I travel in anticipation of those rare Nirvana moments when I realize that I’m in a perfect place having a life-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this experience. These unlikely to repeat times don’t happen often, for me maybe 3 or 4 times a year. The most recent occurred last week. After a long day of perfect travel, Ruth and I were sitting in a remote, 5 Compass restaurant–the Laughing Oyster–looking out on a perfect view–Okeover Inlet-as the day slowly faded into night.
This happened because we had unscheduled time in Vancouver, British Columbia, and decided to check out The Sunshine Coast. “The What?” has been the common response when I’ve tried to tell other travelers about this excellent place. Betty, the woman whom I interviewed on The Queen of Surrey, a BC ferry, on our way back to Vancouver wasn’t sure she wanted ferry customers to tell others about her wonderful home, the 5 Compass Sunshine Coast because so many people, like me, are forever looking for that great, undiscovered destination.
To see what? take a BC ferry from Horseshoe Bay northwest of Vancouver to Langdale and drive about 50 miles to a 2nd ferry at Earls Cove. This 2nd behemoth unloads at Saltery Bay, giving access to yet another 50 miles of splendid road. Lund is where the pavement literally ceases. A few miles from the Laughing Oyster, Lund is very much an end-of-the-road kind of community that reminds me of Alaska. Ruth and I were now as far north as we could be on a paved road for the rest of mainland, coastal British Columbia. Those who drive and ferry without stopping will spend at least five and a half hours in transit. If you’re smart, however, this trip will take you several days.
The Sunshine Coast has plenty of uncharacteristic Northwest sunshine especially from the summer months through September. Because this part of Canada is coastal temperate rainforest, Betty assured me, it’s always green here. The winter’s are snowless and very mild.
The Sunshine Coast has some no-two-alike towns. As we traveled north, the first was Gibsons where we lunched at Molly’s Reach, a thriving restaurant made famous by a Canadian TV series called The Beachcomers seen in over 60 countries between 1972 to 1990. The town of Roberts Creek seemed to be a hippie community of local artisans, alternative health practitioners, and laid-back lifestyles. Straddling an isthmus, Sechelt was a place of fairs and festivals, big city amenities, under-construction bay side condos, etc. Powell River, the Sunshine Coast’s largest town with an area population of nearly 17,000, was historic and hilly. I was enchanted by Patricia, its nostalgia-inducing movie theater. Surrounded by nature’s bounty, Powell River is the site of an unsightly but job-creating pulp mill. All of these towns caused lingering and became reasons to return.
I’ll tell you more about Sunshine Coast tomorrow.