Normally on a road trip, I overnight in Walmart parking lots, quiet campgrounds, government forest lands or fleabag motels. Anywhere, really, where I can lay my head, and it’s free or sufficiently cheap that I can focus my resources on what matters most, namely good food and drink.
So it’s nice, for a change, to take a summer’s journey where aesthetics are paramount, as are lingering, poignant conversations and much laughter. In other words, landing on the doorsteps of friends and relatives and not paying a cent for accommodation on a two-week holiday from Calgary to Vancouver Island and all the way back again. Let’s call it for what it was: Sponge Bill’s road trip.
Apparently, I’m not alone. An Angus Reid poll indicated 38 per cent of travelling Canadians planned to avoid hotels or other lodging expenses by staying with friends or family this summer.
We stayed with such hosts in uniformly spectacular B.C. locations, overlooking oceans, straits and rivers, often with just the sound of water lapping on beaches to lull us to sleep. Throw in outstanding home-cooked dinners and breakfasts that exceeded the quality of any restaurant meals we consumed, and I don’t think you could ask for a better trip. Well, maybe not as much so for our hosts, though we were careful to stay a maximum of two nights at all but one destination and arrive with offerings of artisan food and drink. Though without exception, they wouldn’t less us take them out for more than one lunch or dinner.
The following pictorial tour attempts to illustrate the scenic and gastronomic splendour of our trip. The names of our hosts and their precise locations are not indicated, to protect the innocent and keep other moochers at bay. We want to keep this gig to ourselves.