Cool Thing #13: The Ryan Dempster Factor
I don’t like one thing that Theo Epstein has done for the Cubs. He took an average to above average team and traded it in for middling AA workers. And getting rid of Ryan Dempster may have been the worst move he made. Since leaving the Cubs, Ryan keeps on winning and the Cubs keep on losing.
For the last several days I have seen a couple of Cub shirts a day. I was not that surprised to see it in Whistler but here, on the Sunshine Coast (which is a hundred mile or so strip of land on the mainland of BC accessible only by air and water) it feels a little more exotic. A lot here, by the way, surprises me. We expected remote and beautiful and got only the latter. The place, especially considering that the main road (Highway 101) is around sixty years old, is actually quite built up with good sized towns. It also has a more lived-in, less touristy quality than the serene San Juan Islands (where the locals joke you either have three homes or three jobs). Here you have mansions, shacks, artist studios, farmer markets, First Nation lands, and fried fish shacks. You also have a lot of locals wearing Cub gear. That is because Ryan Dempster grew up around here and the town folk have not gotten around to updating their wardrobe. Ryan also remains active in the community both in building a baseball field (Dempster Field) and with his own charity. One person I talked to said that when Ryan was in Chicago he would always give away his game day tickets to the homeless. This led Corey to wonder what a homeless person would do at Wrigley; I pictured them napping in their seats. But then we figured they probably sold those tickets.
Cool Thing #14: Robert’s Creek Provincial Park
We decided not to camp here (and are presently at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park) but it really made an impression on us. So much of travel is perspective and after a frantic morning of us almost missing our ferry to the coast this place was a true respite. Again no marine animals were spotted but we did have fun swimming in the warm strait and searching out the tidal pools for crabs and fish. The Sunshine Coast is like that; full of little things waiting to be discovered but lacking the big, over-the-top attractions found elsewhere. The forest drips with moss, but lacks enough precipitation to be rightly called a rain forest. The beaches are nice too but not as wild as they are in Olympic National Park or the West Coast (Vancouver Island) or as sandy as they might be further south. We have seen a bunch of bald eagles, but after that the animal viewing drops off to slugs and crabs. Henna could care less and spent most of the morning following slimy slug trails around our campsite. As of this writing she has tracked down two of the elusive and kind of gross snail-like animals. I am just hoping she does not want to eat them.
Cool Thing #15: Skookunichuck Narrows
One exception to the subtle coastal offerings is the Skookunichuck Narrows. The picture below does not begin to do it justice. Picture water moving in an “S” laid on its side. When we first popped out of the trail and I saw the wave moving between the rocks I actually got dizzy. Also cool are the plentiful tide pools stocked with lots and lots of star fish.
Cool Thing #16: The Communal Fire Pit at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
Instead of having individual fire pits here there are instead two or three communal fire pits (instead of the fifty plus fires you would have otherwise). I do kind of miss the distinctive campfire smell that usually permeates everything we do while camping, but this led to us making a lot of friends here. We also enjoyed being a bit of the celebrity here as almost everyone here is from the Vancouver area (though there are some Washingtonians here too). There are some very nice people in North America and we are lucky to have met so many of them.
The beach here is pretty good too. A lot of sand and even calmer waters than there are elsewhere. Davis Beach (which is just a bit south of here) might have the more even impressive views as a mountainous Vancouver Island with a few snowy peaks thrown in looms across the strait. The tide there is a bit tricky though as it kept pushing our blanket and stuff back until eventually we gave up and returned to Porpoise Bay. And that might be the coolest thing about this coast; the choices one has in beaches. At the tough decisions one must make here. 7/24/13 Noel Happy Birthday Brad!