Sunday, August 26, 2012

Welcome Home to Welcome Bay!

Once again a change of plans. I was going to go to Prior Centennial Provincial Park. I wanted to see Denise again. But, this morning Diane and I took off (me to ride to Prior and Diane to go to a little farm stand). As we rode past Welcome Bay, Diane wanted to show me the campsites. So we rode down the driveway. Fred Smith, the owner (along with his wife Vi), was out in his garage when we rode up. Diane said she wanted to show me the place. So, after a short visit with Fred (who gave me a hug--"Shakin' hands is for men"), Diane and I walked through the camping area. There are just 7 sites on the little point between two small bays (one is Welcome Bay). There were two sites open. As soon as I saw the place I decided it would be my home for the night. The view looks out over the water to Mayne Island. I can also see the tip of Saturna Island. It's light and sunny with bits of shade amongst the trees. Really quite beautiful!

I paid Fred for my site, unloaded my bags, and headed off with Diane. Diane and I said our goodbyes at the farm stand. I continued on to the library where I posted the last two days' blogs.

Since I had given Fred my last $20 Canadian, I needed to get some cash so I could go to the Pender Island Fair that was going on today (think small country fair). I rode to the Driftwood Center and went to a ATM machine. I was unable to get any cash. I went to another machine. Same thing--no cash. So, since I needed to restock breakfast food, I went to the grocery store. I was able to pay with my card, but not get cash back. Apparently just on Pender, there is an issue with combined Visa/Debit cards. As I was loading my stuff into my backpack, a gal came up to me in the grocery store and asked if I was the other American trying to get cash. I said I was and she said I could go to the bank and they would change US currency for Canadian. Perfect! I did that, then went to the bakery for some lunch of Spanakopita and a turtle brownie.

While I was eating my lunch, I met Boyd and Mary Ann. They are from the mainland near Vancouver. Turns out they are also camping at Welcome Bay! We talked for awhile, then I headed over to the fair. I paid $5 and walked around the little fair. For such a small fair, they had a little of everything. I even saw a 4-person tandem bike!

I met up with the couple from the grocery store at the fair. I asked where they were from. Clair and Kalen are from...Olympia! They are also on a bike tour, but going the other direction. They were staying at Prior in the site next to Denise! Such a small world!

We chatted for awhile, then I headed back to Welcome Bay. I got my camp set up and met the rest of the people here. Guy and Claire with their daughter Lucy (14 years) and their little dog Bijou are from near Vancouver. They are also on bikes. Bijou rides in a little box with an arched cover on the back of Guy's bike. Zack and Reena and their two little girls, Ayla and Juniper are also from near Vancouver. Travis and Jackie with their little boy Ashby and their 3 year old daughter, Jolene are friends of Zack and Reena. There is one other guy here who I think is also friends with Travis and Jackie that I haven't met. Then, of course, there is Boyd and Mary Ann (and their dog Jet). It's quite the nice group of people here. I'm really glad I stayed here.

Tomorrow I will head to Galiano. My ferry is not until 3:25 so I'll have some more time to explore Pender. I've decided from Galiano I am going to ferry straight to Swartz Bay. That is where I would end up anyway. One less boat ride, but it's a better plan.

Here are some photos from the day.

The first is Tickles the Clown from the fair. The second is Diane and I. The third is a nice buck on the beach of the bay. The fourth is Mt. Baker and part of Mayne Island. The last is my little campsite.

Update: I packed up this morning (after helping Jolene and Ashby find the coveted treasure of beer bottle caps) and found out from Claire that the 11:05 sailing to Tsawassen also stopped at Galiano (with a transfer at Mayne again). So, I made that sailing. There were tons of bikes on the ferry from Mayne to Tsawassen. I was the only bike that got off at Galiano. I guess its Sunday and everyone is headed home. I'm headed home too, only it will be awhile longer before I get there!

Now I am at a bakery on Galiano that has wifi. I'll head to Montague Provincial Park when I'm done here.

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