We end up having one or two areas in the house set up as staging stations where we deposit our stuff that we’re planning on taking with us. As we have a busy household this tends to get in the way and we end up tripping over it for a few days.
Then there is meal planning. When you're going to be away from home for certain amount of time you want to make sure that you are going to be eating some good food. Not necessarily the same everyday food you do at home.
This necessitates going to various grocery stores around town to gather all the items on the shopping list. And of course, when you are away you always realise that there's something that you forgot to buy or something you left on the kitchen cupboard and had meant to pack.
My personal preparation for our journey isn’t as onerous as my wife’s. After all, how long does it take to pack some underwear and socks? All I’ve really got to do is count the number days that I'm going to be away, multiplied by one, with one of each thrown in for good measure. Toss in a few pair of shorts, some shirts, sweat pants & sweat shirt, just in case the temperature drops and I’m good to go.
Equally important for me in my preparation, is making sure that I've got enough books to read while I’m away. I would hate to run out. So, one a day, for the duration of the trip should be enough.
Then there are the requisite electronics. Satellite radio, cell phones, laptop computer, Amazon Fire Stick [can’t have R&R without Netflix!] Fire tablet and of course a camera.
It’s a good thing I have a small pickup truck to haul all of our gear and three coolers for the food. Yes, the beer is packed, with one on ice to motivate me to haul everything out at the other end.
From where we live in the interior of British Columbia it's about a four and a half to five-hour drive to catch a ferry to get to the Sunshine Coast.
The Okanagan Connector takes you to the Coquihalla Highway that goes from Merritt to Hope. This time of the year it is a panoramic vista hosted by Mother Nature. Road signs advising caution in times of low visibility, areas of poor visibility, high cross-winds, are all warnings about how crazy the road conditions can and will be when the temperature drops and the beautiful highway becomes known as the “Highway to Hell.”
As I am the designated driver on this trip to the coast, I find it quite tiresome. Good thing for cruise control! My wife doesn't travel very well. She is nervous from start to finish. She doesn't like it when I pass the big trucks, sometimes going around a curve.
She gets this feeling that her life is going to end at that moment and she is going to die right there on the spot, which makes it more stressful for me.
Entering and going through all the cities in the outskirts of Vancouver is stressful at the best of times. Especially when you read the directional sign for the ferries, only to find that wasn’t the one you were headed for, necessitating a u-turn to get back where we started. Even more so when you realize you have made the same mistake a few too many times in previous year’s trips.
After winding our way through the outskirts of Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver, the Ferry Terminal is within reach.
If you're fortunate you might be able to drive right onto the ferry, with little or no waiting, if you get there at the right time. And we have been very fortunate in the past with being able to drive right on.
A short forty-five minute cruise takes you though breath-taking scenery that makes up the coast line.
Departure at Lansdale Ferry Terminal and another hour or so drive to our destination. All those supplies in the truck for our R&R had to be unloaded and hauled into our cottage.
We learned that ‘carriage house’ means that there are stairs involved. Carrying our food cooler up the stairs almost killed us. Once you start your ascent, there is no stopping or turning around.
At last, we are at our destination and ready for the R&R. The first day was a day of recovery. After travelling for nine hours, we needed the time to rest. I’m not so sure about the relaxation though.
On Day two, three and four, we went for some walks and a couple of strenuous hikes on wilderness trails.
Enjoyable … yes, relaxing, I wouldn’t say so.
The time went by quickly. Once again, packing everything up and hauling it down the stairs to our waiting pick-up truck. How in the world did the food cooler get even heaver on the way down? That should be an impossibility.
Back in the truck for another road trip for the way home.
This time however, we weren't so lucky and missed our ferry by mere minutes. Two and a quarter hours later, we were once again on our journey.
The weather was beautiful and the trip home was uneventful, other than my wife’s frequent screams of “Oh my God, we’re going to die!”
A nine-hour journey, followed by another hour of unloading the truck and trying to find places to put everything that we had hauled with us. The next day, more of the same, unpacking everything and doing the laundry.
Maybe I’m not hard-wired for R&R. I don’t see myself as one to kick back and do nothing for several days.
My vacation is over in a few days and I go back to work. Hopefully I can get some R&R there…