Goodbye Stuart and Hello Camping

Day 2 Powell River to Courtenay 18 km.

Day 3 rest day in Courtenay.

Day 4 Courtenay to Parksville 73 km.

We found a cheap but nice motel in Courtenay (River Heights Motel). It is owned by a Korean family working hard to tart it up; they did some cheap renovations, painting wallboard pale yellow and adding art, personalizing it. It was also very clean… all for 62.00 a night. We also found an independently owned café which had great breakfasts. (Oh So Yummy Café – yeah that’s really the name.) The locally owned independent businesses are a much better experience than the chains… eating some perfectly executed eggs benny with chipotle hollandaise we talked about how we will look for locally and independently owned business and try to support where possible on this trip.

Courtenay is a pretty town with a nice park along the river and a main street that still functions with small shops.  We spent a rest day there, visiting with Ian’s brother Stuart who is moving to Nelson from Victoria and who was also enroute. We celebrated moving forward. It has been a tough year for all of us for a variety of reasons.

We managed to get from Courtenay to Parksville in one day yesterday thanks in part to a northwest wind and a level road for the first 30 km. The road follows the ocean until just a bit past Fanny Bay then it goes inland (this is highway 19A, the old island highway) and starts to get a little hillier.  I was lagging by the 50 km mark but we stopped a few times and I stretched my back and legs at a park and this kept me going with less pain.

We are in a campground (provincial park RathTrevor) just south of Parksville. Beautiful spot by the ocean. When we arrived late yesterday afternoon we still had enough energy left to mix up our packaged spaghetti sauce and cook dinner. There is only one other camper in our tent area – a cyclist who has just come down from Port Alberni where he looped around some old logging roads and experienced some real wilderness. He has also toured in Indonesia. But it was his tour of Pakistan and western China that made me start feeling that our journey to San Francisco is really a bit wimpy!

I can’t say I slept tremendously well last night. Ian and I are still working out the kinks in our gear and I am sure I will eventually get over my bear paranoia…I will also be getting a larger mattress. We test drove a couple in a sports store in Courtenay. However, the three-man tent with two vestibules is a luxury and Ian is not finding it too heavy to carry so this is good. And I did sleep about 6 hours so I’m sure so should be fine for another 70 km day.

On my early morning stroll around the park I heard woodpeckers, saw a rabbit, a chipmonk and watched a doe and fawn eating the leaves around our campsite. As we are making coffee I am watching the fawn and a raven who looks to be about 1/8 of the size of the fawn – no kidding – greeting each other nose to nose. A little bit of Eden.

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