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Old 09-19-2012   #1 (permalink)
añejo
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Mexisv and hubby visit Port Hardy, British Columbia via Oregon (Amtrak) via Ohio!

July/August 2012 Eugene, Oregon-Vancouver Island


It all started two years ago on the rooftop of Mom’s Hotel in Playa del Carmen. Hanging out with the rooftop gang, Cathy and Benny from Vancouver Island said if you want to know what we do in the summer come to the island and find out. This was February, it would be cold in Ohio and cold and rainy in Vancouver Island and with wine in hand we never gave this statement much thought. But then in 2012, same place, same group, same statement. I looked at Benny and said “Don’t invite if you don’t mean it.” So in July of 2012 we were on our way to the island!


Now if anyone knows me, I am out for an adventure. So, contacting a friend who lives in Eugene, Oregon we decided to start in Eugene, spend some time with him, rent a car and drive to Seattle and ferry to the island. So I hit the button on the computer for airline tickets.


About a month before leaving our friend moves! Okay, so I try to change tickets to just fly to Vancouver. OMG, I almost had a heart attack at the not only the cost to change but adding the cost of the difference in flights. So then I decided to just keep the tickets, rent a car in Eugene and drive to Seattle. Oh geesh, the cost of dropping a car off at another location was more than double the cost of renting the car! So asking my good Playainfo folks what to do, Roni (everyone knows him, right?) suggested I fly into Eugene, take the Amtrak to Seattle, ferry to the island. He even suggested asking Uno (Dana) to pick us up at the airport! So I found a funky hotel in Eugene, contacted Uno and the story begins.
We flew in, Dana was at the airport! What a great guy. This being a work day for him he took his lunch hour, adding an hour or two and gave us a 5 cent tour of Eugene. But he really did much more than that. His wife and him the night before downloaded maps of the city for us, suggestions on eating, farm markets, etc. So with a great tour and some suggestions he took us to our hotel. We discussed meeting that evening for dinner and back to work for him.



Joe (hubby) and I dropped our backpacks and suitcase and went in search of food and exploring. As suggested by Ms. Uno (Colleen) we hit the wonderful farmer’s market. Wow, we could not believe what a cool place that was. I love farmer’s markets and this is one of the top ones. We bought some blueberries and raspberries to enjoy on our scheduled train ride the next day. We then headed to a Thai place for lunch. We took the suggestion of the waitress and ordered some delicious noodles. Feeling full and tired from an early morning start we decided to head back to the hotel for naps.


Dana called about 4:30 to see if we were up for dinner. Colleen was to meet all of us downtown at a local pub. Dana picked us up and headed to the pub. No Colleen. So we grabbed a table outside and soon Colleen arrived. What a cool gal! We had a couple beers (micro brewed) and delicious food accompanied by great conversation. Soon the evening needed to come to an end, they had to work the next morning, we were tired.


I must mention here our hotel was wonderful. Right in the middle of downtown Eugene in walking distance of everything. It is surrounded by flowers on the premises. Window boxes, planters, and edge plantings. We talked with a fellow who lived and worked there, his family had been in landscaping and he did all of the plantings and taking care of it. They were beautiful! Our room was very basic, but the hotel had recently installed hardwood floors. Nice touch. Very clean, continental breakfast included a bargain at $65.00 a night. The Timbers if you ever need a decent place to stay in Eugene.


The next day we were headed to Vancouver on the Amtrak. Well we will be taking the train to Seattle then Amtrak chartered bus to Vancouver. So after breakfast, a taxi ride to the station and we are off. This is our first ever Amtrak trip and I had taken Roni’s suggestion and upgraded to business class. What a fantastic trip! From Eugene to Portland we had the entire business class car to ourselves. The scenery was beautiful, mostly farmland which we loved. In Portland we got off as we had about 45 minutes before departure. We walked around the station and soon we were off again. We were now joined by more in our car, two families going to Seattle for a sporting event. But they were great, families with kids, we enjoyed them very much.


Getting off in Seattle we knew we would be catching a bus. For little backwoods country folks it was a little overwhelming to us but we are not above asking questions so we soon found our bus and with an hour to kill decided to head somewhere for a drink. We hit a really cool place with really expensive beers and indulged in a couple before heading back to the bus.


We took the front seat and what a good move that was. Great fun driver, beautiful scenery we could both enjoy because we let someone else do the driving. Three hours went by fast and soon we were in the line to go across the border. Customs, piece of cake and soon back on the bus.


We ended up at the bus station in Vancouver (not sure where at this point). We spotted a taxi and gave him the address to the hotel we wanted in Twassanen, BC. LOL, we had practically passed the road leading to it when we were on the bus. $70.00 cab fare and we were dumped at The Twassanen Inn tired and hungry. I had read TA and understood that there were restaurant within walking distance. The only restaurant was the one attached to the hotel, owned by the hotel. Oh well. Usually hotel restaurants are not that great. This one was the exception, very good food, very good wine. We ate, took showers and to bed for us.


The next morning we wanted to be on the ferry by 10:00 AM. So having breakfast (continental) at the hotel we got a taxi and we were out. We were taking the Twawassen Ferry to Nanaimo. Great ferry ride, the scenery was beautiful! We spent most the time up on the top deck enjoying fresh cool air (we had left Ohio 90F with 80% humidity) and the scenery.


Arriving at Duke Point we called Budget Nanaimo. I had reserved a car and was told they would pick us up at Duke Point. Wow, what timing! Several minutes before I called it seems that a young lady renting a Navigator pressed on the gas thinking it was the brake and ran a brand new Mustang through the plate glass window of the building at Budget! Joe and I took our time getting off the ferry and took our time getting to a phone to call Budget. It’s a good thing we always enjoy getting to where we are going instead of rushing or we might have been involved.


Getting our car we were on our way to Cathy and Benny’s house. It was about 1.5 hours; we took the coastal road, a beautiful ride. Stopping at a few places to enjoy the beach view made the trip longer but very enjoyable. We got to Courtney and decided to stop at Walmart to pick up some beer for their house. Oops, no beer sold at that Walmart so we were directed to a liquor store. At this point we decided to call our friends to get further instructions to their house. What! My phone didn’t work! I had called Sprint before leaving and they told me everything to do to my phone to prevent roaming. Well now it was completely unusable except to use as a clock. Dang expensive clock! I borrowed the liquor store’s phone and called Cathy for directions. So of course even with instructions (my shorthand leaves much to be desired) we got lost. We stopped and asked this teen kid where Hardy Rd. was, he didn’t know but as with most of today’s tech kids he whips out his phone and we were soon on our way again. Nice kid. Benny was looking for us, passed him on the road and he took off with us following him. Cathy and Benny thought it quite funny we were able to easily find a liquor store and not their house! So with homemade wine in hand we were ready to sit on the porch and relax! After a great visit, a great fresh caught grilled salmon supper we hit the sack ready for our next day of travel.


The next day we were headed to Port Hardy. But the 1st thing on my list was to straighten this phone thing out. I called Sprint and finally as it turned out I had turned everything off so the phone was sort of locked. That being done we packed up the car and truck to head out. Port Hardy is a 3 hour drive from their house and they wanted to stop at some “must take pictures here” places on the way. Plus a stop for fishing licenses for us.


As promised, the ride was beautiful. The closer we got to Port Hardy, the more beautiful and colder it got!
The campground, Wildwoods is beautiful. Each site is pretty private the walkways are hilly with lots of flowers and native plants along the side. We were greeted right away by some of Cathy and Benny’s neighbors. Most of these people have been coming up here for years on fishing trips so they knew each other quite well. Many were still out fishing so hubby and Benny proceeded to put up a tent in which Benny and Cathy were going to sleep in. Such gracious hosts, they figured with us coming from hot and humid Ohio we would freeze had we been in the tent, they gave up their camper for us. How in the world do we run into such super people!


We took a tour around the campground and down to the pier. I am going to love this place! Everyone is friendly, everyone loves Cathy and Benny. The owner is always around, always with a smile. His wife paints lots of folk art fish around the campground, very cool looking. Their grandkids are always around; it is summer after all and cute as buttons. They were always at the pier fishing or crabbing, doing fun kid stuff. Richard, the owner has a few rules for the kids……..if you under the age of 12 and on the pier you must have a lifejacket on and if you catch it, you eat it. Pretty good rules and never argued. When anyone came in from fishing the kids were always there to see who brought the biggest in.


We headed back to camp to finish unloading the car and truck. Soon a fire was started; really great the firewood is furnished! Wine and beers were opened, Rex from Alberta who camps in the spot next to us came over with their two pups. Rex loves fishing, his wife not so much. She comes, he fishes and she hangs around the camper and quilts all day. A very unlikely couple who make it work and support each other even though different interests. Refreshing in this day and age. Soon a great meal of cod on the grill, buttered potatoes and snap peas with more wine and beer finished our first camping evening.

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Last edited by mexisv; 09-19-2012 at 05:19 PM..
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Old 09-19-2012   #2 (permalink)
añejo
 
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Tide is up so we are up getting breakfast and heading to the boat for our first day of fishing! Wow, neither Joe nor I had ever been out fishing like this. Oh, back a million years ago when I was in high school my family was in Florida and went deep sea fishing. That is where a bunch of people were on the boat; you dropped your line straight down and waited. The crew did all the work. And last year Joe went fishing in Mexico with a group but we were told this was much different. And it was. For starters, I had never even heard of down riggers, let alone what they did. And I had never fished where someone had a depth finder, fish ranger or whatever the heck it is. And even though I knew what trolling was, I had never done it. Let us just say I had never fished much! So lots of learning for this babe!


The fishing was great! The scenery was incredible! Every fish was a joy to catch. But there were definitely highlights!


Hubby caught an incredible fish! His line went down, he grabbed it and the fight began! Well, not really a fight, more like pulling in a log! Finally after some minutes a fish appeared, Cathy said “Holy Shit!” and Benny grabbed this evil looking tool called a gaff, reached down and hooked the fish through it’s big, ugly, open mouth! It was a lingcod and our hosts were excited! Wow, this thing was ugly with lots of teeth! Several steps happen to get this thing off the hook, many I missed. What I didn’t miss was poor Cathy got bit and my usual calm and non-aggressive hubby had a club in his hand! Finally the thing was in the holding bin and things were back to normal! Wow, what a fish! Weighed in at 31 pounds! I didn’t even catch it and I was excited!


My big catch was fun! My pole snapped indicating a bite! Cool! I grabbed it and this fish ran! Then it jumped, dancing on the water! A good fight, Benny helped with the net, again our hosts excited; I caught a wild Coho, weighing in at 12 pounds! A beauty I will say so myself! Shortly after that I caught another Coho, this one being a hackery Coho! Good news because you are only allowed one wild Coho per day! A hackery Coho earned me a British Columbia lapel pin! Certainly a happy camper!


Speaking of camping, one day we woke to a cold rain. More than a drizzle and set in for the day. So whether than go out fishing and be cold and miserable we decided to have a camp day and just hang around at the campsite by the fire. Cathy made us all Baileys and coffee, so delish. And we all went into town for lunch. I had a great bowl of soup, just the thing needed for a day like this! When we returned I decided to do some laundry, our fishing clothes needed some attention! Checking things in the dryer and finding them dry but still time left on the dryer, hubby and I took our shirts, jackets and socks off and put them in the dryer! Putting them on warm, heading back to the campsite, we felt snug as a bug in a rug! Good thinking there!


We loved being out on the boat! Such beautiful scenery around us, occasionally seeing whales, birds flying about, otters, and eagles. Such beauty! And then an incredible thing! Several whales, orcas! Wow, what an overwhelming sight! Cathy shut the boat off, lines were pulled and for about 30 minutes we got a great show! Hubby stood in the boat and just constantly clicked the camera trying to get their faces out of the water. He was unable to do so but got some great shots of them, blowing water and arching back in the water. We were witnessing a feeding pod and it was incredible! I had my phone and got several not so great videos but this was better than going on a whale watching excursion! The only downside was some idiot (isn’t there always one) came rushing in with his big boat to get better pictures. Cathy got on the radio and informed him it was against the law to harass the whales. He made a smart remark and went on his way. Other than that is was so incredible to see such beautiful huge creatures! What a treat.


One morning when we couldn’t get out early because of low tide hubby took a walk. He came back to inform us that there was boat out on the rocks! Ernie, an old timer fisherman decided to try to get an early start and headed out to beat the tide. Seemed he miss judged the rocks, tide went in quickly leaving him sitting out wait for the tide to come back in! Poor guy, not only will he never hear the end of this but he had to sit out there about 5 hours for the tide! We all went down to the pier and took pictures and waved!


The same morning Ernie was stuck on the rocks, Joann, the owner’s wife decided to make cinnamon rolls for the campers! She said it was a good time to do so since she knew we would all be onshore late. So here we are just hanging around camp and she comes, not only did she make cinnamon rolls for us she delivered them hot to each campsite! How cool is that!


Soon it was time to head back to Courtney to Cathy and Benny’s house. I needed to make flight arrangements and they wanted to show me how to smoke some fish! So we packed up their boat and our stuff and headed to their house. Our awesome time was to come to an end but not without some great food and drinks with our friends.
The next couple days we spent brining fish, smoking fish and sitting on the deck enjoying wine, food and friends. We headed home with about 70 pounds of frozen fish, great memories and definite plans for a return next year!

I will still work on pictures as we have some awesome ones! This was one awesome trip from beginning to end!

Last edited by mexisv; 09-19-2012 at 06:06 PM..
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Old 09-19-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Great job. I have been waiting for this.

Looking forward to seeing the pictures. The ocean fishing sounds a lot like how we fish here on the big lakes- downriggers for lake trout...lots and lots of trolling.

Could I make a small suggestion, that you edit and add in quite a few hard returns to give some white spaces for easier reading? It is a bit hard to read all in one chunk.
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Old 09-19-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rissask View Post
Great job. I have been waiting for this.

Looking forward to seeing the pictures. The ocean fishing sounds a lot like how we fish here on the big lakes- downriggers for lake trout...lots and lots of trolling.

Could I make a small suggestion, that you edit and add in quite a few hard returns to give some white spaces for easier reading? It is a bit hard to read all in one chunk.
Thanks!

Good suggestion. Fixing it.
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Old 09-19-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Great report! I can't wait for pictures!
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Old 09-19-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks!

Good suggestion. Fixing it.
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Originally Posted by SharonD View Post
Great report! I can't wait for pictures!
MUCH better and pic's!
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Old 09-19-2012   #7 (permalink)
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enjoyed reading your trip report... i was a bit envious after reading the part about enjoying a "freshly caught, grilled salmon supper" one of my favourite meals while growing up in bc
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Old 09-19-2012   #8 (permalink)
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I am looking forward to more of this
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Old 09-19-2012   #9 (permalink)
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I will still work on pictures as we have some awesome ones! This was one awesome trip from beginning to end![/quote]


This should happen

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Old 09-19-2012   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you for the kind words, but I was much more excited to meet you than it was a chore. It was a fun (but too brief) gathering. I look forward to the next. When and wherever that may be.

Of course you are welcome to travel via Eugene next year as well. Skip the hotel and cabs and stay the night here. That would be fun.

Last edited by Uno; 09-19-2012 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 09-20-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks! I re-read it....it sounds like a great trip. I love those weekends at small campgrounds with the family atmosphere.


Waiting patiently for the pics!
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Old 09-20-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks! I re-read it....it sounds like a great trip. I love those weekends at small campgrounds with the family atmosphere.


Waiting patiently for the pics!

Thanks! Will work on pic tonight when return from gym. Ranger has given me a lesson! Was one of the best trips we have taken!
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Old 09-21-2012   #13 (permalink)
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Okay, Ranger, I did what you said and this is what I get! I think I have have gone nuts here!
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Old 09-22-2012   #14 (permalink)
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missing by that much!

Hope that work's.

Last edited by Ranger; 09-22-2012 at 07:29 PM..
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Old 09-24-2012   #15 (permalink)
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Okay, Ranger, I did what you said and this is what I get! I think I have have gone nuts here!

one too many "http"s! -take one out!

or not....hmmm...that didn't work.


are you using the 'IMG' code? From Photobucket or where?

Last edited by Rissask; 09-24-2012 at 01:09 PM..
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