Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 1 - 14, 2012 "Murphy and Victoria"

Find more about Weather in Hoodsport, WA

Good news; we're off to Victoria, British Columbia for a few days. We've been staying the past week at Glen Ayr Hood Canal Waterfront Resort, and are driving the Equinox up the peninsula to Port Angeles. Tomorrow, we will take the 8:15 am ferry to Victoria, and spend the next 3 days exploring and doing "touristy" things.

Now the bad; that Irish lad Murphy paid us a visit during the wee hours, and the Toshiba laptop computer crashed this morning, and we're currently on the backup Dell. This thing is a "vintage" 2000'ish model and is slower than molasses, so the entire post, possibly along with any pictures we have taken, which were transferred to the hard drive, will need to be postponed for a few days, as I don't have the time now to repair his tomfoolery.

To be continued……………………….

Life was much simpler before the advent of computers, cell phones, iphones, ipads, and ipods. Last Saturday, when Murphy paid us an untimely visit, we were on our way to Victoria, and so we left putting the computer problem behind us. But upon returning from “vacation”, it was much like in our working years returning to work after a legitimate much needed vacation. It brought back memories of the stress related to that event, and had me in a tailspin. We now depend so much on our computer and GPS, I wonder how we ever got along without them;……. igiveup.

We moved from Hoodsport to Fall City, and after getting set up, found the nearest BestBuy to replace the deceased Toshiba. After nearly an hour of comparing models with a 17” screen, we walked out with another Toshiba; now referred to as T2. So, the good news we’re back to the future. Luckily I had backed up T1 on June 16, so after an additional day of reloading software and updating our e-mail accounts, we are now caught up to July 7, and today is the July 14.

OK, enough of that, now back to the past. Our stay at Hoodsport was very relaxing. The resort was right on the Hood Canal, and ironically the opening day of crab season coincided with our arrival. Naturally, everyone thought we were there as “crabbers”, and couldn’t understand that we weren’t. CC says I am sometimes crabby, but I’m not qualified or licensed to be a crabber. Unfortunately all the pictures we took at Hoodsport went down with T1, so just use your imagination ;-) ;-)

Last Saturday, July 7, we drove up Hwy 101 covering 90 miles in a little under two hours NW to Port Angeles and found a quaint little hotel for the night, as we would be catching the 8:15 am ferry to Victoria, BC the following morning. CC didn’t sleep well, and was up before 3 am. So by the time we boarded, we were both a little tired. (Click on any image to enlarge)

The trip on the MV Coho took about 90 minutes to cover the 18 miles, which gave CC some time to shop at the duty free onboard; she is NEVER to tired to shop. The fog lifted as we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and as we entered the harbor, there were multiple planes ready to take off.

Victoria Harbor is relatively small and quaint, and the coastline is as varied as the architectural styles; from Victorian to Modern. Our first impression of the city and harbor was how clean and well maintained it was; very picturesque.

It’s a 20 – 25 minute trip by bus to the first stop, Butterfly Gardens. It was our lucky day, because today, and today only, they offered a comp ticket to these gardens with the purchase of tickets to Butchart Gardens, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have taken the time to see them.

Pretty? Yes. Lots of butterflies? Not so much, as we only saw 4 or 5 species. Would we have paid to see this? Probably not, but since it was free, (Normally $10 per person) it was worth the hour we spent there, and the pink flamingos standing in the Koi Pond were a surprise!

Now, today’s main event. Take the time to click on the link, and read a little bit of history about the gardens, and you will quickly understand why it is one of the most visited destinations in Canada. People come from around the world, and shell out $32 each, to see The ButchartGardens.

For those that didn’t take the time, you’ll never know what you’ve missed, so I’ll give a brief summation. The gardens cover 55 acres of a 150 acre depleted limestone mine, which was completely barren. 

But that was before Mrs.Butchart was inspired to reclaim the land with majestic gardens, such as The Sunken Garden……..

The Sunken Garden Lake……..

The Rose Garden (Everybody’s gotta have one, eh. Don’t ya think?)

The Butchart’s Garden Home

Butchart Cove Lookout

And finally the family pet, aptly named “Bucky”, whom they immortalized in bronze. Who said you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? CC rubbing its nose for luck. What do ya think? Will she or won’t she get lucky tonight? Don’t ask me, I’m sworn to silence ;-) 

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? These Canadian gazillionaires are an eccentric bunch. Just wait until you see Craigdarroch Castle. Well, we have had a big day, so back on the bus to the hotel for some much needed rest and nourishment, and maybe an adult beverage (or two), if ya twist my arm, eh!

After breakfast and the usual WDYWTDT, we decided on the city “hop on-hop off” bus tour. At $22.50 each, we thought this would be a good option for seeing the city, considering the ticket was good for two days. The first bus leaves the Fairmont Empress at 10 am, so off we went. On arrival, an employee of Butchart Gardens was setting up a display on the lawn of the Fairmont Empress.

After we bought our bus tickets, which included the $13.75 admission to the castle, we boarded the double-decker bus and rode to our first stop, Craigdarroch Castle. The tour buses are not allowed up the narrow, steep street leading to the castle, so we walked the two blocks to the top of the hill.

If you would like to explore the story behind the castle, click on the link above. For those of you too lazy to do so, pictures is all you’ll get; no summation this time. OK, quit your whimpering, a brief summation. The castle was completed in 1890, a few months after the death of the owner, so he never lived in this magnificent 39 room, 20,000 square feet castle on the 28 acres. Mr. Dunsmuir reportedly spent $500,000 building the entire estate, when the average home price in Victoria was only $600. Can you say “OPULENT”?

By now you’ve figured out that Canada is a bi-lingual society. It’s the law, everything must be written in both English and French; menus, food labels, you name it, bi-lingual. Pictured below, the dining room.

View from the third story looking down to the second story spiral staircase landing.

The billiards room

The Tower

The breakfast room

The servants room

The back yard at Craigdarroch

By now it’s noon, and we’re both getting hungry, so back down the hill to catch the bus to Oak Bay Village. It is said this village is more British than Britain itself, so always on a quest to discover local cuisine, stumbled into The Penny Farthing.

By now, we have come to realize Victoria is not the place to visit if you’re on a tight budget; it’s on Vancouver Island, so everything has to be ferried in, naturally increasing the base cost. Upon the recommendation of our server, and for no other reason, I decided to try the Robert Service Stone Fired Scottish Ale on special today for only $6.50. 

Today was our lucky day because what we wanted, was actually the daily special; two for one fish (Cod) and chips $14.95. I really wanted the Halibut, but it wasn’t on special and at $21.95, lunch for two would have been $43.90 without the ale. OUCH! OK, Cod it shall be.

We walked back to the bus, and off we went to a tour of Oak Bay Marina. There were lots of nice boats, and a pregnant seal, due to give birth any day now. We watched as people fed her fish, hoping to witness the miracle of life, but it wasn’t our day. 

Back on the bus; next stop for us to explore is China Town. CC standing next to Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada, only 42” wide. It was made famous by Mel Gibson riding a motorcycle down it with Goldie Hawn, in the1990 action comedy Bird on a Wire.

By now, our dogs are barking, so we catch the double-decker back to the Fairmont Empress, and walk the 3 or 4 blocks back to our hotel. CC and I sat out on our deck, and enjoyed “happy hour” as we propped up our naked dogs, giving them some much needed rest and elevation. We decided to just get a frozen pizza and do dinner “in”, since we had the facilities to do so; luckily for us, there was a grocery store nearby.

The following day we just decided to walk around the downtown area, and explore on our own. Using Google Earth, we re-traced our steps, and covered nearly 7 miles while making some observations. Gas in Victoria is $5 per gallon and the cheapest frozen pizza we could find was $6.99; most were in the $10 range. A four ounce Yoplait yogurt is $1.73, and a single scoop waffle cone is $3.95.

We boarded the 3 pm ferry for the trip back to Port Angeles, and arrived back at the rig around 7 pm. It’s been a whirlwind “vacation”, and it felt good to be “home”. Tomorrow we depart for Fall City, WA, just SE of Seattle.

I’m sure you’re as tired reading this diatribe as I am writing it. But that’s what happen when you live this lifestyle. I’m hoping Murphy finds his was back across the pond, and stays there. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and check in on us. Until next time, take care and stay well……………………


  1. Since you are so close, we thought we would suggest catching the ferry to Alaska. What's another 7,000 miles when you can explore the "last frontier".

  2. Great tour. We were in Victoria BC last year but didn't make it to the Castle and garden tour. I'll be we took the same ferry from Ana Cortes. Looks great. Your pictures tell a great story. Nice post!

    1. There is so much to do in Victoria, it's hard to decide especially in a limited time. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Bev, Sure, but might as well join us; we'll meet in Spokane on Monday, July 23, and go from there!