Approximately 6,400 kilometres later, Ryan and I are still living life on the road. After a good night's sleep in Grant's Pass, Oregon, we were on the road yet again. Canada bound! We drove through Oregon and into Washington, passing soaring mountains and thrilling the mild Twilight fan in me as we saw the turn-off for Forks and La Push.
By mid-afternoon we'd arrived in Port Angeles where arrived just in time to get one of the last spots on the ferry to Victoria. With nearly an hour to wait for our departure, we asked a border patrol officer for a restaurant recommendation. I'm sure glad that we did, because our lunch was delicious! Across the street at a restaurant called Kokopelli Grill we dined on shrimp po-boy and fresh baked oysters, all served quickly as we'd requested. We even had a few minutes to spare, so we grabbed a couple of white chocolate mochas at a coffee stand and headed back to our car.
It was a windy ride to Victoria, but Ryan and I kept busy taking photos and wandering the boat. We were among the last off the ferry and the very last to clear customs, but we were back on Canadian soil and I was rather happy about it.
We entered our hotel into our GPS and drove up Bear Mountain to find our home for the weekend. My goodness, I still can't get over our hotel room. We felt like royalty as we walked in to find 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and a balcony bigger than the entire room in the last place we'd stayed. It was beautiful and we felt rather out of place in our grubby roadtrip clothes. We settled in and made ourselves at home.
The next morning started with a coffee on the balcony and a quick dip in the pool before heading into town to meet up with Jon and Dixie, who were getting married the next day. As the photographer, Ryan wanted to see all of the photo locations ahead of time. We drove around envisioning the next day and finally returned to their home to join them for their rehearsal dinner. Oh, the food! I'll be amazed if I still fit any of my clothes after this trip. We helped ourselves to bacon wrapped scallops, curried prawns and freshly caught salmon. It's a shame that seafood addicts like ourselves live so far inland. We stuffed ourselves and sat around the fire until later that night when we returned to our room to call it a night.
The next morning was an early one, as we woke up to get ready for the wedding. The thing about wedding photography that I hadn't considered is that to take photos of the bride getting ready, you must be ready before the bride. Needless to say, I was quite sleepy as we packed up the cameras. As Dixie had her hair styled and makeup applied, we watched Toy Story and Ryan took photos. When it was finally time to put on the dress, Ryan left to take photos of the boys while I stayed with the girls and took a few photos of the exciting moment. As somebody who has attended very few weddings in the past few years and in the process of planning my own, I was rather giddy (and maybe a bit teary eyed) as we made our way downstairs where bride and groom would meet for the first time. They had opted for photos before the evening ceremony, which worked perfectly for Ryan. I stood on the sidelines, snapping random photos throughout the day. The wedding was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the sangria was to die for. The vineyard venue was amazing. It was a great day and a fun night, and I'm happy to congratulate Jon and Dixie on beginning their lives together!
The next day was a sad one, as we reluctantly checked out of our amazing hotel room. We went to the post-wedding brunch and watched as the newlyweds opened their stack of gifts. As we were leaving it dawned on me that I had no idea where my purse was. I pondered where I could have possibly placed it when a sudden sinking feeling overcame me. I'd placed my purse, along with a rather large chunk of cash in the safe at the hotel. We'd already checked out and it was only minutes until check in time. Fearing the worst, I called the hotel and explained the situation. We drove back where they were happy to bring us back to the room and we found our money safely placed exactly where I'd left it. I'd never felt so relieved, though I'm certain Ryan will never let me live that one down.
We were on the road again, heading up the coast towards Comox to stay with Ryan's relatives for a few days. Before that, however, we stopped at Paradise Fun Park to play a couple of rounds of mini-golf with the newlyweds who were happy to escape the wedding and family madness for a few hours. I lost both games, as I usually do when it comes to mini golf. We parted ways with Jon and Dixie and continued onto Comox. After arriving and chatting to Ryan's aunt and uncle we called it a night, happy for a good night's sleep after a long, busy weekend.
We were up early the next day, eager to find something to do in the area. After a short while contemplating we decided to make a day trip to Hornby Island. We made our way to the ferry and rode across first to Denman Island and then onto the next ferry dock. We hadn't anticipated so many people with the same intentions, and found ourselves waiting nearly an hour to catch another ferry. By the time we'd arrived it was rather late, so we opted to make use of our tent and found a campsite with a spot available. We pitched the tent and then proceeded to explore the island. Our first stop was a small taco stand where we ate tacos beside the beach.
They were delicious but small, so we continued driving around the island until we found a fish and chips shop and ordered battered halibut and salmon.
After a good lunch, fatigue was beginning to set in. Rather than spend the afternoon lazing around, I insisted that we go on a hike and take photos along the way. We made our way to Helliwell Provincial Park, where we walked the 5 kilometre circle trail along bluffs and through the forest.
It was a gorgeous hike and we managed to spot sea lions, massive birds, a snake and a woodpecker. Content with having exercised, we went to grab a slice of pizza each. On the way back to our campsite we stopped at a beach where the sun was setting as we wandered barefoot in the sand exploring tidal pools. It had been a fun day and it was time to settle in for the evening. We cozied up in our small tent that we'd purchased at Walmart for $22. Despite the constant stream of people walking by late into the night, we managed to get some sleep and wake up early the next morning. Our first stop of the day was a bakery where I had a cinnamon raisin roll and Ryan out-did my unhealthy ways by ordering cheesecake for breakfast. We rounded off our meals with a smoothie for him and a latte for me and continued on our way. At the ferry dock we wandered on the rocks at low tide, finding crabs and starfish.
Ryan stayed there until I finally insisted that we return to the campsite as we were only 15 minutes away from checkout time. We headed back and took down our tent, vacating our site just in time. Before returning to catch the ferry, we played at Tribune Beach which is said to be the Hawaii of Canada. The water was warm by Canadian ocean standards and abundant with marine life.
It was time to return to mainland, and by mainland I mean Vancouver Island. Back to Comox we went, happy to have had a great time on an island that only 2 days earlier I hadn't known existed!