Vancouver Island — By Truck

The Vancouver Island coast following the Strait of Georgia offers some excellent views…


…and great little towns for stopping, shopping, and noshing! Qualicum Beach doesn’t allow chain stores, and the bookstore, health food store, clothing and toy stores, home decor shops, restaurants and coffee shops were all bustling! Not to mention — the parking was free. Small towns looking for a way to survive should study this example of success.

When we arrived in Courtenay, we were ready for another overnight. We discovered the Old House Village Hotel and Spa, and booked a third-floor room with a great view of the river and walking trail. Here’s the backside of the hotel:


The Heritage Trail is a paved walking, biking, jogging, rollerblading… and for those who brought dogs, the sign made the rule clear:


The trail not only had its own appeal, taking us along the Courtenay River, “recognized as one of the shortest navigatable rivers in the world”…


…past this tiny harbor…


…where float planes came and went…


…getting hauled to the water and back to the airport with these odd, severed trucks…


…past seals that frolicked despite the water traffic…


..but also past a lumber yard with a sense of humor…


…all the way into downtown Courtenay, where we discovered the best restaurant we’ve found in a long time, Atlas:


How good was the food here? So good we ate here nearly every day we were in town — sometimes twice. Usually it was so good I was eating before I took a photo, but the chicken quesadillas were just hot enough I had a minute while it cooled for this pic:


The one other restaurant in Courtenay we tried was Locals, where the seafood linguini was excellent:


Hiking? We finally found Seal Bay Regional Park but didn’t leave the parking lot for two reasons — didn’t have the right shoes for a steep climb, and signs warning about vehicle theft made us reluctant to leave our out-of-state plated truck in the lot.

Instead, we drove up to Campbell River, which was too crazy with traffic and tourist-y stuff to do more than take a quick look then circle back down to Courtenay where we knew shopping and dining were even better.

Before we could blink, it was time to drive back down to Victoria and park in the belly of the ferry. Talk about a tight fit! I swear we could barely slide a dime between the bumpers of our truck and the vehicles next to them:


As the island vanish behind us, we roamed the deck with a hot coffee, relishing the cool breeze and view of passing ships. Before long we’d be back in the US, “home” to our house on wheels.



About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in Animals, Attractions, Cool Experience, Food, Interesting Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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