The picture of Vancouver Island that I had in my mind was quickly erased as we drove to our next stop. The island was bustling with activity, and traffic slowed us down on some of the very mountainous roads. I had imagined a remote, less populated place with few services, which describes a good part of the island, but areas around the small towns and larger cities were bustling, especially this time of year.
There’s only one major north-south highway system on the island, and sections of it were often congested. Highway 1 is a heavily signalized four-lane urban core road with lots of pedestrian activity from Victoria to Crofton, where we hung out for a few days while waiting for Betsy’s scheduled inverter/charger installation.
Betsy’s woes continued
As we got settled in at Crofton, Steve changed gears from driver to mechanic/electrician. We had heard a noise while driving that he feared could be a failing turbocharger bearing. It went away once the engine warmed up, so he hoped it might be a leaking exhaust manifold gasket instead. Still not good, but much better than a bad turbo.
He accessed the engine from inside our bedroom so he could listen up close while I revved it up. After checking the exhaust manifold bolts, the turbo inlet and outlet connections, and looking for oil leaks he still wasn’t sure. He found one slightly loose clamp on the turbo inlet hose and tightened it. We hope that was the problem – so far so good!
We also noticed that the left front leveling jack had retracted extremely slowly when leaving our last stop. Steve lubricates the jacks frequently, but on this stop he crawled under Betsy and thoroughly cleaned all of the jack seals and lubricated the rams again. They seem to be working fine so far – whew!
Let’s see, what else – oh yeah! We always use our engine block heater to preheat the engine oil before startup. When Steve turned on the heater at Crofton, he noticed the amperage display didn’t jump up 8 amps as it should have. Unbelievable, are you kidding me? He decided to start troubleshooting at the switch, in lieu of the more unpleasant alternative of crawling back under Betsy.
He was thrilled to discover that the switch was bad and not the block heater, and after a quick trip to the hardware store and $2.25 (Canadian) handed over to the friendly clerk we were back in business with a temporary switch. It’s just hanging out of the wall panel until we can pick up the correct one we ordered across the border. Ugly, but it works!
We think after 10 years of heavy use Betsy is showing her age. Fortunately, none of these problems appear to be life-threatening for her and we’ll press on. We had a long discussion about turning back to familiar territory, but Steve convinced me we should continue on. We hope he’s right!
In retrospect, we remembered that Betsy had a tantrum when we were in Halifax, Nova Scotia which also landed her at an RV urgent care for a day. It seems that both the east and west coasts of Canada don’t agree with her!
Although it was a 2-week wait to get our new inverter/charger installed, we had to make only one campground reservation change to get it done. Thankfully the next three planned stops weren’t too far apart, and a little back-and-forth on Highway 1 made it work. After some uncertainty and sleepless nights, we moved on with a slightly lighter wallet.
Steve was happy with Chris’s work, but unfortunately the RV parts guy had sold us the wrong remote for it and Chris couldn’t install it. Steve determined he could do it himself, and after more running around and finally getting the correct remote and other parts he did just that. All done, life is good again!
Getting back to the good stuff
Although we were off to a rough start, we managed to shake off our funk and reboot. After all, life on the road goes on despite stressful interruptions – just like life off the road. I’m happy that my honeybunch is so handy and can diagnose and fix most of our issues so we can continue jammin’ on down the road. We just have to deal with these situations and make flowing decisions as we go along.
We know how to de-stress and shake off any bad vibes – take a hike! We chose the Maple Mountain Block Trail, only a mile from our park in Crofton. Combining the Yellow and Blue trails created a fairly strenuous 5-mile loop. We first followed the Yellow Trail, which led us along the shoreline between Maple Bay and Crofton:
The second half on the Blue Trail was an an artery-clearing, heart-pumping climb to the summit, which was just what we needed. Our reward was wonderful vistas from the top, while breathing fresh ocean air:
Along the way we couldn’t help but notice the many red trees. I later learned they were Arbutus, or Pacific Madrone. They are distinctive because of their red-orange trunk and red bark that appears to peel off along sections of the tree:
Directly across the bay from our campground we could see Salt Spring Island, the largest of the Gulf Islands around Vancouver. It’s only a 25-minute ferry ride to get there, and with the ferry terminal right up the street from the campground we decided to hop in the car one morning and sail away!
Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island is the largest, most populated, and most visited of the Gulf Islands chain. The setting is west coast Canadian, a forested island surrounded by emerald ocean with wonderful vistas.
As typical tourists do, we shopped a bit and had a delectable lunch while viewing the marina and the seaplanes arriving and departing.
Back at the campground, Steve saw that our neighbor was having hydraulic problems so he walked over and lent a hand. They got so engrossed with their work that they forgot to introduce themselves to each other. All we know is that they had Arizona license plates.
The view from our 3rd level perch was the saving grace for Osborne Bay “Resort”. As you can see below they really pack them in. What you can’t see is that their WiFi was terrible at times, and the voltage on their 30-amp power was low as well.
At least we had some days when we could simply relax, as we tucked away our Betsy worries and gazed at the bay. Life on the road has its hazards, and it’s really a matter of attitude and how you deal with it that makes the ride worthwhile, right?
Next up: Our exploration of Vancouver Island continues…