Down the Inside Passage and over to Quadra
I got off the ferry in Prince Rupert and made a beeline for the Crest Hotel. I had intended to camp for the night, but I was so tired that I opted for a hotel. The exchange rate makes decisions like that rather painless. I checked in, then spent most of the day in the parking lot unloading and repacking the car. We were both (me and the EVC) pretty disheveled. Then I did laundry and hunted down a car wash. The Eurovan was wearing a not-so-lovely coat of grime. 11 bucks later (Cn), she was slick as an arctic whistle, although she is sporting a few new scratches and chips in her paint. After a trip to the newstand (can't remember the name, but it's right on the main road and is named Something-Newstand [it's excellent]), I went back to the hotel and ordered an enormous dinner. And then I fell asleep. Unfortunately, it was like 6 pm, so I woke up at 9 pm. And couldn't go back to sleep. Ugh. At one point (at around 2 am) I was getting tired and kind of drifted off, but then a brawl erupted in the parking lot of the legion hall next door. So much for sleep that night. The Crest Hotel is very nice, but do not stay there on a Friday or Saturday night unless you're on the water side. I puttered around the hotel room until 6, then headed for the ferry.
There were maybe 6 Vanagons on the ferry for the Inside Passage trip. One of them was branded for the Swiss ski team or something like that, and one of them was a mother-ship for a bunch of eco-tourers. The Vanagons do seem to get around. We loaded efficiently, and after I picked up a big mug of hot chocolate, I headed out to the deck to find a lounge spot. It was cold and rather dreary.
I sat around for awhile and watched the scenery and then wandered the ship. The atmosphere was very different than it had been on the ferry to the Charlottes. I kind of wondered if I had wandered onto the Love Boat by mistake. Everywhere I looked there were couples smooching. Swiss couples. German couples. Asian couples. Gay couples. Straight couples. Fat couples. Thin couples. As far as I could tell, it was me, one really old man (who asked me at least 70 times if I saw any fish jumping), one German lady who apologized for poking me with her umbrella, and maybe 314 couples. How depressing. And the couples were all very lovey-dovey. Sheesh. Even the Japanese. When was the last time that you saw Japanese pitchin' woo in public? After a couple of hours of it I was almost forlorn. I strolled down to another deck and found a hole to crawl into that had a view. I dozed a couple of 15 minute swatches and watched the shore. I did see a whale and some logging barges, which was pretty cool.
About 8 hours into the trip I followed the call of a very loud American Female voice and found myself nose to nose with a native Oklahoman. I had figured her for a Texan. Close enough. The first thing she said to me was, "Are you traveling alone?" When I told her that I was, she hooted, "(Expletives deleted), I thought that I was going to have to talk to MYSELF this entire trip!" Thank you, God.
And for the duration of the trip we drank beer and ate junk food and told tall tales like good Americans. We both managed to grab naps while we watched each other's stuff, and a young Haida man attached himself to us and enchanted us with wonderful old Haida legends. Delightful.
I got off the ferry in Port Hardy and wandered a couple of miles down the road to my reserved campsite. Then I crashed. I woke up the next morning at 6, showered, and drove Route 19 to Campbell River. The drive was not great. It was quite gloomy and drizzly, and the areas that I passed that had been logged looked especially desolate and ravaged. My only thoughts were that I had spoiled myself by going to the north and the Charlottes first, that had I started my foray into B.C. by driving North on Vancouver Island, I probably would've found it all quite beautiful. Oh well. I got to the ferry in Campbell River about 10 minutes before she left the dock, which was lucky. After a ten minute ride, I arrived on Quadra Island and got lost, which was quite a feat, because there are only about 20 roads on the entire island. Quite by accident I ended up right in front of the Pursuit.