There are few places in Canada nicer than British Columbia. Contrasts of climate, terrain and culture make for good living, laid back attitudes, and stunning scenery. At what is nearly the southernmost point in BC is the capital city of Victoria, named after the Queen who ruled the dominion of Canada when BC became a part of it.
Unassuming for its size, Victoria has a small town charm with all the amenities of a big city. Assuming, of course, you are NOT driving a 25 foot motorhome.
It all started out innocently enough. In preparing for our travels, we were going to take a short trip to Victoria, a sort of trial run for life on the road. After the trek, we were going to sell our car, and fly out to Hawaii. We had a buyer lined up for the car, tickets were bought, and our journey was in motion. But then we had a brilliant idea. For the cost of the accommodations for the week, we could rent a motorhome! Like a somewhat cumbersome turtle, we could carry our entire world on our backs, needing only to stop for the odd grocery and liquor store! After a quick call to 1-800-rv4-rent, we had a vehicle lined up, and an adventure in store.
After getting dropped off at the rental depot, we were given a whirlwind tour of the vehicle, which included a minimum of instruction, and the bold assumption that we had a clue as to how to navigate a large vehicle safely along the roadways. We stashed our belongings in the back, and dashed off for the first available Ferry to Vancouver Island.
At the ferry terminal, we learned that 25 foot motorhomes with 12 foot clearance cost just a tad more than a car (like double), but such trivial details were not going to daunt us at this early juncture. We had our whole world with us, and no need to rely on anything else. The nice lady at the ticket window gave us a red sticker to put on the propane valve, explaining that we were to apply the sticker after turning off the propane. I found some strange comfort in the knowledge that whatever disaster could befall us on the ferry would not be the result of our propane tank spontaneously exploding.
As we pulled up to our place in the lineup to await the ferry, I confidently got out and found the door to the propane valve, turned off the valve, and then realized I had no clue how I was supposed to attach the red sticker to the valve. Noticing the fellow behind me with a truck and fifth wheel doing his part to ensure his propane wouldn’t kill us all, I called him over.
“Hey, could you give me a hand with this? I just rented this thing, and I’m kind of new to it.”
“D’yer bloody well think so mate?” came the response, thick with an Australian accent. I looked up at our Motorhome, with “1-800-RV 4 RENT” and “www.cruisecanada.com” written in 2-foot-high letters across the side, and realized that we were in no way going to be inconspicuous, or carry an air of experienced recreational motor vehicle travelers. Within a few moments, he showed me, much as one would show a toddler, how to affix the sticker, and then proceeded to tell me in that thick Sydney accent all about how Vancouver Island was the only place in BC worth living. I mused at how the ferry terminal on the other side was in a town called Sydney, the irony of which was apparently lost on him. I thanked him for his help, fired up the motorhome, and we boarded the ferry, jubilantly confident that the adventure of a lifetime was about to begin.