It’s something you don’t think about until you’re full-time on the road. And that is… summer is nightmare. Every Bob, Joe, Sue and Mary with a house on wheels or a tent or a big piece of used vinyl and some sticks is headed out camping. Which makes finding a space as a full-timer next to impossible. Especially on holidays!
So as Independence Day is approaching, we have zero reservations. Yes, I know, probably our fault for not thinking ahead. But that is the challenge with this journey. We want to be spontaneous. We want to throw a little caution to the wind. So planning out every step of the journey months in advance kinda doesn’t feel like the way we want to roll.
And so you get into these kinds of situations. We have nowhere to go. We’re on the Olympic Peninsula and everything, I mean everything is booked. We work out a 2-night stay at a winery that is part of the Harvest Host program (that’s a network of farms and wineries across the country where you can stay overnight free, they just ask you buy something). And we do: Some succulent sweet berry honey wine. After this, we’re homeless. Well actually we have a home. But our home is homeless.
What to do…
CANADA of course!
We have been wanting to check out Victoria, BC. And well, lets be honest we live in Florida. When is the next time we are going to travel cross country to go to Victoria? Not likely ever. So we put the Airstream in day-storage. And take the Ford F-250 onto the Black Ball Ferry across the waters to Victoria!
(No, leaving the US on the 4th of July as not a political statement or protest. It was that or watch fireworks in a Walmart parking lot praying we don’t get towed away. No thanks!)
We find a place in Victoria on Air BnB. It’s actually a separate 2-bedroom living space as part of a shared home. Little out of the norm for us. A “family-hosted” rental is something we’ve never done before. But we do our due diligence. Check the reviews over. And speak to the owners, Tom & Catherine. They sound great and have two little girls. Game on.
Staying in Tom & Catherine is probably one of our favorite parts of being in Victoria. We always like staying new places in a local way. It’s the only way to get a feel for an area. Our family hosts are not only super hospitable and cool, they are urban farmers! They have a vegetable garden with herbs and green beens. A composting system. A chicken coop producing fresh eggs. And bees! Yes, bees!
Tom had to get permission from the neighbors just to make sure nobody made a buzz about it. Sorry, weak pun. Once he knew they were cool and would share in the honey some day, they ordered their bees. I did not even know one could order bees by mail.
I check out the hive when we first arrive. Figure there are a few hundred bees. Come to find out they purchased their “swarm” for $160. And it contains 10,000 bees! WHOA, that’s incredible! I want to order bees now. I want to send some friends bees. And the bees are really nice bees too. Non-aggressive. So no horror movie scenes where the bees rise up as one and turn on the owners. Just well pollinated plants. And then wait for the liquid gold to come pouring in.
Victoria itself is nice. Didn’t knock our socks off. Though that is just based on the handful of things we did. We ate at their #1 TripAdvisor rated restaurant, FishHook. Tempora flounder with mint sauce. Char had muscles in wine. I had a fish stew. All super yum. Just not life changing (which is what I expect from a #1 rated restaurant in a major metro city).
The girls play on the front lawn of some large Canadian government building with rainbow colored rose bushes. I ate a piece of cheesecake walking down the straight (because their bakeries all close at six). One of our favorite stops is at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. The first time I ever got to see a butterfly come out of it’s chrysalis (I always thought it was a cocoon). And I saw this butterfly move and spread it’s wings for the first time.
On the last day we go to Beacon Hill Park which is a wonderful way to end our Victoria visit. Crazy beautiful rose garden. And this little petting zoo that is like mini-goat paradise! Just the tiniest, cutest little goats running like nuts. Jumping on your lap. Wanting to be your BBF. Goat-tastic!
Back onto the Black Ball Ferry. Across international waters. Home to America
Tom & Catherine, thanks again for the stay. You made our Victoria trip worth while.