Sunday, October 15, 2017

GONE SOUTH

Today was the day to cross into the US.  We left Richard and Robin's right on schedule at 8 am this morning.  Being Sunday morning, traffic was very light all the way through downtown Victoria to the ferry dock.  We were half an hour early arriving and there were lots of vehicles there already.  Good thing I sprung for a reservation as the boat was jammed full.  Our arrival was two hours ahead of boarding as you are required to be in the line one and a half hours before departure.
It was a gorgeous day for travel, a welcome break from the dismal weather of the past few days.  There were some big swells out in the middle of the crossing causing the boat to roll quite a bit side to side.  We had a grumpy US Customs guy in the parking lot at Victoria but the chap after exiting the ferry at Port Angeles was most pleasant.
We parked in the Safeway parking lot and went in and refilled the larder as we had no fresh food left in the fridge.  Today, we weren't even asked if we had fresh fruit, veggies or meat!  You can't win.    We had our lunch in the parking lot before moving along to our destination for tonight.  We are in Cove RV Park in Brinnon, WA, well under a hundred miles from the ferry.  Its nice to have a shorter drive after sitting and waiting for a ferry.  It positions us well for the next few stages of our journey.  Tomorrow we will probably put on about 260 miles if things work out.  The next day should be quite a bit less, perhaps 200 miles followed by our longest day which will be about 350 miles.  After that, we hope to stay in place for a few days and enjoy some pleasant weather.
We don't have cell service here tonight but we have fair park WiFi.  We may have no internet for the next couple of days.  If there is cell service, Aileen will be able to check emails on her phone but I will be taking some internet down time.  I thought we would try to make it all the way to Florence without activating our Verizon air card for a change. 

While waiting for the ferry, I took a few shots of Victoria Harbour

The Empress Hotel from the ferry dock

Our ride, the MV Coho, enters Victoria Harbour from Port Angeles, WA.  We loaded through that side door and exited out the back end.

A couple of resident tall ships in Victoria

The next several images are from the ferry as we depart Victoria Harbour

A little harbour tour boat

A passenger only ferry

That's a pricey RV park in the center behind the boats

Farewell to Victoria and Canada until next year


After getting the motor home settled and Aileen napping, I went back the way we had come to see if I could get some photos of a waterfall mentioned on a sign.  Nope, couldn't find the waterfall or the trail leading to it.  I did see a photo of it and it was a long skinny waterfall which I imagine probably has little to no water in it at this time.  However, I did see another sign to Walker Peak and this was the view I was rewarded with for making the four mile drive up the hill.  That is 14,410 foot Mt Rainier.  Seattle is just to the left of it apparently.

The main body of water is Hood Canal with Dabob Bay at this end

We were entertained by a few Gray Jays at the viewpoint.  We always called them Whiskey Jacks.


And these well behaved pups sat where they were told to

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

OUR 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PARTY

And what a party it was!  We had just over 100 people attend and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves.  We started with having a gathering for our 50th and then stretched it to include a Pickard family reunion.   My father was from a family of eight and he had eight of us.  The other seven of Dad's siblings have twenty two surviving children.  Add in the next generation and the spouses and there were quite a few to invite.  There were just three attendees who weren't in some way related to Aileen or myself. 
It took quite a bit of planning to pull it off but we were grateful for family and friends who stepped up to help.  In the end, it went off very smoothly.  Our son Richard did a great job as MC keeping things moving along.
Now the time has come to get busy with heading south plans.  Oops, not really plans as I'm not much for that.  We moved down to North Saanich, near Victoria today and have managed to wiggle the motor home in to Richard & Robin's lower driveway.  It is a very tight fit and perhaps I will include some photos next post.  We're hoping to get some visiting in with family and friends while we're here.
On Sunday morning we will take the ferry to Port Angeles then follow the coast route south through Washington State.  We will probably go as far as Newport,Oregon before turning east, eventually passing through Las Vegas on our way to Florence, AZ.
The fall rains have begun so we packed up in the rain this morning and had intermittent showers all the way.  We made a stop at a tire shop in Duncan to have the motor home wheels re-torqued as required after having the new tires installed recently.

The hall before the influx of people

Our friend Karen from Penticton did an awesome job with the floral decorations




Cousins getting together

Lots of volunteer help in the kitchen

Aileen, my cousin Sharon, Georgia and Sharon's daughter Terri

There is never a shortage of food at a Pickard gathering.  Other than the meat, this was a potluck.

Our son in law Kevin and our son (and MC) Richard 

When the silverware started tinkling on the wine glasses, we hid.  Since Aileen is celiac, I couldn't kiss her on the lips after I had eaten food with gluten.

So, there!

Aileen made four gluten free cakes and my sister Becky and her daughter Heather, decorated them.  The cakes were yummy.



Aileen and myself, Richard and Bev, our offspring

And here we have included the spouses and Georgia

We danced for over two hours

We hired this great five piece band

Richard, Aileen and my cousin Chris

Sunday, October 1, 2017

NEW RUNNING SHOES FOR THE MOTOR HOME

Last Sunday, Charlie, John R and I took our ATVs for a run up the Cook Creek Forestry Road for my last ride this fall.  We had a nice day even though the lighting wasn't great.
We went up to Campbell River last Monday and got new tires all the way around on the motor home.  Kind of pricey but since the original tires were over ten years old, it just seemed prudent to get it done.  We went for lunch at Dick's Fish and Chips with Bill and visited until the job was complete.
We spent the night at Bill's then Tuesday morning we moved down to Miracle Beach Provincial Park to camp with John and Anne for three nights.  John and I geocached extensively for three days, mostly on foot so I was getting pretty tired by the end.  We had some good times though.  John and I did a night cache one night and that was a hoot.  You wander along the trails with flashlights looking for tiny reflectors that point you in the direction you must go.  This particular one was called a hat trick, in that there were three caches hidden along the route.  We were successful in finding them all!  The ladies went to Courtenay two days and Campbell River the other with various lists.  They were reasonably successful in their endeavours.
Last evening, we went to the Mekong Restaurant in Parksville with John and Sue and had a very nice meal.  They came back to the motor home with us and Janet and John joined us to do some final planning for our party.
We met RV group friends, Doug and Verona, at Montana's Steakhouse in Nanaimo for lunch today and had a good last visit before we head south.  This was our last chance to get together with them as Verona is off on a week long quilting retreat tomorrow.

Mitzy sound asleep in her bed.  Now that she's mostly blind and mostly deaf, she didn't even react to the flash.  In the past, just the focus light on the camera would cause her to open her eyes.

A Steller's Jay at Charlie and Sheila's the other day.  He seemed to be in distress in some way as he let me get to within six feet.  We thought he had something stuck in his throat or perhaps he had been stung in the mouth.  He did fly away after a bit. 


Charlie above Esary Lake

Some rocky scenery up the Cook-Horne Forest Service Road

Oops, tight fit.  We had to slide the back wheels over a few inches to get him through.

A pretty little waterfall up a side road on Sunday.  I doubt it will look as pristine next time I visit that area as there were ribbons nearby indicating that logging is imminent.

I spotted this turkey vulture on the Oyster River while we were geocaching one day.  He is looking for spawned out salmon to feast on.

While geocaching along a trail the other day, I spotted this ancient pear tree loaded with fruit.  They  are a long way from being ripe and I bet a bear gets them before they do ripen.

The Red Oosier Dogwood is starting to wear fall colours

This is how a turkey vulture washes his face

Turkey Vulture wondering what I'm going to do


Friday, September 22, 2017

ARBUTUS TREES BY THE OCEAN AND MORE

Time is counting down.  Just over three weeks until we cross the border heading for Arizona. Tomorrow we are going to a celebration of life for my Dad's brother.  My Dad was from a family of eight.  The first five of them passed years apart but the last three all passed away in less than six months this year.  The last one had requested no service so hopefully this is the last celebration for a while.  It is mostly the only way we get to see the extended family but not the best way. 

Not so much fall as drought caused early leaf drop on some of the maples

We went down to one of our favourite spots to see if there would be a sunset last night.  Sunset fizzled but the late light was nice on the Arbutus trees. 



Sunset

Giving up on the sunset, I turned my camera the opposite direction and found the light was very nice


All the above photos were taken with my Canon 6D and 24-105mm lens with the camera on my tripod

While sitting out in the sun this morning, I noticed a couple of spiders busy constructing new webs

Web weaver at work

The spider photos were taken with my Canon 5D Mark 2 and Canon 100mm macro lens hand held.  It took a lot of shots to get these three!  There is very little depth of field when using macro lenses so rather difficult to get the subject in focus.