Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Frank James Park and Seawalk

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  A chain saw carving contest is held every year in June and some carvings remain on display in Frank James Park. North from the park, the Seawalk follows the shoreline and goes to the middle of town which is about 5 miles away. The walkway is wide and smooth with good views of Discovery Passage, however, in some sections the view is blocked by residences and businesses. It’s also very noisy because it parallels the main road through town.

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    The parking lot is fairly small. Short RVs will fit. Long RVs can be parked on the street or in one of the other parking lots along the shore and walkway.

Walk  Contest   49.97182, -125.21755

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Museum at Campbell River

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  Excellent exhibits covering First Nation’s people, logging, sport fishing, commercial fishing, and pioneer life fill this museum. A theater features short videos and some of the exhibits have slide shows.

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   The museum is mostly accessible but two of the exhibits, the float house and the Willow Hotel, are difficult to access. The exhibits on the outside grounds are surrounded by large, loose gravel and are not accessible.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum  50.01524, -125.23487

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Community Park Path and Sand Sculpting Contest

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   Parksville has sponsored a sand sculpting contest for 35 years. Contestants have 30 hours to complete their sculptures using only water and the pile of super fine sand supplied to them. Nothing is allowed to be added during the construction but when the sculptures are finished they’re sprayed with diluted white glue so that they’ll last for five weeks. The sculptures are amazing! 

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  Soft sand that is very hard to push through covers the sculpture viewing area. A loner wheelchair with larger tires is available.

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  The contest is held in the Parksville Community Park which has tennis courts, ball parks, a lacrosse box, skate board park, covered picnic area, and playground. A walkway - part pavement, part boardwalk – follows the beach. The walkway is about 1/2 mile one way.

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  Signs directing visitors to the RV parking area are confusing. If you miss the correct lot you’re on a one way road out of the park. Look for the curling club building on the right and turn into the lot on the left. RV parking is in the gravel section of the lot. To get to the contest area and beach walkway cross the street to the tennis courts and follow the paved trails towards the water. The trails and curb cuts are in good condition.  Park  Contest  49.32191, -124.30833

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Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park

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  From 1852 until 1938 coal mining was a major part of Vancouver Island’s economy and provided a living for families in 10 mid- island communities. No coal mines operate today and most of the old structures have been destroyed. This site protects an usual tipple built entirely of concrete, a processes perfected in South Africa. The site includes the tipple, a miner’s memorial, a short, interpretive loop trail, and a longer trail that follows the old rail line to the Nanaimo River.

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  The site is partly accessible. Navigating over a steep hump is required to get close enough to read the informative sign behind the tipple fence.The memorial sign is accessible. The Morden Colliery Regional Trail is not accessible due to very steep bridges but by following the first offshoot on the left it’s possible to view some of the ruins of support buildings.

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   The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Park  49.09466, -123.87275

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Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

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  Rathtrevor Beach is one of the most popular places on Vancouver Island. When the tide is out the beach stretches for about 1/2 mile before hitting salt water. It’s not the type of beach we’re used to but everyone seems to enjoy walking and playing on the sandy expanse. The campground has 208 sites and all are reservable so we did not even attempt to camp there but we did take a walk/roll along beach path.

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  The beach path is a little over a mile long one way and travels along the edge of the beach and through old growth forest. At the northern end the beach is covered with round rocks rather than sand. The path is mostly level with a few spots that are rough or sandy. Other trails that go to the nature center and old farm fields are very rough with roots and are not accessible.

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  Parking lot #1 is large enough for any RV and is the best lot for easy access to the trail.  Park  49.3207, -124.26556

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park

 IMG_5608   A loop trail crosses the river twice with viewpoints overlooking two sets of waterfalls. The first waterfall is just a short distance from the parking lot but the trail goes up a steep hill so wheelchair users may need assistance. A bridge, directly over the falls, gives visitors a great view of the top of the falls. The rest of the loop has hills, roots, and steps and is not accessible.

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   The campsites are level with good spacing and vegetation between the sites for privacy. We did not see a designated accessible site but most of the sites are usable. This is a good campground for those of us who do not make reservations. Almost half of the 103 sites are first come/first serve. We arrived around 3:00 on a Friday afternoon and had our pick of sites. I think they may have all filled later in the day though.

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  The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Park   49.24536, -124.35004 

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Strathcona Provincial Park–Paradise Meadows

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  Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest park in British Columbia and the largest on Vancouver Island.  We visited the eastern most section that is accessed by Strathcona Parkway west of Route 19.  The Parkway dead ends at a ski area and a trail head. A 1.2 mile loop of the interconnecting trails is designed to be wheelchair accessible but unfortunately the first section is challenging. The parking lot is surfaced with large gravel and there isn’t a designated accessible parking spot. A shallow drainage ditch makes a hump and a dip just before the paved walkway to the information kiosk and the Wilderness Center. The trail continues with deep, loose gravel as it switchbacks down a hill. If you make it past all of this the rest of the trail is very nice - either hard packed crushed stone or boardwalk. The boardwalk has a couple of steep hills.

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  The trail passes through a variety of ecosystems – flowering meadow, marsh, forest, and lake.

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   The parking area is large enough for any RV.  Park  49.7451, -125.31916

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MacMillian Park Provincial Park

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  In 1944 H. R. McMillian donated a parcel of his forest land to the province to preserve the old growth Douglas Fir. Some of the trees are more than 800 years old.

  Parking lots on both sides of Route 4 provide access to short loop trails through the forest. The Big Tree Trail is the only trail that is wheelchair accessible. All of the other trails have exposed roots and other obstacles.

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  The parking lots are large enough for short RVs.  Left turns into the lots are not permitted. The road has heavy traffic so be cautious. When the lots fill people park along the sides of the road and walk to the trails. This is much too dangerous to attempt with a wheelchair.  Park  49.29112, -124.66332

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Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

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  The campsites in this park are roomy and level with good spacing between the sites and enough vegetation to provide privacy. Amenities include flush toilet and potable water but there isn’t a dump station. 

  The site that we chose, # 16, is the accessible site. It has a hard packed trail to the restrooms and a table with an extended top. Most of the other sites are roomy and flat enough to be used by wheelchair visitors.

  Trails loop through the woods to views of the river and two waterfalls. The trails are not accessible due to steps and large rocks.

   While the sites are roomy it still might be tight for really large RVs. We did not see any class As – many tents, pop ups, trailers, class Bs and short class Cs.  Park    49.30874, -124.54281

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Port Angeles Ferry to Vancouver Island

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  Ferries travel on regular schedules to Vancouver Island departing either from the mainland of British Columbia or from Washington state. The Port Angles Ferry is the most convenient  if you’re on the Washington peninsula. The trip takes about 90 minutes and reservations are recommended. The passenger decks are above the vehicle deck and everyone is required to stay on the passenger decks while the ferry is underway.

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  This is the first ferry that we’ve traveled on that does not have an elevator from the car deck to the passenger deck. Passengers who can not climb the stairs are boarded first and helped up the ramp by the ferry employees. Wheelchairs are provided if necessary. Make sure that everyone is aware of your needs when you pick up your tickets. An orange cone will be placed on your hood so that the ferry employees can spot your vehicle. Wheelchair passengers are the first off the ferry and a waiting area is provided with enough room for vehicles to stop and load passengers and wheelchairs.

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  The lower passenger deck is fairly accessible in the inside seating area and outside on the promenade.  There isn’t a section for wheelchairs to be parked but the ends of the rows of seats towards the middle of the deck are the most out of the flow of traffic. 

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   Ferry   48.12111, -123.43152

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