Sponge Bill’s Road Trip

Overlooking Strait of Georgia on Mayne Island

Overlooking Strait of Georgia on Mayne Island

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.

There were up to eight hummingbirds around this feeder in the north Okanagan Valley

There were up to eight hummingbirds around this feeder at our host’s house in the north Okanagan Valley

Eggs Benedict with turkey bacon for breakfast

Which we enjoyed while eating eggs Benedict with turkey bacon on the deck

Overlooking English Bay in Vancouver

Overlooking English Bay in Vancouver

Homemade devilled eggs

Homemade devilled eggs, featuring an old family recipe for mayonnaise

Canyon stream in Qualicum Falls Provincial Park in central Vancouver Island

Canyon stream in Qualicum Falls Provincial Park in central Vancouver Island

Slow-cooked ribs and smoked salmon salad

Followed by slow-cooked ribs and smoked salmon salad

Beach walking near Saanich, outside of Victoria

Beach walking near Saanich, outside of Victoria

Fresh-from-the-water crab

And then fresh-from-the-water crab

Shafts of sunlight on Georgia Strait from Mayne Island

Shafts of sunlight on Georgia Strait from Mayne Island

Lunch salad spread

Lunch salad spread

Burgers cooking in a forno oven

Plus burgers cooking in a forno oven

Hiking above Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island

Hiking above Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island

Steak and garden vegetables

Chased by steak and garden vegetables

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2 thoughts on “Sponge Bill’s Road Trip

  1. Ann Stevens

    Recognize a couple of relatives. we had a good but short visit with your dad and saw most of the first cousins and Nancy and Jack. Sorry we did not catch any other Corbetts in Edmonton. Ann

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  2. rickbraveheart

    Wow Bill, after looking at those fabulous photos and all that luscious looking food I need to take some lessons from you on how to “rough it” in nature. Maybe then I’d get my wife to travel along. Thanks too for this great blog and so many great stories and photos of Canada and the beautiful country and people I grew up with. ~ Rick

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