Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gullible's Travels: Days 5-8

Campbell River from the bay about 60 min north of Hilary
I have run into the dilemma that many of us have when we travel. Enjoying being where you are outweighs writing about it!  

Over the past few days:
  • Both Hilary and Bruce have driven me around Courtney, Comox and Cumberland nearby reminiscing about the parts of their lives that have special meaning in each place.  Kay Bay on the north side of the Comox Peninsula was the place they first moved in to a little summer cottage on the tidal flats. 
    Canadian Air Force Snow Birds
  • We caught glimpses of the Canadian Snow Birds precision jet team practicing their loops and rolls out of the airbase just south of Kay Bay. A Canadian astronaut took a stunning picture of them and us. According to the Comox Valley Record (where Bruce was a reporter for 20 years) "Col. Chris Hadfield, commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and former fighter pilot with the Canadian Forces, took the photo early Sunday evening as the ISS flew over Comox."  As they say, I was there.
  • Each chauffeur has had their own specialty.  Hilary regaled me with stories of the family life and her career as an Occupational Therapist.  She took me to i-Hos the Native People's art gallery from which some of you will receive tokens of my appreciation and love.  Good my cash was
    iHos Folk Art Gallery of First Nations Art
    limited or I would have loved all over that place!  Incredibly beautiful Northwest Indian paintings, sculpture, jewelry, weaving, knitting and so much more and not at very bad prices.
  • Bruce was a delightful chauffeur as well because he spent 20 years reporting for the Comox Valley Record.  He had some great stories about a local political boss named Bronco in the aging coal mining town of Cumberland who scammed the federal government into providing money for a senior center by claiming that he was restoring historic buildings.  Old Bronc then just put up the senior center and put these horrendously garish facade of olde timey saloon, stores etc. on the front of the two story structure. 

Foster joins Bruce and Stu for "men's lunch"
  • So far I have had a couple of delightful meals and conversations with Stuart, my 32 year old nephew, who I met here for the first time.  He reminds me so much of my grandson Tony because he is a fanatic for any sport that is played in Vancouver from the White Caps (MLS) to the Canucks (NHL) and the Canadian Football league in between.  It is so unique to experience my family (father and mother) through the eyes of their grandchild.  He absolutely worships my dad whom he met twice during his later years.  Stuart is planning an adventure to the Motor City in the fall of this year and I look forward to introducing him to all of you.  BTW I will be looking for someone who can accommodate a 6'2" lumberjack!  We leave for Victoria on my way back tomorrow, Sunday, April 28 and then I will meet Grahame my other nephew (35) whom I last saw as an infant in arms in 1973!  He has a whole sightseeing itinerary for us to follow.
  • I have become an oyster-aholic!  I not only love to eat them raw or cooked but I love finding them and shucking them.  Now to be honest this last 30lb. bucket of Fanny Bay beauties just about did me in because it took over an hour to shuck them.  They were GINORMOUS.  Hilary is going to keep this last load in the freezer and then will smoke them after marinating them and then will vacuum seal a batch to send to me.  Ginny, I don't think you share my enthusiasm for these beautiful cretaceous creature but I sure had fun finding them.  I have been told that you have to be careful not to pick up oysters on some one's "lease" which is a number of acres of shore and shallows in the bay that are used to farm the oysters.  Fanny Bay oysters, by the way, are some of the finest in the world because the shallows where they grow are fed by lots of sweet fresh water salmon streams running off the mountains behind us.  Curt, the game fishing here is to die for.
Hilary has done my last load of wash and I will attempt to squeeze all my souvenirs and gifts into my
Grahame MacInnis
little travel bag tonight ready for the 3 hour ride south to Victoria at the foot of the island.  We plan to spend Sunday night at a beautiful motel in downtown Victoria thanks to Beth and then Grahame will guide us around the lovely, historic provincial capitol Sunday and Monday.  I will then take off for Seattle on a seaplane (thanks to Hilary and Bruce) and land in early evening.  An 11:30PM red-eye will take me back across the continent to my lovely wife and family.
The Coal Hill Hikers, Riley the Mexican and sweet Karma