The last parts of our trip to Victoria were the barbecue at Stephanie’s, and then a visit to the Royal BC Museum.
The barbecue was a success, with Tristan making a bacon-wrapped pork roast along with corn on the cob. It was a second chance to get the family together on the trip. Bonus! For some reason, nobody took any photos??? Strange. The weather was nice in the back yard and it was a good cap to the day.
Zachary had to work the next day (new job at Lordco auto parts) but we met up with Stephanie, Tristan and Brianna to visit the museum. There was a new Orcas exhibit that I wanted to see, along with all of the classics. The deep-sea exhibit was under renovation the last time we were there and it was reopened now, with a Jules Verne-sort of vibe that was cool.
The new exhibits tend to have interactive computer screens and certainly have a lot of information, but there is something “atmospheric” in the older diorama-style or walk-through exhibits. As I get older I find I like the old town with its Victorian recreation of Vancouver/Victoria the most fascinating.
We had lunch at Red Robin before saying good bye. We skipped over to Hillside to get some groceries and to find Strait and Narrow, a gin-based drink that Tammy found a can for when we were playing disc golf on Pender. We also stopped at Qoola at the kids’ request. There used to be one in Calgary’s Market Mall, but it has closed.
Dinner was White Spot takeout! We’d been trying to go to White Spot the whole trip and failing. First, it was after the book store trip downtown. The location on Fort St. was too busy, and then the location on Douglas is closed now. 😢 Then we stopped at the one on the Pat Bay highway after Pender to find it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 😫 It finally worked out for dinner.
We had a reservation for the 8 o’clock ferry on Friday. It was an early morning, on the road by 6:30. Dad got up to help us get on our way. I finally got a decent picture of him at the very last minute!
There was fog on the water as we took the Queen of New Westminster to Tsawwassen. But it cleared up by Active Pass.
The whole week we’d been worried about whether or not the highway would be open. It closed hours after we passed through on the way to Victoria. On Wednesday we’d heard that it was open again:
Highway 5. Travel advisory in effect between Exit 183: Peers Creek Rd and Exit 286: Merritt for 101.8 km (6 km north of Hope to 1 km south of Merritt). Due to a wildfire. Essential travel only. No facilities or washrooms available. No access off main hwy on off ramps. Watch for crews & enforcement. Watch for debris & wildlife. No stopping on hwy. Please lower speeds & drive with caution.
We could have taken Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon or Highway 3 via Princeton and Crowsnest Pass, but both would have extended a long day even longer so we chose to try the Coquihalla. It was smoky, and there was lots of evidence of the fire that passed through.
The weather was much nicer than the trip down. It was cooler: I think the hottest we saw was 28 degrees in the Salmon Arm area. The smoke was mostly gone so we actually got to see the mountains. There were rain showers from Yoho through Banff, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that our wipers aren’t in great shape. It’s been a dry summer and neither Tammy nor I thought to check them before the trip. Wasn’t critical, but it made the last stretch in the dark that much more tiring.
There weren’t that many headaches on the road. A couple of weird drivers doing unexpected things, but nothing out of the ordinary. The one major, major, MAJOR foulup that we saw was in Kicking Horse Pass. They are working to widen/straighten the road, and so it was reduced to one lane. We came to a complete stop for about 10 minutes just east of Golden, but then we were slowly following the tractor-trailer through the twisty construction area. The truck was loaded and slow and I’d made a few comments about it as we crawled along. But when we got to the far end, all hell was breaking loose.
At the east end of the construction, divided highway started again. The traffic cones had put us on the left side of the highway through the construction, and at the end we merged back onto the right. But up ahead, the first vehicles through the construction had missed the merge! They had continued up the left and now were face-to-face with the waiting traffic coming west. The cars and trucks were doing three-point turns, but there were several semi-trailers that could not. It was a mess. We just merged to the right and drove by the chaos happening in the opposing traffic lanes. I imagine it was going to be a snarl for a while.
We got home about 11:20. It was nice to be in our beds again. Murphy was happy to be home. He spent most of the day in his carrier in the back, being very quiet.