A Tale of Two Cities (Part 2)

I broke this tale of two cities apart because I could tell it would be long. This 2nd half is long despite that… consider yourself forewarned. It’s also been delayed as we’ve enjoyed some amazing places that were off the grid. Some times that’s just the right thing to do. So here’s part two with a little lag between.

Seattle was the last tale, it was the end of week one. As I began to write this it was Thursday evening and we’d had a ferry crossing and a few days in Canada since. Tomorrow (Friday) would see us on the move again as we take a ferry back to the U.S. As I wrap up this tale it’s the second day of week three! WOW! Day 16 of this adventure already. Amazing.

City Two: Victoria (and Saanich)

Andrea and I had planned to come visit Jaye & Jay at their new home in Saanich on Vancouver Island in May. That didn’t work out as Andrea was in the middle of a significant career change so we had to put that on hold. We knew we had a plan B available though and I’m thrilled that it worked out.

Since we knew we’d be coming to Seattle it was easy to fit a ferry trip to Victoria and a few days on the island in. Our only stop in Canada other than home, something we hadn’t really thought about until J (or J? Or both?) commented on it. It’s true though… we took a detour back to Canada to visit these friends. And we’re glad we did. And as I look back at our trip so far… well 3 nights is the longest time we’ve spent in any place! Even here in Washington (and now Oregon) it’s one or two nights.

Babe’s First Ferry Trip

Andrea and I have taken bikes on ferries before. We’ve take the camper we rented in New Zealand (Piglet) on a ferry to the South Island and back. But since we’ve owned Babe we’ve not taken her on a ferry. Nor has she met the Pacific Ocean. She has now though.

We made a ferry reservation a few days ahead of our Monday sailing from Anacortes to Sidney and that all went smoothly. The weather was good for the drive, we arrived with ample time to spare and the trip across the San Juan Passage was smooth.


We arrived in Sidney just about when we expected and found J & J’s place easily. It’s a lovely spot and they did really well finding this house! It’s beautiful and will only get better as they continue to add their personalities to it. Babe seemed to fit right in too. Might have something to do with the number of VW buses & vans here!

Peek-a-boo in the garden

We spent the evening getting caught up on lots of parts of each others lives that we’ve missed over the past year. Another evening of eating delicious food and enjoying tasty beverages as we talked the night away. This seems to be coming a trend! But that will change once we get back into camping mode and are on our own again. Which makes this tale of two cities all that much more a delightful interlude filled with moments shared with friends.

Exploring Victoria

The next morning Andrea and I set out to explore Victoria on our own, with input and ideas discussed over morning coffee. A drive to the city, a walk through some of the southern parts and then a little time in the city core is what we settled on. Yes, it included some lovely gardens 😉

Followed by more conversation, drinks and great food. Have to be careful not to get too used to this! It’s always a balance between appreciating wonderful hospitality and not presuming on our hosts too much (at least that’s how I think). After being on our own so much it’s been a small challenge to make sure we’re keeping that balance. I think we’ve done ok. And I know we’ve loved the generosity of our friends. In both cities.

Flight School

One of the topics of conversation these couple of evenings was going up in the plane they built. C-FJNJ (a ZENAIR-STOL CH750) is a small but well built two-seater. It’s the third plane Jay has built and from what I can tell it’s the one he is happiest with. It seems to fit his desires best of the three. His Sky Jeep, as he calls it, to go along with their VW Eurovan camper 😉

Andrea had talked about getting a chance to fly in it on our way west… she really liked the idea and hoped it might work out but was reluctant to ask. So when Jay suggested flying her face lit up and it was settled. The weather looked like it would co-operate and we all agreed to try for Wednesday morning with Thursday as as backup if the weather changed.

This led to an early start to the day and a moto ride for Andrea on the back of Jay’s bike as the headed to the hanger. Jaye an I followed in her car and there we were… hanging out at an airport steps away from the runways. Friends on FB will have seen photos since both Andrea and I posted some there. I’ll put a few up here just to make sure the story is complete.

Part of this story, also told in these pictures, is that we were able to help JnJ take the next steps in rebuilding their Sonex aircraft by getting the wings back on. If you’d ever asked me “can you imagine yourself putting wings on an airplane” the answer would have been a resounding no. Andrea and I have now flow in a plane that Jay has built, including him putting the wings on. And we’ve helped re-attach the wings on their other plane which they had shipped here (Jay flew the 750 from their Brandywine home near Sarnia to here but the Sonex was packed and delivered via truck). Never would have dreamed that was in my future and I’m so thrilled that we were able to. So that’s a big part of day two. Oh… did I mention we also hiked in a park (call it a big garden)?

Butchart Gardens

Our final full day here in Beautiful BC, Saanich and area, included a trip to the Butchart Gardens. Wow! Jaye has an annual membership so she can go any time she likes. It also gets friends a discount on their admission so this was a win-win. Such a beautiful place. And so many delights that I simply can’t share / express with still images. You have to experience it yourself I guess. We did and we’re so glad we did. Anyhow, here are a few photos to give you a hint of what it’s like.  Smell the roses… even in September they are oh so very prominent!

And before I add this last gallery… I’m gonna say something my friends may blush at.

Andrea and I were both so looking forward to seeing you in your new home. We’re so thrilled at how you are adapting to this new place and lifestyle. I can see how great this can be and look forward to our next opportunity to share time with you here. Meanwhile… get ready for your next camping trip and all the adventures that will follow. You’ll get to see our travels, I look forward to seeing your’s too. Including Hawaii!

We plan to leave early, that’s probably good. This is the first time I’ve felt like we’re “leaving” since we said goodbye to Punch back when we started this adventure! Hugs this evening were great. Perhaps we’ll slip out before there’s any thought of tears.

As for our departure… it will be early here because we need to queue up for the ferry. We weren’t able to secure a reservation on the 10:30 sailing but still hope to get on it. We’ll see! The adventure continues.

Babe Intervenes

If we’re connected on FB you already know that Babe had other thoughts. And when we got up early (5AM early enough?) she said no. Firmly. So despite all my plan A & B solutions for jump-starting if we couldn’t get the engine to start she was adamant. So we made coffee and chilled. It’s a nice spot to do that. So after coffee, we talked nicely to Babe, hooked her up to Jaye’s new car and got her started. Then it was a short drive to the nearest Canadian Tire to get a new battery so that could be ruled out as a problem. Then on to a breakfast break, followed by a queue up for the ferry. This was a nice time to walk around the downtown area of Victoria. Probably as much as we did in 2005 when we were here with bikes!

There are photos… nothing memorable of this other than a fond farewell. Good friends are always so great to see again! And you don’t really want to say good-bye. So we’ll happily carry them with us as we travel.

Back to the USA

On we go. The next blog entry will be PNW-centric… such an amazing part of North America!


3 Replies to “A Tale of Two Cities (Part 2)”

  1. marienussbaum mom says: Reply

    Hi, Peter and Andrea i’m glad to see you doing fine so far and since i have been in Vancouver many years ago,i know exactly what you talking about – it is a wonderful place and i had even Tanja come from Germany
    to enjoy it too – much luck and happy traveling for the rest of this journey .


  2. We so enjoyed your visit with us herein Saanichton, It will be too long before we see each other again. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. So glad it worked out! Hope your camping weekend worked out too.

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