We spent the May Long Weekend on Vancouver Island.
Knowing our days here were coming to an end - another ferry trip and some days exploring the Island were on our "must do" list before we leave for Winnipeg.
We boarded the ferry on Friday morning to beat the mad rush and make the most of our weekend. The most interesting part of our ferry ride were the incredible magnitude of Hells Angels on board. We noticed them all pull in on their motorcycles as we were waiting in line to get onto the ferry. This resulted in an interesting conversation about organized crime and criminal gangs in our van. Once on board, it was my main goal to spot and point out as many "associates" as I could. (Note the lingo). Mike was appalled that I suggested he take a few pictures of a few of them from the back - all covert like. He just shook his head and said, "I don't think they take too kindly to having their pictures taken". I just thought it would make a nice keepsake from the trip.
It was a windy one up on the top deck!
After a short drive from Nanaimo (hello, Jason Smoker), we arrived at our destination - the Ocean Trails Resort just outside of Parksville on Rathtrevor Beach. We spent some time on this beach last spring and fell in love with it. The resort was perfect for our family. It was just a short stroll to the beach, there was an outdoor pool, a playground, basketball court, tennis courts, and best of all - our condo was 2 bedrooms and there was room for all of us to have our space and be comfortable. I like being comfortable and space is one of my favorite things. If momma is happy, we're all likely to be happy.
Here's the path down to the spectacular beach.
The best part of this beach is what it's like when there's low tide. You can walk and walk and walk on the sand and there are tide pools everywhere. The tide pools are warm and filled with all kinds of awesome little sea creatures.
Right near the path to our resort lays the most driftwood I've ever seen. You can walk on top of it all along the beach.
Even though it was cool and windy on the beach, it was sunny and warm at the swimming pool!
After a great first day, we hunkered down for night.
You will notice that Piggy is still a very important part of the Penner family.
Saturday brought lots of sunshine. We were so thankful!
The girls had a great time swimming and I had a great time reading on my lounge chair by the pool during the morning. Then we pulled the table off our patio into the sunshine and ate our lunch outside. It felt so good to feel the sunshine.
Back to the beach for more exploring....
... and to the playground for some hanging around.
All of those activities were in preparation for going to Coombs Country Market in the afternoon.
We had to work up an appetite for the cheapest and biggest freaking ice-cream cones ever.
$3.25 for two huge scoops and a waffle cone - taxes in, baby.
No wonder Mike is smiling.
Or maybe he's smiling because there are Goats on the Roof at this place. For real.
It just never gets old.
We had to stop at the biggest playground ever at the community park in Parksville.
I'm glad Mike still likes to play.
I still like to watch, so it all works out.
After a quick supper we made great use of the basketball courts.
Sunday was a different kind of day. We knew it was going to be a little wet and cool so we came prepared with our vintage set of Dutch Blitz cards. Yes, what you are about to see and read about are details about our Dutch Blitz action. Some of you non-Dutch Blitz players may want to skip ahead. (If you don't play Dutch Blitz, we feel sorry for you.)
Ellie and Sasha are quite the force to be reckoned with when they're playing the Blitz. They've got their team work down to a Science, and can really rack up the points sometimes. They also rub our noses in it.
I want to go on record with these next few pictures as proof of how terrible a player I am. Let it be known that I still keep playing. I don't give up or quit, for the Blitz is in my blood. Here are my humble beginnings.....
.... and the damage at mid-round.
Never let it be said that card games are not contact sports. Dutch Blitz is.
Mike was our casualty.
Finger nail clipping was attended to before the game resumed.
And here is the damage.
A Vonderful goot game if we do say so ourselves.
As rewarding as it was, the highlight of Mike's day was not winning Dutch Blitz. He had been anticipating the solar eclipse all week and wasn't sure he'd be able to catch a good glimpse of it. To his delight he had a great sighting of it and managed to capture a few images as a reminder.
Today was our last day. We loaded up the van in the morning and drove out to Victoria for our last visit before we leave. It's kind of a big deal being in Victoria on Victoria Day. It was busy and full of people, despite the sprinkles of rain.
If you know Mike, you know how much he HATES paying for parking. One of the hardest things for him these past two years has been swallowing his pride and just paying the extremely high parking prices in downtown Vancouver. Well, he just couldn't shut up about how elated he was because of this little ray of sunshine in his life today.
We celebrated Victoria Day and the free parking with a toast to our good weekend.
We walked down to China Town so that Ellie could buy a fan to replace the one that went mysteriously missing after our trip to Victoria last spring. All is well in the world again.
As we were walking down Government Street, we were all startled as Ellie let out a little shriek. Low and behold, her tooth came out in the middle of the action. It was a biggie, too! She pulled this same trick in Whistler this fall. She may be on to a new holiday tradition.... loosing gigantic molars in large crowds in public places.
After a short drive to Swartz Bay to catch our ferry, we parked on the line and enjoyed the sunshine. Sasha had time to make a special new friend.
His name is "Steve" - named after DJ's boyfriend on "Full House".
(I know. Full House. You don't need to say anything.)
The reason? He really seemed to love to eat. The girls made him a lovely little home and served up some juicy leaves and he chowed them right down.
It was hard to leave him behind, but she knew it was the right thing to do. Be well, Steve.
We ended the weekend the way we began - on the ferry.
Thankful for memories of a beautiful place that we hope we can visit again.