August 12 2017
Intended Destination: Pacific Rim National Park
Actual Destination: Lost Shoe Campground parking lot, Ucluelet, British Colombia
Neither Christine nor I slept that well in the Kamloops parking lot. It was hot and smoky-tasting in the back of my throat. We were a little nervous about being asked to leave in the middle of the night, but that didn’t happen. I got up around 7:45am and left the car to find a Tim Horton’s so I could pee and grab a coffee. I walked around for a bit and got a coffee from the gas station Tim’s. I used the bathroom in the way you always see people on road trips doing in movies. Taking way too long, washing way too much, and being completely inconsiderate of other people waiting to use the facilities.
I went back to the car with my coffee and sat around while waiting for my sister to wake up. I didn’t want to get back into the car because it was so hot, so I sat on the curb and checked out the other cars in the lot. I never realized before this trip how many people are sleeping in cars at any given parking lot on any given night. We were rarely the only ones in our situation. Most people crashed in their backseats, but they were really visible. With our entire front windshield blocked by all our gear, our mesh mosquito nets covering the back windows, and our backpacks pushed up against the hatchback window, we were fairly invisible.
Christine is SO GRUMPY in the mornings, in case anyone reading this is prepping for a road trip with her. She doesn’t wake up smoothly and she always wants more sleep. Can’t have any when you’re that uncomfortable, though. I definitely learned to be patient with my darling sister while she shakes off the growlies (she’s going to adore that description, I can tell you that).
We swapped the gear and emptied the cooler. It was in terrible shape – we only had ice for a day before it would disappear, yet we had food for days more. We dumped the smelly stuff and got on the highway. I drove to Chiliwack, British Columbia. It was an awesome drive but everyone goes so fast. We stopped at the Chiliwack IHOP – I’d never been to one before – and I had pancakes (red velvet and cupcake, so saccharine). It was good but expensive, and we ate so fast that we were overfull. The issue with roadtripping is that it sometimes really is feast or famine. You go most mornings and afternoons on snacks so when you get a meal, you absolutely devour it.
Christine took over the driving and went through to Vancouver, maneuvering some really intense traffic. We made our way to the ferry – very exciting, our first ferry of the trip! There would be four in total. We got in the wrong lane for the ferry and thought we’d be arrested or something but it wasn’t an issue. We always ended up having a lot of fun in the ferry lines. You’re stuck in the car but there isn’t much that can be done – you just have to wait it out. You get to know your neighbours; it really piques your curiosity.
On the ferry we took of video of ourselves in the blasting wind at the very front of the ferry. We also sat in on a naturalist talking about the wildlife in Pacific Rim National Park, so that was really neat. It was mostly for kids but the guy obviously loved his job. After a while we moved on. The ferry was about an hour and forty minutes and we learned it was delayed due to ‘an issue with a driver’ which was very mysterious and we never resolved the enigma – we only knew the issue wasn’t with us.
Once off the ferry we started down the long, winding road to Pacific Rim. It was another day that felt like we’d experienced so much, and it wasn’t nearly over. Not long into the drive, it began to rain. All the info centres were closed so we didn’t know much about the area. We did find the park and it turned out that Green Point campground was well and booked. We returned to the info centre but the signs were very clear and very aggressive about overnight parking. We stayed there and called every hotel in Tofino and Ucluelet, but they were all booked because it was such a popular spot and because of the downpour.
After having no luck with the campgrounds either, we finally just headed to one and after some negotiating, they let us park there for $15, no camping. It felt ridiculous to pay that kind of money just to park, but everywhere else we looked was really strict on overnight parking and our research indicated they were really serious about enforcing it, and the ticket was more than $15.
We swapped the bins over, which was a true challenge in the pouring rain, and because we were parked right near the ‘office’ which was basically just drunk people, we didn’t sleep that well. We had the windows right up to keep the rain out and because it was so noisy. That was the first night we slept with our heads to the back of the vehicle, under the little shelf thing, and that was much more comfortable because the lump where the seats go down was in the waist dip rather than pressed against our hips!
It was a really frustrating night. We only had one night on Pacific Rim and to spend it like that felt like a waste. I think we were both worried that the next day would be more of the same and we wouldn’t have a good experience.
But we did sleep – until we woke up first thing in the morning wondering why our breath felt so strained. Oops, we accidentally suffocated ourselves! And that, my friends, was the last time we slept with all the windows done up. Who know a Honda Fit would be fucking airtight?