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Adventure in Wells, BC… ARTSWELLS

Adventure in Wells, BC… ARTSWELLS

After recharging in Vancouver spending some time with Mandie’s Dad and some friends we traveled North towards the picturesque town of Wells. The day was very hot and with the hills the van began to overheat which we retaliated with by cranking up the heat. Like an amazing late 80’s sauna. We spent the night a couple hours past Hope at a turn out on the edge of the Fraser River.

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It was a good sleep, but turned into a hot morning as the sun beat down on the van, soon again we were on the road.

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Along the way we stopped in Clinton BC which had a terrific coffee shop where I spoke to a man about his fantastic Japanese acoustic, Mandie also met a friend and fellow antique’s collector. We said our goodbyes and continued on our way towards wells in the blazing heat. We made one more stop in a town for supplies, water and some sandwiches before making the last stretch to Wells. We watched the sunrise in the rear view mirrors as we crested the big hill.

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Finally we reached our destination and turned the Vantasy into the RV camping and popped the top, exhausted we fell fast asleep.. zzz. The next morning we made a hasty breakfast as we both had volunteer shifts to head to and walked up towards the info center to get our badges and information. I was sent off to the kitchens in a few hours to serve some people delicious grub and Mandie was working the Kid’s Tent and the volunteer check in.

I headed back to camp as she started her shift. The van was in fine form and I jammed out a bit as I waited for my shift to start.

My first shift was rad, met some sweet people and many piled in for the delicious brownies I was serving. Being the brownie guy had it’s perks. Mostly brownies.

Mandie met up with me after her shift and we headed to see some shows together at the community hall.

We decided to document the rest of the trip with polaroids from Mandie’s new vintage camera. Ha ha.

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We met up with friends from Vancouver the next day who camped next to us and made up a bit of a camp crew. Also met some rad neighbors from Calgary who had some pretty sweet costumes including onesies. Later that day we saw them with a crowd of onesie wearers hugging strangers and dancing in fine animal form.

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The shows were awesome, a few favorites Rusty Ford, a hilarious country western singer with a comedic flare. Mandie saw Jeff Bernum and raved about his political commentary by accordion jams. We both went and saw Rae Spoon as well and it inspired me to get back into my synth music. It’s something I did awhile ago and would love to get back into with the right gear. Maybe when we are back on Salty.

Also upon arrival we had the pleasant surprise of a slow leak in the tire which then resulted in a flat.

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We waited till the last day to deal with it and lovely humans from the festival came and gave us a hand with the spare. It seemed to be harder to find someone who didn’t want to help. I even when to talk to someone about borrowing a jack, they didn’t have one but offered me a coffee in a mug which I took back to Mandie trying out the jack on the van.

This festival is filled with so many helpful humans.

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Last day photos in Wells before we took a friend Taka to Barkerville before headed to Williams Lake to stay with some of Mandie’s friends from Squamish.

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Saw mhy first ground squirrel, was able to get pretty close to this guy.

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Barkerville is an interesting town, I wish we were able to see some of the concerts in the church there. The town had burnt down in the 60s and was re-built, tried a pickled sausage, pretty good.

Diversity Festival and Texada Island

Diversity Festival and Texada Island

Never having been to a festival before and knowing even little about the festival itself I was excited and somewhat apprehensive about attending Diversity.

The festival was for four days and after a few ferry rides from Comox to Powell River and then Powell River to Texada, we finally arrivedin Blubber Bay the only ferry terminal on the north tip of Texada Island.

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Going back to almost the turn of the century the Island was used and still is used today for mining and logging. It is the biggest of the Northern Gulf Islands, 50 kilometers in length which we drove the length of to get to the festival site. There are few homes on the Island which I noticed as we raced up the dusty limestone roads following the signs for Diversity to the beach where the festival was.

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From one end of the Island to the other we made it to our camp site on Shingle Beach campground and rolled up beside our friends Hanna and Dave’s camper.
They promptly set up their Starcraft camper and adorned it with golden/pink flamingos and a sign that read “Camp Tramp”. Mostly named due to Hanna’s giant stamp that would stamp the word “tramp” on you in gold ink.

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It was beautiful.

As we scuttled around in the fading light to get our camp site ready we noticed that the ground was uneven which would prove to be a problem with the van’s fridge and getting it up and running. After two hours of fighting with it trying to get it started we decided to give the van a rest and drove away from “Camp Tramp” to another spot which was flatter, still the fridge would not light!
I’m learning from many other forums a common frustration of these rad vehicles.

Afterwards Dave mentioned that perhaps the amount of dust from drive up got into the system, we deiced to sleep it off and see what the next day would bring.

Friday, day one of Diversity started out lovely, we slept in and made some eggs and coffee then walked down to the festival to check out the happenings. There was a large stage for electronic music, smaller stage for live bands and even a disco tent set up in a tepee. Many vendors showed up selling their handmade leather wears, hemp skin products, coffee and other tasty foods and of course the legendary “Bunkle burger” which after a night of drinking and other repasts was very tasty.

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Hanna and Dave came down to the beach with captains hats, cocktails and an inflatable boat and took it out to sea. Mandie and I did some swimming in the tumultuous sea, there were some decent waves that knocked us around but the cool water was too hard to resist.

Mandie having been to Diversity before knew far more people and more about the festival then me. I decided to head back to the Van which Mandie danced away the night to tight jams.

Saturday, day two was more of a beach day and we spent the day in the sun. I was told that last diversity rained all weekend long and I though about the camping we spent when we first set out on this adventure and the amount of rain we got then and was thankful for the sunny hot days on Texada.

Sunday, day three was the final party and the last day of the festival. We headed down to the beach again and all four of us headed out in the inflatable dingy, beers, babes and bros on the S.S. Hawk. That night I finally got my dance on, I headed down to the festival and found Mandie, Dave and Hanna dancing around the glowing “Sangria Sunday” wagon. Which was a blue cooler filled with sangria and a metal cup, decked out with plastic flamingoes, flashing lights and flower garlands. It had it’s own spot on the dance floor.

We danced late into the night, different DJs donned the staged and a sea of lights and bodies moved around the dance floor.

Monday we left the festival grounds and met some fellow Salt Spring friends at an abandoned quarry mine from the 60’s, as we walked up the aqua coloured water shone in the sunlight. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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The colour comes from the limestone in the remaining rock, I felt the softness of the water as we plunged in.
It was so clear and peaceful, almost hard to leave.

A bunch of us gathered on “Mermaid Rock” and shared a bottle of Mountain Mead from Hornby Island we had brought.

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Friend’s of Mandie’s had us over with some other Salt Springers and we fired up the BBQ and sat around a picnic table sharing stories from the weekend and stories of past festivals and travel experiences.

It was an awesome place to end the festival.

Good food, good beer, and even better company.

Diversity was amazing but I will always remember the beauty of this Island and the good friends I’ve met and became more acquainted with since.

Thanks Texada, see you soon!

–Mike

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A Squamish adventure.

A Squamish adventure.

I look up at the hazy sky, the only clearing I can see, I am surrounded by trees.
A familiar road, as we head through paradise valley, past the outdoor school I attended as a child, then again as a counselor and once more as an alumni.
I had spent many years walking groups of eager grade 3’s and 6’s through the forest playing games, learning about the local flora and fauna and wandering through the boardwalks and streams.

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We find our way to the end of the thick forest and onto a logging road, the van putters down the gravel road, driving through the potholes with a triumphant splash.

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Finally we make it down to the train yard for a coffee break, pop the top, heat up the kettle and grind the beans. Mike plays some tunes by the rail yard while I brew us up a pot to keep us warm.

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Scarlet waits in the van.

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Back to the road for us, thanks Squamish!

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<3

Overnight in Portland.

Overnight in Portland.

The Vantasy’s first trip across the border.
Flying down the highway till we reach the peace arch and head through the border.

She made it across safe and sound.
My traveling partner a 6′ tall, red bearded, Tasmanian barista from JJ Bean.
The coast was our mission. To Portland and back in 3 days.

Our first stop was Long Beach.
Good morning stop, roof top popped, coffee made on the stove as the waves crashed all around us.

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Took a couple of wrong turns, but was able to make the best of it by capturing some beautiful scenery.

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Excellent first adventure.

The Vantasy

The Vantasy

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Here it begins.

September 2015, I put the keys in the ignition for the first time, hear the familiar rumble and warmth of the engine. I drive her around the block, butterflies in my stomach the whole time.
Baby I’m home.

Years before, I’m sitting in the living room of my childhood home, talking to my parent’s about my dream, owning a Volkswagon Westfalia.

My Father looks at me with a cocked eyebrow and shakes his head at me…
“So my almost 30 year old daughter is going to buy a van and live down by a –river?”

With wild excitement in my eyes I respond, “Hopefully I can be so lucky! Man, could you imagine waking up in the morning to the sounds of a rushing river, rolling over rocks, splashing on the feet of crossing deer and rushing through the gills of the returning salmon fighting their way against the river’s powerf—Dad?”

He’s walked away halfway through my inspired rant.

I started out young, duct taping my Barbie Dreamhouse to the top of her pink corvette, so she could take her band out on the road and never have to come back. The horizon was the destination in my mind, a creamsicle sun setting onto a dusty road, a westy casting a shadow on the ground as it drove, trying to keep up with the setting sun. Speed maxing out at 80km/hour as long as the road was flat.
Go little westy, go.

Here I am behind the wheel, what is the first thing I do? I drive to a friend’s house in Vancouver to spend the night in my van. I drive down the wooded suburban road in North Vancouver, trees looming over me like quiet giants, slowly swaying in the cool fall air. I pull up to the house, put the van in park at honk the horn numerous times, feeling quite triumphant.

Robbie peeks his head out and I set up the ‘living room’, chairs swivel, couch made, lantern on, I’m ready for company. He brings down his brother’s dog Sandy (and my former roommate) I invite them in. We listen to some tunes, have a few beers, then Robbie reminds me of where I am. I’m on Riverside Drive.
Next to us the Seymour River is roaring, pushing water down to the estuary and eventually the Georgia Straight.

I am in a van, down by the river.