Monday, August 27, 2012

Tommy Transit and the Pub Bus

We all know there is no texting while driving or talking on a cell phone, BUT no one ever said you can't play percussion instruments while driving!

As usual, let's back up to where I left off in the previous post. I left the bakery and headed to Montague Marine Provincial Park. I was going to stop somewhere along the way and fix a little lunch (and eat the pie I bought at the bakery), but I ended up just riding to the park. As I was going up a hill I saw an local islander on his bike. He asked where I was going. I told him I was going to the park. He told me the best way to go (well, the way that had one long hill instead of several short steep hills--the long hill option is generally better than leg-killing short steep hills). It was a total of about 8 km from the ferry to the park. Counting the miles from Welcome Bay to the Pender ferry, I rode all of 9.6 miles today. Over the last three days I have ridden a total of 58 miles. This island hopping is going to make me soft! But, I digress...

I arrived at Montague and looked at the board at the entrance that told which sites were not reserved and thus available first-come first-served. My favorite number, 27, was available as was 28 and 29. By the time I got to those sites, 29 was taken. Sites 27 and 28 were still available. In fact, they were the only walk-in sites available. I chose 27 not just because it's my favorite number, but between the two sites, it seems to have the least amount of odor from the pit toilets. BC parks seem to favor the pit toilets and no showers. I have only encountered showers at one BC park (Rathtrevor). I am looking forward to getting back into Washington just for the showers (although I don't believe San Juan County Park has showers--but I may not stay there anyway). Again, I digress...Oh, one more thing about BC parks--for not having showers and flush toilets, they sure are expensive. Montague is $21 per night!

Anyway, my tent is set up on a wooden platform. Since the rainfly requires stakes to have the vestibules (as do many tents), there are i-bolts on the sides of the platform to tie the rainfly to. It's quite nice actually (still not worth $21 though).

After my camp was set up, I walked to the marina. I wanted to see if I recognized it from when I was a kid and we chartered boats and came to Galiano. Well, it's not the place we stayed. One of the park guys said there used to be a dock at the Galiano Inn, but that is on Sturdies Bay. That must be the place because I remember a restaurant called the Galiano Inn that was near the dock.

As I was walking back to the campground, I saw the Pub Bus at the park entrance. Denise (from the Pender ferry) told me about this bus. It runs in the summer, shuttling people from the Montague Marina and Park to the Hummingbird Pub and Restaurant. It operates on tips. The Hummingbird Pub Bus has been in operation for 28 years! I decided to take the bus to the pub for dinner but I had to go back to my campsite first. The bus runs every hour until 11:00.

I got back to the bus stop and got on the bus when it arrived. I was the only one on the bus for the whole way to the pub. The bus driver was Tommy Transit. He's been driving the Pub Bus for many years and has even written a book called "Bus Tales". When I told him that I had heard about this bus, he said he'd better start the show then. He cranked up the music and handed me a shaker. He had his drumsticks and was playing the tambourine and cymbal as he was driving the bus! He would also stop the bus or slow down and point out various things along the way.

We arrived at the pub and he said the bus leaves at 10 minutes till the hour. I took some photos of Tommy (which he gladly posed for) and went into the pub for dinner. I had delicious fish and chips. I even saw two hummingbirds at the feeder outside the window at my table (I guess they don't call it the Hummingbird Pub for nothing)!

It was almost time for the bus and since I was finished with my dinner, I asked for the check so I could catch the bus back and not have to wait another hour.

This time the bus was packed. The ride back was much more of a party. Everyone was singing and Tommy was cracking jokes and promoting his book. There were even some kids sitting on the floor in the back of the bus. They laughed the entire way back. Tommy was playing his instruments, kicking out his leg, and waving light wands all while driving the bus! We all sang "Blueberry Hill" (apparently a tradition), Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", and "Yellow Submarine". It was quite a different ride from the ride to the pub.

As I was walking back to my campsite, I saw a gal I'd seen earlier. Her name was Ann and she was on a bike too. I stopped to talk to her and stayed there for about an hour. As we were talking, a guy named George came up and asked if Ann could heat up some water for him. She said he could, but he would have to clean a pot first as both her pots were dirty from dinner. He had no problem with that so Ann fired up her stove and heated water for him. He seemed to be of the transient variety. He was raised in Nova Scotia and had a penchant for "cleaning up" the park. He stays for two weeks at a time (he must get money from someplace because $21/night seems pretty expensive--if you are homeless) and clears all the brush and branches from whichever campsite he is at. So much for keeping things in a natural state! After he got his hot water, he took off.

Later is started to rain a little heavier (it had been off and on spitting rain throughout the afternoon and evening). I told Ann I should probably head back to my campsite to make sure I'd closed everything up.

I came back and just threw the tarp over Betsy and put the panniers under the vestibule. All is protected now. Of course, now it's not raining anymore.

Tomorrow my ferry to Swartz Bay isn't until 11:55. I may stop at the bakery again (I still have the wifi password) and post this blog.

Here's some photos...Bijou the little dog in her little chariot on Guy's bike. There's Tommy Transit and the Pub Bus. The last is Boyd and Mary Ann and Jet.

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