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Travel Journal May 2012
Travel Journal May 2012
in  Graham, WA and ends in Reed Point, Montana.
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Area of Operation:
Washington State, Vancouver Island, BC, Idaho, Montana
On the Ferry
Vancouver Island in the Distance
Craigdarroch Castle
Along the
Coast of
The ,,20th Fire & Ice
Street Festival"
For  Openers a Marching
Bagpipe Band
Olympic National Park
View from the Ferry
Towards the Mountains of
Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge,
Elevation 5242 ft.
No snow below 3000 ft, but
very tame deer.  They came
within 5 ft of the truck.
Boat Trip
Campground at Yakima River in
Ellensburg, WA
Minke Whale
Steller Sea Lion

On May 2nd we drove to Port Angeles on the Olympic peninsula,
northwest of Seattle, leaving the RV in Graham.  From Port Angeles we
took the ferry to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, located on
Vancouver Island.  The island is about 280 miles long and 60 miles wide
and the largest island in North America.  On the way we discovered
that we had left the camera in the RV so all of the pictures on this trip
were taken with our cell phones.  For the most part, panorama, low light
and inside photos turned out to be of very poor quality.

It rained on the first day so we decided to tour the
Castle, built by Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his
fortune from Vancouver Island coal.

Afterwards we drove to Fisherman’s Wharf, followed by a little
shopping and ended the day with supper at a Szechwan restaurant.  

The following morning we began our exploration of the island, driving
north on Queen’s Highway 1 to
Ladysmith and checked out the little
town.  Ladysmith was founded in 1899 by James Dunsmuir, the son of
the man who built the Craigdarroch Castle.  It also happens to be the
birthplace of Pamela Anderson.  The old town center has not changed
much since the early 20th century.  An interesting building is the
former Ladysmith Hotel which was moved from one side of the street
to the other but was not turned around.  So the back is now the street
side entrance!

We drove further north through
Nanaimo  where we encountered a
heavy hailstorm with marble sized hail, then on to
Qualicum Beach  
where we spent the night at the
Riverside Resort.

Saturday morning the sun finally came out!  Qualicum Beach was having
its “20th Fire and Ice Festival”, which we didn’t want to pass up.  The
“Fire” was in the form of a Chili cook-off and the “Ice” was an ice
sculpturing contest by local artists who created their masterpieces at
their stands from large slabs of ice.  

In order to sample the Chili, each customer bought a small cup and
spoon for $4.  Each customer also received one ballot to cast a vote for
which Chili they considered the best.  Many of the Chili stands were
from local restaurants but most were private individuals.  A lot of them
would not make it in the Southwestern US but some were quite
authentic, along with some interesting recipes.  One such interesting
example was chili cooked with dark chocolate and grated chocolate on
top (yuk!!).  Early on in the taste test we sampled stand C-14 (private
individual) and the rest never stood a chance.  After completing all of
the 20 plus stands, we cast our vote and began our drive back to
Victoria, where we stayed again at the same hotel and even in the same

May 6th (Sunday) was sunny and warm.  We bought tickets for the City
Big Bus Hop-on-Hop-off Sightseeing Tour and saw the sights of
Victoria.  The tickets were good for two days but since we were
catching the ferry back to Port Angeles, we gave the tickets to a
couple from Quebec who could enjoy the second day.

The ferry was packed and we barely made it on as one of the last
vehicles to board.  We spent the night in Port Angeles and the following
morning went to visit the Olympic National Park, driving to the top
where there was still quite a bit of snow.

We arrived back in Graham late in the afternoon.  As we stopped at a
store outside of Graham, the starter motor began acting up.  The air
conditioning was also malfunctioning so the following morning we took
the truck in for repair.   

The rest of the week was spent on daily chores and preparation for
our eventual departure.  For Mother’s Day, Michael gave Renée a Kindle
and she spent the entire day with it.  On Monday we drove to Port
Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula east of Port Angeles, for a Whale
Watching Tour.  The weather was perfect but the whales had other
plans.  We saw only one whale, a Minke.  Nevertheless, the tour was
very interesting.  The Captain was quite knowledgeable and very
informative.  Although we saw seals, sea lions and even a bald eagle,
and its nest on one of the nearby islands, the Orcas were nowhere to
be found.  After the four hour tour we were given a voucher for a
free tour, without an expiration date. We hope to come back and use
it someday!

On May 21st we left Graham and began our eastward journey.  We
spent one night at a campground on the Yakima River in Ellensburg and
then drove to Spokane where we spent a week.  Actually, we did not
intend to spend that long in Spokane but the truck was having
electronic problems where the speedometer suddenly drops to zero
but the odometer continues to register the mileage.  Also the work
done on the air conditioning did not fully correct the problem.  We
were not able to get an appointment until May 29th.

Finally on the 30th we left Washington State, driving east on I-90
through Idaho and spending the night in Missoula, Montana.  The
following night was spent at the Old West RV Park in Reed Point,
Montana.  It turned out to be quite a noisy night since the RV park
was right next to the Interstate and the railroad, where trains
passed throughout the night.  No one spent more than one night there!

to be continued……………