As someone who travels a lot locally, I had the opportunity to travel to the southern US in early January. In doing so, the trip south reinforced for me the value of Comox Valley real estate and living in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.
I left the Comox Valley on a partly cloudy day and drove down highway 19 to the ferry in Nanaimo, enjoying the scenic ocean and mountain views along the way. There were very few cars on the highway and the weather was good. I took the ferry to Tsawwassen and had breakfast on the ferry while sitting at the front so that I could enjoy the Vancouver Island scenery along the way. This part of the trip was mostly sunny and tranquil. A couple of seaplanes flew by in front of the ferry, and there were a few boats of various types enjoying the flat calm water. This was a great way to start the day. We left the Comox Valley real estate market behind us on our way down south.
Shortly after arriving at Tsawwassen, I was on highway 99 driving south. About 10 minutes later approaching Surrey I was in heavy rain and traffic. Each time I drive into or near Vancouver I remember just how much I dislike heavy traffic and the impatient drivers that form part of it. A short while later, the border crossing was seamless and soon thereafter I was on highway 5 heading south. The traffic along highway 5 to Seattle was steady, and it rained on and off. By early afternoon I had passed through Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. While not rush hour, the highway traffic was busy enough that the drive was not relaxing. Wouldn’t it be nice if all city drivers were courteous? Some drivers bordered on reckless – driving while texting or with a phone stuck to the side of their head and speeding, changing lanes rapidly with no signal, and leaving little room for the car they just cut off.
Approaching Oregon it started to rain fairly heavily and the rain continued throughout most of the state. The scenery was varied – farmland and flat for a while and then hilly for a period of time before arriving at Grants Pass. By evening I was in northern California. After a few hours of hilly terrain through mountain passes I was driving through Sacramento. Not much to see at night but the lights of the city. A short while later, I stopped for the night. This area is nothing like Courtenay or Comox. There is no Comox Glacier or Comox Bay to see.
The next day the weather was clear and the sun was out. Unfortunately, there was not much to see but very boring scenery along I5. Everything was dry, brown, and dead looking. I stopped for gas a few hours north of Los Angeles and discovered that gas stations in California required you to enter your zip code after entering your credit card to pay for gas. As a Canadian I did not have a zip code so I had to go into the station to put a deposit on my card, go out to pump the gas, and then go back in to get my change. So much for service. Speaking of service, when I went back in to get my change at this gas station I waited at the counter while the cashier checked here lottery tickets. She completely ignored the fact that I was standing there and I had to announce myself to get here attention. Service was non existent at this gas station. To make matters worse the bathrooms were disgustingly dirty. It makes one appreciate being a Comox Valley realtor and being able to live in the Comox Valley.
A few hours later I was in Los Angeles. Soon I was on I10 heading east and in 14 lanes of heavy traffic. “Crazies” is the only apt term for many of the drivers. Speeding, swerving in and out of traffic, cutting other drivers off, tailgating, and distracted drivers were all common sights on this highway. Defensive driving took on a significantly increased importance on this highway. Several miles along the highway there was a huge cloud of white smoke on the other side of the highway where an 18-wheeler had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a sports car that had cut him off and then braked to avoid hitting the cars in front. There was more action that in most amusement parks. The difference was that this action was dangerous.
Soon I was headed out into the desert and driving past Palm Springs and Desert Springs. Not much to see but desert, scrub brush, and sand for miles. The scenery remained pretty much the same until I arrived at Phoenix several hours later.
Driving through Phoenix, Tucson, Las Cruces and El Paso was fairly unremarkable. Phoenix gave me the impression of a newer, well maintained, and inviting city sort of like the impression one gets looking at Crown Isle real estate, but the other three cities gave me the impression of ones that were a bit run down. Entering Texas, I passed through a couple of towns where cattle farms were located and the smell was terrible. The scenery was not much better.
On the return trip I crossed the desert via I40 further to the north. There, the scenery was a bit different with snow still visible in the areas that surrounded the highway. Snow had fallen the day before. Yes, there was snow in the desert.
On the trip home I managed to avoid rush hour in most cities except Olympia. There I got stuck in afternoon rush hour – bumper to bumper traffic for what seemed like an eternity. Having completed this trip, I returned home to once again fully appreciate where I live – the Comox Valley. We are truly blessed to live here in this temperate climate that is surrounded by beautiful scenery, and populated by good people.
While some may like the hustle and bustle of city life, I much prefer the more laid back lifestyle of our valley. Besides, there is nothing comparable to some of the waterfront homes in the Comox Valley. Contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific when you come out to see this wonderful part of Canada.