A pit stop for snacks turned into a lesson on tadpoles. Thank goodness Dad is a walking encyclopedia because there was no cell service where we were. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

A pit stop for snacks turned into a lesson on tadpoles. Thank goodness Dad is a walking encyclopedia because there was no cell service where we were. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Why Scotch broom makes a great road trip companion

An unexpected detour along the Pacific Marine Circle Route turns into a good thing

If you ever want to see excitement about kilometre after kilometre of Scotch Broom just join my kids and I on a trip to Victoria. We head south roughly once a week for one reason or another and with two under four the trek is a regular slog for this mom, but a true adventure for them. (So much so that “Are we in Canada still, Mom?” is often asked. Clearly we need a lesson in geography.)

Anyway, I don’t remember when it all began but at some point within the last few months the drive has become less about looking at all of the cool construction vehicles working on the Malahat and checking for the wacky waving arms at the various car dealerships and instead more about screaming “WHOA! SCOTCH BROOM! LOOK AT IT ALL!” at the top of their lungs whenever we see a particularly prominent patch of yellow.

It was funny at first and sometimes still is. But, for the most part, I’m over it.

My children’s father got in on the excitement on Saturday, June 9 when the plan was to make a quick trip to the south Island in the morning and be home by lunch. I’m pretty sure that before we’d even reached the summit, he was made well aware of hundreds of Scotch Broom infestations. Through ringing ears, we got done what we’d needed to in Victoria and headed for home on schedule.

It was around Goldstream Park when we had to pull over for a B.C. Ambulance Service supervisor truck booking it down the middle of the highway with lights and sirens activated. My husband and I looked at each other. We knew right away something was wrong. Soon thereafter, we joined the thousands of others parked on the highway due to a fatality on the Malahat.

“ROAD TRIP!” we declared, feigning enthusiasm, only to look in the back seat and find both kids sound asleep. Faced with waiting an estimated six hours for the road to re-open, to go get in what would be an equally long line for the Brentwood-Mill Bay ferry, or to drive the Pacific Marine Circle Route home, we had chosen the latter.

We’d last driven the route together before we were married. Before kids. Before the stresses of mortgages, and before gas was a buck and a half a litre. It was nice to spend some quality time chatting with my husband without the kids interrupting. Like old times. An hour passed and we almost forgot the kids were with us until a little voice from the back-seat squealed: “SCOTCH BROOM!”

Then the adventure truly began.

We looked at the ocean, we noticed the trees. We counted the one-lane bridges (roughly 10) and we stopped in Port Renfrew for junk food and even saw tadpoles in a little pond by the gas station. We saw the tree on the log at Fairy Lake and where fire had ripped through the forest a couple years prior. We wondered about lizards living in Lizard Lake and questioned clear-cuts while driving up mountains and winding around bumpy roads. We laughed all the while.

It was dinnertime when we pulled into the driveway. Tired, five hours late, and with a nearly-empty gas tank, but we were home safe. For an impromptu road trip with two small children and no time at all to plan, it was a dream.

My only regret is the reason we had to make the trip in the first place.

If you ever need a detailed map of where all the Scotch Broom is along the Circle Route, I know just the kids for the job.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Saanich crash closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic is impacted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read