Monday, April 9, 2012

Cowichan Valley-Saltspring Trip April 7, 2012

I tried preparing as much in advance as possible, including packing spare camera batteries. I even charged a couple more batteries but then accidentally left them on the charger.

I took the 75 transit bus to Brentwood Bay and rode the new ferry to Mill Bay for the first time.  The new ferry actually looking like a 1990s or earlier small ferry model.  A good comparison is the Sidney-Fulford ferry, with the middle being for cars and the sides being for passengers, including staircases to a couple of upper decks. Only there’s only one inside lounge, on the right side from the Brentwood terminal, with bathrooms being on the left.  The ferry only had two cars and I think only one other walk-on passenger, probably because it was the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. People were definitely out and about later that day but I’m guessing a lot of people chose to sleep in that day.

I started to job between Mill Bay Ferry Terminal and Mill Bay Centre, though I got a ride early on and ate at the McDonald’s across the street from Mill Bay Centre.

I walked to Mill Bay Centre and got some travel booklets from the Tourist Information Centre, which as usual was unlocked but pretty deserted. I tried finding a bus schedule but couldn’t.

I had a lot of free time before the bus to Duncan so jogged to Encore Records and back, only Encore Records was gone.  I returned to Mill bay Centre and took the 15 bus to Duncan (it turned into the 10 at Valley View Centre and this time went on the Cowichan Bay route).

I got off the bus and realized that the same bus was actually now the next one I wanted to take, the 3 bus to Cowichan Commons in North Cowichan (which is often treated as part of Duncan). When the driver returned from a break I wanted to keep my transfer as a souvenir but the driver wouldn’t allow that. Fortunately I’d previous taken photos of the transfer.

At Cowichan Commons I bought some bus tickets to save me money on future Cowichan Valley trips, then visited Future Shop before returning to Duncan where I bought some DVDs at the Duncan branch of Pioneer’s Video (they have at least one other branch, in Chemainus). I noticed that the Burger King in the same mall was gone even though it had a nice location: at a shopping centre on the Trans-Canada Highway.

I next went to Duncan’s own tourist information centre where I got some more travel booklets; unlike the Mill Bay one there was someone working there.

I visited Duncan Pets, where birds in a cage on an upper level tossed seeds or seed shells at me twice.

Heading north again I when to Duncan Pawn, then Heritage Pawnbrokers (bought some blu-rays; accidentally bought a HD TV disc but luckily one side is regular DVD so that side is playable on my computer) and then visited Collector’s Choice Sports Cards & Comics.  Collector’s Choice is actually pretty infamous for being a poor comic shop; Cerebus creator Dave Sim once on a Q&A on Newsarama once commented on the quality of the store.

I next went to A&W. I make the mistake of ordering a large Coke, which looked to be a full litre. I met my friend Darcey there.  We chatted a bit and we then drove to Simple.bay, which she wasn’t sure if it was still open. There she remarked it was still there. I said “Not for long” pointing out the closing out sale sign.  I think one thing that hurt the store was the woman at the cashier sat in a short chair so it was hard to tell that there was actually a storekeeper present.  We briefly part company to pursue different shopping plans. I bought some blu-rays at Simple.bay and the started heading to the old town, though I had to retrace a small section due to the lens cap proving to still be on the camera; it was taking pictures anyway.

I passed a Saturday market and then visited Area 51. After a few more photos of the old downtown I went to the Real Canadian Superhero, which was being reorganized.  It didn’t look like they were still selling new DVDs; their old ones were in two different locations. I met up with Darcey again there. There was a large TV she wanted to buy which was easily visible from far off, but it was the display model and they had no boxed ones. The display model as far as we could tell was purely decorative and not actually for sale.

Darcey then drove me to Crofton where she and I party company at Crofton Movies & More, where I bought some more DVDs.

I went to the ferry terminal and realized I didn’t have enough cash. Luckily there was a place nearby to rectify that. I took the ferry from Crofton to Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island for the first time. On this ferry the main lounge and upper deck areas were in the centre of the ferry above the care area.  The lounge was small but larger than most BC Ferries its size, though a bit hidden; I only spotted it upon exiting.

There was no bus so I walked from Vesuvius to Ganges.  A bus did pass me about half way. Mid way, before that, I saw cops with scanners pull over a driver, for speeding I imagine.

I got some pop in a shopping centre in the north end of Ganges, before the downtown core.  In the downtown core I visited a couple of book stores, a used music/movies store (bought a DVD) and Star Video (bought more DVDs). They’re currently building a long planned new library there.

Volume Two Books was gone. I visited the Saturday market and then decided to lead south to Blackburn Lake. Unfortunately my batteries died en route. I did manage to get in a few shots of the lake and the bus stop near it.

The bus to Fulford was full; luckily the driver pointed behind him so I knew another was coming. I took the 2 bus to Fulford harbour where I managed to get a few more shots.  I also tried a zero calorie cola that tasted awful (Zevia).

I got on the ferry and managed to get in the last shots my camera batteries would allow me before they quit for the remainder of the trip. 

I took the ferry from Fulford to Swartz Bay. I had some time to kill before the bus back downtown so I grabbed a small pizza from the restaurant.  On the way back I ran into my friend Katie who was embarking on a trip of her own.

By the time I got back to the bus stop and got on the 70 bus (a double-decker) it was already filling up. I didn’t have a window seat but given that my camera was no longer functional for the remainder of the trip, that didn’t matter too much. I got off downtown and walked the rest of the way home.\

My legs are still sore so I definitely needed the exercise.

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