Even though Loytää is a van, and we love her compact and efficient use of space, she is only 21’ long, including the motor and driving cab, so storage, especially for large items, is limited. We need a way to haul all our toys and gear on our adventures. Gear includes boats, paddles, bikes, safety gear for said activities, and all the creature comforts needed for glamping such as bbq, fire pit, canopy etc. The list is quite long!
So we decided to invest in the ‘nesting’ PakaYaks, and get a small enclosed utility trailer. This enables us to keep bikes, and all the gear, dry and secure. It also minimizes the total length of our ‘vehicle’ to 33’ (as measured by BC Ferries), and hopefully gives us the space we need.
Of course, with Covid-stressed supply chains, and the increased demand for anything recreational, we did have a challenge sourcing the perfect solution. But Bill prevailed and we found a supplier on the mainland that could get us a trailer in ‘several months’ since he had one ordered with the manufacturer, but it was not yet spoken for. Thankfully we can make decisions quickly because we had to say yes immediately or lose the opportunity.
When we got the good news that the trailer had arrived, we became true Islanders, and travelled to the Mainland by ferry to pick up Bubbles, so named because, as a champagne-coloured trailer, and the fact that she is pretty small behind Loytää, it seemed appropriate.
So starts the adventure of driving with a trailer. I discovered that straight driving, turning etc., doesn’t take a lot of new skills. Backing up, however, is a totally different story. Both Bill and I have a lot to learn. Thankfully we wisely bought a wheel and we maneuver Bubble around the campsite, and into our garage by brute force. We hope our skills will improved with time.
The extra length, however, does mean that now we need to look for RV parking since we no longer fit in a regular parking spot, especially since we have not yet mastered the art of backing up in confined spaces. This reduces our flexibility a bit, but we will get used to it. We are still a lot more nimble than the behemoths we see on the road and in the RV campgrounds.
Trailer talk aside, the quick journey to the mainland was a great experience. We took 2 different ferry routes and discovered the one between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo is much more picturesque, being closer to the coast mountains. We were lucky to see orcas on both crossings, notable because those are the first ones we have seen since we have been living here. I’m surprised the ferry didn’t tilt to one side as all the passengers fled to the windows to catch a glimpse!
We picked up Bubbles near Langley, on the lower mainland. We drove around to do some errands and quickly realized we are no longer used to heavy traffic and so many stores! It reinforced the fact that we like living a slower pace of life, with less traffic, especially in a van towing a trailer!
We did overnight in a campground on the Capilano River, right beside the Lion’s Gate bridge which connects the north shore with Stanley Park and the rest of Vancouver. It definitely was not wilderness camping, as we were serenaded by traffic noise and sirens, but the location was perfect for what we needed, and we had a lovely sunset over the river. The biggest bonus was that it was walking distance to Five Guys, which we cannot get on the Island. Bill was in his happy place! There are some benefits of the big city! We drove to the ferry along Marine Drive, a beautiful road beside the water, past expensive homes with lovey landscaping. Spring flowers and blossoms made the drive a delight. The road narrows quite a bit, and with all the trees close to the road, we felt like we were driving a country road in England.
So we are now busy playing Tetris with bikes, boats, boxes and gear to see how we can fit all the stuff inside. It’s not that big, but we will make it fit. Stay tuned for more driving and packing adventures!