My ferry options from Horseshoe Bay were 8:30, 10:30, and 12:30 if I wanted to arrive in Campbell River in daylight. I decided to aim for the 8:30 and be in line for the 10:30 if I arrived too late.
One of my many RVing rules is that I don’t drive in unfamiliar territory at night and/or in inclement weather. In order to get to Horseshoe Bay for 8:30 I would have to drive in the dark. I also woke up in Squamish to a downpour.
Having done the drive to Horseshoe Bay in the toad, I felt okay with taking Miranda out in those conditions. It was slow, slippery going, but I was reasonably relaxed and I refused to look at a clock.
I’m disappointed that I finished the Sea to Sky highway twice in such downpours as to negate the possibility of taking pictures worth sharing.
At any rate, I made it to Horseshoe Bay just as daylight was starting to break through the rain. It’s downhill from the first exit all the way to the toll booth and I was a nervous wreck by the time I stopped there because even with gearing down and pumping to compensate for the slick pavement, I could smell my brakes. Oh, I know it was a normal, new brake smell, not a something’s wrong smell, but I just wanted to get on that boat, disappointed that my relaxed mood had been spoiled. I was very grateful that I had come ahead with the toad and knew ahead of time which lane to be in with an RV.
My rig was measured and deemed to be 50′ long, not the 45′ feet I had guesstimated!!! I had used the BC Ferries website to figure out how much it was going to cross to get over and had calculated that a 45′ long over-size vehicle with one person would cost 275$, but wasn’t confident about that number because the math seemed very convoluted. So, I had a mild heart attack while waiting to know how much my passage would be.
Well, I got some good news! My vehicle combination was longer than expected, but I’d done the math wrong and it only cost me 193$ total for my fare. Imagine how pleased I was!
From the toll booth I was indicated to park in the Nanaimo lane and close my propane tanks. That done, it was about 8:20 and boarding for the 8:30 began.
A BC Ferries employee guided me to the correct boarding lane and it wasn’t a long wait before I was able to get onto the boat. Doing so was easy as the longer vehicles board at ground level in a straight line. I applied the parking brake, said goodbye to the catkids, grabbed my previously-packed bag of snacks and magazines, applied the parking brake to the toad, and headed up to the passenger deck. We were under way in minutes, pulling out at 8:35. I was impressed.
The ferry was huge and beautifully appointed, with lots of seating and a few restaurants and shops. I spent the two hours alternating between walking around, listening to a guy strum his guitar, and occasionally braving the wind, rain, and fog to stand outside on the deck.
I love being on the water and immensely enjoyed the trip from the BC mainland to Vancouver Island.
At about 10, an hour and a half after departing from Vancouver, drivers were instructed to return to their vehicles. I didn’t know how much time I had before having to leave, so I just unapplied the parking brakes and positioned myself to be ready to drive at a moment’s notice. Neelix came over to let me know he was fine, but Tabitha ignored me. I discovered an hour later that she was down with a bout of sea sickness. 🙂
It took only a few minutes before my lane started to debark. I followed the vehicles ahead of me out of the ferry terminal and then the signs announcing Campbell River. There was no convenient place to stop within Nanaimo, unless I wanted to drive around the parking lots of big box stores, so I just drove out of town, through rain, until I got to a pullout on the highway where I could take a bit of a breather.
Taking the ferry wound up being super easy and a much less stress-inducing experience than I would have expected. I think that in the spring I would like to take the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and from there the Yellowhead to the Cassiar.
From that pullout, it was an easy 100km stretch to Croft’s place. He and his wife helped me get squared away and then we had the requisite ‘getting to know you in person’ chat that stretched long into the evening. 🙂
Taking the whole trip into consideration, it was a good one, but that last little bit has made me glad that I can stay put for a while.
I’m looking forward to the next stage of my adventure.