Palm Tree Lullaby

Feeling a little claustrophobic this afternoon, I decided to go for a walk ‘in the other direction’ (away from the entrance to this beach). The sun was warm, but the wind gusts chilly, so I was glad I wore a fleece top.

I walked (or, rather, tried not to become airborne) for a few klicks, hypnotized as I was by the sound of the palm trees rustling in the wind. I passed a lot of vacation homes, RVs, and a trailer masquerading as a motel, but that’s it.

I just checked the map and, to my surprise, if I had kept going just another two miles or so, I would have reached the Indianola Fishing Marina where there is a small bar and grill. Total distance from home round trip is 8 miles, or 13KM, definitely doable on foot! So I may take off late morning one day and go grab lunch there, then spend part of the afternoon on the pier. That sounds so much more pleasant than hopping in the truck to go.

The wind might actually be slowing down a little. It’s still very loud, but the RV is just shifting rather than rocking. Nope, typed too soon!

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (and Virginia’s Eastern Shore)

I awoke to perfect driving conditions and decided to do just that, drive for the sake of driving, with my only goal being to experience the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a one-time engineering wonder of the modern world. This 23-mile long fixed link connects Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area to the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is just that, a combination of above water causeways and underwater tunnels linking the two shores as well as a series of man made islands.

I was hoping to bring a photographer, but my friend absolutely hates this bridge-tunnel adamantly refused to come! I have to say that the high winds and narrow tunnels would be nerve-wracking in an RV (especially since you have maintain a speed of 45 to 55MPH), but in a small vehicle on a beautiful sunny day, this bridge offered up an incredible drive, the memories of which I shall cherish forever.

I stopped at the Eastern Shore visitor’s centre to find out if there was any place nearby to grab lunch and see something. The lady suggested I check out Cape Charles and showed me a couple of restaurant menus.

So I drove up there and had a nice lunch at Kelly’s Pub, then I checked out the public beach and main street. The town was dead, but I bet it bustles in the summertime! I didn’t wander too much because I would have needed one more layer, a windbreaker, to be really comfortable.

I drove north a little more after to check out a museum that was recommended to me, but it was closed for the holidays. 🙁 It was already mid-afternoon, so I pointed the car towards home. Traffic being at a standstill in Norfolk nothwithstanding, it was a quick drive.

approaching the bridge-tunnel from Norfolk (which is Norfek not Norfoke!)

approaching the bridge-tunnel from Norfolk (which is Norfek not Norfoke!)

out at sea

out at sea

ships in the distance

ships in the distance

Wonder what kind of cargo it has on board.

Wonder what kind of cargo it has on board.

Big ship!

Big ship!

The sun was out in full force, a welcome sight in the middle of December.

The sun was out in full force, a welcome sight in the middle of December.

There is a rest area with a restaurant and gift shop about 3 miles in.

There is a rest area with a restaurant and gift shop about 3 miles in.

The water was a beautiful blue green.

The water was a beautiful blue green.

jetty

jetty

Not sure what this island is all about.

Not sure what this island is all about.

Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge-Tunnel

Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge-Tunnel

fishing pier

fishing pier

Sink for cleaning fish?

Sink for cleaning fish?

It was so windy that this garbage can was swinging to and fro.

It was so windy that this garbage can was swinging to and fro.

looking towards the jetty

looking towards the jetty

it was very windy, making for choppy water

it was very windy, making for choppy water

Eastbound entrance of the Thimble Shoal Tunnel

Eastbound entrance of the Thimble Shoal Tunnel

there are a lot of emergency pull-offs with phones

there are a lot of emergency pull-offs with phones

entrance to the Chesapeake Channel tunnel

entrance to the Chesapeake Channel tunnel

the light at the end of the tunnel!

the light at the end of the tunnel!

climbing up into the sky

climbing up into the sky

the sky was so beautiful and the bridge so elegant

the sky was so beautiful and the bridge so elegant

just about done

just about done

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I was sorry to see the bridge-tunnel end.

I was sorry to see the bridge-tunnel end.

I prefer Atlantic beaches to those on the Pacific; I guess I'm an east coast gal at heart

I prefer Atlantic beaches to those on the Pacific; I guess I’m an east coast gal at heart

the weather was warm, but the wind was bitter!

the weather was warm, but the wind was bitter!

the ocean smelled so lovely

the ocean smelled so lovely

more sand and surf

more sand and surf

the roar of the waves and wind was like a melody

the roar of the waves and wind was like a melody

my truck looks pretty good parked in front of these windswept trees :)

my truck looks pretty good parked in front of these windswept trees 🙂

I had lunch here

I had lunch here

Kelly's Gingerroot Pub

Kelly’s Gingerroot Pub

Nice (but expensive!) pulled pork sandwich with onion rings (worth the $1.50 extra!)

Nice (but expensive!) pulled pork sandwich with onion rings (worth the $1.50 extra!)

the pub reminded me of the ones in Scotland

the pub reminded me of the ones in Scotland

mini golf

mini golf

rather than fix sidewalks, Cape Charles paints the obstacles vivid yellow

rather than fix sidewalks, Cape Charles paints the obstacles vivid yellow

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most of the gorgeous Victorian homes like these looked derelict

most of the gorgeous Victorian homes like these looked derelict

entrance to the public beach

entrance to the public beach

the wind was strong enough to knock over these benches

the wind was strong enough to knock over these benches

those ominous clouds were just posturing and disappeared quickly

those ominous clouds were just posturing and disappeared quickly

barnacle-covered branch

barnacle-covered branch

I love a choppy Atlantic!

I love a choppy Atlantic!

this was nice firm sand for walking on

this was nice firm sand for walking on

a pier (access was closed)

a pier (access was closed)

dunes

dunes

more dunes

more dunes

cool tree

cool tree

rent on a four-bedroom home is just $650

rent on a four-bedroom home is just $650

this building will soon hold the Cape Charles library

this building will soon hold the Cape Charles library

Mason (main) Street has lots of shops, with most being closed in the off season

Mason (main) Street has lots of shops, with most being closed in the off season

I'm pretty sure we don't have ATMs stuck to the side of buildings out in the open like this in Canada

I’m pretty sure we don’t have ATMs stuck to the side of buildings out in the open like this in Canada

Kelly's Pub redux

Kelly’s Pub redux

eastbound toll booth ($12 each way for a regular passenger vehicle, unless you return within 24 hours and then the return toll is just $5)

eastbound toll booth ($12 each way for a regular passenger vehicle, unless you return within 24 hours and then the return toll is just $5)

The space between the road surface and the pillars is painted a blue that so matched the sky that it seems the roadway is floating!

The space between the road surface and the pillars is painted a blue that so matched the sky that it seems the roadway is floating!

toldya those black clouds were just posturing

toldya those black clouds were just posturing

it was so windy that big fat gulls were able to just hover!

it was so windy that big fat gulls were able to just hover!

Norfolk

Norfolk

looking at Norfolk through a saltwater stained windshield

looking at Norfolk through a saltwater stained windshield

A Final Day in Victoria

Being less than 300km from ‘home’ and not having to start work until 2pm tomorrow meant that I could enjoy a third day in Victoria. I dropped Mrs. H off at her friend’s house and then drove downtown to do a few museums. This post will gloss over some of the details of today as some destinations merit their own posts.

I decided to park in Chinatown since the daily rates are cheaper than downtown and planned my day as a loop. My first stop was just a block away and was a store! It was recommended to me by a reader and is called Chintz and Co.

Chintz & Co.

This store comprises 20,000 square feet (!) and is just about a one stop home decorating stop. It was the first time I have walked into a store selling new furniture and found myself liking almost everything. Had I had $2,000 I would have walked out with a handsome wingback chair covered in dark orange leather (*swoons*).  The furniture style was mostly luxe shabby chic, with lots of rich colours abounding. I could have spent hours there, but focused mostly on the remnants section, which was much larger than I would have expected. I found some fabrics I thought would coordinate with ones I have already picked up, but I wasn’t sure enough to buy.

I ambled down Store street and turned into Bastion Square:

alley off of Bastion Square

Bastion Square’s giant tulips

My next stop was The Soda Shoppe, which I had discovered on my first night in Victoria. It is located on Government Street right in front of the Empress Hotel, kitty corner to the visitor’s centre.

The Soda Shoppe

I would normally balk at paying $4.19 for a small ice cream cone (even if it is of the waffle variety), but they have bear claw, a dark chocolately fudgy caramelly cashewy concoction I haven’t seen in about ten years since an Ottawa shop carrying it closed down. It was as good as I remembered!

From there, I walked the length of the Empress Hotel, crossed the street, and landed at the Royal British Columbia Museum:

Royal BC Museum

After a couple of hours, I headed across the street

street separating the RBC museum from the Legislature

and strolled along the length of the BC Legislature:

war memorial

close up showing the addition of the Korean ‘police action’; a nice touch since many forget that Canada was involved in this war

the BC Legislative Building is quite a handsome structure! It’s almost as impressive as Ottawa’s Parliament buildings!

this is all of the Sequoia I was able to get into one shot 🙂


then crossed the street in front of it to go visit the Undersea Gardens:

The Undersea Gardens

After that, I slowly began to stroll back towards the car with a stop for lunch:

Victoria Harbour

there was a whole row of dedication plaques

a magnific mosaic orca

a map of Vancouver Island

I was just going to get a slice of pizza for lunch, but was lured by the siren’s call of Cafe Mexico. I had an excellent meal there of a chicken burrito with ‘fries’ (more like chewy potato chips with a hint of crunch). The highlight of the mean was the ‘mojitea’:

mojitea

My drink of choice is the mojito, but I didn’t want to drink alcohol before a long drive home so I decided to try their virgin version even though virgin mojitos seem to be missing a little ‘something.’ Well, Cafe Mexico found what that little something is: sweet tea. The tea doesn’t have the same flavour as the rum, of course, but it’s the perfect non-alcoholic addition to turn the club soda and muddled mint into more than just minty soda. Yum! The burrito was fresh and light and the fries were served with a sauce that had me go ‘WHAT?!’ at first taste, but which grew on me with every bite. I asked the server what it was and she said it was a ‘chipolte aioli’ which I think means a smokey garlickly mayonnaise. It was the perfect complement to the fries. This wasn’t the best Mexican food I’ve had in my life, but definitely fits at the top of the list. It was reasonably priced to boot!

I grabbed an ice coffee for the road and returned to the car to plot a route to the Nanaimo Best Buy. My GPS is getting to be ridiculously outdated, so it didn’t have that store in its data base. It felt incredibly luxurious to boot up the laptop, sign on to my Telus connection, and get the necessary info. My life has definitely changed!

My destination mapped out, I headed out of Victoria at 3PM. I’ll write a separate post about the drive back to Campbell River.

Victoria left me with mixed feelings, some negative, most positive.

The negative feelings are towards the cost of museums and attractions: ridiculously high. There was nothing under $10 and most things were $15 and up. I would have loved to do the Maritime Museum, but with the RBC being $15 and the Undersea Gardens being $11, the additional $12 for the MM would have busted my budget. Having been to so many museums in both the Canada and the US I can say with a measure of authority that everything I saw in Victoria was way over priced. Whether or not I enjoyed myself is not relevant.

That said, Victoria is a beautiful and accessible city. If I have to stay in Canada next winter I will do so in the environs of Victoria, even if it means spending another $400 on ferry costs. I have nowhere had my fill of this city and feel that I barely got a taste of it. I’d like to spend more time exploring Beacon Hill Park and exploring the many hiking trails in the area.

Victoria is one of those Canadian cities that feels exquisitely ‘old world’ in its waterfront area, so much so that the cloppety clop of horse hooves is the most natural sound you could hear in the setting. The traditional architecture is Victorian with its emphasis on grand neo-gothic structures like the Empress Hotel. I didn’t get quite as much of a feel for the outlaying parts of town, but Mrs. H had me drive through many a neighbourhood that had streets lined with Victorian cottages, some simple, some dripping with gingerbread.

I had a lovely weekend and feel it is the perfect cap to my Vancouver Island winter.

Journey to White Rock Across the Bottom of the Ocean

Today, all the elements came together to make a hike to White Rock possible. The weather was perfect, I was limbered up from all my hiking and walking, I knew what I wanted to see and do, and the tide was out (meaning that I could walk on sand instead of stones). It was a roughly 20km (12.5mi) expedition (according to my pedometre) on foot through Peace Arch park and down to the beach. It would have been much quicker to use the land route via eight avenue, but not nearly as scenic!

For the visual folk out there:

Google route in blue, my route in red

Google route in purple, my route in red

White Rock is a seaside resort town that seceded from Surrey, which surrounds it on all four sides, in 1957. The population is roughly 5,o00, but that number grows exponentially in summer. The community has a reputation for being balmier and sunnier than neighbouring towns and pilots actually call it the ‘hole in the sky’ because it often lacks cloud cover when the rest of the lower mainland is blanketed in fog! Walking Marine Drive with the ocean on my left, houses carved into the hillside on the right, and palm trees all around never fails to make me feel that I am back in southern California!

My mother has been to White Rock and was quick to advise me to try out the fish & chips at the Moby Dick restaurant. I figured that a 20km walk would mean a guilt-free indulgence in such a greasy treat, so I planned my day to have an early supper at this restaurant. I found the meal excellent, but it wasn’t quite the best fish and chips I’ve ever had (hint: the Lobster Barn, in York, Maine). The French fries were fantastic, the coleslaw was rather disappointing, and the fish was very good (not too greasy, light on the batter), but it needed lemon, which they don’t offer. I do highly recommend this place for fish and chips!

Today’s photo gallery tells the rest of the story. Pardon the French; I’ll be making my photo galleries bilingual from now on to save myself some work when telling my relatives about my adventures. 🙂