“People must have found traveling down island pretty grueling back in the day.  It was like uncharted territory commuting that distance on gravel logging roads, or traveling by ferry when the roads washed out.  Fifteen hour trips or more one way to get medical aid,” he shuddered then continued, “Sometimes I’m all for modern conveniences like decent roads and highways.”

“The road from Gold River to Woss is unbelievable.  No matter how beautiful the countryside, I don’t think it’s worth the five mile an hour speed limit,” Andrew grimaced as he said it.

“I drove that road once, but that was enough for me,”  Eilea laughed aloud.

Conversation was animated with Andrew actively participating throughout the drive.  Reaching the turn-off into Parksville, Paul said, “I know it’s a delay, but if I’m not mistaken, the international Sandcastle Competition is happening.  What do you think?”

“Your right, I’d forgotten all about it.”

“I’ve never been to a real Sandcastle Contest before, I’m in,” Andrew voted.

Paul signaled and they left the highway heading to Parksville.  The sun was hot, the beach full of eager participants along with a huge audience.

The kids parked several vehicles away, but when they met up, they walked the beach together.  “Wow, most of the sandcastles are so detailed, how do they do that?” Theresa asked in amazement.

“I don’t know much about the contest other than there’s a time limit to construct the sandcastles – between tides.  The logistics would demand it anyway.  As soon as the tide rolls in, the sandcastles wash away.”

“Mom, do you have a favourite?”

“It’s hard to say ’cause I don’t think we’ve seen them all yet.  How about you?”

“Definitely the Disney Castle has my vote,” Christina replied.

Andrew laughed, “Who would have guessed!” they all chimed in fully aware she had a penchant for anything Mickey.

“I can’t get over how large some of them are.  Like how do they manage to keep them together without the sand drying out?  Not to mention it’s like artwork, some are really detailed!” Christina observed.

“Anyone else interested in getting something to drink? I’m thirsty.”  Eilea said.

A unison of agreement followed so they wandered toward a small building and bought drinks and ice cream all round before continuing on down the beach.

As they wandered through the milling crowd excitedly observing participants scurrying about finishing their creations, they were awed by their intent and determination even as they laughed at the kibitzing and humour among competing teams.  As they headed toward their vehicles Theresa remarked, “I’m glad I’m not a judge I doubt I could choose, there were so many amazing and remarkable sandcastles from the small ones to the massive ones!  I had no idea people got into this stuff, but it was worth seeing for sure.”

Paul pulled into a garage.  “Be right back!”  When he returned with a package, he dropped it into the glove box.  “For later.”

They were under way heading toward Port Alberni when Eilea mentioned stopping at Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park.

Paul responded with, “Alrighty then.”

“Oh no, don’t tell me, another Jim Carey fan!”

“How’d you guess?”

“Did you see the Mask?”  Andrew asked.

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