Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

August 3, 2007

Jo's Excellent Wednesday Adventure, Pt. 1

Up at the crack-o'6:45 a.m. on Wed., 7/25. I had a very ambitious itinerary and didn't have a moment to spare! I was on the road, headed north on the TransCanada Highway to Chemainus. It's not terribly far from Victoria, by U.S. standards anyway, but Hwy. 1 isn't exactly a major freeway either so it took about an hour or so to arrive. But first, I had to stop at the scenic turnouts at the summit of Mt. Malahat. I really like the way the rays of the sun were captured. If only the power lines weren't there. This is at the summit view point at Mt. Malahat. It was a beautiful morning, and this was taken at around 8:15 a.m.
The snow capped peaks in the distance are the Olympic Mtns.

Looking northeast, at I believe Saltspring Island.

The water was shimmering silver; the actual photo looks better than the scan.

Looking southeast at the Saanich Peninsula.
Here's the waterwheel in Waterwheel Park, Chemainus, the park where I had my geocaching meltdown.

I arrived in Chemainus a little before 9:00 a.m. so it was still really quiet and not filled up with tourists. After the geocaching fiasco, I wandered thru Waterwheel Park, which is really pretty. There are carved animals at the tops of trees that have been cut up high. Unfortunately it was too shady and my pics of the animals turned out lame.
Fortunately the stores realize that tourists do show up early, and so many of them opened early too. My favourite place was the Willow St. Antique Mall. They had the largest selection of antique beaded bags that I've seen in a long time, outside of an antique show, and I found one that is beautiful, old, in great condition, done with the tiny beads, and for an absolute steal at $83.00. Metal frame and everything. I haven't yet taken a pic of it, but I will. I also scored a bag of antique German marbles for $20, and a bag of peewee marbles for $5. Needless to say I was smilin' big time when I left the shop. Mostly I just wandered aimlessly around, stopping for a strawberry ice cream cone for breakfast at 10:30.
I cannot begin to describe how amazing the murals are. There are over 30 of them and they cover huge expanses on large, low buildings. The quality of the artwork is incredible and they all have a 3-D effect with real depth. This was one of my favourite murals, because it is in the "Time Transfixed" (by Rene Magritte) style.

This is the Chamber of Commerce.

Post Office.

Best looking Subway I've ever seen.
"Thanks for invading my country and for giving me this pox-ridden blanket, asshole".

Downtown Chemainus is a very charming town without being over-the-top.

The day was heating up so I headed down to Kin Beach to do some beachcombing. I heard there were a lot of shells and they aren't kidding. Clam shell city. And the live clams are just an inch or so under the sand too. Here's a beautiful view of one of the mountains on the mainland BC, but I'm not sure which one.

This is looking due east. The hazy mountains are on the mainland, and I believe the 2 "sharpest" peaks in the center of the photo are The Lions, these really cool twin peaks outside of Vancouver, and for which The Lions Gate Bridge is named.
A rustic lowtide scene.
Phew! OK, it's about 11:00, and I need to be on the 1:50 p.m. BC Ferry across Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay, because my next stop in the late afternoon is going to be the jaw dropping Butchart Gardens. I left Chemainus and headed on down to Mill Bay. I followed the signs to the ferry landing and I have to say, I was more than a bit taken aback. It was down a really small, narrow, semi-gravel road, next to a few houses and on a beach made entirely of crushed up clam shells, so that it looked white. There were no amenities, such that one would find at most ferry landings. But that was fine with was hot, but quiet, extremely peaceful, and cooler down at the water so I killed time just looking at the amazing views and listening to the gentle lap of the little waves.

As it turns out, even though I got to the ferry landing extremely early, I was not the first person in line, and many people turned up right after I did. The ferry holds 18'ish vehicles. If there is an exceptionally large vehicle, like the small motorhome & Hummer that were boarding with me, the ferry holds far less regular-size cars. There was a really nice woman who struck up a conversation with me. She, her husband and son were on the trip of a lifetime from Nebraska. They'd been gone for about 3 weeks, and had seen Portland, OR, driven up to Seattle, did the whole WA Coast thing up into Vancouver Island.
This ferry was a lot of fun. It was so small; the smallest I've ever been on.

And even though it was a calm day, we did hit a few wakes from other boats, and the ferry rocked from side to side. It was an outdoor deck; you could spend the 25 minute ride in your car, moving around the car deck, or up in the small observation area next to the wheelhouse.
Luckily for me, I was born with sea legs. I think just about anyone who is born in a coastal area, like Cape Cod, learns balance skills on boats. My dad had a boat for a couple of years when I was young, my uncle had one too. Even in the 6th grade, it was mandatory for us to take a safe boating course offered by our school. Water travel has always been a huge part of my life and I've never gotten seasick. One fact about the Pacific NW that not a lot of people realize, is that it has an extremely efficient marine highway system. There are so many islands, that travel by boat and ferry is an essential and routine part of life in Washington and on the British Columbia coast.

And I couldn't have asked for a better day to take this fantastic, albeit short, ride across the bay. It sure beat driving all the way around and coming back up the Saanich Peninsula; it saved me tons of time and precious gas.

Coming next time....The Butchart Gardens!


  1. jojo....i love that first pic with the sun rays...and i can't even see the power wires...what a pretty and unusual town.

  2. It all looks so unspoilt. We in the UK, who can't go for more than a few miles without evidence of man's intrusion, forget that there are places where man's influence can barely be seen.

  3. "Thanks for invading my country and for giving me this pox-ridden blanket, asshole".


    But we gave them guns and whiskey, too. That's gotta count for something...


  4. And isn't The Secret Garden a euphemism for a coochie????

  5. I'm not sure I'd do very well on that ferry!

    Beautiful pictures Jojo.

  6. absolutely beautiful, JoJo. I love the photos. the one of the calm water in front of the ferry is amazing.

    geo caching fiasco and meltdown. you are so funny. i didn't miss that one.