Leaving Sweden

23rd May it was finally time for our departure on the round-the-world-trip. Dad dropped us at the airport with all our luggage. We packed Pim’s carseat into a cardboard box and checked in. The flight went well and we arrived 15 hours later at Vancouver airport with three big cardboard boxes, a stroller, and some handluggage. By skytrain and bus we arrived at our prebooked hotel and slept all night.

 

The hotel was strategically located close to Stanley park. After breakfast we went for a stroll in the park. How very beautiful it was with plenty of flowers everywhere. Soon we found a playground for Nina to play in. Out in the bay there were several freighterships anchored, reminding us being close to the Pacific ocean.

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After lunch a taxi came to collect us and brought as to a ferry at Horseshoe bay, for us to cross over to Gibsons. On the ferry parking in Gibsons we met our home to be the coming three months, a 24’ Mobilehome. We moved on and were instructed how it all works. An hour later we were on the road, starting our endeavor around beautiful British Colombia on a sunny day. Canada here we come!

The vehicle is equipped with a powerful V8 engine and automatic transmission. It has a sleeping compartment above the cabin for Lucy and me, a dining table with sofas for four, a comfortable armchair (ideal for breastfeeding), and two pilot seats in front when driving. There is a kitchen with all necessary utensils, stove, fan, sink, a generous fridge with freezer, and a microwave oven. In the back there is a large bed for the kids to use and a toilet with shower. It is also equipped with a heater for cold nights. There are plenty of cupboards for clothes, toys, food, and other stuff on the inside and a couple of storage places on the outside. In one of them we can fit the foldable stroller and in the other we have some foldable chairs for sunny afternoons. It is the perfect size for us and it fulfills our needs just fine. It is smooth and nice to drive and easy to park.

 

First stop at the grocery store and some other shops, then we headed north along the coastline. Found a great parking place and made the beds. The kids fell asleep and Lucy and me sat by the table looking out the window at a beautiful sunset across the ocean. It was a nice feeling sleeping in the Mobilehome the first night. The morning offered nice weather again and we went for a stroll on the beach, throwing stones in the water with Nina. Amazed by the nature of British Colombia.

 

After breakfast we continued along the coast, stopping at some shops to sort out a SIM-card with 3G connection for the smartphone without success. We also tried to sort out a device for charging the laptop while driving without success. We had another overnight roadside parking and then found a small park with a nice beach and good parking for overnight stay just below the main road. Went to the beach just minutes away and Nina wanted to take a bath even though the water was quite chilly.

 

We went for a walk up the mountain, looking at the various colors nature had to offer.  Nina got interested in a bird who showed the way towards a gate. We fell asleep early, still not properly recovered from jet lag.

          

Following day we went on a ferry across a ‘fjord’. The crossing offered some nice views of the surrounding mountains. As both the water and electricity was exhausted in the Mobilehome, we went straight up to a campingsite in Lund (!) to refill.

 

We made some laundry and cleaned the inside of our home and had a proper shower all of us. Spent several hours at the local playground. I also took the chance to go for a run in the morning on the ‘Lund loop’. With wifi connection at the campground we managed to get updated on emails and facebook. Lund is the end of the road so with no other options we turned around and went south again to Powell river and an amazing playground just by the sea.

 

We have found out during the journey that all public places in BC are really well maintained. We stayed in Powell river three days and visited all the parks and all the playgrounds they had to offer there. One evening we went to the indoor swimming pool, which Nina appreciated plenty.

 

One day while out on a stroll in the forest we encountered a new species of plant, probably not known to humanity previously. It is a combination on pine tree and bamboo. Since I am born Swedish, same as Carl von Linne’ I felt a responsibility to follow the tradition and give it a latin name -  ‘Granus Bambus’.  Having seen enough of Powell river, we took the ferry across to Vancouver island.

                  

I stood outside for most of the journey but there were no whales to be seen this time. Hopefully being more lucky on the other side of the island. On our arrival we continued to look for solutions to the internet access and charging batteries problem. Having tried with all four operators in western Canada I had to conclude that it was not possible for me to get access to a 3G network as a foreigner. I eventually found a charger for the laptop though. With this we are left to use wifi connections where ever we can find them along the way. We spent a sunny afternoon at Comox harbor where Nina enjoyed the playground plenty.  Following day we went north to a beach during low tide and the view towards mainland was magnificent with snowcapped mountains.

 

Next day we continued north towards Campbell river. Stopped for some strolls in the forests along the way and had another long stop by the beach, throwing stones in the water with Nina. On our arrival in Campbell river we parked overnight by the visitor centre twice, in order to use their wifi after closing hours. We had a look at a wooden pier, popular to use when fishing in the river. Another day we went for a stroll to the peninsula where Nina met some cats to play with and we saw plenty of eagles. There was also a big playground to spend the afternoon at.

 

 

One morning after filling up the gas and water we had a shower in the mobilehome and then went a few kilometers inland to a forest. Some really nice walks it had to offer and a beautiful waterfall. Unfortunately it started to rain so we went quickly back to the mobilehome again for a cup of tea.

          

We are really comfortable with the mobilehome. It has all the equipment we need and it feels as if we made the right choice in terms of size. The kids enjoy sleeping in their bed in the back and it is really handy to have a toilet with shower close at hand anytime. The kitchen works fine with gas stove and sink and we can all fit well around the dining table, which can also be used for playing with lego or doing a puzzle. Fridge and freezer works really well and is the right size for our needs. Lucy is really happy for the small sofa where she can sit to breastfeed Pim whenever needed. The heating equipment work fine, although a bit noisy. We just indicate what temperature we want and it turns on and off automatically as needed. The length of 24’, some 8 meters, makes it possible to park anywhere without hassle. Longer would be a problem. It is comfortable driving it with automatic transmission. Only downturn is the fuel consumption because over here they use petrol engines instead of diesel.

 

Having seen enough of Campbell river we started our journey southwards to Parksville, where we visited a farm with animals and tractors. They had cows, horses, pigs, rabbits, sheeps, and a lama! Nina went around and had a look at everything twice.

 

 

After lunch we turned west towards Port Alberni where we arrived in the afternoon. Went to the riverside where we found a playground. One of the guys there recommended us to visit Sproat lake on our way west. After some grocery shopping and a visit to the museum and the neighboring library, to use the wifi, we continued the following day and arrived at Uclelet, on the west coast.

The drive there was magnificent with the nature all along. We drove slowly and arrived after dark. Next morning we went to the Visitor information to find out the best spot to see whales. We got info on this and also where to find seals. Next we went to the aquarium. Quite impressive! Plenty of fish, starfish, crabs and other creatures I don’t even know the name of. Two long wolf-eels they also had there.

          

After lunch we went for a stroll to search for the seals. Up and down a couple of roads and then out on a pier. We were almost about to give up when Lucy spotted one. It came closer and closer and suddenly it was right in front of us. A big one and it looked kind. He got a fish from a fisherman and was happy with that. It stayed around for a while and so did we. Then Nina saw a small otter and we ran after that one but it disappeared quickly. The seal swam back and forth until we decided to go home again.

 

Next morning was whale watching time. We went on the track pointed out for us all around a peninsula, looking with binoculars out on the water. No whale here, no whale there. Impressive coastline however, with massive waves splashing up. It was ideal weather conditions but there were no whale to be seen from the coast. I was a little disappointed when going back to the mobilehome again.

 

Nina and me spent the afternoon at the local playground while Lucy and Pim went for a walk and the evening was peaceful and quiet. With electricity exhausted we went to the local camping ground to recharge and have proper showers. Put up the foldable chairs and lit a fire to make hotdogs and then the rain came. Spent the rest of the afternoon inside, Nina and me played with lego and watched Tintin movies on the laptop. Nice view towards town across the bay after dark.

 

With full water and batteries we continued towards Tofino along the coast, in the rain. Stopped between showers to have a look at a surfboard competition on the beach. Arrived at Tofino and went to the playground. In the evening we went for a short stroll to another beach. Could not find any place to park in Tofino so we left before dawn and parked at the junction towards Port Alberni for the night.

 

In the morning we went for a walk in the forest next to the parking lot. It was almost like a rainforest with thick vegetation. We drove back east again and stopped at Stuart lake. A very nice spot and interesting to see the airplane out on the water. The worlds biggest water carrying airplane! It is used to fight forest fires in western Canada. Impressive. We took picnic with us and sat on some tables there. Nina wanted to take a bath so she went into the water but it was too cold to swim.

 

 

We stayed the night at Port Alberni, fueled up on petrol and continued all the way to Nanaimo. It was raining on our arrival so we found a laundromat to wash our clothes. Following morning we found a nice park with a very big playground. Nina enjoyed it and Lucy took Pim for a walk. We went to the library to get wifi and then continued south.

 

The night we spent in Ladysmith in the forest by a small river. Went for a rather long walk along the river in the morning and had lunch before leaving. At the tourist information they recommended us to drive along the coast and stop at a small community for homemade ice cream, which we did.

                  

 

We then continued the last distance to Victoria, capital of BC in the very south of Vancouver island, where we stayed at a campingsite overnight. Went downtown on a Sunday only to discover it was impossible to find a parkingplace for us. Had a look at the parliament building and a totempole. Nina got to touch a horse and we enjoyed the rather nice weather.

                  

We then decided to take the ferry across to the US that very afternoon, even though it was a bit windy. Goodbye Canada and hello USA. It started with US customs registering our biometric data before letting us in. Then they also took our firewood since it is illegal to bring unprocessed wood across the border, same with a tomato we had in the fridge! The boatride went fine. Nina found a boy to play with and I stood outside breathing fresh air to avoid getting seasick. From the harbor we went to a nearby park with a playground and stayed overnight.

                  

It was an impressive playground which they called ‘Dream playground’ set up as a community project with a lot of citizens and companies contributing. Nina enjoyed it a lot and we stayed until lunchtime. Then we headed east along the coast. Unfortunately only highways to use so traffic was intense. By end of afternoon we went across a big bridge and then stopped in Tacoma to rest.

 

Nina and me played with lego for a while and made the most of the pieces we have. Then we went to sleep. Nina and Pim sleeps really well in their bed.

Started the day by playing at a playground with Nina and then we continued our journey to Seattle. Plenty of traffic and big roads. Very busy all the time. We eventually found the REI store and spent the afternoon there looking at outdoor gear. The we went across a bridge to Fremont and parked for the night by a river. Lucy took the kids for a walk along the river after breakfast while I went to a bicycle store and ordered a Surly LHT touring bike. Then we went to another store for groceries and I bought Jeans and some other clothes. Nina got a new pair of shoes and Lucy a skirt. We went to park close to Seattle zoo in Woodlands. After a nights sleep we spent the whole day at the zoo. Plenty of interesting animals in there, such as zebra and flamingo and others.

                  

Nina was walking and running and playing the whole day.

 

          

She was also climbing, riding horse, cuddling goats, and looking at a very big cat – a jaguar!

 

 

On the way to the exit we also saw ourselves in a huge mirror – all naked!

Family Larsson

         Magnus                      Nina                             Lucy & Pim

   

Now we plan to go just north of Seattle and celebrate midsummer with maypole and traditional dancing on Sunday.

This was our first month being on the road.

After Seattle we will drive northeast to the Canadian Rocky Mountains.