Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sunday May 31, 1998 - Little Qualicum Falls

Leaving Horseshoe Bay on the ferry to Nanaimo

Little Qualicum Falls, BC — sunny and warm

This time I made it out the door at 10 am, the truck already packed and ready to go. However I arrived at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal just as the 10.30 ferry to Nanaimo was leaving so I had to wait for the 12.30 ferry. I was the second car aboard. Crossing the Georgia Strait I saw porpoises. On arrival at Nanaimo I hit the highway and drove to Parksville, where I turned off for the Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park to set up camp for the night.

I was travelling with my 16 year old dog Yohan, a Border Collie-Nova Scotia Duck Toller cross, in my 1991 red Chevy S10 truck. I bought the truck in 1994 because I really wanted a truck, and in 1996 I bought a canopy for the back of the truck so that I could use if for camping. My first test run was the following year, 1997, to drive from New Westminster where I lived to Toronto where my eldest son was getting married in October. Yohan came with, and he was a good road trip companion. Part of the impetus for my 1998 trip was to go out for one last trip with him and to go to his birthplace near Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Not that he would have cared but it appealed to my romantic side. The other impetus was that I had turned 50 the month before and I felt I needed to do something to mark the occasion. I convinced my employer to give me a 4-month sabbatical to do it.

Nanaimo ferry terminal
I constructed a bed in the back of the truck from wood that previously was used to build a bunk bed set for my sons when they were little. The bed was just high enough off the floor to be able to store Rubbermaid plastic containers that I kept my camping gear and food in, there was also space for a small battery-operated bedside lamp, a suitcase of clothing and a bunch of stuff that I thought I would use to entertain myself on the trip: some painting paraphenalia, some books and my banjo. As it turned out I never touched most of that stuff, I never sat around wanting to entertain myself. Yohan sat on top of stuff I stored behind the bench seat of the truck cab in a space large enough for him to lie down if he wanted.

Little Qualicum Falls was beautiful, as are most BC provincial park campsites. At a neighbouring campsite I met Bill O, a former QA engineer for the government in electronics. He retired at age 53 and was writing a fantasy novel. We talked for a long time, in particular about trout tickling, something I had never heard of. He could put his hand in the water and make movements that attracted trout fish to investigate, and then was able to stroke their sides which apparently they quite like. This is trout

I didn't get to bed until quite late and did not sleep well due to the heat and mosquitoes. I had made screens for windows and for the back hatch of the truck canopy, but there were still cracks that the mosquitoes could get through. This was a constant battle on my road trip, to try to get those cracks blocked sufficiently to keep the bugs out. I was only partially successful and hot summer nights were a trial.

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