an SUV, and went to bed. – Quite restful actually.