Each week, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
Date: from July 20th to July 28th
Miles on the road so far: 6,132
States/Province traveled through: British Columbia & Washington
It has been already over a month that we are traveling with Freefall, our RV. We have all started to call Freefall our home and even our little one, Caleb, is taking good care of Freefall and makes sure it’s well parked and visible at night. I don’t know what should I learn from this, but I don’t feel like I’m away yet. I don’t miss anything of my previous life. I’m very happy to feel alive each day, to experience amazing moments almost everyday and to spend all this time with my family. It’s obviously not always easy and joyous, but it is far better the regular life we used to live. This is an extraordinary life.
Another example of this is when we boondocked for the last 2 days: at Dean’s place. Dean has his heart in the right place. I found his place through boondockerswelcome, an amazing website where you can ask people if they want to have you for a few days in their parking lot. Dean has provided a lot more than a parking lot to sleep, tomorrow morning, he is going to Lowe’s to get all we need to cut a hole in my RV and fit another water entry for Central America water. I’ll let you know how it goes… But for now, let’s go back to our trip as we were about to visit Vancouver.
Day #41 A Quick Trip to Vancouver, A Very Long Day
We then woke up early to leave Abbotsford to visit Vancouver. I’ve been there a few times and decided to show my children the two things they would most likely enjoy: Stanley Park and Granville Island. I know Vancouver has plenty other things to offer, but what I really enjoy about this city it is how it is situated between mountains and the ocean.
I must also admit that driving in the middle of any city is quite a challenge with the RV… especially when there is construction! I decided to park Freefall on Granville Island (I know, not the place with most space in Vancouver). We found a great parking space towards the end of the market. It was perfect for us as we pulled-out the bikes and went for our cycling trip across Vancouver. We had the chance of riding all of Stanley Park and enjoy our lunch on the third bay. The kids went into the water for a few minutes before getting real cold hehehe! We finished this great day by walking around Grandville Island. There were kayaking courses where kids were doing races, live music near the public market and too much good food for our eyes to see and noses too smell. I’m a foodie and love public markets!
While we were already pretty full on food from the Okanagan Valley, we couldn’t resist buying more fruit, veggies, smoked salmon for our pizza night and fresh pasta for a future rainy day when we will need comfort food ;-). After our delightful pizzas, it was time to hit the road for our ferry trip. We took a 9:30pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. It was a perfect way to enjoy a full day in Vancouver while not wasting time to get to the island.
The ferry trip by itself was an adventure. Just the look of our kids while we parked Freefall in this huge boat was worth it.
Caleb was worried that the crew would forget Freefall on the dock and he was relieved to see me park our RV ;-). We had a chance to see the sunset on the ocean while we were leaving Vancouver, a city full of light and the full moon rising on top of it while we were slowly drifting out to sea. We arrived at Nanaimo after 11pm. It was time to find a place to sleep. I had made a quick research telling me that Walmart does not welcome RVers and that I could probably find a quiet spot in a remote provincial park near Nanaimo. I found the spot; it was not too far (maybe 1km) from a big road, but really in the middle of nowhere. It was almost midnight, I was dead tired and while I was a bit nervous to sleep in a place “that-you-are-not-supposed-to-be-sleeping”, I decided to call it a day and sleep. Everything was perfect until a pick-up came by around 1:30 am. Why in the world would you come into a closed park in the middle of the night on a Wednesday!?! The pick-up halted maybe 1 or 2 minutes before doing a U turn and left. This was my night of sleep. I was stuck between the security I must provide my family and the fact that I had no other places to go and it was the middle of the night. The irrational part of my brain took over and I was thinking of all kind of weird scenarios. After all, only weirdos are wondering around that late at night in a place where there is nothing to do, right? So here I am, staring at my RV ceiling waiting for the night to pass because I can’t get anymore sleep now that I know I’m in the middle of nowhere and somebody else knows I’m here. Somebody that was hitting a closed park at 1:30 am in the middle of week… seriously, he wasn’t there to setup his organic lemonade stand for the next morning.
Day 42-43-44-45-46 Calming Tofino
The night passed slowly and I eventually faded into a light sleep. Around 5am, another car comes by. This wakes me up again, I’m nervous. Is this the cops? Or rangers telling us to move out? None of the above… the guy stays in his car with very loud radio for a good 15 minutes. Then he leaves. Wow… I really want to spend more time here now! Since I’m the only one awake, I simply wait and try to get some sleep. At 6am, another car parks, then another at 7am. I’m done! I wake up our kids (my wife is not sleeping either) and we decide to move on. We go back to Nanaimo and we hit a free parking lot for 3 hours by the ocean. We slept for the first 2 hours and then decide to solve all our problems with pitas and Nutella. This was the best decision of the day! I then called a campsite nearby Ucluelet (40 minutes away from Tofino) and they had a cancellation the same day! We then booked it for 4 days in the middle of nowhere. To get there, we had to close down our GPS and drive for 8km on gravel roads full of potholes. Once we got there, half of our cabinets were thrown on the floor (we have to redesign this part before we hit Mexico!). But the place was neat and very calm. It is obviously calm when you are in the middle of the forest with wolves and bears, right? Hahaha!
Instead of driving around like crazy, we decided to take the ocean beat. We stayed two full days at the campground (the second day, we were lucky enough to have a spot right on the ocean:
The children loved to do their homework by the sea while I could comfortably blog on my beach chair. We spent the other two days around Tofino exploring beaches. I love going to the beach in the morning as only a few surfers were around. You face the immensity of the ocean and kilometers of natural beach; I was speechless:
We were lucky enough to walk around at low tide and explore a few sea caves. During our little excursion, we had left our sandals on a rock nearby. Within 15 minutes, the water came up and almost stole them away from us! It was time to head back before we couldn’t make it! The sea moves very fast around this area.
We then moved to Long beach to have a quick nap by the ocean. We also played mini-soccer for a while. It’s hard to run in the sand!
These four days by the beach were amazing. We spent our last evening with a fire on the beach while we were eating sausages bought at a public market not too long ago. Once the children felt asleep in the RV, we had a couple hours to admire a sky full of stars. There isn’t any city light to cover the sky, I then see millions of stars that I couldn’t see back home. It was definitely a nice to spend a few days on Vancouver Island!
We spent a few more hours on the beach before hitting the road on our last day to do the RV routine (tanks, laundry & Walmart overnight parking). Next morning, we are taking the ferry to the U.S. via Port Angeles.
Day #47-48-49 Seattle, Chaotic Beauty
The good thing about Walmart overnight sleeps is that you always wake up early! You rarely get the best sleep, but you can start your day earlier than usual and do more things. We then had a few hours to spend in Victoria before taking our Ferry to Port Angeles:
This was a long day of traveling as we had almost 3 hours drive after the Ferry to get to Port Orchard for another night at Walmart. I’m happy to have switched our traveling setup where we do 1 long day of road and then stay a few days in one place. These days are tough, but it gives us more time to appreciate where we stay next.
We experienced another form of camping for our 2 days in Seattle. We contacted Dean through boondockerswelcome.org, a website linking boondockers and generous people offering their parking space for a couple of nights. Then again I felt a bit nervous to meet with strangers and share their driveway. But Dean was more then welcoming! He offered us water, power and even blocks to level our RV. Then, he walked us to the bus station and provided us with quarters and a bus schedule to go to Seattle! I felt as if one of my best friends was taking care of me!
We then took the bus and then the light train and arrived a few blocks away from the famous Pike Place Public Market:
I appreciated the chaotic ambience of the market where you hear merchants screaming and offering freebies to customers. We took a minute to eat a sandwich by the pier and we head back to the famous gum wall. We had the children ready for it!
After a few hours walking around the market, we were quite exhausted by the end of our day. We decided to head back to Dean’s place and enjoy our catch of the day; great salmon with asparagus! This is when Dean came by to discuss my trip to Mexico and found a solution to pump bottled water into my RV.
The next morning, we celebrated William’s birthday a day in advance. This is because he wanted to have lasagna and it’s quite difficult to cook one in the RV! We headed back to Seattle to have breakfast at the Pike Market and then visit Dale Chihuly Garden of Glass. This artist specialises in glass blowing… and it was literally blowing our mind:
We then headed back to the restaurant The Pink Door to have one of the best lasagna I ever had in my life.
I really enjoyed my 2 days in Seattle. I found the people were very welcoming and they tried to help us as much as they could. I felt a lot of patience and understanding. It is definitely a great city!
We will now leave this busy city for the calm of highway 101 and the sea…