Victoria to Nanaimo - a journey of about 100 km.
A note about the delicious salmon we've been eating. It's the sockeye variety that has a deep red flesh as opposed to the paler flesh we see in the UK.
I didn't see any salmon, or even any seals, as I repeated the 4 km seafront run that we set about on arrival on Monday. Sue didn't join me this time.
After breakfast on Lucy's new deck in the hazy sunshine, Lucy and Jonathan gave us a conducted tour of their Winnebago, a large caravan that is towed behind a truck. It's a brilliant piece of kit, but I wouldn't like to have to reverse it down the driveway.
It was a shame to have to leave the Mears household; we only just touched the surface of Victoria in the three nights we stayed there. Thanks go to Lucy and Jonathan and the boys for hosting us at a time when they had just returned from one holiday and were about to set off on another to see the forthcoming eclipse of the sun in Idaho.
We eventually set off at 10.15, with the first stop at MEC to buy bear spray and camping gas. It turns out that bear spray is a protected substance that we could only buy after producing ID. We had to jog back to the place we'd parked as Charlie (our Toyota Camry) was on a meter for just 36 minutes!
Then we headed off up Highway 1 towards Mill Bay where we picked up fuel after midday, after which a coffee stop turned into lunch and coffee at the Rusticana Coffee café, where we sat in the shade in the garden. There were photos of nearby roads showing cars driving on the left prior to 1922 when driving on the right was introduced.
Cowichan Bay was our next stop. This village has galleries and craft shops, and a wharf where we saw boats that are designed for sustainable fishing. The Shipyard Gallery of Arthur Vickers was particularly good, although the screen prints and beautiful wooden bowls were out of our price range. The ones using gold sell for 200,000 CAD, and others were 5,000 CAD. The artist told us he had spent 8 years developing his 'inverse' technique, which was very unusual.
Onwards to Chemainus, a small town whose industry has suffered and many murals have been painted since the early 1980's that have become a tourist attraction. Many depict historic scenes and cover large areas of wall. Lemonade was being sold on a street corner by two young girls who were collecting funds for gymnastics equipment. It was welcome as temperatures were now in the 30's!
Onwards to Stocking Creek Farm, where Jonathan's sister Penny and her husband Dave have a PYO blueberry farm that also sells eggs, chickens and turkeys. We had a 'shindown' (blueberry milkshake) on their deck - it was an amazing colour, cold and very refreshing.
So, it wasn't until 6.45pm that we got to the Painted Turtle Guest House in Nanaimo, 'the harbour city', where we have a double room - our first 'paid for' room of the trip. Close by Shukkho Thai provided an excellent dinner, then we strolled down to the harbour and watched Chinese families crab fishing off a pier in the cooler air.
The outline of some nearby mountains appeared today, dark grey under a light grey sky. There were several good viewpoints on the coast road that we took, but only those who like an image that approximates to a wash of blue/grey/green paint, all mixed together, would bother with photography today.
Having said that, I've tried to offer something for readers - starting from the top:
• Outside Lucy and Jonathan's spacious house with its new deck
• Inspecting Winnebago
• Lunch at Rusticana Coffee cafe
• Houseboats at Cowichan Bay
• A mural at Chemainus
• Shindowns at Stocking Creek Farm
• David and Penny ("Hello, and thanks for the shindowns")
• Dinner at Sukkho Thai
• Nanaimo harbour
4 km run and about 7 km of walking in four separate outings.