Our Excellent Adventure

You know how some people have epic adventures cycling through Peru at nosebleed-inducing altitudes, hanging off mountain peaks, or braving primitive conditions in countries most people have never even heard of?  (Sue Slaght, I’m looking at you.)

That’s not us.  Although I love reading about Sue and Dave’s escapades from the safety and comfort of my armchair, Hubby and I prefer our adventures closer to home and with less potential for personal injury.

You’d think that would make for comfortably predictable trips; but sadly, that’s not the case.  I’ve been marooned on an island, robbed twice, and lost in the wilderness with shotgun-toting locals closing in; and that’s all within the province of British Columbia.  I won’t even get into our hotel disasters involving hookers, cows, rappelling nudists, and sticky dick prints.

Granted, none of the above episodes were as dangerous as they sound.  The island stranding was just a mistimed ferry launch (although I still blame Hubby, since he was the one who drove onto the ferry without me).  The robberies were from our vehicle; so despite the annoyance of losing tools, an expensive camera, and a dozen bottles of wine (that really hurt), there was no personal risk involved.

The lost-in-the-wilderness experience wasn’t overtly life-threatening either, although there were some tense moments:

According to our explorer’s map, there’s a teeny-tiny back road between the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna.  So we tried it.  (And Hubby still blames me for our failure, since I was navigating and we ended up on the wrong mountain.  A good marriage is all about give and take:  Give blame and take credit.)


We drove… and drove.  The road got steeper and narrower and gradually degenerated from gravel to  largish rocks.  Tall trees crowded us on both sides.

We drove some more.  Slowly; since it seemed like a good idea to keep the wheels attached to the vehicle.

A half-ton roared up behind us and dogged our bumper, so we pulled over in a slightly wider part of the road to let him pass.  He gave us a hostile glare as he went by, and we both swallowed hard at the sight of the shotgun hanging in his back window.

Then we realized that the road was widening at semi-regular intervals, allowing access to clearings displaying strikingly, um… verdant… foliage.  That’s when we abandoned the attempt and retraced our route to the main highway, having no desire to get shot by some nutjob guarding his marijuana plantation.

So you can imagine our trepidation this weekend when we decided to search out Rhododendron Lake, a tiny body of water that boasts a rare stand of wild rhododendrons (R. macrophyllum).  The only access is by private logging road; and you’re only allowed in on the few days when the logging company isn’t blasting.  I was really hoping I’d gotten the navigation right this time.

Fortunately I did.  Despite a rough road that brought back worrisome memories, our trip was free from firearms, explosives, or questionable flora.  The lake was a placid silvery pool, and although we met people coming and going on the short hike, we had the whole lake to ourselves while we were there.  And the rhodos were in full bloom – spectacular!

And best of all, we were home in time for dinner.  Now that’s my kind of adventure!

Rhododendrons growing wild in the woods.


It’s hard to believe they’re wild!


More rhodos all through the woods.


Rhododendron Lake


Rhododendron Lake is only about 10 km off the main highway between Parksville and Nanaimo; but it’s a slow drive on a rough road. (Click on map to enlarge.)

P.S. Book 13,  “Once Burned, Twice Spy” has finally made it safely through the release process and is available from all retailers, hooray!  I’ll be starting Book 14 soon, so stay tuned to the Books page for progress reports.  🙂

31 thoughts on “Our Excellent Adventure

  1. Oh that made us laugh out loud! I will admit that cycling at high altitude in Peru was a bit over the top. Literally.
    You seem quite prone for adventure yourself based on past happenings.
    I will say your day adventure looks stunningly beautiful and there is something said for the simplicity of not having to pack.
    We are currently awaiting a flight to Juneau Alaska. Hoping not to report anyone being eaten by a bear. 🙂


    • Fervently wishing you no close encounters with bears! A big black bear walked through our yard a couple of days ago, and I was glad to be indoors at the time. Wishing you safe travels and only as much adventure as you want!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Have to say first that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Once Burned Twice Spy!!! Fantastic read! Fantastic ending!! Just …..fantastic, LOL!! Thank you thank you.
    I, too, like finding out of the way lovely spots to to hide out in for a day. It’s good for the mind and spirit. And sometimes the best places have been found when I was “lost”. Happy trails!!


    • Thanks, Michelle! You’re right about the delight of discovering a wonderful place by accident, and that’s why Hubby and I ended up off in the sticks – it doesn’t always work out well, but happy discoveries make up for the ‘oops’ experiences.

      And I’m so glad you loved Once Burned, Twice Spy – hooray! Now I’ll be wearing a big grin for the rest of the day. 😀


  3. There was a comedy skit years ago about Rhoda Dendron and her Irish cousin, Phil O’Dendron. I thought the names were hilarious, but the skit itself must’ve been only mediocre. The names are all I can remember. 🤪

    My preorder of Book 13 auto-downloaded, but I couldn’t turn loose to start it until now.

    Call for backup! I’m going in!!


  4. I used to do adventures like that, but I was always able to walk out of any trouble I would get into. Since I have aged and my knees are no longer original equipment, I tend not to go too far into the back country. I’ll have to travel vicariously through you. So, thanks for the tour!



    • You’re welcome! I suspect your new knees might not appreciate the hike down to the lake – it was quite short, but steep in places. I was glad to be going downhill first and finishing with an uphill hike – I know that’s contrary to what most people prefer, but I find it harder to walk downhill than uphill. Maybe it’s just a “tall person” thing… 😉


  5. Clearly BC has no deer because if they did the rhododendrons would have been munched to death last fall! lol

    They are beautiful. I’m glad it was a pleasant adventure this time around.


    • Thanks, jenny_o – me, too! And according to the “experts”, deer aren’t fond of the larger-leafed rhododendrons, although they’ll happily snack on azaleas and rhodos with softer leaves. But I suspect if a deer is hungry enough, nothing is safe!


  6. Glad to hear you’re book is finally through the process. I’ve had a few adventures while traveling, but never had a menacing shotgun owner looking at me. Rhododendron Lake looks like it was worth the effort.


  7. Stayed up very very late to finish the new book, what can I say about it,WONDERFUL ,FANTASTIC ,A JOY TO READ. I could not put it down I would give it top marks.
    It was getting light when I finished reading ( it gets light very early in Scotland)
    Keep up the good work 👍


    • Thanks, Donna – I’m thrilled that you loved Once Burned, Twice Spy! That makes my day!

      I just finished reading a series of books set in Scotland – it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Scotland is about the same latitude as the northern parts of our prairie provinces, so I know dawn must come very early indeed. I hope you can get some sleep now, and thanks again for your kind words! 🙂


  8. I have just started the new book — looking forward to Ayden’s latest adventures.

    Doesn’t Mother Nature have a way of beautiful plantings? The picts are gorgeous.
    Man can’t replicate it. We used to have areas of Mountain Laurel we would pass thru when we were riding our horses.

    Most of my “overnight adventures” ceased when there was so much publicity of there being “bed bug” infestations at some of the hotels, etc. I know what problems I have here in my own home. I sure don’t need to bring any of those types home with me. (Of course, my “advanced” age and resulting problems really don’t help either.)


    • That whole bedbug thing really turned me off, too. They’re not as common here as in the warmer more humid climates, but there have still been infestations in some places. Blech! I can’t help thinking of it every time we stay in a hotel.

      I hope you enjoy Book 13! 🙂


      • I work in a 250 apartment Lowww income building. Iam a service tech and appliance tech. I can give you creepy bed bug stories just ask. low income means no money spent by corp. I refuse to correct mistakes because my key board is from 1990s. dell no doubt.


        • Ancient keyboards are so annoying! I used to have one that only typed the letter ‘p’ when it felt like it. Until then, I hadn’t realized how many words use the letter ‘p’. 😉

          And yikes, I can only imagine the bedbug stories. My skin is crawling just thinking about it!


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