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Vancouver Island
Coastal Trail
East Sooke Regional Park
Pictures for Pam
Secretary Island

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654 visits

East Sooke Regional Park, Part 1: Gorgeous Coastline (+10 insets)

East Sooke Regional Park, Part 1: Gorgeous Coastline (+10 insets)
(+10 insets!) (Please scroll down to "Today's Pictures" for image information)

Trip Talk: A Much Heavier Trailer Means More Upgrades to the Truck
When you buy an RV that's built better, it weighs a LOT more. The RV industry has many tiers of build qualities because they want to have models available for every vehicle out there, whether it's wise or not. They are so focused on making money that they sacrifice safety, quality, and common sense to get customers. A large number of the trailers out there are marketed as being very light so that lower-end, less powerful vehicles can pull them. We learned the hard way what that really means: flimsy construction using materials that cannot handle the stresses of being on the road and the countless issues that come up along the way.

Our Forest River Cherokee Grey Wolf 26DBH only weighed about 6200 pounds when empty and had a maximum capacity of about 7800 pounds. That lightweight, shoddy construction translated into a trailer that crumpled with the stress of travel (isn't that what it's supposed to do--TRAVEL?).

In comparison, our new Keystone Avalanche 365MB is about 13000 pounds empty--more than TWICE the weight of the Grey Wolf!!--and a cargo capacity of 2500 pounds, which would be 15500 pounds if fully-loaded! Everything about this trailer is much more substantial and better made (Not saying we haven't found tons of janky workmanship as we've gotten to know it. However, unlike the Grey Wolf, there haven't been any missing screws, bolts, framing or lowest-tier options).

This being said, our new trailer is HEAVY! The good news is that our truck is easily powerful enough to pull it and got the trailer home just fine, and up our hill too. However, there are a couple of issues we weren't comfortable with. First of all, when the RV is hooked up to the hitch, the truck suspension is pushed down more than it should be--it's a weight-based stress that's called "squatting." Eventually this would ruin the suspension and makes for a rougher ride.

The solution for this was a suspension addition called truck air bags, which Steve installed one afternoon. They can be inflated to the desired pressure so when we're not hauling the RV Steve will deflate the pressure, and when we are towing the RV he can pump them up. You should have seen the beaming expression on Steve's face when he tested them out and saw that the truck no longer "squats" when the RV is hooked up! We were so happy. Steve also took the time to show me the affect the RV had on the truck when the airbags weren't installed. I could clearly see the place where the suspension was bottoming out. Not a good thing at all. So now our truck will have the proper suspension to handle our big trailer!

The other problem was much more serious: our brakes. Yes, the RV has its own brakes and they engage when the brakes in the truck are used. However, it's still not enough. We can't tell you how many stories we've read about people burning out their brakes on long hills, having accidents or near misses because their brakes couldn't handle the weight of the RV in an emergency. A normal combination of RV and truck brakes would be fine if you didn't factor in all of the hills and mountain passes. It's the long, continuous need for braking that causes the problems, but here too, there are solutions: compression release engine brakes or exhaust breaks.

If you've ever noticed the loud "machine gun/jackhammer-like" sound of a semi when it's going down a hill, you're hearing what's called "engine breaking." Instead of the normal method of slowing down a vehicle with friction or magnetic brakes, the compression and release of pressure of a running engine is used to slow the vehicle down.

Another version of this system is exhaust brakes. This type of engine braking is better for an engine and more effective. It works by closing off the exhaust path from the engine, creating backwards pressure which then slows the engine and thus, the speed of the vehicle.

I don't know about you but I never understood the whole deal about big-rig trucks and the methods used to slow them down. I knew that with a manual-shift car, you can downshift to slow your car down instead of/in conjunction with normal breaking. However, I didn't realize how important and effective engine breaking was for extremely heavy vehicles.

Steve's known that non-commercial trucks can have an engine brake installed but didn't need to consider it for our first trailer. However, the story changed once we got our new trailer. Thinking about the countless mountain passes we've gone over gave us the heebie-jeebies and it was obvious that if we hoped to travel around the country, we needed to make sure our truck was able to handle those hills without wearing out the brakes.

So, a couple of days ago we brought the truck to a shop that installs these brake systems and now we have the security of Pacbrakes ready for our next adventure. As pricey as such a system may be, we will actually save a lot of money over the long run because the normal brakes on both truck and trailer will last much longer, and the wear and tear of our truck will be better as well.

Today's Pictures
On the third day at our first "hub" of our Vancouver Island, located at the southern end, we went to a place called East Sooke Regional Park. Wild and rugged, there are 31 miles (50km) of trails to enjoy there. We decided to go on part of their Coastal Trail and it turned out to be one of the most incredible hikes we'd ever been on. This main picture shows a beach at the start of the coastal trail and gave us a clue on the level of beauty we'd be seeing. One aspect of that particular spot was a huge surprise. My phone, which was supposed to have zero Canadian cell coverage, had extremely fast internet there because the beach pointed directly at the northern edge of Washington in the United States! Once we left the area though, I lost the connection. It was really fun to have awesome coverage for that brief moment though! :)

Inset 1: The coastal views were spectacular and this panorama looked out on a breathtaking waterscape. Pay attention to that little islet. You'll see Secretary Island on display in seven pictures among my 3-part presentation of this remarkable place.

Inset 2: This little bridge crossed a tiny creek that emptied out at one of the many little beaches along the Coastal Trail. The thick, healthy forest you see was typical of all the trails along the ocean's edge and we were so happy to be surrounded by so much lush foliage.

Inset 3: The Coastal Trail couldn't follow the edge of the land at all times because of the rough and rocky terrain. Instead, it was more of a beautiful forest trail which popped out along the edge whenever possible. Here's another pretty scenic shot with Secretary Island accenting the view.

Inset 4: You can just make out the trail in the lower left in this forest image. Densely packed with a huge variety of plants, this was the usual terrain and it never got old!

Inset 5: There weren't a lot of boats in this area but this sporty fishing boat got my attention as it sped by.

Inset 6: At the half-way point in our hike we had lunch at this rock-strewn hillside spot which looked out over the ocean. I remember a tasty highlight which Steve came up with…you take a barbecue pork rind, spread liverwurst on it and top with a slice of hard sausage. DELICIOUS!! (Stop wrinkling your nose, pork rinds are AWESOME and 100% keto!) The yellow-jacket wasps in the area were very keen on our offerings too but after we smacked a few into oblivion the others gave up and left us in peace.

Inset 7: I was delighted to find fungus of various types along the trail. I think this is a type of bracket fungus and I just love the texture of the pores.

Inset 8: This group of mushrooms looks like they have decorative edging!

Inset 9: Imagine my excitement when I looked down and saw an ORCHID! I instantly thought of my good friend, Ron Hanko, who's dedicated a large chunk of his life to these beautiful flowers. This is the Elegant Piperia Orchid (Piperia elegans), a flower which can be found in Canada's British Columbia and south to central California and as far east as Montana.

Inset 10: Elegant Piperia is also known as Coast Piperia, Hillside Rein Orchid, and Hillside Bogorchid. The tall spikes are composed of many dozen tiny, tightly-packed blossoms which deserve a close-up to really show lovely they are.

Pam, were there pretty coastal hikes you used to frequent when you lived in England? I have certainly learned that England has a gamut of terrain types so I wouldn't be surprised if you used to walk on trails similar to this one. This hike was exactly what we'd been hoping to experience--and then some. The incredible beauty of this trail could not be properly captured In pictures but I did my best! Here's hoping all is well with you my dear! I have played around with the Circle demo you told me about and once I get one that really floats my boat, I'll post it for you! :)

Explored on 11/09/19; highest placement #1.

Andreas Müller, Cheryl Kelly (cher12861 on flickr), HelenaPF, Jean-luc Drouin and 59 other people have particularly liked this photo

45 comments - The latest ones
 Dominique 60
Dominique 60 club
que dire devant de telles beautés janet !!
22 months ago.
A touching silence.
22 months ago.
LutzP club
Another wonderful series, Janet
22 months ago.
 Nicole Merdrignac
Nicole Merdrignac club
Superbe photo avec notes. Nicole. HFF.
22 months ago.
 John Cass
John Cass club
Beautiful shot, great composition and nicely framed, wonderful PiP's
22 months ago.
 Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda club
Comme a l'accoutumé,un vrai plaisir pour les yeux et les sens *******
Bonne et agreable fin de semaine.
22 months ago.
 Roger (Grisly)
Roger (Grisly) club
Marvelous series of images Janet!
22 months ago.
SUPERBES ************
22 months ago.
 José Manuel Polo
José Manuel Polo club
Es un trabajo amplio, como el paisaje, y digno de elogios.
22 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Excellent shots!

Admired in:
22 months ago.
 Erhard Bernstein
Erhard Bernstein club
That's not just a photo, it's a complete album - great!
22 months ago.
neira-Dan club
Quelle merveilleuse nature ; c'est un joli cadeau que tu nous fais
22 months ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club


22 months ago.
Nouchetdu38 club
A beautifully photographed nature!!!! Good work Janet!!!!!********
22 months ago.
 Treasa Ui Cionaodha
Treasa Ui Cionaodha club
Wonderful scenic image. Great series of PIPs Well done Janet Regards Tess.
22 months ago.
 Horizon 36
Horizon 36 club
WOW such a peacefull place, well captured Janet
22 months ago.
 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
Wonderful coastal scene; some stunning PIP's.
22 months ago.
 * ઇઉ *
* ઇઉ * club
The adventure goes on. :) Great that you found a solution for the problem of the truck suspension and brake.
This photo series shows great views of nature and beautiful details!
Happy weekend to you both.
22 months ago.
 Ulrich John
Ulrich John club
Silent, peaceful, wonderful ! A great view, Janet !
22 months ago.
uwschu club
Sehr schöne Landschaftsaufnahme mit einem prächtigem Himmel
22 months ago.
 Keith Burton
Keith Burton club
Wow - the main image is just wonderful..........I especially like the sky and cloud formations and the light reflected from them onto the sea is gorgeous. Beautiful framing too from the trees and foliage either side. It looks so tranquil there.

An amazing set of PiPs as always.............the coastal landscape shots are particularly lovely. It may be me but I think you've been doing a lot more diverse photography this year...........

PiP4 is gorgeous. I love the background trees and those gorgeous ferns in the foreground. The light is just heavenly.

PiPs7 & 8 - the fungi shots - are just stunning. Sharp and detailed with super lighting.

My fave of the PiPs are the Orchid images.............I've never seen this one before and it's really stunning. You've captured it perfectly.

Some interesting - if complicated - stuff about the truck and RV. I'm glad you're getting everything sorted (especially the safety stuff). I sound like an expensive business though :-(

Take care ;-)
22 months ago.
ROL/Photo club
Très belles vues..
bravo, Janet
merci pour ce partage
nice évening and Sunday
22 months ago. Edited 22 months ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
Oh I just love, love your pictures as always, sweetie. Your pics of the coastline, are simply stunning. Yes it is quite similar in places over here in the West Country which Pam would have seen and I'm sure she would have been delighted to see these views. The panoramas are superb and I think if I'd been there, I'd have shattered the peace with my incessant clicking away to try and capture the beauty there. You were so very lucky to be there, The woodland walks look so interesting, so it's not hard to understand why you had such a wonderful time there and want to revisit there again.

Your info about your RV and your truck, I'm afraid I'm not technically minded and a lot of it went sailing happily over my head!!!!LOL - I did understand the fact that you have had to restrengthen your brakes and suspension. As long as you and Steve are safe, that's all that matters.

I wish you are very happy and relaxing weekend
22 months ago. Edited 22 months ago.
cammino club
Wonderful images! Very interesting the orchid-species, which doesn't exist in Middle-Europa. The fungus photos is very interesting, too.
22 months ago.
 Josiane Dirickx
Josiane Dirickx club
Un endroit magnifique qui méritait bien des photos ! Bon week-end mon amie
22 months ago.
 David G Johnson
David G Johnson club
A great story continuation there.. Janet with stunning pictures... your first main opening photo is just perfect... No rush to reply.. but I am interested to know how the airbags attach to your vehicle's frame - suspension... I am not getting one !... I just like to know how things work.
Thanks for all the time you put into recording your adventures... I am green with envy !!
Best wishes .. to you all.. from Dj... UK.
22 months ago.
 Mario Vargas
Mario Vargas club
Janet: youre MAster, amazing shots, great history, I´m your big fan¡¡¡
22 months ago.
Esther club
These photos are professional quality. Everything about them is perfect.
22 months ago.
Reyk club
Es sind alle Bilder beeindruckend und mal wieder wunderbar beschrieben.
22 months ago.
 Andy Rodker
Andy Rodker club
Sperb (and what a sky!) Lovely PiPs too, as always!
22 months ago.
 Trudy Tuinstra
Trudy Tuinstra club
beautiful pictures, I love them.
22 months ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮ club
Wishing you a good day :-)
22 months ago.
Valfal club
Wow, Janet, you blow me away with your travelogues; I feel like I'm right there with you! Thank you so much for describing what you had to do to get your truck prepared for your much heavier trailer. I always was curious about engine/exhaust breaks; never knew much about them except that the truck downshifts to break, hence the "jack-hammer" sound of the engine straining under a lower gear to slow things down. And your photos!What a beautiful place to visit! I found inset 7 to be most interesting because that fungus managed to grow into the shape of the surrounding bark! I know very little of Orchids other than the colorful displays I always see at Longwood Gardens. So to see this forest orchid growing its flowers in thick tall spikes like this was an education! I can see why Ron loves them so; there are so many varieties and variations that you could spend a lifetime studying them! Beautiful work, Pod Sister! :-))
22 months ago.
 Boarischa Krautmo
Boarischa Krautmo club
22 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Na, das ist ja wieder ein fantastischer Reisebericht, Janet! Ich hoffe, dass ihr weiterhin eine gute erlebnisreiche Reise habt!
22 months ago.
Annemarie club
wonderful, superb sky!
HMM:) and a happy week ahead!
22 months ago.
dgmphoto club
Lovely panorama and orchid shots
22 months ago.
tiabunna club
A lovely series, Janet. We have friends who live near Victoria with a similar view across the water to Washington from their house. It's good to know that you're making progress with your RV/truck combination - I guess it's a little like camera gear in a way, one change leads to the next (eg more mpx and a new computer comes due. :-) ).,
22 months ago.
 Dave Roberts 2014
Dave Roberts 2014
Beautiful view with a nice sky, good composition Janet!
22 months ago.
 Herb Riddle
Herb Riddle club
Another great photo here with a range of photos to accompany that. All done in your expert technical & artistic style. Sorry though that I must leave your lengthy descriptions to the people with time -I am sure they are very good and one day I might get through them all :)

Best Wishes from a damp and cold UK. Herb

See update below!
22 months ago. Edited 22 months ago.
Ecobird club
Breathtaking scenery and a fabulous sky in the main image. Beautiful PiPs too Janet. Well captured
22 months ago.
trester88 club
Eine wunderschöne Landschaft! Da möchte ich auch gern Urlaub machen.
22 months ago.
 Herb Riddle
Herb Riddle club
Hi Janet another comment here from me. Just a couple of extra observations here after reading the whole of your description now. - I was amazed that you went into so much detail about your RV but it was all quite revealing. We too had a British version of your RV's and we spent 18+ years exploring our beautiful country along with some European spots. I had to look up your 'Wolf 26..' and I must say 'blimey' -that sure is some holiday vehicle. We have family homes which are far smaller than that. I can understand your points about the weight balance and also the brake issues with such a weighty vehicle. Goodness know how big your towing truck would have to be to pull this up your mountain passes. I used to get into a sweat when rolling down a big steep hill with our 17ft caravan, always hoping that the breaks would not burn out whilst keeping in second gear. - You asked Pam whether we have such scenic hikes as this bay over here and I can say, yes we have, but mostly not as wooded as this. Between England, Wales,Scotland and the whole of Ireland there is much wild grandeur to explore as some of my own Ipernity photos testify. Only, mostly our roads are much busier than your North American and Canadian equivalents.
Can I also inquire here, you say: 'Explored on 11/09/19; highest placement #1' - I presume you mean it was on the Ipernity Explore 'slide-show' but where or how did you get that #1 placement?

Again, a great set of photos and story telling. Sorry perhaps for me raving on here :) ~ Herb
22 months ago. Edited 22 months ago.
Esther club
I especially like the wild orchid photos.
21 months ago.
 Sylvie Coeffic
Sylvie Coeffic club
**************** :-)
21 months ago.

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