Thursday, September 1, 2022

Mid-Week Vacay Wrap-Up: Birthday Trip to Powell River

Welcome back, my friends! L and I had a whirlwind mid-week trip up to beautiful Powell River on the Sunshine Coast of BC - it was L's mom Louise's 80th birthday, so of course we had to go up. I've got lots of pics to share, so pull up a chair, grab a beverage and settle in. 

Travel capsule: 
Just enough for three days, with 4+ hours of travel on either end. 

  • Shiny cream jacket - Smoking Lily; last worn here (2nd outfit) for thrifting in Sidney with Cat a couple of weeks ago
  • Silk palazzo pants - Pinkerton, consignment; last seen here in June with a bright blue blazer
  • White tee - Gen, thrifted; last worn here in June for a trip to Sidney with Mom
  • Blue top - J.  Crew, thrifted; first seen here in April with chartreuse
  • Teal dress - Sam Edelman, consignment; last worn here in April with new copper
  • Gold sandals - Born, consignment; last seen here earlier this month at Thetis Lake with Mom
  • Blue sandals - Hopeful Sunny, Fluevog, thrifted; last worn here last week at Cadboro Bay with Mom
I ended up leaving the gold sandals in PR as they fell apart on me. Dang, those had a lot of good innings! 

A scarf for that movie-star look. 

  • Scarf - Fluevog
  • Masks - all by Mom

Gold bling: 
Stuff that goes with everything. 

  • Belt - vintage 70s, Mom's
  • Necklace - Givenchy, vintage 80s, vintage fair
  • Dangle earrings - thrifted
  • Gold hoop earrings - 5th anniversary gift from L
  • Chain bracelet - thrifted

I also put the chain bracelet into the giveaway pile when I got home. The gold-tone is wearing off. 

Okay, here we go! Bright and early on Tuesday morning, we were up and packed for our 3+ hour drive up-Island.
It ended up being roasty hot for the two days we were up there - I barely touched the jacket. 

Comfy silk pants for sunblock.
Also good for sitting in the car for the long drive up. 

Cotton t-shirt for...well, it's a t-shirt.
I let the pants do the talking.

I wore my sunnies almost constantly.

Vizzini, where are you, bud? Time to say goodbye! 
"Do you mind, Woman? I'm napping."

Give me a good shot so I can look at it and not miss you too much. 
"You'll be home soon enough."

We're sunblocked up, got some tunes for the drive, and have our head coverings on.
Ready? Let's go! All links - as always - 'cause I love.

In case you don't know the west coast of Canada, here's what it looks like. 
We live in Victoria, on Vancouver Island (not to be confused with Vancouver the city, which is on the mainland). 

To get to Powell River, we drive up-Island and take a ferry back to the mainland. The green dots are our route. 
It is possible to go through Vancouver and drive up the coast of the mainland, but it takes a lot longer and involves two more ferries. Oh, and if you ever heard of the classic Canadian TV show of the 70s/80s The Beachcombers (link here), it was filmed in Gibsons, right across from Nanaimo (nuh-NYE-mow). 

Thanks to the PR ferries docks for these excellent maps. 
This section shows getting to Courtenay (CORT-nee) and Comox (COE-mocks), where the ferry is. It's about 1 hour, 15 minutes to get to the mainland. 

But first, our drive up. I only took pics on the way up (on the way down, the sun was in our faces and very glare-y).
Have you ever seen this sign before? It means, "Be prepared to queue" - as in, there is a lot of construction on the roads right now (following our flooding from last fall). We Canadians are good at queueing in lines. 

Going past Goldstream National Park. 
Very steep cliffs on one side. Most of the first section of our drive is only 1-2 lanes. 

Mt. Finlayson (FIN-luh-sin) straight ahead. 
It's visible from all over Victoria. You can climb it - I did when I was a kid, but that's too much for me now! 

View from the Malahat (MAL-uh-hat), the section of the road that is carved out of the side of the cliffs that line the Finlayson Arm (an arm is an inlet). 
I live that way, down-Island. 

The middle hump is Mt. Finlayson, the water in the centre is Salmon Arm and the mountains in the far distance is the Olympic range in Washington State, US. 
We zipped along this section at around 90 km/h (about 55mph), in Vlad the Jaguar, with the top down. It's challenging taking pictures! 

At the summit of the Malahat. 
Yup, we never take any of the tourist detours. Our mission: don't miss the ferry! 

Eeee, I do not like these big logging trucks. This one is at Mill Bay, but we saw several, plus many ginormous trucks transporting goods up and down-Island. 
Get past him, L!

Approaching Duncan, "City of Totems." 

I like going under this bridge. 
So pretty! 

Look at that blue sky! 
We're coming up to Nanaimo, one of the other cities on Vancouver Island. Ever had Nanaimo bars (these here)? They originated in Nanaimo. Please don't pronounce it nah-nah-ee-mo  (one of the funnier pronunciations I've ever heard). It's nuh-NYE-mow! You should make those bars, by the way - they are freaking delicious. 

North of Nanaimo, it's smooth sailing. A giant highway where you can really open up awaits! 
You can see the mirage on the road ahead of us - it was around 30/90+. Traffic was light, and we touched on 160 km/h (about 100 mph) in Vlad (shhh, don't tell the Mounties!). 

Another 45 minutes should do it! 
We're nearly there. 

I like this big stretch. 
I always take a pic of that lightning-blasted tree on the left. Our last trip to PR was in January here, if you're interested.

We've arrived at the BC Ferry docks and have plenty of time to eat our Subway bowls in the line-up.
Vlad at the window. 

We're on the Salish Orca, one of the newer ferries in the BC Ferries fleet. 
And the tide is out, so I went for a walk on the beach to stretch my legs. 

There were a few folks out on the sand, and kids in the water.
By the time the ferry left there were over a dozen people frolicking in the water. 

There were loads of little crabs that had gotten caught by the tide.
Tiny orange crab, new pink pedi. 

And the ferry is off - here's where we're headed. 
To the left of the white sailboat is Powell River; further to the left is Townsite, the original site of PR - it's full of old houses built by the now-permanently closed pulp and paper mill for its workers. 

L's Mom and stepdad both worked at the mill when he was younger - he also worked there one summer. When I first went to PR in 1996, L's stepdad Lawrence picked us up from the ferry, and drove us home. "What's that smell?" I asked (city girl!), when I got a whiff of the kraft (link here).

"That's the smell of money," he said. 

Driving on the ferry. 
Despite growing up on Vancouver Island and taking a million ferry trips in my life, I still get a thrill. They're so cool! 

L and I tucked away in a quiet corner to read. 
I got your back, baby. 

I went out on the decks since it was so hot out, and wandered around. 
Looking back at beautiful Vancouver Island. Yes, that's snow on that mountain. 

Further away. 
It was a busy ferry - loads of people out on the decks. 

It's windy out there! 
You have to hang on! 

As we got closer to the mainland, I spotted something in the water! Oh my gosh, in all my years, I have NEVER seen an orca from the ferries. 
It's just blown spume from its blowhole. 

Sorry these are blurry - I really had to zoom in.
People were all pointing and getting excited. No kidding! You don't see that many orcas in the wild! 

And here we are, back in the car and ready to drive off. 
They're raising the barrier - the striped one will be lowered for us to drive over. That's the town ahead, all along the hill. 

And off we go, up the hill.
Only a few minutes to our hotel. 

Where right beside us was a super-fancy car! 
A Lamborghini Countach! 

Our F-Type Jaguar didn't look so cool next to that! 

L and I checked in and then met up with his ex-coworker Mark for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in Powell River.
Costa Del Sol Latin Cuisine. If you ever go to PR, you have to eat here. The food is amazing. 

L and Mark. Hi, Mark! 
One of the two Greek-owned Italian restaurants in Powell River, Snickers, is on Marine Drive behind them. There is a big Italian community in PR, from way back when the new Italian immigrants came to work at the mill - L's Mom's family is all Italian. 

Their key lime pie is rated one of the top desserts by the local paper (here). 
Verdict: Heck, yes. YUM.

The TV in our hotel room didn't work but our old pal Kelly (used to live in Vic, now lives in PR) came over and we played board games in the evening (yes, we travel with our favourite games - you never know when your TV will be dead!). We both crashed after that, but were up early on Wednesday to spend the day with Louise/L's mom and his family for her 80th birthday.
The daytime look. This dress was very comfy for walking around. 

Re-wearing the t-shirt as it wasn't too stinky.
The last day of my sandals. I hopped back through my "last worn here" links and counted 43 wearings since I first bought them here in June 2014 for $25.00. I got my money's worth - that's 58 cents per wear! 

Y'all will forgive me for posting a bunch of family pics. 
L and his older brother (by 7 years), Virgil. The brothers are both massive fans of the band Blue Oyster Cult - L has the same tee (we bought that one for Virg). 

Louise and her best friend Ruth. 

Louise and her younger sister Lenora. 
L and I met up with Lenora back in June in Victoria (here, one pic, scroll down). 

Louise, Lenora, L and Virgil, plus me, bought A&W (a Canadian fast-food eatery - best root beer EVER) at the drive-through and took it down to Willingdon Beach to eat. 
We've been here before on the blog, back here in 2016 when we went for a walk in the underbrush.

Selfie with me, since I took all the pics. 
Happy Birthday, Louise! 

Who's Queen of the Picnic Table? 
YOU are, baby! 

From there, we all went our separate ways. L and I walked up and down Marine Avenue, and I had a poke in some of the second-hand shops. 
I needed another book, due to the dead TV. Knight News is a store L remembered from when he was a kid (it's now a secondhand mechanical parts store) - I liked the old sign. Taws beyond that used to be "Taws Gun & Cycle".

I popped into a thrift shop and found a $1 paperback, and also spotted this amazing blazer. 
Butterflies AND zebra? Be still, my 80s-loving heart! 

The back is perfectly lined up - there is a seam down the middle! 
It looks like someone tried to wash it by hand, and then didn't own a steamer to make it all nice again. 

I zapped it with my Folex stain remover, as it has a few black bleeds and what looked like very old red wine stains. Most of it came out. 
Love those bit enameled brass buttons! Wonderful detail on the flowers and butterflies too! 

It's by Escada by Margaretha Ley, and it was made in Germany. 
It's 100% cotton. It was $15.00, but I'm sure that back in the late 80s/early 90s it would have been very pricey. Even now, Escada blazers from this era run $500-1,000 and more on vintage resale sites! 

I popped into Willow Rose Boutique and had a quick rummage, scoring in the jewelry section. 
The Mexican silver and turquoise earrings (stamped 925, Mexico) were $25.00 and the cuff was $10.00 (it's steel and has a logo mark, but no idea of the brand). 

After a short nap back at the hotel in the AC, we got dressed for the big family dinner for Louise. 
The blue top and the silk pants, plus a bunch of gold stuff. 

We drove to the Townsite area, which is where Virgil and a couple of L's uncles/Louise's brothers live.
I though this was funny - this is how I take pictures. 

We're just passing the mill here - you can see one of the smoke stacks and a glimmering line of water. 
On the right, the famous Patricia Theatre. 
Aw, it's showing Grease for Olivia Newton-John, RIP. I've seen a movie there with L, aeons ago - it's gorgeous inside. A charming local history of it here

We pulled up at the Granada (which does not rhyme with Canada, I was surprised to learn - it's gruh-NAY-duh), as Virgil and some of the uncles stood on the front steps. 
I see Uncle Pete and Uncle Eddie, with Virg in the middle. 

This restaurant has not changed at all since it opened in 1973! FB link here.
This is the original menu, all embossed green faux leather. 

Louise, her boyfriend Dave and Lenora have arrived.
The boat hulks in the water behind them are part of a giant breakwater made up of WWI and II concrete-hulled ships. 

Inside, Louise has her balloons and flowers. This is the other Italian restaurant run by Greeks, by the way.
Look at the 3D stucco on the ceiling! And that big mural at the end (which stretches about 20 feet long) was painted by a guy that Virgil went so school with. 

Balloons in the mirror.
Not a single detail in this place has been changed in years.
The Birthday Girl! 

Louise and Dave. 
Both L and I had pizza and it was some of the best I've ever had. YUM. 

L and I popped over to Virgil's house for a quick visit. I was greeted by the ginger cat belonging to the neighbour, but this lovely tuxedo cat just stared. 
"Vizzini's cool, don't worry about him."

I guess he knows through the cat psychic network?

Driving home past Willingdon Beach, we pulled in to watch the sunset. See the sliver of the crescent moon?
The two big poles are for the Logger Sports festival, held in July. 

What a gorgeous place.
But my home is in the city. 

With this little dude. 

Phew! I need a nap! And sorry to duck out on y'all again, but I'm back to work tomorrow, then we have a long weekend - so please do check back in on Monday for my weekend tales of adventure! 


  1. Happy birthday to L's mom. You were dressed for all vacation activities. It's good to see you back.

  2. Happy birthday to Louise! I like your travel wardrobe - you really maximise the use of the pieces you pack! And I love that blazer, what a great find! :) It's good you got some shopping in!

  3. Happy Birthday Louise! I admire how you spring into 80 on the picnic table. :)

    Absolutely fabulous and heart warming to gather with family for happy family celebrations! ❤️

    Sheila, I admire how you manage to always pack lite yet are prepared for the adventure’s sartorial needs. Yes, I realize you plan, but experience has told me it’s a skill to do that! Okay, maybe the skill can be developed, but not without assistance from a master!

    In any case, your outfits look comfortable and I especially appreciate dressing for a comfy drive. The weather was highly cooperative, yay for sunshine and blue sky!

    Here’s to your weekend!
    Cheers, Laurie

  4. Thanks for the travelog! I felt as if I were right there with you and L's fam. You'd never know it was sweltering hot out there cuz you looked cool as a cucumber in your silks (Where DOES one find silks these days anyway?). Have a glorious weekend. Here in the states it is Labor Day weekend...cause for celebration, outing outfit opportunities, and NO laboring.

  5. Looks like Louise had a great birthday celebration with her family. I would have been so excited to see an Orca from the ferry too! That last photo of Vizzini is how Sylvester looks at me when I've been away too.

  6. Thank you for such a complete and interesting photo log of your trip…loved the inclusion of maps and pronunciation guides too! Felt like I've seen it with you! You looked fabulous…perfect wardrobe choices for you, the occasion and the trip.

  7. Wow! Great travel report. A whale! A Lambo! And those driving pants!

    Thanks also for the geography lesson. I've heard the names of these places but wasn't sure where they are. Love the vintage German blazer. I think you have inner-magnetism that attracts cool clothes.

  8. I'm admiring your skills to assemble to travel capsule, Sheila, and it's amazing how many outfits you squeezed out of just a handful of items! Not my forte, I'm afraid. I'm going away for 7 days next week and the thought of picking out outfits is freaking me out :-)
    I absolutely loved tagging along on your journey, and how absolutely wonderful that you've spotted on orca! Those sunset photos are gorgeous, and the Escada blazer is fabulous. At $ 15 it looks like you've bagged a bargain, and it is oh so very you!
    I bet your little dude was glad to have you back ... xxx

  9. I'm hopeless at the capsule so I take my hat off to you!
    Love your new Escada jacket! So you!
    Happy birthday to Louise!
    Virgil! I'm now wondering what L stands for? Is he another Tracy brother?😁x

  10. A very happy birthday to Louise! What a neat little town to visit.

  11. I know about the ferry. We have travelled so many time to the UK by ferry and every time it feels like the first. Happy belated birthday to Louise. I think she couldn't have wished for a better one.

  12. Lovely trip. And I think your Jaguar car is so much more stylish than that Lamborghini. Really, no comparison. It is like 'new money' versus 'old money'. Like stylish versus screaming "I have money". I also think the Lamborghini is ugly.
    Lovely party. L's mum looks very fit and happy.
    An Escada jacket is a very good find. I am surprised you got all those old stains out.

  13. What a fab trip, I loved following you on your travels! Belated birthday love to L's sassy mum, Louise!
    Great work on the capsule wardrobe and excellent score on the 1980s Escada - the kids always snap that label up when we have it on our rails.
    Our neighbours have that Lambo in orange (as well as a red Ferrari), I much prefer your Vlad - classy over flashy any day of the week! xxx

  14. Happy belated birthday to Louise.
    What a great trip you two had. So cool you saw an orca in the wild, that must have been fun.

  15. Louise, Leonora, L seems like they like the letter L in that family. Except Virgil who ends with an L instead. 😜


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