Parksville - Vancouver Island
The Holiday Our Family Hasn't Missed For The Past Seven Years In A Row...
Let me tell you about our summer holidays. I think they're the best in the whole wide world, and Mom and Dad say so too. You have to take a big boat to get there (we take the one at Horseshoe Bay). Then you drive for about 45 minutes and you're already there. Can you guess where we go? If you said Parksville, you're right.
The place we stay at is called Tigh-na-Mara. Dad says it costs more than the Motel 6, but he likes looking at the water at night while he's drinking a can of Budweiser. Tigh-na-Mara has the biggest, sandiest beach you've ever seen. You can walk out forever and the water will never be over your head. Dad likes it because he can scoop up clams with his bare hands. Mom usually makes spaghetti sauce out of it. But my sister, Jen, and I don't eat it; we don't like anything that lives in a shell.
Mom has fun paddling around in her purple doughnut. Dad says she looks like a gigantic jellyfish. Jen likes collecting shells and counting rabbits. Last time she brought a bucket of sand dollars home. Mom said we could make something pretty with them, but so far they're still sitting in our carport. We count rabbits at Rathtrevor beach. Mom has the record so far--she counted 145 rabbits one morning. Every morning Mom likes to get up before us and go for a walk along the beach. She says it helps her think for the rest of the day.
If you get tired of the beach, there's plenty more to see and do in Parksville. We never miss the Caves at Horne Lake. They have icicles hanging down and they're big enough for grown-ups to walk in. Even Mom can fit inside, but she doesn't like to go in. She says it gives her closet disease. Not far from the caves is Spider Lake. It has the warmest water ever. Plus a tiny island you can paddle out to, or even swim to if you're good enough. You can even try fishing there. Last year we did, but we got skunked. Dad said it had nothing to do with us--I guess he didn't see the two fish the guy next to us caught.
Parksville has rivers too. The two we've gone to are called Qualicum Falls and Englishman River. Last year I finally tried swimming in the clear blue pools at Englishman River. Mom warned me ahead of time, but I jumped in anyway. I lasted about two minutes. Boy, was it cold!
We always take at least one day trip on our holidays. My favorite place is Hornby Island. Out of all the beaches I've been to, Tribune Bay wins the Hawaii-look-alike contest. It's shaped like a croissant and has water so warm you never want to leave. At one end of the beach there are large sandstone rocks you can explore with hieroglyphic inscriptions and tidal pools. One time the weather was stormy, so instead of swimming we hiked along Helliwell Trail. It goes along a cliff by the beach. A few times I had to hold on tight to Mom and Dad--to stop myself from getting blown over the edge! Every time we go to Hornby Island Mom always makes us go to The Cardboard House Bakery. She says the cinnamon buns are out of this world.
Once we went to Long Beach and Tofino. Long Beach takes a long time to get there--but it's worth it. The water has waves, waves big enough to surf on. We didn't, but I did try swimming. That was cold, but fun, riding the waves into shore on Dad's back. Jen left with a pail full of treasures--smelly seaweed, dead crab shells, and driftwood that looked like a pack of termites ate it for lunch.
The drive to Tofino is way shorter. I think Mom liked Tofino the best because she found The Coffee Pod. According to Mom, it has the best Cappuccino she has ever had in her whole entire life. Dad says all coffee tastes the same, and Mom wouldn't know the difference between that and a cup of Sanka. Jen and I weren't thrilled by Tofino--no toy stores for one and no swimming beaches nearby. Dad said lots of people go there to fish, but you need a boat, so that was the end of my big salmon story. Before we left we had dinner at a place Dad called "Granola." The pizza was so good, even better than McDonalds.
The last place I'm going to tell you about is Gabriola Island. It has the neatest cliffs you've ever seen. They're actually shaped like a wave and you can stand inside them. Nearby are hundreds of tidal pools. Jen and I like to touch the tentacles of the sea anemones. Dad says they close up because they figure lunch is on the way. Gabriola Island has a shopping centre with a couple of restaurants and a TOY store. Jen bought a princess crown and I can't remember what I got. We spent our last couple of hours swimming at Twin Spit Beach. Boy was it nice! Plus I got to tip Mom off her purple doughnut--that made my day.
Before we head home from Parksville, we usually go to Victoria, so we can visit Oma and Opa. Last year Dad had this brainy idea to visit a winery in Duncan on the way. I thought it was going to be really great, because Dad wouldn't give up on finding it (he got lost a couple of times). Then when we got there, all I could see were rows of green bushes that didn't even have grapes on them, and a restaurant which Mom said Jen and I wouldn't appreciate. And that's not the end--Mom had a brainwave of her own. Only her's was called Whippletree Junction. Who wants to look at a bunch of old furniture on their holidays? We didn't get to the ferry terminal until dinner time. And then we missed the ferry, and the one after that, and the one after that. I was fast asleep by the time we got home, dreaming about our next summer holiday to Parksville.