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Reuniting Caleb With His Family – Gabriola Island, BC CANADA | zephyr sunrise

Reuniting Caleb With His Family – Gabriola Island, BC CANADA

A beautiful Vancouver Island sunset

We finally left Sandpoint, Idaho, with the Moho brakes in fine working order and weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. We knew we wanted to get as far west as the day would allow, so we drove. We made a reservation for that night at the KOA about halfway through Washington state in Ellensburg (I think that was the name of the town) right off the 90 freeway but we drove right past it. We needed to separate ourselves from Idaho as much as possible. We thought we’d drive to Olympic National Park, but it would have been 5am by the time we got there according to Google, which was just too late. We thought about heading up to BC, Canada,  that night to see if we could catch a late ferry or two to get to Caleb’s house, but the drive was too long to get there, too. About an hour outside of Seattle, around 11pm, we called our dear friend Mark. “Lil Marky,” as we’ve called him since we met him when he was thirteen (about 11 years ago), relocated to Seattle about a year ago, and we asked him if we could park our Moho in the parking lot of the church he works at. He texted someone to make sure it was cool and we pulled into the parking lot of the church in Mountlake Terrace around midnight. This was about the longest haul we’d done in a day on this trip, but after ten days in Idaho we were ready for some driving.

Chris and Marky at breakfast in Seattle

The next morning, Marky drove to the parking lot he’d arranged for us to park in, and we all piled into his Subaru wagon so he could be our tour guide and drive us around the city for awhile. Chris and I have both been to Seattle multiple times, it’s one of my favorite cities. But Caleb had not really spent much time there so after a delicious (seriously, delicious) breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe on Roosevelt (there are a few locations) we headed out for a cruise around the city. I asked Marky to take us to see the bridge troll in Freemont, so Caleb and Zeph could check him out. Then we went to Marky’s favorite coffee shop, Lighthouse Coffee Roasters. We all had iced hazelnut lattes (the adults, that is) and I gave Caleb a small cup of my half-caff. After one sip he said he liked it. After a few more sips he declared he thought he was gonna barf and that was the end of his caffeine adventure.

Looks like a scene from The Outsiders

Marky was a fabulous tour guide, talking about the history of each neighborhood and pointing out where interesting things had happened. He’s learned a lot about the city since he’s lived there, and it makes Chris and me happy to see him so stoked on the place and his life there. He’s basically our adopted grown-up kid so we like to make sure he’s doing things he likes. We were going to try to go up to the top of the Space Needle (at Caleb’s request), but after we parked and walked up to it, the line was so long we knew we wouldn’t have time to wait to go up. Marky said he’d never seen the line so long before.

Caleb gets to see the Space Needle

The afternoon came around and Marky dropped us back at the church so he could go to a meeting. We needed to deliver Caleb back to his mom’s house in BC at some point, after having him in the Moho with us for over a month, so we decided to head up to BC that afternoon to work our way to Gabriola Island, where Caleb and his mom and dad and sisters live. I say “work our way” because it takes a bit of planning, ferry-wise. We’d have to get to Vancouver Island via ferry, then take another ferry to Gabriola. The ferries from just outside of Vancouver (the city, not the island) were fully booked for the day to Nanaimo, where the ferry leaves for Gabriola, so we opted to take a ferry to Victoria instead, which is about 2 hours south of Nanaimo. We got off the first ferry around 9pm in Victoria, and made the drive to Nanaimo to catch the last ferry to Gabriola for the night. By the time we got to Noel’s house (Caleb’s mom and Chris’s sister) it was past midnight. We’d had two late nights and we were tired! It was really sweet to see Caleb get so excited to see his mom, and even his little sister Zoe, who woke up when we got there just to see her big brother.

Finally we get to see our niece Zoe

We didn’t really have a plan on how long we were going to stay on Gabriola, but that’s the great thing about family: they’re family and they can’t ask you to leave! Since the Moho fit in Noel’s driveway perfectly we had everything we needed for as long as we decided to stay. The two campgrounds on the island did not have spots we would fit into, and there is no dump station on the island either so the only reason we’d have to leave would be to dump our tanks. After a few days of relaxing with the family and meeting some friends of Noel and Dom’s, we realized we were going to have to take the Moho to Nanaimo to dump the tanks because the black tank was leaking at the valve where you hook the sewer hose up (gross). So I stayed at Noel’s house with Zeph while Noel and Dom and baby Violet ventured to “town” to find a campground in Nanaimo to dump at. They returned a few hours later (having to take a ferry, and get to the ferry early enough to make sure you get on, takes additional planning and travel time). Chris fixed the valve on the black tank – literally a dirty job – and we were good to go for another few days at least.

Our home for awhile- Noel's driveway

Noel and Dom were very gracious hosts and let us use their kitchen to cook in (they had a dishwasher, too! Such a luxury to me after living in the Moho eight months at that point), their bathrooms and showers, their beautiful herb garden, and their friends even brought gifts of fresh baked bread and veggies grown on their farms. The community of friends Noel has on this island is a unique and very generous and loving group. Most of them don’t have family on the island so they’ve created their own family group and they help each other out and rely on each other and pretty much live life together. I really enjoyed getting to witness their way of living in community, and felt like Chris and I were accepted into their group as soon as they met us. So thank you to Laura and Sadie and Jessie (the most awesome dog), Steven and Caylee and Felix, Tamaya and everyone else we met… for making us feel welcome and sharing your gifts with us.

Is it just me or is Noel enjoying herself as much as the kids

Most of our days on Gabriola were spent hanging out with family, baking, celebrating birthdays (I turned 34 and Dom had a birthday a few days after me) and just hanging out. Chris and Dom assembled the metal frame for Dom’s Geodesic Dome he’s making himself. They made a cool GoPro video that’s posted below. Our time in Gabriola had to come to an end at some point but we weren’t ready to say good-bye to the family yet so we set up a mini-camping trip to Victoria…

Dom takes Zeph for a spin around the pond


hollyhocks on the farm

The gang visiting Tamaya's place