Monday, December 26, 2022

A Very West Coast Christmas: Trip to Powell River

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Jolly Festivus, or just a bunch of good vibes - your pick! - to you, my friends! 

L and I are back from a trip to Powell River, a little town on BC's Sunshine Coast, to visit his mom and brother for Christmas. It was a whirlwind trip (up on Saturday, back on Monday) and we're both tired, so grab a restorative beverage and a comfy chair and join me in reliving our voyage. We last visited here in August, so you can compare seasons if the mood strikes you.

Since we'd had such abominable weather earlier in the week, we were terrified we'd have to turn around mid-way, or be stuck outside in a ferry line-up for hours. Weather is always a factor here on the west coast. 
With fingers crossed for the promised warmer temps (8-10 degrees), we got ready to head out on Saturday morning, Christmas Eve day. 

  • Dress - Chloe Angus, thrifted; purchased here for $11.95
  • Leggings - Masai, thrifted, Sidney; last worn here on the blog in August 2021
  • Boots - Original Sabado, Fluevog; last seen here on a Mom-Day Adventure
  • Coat (below) - Sarmite Wearable Art, consignment; last worn here in December

I have a t-shirt under this (which I slept in), making this my ultimate comfort outfit. 
I wear this around the house (minus the boots, of course). 

I have worn this dress dozens of times since I bought it, but never intended it to be worn in public.
I wore it on the ferry, sitting in a corner with L while we read/watched a football game one way, and in the cafeteria having breakfast on the way home. 
I knew it would be good for the 2-3 hours of driving, and the 1.5 hour ferry ride. 

Masked up.
L getting his final few things packed. We each took a small pack, then bags of food and presents. 

Outerwear - I wore this around in the ferry. 
And walked to/from the hotel and Louise's apartment. 

No time to thrift shop! 
Powell River has excellent second-hand shops. 

I was prepared for any weather. 

  • Purse - Sonia Rykiel, thrifted
  • Beret - consignment
  • Gloves - Danier Leather
  • Mask - by Mom
  • Wrap - V Fraas, thrifted

The stuff: 
Likewise with the boots. If we got stuck in a snowbank, I'd be able to walk in these. 

Minimal bling: 
A few easy pieces.

  • Belt - gift from Ruth
  • Earrings - Israel, consignment
  • Silver/amethyst ring - vintage mall
  • Silver/onyx ring - Tocara, vintage fair

I always take a couple of pics of Vizzini to show to the rellies, and to look at when we miss him. 
"Please, you'll be back in two days."

Cat and Ross came over and took care of him. 
"I'm pretty sure that means all the kitty treats I can eat."

L walked to town to pick up our rental SUV, a nifty Toyota RAV-4. 
As you can see, our back parking lot was a slushy, icy nightmare. That's no good for Vlad. 

There had been weather reports of doom and gloom and another snowstorm warning. 
10:15am - just another winter day. 

There are highway cams you can view to see the state of various points along the Island Highway - we were reassured that it wasn't snowing up-Island and that the roads were mostly clear. 
Entering the area around Goldstream Park. 

There's a shadow of Mt. Finlayson ahead, all snowy still. 
But it was getting warmer out, and lots of melting was starting to happen. You might recall BC had major flooding issues last year (about them here, link 'cause I love), and over a year later, they are still doing repairs all along the Malahat corridor, which is the main link between Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island. 

Near the top of the Malahat. 
Pretty snowy and rainy! 

We're also going really fast - most cars are going 80-90 kmph here. 
And their wheels are spraying water all over us. 

Not great visibility.
I thought that the red tail lights looked festive. 

We're at Duncan.
Traffic was busy, as expected. 

I love this old steam engine at the Train Museum. 
I went there a couple times as a kid. 

One of our many Island farms. 
Most of these are dairy farms. Our milk is all from the island. 

Another lovely bridge. 
I like how the watery windshield ripples the image. 

I guess the Nanaimo airport isn't expecting any flights at the moment. 
Most of this snow disappeared completely within 2 days. 

Another awesome bridge. 
These are some white-knuckle driving conditions! Thank you to L for doing all the driving (I don't have a license). 

"Slushy and slippery sections."
Gee, ya think? Thanks for the warning. 

What's that blue stuff in the clouds? 
We're just outside of Nanaimo, the 2nd-biggest city on the island. 

Are we there yet?
Sigh. No. Another 62 km to Courtenay. 

More of that blue stuff. 
You can see how quickly the weather changes here. 

How about some more blue sky? 
Yes, please! 

And a rainbow? 
Even better! Love this! 

No more sun for us. 
Instead, FOG. 

Are we there yet? 
So close! 

Here we are in the Comox Valley. 
This is Courtenay, and the open misty space behind it is a bird sanctuary. 

And on the other side of that, people live. 
Off to the left is where we catch the ferry to the mainland, but first...

A special Christmas guest! It's my brother Dave! 
Aw! He moved up here just over a year ago, to be with his fiancée Shelley. You can tell I'm excited. 

What a lovely tree! 
It's a real one (oooooh), and I had a good peek at the ornaments - a very nice collection. Dave is a major green thumb when it comes to plants - look at those healthy greens on the windowsill. 

Me and Shelley. 
I'm so glad we stopped by. 

Dave and Shelley.
Aw, so good to see you both! I love you! 

I realized this year that you can make reservations for the ferry! Of course I did - you're guaranteed to get on, as long as you're there between 60-30 minutes before sailing, for a $10 extra charge on top of the $75.00 (one way) fare for a car and two passengers. 
Ferries are not cheap. This is the lovely Salish Orca.

No time to wander up and down the beach as I am wont to do in the summer. 
Besides, looks like the tide is high. 

Two starlings were chilling out on the piling. 
We had a very bumpy sailing, with choppy waves. 

And then we arrived in Powell river, 7 hours after we left home. It takes forever to get anywhere in BC. 
We couldn't see any snow in PR - they didn't get hit as hard as Victoria, and had warmer temps sooner. There's a reason they call this the Sunshine Coast! 

L and I dropped off the food at Louise's apartment, and had a nice dinner in the hotel pub before crashing in the hotel, and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and eating chocolates (thank you, Dave and Shelley, they were amazing!). 
Post-stocking Christmas morning - I'll show you what I got from L at the end. I got him an Edward Gorey puzzle, a bunch of candy, books and gift certificates for CDs and Fluevogs. 

My Christmas Day outfit. 
Terrible light in the hotel room and nowhere to take a good picture. 

  • Top - Jacob, thrifted; last worn here under my Roadkill sweater last week
  • Purple velvet dress - Betsey Johnson, consignment; last seen here (4th outfit) for my October 2021 birthday lunch with Mom

And I forgot my camera in the room all day.
Oh well! I was comfy for the day! 

Merry Christmas from me and L! 
I'm wearing two of my presents there - spoiler alert! 

Louise had her tree up, and we loaded up presents for her, her boyfriend Dave, and L's brother Virgil. We also put one present to/from each other so it isn't weird. 
My mom painted that picture of the Venetian gondolas, from the trip the four of us did to Italy in October 2014 (here).

L and Louise.
This is pre-presents, as she wore the striped sweater we gave her after opening it. 

Virgil, sucking back coffee. He brought all the fixin's for breakfast (bacon, eggs, bread, salami and mushrooms), and he and I cooked it all together. 
He has a singular style - camo and animals (he's a hunter). He also cooked the turkey plus some stuffing and I spent last Thursday making all of the sides for our Christmas dinner: stuffing, baked asiago cheese mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, parsnip and carrots, and gravy. It's too much for Louise to do, so we teamed up and pulled off an amazing dinner. We were all so stuffed! 

L and I were up at 6am on Monday (Boxing Day) to catch the ferry back. Although most of the snow was gone - the aforementioned snowstorm never materialized! - we were concerned about high wind warnings, which can easily cause the ferries to be cancelled. No reservation's gonna save you from the weather! 
We were so relieved when it docked! Let's go! 

We were loaded in the lower decks first to help stabilize the ship. 
After our traditional BC Ferries breakfast, we found a quiet corner and read until we arrived back on the island. 

Phew, there's no snow, no ice and no rain. Maybe a little wind. 
But the highway was wet, and that sun is GLAREY. Neither of us had thought to bring sunglasses! The auditory equivalent to hours of glare would be going to a loud metal concert with no earplugs. Our poor eyes! 

Are we home yet? 

We briefly stopped at a rest-stop. 
Lovely moss-covered trees. L reported that the outhouses were "gross, as expected."

Back to the glare! 
And a reminder that "No hitching pick-up is illegal." Punctuation matters, kids! 

What a difference on the Malahat. 
That is a treacherous, steep, windy road. 

Lots of traffic as we near Mt. Finlayson.
This is a busy time of year. 

Those are the same powerlines that were all blurry from rain on the way up. 
And we have to slow down? But I really want to be home...NOW. 

But finally, we did arrive home - I took a picture of most of my presents while L was taking the rental car back. We also got chocolates from Dave/Shelley, a calendar and a DVD from Virgil and money from Louise. So generous. 
But L always spoils me! Three books that look exciting, a new Forgotten Word-of-the-Day calendar (aka the WOD), a Starfleet mug, a Wonder Woman PEZ dispenser, loads of chocolate (and I already ate a bunch of it before I took this pic). 

I'll highlight these as I wear them in outfits, but L also spoiled me with presents from Vanity Fair Antique Mall. I walked through it with him, pointing out things I really like, but can't afford for myself, and he says, "Look away." Heh. 
That's a gold-plated D'Orlan bracelet (still in its Birks box!), another Robert Larin necklace, a coiled/jointed snake cuff, a Lucite/steel ring and a spider brooch. 

He also surprised me with this lovely silk scarf that I'd looked at but didn't buy for myself. 
I love the brown, black and "gold" colours. 

It's by Daniel La Foret.
Cool - I love it! 

I unpacked our stuff and - ready to blog - went to the computer. Oh, I'm sorry, are you busy?
"I'm traumatized, Woman."

How come, Vizzini? What's the matter, little bud? Wow, you really are wedged in there...
"The last time you went away, and came back, I WAS BLIND."

Oh, but you're okay this time, silly boy. We'll take care of you.
"I need some cuddle time to recover."

Take all the time you need, Vizz. We've got you. In fact, I think a nap is in order...*yawn*

And with that, I'm going to go enjoy some more of my time off. How was your weekend? Any weather shenanigans where you are? 


  1. Merry Christmas, Sheila. We too split the work at MIL's as it's too much. Your holiday attire was gorgeous as ever. I love the ferry crossing descriptors and pictures. I'd be exhausted covering do many miles on a short time.

  2. I wondered how you were faring with the weather, I'm glad to see that you were able to make your road trip and visit the family. Your brother has the same winning smile as you and your mum!
    Look at all those presents. That Brutalist pendant and bracelet are absolutely stunning.
    Festive love to all three of you! xxx

  3. What a great travel report! Glad you had fun. Thanks for sharing great photos with us. Love seeing scenery and your relatives. Happy holidays!

  4. Thanks for virtually taking me along on your trip! I really enjoyed it. Wow! We on the east coast had a whopper of a storm that did quite a bit of damage along its travels. Many areas still recovering. And, north of NY is getting more. Love the D’Orlan bracelet and your Christmas Day outfit. What a delight Vizzini is, so cute and affectionate. What a nice day you all had! Happy New Year to you and those you love. Claire

  5. Thank you for taking me along on your whirlwind trip to Powell River. I'm glad to read weather conditions weren't too harsh. How lovely to visit with your brother and your girlfriend en route!
    Fabulous presents all around, I'm particularly swooning over that gold-plated D'Orlan bracelet and the Robert Larin necklace! Happy rest of the holidays, Sheila! xxx

  6. Happy joyous aprés holidays! I recall the Powell River visit that didn’t happen due to weather so what a delight that this Christmas visit was on! Hot diggity for seeing Dave and Shelley! And wonderful for you and L to have a warm lovely visit with his Mom and Virgil. I’ve always felt these holidays were all about family. ❤️ And second to family it’s all about festive lights to help usher in the season with smiles.

    We are bingeing on movies our 7 3/4 year old grandson has wanted to watch…Home Alone yesterday, Star Wars (what we call the original one) today, and The Empire Strikes Back tomorrow or whenever the library lets me know the DVD is available.

    May you, L and Vizzini enjoy these luscious days of vacation in delight!

    Cheers and hugs from the portion of NY that received frigid temperatures but was spared the brutal snow and power outages,
    Laurie, Fred, Robin plus Jamie and his two cutie pies

  7. That sounds like a lovely trip to Powell River despite the crappy weather! Lovely presents all round and I loved your Christmas dress - how very luxurious it looked. You are right about being warm and comfortable whilst travelling and you looked stylish, too. It's clear Vizzini was glad to have you back!

    Happy New Year to you both!

  8. Glad that you had not problems and could go to visit L's family!. It's very nice of you to make such a long road trip to visit them and enjoy some time together!.
    Lovely that you had such beautiful presents!, love your jewellery (and chocolates are always a great idea!)

  9. I love how varied the weather is in your travel pics! It's always fun seeing the snow as well, as we never have it here sadly. Although we still have to worry about weather if we were to do such long road trips, more the flood and storm variety! I really like your Christmas outfit and it was sweet to see you could visit your brother and L's family too on the weekend. I will need to look up the ways you've worn that Sonia Rykiel bag - I got a purple bag for Christmas!

  10. How lovely is it to spend Christmas with family right? We did too and I loved every minute of it. What a terrible weather, we did have the cold but luckely not the snow. Your brother has your mother's looks! And you were spoiled! What a presents. I how you will have a fabulous New Year's Eve, my guess is that you will spend it with friends?

  11. It is good to see you enjoyed the Christmas days so much. And Vizzini will get over your short leave haha. My cat sits on my lap like that as well, preferably when I have to do my make-up.
    Lovely presents.

  12. I'm exhausted after reading about all that travelling!!! It looked really grim and scary on the way!
    I'm so glad you got to see your brother and Louise and had a nice time there! Very relieved you got back ok.
    I like you 'must never be seen' outfit- really looks comfy and Christmas day is super stylish! L's outfit is EXCELLENT! I could see CBC wearing all of that! You both look wonderful.
    You did very well on the presents!!!xx

  13. BC snapshots...under the snow dome :-))
    Love seeing the jewelry that L bought you...He has great taste.
    Its raining here now and probably will be all much easier to get out.
    Happy New Year!!

    Hostess of The Humble Bungalow

  14. I really enjoyed the road trip Sheila - like you I don't drive, but do love to watch the scenery go by. Looks like you had a super mini break for your Christmas. The jewellery looks fab, especially the spider brooch xxx

  15. Look at all that snow, Shiela!

    Glad you had a lovely Christmas with your brother and sister in law.

    You got great presents! X

  16. It's nice to see you were able to make it to L's Mom's safely for Christmas, and that Vizzini was NOT blind when you got home.


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