One tooth is repaired, and the other, accompanied by another prescription for antibiotics, will have to be pulled when we get home. At least I can eat on the one side. The dentist thinks the muscle spasms I was having in my face caused me to clench and the pressure broke my teeth. Anyway, TMI.
It is raining still, and early morning when we leave the dentist, so Ric suggests we drive along the scenic highway and tour a bit. I have brought my camera along, hoping I’d have a chance to use it, so I am game.
We pass Parksville where Ric stayed when he came out by himself a year and a half ago. He loved the island so much that every call and text home contained the same message:
We need to move to the island.
Taking advantage of pullouts along the route, we stop every so often so I can take some pictures. Ric has left his camera at home, so I am shooting for the two of us, but I have no confidence that anything will turn out due to the weather.
At one stop, I am scanning the water with my zoom out when I spot something that looks like the top of a large sea mammal breaking the surface of the water.
“I saw something!” I exclaim.
I look again and I can see more than one body moving along the water.
“Could they be whales?” I ask.
“More likely sea lions.”
They are gone and we move on.
A little further up the water is teeming with bodies – these are sea lions.
“Maybe they were porpoises I saw before,” I say, still pondering the last sighting. “Seemed much bigger though, and the behaviour wasn’t the same as others I’ve seen.”
The sea lions are noisy, and as I raise my camera, I realize there are floating docks covered with them. Funny creatures.
We arrive in Qualicum Beach and decide to drive around the streets, looking at the houses for sale and dreaming.
“I really like this area.”
It is very attractive.
We follow signs to a waterside pub and stop for lunch. To my surprise, they have gluten-free and vegan options. Civilized.
After lunch, Ric continues to drive north.
“Just for a bit and then I’ll turn back,” he says.
I am ready for a nap, so put the seat back and turn on the seat heaters.
“Where are we?” I wake up disoriented and groggy. “Headed back?”
“Look at where the water is,” Ric says, indicating my window. “We are not far from Campbell River.”
“Really?” I have a friend in Campbell River that I haven’t seen for sometime, but I don’t have her number with me.
I check my phone and see she has tried to call. I call her back.
“What time are you off work?”
So we plan to meet for tea. We pass other pullouts, but now I am just interested in getting to Campbell River.
And then we are waiting in the Stonehouse Tea House for Pippy to show up. She arrives and I am overwhelmed with emotion. So much time and life has passed since we last saw each other. She looks great. I am now a white-haired old woman. Yet, no time has really passed. The conversation is lively and passes easily, and then it is time to go. She will come to us next.
Warmed by nostalgia and sentiment, we climb back in the truck for the long drive back to our camp. I sleep again.
“Tomorrow we’ll just take it easy,” Ric suggests when we get home.
“Good idea,” I say. I’m ready for my bed.
It’s been a good day.
And then, just as I’m settling in, Ric calls from the front of the bus:
“There were three Orcas spotted in Qualicum Bay today.”