Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crofton, BC

Brenda and Gina gabbing!


We have left Nanaimo behind but not to far behind we have just moved a few kilometres down the road to the Osborne Bay Resort at Crofton. We have a spot right on the beach here and will spend the evening having dinner with my SIL Janet. This is a pretty little mill town right on the seaside on Osborne Bay. It was difficult to leave John and Gina’s behind they always make you feel so much at home. Their new Bed and Breakfast “A River B&B” should be a big success, they have a beautiful spot along the river on a quiet side street. You can see some of our earlier posts for more photos of their spot. Tough to write much of a story about a 20 mile drive.
Crofton Docks in the background

Here is a shot of our bus on the beach

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We have spent another day at John and Gina’s along side the river. Not much happening today, but we did make an excursion away from the river and into the downtown, so the ladies could drag John and I through a couple of kitchen stores and then for lunch at a local Mexican Cafe also named Gina’s. The food is always good here and today was no exception. John is still working and is doing the afternoon shift at the mill this week so once he is off to the grind it is just us retired folks and the part-timers left to enjoy happy hour on the beautiful deck he is working to pay off. Who said life is fair.

Monday, October 27, 2008

John and Gina's - A Little Piece of Heaven

This is a shot up from the river to their house and sauna

We are parked at our friends John and Gina’s place near Nanaimo, BC. They have a beautiful spot along the Nanaimo River complete with a fantastic log home and a cabin that they have set up as a Bed and Breakfast. If you are ever in the area and looking for a nice place to stay this is the location for you. The cabin sleeps six with a queen sized bed and a couple of hide-a-beds and includes washer, dryer and a fully equipped kitchen, just a short 150 foot walk from the river bank. You can doze off in the afternoon sun listening the sound of water rushing through the rocks below. In the summer this is apparently a pretty popular spot with the locals for an afternoon dip in the cooling waters.

Today we did a little running around and got a few groceries at the new Country Foods store. As well as making the required trip to Walmart also. I needed to pick up a telephone to work with our MagicJack and an extension for all the many things we plug in while driving. Other than that it was a day for sitting on the deck of John and Gina’s and enjoying the countryside.

Here is the view up the Nanaimo River towards the trestles

Thought this might have been Penny from Lake Conroe

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Onto the Island

Well for all those who are wondering, we got out of Dan and Starla’s drive without getting stuck, blocking traffic, or wrecking anything. We are right at the moment sitting at the ferry dock in Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver getting ready to hit the waves. This is a pretty tough outfit to sit and wait in, what with all the comforts of home including TV and the Internet. This is what they mean when say “Roughing it, Smoothly”. Oh yah and for all those who were wondering about the cost for the ferry, it’s high but still not as bad as a few hotel rooms. I’ll finish this later after I see whether or not I can get into John Joe and Gina’s driveway without incident.

We made it off the ferry in Nanaimo and down to John Joe and Gina’s, the spot in their driveway is perfect. No problems at all. They have a beautiful spot along side the Nanaimo River overlooking a popular swimming hole at a place called the trestles for those of you who know the river. I most certainly will have some photos for you tomorrow.

Stuck, EH! - October 25, 2008

We left Chase in the morning and headed over the Coquihalla Highway to Chilliwack. There was some snow on the road in the high spots past Logan Lake, but nothing in the driving lane. We stopped along the way in Merritt to replenish our propane. There are some pretty steep hills along this route both up and down but the outfit negotiated them with no problems.
Once we arrived in Chilliwack we decided we had better unhook the Jeep before attempting the corner into Dan and Starla’s acreage. Even with the Jeep unhooked we managed to get stuck in the driveway. After a lot of standing around looking we called the Automobile Club to send a wrecker out to drag us out. However while we were waiting we figured that if we could lift the back left wheel off the ground and get something under it we would be able to free ourselves. With the help of the levelling jack and a huge 3 x 18 plank that Dan had, we managed to back ourselves out, just as the wrecker arrived. This was probably the only solution that would let us escape our predicament without incurring any damage to the new coach. Once we got out, we were able to attempt an entrance from another angle and get onto the acreage, and tomorrow we are hopeful we will be able to leave. However if that doesn’t come to pass we have power and the company of friends for the winter, LOL.
We enjoyed a nice visit with Dan and Starla and Dan’s son Taylor. Just before supper was ready Starla’s friend Sandra showed up on the scene with some Yorkshire puddings to go with the roast beef we were eating. The meal was excellent and their house is beautiful.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On the Road

Well we made it over two ranges of mountains and a bunch of construction sites and have arrived a little west of Chase, BC. We are staying at the Ponderosa Pines RV Park. It is alongside the Trans-Canada Highway and just across that I can see the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Maybe not the greatest location but it is a pretty spot and the lady that operates it is very friendly. We fueled up at the Shell station in Salmon Arm, not the most accessible site for a rig this size pulling an SUV but with some grease and a little curb climbing we made it in and out with no scrapes or dents. The new outfit works just great, up hill and dale with no problem and it handles on the road much better than our old Chieftain. It has the new PowerBridge chassis from Freightliner and so far it seems a better model that the older one. Time will tell though. We are still trying to figure out some things though. This unit has a high tech radio, CD, MP3, satellite radio player combined with the rear vision camera and the side vision camera's as well as the GPS. I am not familar with the GPS so have the old (last years) Garmin 7200 on the dash as I like its features better. While we are towing I like to have the rear vision camera on just to be able to glance back and check on the jeep now and then. Every time you signal the side vision camera's take over the screen and when that is done the screen defaults to the radio rather than back to the rearview. Hopefully there is a way to change that but who know how. Give me something to do in the evenings I guess.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Almost Gone

Well, here we are on the verge of leaving on another adventure. We have been pretty busy this week, what with picking up the new outfit on the weekend and then getting it ready and loaded. It now has its satellite TV dish installed and everything working on that. We had a couple of things to get fixed before leaving, first the leveling jacks had some warning buzzers going off stating that they were not retracted. Turns out that between Indiana and here the fluid level dropped a little. No leaks at least that I can find but I added a couple of ounces of fluid and all seems well. There also was a very slow water leak under the bathroom sink, I tightened the fitting as best as I could and it was still leaking so yesterday I took her into the dealership and they fixed it up for us. We did a bunch of running around and got all our vehicle licenses renewed as they expire while we are still away. Brenda got herself a new camera so hopefully we will see some pictures coming from that over the winter. With her behind the lense you might even get some shots of people, not one of my stronger subjects.

We are loading all of the stuff out of the old motorhome and this new one has so much more storage, at least in my area underneath, that it seems like we have nothing at all with us. I am sure we will resolve that issue as the winter goes on though.

Today we have a few more appointments to keep, hair cuts, financial stuff and the doc and then we are hoping to get on the road west towards Vancouver Island sometime tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well that's it. Yep, once again I am retired. I had a few things to do today at the office, then a catch up lunch with my middle brother. This afternoon my Dad and I went shopping for a new recliner for his apartment in Calgary. He's decided to spend the winter in town while we are away. A young lady down the road is going to stay in our house and keep an eye on Dad's which is 200 yards away as well as watch out for Meg, our Border Collie, and Socks, Dad's Heeler.

So now it is time to start loading and getting ready for this winters adventure. We have changed our mind a few dozen times about where we are heading for but so far all we know is that if the weather cooperates we are heading over the Rockies to Vancouver Island and catch up with some friends there before we head south. There is no shortage of things to do but it will all get done on time, maybe. Well if it doesn't we will be right on the schedule we don't have. Oh yah, the new bus has arrived and we picked it up on Saturday. On the whole it is all we had hoped for, there have been a few glitches but nothing that I haven't been able to fix up with some instructions over the phone or via email from the great folks at Woody's RV on the west side of Calgary. I've only got one photo of it so far but by the end of the winter you'll be sick of looking at her.

Well that will have to do for now. We are going to test out the Sleep number bed tonite so this will be our first night in the new home.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yaha Tinda

Well I promised to take you on a journey to a place that is special to my wife and I. It is the place we chose to exchange our vows and the place that we have chosen to spend as much time as possible in our retirement. We have acquired an outfit that is fit for purpose for this place. It doesn't have the comforts of home that our Motorhome does but it isn't exactly roughing it either. If you have a good look at the above photo you can tell we are loaded and ready to head West. Sadly this photo is a year old and the contract I have been working on this summer precluded us from heading out this summer. Oh well, there is always next summer and we will make it then. This beautiful spot is called the Yaha Tinda, a Stoney word for "little prairie in the mountains." And it truly is in the mountains. Along the Red Deer River set in Western Alberta between the front range of the Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park it has been for thousands of years a place of significance for residents of the area. Because of those prairies in the mountains it has a large population of Elk that winter here and stay to have their young, before moving into the back country of Banff National Park. It is now home to a Federal government owned ranch which is where the National Park wardens train and winter the horses they use to patrol the back country of all the Western Canadian National Parks. Up until about 2 years ago they also had a breeding program here that bred and raised those horses.

This is a place where there is always time to set a spell and jaw with good friends.

One of a number of falls that are in the area and can be accessed only on foot or horseback. This one is called Wolf Creek although that is our dog Meg and her buddy Fergie in the pool not real wolves, although they are here also.

In this shot you get a good view of the "little prairie in the mountains" and that prominent mountain in the background is called Wardens Rock and it marks the boundary to Banff National Park. This is one of my favourite views on the planet and one that figures prominently in many of the photos I have taken in this area. It is also taken from one of the best lunch spots in the country.
It's not always a green spot but it certainly is always a beautiful one even if you can't get the funny looking cowboys out of the shot. The mare I am ridings' name is Willow and she is a favourite around our place, well I guess they all are favourites.

Another shot of Wardens Rock but the significance of this one is that on a sunny hot day one summer this was the background for our wedding. Brenda doesn't trust me with the wedding photos so this was the best I had with me, out here on the road.
A couple of the residents of this area wondering what that camera guy is looking at. This is an area that is home to a large elk population as I mentioned before as well as Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bears, wolves, cougars, moose, and a myriad of other critters and birds.

This the view out of the window of our outfit, not hard to figure out why we have fallen in love with and in this place.

Crossing the Red Deer River, and it's not hard to see why I like a horse with a little leg under him. Those horses that are shorter and nicer for an old guy to get on also mean you are coming home with wet feet in this country.

This is another good place for lunch with some good friends overlooking another of the areas falls. It is called Hidden Falls so the fact that you can't see it is not surprising. Believe me it is worth the 2 hour ride to get up here and see it.

Well once you get done all the hard riding it is important to set a spell and maybe write a few things down so that that old brain doesn't forget the details.

As you all know it hasn't been a good week in the North American markets and we are all wondering how that will affect our futures. I think that as Canadians we are seeing less problems with our banking system, it is more regulated than others are, but the market here is taking a beating and as our resources are plummeting in price it is really showing in the energy business I have spent my life in. We have been fortunate so far in our life together and are hoping that God willing that fortune will continue. I really believe that the markets will eventually bottom out and the companies that were quality before will be quality after. It must have been dumb luck but we have managed to get the price on our new Motorhome locked in before the Canadian dollar began its slide this fall, and the money for it is in the bank. Sure hope the bank is still there when we go to get it next week! I can't help but believe that much of this debacle in the markets is brought on by greed. Don't get me wrong I like high returns as much as the next guy but a couple of years ago I decided that I had better protect some of our future and locked up some of our investments in more conservative places that I think are fairing pretty well this last month or so. In fact I think we may be on the cusp of the biggest buying opportunity of the last century and what this market needs is a little confidence to allow it to get it's feet back under it.

God willing and the creeks don't rise it's 2 weeks till we hit the road.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Grandchildren and the Place We Leave Behind

Annika and Lucas and their cousin, our eldest granddaughter Claire.

I thought I have done some of these posts on some of the great places and people we have seen while travelling and working, so it was probably time I did something about the places and people we leave behind when we head out in the fall for warmer climes. We are blessed with a great family, including those "Grand" children that seem to be even more perfect than their parents. I am going to include some shots of the grandchildren but I'll leave their parents and our other kids (future parents of more grandchildren) for another time.

Here's a shot of Madison and Annika

We live on small farm NW of Calgary, Alberta, Canada near a place called Dogpound. That is along a highway that they call the "Cowboy Trail." Legend has it the name Dogpound comes from the noise the dogs used to make as they travelled along the creek bed in the winter. It is a beautiful place to be, quiet and peaceful and with a great view of the Rocky Mountains out of our homes windows. I always tell folks if it wasn't for those mountains we'd have a pretty good view of the ocean.

Here is a shot off of our deck in the summer.

Looks as green as Ireland in this shot. We are in an area where Timothy hay is the principal crop although at other times we are likely to have barley or oats just to give the place a rest from the hay. Most of the hay that is harvested here is shipped overseas, if you're lucky enough to get it off without any rain, where they used it for roughage for their cattle who otherwise are on a grain ration. We have sent a couple of crops down to Florida for some dairy operators there. Hmmm, wonder if I could figure a way to make a winter trip to Florida tax deductible. Call it business development or something.

Another shot off of our deck first thing in the morning as that alpenglow brushes the mountains to the west of us.

Now why would anyone leave this veritable paradise on earth. A little thing called winter, and although the scenery is no less beautiful, damn I hate looking at it with my long underwear on. I figured that at least for a few years I have enough photographs to remind me what it looks like and every once in while I can stand in front of fridge with the door open to recreate the climate.

Another shot from the living room window.

Well it won't be too long until we start to meander our way south again. We are hoping that our new coach arrives in the next couple of weeks and after a short time spent loading and rigging it up we are aiming for a departure around the 24th of October. We are thinking, weather cooperating, we are going to head out through the Rockies to the West Coast and visit some friends there before beginning the southward travel, down I-5. We'll play it according to the weather though, if the roads are not good, we'll head directly south down I-15. Once we get loaded and on the road we have nowhere special to be so we will just follow the sun.

Next post I am going to try and take you on a trip to a special place where we take our horses, time permitting, for some mountain trail riding.