We spent Saturday driving the 3.5 hours from Victoria to Campbell River, stopping for gas and a stretch of the legs in Parksville. One day we will take the time to explore Parksville with a longer stay than just a pit stop.
We arrived, unpacked and went down to the beach. After scrabbling around on the rocks and taking some photographs, we headed back inside for dinner.
Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge does have gluten free offerings but is sparse on the dairy free. Most of the meals are in cream sauces or butter. I had the soup and salad, a nice green salad with lots of vegetables and a vegetable minestrone while John had a chicken Caesar salad. Then we headed back to our room to read. There are no TVs in the rooms. WiFi is available for a fee. In the grand lobby there are tables for playing the available board games and using the free WiFi. Other activities include archery, horseshoes and bocce.
We woke to the morning rain. Had breakfast in our room as we'd packed the Nutribullet, some fruit and protein powder. Then we decided that we'd drive to Kamelon to see if it would be open for lunch. Once that was established as our lunch spot, we stopped at Aroma Coffee for a tea and snack. I had a licorice spice tea from Stonehouse Teas a tea house and supplier located in Campbell River. As we sat in the coffee shop the sky opened up and sheet rain came pouring down. When it finally stopped we dashed to the car and took a drive around the island. We ended up on a logging road to Granite Cove where we saw a cascading waterfall on both sides of the road and a few houses, one with a private lake. We arrived at Granite Cove in a space between rain showers and did a quick leg stretch before the next downpour. We also drove around Rebecca Spit and would have gone for a walk except it was pouring again. We did take a few photographs at Rebecca Spit before the rain started.
Heading back to Quathiaski Cove we had lunch at Kameleon Restaurant
John had the Thai chicken wrap with the Kameleon salad. The wrap was panini grilled to make it crunchy which he said was a nice touch. I had the Budda Burger served with the Kameleon salad. The mango chutney with the curried chickpea patty was a delicious combination. I forgot to ask if the bun was dairy free but ate it anyway and drank lots of water. I didn't feel any ill effects. After lunch, with not much open, we drove to the end of Cape Mudge Road. After passing the winery twice, we decided it actually was open and turned around to investigate.
SouthEnd Farm & Vineyards is located at 319 Sutil Road with varying hours all year round for wine tasting. The farm is a small pastured meat chicken farm selling directly from the farm or at the Quadra Island Farmer's Market (10:00 am to 2:00 pm Saturdays).
As we were there in September the winery was open Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. We parked at the main entrance, and were met by a sweet black and white dog who shook her paw with me, but would only sniff John. Inside the winery we met Jennifer, the main tasting hostess, who would introduced us to three of the wines, the Ortega, the Bara and the Virga.
My preference is for white or a rose. Luckily there were two whites and one rose on offer. I did like the Bara which was a lovely rose with a beautiful pink blush, except I really wanted a wine that was completely local. I choose the Virga, a lovely petit milo with lemon-lime and pepper tastes on the tongue and using 100% Quadra Island grown grapes.
Virga is a streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground and is common in temperate climates like Vancouver Island. It was appropriate to buy a wine named after rain since our time on the island was full of drizzle to sheet rain. By the time we finished tasting the wine, and chatting with Jennifer, it had cleared up and the promised sunshine had finally arrived.
We also met Griswald, tasting room watch dog. He loved having John take his photograph.
After another dinner of the exact same meal we'd had the night before we returned to our room to pack up and sit in front of the gas fireplace reading our books.
Up early, breakfast in the lodge, packing up the car and heading to the ferry. We got on the 9:00 ferry as one of the last cars. It being Monday there is a guarantee loading for vehicles coming from Cortes Island which meant we had to wait for all of them to be loaded. Back on the mainland we drove around Campbell River for a bit. We were planning on going to see the suspension bridge until we decided we could make it home earlier than we planned. Back to Parksville for gas and leg stretching then onward home with a plan to stop for lunch in Nanaimo, Chemainus or Duncan depending on when we arrived and if we were hungry. Lunch was in Chemainus at Odika Cafe, our favourite Chemainus restaurant, where the food and service is always excellent. We arrived home at around 2:00 pm, unpacked and got ready for another work week.
Looking forward to sipping the Virga on our deck in the Fall sunshine. Thank you to all the people on Quadra Island who help make the west coast such an amazing place to live and travel.