Recently I was invited to join a group of bloggers from Western Canada for the chance to drive the vehicles in the fleet of Ford Canada SUVs.The idea was to showcase not only the Ford vehicles but to show the Sunshine Coast in the best light. As they say best laid plans…
So what happens when the weather doesn’t cooperate – that’s an opportunity to test the mettle of the Ford SUVs and put the vehicles through their paces. While on my way to the marshalling point at Gateway Valet YVR Airport the CanadaLine it felt like I was going through a monsoon. I quickly realized when I arrived that we had experienced an unseasonal hail storm. Everything was covered in white, it looked like a dump of snow had hit.
The morning started with breakfast at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and a chance to meet all the other journalists, bloggers and influencers who had arrived that morning from several cities in Western Canada. We first paired with another participant who would accompany us on our #FordSUV trip to the Sunshine Coast. A Ford Canada representative escorted each pair to their vehicle and made sure we were familiar with all aspects of the SUV before we started off for Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. My travelling companion and I struck out in the storm.
The trip was taxing from the outset as we encountered considerable flooding on the road leading from the airport. Fortunately, the Ford Flex was up for the challenge, tracking well despite the high water that had forced all vehicles to merge to avoid lanes that were impassable. The next troublesome roadway was again flooding this time while driving through the Stanley Park Causeway. We felt safe and comfortable inside the Ford Flex even while the weather outside was horrid.
We arrived at the ferry terminal within our designated reservation time and soon we were being loaded on the ferry for the Sunshine Coast. The trip is about 45 minutes and normally picturesque if the weather is cooperating. The navigation system on the Ford Flex was simple to program and made our trip into Gibson’s Landing smooth.
I had not been to the Sunshine Coast for a number of years and had never been to Smitty’s Oyster House, definitely, a trip that I am going to repeat in the future. Smitty’s is a funky seafood restaurant that gives a nod to not only its location but to locally sourced seafood. Some of the braver souls tried their hand at shucking fresh oysters but the best part was eating the oysters and all the other culinary options. We noshed on a charcuterie board laden with fresh vegetables, coldcuts, cheeses and assorted bread.Everything was so good and we enjoyed juicy steamed mussels, tangy chili lime prawns, creamy seafood chowder and crispy halibut fritters, absolutely delicious.
Next, we wandered up the road past the Persephone that anchors the corner at the start of what I would describe as the tourist stroll. We were treated to a complimentary olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting at the Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. It was amazing and I came home with two flavours that I can’t wait to try on my salad. Having a bit of a sweet tooth I couldn’t resist the peach and the raspberry balsamic vinegars both in a 200 ml size that I think won’t last too long.
We next travelled to Roberts Creek where we were to meet for an outdoor yoga experience. Fortunately, the rain abated in time for us to enjoy some light yoga posses that helped everyone unwind and relax after the morning’s road trip. The skies were clearing just enough to allow some photo ops of the gorgeous waterfront scenery.
The fresh air had worked up our appetites and we stopped off at The Gumboot Restaurant in Roberts Creek for coffee and an assortment of savoury and sweet goodies.
On the road again with our navigation set to direct us to our final destination, the picturesque Painted Boat Resort Spa and Marina. The accommodations were modern, spacious and very comfortable. The vistas from our room were extraordinarily beautiful. Located directly on the ocean with views of the marina and harbour from every room.
Following some free time to settle in, we met in the Harbour View Room for a snack and another chance to get to know one another while we enjoyed a slide show of nature photographs Although the weather was a bit of a disappointment it actually was beneficial to have more subdued lighting as we gathered outdoors to take part in an Introduction to photography and a group nature walk of grounds and a photography lesson.
Next, there was free time to explore the resort’s outdoor activities (canoeing, cycling, nature walk) or take a vehicle for site seeing/photography. Later we enjoyed cocktails, craft beer, wine, and caviar tasting from Northern Divine Caviar before heading to the Lagoon Restaurant for dinner.
S’mores and an astronomer session with a RASC member and a guided stargazing tour were planned. Also, a night time photography lesson was on the agenda but again the cloudy weather made it impossible to use the telescope. Fortunately, the campfire under a huge tent on the patio, the warm blankets and the anticipation of the s’mores kept the chills away.
As so often happens on our coast, the next morning dawned bright and sunny with clear blue skies. With just a bit of time until our ferry reservation arrival time I drove back into Gibson’s Landing to pick up a few souvenirs.
The #FordSUV Adventure on the Sunshine Coast in BC was such a good time and driving the Ford Flex so enjoyable I can’t wait for my next excursion. You never know where your next inspiration might take you but you can be sure you’ll #gofurther in a Ford.
I received this trip complimentary to facilitate my review of the Ford Flex. All opinions and comments are my own.