RV Trip Update Week 15: Okanagan

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When we left Vancouver Island at the end of week 14 we were no longer going West, but instead headed East. It hit me early this week that means that geographically we are now making our travels back to our home in Indiana–and I will admit it left me unsettled for a few days.

At first I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling kind of out of sorts, but then as I was running one morning this week I finally put my finger on it. Now that we are on the route home the adventure we spent almost a year dreaming and planning about is coming to an end and since I am a goal setter that leaves me feeling a bit lost.

I do miss our home in Indiana. And I have loved almost every minute of this amazing trip that we have been blessed to take. I just love having a BIG dream/goal to strive for–and now with just five weeks left of our trip as I write this my soul is in a state of unrest as it desires to know “what next”.

It reminds me of how I felt the moment I crossed the finish line during all three of the 26.2 mile, full marathons I have ran. I would be so excited to finish and yet fighting feelings of unrest, of losing focus, of nakedness.

If you are not a goal setter that probably sounds weird to you and I admit when I just took a second to reread what I wrote I thought it weird too, yet it describes exactly how I feel.

To avoid living my life in circles, I need a new dream goal to strive for before this one comes to an end. So I am talking with my husband and dreaming and praying and hopefully before we step foot on the concrete stairs leading up to our 100+ year old home in Indiana we will have a new crazy wonderful, seemingly impossible, but oh-so-delightful goal to strive for. Because that is how God wired me and my husband.

The cycle usually goes something like this: Hubby comes up with crazy idea. I like it, but don’t see it to be practical. Hubby won’t stop talking about dream and I start to fall in love with it. My realist nature freaks out and grabs my running shoes. I run for miles. God comes beside me while I run reminding me that when you push through fear, sometimes fun memory filled adventures await on the other side. HE shows me that we three could make the crazy idea work and by the time I hit home a plan is hatched. I go home, tell my husband yes, but to make it happen we need to do A, B and then C, and we both go into focus mode, working together to make it happen. It is how my husband and I tango–he gets me dreaming and I get him planning.

But enough contemplation on my strange personality and what makes my marriage work, lets get to the pictures of what we been up to this week.

Week 15 of a 22 week RV road trip. This week we passed through the mountains to the Okanagan.

 

Easter Sunday we made our way from Vancouver to Vernon via the Coquihalla Highway. The highway takes you through mountain passes, many of which are snowcapped all year long. The trip is a pretty one no matter what time of year you travel it.

 

 Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: Thompson Rivers University (once known as Cariboo College).

We made one brief stop on our travels Sunday to what is now called Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. Back in 1992 my husband and I met each other there. At that time it was called Cariboo College.

In the picture above my husband and I are standing in front of the dorm rooms we lived in the first year we dated. Mine was the one with the hanger in the window, and my husband’s the one with the 3 items in the top window.

We actually met on the top floor of this building in front of a mutual friend’s dorm room, but where we are standing is where our first in-depth conversations were shared, which led to our first date, which led to marriage, which led to three kids and a life that I won’t trade for the world. Oh, I would love to swap a few events out, but who knows how those events shaped me for the better–so perhaps not.

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: Kalamalka Lake, Vernon, B.C.

Now, although I am a HUGE ocean gal, I will admit that the lakes in the Okanagan where my husband spent most of his childhood are beautiful too (but the ocean will always have my heart).

I have enjoyed three lakeside runs this week and hope to enjoy a few more this week since we are in the Vernon area for a total of two weeks.

Kalamalka lake was my favorite when we lived here during the beginning of our marriage. I love how the colors of its water change with the seasons.

Week 15 of a 22 week RV road trip. Visit to Davison Orchards only to discover the season had not started yet.

Another family favorite from the five or so years we lived here over 15 years ago is Davison Orchards. I have many a memory of meeting other young moms with their preschoolers, toddlers and babies here. We would spend several hours chatting while the children enjoyed the petting zoo and the playground area. And of course we would always go home with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Unfortunately Davison Orchards isn’t open until the day after we leave Vernon. Somehow we blew by three signs telling us that it was closed and ended up interrupting workers trying to get the place ready for this seasons opening day. Oops! That was slightly embarrassing.

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: Kin beach in Vernon B.C.

Since we already had the whole family in the truck that day we decided to save our travels out to that end of town by showing the kids the beach that we took them to several times each summer.

Kin Beach has a long beach area as well as a great playground for young kids. The view of the mountains beyond the lake is pretty nice to stare at too. It was getting chilly by the time we got there so we didn’t stay long. We hope to go back to this particular lake (Okanagan Lake) later this upcoming week with the kids to share a favorite hiking area of ours.

Great read! Love Does by Bob Goff.

My husband’s sister was very generous to us. She took her RV over to her parents and let us empty out ours and take over her home for two weeks.

The kids are enjoying having rooms of their own and so are we. As much as I love having a bedroom with a real door again what I am loving even more is a space to enjoy the quiet of the morning without feeling like I am waking everyone else up.

One morning I sat curled up on the couch reading several chapters of Love Does. This book is a must read for everyone. If you want to make this world a more compassionate place you need to read Love Does.

 

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip. Kalamalka Lake, Vernon, B.C.

As I stated earlier, I am enjoying Kalamalka Lake views on my morning runs. The area recently added a new trail that gets bikers, runners and walkers closer to the opposite side of the lake than they could before.

It is called the Rail Trail because it is a trail built where the railway tracks use to be. I am thinking if there is time and good temperatures this coming week I might take my bike to it just so I can explore more of it in less time than it takes me to run. The views of the lake as far as I have explored so far are very pretty.

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip. Pagoda Inn Lumby B.C.

Friday we headed out to Lumby, a town my husband spent several years living just outside of as a child.  He also drove through it many a day when he worked as a forester in the area.

One of his favorite places to stop and pick up dinner for us on his way home from work when we used to live here was the Pagoda Inn. So it was on our must stop and eat at while we are in the area list. It is still just as good as we remembered.

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: IDAS Bakery.

IDAS bakery was another “got to stop” spot for our foodie family. My husband spent a good percentage of his personal money at this bakery when he worked as a forester. Oh, my! What you are looking at is a blueberry filled turnover and it was amazing.

We went home with a pie, several butter tarts, sausage rolls, bread, rolls, and a few other yummy treats. We are practicing some self discipline though as it is now Sunday and we will still have several items left. However, I have eaten cherry pie for breakfast the last two mornings–but that has to be better for you than an overly processed pop tart…right?

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: Shuswap Falls, Lumby B.C.

After filling up on sugary pastries we headed out to see the Shuswap Falls. I had never been and neither had our daughter. Our boys went with their dad when they were really small, but they didn’t remember it.

Week 15 of 22 week RV road trip: Mabel Lake, Lumby, B.C.

Once we were through exploring the falls we headed to Mabel Lake. The lake was so calm when we got there that it made the perfect mirror reflecting the clouds in the sky and the forest covered hills that make up its shoreline.

If you ever pass through the Okanagan I highly suggest heading out to Mabel Lake, the other lakes in the area will really seem plain Jane once you see the beauty of Mabel Lake.

This week we plan to visit with more friends and family as well as share a bit more of the area with our children.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

 

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RV Trip Update Week 14: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

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It was really hard to narrow down the pictures to just 10 that best represent what we saw this week. Mostly because during the first half of the week we saw as many as 10 different sites in one day.

Ordinarily we go out and explore just one place each day–two is usually tops. But being in my childhood region of the Comox Valley made me want to see so much more. I wanted to see if my childhood homes still looked the same, if my schools had changed, if my favorite beaches were still as beautiful as I remembered, and I wanted to share each and every spot with my family.

Luckily most of the parks and beaches were tiny and close together so it didn’t take long to see several of them each day. By the end of the three days I had seen all I wanted to see in the area and we still had several hours a day of down time in the RV.

Now lets dig into what we got up to this week.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Monday morning the sun broke through the clouds and I knew exactly what place I wanted to show my family first–Goose Spit. Not actual goose spit (just in case you were confused), but a beach called Goose Spit.

That is it there in the picture above. It is essentially a small strip of land with a beach on each side. The beach on the outside of the strip of land was my favorite beach to swim at as a child. The water there gets deep really fast.

I ended up going out to the Goose Spit several times during our three full days in the Comox Valley as it has a good running path down to it.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Another place I wanted to show the family was Condensory Bridge. You see I always talk about how I was a wee bit of a daredevil at times as a teenager and how I once jumped off a bridge–this would be the one. I promise the water is much deeper than it looks when you get out to the middle of the river and my friends and I got someone to check its depth before we jumped.

Now there are signs on either side of the bridge that say, “Do not jump from bridge,” so I am guessing my friends and I were not the only ones to jump off this bridge in the summer time.  I swear those signs were not there all those years ago or I never would have done it–I said I was a wee bit of a daredevil not a rebel. And I also want to let you know that my 43 year old self thinks that my 16 year old self lacked common sense. No way would I consider jumping off it now nor would I let my kids!

 

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

I also took my family to many a bakery in the area including the Cumberland Village Bakery pictured above. Freshly made baked goods is the number one food I miss in Indiana. Perhaps other Indiana towns have good bakeries but ours does not, although it does have a good  fresh doughnut shop.

It is probably better for my figure that they don’t though as I think I put on several pounds while on Vancouver Island due to  DAILY indulging in one item from a local bakery. Hopefully my goal of training for a fall half marathon will help me take those off once we return home.

 

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Something I had completely forgotten about my hometown is that the Snowbirds practice there. Several times during the week we were treated to our own air show. I tried to get a picture of them in formation in the air but they move really quick so in every shot they are either blurry or look like tiny birds.

When I saw this one mounted in front of the local tourist information center I asked my husband to stop so I could take a picture to remember them by.

Later in the week we went to the Comox Air Force Museum and in there we were able to read up on all sorts of interesting facts about the history of the Snowbirds in Canada. The museum was by donation and is well worth the stop if you ever happen to visit the Comox Valley area.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

On the last full day in the Comox Valley I decided I wanted to see some sites that I had never been to see during my 18 years of growing up on Vancouver Island. So we headed to Englishman Falls (that is the upper fall pictured above) as well as Little Qualicum Falls and wouldn’t you know it when I asked the children what was their favorite site from our three days in the area all three said the falls.

I LOVED them too! They were especially pretty because in April they are at their height as far as water flow goes. The roar of the rushing water was incredible!

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Wednesday we pulled out of Comox Valley and headed back to Nanaimo to spend one more night with my sister and her family before leaving Vancouver Island for Vancouver.

She treated us to an early Easter dinner complete with a 3 layer Easter cake full of chocolate eggs—yum!

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Around 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning we made our way down to Departure Bay in Nanaimo to catch the ferry to Horseshoe Bay. We were planning on catching the 10:30 ferry, but we got to drive right onto the 9:30 one since they had room still.

This gained us a bit more time in Vancouver. We decided to use it to treat the kids to dinner in Gastown at the Old Spaghetti Factory. One of our three kids loves Italian and we figured we had allowed the burger loving child to try out several burger chains so it was only fair to let the Italian loving child try out a new to them Italian restaurant in a historical area of Vancouver.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Before dinner we took in the steam powered clock that stands in the Gastown area. During our time in the area we got to hear the long song it makes on the hour and the much smaller song it makes on the half hour.

This clock, along with several other sites we saw this week, seemed much smaller than I remembered–but I am guessing that is because I am much bigger than when I last saw them.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

Friday we decided to let the kids sleep in and then enjoy an early lunch in the RV before heading to the Stanley Park Aquarium. That was probably a mistake as it was Good Friday so it seemed like half of Vancouver had decided to do exactly what we did.

However, the Stanley Park Seawall walk was not as busy and allowed our family to enjoy the views of Vancouver from afar.

Pictured above is the Lions Gate Bridge. I remember as a child thinking this bridge was HUGE. Now that I have seen the Golden Gate Bridge it seems to have shrunk. But as I said above a lot of what I saw this week seems to have done the same thing so I am guessing seeing things through adult eyes shrinks things I have only seen with child eyes up until now.

RV Trip: Vancouver Island & Vancouver

And this morning (Saturday) we finished off our week of exploring with a trip to Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge and trail to Twin Falls.

This suspension bridge is still 100% free to visit unlike the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the Vancouver area, which charges over $30 per person for you to walk over it. It is true that the Lynn Valley bridge is smaller, but with five people it would have cost us over $170 just to walk the Capilano one and we all felt that a few more feet of bridge wouldn’t have changed the experience enough to make it worth that price.

(psst… I am loving the Canvas sling bag you see me wearing in the picture above; it fits my cannon rebel perfectly as well as my iPhone 5C, a bottle of water, my wallet and any other day hiking essentials I need)

Sunday we are driving to the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia where my husband’s family lives. So by the time you read this Monday morning we will be there.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

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What a week! I got to go somewhere this week that I honestly thought I would never get to. I lived on Vancouver Island the first 18 years of my life and never got there, so I figured my chances of ever seeing it now that we live in Indiana were slim to none.  But now I have and I wish I hadn’t waited this long.

You will find out what area I am talking about in just a moment, for now let’s jump into what we got up to this week starting at the beginning.

Living Forest campground in Nanaimo | Snail Pace Transformations

Sunday we arrived at Living Forest Campground on the south side of Nanaimo right around lunch time.

I could not believe the view we got without having to take a single step out of our campsite. From all but one window of our RV we could see the water.

Two mornings we got the propane fire pit (ours is similar to this one) going and drank our coffee and tea while enjoying the view.

Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo | Snail Pace Transformations

Each day we were in Nanaimo we would head over to my sister’s in the morning to explore the area with her. Then after lunch we headed back to the campground for a while so I could get some work done. At dinner time we would head back to my sister’s to share a meal and chat some more. It was great to catch up with her face to face after so many years apart.

The first day she took us for a walk to Pipers Lagoon. The park contained several different beach areas.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

I think my favorite part of the park though was seeing the little shacks located on an island not too far from the park. At one time families lived in these shacks but now they are used as summer hangouts. There is no power or sewer to these little shacks  so they are simply places to row out to and enjoy a BBQ with the family while enjoying the view.

I liked the wide variety of colors they added to the surrounding sea of blue.

Long Beach. Seen on week 13 of a 22 week RV road trip. | Snail Pace Transformations

Wednesday morning just my sister and I went out for breakfast and then I met up with the family and we pulled out for the Tofino area.

Tofino is on the utmost western side of Vancouver Island–a place where I have heard others rave about, but never been.

But finally that changed! At the age of 43 I finally made it to a place that was really just a three hour drive from where I spent the first 18 years of my life.

After setting up our RV at our campsite we realized that there were still several hours of daylight left and the weather was sunny. We decided to use the gift of time and sun to hit a few beaches before nightfall.

First we went to Long Beach. The roar of the Pacific waves was incredible there.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

One thing I noticed right away at Long Beach was the “drawings” the water makes in the sand. To me it looks like trees painted by the ocean. Markings like these were up and down almost all the Tofino area beaches we visited.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

As we saw the sun heading down in the sky we made our way back to Mackenzie Beach, which was just a few minutes walk from our campsite.

There we waited for the sun to descend behind the trees. We got there a bit too early so the whole process took over an hour. I guess we haven’t been paying attention to just what time the sun disappears lately. Now we know it is currently right around 8:00 pm PST.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

It started to rain during our first night in the area, but it stopped that morning and was cloudy with the odd, mist-like rain now and then. However, it started raining again after the sunset on our first full day in the area and it never did stop raining completely for the rest of our visit.

Considering the area gets 3.3 meters of rain annually I think we were pretty blessed with the sun we did get during our visit especially since the saying on Vancouver Island is “April showers bring May flowers”–in other words April is known to be a rainy month around these parts.

Knowing rain was usual this time of year we simply suited up in raincoats and did our best to enjoy our two days in the area whether we were given rain or sun.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

We continued with that attitude during the two full days were in the Tofino area and enjoyed many amazing beaches and beautiful lush green rain forests.

Two forest trails we went on had these wooden paths to follow. They were very picturesque, but slippery–especially in all the rain we got during the second full day of our trip.

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

A major highlight of our time in Tofino area for two of our children was a 2 1/2 hour trip on a whale watching boat. My husband and I crunched the numbers the first morning we were in the area and realized we had enough money in the budget to offer all 3 children the chance to go out and see the whales.

I have seen many a whale as a child, and my husband  and I both get motion sickness easily so we decided to not go but we wanted our children to experience it if they wanted to.

Our child that does experience motion sickness did turn us down, even though we offered them non-drowsy anti-nausea medication. We asked why and they said the motion sickness wasn’t the problem, they simply were not that interested in seeing a whale–and we believed them since that one child never has been as into animals as our other two children.

The two children that did go came back with glowing faces and stories to share of the grey whales they saw on their outing. The third child never did seem disappointed about not going which confirmed that whale watching wasn’t a good fit for that one. But when we do find an adventure that is, there is a ticket with their name on it.

(oh, and although it had been lightly raining all day, during the 2 1/2 hours of their trip not a drop of rain fell! In fact the sun came out–that was a major blessing)

RV Trip Update Week 13: Nanaimo, Tofino, & Courtenay

Saturday morning we packed up in Tofino and arrived in Comox by early afternoon. Comox is just up the hill from my hometown of Courtenay. Well, actually I grew up in nearby Tsolum so perhaps I should just say we are currently exploring the Comox Valley area.

Today we hit Seal Bay Park and explored its wooded trail (picture above) and nearby beach. Then we worked our way slowly up the coastline of Vancouver Island visiting beach after beach until we hit Campbell River.

On our travels back I showed the kids the home I grew up in. At least I think it was the home. The street address was right, but sadly the home had been renovated so extensively that I barely recognized it. The only thing that looked familiar was a shed in the yard.

Oh, well. In all honesty the home did have an odd layout and the upstairs floor is now way more usable thanks to the renovations. Guys, the front door isn’t even in the same place! I would have loved to see inside, but that would have been awkward–“Hey, I know you don’t know me, but my parents built this house. Will you let me and my family of five quickly tour your home that now looks nothing like it once did?”–Yeah. Only a rare person is going to say yes to that.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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