Away I Go!

Sorry the Blogs aren’t quite in order. This one’s a catch-you-up with the early part of my trip.

A page from my sketchbook from when the idea first struck.

The start…….

The beginning…beside myself with anticipation….late for the train……missed a window seat…..

When I told the elderly lady beside me I was headed to Newfoundland she insisted on switching seats with me……she whispered softly in my ear “you sit here dear as you must take pictures along the route”.  

My colourful send off committee Rebecca and my husband Philip.

As I boarded the train Philip was grinning ear to ear.   I wonder what that meant? I’d like to think he was just happy for me or was he thrilled to be getting rid of me. “Humf!” now I wonder?

Welcome to Courtney

Courtney’s  funky Train Station. Inside was an old fashioned lunch counter and an eccentric fellow.  The food looked good.

The Via train up Island is pretty unique and fun.   It’s aYellow Budcar that the engineers can drive from both ends.   I am not 100% sure but I think the car was built around 1950’s.  The old gal told me the track was about 100 – 125 years old.

She also began telling me to listen”can you hear the wheels slipping”she says to me.   We were going slow.  She said” we will speed up later on but for now there is to many leaves on the tracks”.  I said “leaves, What does leaves have to do with how fast we go”.   She replied “the fall leaves are greasy and make the wheels slip and slide.”  I thought, who would have thought that I could end upside down  in the drink by greasy leaves.

I also got a kick out of how all the farm dogs thrive on chasing the train.   They come bombing out from under fences at a hundred miles an hour to run along the tracks.  Yapping and having a gay old time.     My brother Ray huffing and puffing hauling in the firewood.   Smokers take notice you may look like this one day!  Only an Etter would dress with a green and yellow stripped touge with matching yellow work gloves.  And who in there right mind would haul wood in the rain with their bedroom slippers on. Too lazy to put his boots on.

Waiting for the Greyhound in Campbell River.  It’s running about 40 minutes late.  It will be dark soon so I won’t get to see much of the trip north.

The bus driver is unhappy.  He’s huffing, puffing and scowling.   He looks like a cartoon character, Almer Fudd or someone like that.   He has narrow circle rimmed glasses, pudsy and short,  balding head with fizzy long hair sticking out of his Greyhound cap. I even looked down to see if he had white ankle socks tucked into his socks.   A great painting if I ever saw one.

The Greyhound is disappointing.   It is worn and dirty.   The seats don’t work and my seat is heavily soiled.  I am trying not to think about what it is.   I wonder why Greyhound would run a bus in this rough shape.  Shame on them.   I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with their main clientel.

Clark, Precious and Maggie. My beautiful travelling companions for the next two day. They are from a remote reserve by Prince Rupert. Somewhere up an Inlet somwhere. We met at the bus  and parted after the ferry ride.

5  Stars from me.   James and Susan.

Susan was out and James cooked for me.   We shared smoked salmon and zuchinni scramble eggs, hashbrowns with grated onions and spice, bacon crispy just the way I like it.   We chatted together for an hour and half.  As an ex- commerical fisherman he filled me in on the sad situation of the fisheries.  He also told me all about the history of Port Hardy and what ‘s new for the future.   There are solar windmills planned to be installed not far from town.  Hopefully a new industry for a depressed area.

He told me straight up ” He was lucky to get out of Commercial fishing.  He saw the writing on the wall and was able to sell his boat before things got to tough to bail out.  He bought an historic piece of property and reinvented himself as a B & B owner.  I am glad he did.   Thanks James.

The Northern Adventurer arriving in the morning. I took it  from across the water in Port Hardy.

Port Hardy and it’s raining. What a surprise to find I was staying only a minute from the beach. The rocks reminded me of the sandstone rock formations on Gabriola Island.

The landscape is bare, rugged and desolate.  Remote Mountains and Islands in the distance, abandoned buildings in forground.   Most building look worn and forlorn.   There is a Coast Guard building on the pier.   Its the only bit of colour around, Red my favorite.

Local colour

I found one tug … mostly fishboats

Here I thought only my boys in Victoria were special with our yellow boats but now I see that the Pilotage’s are all yellow.

Everywhere I walked along the water I could hear birds and marine life of all kinds.   The eagles screeched, the sea loins corked and croaked.  Birds squeeeked and fluttered, harbour seals sprouted and strolled the shorelines and docks.

Nothing fenced off.   I walked on the docks, thru shipyards, canneries, out on wharfs and not a “KEEP OUT” anywhere.   The air smelt fresh. damp and mixed with cedar and musky folliage.   I will return to Port Hardy in the Red Mtn.

A shuttle bus to the ferry just for me. 

The happiest Bus driver award goes too…….

I grinned ear to ear when I saw that yellow school bus stopping for me. 

My fellow ferry companions.   Mostly going home to Bella Colla

Also, when David (in the nice bright orange) and I first realized we were travelling the same route together.   He was on the shabby Greyhound too.

Ferry catch up Photo’s

My all time most special companions, Maggie and Precious

Maggie dancing in the wind and rain

Finally I can put away the gravol.

Out of the mist in the wee hours of the morning.   The god’s are blessing me….

Not far out of Port Hardy the ferry lady came on the loud speaker”Attention parents! Please control your children and can you please keep them close by and under control due to saftey reasons, blah, blah.”  The little devils were running from starboad to port, back and forth, up and down, screaming and giggling.  I am sure they were chock full of pop, chocolates and chips.

Now the little darlings are finally sleeping.   When I woke up in the morning they were all gone.   The Indians all jumped ship in Bella Colla during the night.  I missed the energy and entertain of the kids.

Arriving Prince Rupert.  There everwhere….


Oh, By Jesus, I am having a good time. Prince Rupert here I am and what a trip indeed.  I just got dropped off at my B& B by two handsome young men.  The boys gave me a lift from the ferry in a big fancy pickup.   

Now I bet your all wondering how I ended up in a pickup with two good-looking  mechcanics  from Terrace.

I had met Cory on the outside deck of the ferry.   We both were hanging around in the wind and rain enjoying the scenery.   It was pretty hard not to talk to each other since we were the only ones brave enough to be outdoors taking in the glaciers, waterfalls,marine life and rugged landscape.

Cory offered me a ride into town after the ferry docked.  I eagerly said” sounds great and thank you”.   It wasn’t until I was down in the deserted bowls of the ship that Cory informed me he had a travelling companion – another fellow travelling with him.   As we drove off the boat with me sandwiched between two hunky strangers I waved at everyone that caught my eye in hopes that  someone would remembder me if I dissappeared never to be seen again.

To be truthful I wasn’t worried my intuition told me these boys were good men.   I have always had strong gut feelings about things and this was one of those times.   We drove out to the Industrial areas  and along the waterfront looking for tugs.   The boys gave me a supurb grand tour of Rupert and I will always remember them for making an old gal feel like a spring chicken again.  My heart flutters light just thinking about those boys.

BC weather, one minute pissing rain and blowing a gale the next moment the sun beams us a rainbow.

I could write a book on each segment of the trip so far.   Heart-beating cross counrty train stories to come……can a person die from having to much fun??????

3 responses to “Away I Go!

  1. Mom, i love reading these!!!! your adventours spirit and wondering ways inspire me to be like that, enjoy life and meet people as you never know who you may one day meet!!!
    Enjoy and i soo cannot wait for you to visit so i can hear about all your adventures!!!
    Love you!

    (side note- Google adding an add to this blog…why?)

  2. Wow Mom…what a trip so far…finally had a chance to catch up on ur blog.
    Loved your pics and stories..had a few chuckles…maybe I can catch u when ur back this way ..hope u r holding up well…I will be looking forward to ur you..

  3. You are having waaay too much fun…good for you! Your travel writing, sketches, and photos are an inspiration to those of us who can’t take the trip! Keep on Truckin’…

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