We left Sechelt about 6:20 am on June 23, stopping at Java Docks in Madeira Park for a breakfast wrap on the way. We ate it at the Earls Cove ferry terminal. The ferry was right on time and we left at 8:25. This is a lovely 50 minute ferry ride - lots of green, some snowy mountains and a big waterfall. We stopped to visit a friend at Bootlegger in Powell River then headed for the ferry terminal there. The ferry is a new one with loading a bit of a challenge for ferry staff. There is a lower car deck that is accessed by a ramp that raises like a trap door and cars go down underneath. The ride was smooth but not sure how it would be in any wind.
We arrived in Comox just after 1:00. We stopped for gas at Costco, the liquor store, then M & M Meats (Larry had a $50 gift certificate so we bought a few meals for Ucluelet), then checked in at Crown Isle. Harry and Pam met us in our room at about 5:30 and we went for a nice dinner at 7:00. We had a great visit! They celebrate their 40th anniversary this year as well.
June 24 - 40 years ago today we were married in Victoria. The weather's lovely and warm today. It was sunny in 1977 as well. We ate cereal in our room then headed out. We took the old highway as far as Qualicum, then cut over. Along the way we stopped at Little Qualicum Falls and Cathedral Grove. We saw a bear at the side of the road along Kennedy Lake. The day turned out to be record hot. We arrived in Ucluelet and went for lunch at Tokyo Sushi - excellent food. We went to check in but because they were very busy we couldn't get our room until 3:00. So we explored. At 3:00 we checked into the "Little Green Cabin". It's part of the West Coast Motel.
This cabin is a studio room with a kitchenette, full fridge and a stove. It has a lovely view of the harbour from a nice deck. We went to the Cedar Grill for a fantastic pizza dinner - pesto sauce, shrimp, bacon, spinach topped with goat cheese. The only problem with the cabin was that it was not the best place when the temperature is a record high! It just has a small window at the front beside the French doors so there was no cross breeze. We, fortunately, had brought a fan with us so that helped us sleep all right. The bed was a little hard too!
On the 25th Maureen went for a guided walk down at the Amphitrite Lighthouse. Larry watched NHRA Drag Racing. A lazy day today!
June 26 - We drove up towards Tofino for the day. Following the map we turned down Wick Road and took in the Bog Trail. It's an 800 metre boardwalk through a marshy area. Larry was able to use his scooter on the trail. We stopped at Long Beach briefly and Maureen hiked up Radar Hill to check out the view. This was a World War II radar station. We went to The Schooner Restaurant for a nice lunch. On the way back we stopped at Mackenzie Beach (which is one of the few truly accessible beaches), Incinerator Rock and Long Beach.
June 27 - We left Ucluelet about 9:30 and saw another bear crossing the road. We stopped for lunch at the Shady Rest Restaurant at Qualicum Beach for lunch. Always a reliable classic. We arrived in Campbell River around 2:00 and checked out what's changed since we were last there. We also connected with our Palm Springs friends Larry and Cathy. We checked into the Austrian Chalet at 3:00. Then we went to Larry and Cathy's about 5:30 for a drink. Their house is about a kilometre from our hotel. We had dinner at Freddie's Pub right next door to the hotel.
June 28 - Since it is a Best Western, there is complementary breakfast at the hotel. Made to order omelettes are a nice touch. We went on a boat Tour 9-1 with Eagle Eye Adventures. We did some running around in a quite rough area and didn't see anything. When we turned back to where we came from we saw a humpback whale almost right off our hotel. Then we went out to Middlenach Island and saw sea lions, harbour seals, cormorants, eagles and oyster catchers. We went all the way to Lund for a pee break and also to eat the muffins and snacks the guide Jerry had brought. We met at Larry and Cathy's boat at 4:30 for a dinner cruise. It was a lovely evening and quite calm. We had BBQ burgers and potato salad. On the way back we saw a pod of Pacific White-sided dolphins under, around and following the boat.
June 29 - Relaxing day today
June 30 - We packed up the car and had lunch at Boston Pizza with Cheryl Stewart, a friend of Larry's from school in Estevan. On the drive to Port Hardy, we saw a bear. The hotel, the Quarter Deck Inn, was quite nice but had a few flaws. We went to the Quarter Deck pub for dinner.
July 1 - We woke up 4:45 and were at the terminal at 5:20. They started loading 6:15 and left before the scheduled 7:30. We had purchased the breakfast buffet, two reclining seats and the dinner buffet. All were excellent! Because it was Canada Day, BC Ferries gave us burgers, hot dogs and cake for lunch. It was raining and foggy all day so we didn't see much of the beautiful Inside Passage. There was one stop at Klemtu. The food wait staff were lovely. We arrived at the Prestige Hotel in Prince Rupert at 11:45 pm. 16 hour ferry trip! We weren't the only ones! The room was very nice.
Ferry cost: 1 disabled adult - $103
1 escort adult - $103
Undersize vehicle - $469
2 reclining seats - $70
2 breakfast buffet - $37.70
2 dinner buffet - $58.70
fuel rebate UH - $8.95
fuel rebates passengers - $4.00
Total - $828.45
July 2 - We had a good sleep and had the included breakfast at the Prestige Hotel. The lady who worked there was so sweet. We drove around to get our bearings. In the pouring rain we couldn't see much. We went to Zorba's Taverna for dinner - an unlikely combination of Greek, East Indian, Sri Lankan food. A bit odd but not bad.
July 3 - There was only a little bit of rain today. We went to the Museum of Northern BC. It's a beautiful museum and very informative of the native culture and the history of Prince Rupert and area. We went to La Gondola for lunch. The whole town seems as tired as the restaurant. Of course it was dismal weather but everything just seemed sad. We had a lot of time to kill before we had to head for the ferry.
July 4 - We lined up at midnight at the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal. It was the system to line up up the hill, the guy came and checked your ticket, gave you a little slip of paper, Maureen walked down the hill and around to the ticket building, received boarding passes for us and the car, walked back up the hill, then we could drive down to the Customs line down below. There seemed to be some confusion as to where each car/RV was supposed to go but unbelievably it all worked and the ferry left on time at 3 am. It was a beautiful trip. Ketchikan - 9 am to 11:45, Wrangell - 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm, Petersburg - 9:30 pm to 10:15 pm, Juneau - 6:15 am to 9:45 am, Haines - 2:15 pm to 4:15 pm, Skagway - 5:15. All on time! Some sunshine by the time we got to Wrangell so saw some beautiful sights. A couple of humpback whales and some dolphins, lots of eagles. The Wrangell Narrows were a bit unnerving because it was very narrow. Well-marked but thankful it was still light outside. We had purchased a 3 berth stateroom and it was well worth the $238 USD. It was small but ample room for our small bags. We each had a twin-sized bunk. We also had our own toilet and shower. The food on board was cafeteria style and wasn't too bad, but somewhat overpriced.
July 5 - We arrived at 5:15pm in Skagway. It was quite windy so the docking was a bit of a challenge, especially since there were four cruise ships already there plus a 203.41' private yacht named Mine Games! You can lease this for only $330,000 USD per week plus expenses - see https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-23307/mine-games.htm for interior pictures. We checked into Sgt. Preston's Lodge. It doesn't look like much outside but the room was really nice room - king size bed, fridge, microwave, TV, free wifi. Very clean with some nice woodwork in the room.
July 6 - We went to the Sweet Tooth Cafe for coffee and a cinnamon bun for the train. Train trip - $160 each. We especially wanted the steam train that went up AND back down. Our Engine No. 73 was built in 1947, refurbished and has been pulling passengers for 35 years. We went all the way to the Fraser, BC loop and filled with water from the stream for the steam engine. She took on 4000 gallons! After waiting for a while, we found out that another train had broken down on the way up to Fraser and couldn't be fixed. Instead of travelling down on the train we had to be bused. Very disappointing because we purposely didn't try to take some photos because we knew we would see them on the way down. Oh well! Larry called and we got one fare refunded. Northern Pizzeria for dinner.
July 7 - We walked/scooted around the town. We had breakfast at Sweet Tooth Cafe. We did a little shopping. At the recommendation of one of the Forest Rangers we drove out to Dyea just north of town. No wildlife but some lovely views. We went to the Red Onion Saloon for an excellent pizza for dinner. Goat cheese is our new go-to topping - instead of onions! We really like Skagway. We've been here three times with cruises. It's not a very big place but is very tidy and the people work hard. It's flat so we can walk/scoot everywhere. Beginning in May there are anywhere from one to four cruise ships, plus the ferry, here every day. Each cruise ship lets off at least 2000 people. The ferry brings RVers and others, as well as supplies.
Onward to Haines Junction Yukon tomorrow!