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Category: Automotive Reviews Page 1 of 5

Surviving the Vancouver Snowmageddon in the 2020 Mazda CX-3

For 2020 I have decided to take a new approach to my car reviews. Here, I will not be spouting jargon or spewing quotes from car manufacturers. You don’t need another blog reviewing specs you may know nothing about, nor know what they mean anyways.

Instead, I will use my experience in critical writing to give you the ins and outs for the latest models and everyday rides (with a few luxury labels sprinkled in between). Details on the the look, feel, and drivability during my every day, hour long commute. A daily drive that takes me across bridges, over bumpy terrain, on the highway, then back again.

And what better way to review my latest weekly ride than during 2020’s “Snowmageddon”. 10 days in January where the white stuff dumped, and as per history past, the Lower Mainland knew not what to do with itself. Roads weren’t salted in preparation, despite the weather warnings, and the lack of plows in local areas meant side streets became treacherous. And then there were the drivers without snow tires and the know-how to transverse in snow. They created unnecessary accidents: an abundance of collisions, impeding traffic that was already slowed to a halt.

But I digress, all that can be a post all on its own. This week I had the 2020 Mazda CX-3, and what better time to put it through its paces, and write a thorough review of the experience, than today. A morning where I found myself parked on the highway, inching ever so slowly along the chalky streets, stuck in gridlock. And given all my time sitting and idling, I made plenty of observations, and have plenty of insight to give.

But let’s rewind a little, and start with first impressions. This is a really compact car, waking up to it, it looked a little on the small side; like a baby sedan. There isn’t a lot of room in the back for passengers. Seat belts for three, but only enough room for two small adults. In fact, I would suggest using the back seat to transport groceries and goods, rather than any one with legs. I do push my seat up fairly close to the wheel, but for those who don’t, and need the leg room up front; those in the back will definitely suffer. Stepping in, the front cabin was just as tight. I had to adjust the driver seat, as they felt very sunken into the floor, giving me less visibility out the front window.

And speaking of windshields, the one at the back is very limited. When the back seat passenger head rests are lifted up and the single blade wiper is going, you lose a lot of your visibility. You get a similar experience while left shoulder checking, (at least the way I am seated, I did). The panel that separates the front and rear side windows obstructs your view, so a body twerk is necessary to get it back.

But at least with the Mazda CX-3 being a hatchback, you know where it ends, and you don’t have a lot to worry about bumpers that jut out while reversing. A fact, further helped along with its back up camera. This comes standard for most modern vehicles, but with this week’s extra challenging drive, any little convenience helped. Just like how I really appreciated having heated seats and a heated steering wheel. Both helped to warm me up quickly. And because the cabin is so small, the entire vehicle heats up relatively quick as well. Meaning everything I cranked up, I soon turned down and off, and the temperature remained. I imagine that this is also the case with warmer weather and air-conditioning as well. (But today, summer and the sun feels so far away).

But back to the heated steering wheel, it actually encourages proper hand to wheel placement. You find yourself holding steady at 10 and 2, as the sensors only heat the side of the wheel. Helpful for learners, but not great for drivers like me: those who hold their wheel lower, with their hand resting on their lap.

As a whole, I would classify the Mazda CX-3 as a more simple car. It isn’t too busy visually, there isn’t more than what is necessary in terms of buttons and their functions. A single cluster, a display for your mode, speed gage, temperature reading, and fuel consumption metre. Even the pulldown mirror from the back of the sun shade doesn’t have a light to it. This does make your face check harder in the dark. Although the cabin lights work just fine, albeit harsh.

But despite the simplicity of the vehicle, it does still come with many modern conveniences. Little perks like lumbar support, lane assist tracking, jacks for multiple USB cables, satellite radio, and a touchscreen infotainment system. There is even a small clear screen that pops up when you turn on the car. It broadcasts your speed limit and the speed in which you are traveling, discretely. It does not obstruct your peripheral, you only need to look down slightly to notice it. Therefore it is just as easy to ignore, should you choose to.

As for the way the Mazda CX-3 drove.. because of its narrower framework, it didn’t give me the same fear I usually get when travelling across narrow bridges and lanes. And I imagine in better weather conditions, when the roads aren’t icy, it would be fun to zip around. It is agile and nimble, given its size and lack of weight to maneuver. Similarly, it is extremely easy to park, even for those who fear the dreaded parallel. Although I did have to use quite a bit of a muscle in order to accelerate as fast as I wanted it to go, and even at a faster speed it did not feel like I had any power beneath my feet.

Although as a whole, the Mazda CX-3 has the smooth driving and easy feel that I know Mazda vehicles for. Great as a daily driver, when you want no fuss or muss, getting from “A” to “B”. Especially nice in rush hour and snow driven gridlock. When you find yourself starting and stopping regularly, the last thing you want is the additional movement of a clutch or anything remotely intricate. Today, I was literally moving half a car’s length forward every minute; pushing the shifter up to park, then down when I had drive an inch more. And thankfully this was a hassle free motion in the CX-3. (I wasn’t keen on keeping my foot down on the brake for two hours.)

Given the size and lack of space in the cabin, I wouldn’t recommend it for a road trip. There isn’t a lot of sprawling room; and you can feel quite claustrophobic, if stuck in the car for 4+ hours. I mean on this snowy day I found myself, alone, trapped in it for 5 and felt like I need to stretch after 2. I am not very big, but even I found myself cramped in terms of elbow placement. I had to make myself more narrow, in order to fit both elbows between the door handle and the middle console.

Not to mention, the car is so low to the ground and intentionally light, that you hear and feel everything from the road. There is little insolation blocking out the noise of the world around you. You hear everything: like all the debris that gets caught up in the under carriage. Every speck of sand or gravel gives off a little rustling noise. Un-nerving in general, but made much worse on snow laden streets. The clumps of gathered ice scraped the bottom, like the car was lowered and you were going over a speed bump. However, if you turn your music up loud enough, you can tune out most of it.

But when the roads were relatively clear the CX-3 drove steady. I had no issues skidding with the all season tires. There was no swerving, it just felt like normal driving, but in snow. Thus, making it a great vehicle for learners or novice drivers, (during dry weather conditions). There are less features, less buttons, less dials, and less options to get distracted with. And the inability to speed up quick means that they are safer behind the wheel.

In short, I felt much closer to the Mazda CX-3 after today. It kept me warm, comfortable, and safe during my 5 hour commute. A commute that had me making it half way to work, only to have to turn back when a jack knifed semi prevented me from going any further. I felt in control behind the wheel and proud of the little car that could. Although I would love to get a redo on spring or summer when I can fully appreciate it for what it was built for, and when. Thank you Mazda Canada for this week’s wheels!

#MazdaCX3
https://www.mazda.ca

Scroll down for some photo highlights of today’s 10-15cm snow drive. Including a lone plow, halted traffic, accidents, and bridges.

 

2020 Mazda 6 review

A regular girl’s guide to cars~

For 2020 I am introducing a new type of car review. In this series, I am not going to give you jargon, there will be no technical terms; because this isn’t a buyer’s guide. What I will be bringing to the table is an honest review from a regular, everyday driver. The outlook of a simple woman on her daily commute, gearing towards other drivers looking for a vehicle that can take them from point A to B. What does the car mean to me and how I felt driving it, every feature and detail that resonated.

And in this week’s review, I was behind the wheel of the new 2020 Mazda 6.

Approaching it for the first time I was already impressed. I like sportier sedans, something smaller and easier to transverse the city in. To be able to barrel down narrow streets, without the anxiety of crossing into neighbouring lanes. And the ability to easily park in a stall, when the car of the person next to you hasn’t done a good job of staying within the lines of their’s. (The latter happens more often than not in my experience). Simply put, this was a good looking vehicle with handsome exterior styling. The kind you are proud to pose beside or in front of, and want to be see cursing around downtown within.

Inside, the cabin gives you a similar feel, every day approachability with a glossy finish and a premium presence. The quality look and feel of the cabin is what you would expect from a more expensive vehicle, here before you, at a price much less than you would think.

Everything was laid out subtly before the driver. Together, the infotainment system and centre console didn’t feel loud. Its designer opted for the less is more approach: less dials and smaller screens with more breathing space in between each; all accented with leather finishes and metallic trim. I felt like a teenager driving in a car built for sophisticated adults. The kind of adult who would drive it to their 9-5 job on weekdays, and then dinner parties with friends on the weekends. Overall, dressier without being pretentious.

But for those looking for more bells and whistles, more gadgets to fidget with and more settings with which to customize, the Mazda 6 might not be fore you.

As for the way it drives: My job takes me all the way to Delta, and within this daily commute, I get a great assessment of any vehicle. Travelling over highways, across narrow bridges, through giant puddles, and over hidden speed bumps; the Mazda 6 took it all in stride. Therefore, I would classify it as a great daily driver. And like majority of the other Mazda vehicles I have drove before it, the handling was there. It wasn’t the quickest, but it was one of the smoother drives. The wheel glided and the brakes were springy. Given how easily I maneuvered the vehicle, and how much I enjoyed being behind its wheel, I just wish the fuel economy could have been a little better; to be able to do more of the above for less.

Overall, the Mazda 6 is a standard, easy to drive vehicle with the aesthetics of a luxury sedan. I highly recommend it for the city commuter between its comfort, optics, and average fuel economy, (comparatively). Ideal for those who want less is more, and comfort and ease above all. Like a sweatshirt you throw on last minute to head out for a quick errand, this was a comfortable and familiar ride. Be it 6am on a cold morning with heated seats, or during rush hour where traffic stands still, but you are reclined in ease, within your peaceful cabin.

Thanks for the ride and the great time Mazda Canada.

#Mazda6
https://www.mazda.ca/

2020 Acura RDX review

A Regular Girl’s Guide to Cars~

I am not a self proclaimed car enthusiast, for the longest time I have only considered them the means to get from point A to point B. However, with the influence of my partner, this has changed. He is the motor-head in the family: he eats, breathes, and dreams about cars in their most exotic of forms. And as a result, I have learned a thing or two living and traveling with him across these past 9 years. I have attended my fair share of races and rallies, enough to earn an interest in the vehicles that drive in them, but not necessary what is under the hood or behind the badge.

So with this in mind, for 2020 I have decided to write this, “A regular girl’s guide to cars.” I will be reviewing every day vehicles and some luxury wheels with the goal of accessing their everyday utility. I don’t care if it “comes standard”, if it interests me I will mention it here, much like how I review restaurants and experiences on this blog: details are what you are going to get. Welcome to “regular girl reviews”.

This week I would be commuting around in the Acura RDX, made even more memorable thanks to its red leather interior. A chic feel for those who are fashion forward and enjoy a pop of colour for something more unique. I did. And it certainly elevated my experience, and my feeling of grandeur each time I took a seat on it.

As the luxury label for Honda, I was expecting to catch many nuances in the 2020 Acura RDX; little perks and nods for the driver willing to pay more for more. And it did not disappoint. This began with keyless entry. No need to push a button or twist a key, keyless entry means a one of a kind greeting as the car unlocks the driver side door all on its own. This is especially handy if you are like me, you toss your keys into your bag, and can’t be bother to fish them out before getting in. And with push button ignition, you only need to have the keys within the car to start driving it. Guarantee, you will never lock your keys in, if it never leaves your purse or pocket. And if you do leave the fob behind, the car sounds, so you won’t be able to get very far without retrieving it. It then locks itself when when you walk away, tucking in the mirrors to avoid scratches.

Climbing in, the driver seat moves back for easier entry. It then moves into place with you on it, as per driver “1’s” memory settings. Great if you are the only one who drives the mid size SUV, not so great for anyone else. I was driver “2” and I basically found myself “setting up” the RDX every time I got in and out. (This included quick runs into the grocery store.) Yes, it is only a button, and yes it doesn’t take too long for the seat to adjust into place, but I like the idea of being able to get in and go. And this is coming from a girl who buys two of everything in her make up bag, so that she can have one in her kit at home, and another in her handbag for emergency touch ups. I want my life and commute as easy and pain-free and possible.

One of the first things I do when I test drive a new vehicle is fiddle around with all the buttons and dials. The reality is I want them all assessable to me when I am driving, and all of a sudden need to de-fog the windows, turn down the heat, or skip a song I dislike. But with shorter arms, this was harder to do in the RDX. Button mashing required more effort and stretch.

And instead of a traditional joystick-like gear selector, you have a series of ascending buttons. Buttons to push to switch from park, reverse, neutral, and drive. Easy enough to figure out, but a nuisance for those with a longer manicure. I found myself using my knuckle to push these buttons down. It also simplifies the action of moving the car a little too much for me. It feels like you are flipping a switch and turning on a toy, as oppose to a vehicle with 272 horse power and 280 foot pounds of torque.

Using the dial to change the modes was easier, but for city driving I didn’t use all it much. I did like the touch pad navigation under it, but also didn’t use it all that much. This is considering it was just easier to tap the touch screen with the ball of your finger. Although when I did, the clicking sensation on the touch pad had a nice sensory feel. It felt solid, hard to describe, you just have to try it for yourself. But I didn’t understand the position of its wrist rest, it didn’t make the touch pad any easier to use, nor was it even all that comfortable. Ans I couldn’t see myself resting my hand there for more than the second I was scrolling. Instead, I would have liked a more prominent arm rest. Something more than the short padded cushion covering the back-half of the centre console. A place to put my right hand elbow, and thus forearm in rest.

As for the way it drives, the RDX is incredibly nimble, the steering wheel just glides, the car swivels with the slightest motion you make. Overall, I found it very agile for its size. I definitely caught myself driving around town, transversing tighter and narrower streets, and parking in smaller stalls, that I normally avoid with larger vehicles. Although reverse stall parking was more challenging, given the blind spots. There aren’t any back up sensors, but the high definition camera does help here.

I liked how the 2020 RDX handled its speed bumps, doing so without the need to slow down to a halt. You don’t get much body motion from climbing over them, nor when you take a sharp corner or change lanes abruptly. Instead, you always feel steady and in control, be it hurling down a bumpy highway, or gliding over fresh pavement. And despite its size, it was nice to see that it didn’t roll back on steep hills either. That is one of those things that I get anxious over, having to balance on the pedal. But no fear here.

And as one who does tend to drive on the faster side, the brake light feature is a nice additive. Perfect for distracted driving or driving in gridlock, a warning splashes across your dash to let you know if you’re getting too close to the vehicle in front of you. It gives this notice with plenty of time, so that you need not go heavy footed to slow down. However, you do still need to be on the cautious side, as you can easily end up going faster than the speed limit. It is too easy to accelerate in the RDX. And because it is so stable, you don’t feel like you are going all that much faster, until you look down at the speedometer.

And if you are sitting in traffic for longer than you would like, at least the seats are comfortable. They cup your body in a hug. Although I do have broader shoulders, and did find it was a little limiting when trying to lean back. But with heated seats that kept the full length of your body warm quick, I didn’t mind.

In short, the 2020 Acura RDX is great ride, and a good compromise for those who like a SUV, but want the accessibility of a sedan. Thanks for the opportunity Acura Canada.

#AcuraRDX
https://www.acura.ca/

2020 Range Rover Evoque review

A Regular Girl’s Guide to Cars~

I am not a self proclaimed car enthusiast. For the longest time I have only considered them the means to get from point A to point B. However, with the influence of my partner, this has changed.

He is the motor-head in the family. He eats, breathes, and dreams about cars in their most exotic forms. His favourite apparel features car brands and tire manufacturers. His desktop wallpaper is the Porsche 991 GT3 RSR, and he has spent this last few years starting his own business that manufactures carbon fibre car parts, inspired by race cars.

This enthusiasm has rubbed off on me, as I can proudly announce that I have attended a live drifting competition, spent an entire day on the track at Rolex 24hours, I have witnessed a Formula 1 race in Quebec, and even travelled to Japan for their Tokyo Salon. In conclusion, I have experienced a lot more car related events and outings than your average driver. This by no means makes me an expert in the field, but with enough exposure, I do know a thing or two.

And with this lens I will be reviewing 2020’s new models and vehicles in laments terms. These reviews are not for consumers wanting to know the range, horse power, or any other specs or stats that you can easily pull from any car manufacturer’s website. Instead, these are car reviews, written from a normal women’s perspective. Welcome to “regular girl reviews”.

And we are starting this series off with a bang, introducing the 2020 Ranger Rover Evoque.

Upon first impression, I didn’t find it the most attractive looking vehicle. I am not partial to boxy cars. I did however like the attention I garnered from behind the wheel of a Range Rover. And the feeling I got climbing into its elevated cockpit. Powerful, big.

The compact SUV comes alive with a push of your key fob. Its door handles release, and thrusts out. Then a spot light broadcasts at the threshold of the driver’s side door. Its visibility much like the bat signal on a dark night, but with a profile of the car instead. Talk about rolling out the red carpet.

Climbing in, the cabin feels tight, not that I need much more space. But all together in such a close proximity, all the screens, knobs, and dials feel like a lot coming at you. And with the addition of the speed display projected on to the windshield, via reflection. I find it a distraction all together. Looking out the front, you felt monitored by the speed limit. It shows as how it would appear on a road sign (white sign with black trim). You also get how fast you are going, with it including the outline of lanes that narrow at the far end. And in poorly lit areas, this appears even brighter, which makes it a further distraction.

Overall, is a lot to have to ignore. Especially considering only a few inches down on the dash, there is plenty to toggle via the wheel, and even more to scroll through on the adjacent screens. I especially found the display navigation cluster on the wheel a little finicky. Whenever I wanted to change the channel on the satellite radio, if I didn’t push the arrow button down just so, it kept giving me the option to change the entire display. Here, it would have been nice just to have one dedicated button for shuffling, especially for those like me, who enjoy channel surfing. The buttons themselves also don’t feel responsive. Not much push back from them to say that you have succeeded in activating what you had intended. But I did really like the feel of the circular dials. One for the driver and one for the front passenger, used to change the temperature and control the strength in which you either wanted the heat in your heated seat or the strength in your massage chair (more on that later).

As for the infotainment system. This too had a lot to acquaint yourself to. However, the large buttons and the easy to identify symbols on the touch screen made navigation friendly and accessible; even when driving with hands on ten and two. Although sometimes I find too many options, too much. Much like ordering from a 10 page restaurant menu, you feel overwhelmed. Almost like there were options simply for the sake of having variety. Like the ability to set the back splash as either white or black, with the option to choose its brightness, and even tilt the screen it was on for easier viewing.

It took me a couple of days, but I did eventually find all the settings I liked. Although learned that I had to set them up each time I got into the car to drive it. Before the start of every trip I opted to not have the engine come to a halt, whenever I braked to a full stop. And I wanted to save on fuel consumption and money at the pumps, so went with the eco mode. But at least my seat and mirror setting remained untouched. They stayed at the setting of the last driver, without the need to push one of its three saved memory options.

As for the way the Range Rover Evoque drives, it felt over sensitive and clumsy. I found myself over searing during turns, and pumping to best engage the breaks. Slight turns felt sharp, and braking caused you body to jerking motion. Several larger turns of the wheel felt like an exaggerated experience, one that you don’t always feel like you have control over. Though the lane assist function does help prevent body rolling, here. A push of a button on the steer wheel helps you stay within the lines, unless otherwise specified by a left or right turn signal. This was a function that I especially found helpful when I was a drowsy behind the wheel. Not only does it course corrects, but the car physically turns the wheel and directs itself back into the proper lane, for you. A strong motion that in itself would wake you up. Although if you are wide awake, this jerky motion is unnerving.

Very minor, but I also didn’t like the sound of the left and right turn signals. It literally ticks and tocks, and does so loudly. Though after day four with “Evoque”, I hardly noticed it. I am also not a fan of the gear shift. With a trigger that you hold like a joy stick, the motion felt cumbersome. A push of a button and forward puts the car in reverse. And a push of the trigger and a pull to wards you, sets it into drive. I would shift, then feel the need to look down to ensure I wasn’t stuck in neutral.

But once in reverse mode, the “Range Rover Evoque” was easy to reverse stall park into, even in the tightest of spots. My underground parking spot at home has me gingerly reversing in between two pillars, and this smaller compact SUV did great. With every technological advantage at the ready to help you park, the process was anxiety free. 360 degree view of the car from above, side mirrors that automatically tilted down to give you a view of the ground. And flashing lights and sounding alarms on all sides to alert you if you are too close. There is also a reverse camera, to make everything all the more crystal clear, despite the smaller rear view windshield, and the several blind spots.

I liked the overhead cabin lights. When turning on them on and off I felt like Vana White. A mere touch lights them up; and another, brings back the darkness.

Everything I nit-picked aside, I would still love to own the Range Rover Evoque for the massaging seats alone. Both of the front row seats had this function. And considering I didn’t find the seats themselves all that comfortable, the massage function on them had me enjoying them so much more. With 5 different setting and the ability to have it concentrated on a specific area, I fully utilized this feature every day that I had the car. Every ride was a rub down, especially enjoyable during rush hour traffic. It made my already long commute home, tolerable. And quite possibly the solution to road rage.

Although you do need to watch it, after a few minutes or so it the massage function does turn off by itself. An annoying downsideq that had me pushing the massage chair button on at least 5-7 times during my commute. When was the last time you were satisfied with a back rub at anything less than 60 minutes? And considering not many vehicles comes with a massage chair function, you best believe I was milking it for all it was worth.

And the heated steering wheel was also a nice little treat. During colder mornings, it did its part to help heat the car up. It warms up fairly quickly, and after a while you find yourself turning it off due to over heating.

In conclusion:

Pro: the luxury and prestige associated with the brand. Nice interior, Massage seats, “Vana White” cabin lights.

Con: overly sensitive steering and breaks.

 

RANGE ROVER
#rangeroverevoque
https://www.landrover.ca

South Okanagan in the 2019 Honda CR-V

I was heading to the Okanagan for the weekend and thought what better vehicle to get me there than the 2019 “Honda CR-V”, with its best in class fuel economy and its Econ mode to help us “drive towards a greener future”.

I was excited to be able to take in the Okanagan this fall. I have never visited during this season, so found magic in the red, orange, and yellow changing leaves. They were sprinkled amongst ever greens and the rocky mountain range.

We were able to easily take it all in with our no hassle ride. The Honda CR-V’s remote start and walk away auto-lock, saved us time during our pit stops and gas pumps. And it was easy to get in and out of with 90-degree door mobility. There was plenty of cargo room with an easy to fold down back seat and two level modes to meet all our storing and hauling needs.

We paused to take in the river, and stopped to explore the damp soil patches for various mushrooms.

When on the road, the Honda CR-V kept us comfortable and safe. Sitting pretty with perforated leather seats that heated. And well secured with blind spot display, and all wheel drive with intelligent system control. It got us there and back on 8.5L of gas at 100km. 4 hours each way, and driving from city to city in between; an amazing feet for an SUV.

Fall in the Okanagan has fruit stands bringing their pumpkin and gourds out to the roadside for sale. Many of the ones in Keremeos included visual displays for travellers to stop and take photos of and with. I didn’t know the extent of the variety of gourds available, before this trip. Here are some of my favourite photos.

We also stopped to watch cows graze on the mountainside, enjoying the ability to interact with livestock; something that you can’t do in the city.

We eventually made our way to Osoyoos, to our accommodations for the weekend: “Spirit Ridge”. For our time at Canada’s dessert resort and it’s new restaurant, visit the link below.

Our visit specifically coincided with Oliver BC’s “Cask and Keg” festival. An adults only event that hosted local South Okanagan beer, spirits, and ciders; for friendly sampling. For the full review of the participating breweries through tasting, visit the link below.

Cask and Keg, Oliver BC

The following day it was time to celebrate local Okanagan wines through a similar tasting program, at the “Festival of the Grape”. For the highlights of the family friendly event, and a few of the participating wineries, visit the link below.

Festival of the Grape, Oliver BC

During our road trip we also spotted and marvelled at “Spotted Lake”. As per Wikipedia, “Spotted Lake is a saline endorheic alkali lake located northwest of Osoyoos in the eastern Similkameen Valley of British Columbia, Canada, accessed via Highway 3”. The silt at the bottom of the lake is exclusively gathered and utilized by the First Nations people for its healing properties. However, over the years of us visiting, we realized its spots are no longer as bold, and the body water has transformed.

And when in the area, we always seem to find ourselves at “Tickleberry’s”. And despite the cold, the ice cream and gift shop was still a popular spot in fall.

I enjoyed a double scoop in a waffle cone. The seasonally inspired pumpkin spice and “Sunday breakfast”, a vanilla based ice cream made with fruit loops and lucky charms cereal with marshmallow bits.

For dinner on our second night we visited “Convivia Bistro” in Osoyoos. A modern restaurant serving Italian and French cuisine; prepared with local ingredients, and created to be complimented by local wines. Here, we enjoyed some house rosé with our pizza and pasta. For the latter we had lasagna with a tomato meat sauce, cream, Parmesan, and mozzarella. It was all in all pretty standard, it just needed a touch more seasoning. But this comfort serving hit the spot for me, on this night.

Out of preference, my partner ordered the “Goat Cheese And Honey” pizza with the goat cheese on the side. He liked everything else the pizza promised: olive oil, mozzarella, goat cheese, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, bacon, basil, and honey. Truly the pizza needed the pop the goat cheese gave, some interest to contrast with everything else.

CONVIVA
8312 74 Ave, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0
(250) 495-2223
conviviabistro.ca

For breakfast on our way back home we had brunch at “Jo Jo’s Cafe”, a popular neighbourhood spot, showcasing local art. Here we enjoyed one of their breakfast sandwiches with bacon bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, and egg in an English muffin. A good start, before making our way home.

JO JO’s
8316 Main St, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V4
(250) 495-6652
jojoscafe.ca

And with that this proved to be a quick and successful trip to the Okanagan, all made possible by the Honda CR-V. Thank you for the smooth ride and the travel memories Honda Canada.

#HondaCRV
Honda.ca

Twilight Drive-In with the Honda CR-V

I have never been to a drive-in movie theatre before, so what better a time than during the last bit of dry season, to check out the “Twilight Drive-In” in Aldergrove. Although, regardless of weather, all movies scheduled for the day will still play: rain, shine, sleet, or snow.

Our vehicle of choice: to get us there and to sit and enjoy the movie in was the “2019 Honda CR-V”. With its best in class fuel economy, even though the drive was far, our wallets didn’t suffer too much. Which meant more money spent on movie-viewing snacks.

Your choice in movies are posted online, a few days before the start of the week. Originally we were planning on visiting during a Tuesday, when general admission is only $10, and you save $3.50 per person. But for fall, they are only open from Friday to Sunday. And this week it was a marathon of clowns. Either the new “Joker” movie at 7:30pm or “IT 2” at 9:40pm. But you needn’t choose, because admission allows you to watch both movies. It is worth noting that they only accept cash or debit at the box office, and cash at the concession. Although there is an ATM on location, so should you need it.

The box office opens 45minutes before the start of the movie. Ushers with reflective jackets and flashlights help guide your way. Each vehicle is given a plastic garbage bag, and encouraged to use it instead of littering. It is first come first serve, and you park where ever you want. We drove to the very front as to not have the view of any other cars in our foreground. Individual spaces are marked with a white pole, well aligned to ensure that each vehicle has plenty of room between one another. The overall ground is flat, but each “stall” has a little mound of dirt that you can use to perch your vehicle atop of.

Many of the SUVs present, reversed into their stall. With an opened tailgate, passengers bundled up to watch the movie, cozy with pillows and blankets surrounding them. Had we known this before arriving, we would have dressed warmer and done the same. After all our “Honda CR-V” came with plenty of cargo room, and two-level flat luggage compartment. A “full flat mode” and a “capacity max mode”, both designed to fit your storage needs, or in this case two grown adults.

For audio you need to tune into a specific FM station, within your car. Meaning you can set the volume to how loud you like it. I enjoyed being able to talk over the movie, to engage with my guest, snack loudly on our food, rustle with careless abandon when I wanted some candy, and turn on the light if we dropped anything. And not encouraged, but possible, is playing with your phone during the movie as well.

To access the audio it is recommended that you turn your key to the “Accessory” position, to consume as little power as possible. You also leave your headlights and brake lights off during the movie (as to not distract from other’s experience). Cars with daytime running lights usually can be turned off by applying the emergency brake.

For food, you get out of the car to purchase what ever you like from their indoor concession stand. This is also where the washrooms are. There are only 2 tills, and the clerk that takes your order is also the one that assembles it. Everything minus the burgers and fried food, which comes from the kitchen. So be warned and come early, as there is a wait to get in, let alone order. I didn’t mind the extra time, to look over the lengthy menu. I was delighted that they offer a lot more than most normal movie theatres do. Fountain drinks in plenty of flavours, bottled drinks, energy drinks, ice coffees, and hot beverages. If you are looking for something more substantial they have plenty of sweet snacks to munch on: a variety of chocolates, gummies, and candies; ice cream bars, and even sno cones. For savoury there was the classic buttered popcorn, corn dogs, burgers, hot dogs, fries, poutine, onion rings; and nachos.

We feasted in the comfort of our Honda CR-V cabin. Where we were able to sprawl everything across the central console. Convenient, as we stayed in the front seat for the duration movie, lowering our perforated leather seats back for the perfect recline. The only hiccup, not being able to run our vehicle fully meant no heated seats or rain sensing wipers. So with the gentle rain coming down, there was the need to turn on the car in order to clear the wind shield of moisture now and again. Had we watched from the tailgate, the above wouldn’t have been an issue.

As for the aforementioned food, the following is all that we shared and it was all better than we expected. The “Nachos supreme” came with some assembly required. A sealed bag of corn chips that you pour out into a cardboard box and top with sliced jalapeño. All to enjoy with a dip into hot nacho cheese and/or a scoop of juicy tomato salsa.

The large order of popcorn came with multiple pumps of butter. A couple mid way through, and more, once filled. The ideal snack for any movie goer.

The onion rings had a good crispiness to them, but I wanted more crunchy batter and less gummy onion.

I liked the use of actual cheese curds in the poutine, but not so much the gravy. It was flat and I could have used some more pepperiness to it.

The chicken bites came with your choice of sauce. We went for the honey garlic, which was two sauces combined in one dish. They did what I wanted, adding some salty and sweet to these breaded nuggets of white meat.

The hot dog was exactly as expected. A regular wiener in a plain bun, which you dress as you like at the condiment bar.

I was surprised by how much I liked the “Double burger”, I added cheese to this stack of burger patties, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles. It just needed more ketchup for my taste.

And for dessert, our favourite candy to leave our meal on a sweet note. I thought about ice cream or a sno cone, but didn’t want to visit the concession stand mid movie or in the little time you have between movies.

Between the double feature there is an intermission, a video plays inviting your to visit the concession stand. It is basically food coming to life in games and dance. Gum and liquorice jumping rope, a popsicle leading cups of ice cream in a march, and a bag of popcorn juggling its fillings. And when the hot dog wiener takes the stage and eventually lands in the bun, everyone honks their car horn. The honk serves no other purpose, besides you acknowledging that you have been to the drive-in before and know of this ritual.

As for the movie, I don’t review cinema; although as a longtime Batman comics fan, I can say that this Joker’s origin story holds up and satisfies. And as for “IT 2” I am a notorious scaredy cat, so couldn’t stomach most of it without closing my eyes tight and plugging my ears with my finger tips.

Overall, I highly recommend this experience. This was a great way to enjoy a newly released movie, in the comfort of a car, with surprisingly tasty food to boot. And done even better if your vehicle of choice is the 2019 Honda CR-V.

HONDA
#HondaCRV
https://www.honda.ca/

TWILIGHT DRIVE-IN
3350 260 St, Aldergrove, BC V4W 2B1
(604) 856-5063
twilightdrivein.net

Luxury & Supercar Weekend 2019

The first weekend of September marks another “Luxury & Supercar Weekend”. And this year the weather was on our side. With a bold sun and cloud free skies we made our way down to VanDusen garden for this year’s set up and roll in. A behind the scenes look and guided tour by Vice President, Nadia Ladisernia. She led us around the site, introducing us to key manufacturers. The following is a look at the highlights, and a few of the luxury vehicles you can expect.

For its 10th year, the “Luxury and Supercar Weekend” has become a “pinnacle occasion” to showcase the world’s most lavish supercars. A one of a kind stage that includes gourmet food trucks, a champagne vending machine, pop up restaurants and bars, and a live Supercar auction. The 17 acres of the botanical garden gives ticket holders much to see and much more to explore, as the most exclusive outdoor event in Canada.

For 2019, the following will be firsts for Canada. The first time in Canada you can lay eyes on and get close to the 2020 PININFARINA BATTISTA, the 2020 PAGANI HUAYRA BC ROADSTER, the PORSCHE 992, the KARMA REVERO GT, the BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT, the JAGUAR XE PROJECT 8, the RANGE ROVER SV AUTOBIOGRAPHY, the MCLAREN GT; and a limited edition, unique to Canada BMW.

For the cinematic recap and manufacturer speeches, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Our tour began at the “BMW Canada” and the unveiling of their unique-to-Canada vehicle. The “M8 Individual Manufaktur Limited Edition” is the first of 20 released in and for Canada. Canada holds a special place in BMW’s heart, given we are one of the top 5 countries for BMW sales, internationally and globally. An impressive stat considering our population. This speaks to the loyalty the brand holds in Canada.

Right across from it was the “Karma” booth, showcasing the 2020 Revero GT, with a BMW motor and the title of “most elegant luxury EV”.

It wasn’t there when we were, but make sure you stop by the “Lamborghini Vancouver” booth to witness the Pininfarina Battista. A full electric supercar named after its founder Battista Farina; the man better known for designing the most beloved and well received Ferraris to have ever hit the road.

We did get to take in the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ though. “With its enhanced aerodynamic profile, a fully redesigned front, larger side skirts, the omega-shaped rear wing; and lighter, higher exhaust outlets implanted into the featherlight carbon fiber chassis.”

At the Ducati booth their line up included the Diavel 1260s, Scrambler, and the Panigale.

Rolls Royce had their Phantom with its long wheel base, valued at 3/4 of a million. Their flagship model that is synonymous with luxury.

The Cullinan was humoursly described as the “Rolls Royce of all SUVs”. It is the most luxurious SUV, named after the largest raw diamond found in South Africa. The names a tribute to it being a diamond in the rough, with its ability to go anywhere. Any where in comfort with a glass partition between driver and passenger, starlight ceiling feature (as with the phantom), and a tailgate with an electronic pull out seat.

Pagani gave us the official Canadian public launch of the 2020 Pagani Huayra BC Roadster. A track vehicle with a body kit and spoiler befitting of it. To be an eligible owner of one, you must have had to already own a Pagani in the past.

And this is the street version of the Pagani Huayra roadster. This one is on loan from its owner, who only just received it 3 months prior. It is a special order, manufactured to your specifications, with a 2-3 year wait for completion. Each one is considered a work of art.

Representing McLaren are two versions of the Senna. One is in their champion’s livery in red. “Inspired by one of McLaren’s greatest racing drivers, the McLaren Senna is utterly dedicated to allowing the driver to be the best they can possibly be.” It is most extreme road legal car from McLaren.

And new is the Mclaren GT. “Engineered for continent-crossing capability, combining power and performance, to create the lightest, quickest accelerating car in its class”.

And at Porsche they had two of the brand new porsche 911, 992 generation to get close to and in to. And for those who visit their hospitality space this weekend, not only are there beverages and furniture for guests to enjoy. But at their “Exclusive Manufaktur” area, they will be embossing pieces of leather with their logo, for fans of the brand.

For more information and how to get tickets to this weekend’s event visit the link.

www.luxurysupercar.com

 

Getting Outdoors with the Honda Civic Sport Coupe

Every year for my birthday, my partner takes me for a weekend to the Okanagan, an easy drive eastward to escape the city and our every day lives. And this year we would made our getaway in the Honda Civic Sport Coupe.

Civics have continue to be the best selling car in Canada for a reason; and many of us have owned one, one time or another. For my partner and I, our first car was a Civic, in one of its past reincarnations. So the shared four hour drive up and down, also served as a ride down memory lane.

The Honda Civic is known for its reliability, a necessity when driving great distances, in areas with no cell phone reception. And it boasts a great fuel economy, thanks to its small engine displacement; ideal when fill ups can cost you an arm and a leg with Vancouver’s gas prices. It is also agile because of its size, making winding roads and the need to change lanes more fun, than a challenge. And a two door coupe spoke to our personal family dynamic, no children, nothing but storage space needed in the back seat. Thus, giving us the look of a sports car without the premium.

So off we went with our adventure-mobile! Our first day out we decided to go camping, and joked that the sporty coupe was more a street vehicle, then one you take when venturing out doors. But during the ride to and from on the highway, having a sports mode made the drive more enjoyable. The winds, the curves, the loops, and the turns tested the handling, and the Civic Sport Coupe rose to the occasion.

I was especially surprised to see how much we could pack into the truck and back seat. We were able to fit all that we needed for a comfortable camping excursion, as well as the supplies needed for a beach filled getaway, the days after.

Two hours breezed by and we were at Manning Park Resort, heading towards Lightening Lake’s campsite. We were limited in choices thanks to the long weekend, but were more than happy with our lot. It was a short walk to either the out house; or the facilities with running water, hot showers, and flushable toilets. We were only at lot 107 for the night. Many more families booked for the entire BC Day long weekend.

I must preface this by saying I don’t take to the wilderness well. But my partner pushes me out of my comfort zone, so that I can grow. We don’t camp often: one day, once a year and that is plenty. Therefore we haven’t found the need to spend much on our equipment. A cheap tent with 3 rod installation, an air mattress that you can manually pump with your foot or hands, and foldable chairs to sit by the fire pit with. All easy to set up and take down, but not necessarily the most comfortable or spacious.

Our tent was cramped and cold with very little room for more than our queen-sized air mattress. There was barely a boarder between us and the wilderness in our flimsy tent, and our mattress loss air steadily. My partner woke up several times during the night, uncomfortable from the lack of support. He found himself needing to pump with vigour in to re-inflate. I managed to sleep through this. He was also kind enough to borrow a sleeping bag so that I could be warm and cozy, to get a good night’s sleep. So I couldn’t really complain as he slept directly on the air mattress with a comforter wrapped around him like a burrito.

I also get bitten easily and often from mosquitoes and bugs alike. But this year I came equipped with a bug repellent lotion, an aerosol spray, and coiled incense that is proven to ward off mosquitoes with its unique smell. I ended up lighting them and surrounding myself with three of them. And for the most part they worked, I walked away the next morning with only 2 bites. But I am sure the smoke from the fire we huddled around helped too.

Thankfully, our BC summer has been wetter than usual and there aren’t the same fire bands as they were in summers past. So we were able to take advantage of the fire pit, stationed at our camp site. This also doubled as the heat source we needed to cook our dinner and breakfast over next day.

We grilled buffalo and sweet garlic chicken wings and a beef and souvlaki chicken skewer for dinner. And followed it with a toasted marshmallow for dessert.

And for breakfast my partner had miniature boxed cereal and hot buttered toast. And I had a grilled hot dog with our choice of condiments in mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or relish.

Camping just wouldn’t be the same without a campfire. We purchased wood at the local gas station and supplemented what else we needed by foraging. We then parked ourselves in front of our crackling fire for the night, stoking it, watching wood burn to ash. It kept us warm as we drank and talked, pausing to look up at the dark sky and the stars sprinkled throughout it.

The next day we woke with the rustling of nylon from our neighbours, who decided to get an early start. It is hard to sleep in with the light and heat of the sun transforming your tent into a sauna.

Lightening Lake was a 5 minute walk from our campsite so we decided to take a morning stroll to it. It was a nice body of water to take a dip in, paddle a boat across, or simply catch some sun by.

Check out was at 11am, and after a rough morning we headed out. There was only one sink running in the women’s washroom. So I made do by brushing my teeth and spitting the excess tooth paste over a bush. I passed on lining up for the one shower altogether. I figured it was only 2 hours to our air bnb in Naramata, and I could just clean myself there.

Our next 3 nights would be spent in a more luxurious setting, comparatively. This was newly refurbished studio that gave us the privacy of an individual home, with the adjacency to the city and its social life, that we as tourists were looking for.

It has a new kitchen and washroom. The former was furnished with a coil-less stove and all the equipment you need to make a meal, and the dishwasher to clean it all afterwards. Coffee maker, toaster, microwave, and kettle. The only thing we would have liked in addition was a barbecue.

The washroom was very modern, a smaller space that was well designed. The only downside was the door that hesitated to close and lock and the fact that if you didn’t, a window aligned with its door way, meant the neighbours could get an unobstructed view of you on the toilet.

The suite had an air conditioning unit that was quick to cool the smaller space. And best of all, when it got to cold or noisy at night, you could simply straighten up and turn it off from the bed in its alcove, overlooking the living room.

But hands down the reason to rent this lake side studio is for it patio. A step out of the living room gave you an elevated and unobstructed view of the farm land and fruit orchards below, and the lake in the distance. We would spend most of our time here eating meals, playing the available board games, and simply enjoying the scenery from sunrise to sunset. You can see the water by day and all the stars at night.

Our air bnb hosts also let us borrow their kayaks and their pick up truck to transport them and us down to the Okanagan Lake, which we had been admiring above. Our kayaks allowed us to enjoy the water in a different way. We kept dry as we sat slightly reclined, cutting through the water with our paddles. We were also invited to borrow their bicycles and helmets, although we ran out of time during this visit.

Instead, we would spend most of our time at Skaha Lake, the other lake that feeds the Okanagan Valley, and sandwiches the nearby town of Pentiction. Here, its smooth orange sands, ample parking, and plenty of convenient concessions make it out favourite beach in the Okanagan.

During this year’s trip we also visit several restaurants and wineries, but those will be covered in their own posts. For all those reviews, check out the “Travel” section of the blog, under “Okanagan”.

In short, another great annual trip to the Okanagan, all made possible by the Honda Civic Sport Coupe that got us there safely and back.

#HondaCivic
Honda.ca

Victoria in the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

This weekend our party of three packed ourselves into the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder for a weekend trip to the island. I am typically apprehensive about driving larger vehicles, having only owned smaller sedans, so when the opportunity came to try my hand at the largest SUV I have ever laid eyes on, I thought it would be worth practicing. After all if I nailed this one, all others will be easy. And to my delight it was an easy drive and we got to Victoria safe and sound because of it.

We stayed in a comfortable suite with two queen beds. The kitchen with coffee marker and mini fridge, shared a sink with the bathroom. The sick is located adjacent to the kitchen counter, you would do you business behind closed doors and walk out to wash your hands clean. Awkward placement, but space saving.

We spent the evening and morning after exploring Victoria the touristy way. We hit up Chinatown marked with plenty of red brick and strung up yellow and red lanterns.

Taking time to especially explore the corridors of “Fan Tan Alley”.

Stopping at “Kid Sister” for some of their small batch ice cream served in homemade cubby waffle cones. I paid $1 more for organic vanilla versus regular.

We strolled by the water, taking in the marina.

And stopped in front of the parliament building in awe.

We even contemplated a horse and carriage ride, but passed on the novelty.

We took a pause to take in the iconic and majestic “Fairmont Empress”. We missed the cut off for high tea, so instead enjoyed their lounge decorated with the Queen’s portraits with a splash of graffiti.

Naturally, when in this setting one needs to enjoy their signature spirit: a pretty purple gin. We tried it three times, in three different purple cocktails. Each strong and refined.  “Q1908”. Empress gin, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, and butterfly pea flower. “Empress 75”. Empress gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, sugar, veuve clicquot, and grapefruit pearls. “Auxiliary”. Empress gin house vermouth and laphroaig.

As we sipped, we snacked on complimentary bowls of popcorn seasoned in charcoal. Both original and delicious, salty like hickory bbq.

And followed it up with one of their desserts. The “Floating island” is finished at the table. Bourbon vanilla bean creme anglaise, fresh raspberries, meringue chips, and wild roses. This was a great textural dessert, lots to sift through. With perfect meringue, like off a freshly baked lemon pie. Shards that melt in your mouth while adding crunch. And the pear gel offered a nice fruity balance.

And for dinner we visited “Canoe”, a seafood restaurant by the water. They boasted a multilevelled patio facing the marina with the sun setting in the distance. For the full restaurant review visit the link below.

The next morning we waited 30 minutes for breakfast at “Blue Fox Cafe”. A popular cafe with over 50 menu items, 12 of which are just bennies. For the full review that click this link.

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting some more tourist hot spots. At the “Bug Zoo” we were the oldest children in the tour groups. There are plenty of bugs in plastic cages to look at, with descriptions by each so that you can learn a thing or two.

For the daring there are opportunities to hold a few of these creepy crawlies like the giant stick bug or the hairy tarantula. My favourite displays were the ant tunnels and the cockroach box decorated to look like a cottage home.

At “Miniature World” you explored themed displays built small with vivid detail. It took you to space and through Canadian history from Victoria to Newfoundland following a train Coast to Coast.

You learned your world war history and relived your childhood through their fairy tale dioramas. And got to play a peeping Tom when you looked through the tiny windows of tiny Victorian homes. Each accurately portraying life long, long ago.

“Circus world” was my favourite theme, it gave you all the carnival fun from the big top to the Ferris wheel. And with a push of a button it came to life with motion. King Arthur had his full story told through miniatures. From the meeting of Merlin and the pulling of the sword to the retrieval of the holy grail.

Our last stop was Beacon Hill for some nature. They are best known for their wild peacocks, whom have taken over the park at 80 plus strong. They can be see strolling around the walk ways and begging for scraps from picnickers.

But for majority of them and more animals make your way to their petting farm. There, they strut their stuff and mark their territory with tail feathers flexed. They walk amongst the farm’s pigs, goats, llamas, and fancy chickens and ducks.

For those who want to get closer to the animals there are baby goats, rabbits, and guinea pigs that like a good cuddle and pet.

From here it was time to catch our ferry home. This was a success trip in the Nissan Pathfinder, a spacious SUV that easily transition from rocky roads to smooth highways, and congested city streets.

NISSAN PATHFINDER, Rock Creek Edition
https://nissan.ca/

Vancouver Island in the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition

This weekend our party of three packed ourselves into the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder for a weekend trip to the island. I am typically apprehensive about driving larger vehicles, having only owned smaller sedans, so when the opportunity came to try my hand at the largest SUV I have ever laid eyes on, I thought it would be worth practicing. After all if I nailed this one, all others will be easy. And to my delight it was an easy drive.

And with plenty of trunk space we had no difficulty cramming in three nights and four days worth of clothing and toiletries for three people. Three full luggage and bags with their contents spread out and all over the eight passenger seats. In fact during the 1.5 hour ferry ride to and from I found myself comfortably taking a nap across the back seat. And even more comfortably napping after I dropped the very back seat down and spanned myself across all that trunk space.

We drove in and lived in our spacious van, which we fondly named “The Hulk”, given his size and dark green hue. The Nissan Pathfinder drove surprisingly well given this size and girth. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep it in the lines, but I did just fine. And the brakes were so touch sensitive that they reacted to any small motion. Great for busy streets with plenty of stop and go’s I just wished that the wheel gave me a little more resistance, some stiffness to give me the feeling that I was truly steering.

The drive was easy going, along all the smooth roads we travelled. There was just more strain each time I had to stop and start it or we took a turn quick. The weight of SUV and my passengers meant I had to put the pedal to the metal and push down hard. Thankfully it was more highway driving, which also helped to reduce are gas cost. Because at $100 a fill up, and when gas in Vancouver can get up to 152.9, fuel conservation is an important factor.

After we got off of the ferry, our first stop was Parksville for lunch. A quick Google search lead us to the cafe “Bread & Honey” for some soup and sandwiches. For the full review, click the link.

Bread & Honey Food Company, Parksville BC

 

Then it was time to check in to our accommodations of the night. Accommodations like no other at “Free Spirit Spheres”. A unique outdoor hotel that is featured in many international travel guides, located here in our own BC backyard. You eat and sleep in a handmade pod suspended in the air, and there you live out your childhood, tree house, slumber party fantasies.

For the full review in video check out my latest travel vlog on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Free Spirit Spheres

And for the detail blog recap click the link.

For dinner we ventured to Coombs, home of the famous “Old Country Market”, where goats live on the roof. We visited too late in the day to shop or dine within, but came at the right time to interact and take photos of the goats. There were no customers and/or crowds and the 3 live in goats were resting. One was especially friendly, approaching us in hope of food.

We also got an opportunity to explore the “Coombs Emporium”, a garden of stone statues and and antiques. Curious without context, but it made for a great photo opportunity. A farm of stone animals including lions, fish, and giraffes; oh my.

Dinner was at “Cuckoo”, a popular restaurant amongst locals serving Italian cuisine and pizza. The food was pretty standard, but the setting is the reason you would visit anyways. For the full story on “Cuckoo” click the link.

Cuckoo Trattoria & Pizzeria, Coombs BC

 

There isn’t much to do in the area, so we headed back to our sphere for the night. There, we enjoyed the space with the board games made available, while sipping wine from glasses they had in the cupboards.

The next day we made our way to Victoria, with some pit stops along the way, pausing at points of interest. Like “Ladysmith”, Canada’s “greatest street” with historic buildings and artifacts, and the placards to explain the significance of each. Ore hand carts and rainbow crosswalks and benches.

While there we stopped by an old town bakery for one of their many varieties of cinnamon buns. This is the berry and ginger.

Next we stopped at “Damali” farm and winery to check out their lavender fields. Sadly, it was not as expected. Not enough purple in the fields, and the labyrinth maze turned out to be only small ridges raised from the ground. The gazebo was not well kept, and the remainder of the crops have yet to really bloom. So this ended up being a quick visit. A few photos and a bottle of their lavender flavoured wine to go.

 

From there we continued our adventure in to Victoria for a two day and one night stay. For the continuation of this trip, click part two!

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