Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Beach volleyball is very popular in Parksville - 18 nets in action

Parksville Beach and boardwalk

No idea who they are, just innocent victims of my camera

Yesterday I took the truck to the GM dealer for its major service and they gave me a ride home. I spent the rest of the morning and a bit after lunch editing photos then posting them to the blog. It is very time consuming but I feel a really necessary part of the blog. These days it is my only real outlet for my pictures.

After lunch I printed Aileen’s letter to her pen pal in New Zealand, Deanna. Then the GM shop called to say the truck was ready and they would send the van right out so I went out by the road and waited. And waited, and waited. Finally after over an hour, I called and oh, yes, he’s coming. Well, in another half hour or more, he finally did. When I returned, I called BC Hydro and Teresen Gas to advise them of the upcoming change and both had already been switched to our buyer’s as of yesterday. It sounded like they were pretty eager to get moved in.

Today was the day we’ve been patiently waiting for. Our house in Salmon Arm is officially someone else’s. We received confirmation just after lunch that the funds had been deposited to the bank for us. We are homeless! And as Aileen says happily, “strata less”!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Georgia wonders what's inside the clam shell

Georgia at the "Shoe Tree" on the Holberg Road

North Island logging roads aren't for the faint of heart! This is the main road to Grant Bay

Aileen's sister Anne's grandkids Nikkayla and Travyn with Georgia and Richard


An unladylike Nikki snorting water out her nose


Richard and Georgia with their fish and chips on the Campbell River pier

Parksville sand castle competition - contestants from around the world entered, on display for a month


Aileen, Georgia and Richard on the Grant Bay Trail

Mitzy and me at Grant Bay

Beyond that point is nothing but open ocean until Asia

Grant Bay

Aileen, Georgia and Richard at Grant Bay

Mitzy is keeping an eye on her group

Georgia with her shadow and reflection

Brooks Peninsula is the far bit of land, Winter Harbour goes in this side of it

Aileen and Georgia

L-R Mitzy, me. Aileen, brother in law John, Georgia and Richard

The tortuous growth of an old growth Western Red Cedar


Telegraph Cove - whale watching mecca

Kayaking is very popular at Telegraph Cove

The clear ocean water at Pulteney Point Lighthouse

The ocean is a little rough the other side of Pulteney Point - this is just below the bottom of Queen Charlotte Sound and open Pacific

Leaving Sointula

Arriving at Port McNeill

Georgia and Aileen playing catch with Richard - the ball is about to enter the net

I saw a cruise ship from right out in front of John and Anne's house

A stormy sunset at Cluxewe

A peaceful sunset at Qualicum Beach

Monday, July 26, 2010


Well this was a long gap in posting my blog but we’ve been so busy the past week, I couldn’t find time to fit it in. We had our son Richard and grand daughter Georgia with us for ten days and had lots of fun.

Last Sunday, the 18th, Aileen made French toast for breakfast and Georgia ate six half slices of bread and would have eaten more had she been permitted. R&G were pretty involved with Mike and Shaunee’s kids that morning plus Dennis and April’s as well in the afternoon.

I took Mitzy for several walks and she was on several others so was pooped that night. It was another gorgeous day with very strong wind which really cooled things off. We had lunch on our own then Aileen and I cooked supper for us and John and Anne. She did a piece of wild sockeye I bought at QF the other day and spuds plus made some coleslaw. I cooked a couple steaks using the large propane tank adapter for the first time.

We all six went for a walk out to the point in pairs. R&G, J& me, A&A. The fog rolled in covering the sun just after we returned. Aileen called Lynda in Cumberland that evening and she reports the doctor didn’t think she broke anything so that was lucky.

Sunday was a night was good for sleeping. I made it about nine hours. Georgia made the whole night in her own bed which is impressive apparently. We went to town mid morning. Aileen and Richard went to the post office while Georgia and I listened to the radio. I saw my cousin, Steve A, coming into the PO so called him over to meet Richard and Georgia.

From there we went to the Bargain Shop for some Georgia clothes. Lunch was at the Sportsman Cafe and very good. Next stop was Anne’s to do laundry and for the kids to play. We were there most of the afternoon. We visited with John when he arrived home. Aileen and Anne went down for groceries then we headed back out to the campsite. Aileen managed a few minutes rest after storing the groceries. R&G went to the beach.

Aileen cooked spuds and broccoli and made a salad, I cooked chicken on the BBQ. Anne and John, Dennis and April and the kids arrived shortly after six. Richard and I brought up a second table and that worked well. John brought an old tarp which we strung from the trailer to the divider wall and it helped cut some of the wind. R, G, A & I joined John and Anne at their fire after the kids had gone home. Dennis called later saying he would drop off a coat for Georgia in the morning as we were thinking of going to Grant Bay the next day.

On Tuesday, John decided to play hookey and come to Grant Bay with us. We left the trailer at 8:55 and parked the truck at the trail head at about 11:40. We packed our lunch in and ate at the beach. It sure was a nice trail in and only took ten minutes or less to walk out to the beach. Grant Bay turned out to be a real gem of a beach. The weather was perfect, the soft sand higher up the beach was almost to hot to walk on, the breeze was offshore and warm, the wet sand was firm and great for walking barefoot, the waves were interesting and we almost had it to ourselves. Just a few hundred yards from the beach is the open Pacific with nothing between us and Asia. One couple with two grand daughters came soon after us and nobody else til we were leaving. I spoke at length with the first couple, and then later she asked if I was who I am and she introduced themselves as Al and Kathy Martin. She’d been in the Post Office that morning in Port McNeill and Anne had mentioned we were going to Grant Bay when Kathy said that was where they going. I went to school with both Al and Kathy and in July 1967, I slept on their couch for about three weeks when I first moved to Port Hardy. They went to Australia in 1970 for a year and I hadn’t seen them since. They didn’t recognize me and I didn’t have a clue who they were either.

We headed for home at 2:32 and stopped for a break in Holberg. It was about 5:10 when we got back to the trailer and a total distance of 232 kms, all but about 70 - 80 kms was gravel. We would have loved to stay much later but had reservations for fish and chips in the Cluxewe Café for 6 PM. The fish was very good.

On Wednesday morning, Richard and I went to Telegraph Cove for a drive and look around. We went into Port McNeill mid afternoon. Took G’s picture at the World’s largest burl then went to the Gallery to get G a couple of books.

Up to Anne’s next where Aileen did laundry. Richard and I washed our truck then John and Anne’s Ford pickup. I spent a long time vacuuming our truck while Richard joined the three kids in the hot tub. I took a whack of pictures with the little Kodak then after the pool was empty I had a long soak. Richard took a picture of me snoozing in the tub.

Richard barbequed the pork steaks we’d taken in and Aileen had made dessert. We had Anne’s veggies. Shortly after supper we all adjourned back out here. I went with John and Anne out to the point with the dogs. Aileen joined John and Anne for awhile at their fire then I went over. After a bit Aileen went home to bed and Richard came over. We actually had a bit of rain on us at the fire.

We got mobile and on the road about 9:30 Thursday morning. We stopped for gas then headed down and were first in the Malcolm Island ferry lineup. We had nice weather all day but it was very windy. We ate in the same little café as last time, in

Sointula, after visiting the museum. After lunch we walked along the beach to Pultenay Point lighthouse. Then we only had time to drive through Bere Point Park and some of the back streets of Sointula before it was time to get in the ferry lineup again.

We went to Anne’s when we got off the ferry. We were supposed to have Chinese food but the plans were changed since Anne had the grandkids til late as Dennis and April were playing ball. The ladies instead went shopping and bought steaks which John cooked. We headed home just before 8 PM as Georgia and Aileen were both pooped.

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny with no wind. It was the best morning we had up there. We spent awhile in the campsite blowing bubbles etc then mid morning headed off to Port Hardy. We detoured into Coal Harbour first. Malone’s Bistro in Port Hardy was our choice for lunch and we had a good one.

After lunch, we visited Mac and Nancy (my aunt) for a little while. We got to see my cousin Dale for a few minutes. He’s a hard guy to pin down – gotta go! From there we had to boogey back to Port McNeill in time to mind Travyn while Anne took Nikki to swimming. I took the truck for gas and pumped up the rear tires again in preparation for towing.

We all went to a Chinese restaurant for supper. Just as we finished eating, my cousin Donna called. They were out at Cluxewe looking to see us. We went by their house later for a few minutes visit. Back at the campsite, we walked out to the point with John and Anne. They’d been and were on their way back but turned around and joined us. It was a beautiful evening when we went into the restaurant but dark and foggy when we came out. It was much cooler. The sun was shining on Sointula though, which we could see across the strait.

I took Mitzy down the river trail Saturday morning and was hardly started when we met a guy from Port Alberni and had a long chat. Then before I got to having breakfast, the guy next door got really chatty. I was trying to get started on the hookup process. We were ready to go just after 9. Richard noticed the right rear trailer tire was soft and in fact had only 15 psi.

After saying our farewells to the John and Anne, we drove slowly in to Port McNeill and had the tire repaired at Kal Tire for $22. So, our departure ended up being 10 AM rather than the 9 AM target. We made good time but did take a break at Eve River rest area. We unhooked at the Campbell River Walmart lot and went to the Pier for fish and chips which for the fourth time were good. We got gas before hooking up for the final run down to Errington. We did stop at Coombs and filled the water tank with their really good water.

Chas and Sheila lost the customers who were to come Saturday because they didn’t have internet for the cabin. We got parked and Aileen had a short nap then we all went over to Sheila’s Dad’s 86th birthday supper.

On Sunday, I took Mitzy for her walk down the road before my breakfast. We went to the Sandcastle display at Parksville beach. We went to The Source and bought a router for Charlie and Sheila. Richard installed it but it was too under powered to consistently work. Chas and Sheila took it back in the afternoon and bought the $150 super duper one.

We headed for Victoria after a late lunch. I think we hit over 75% of the traffic lights red all the way. It was very frustrating. The traffic was very heavy all the way as well. We stopped only once, at Mill Bay, for gas and the biffy for us old folks. We arrived at R&R’s just after 4 and I went straight into the pool with R&G. Brian was already in. It felt very nice! We stayed for supper and headed homeward a little past 6:30. We hit our share of red lights again but not as bad as on the way down.

I installed the router this morning and have internet to the cabin now. I went for groceries this afternoon. Now if I can get some pictures edited, I will post this blog after supper. Well, I didn’t get any photos edited, we took a drive over to Qualicum Beach and walked along the seawall and watched the sun go down. We saw a large cruise ship heading to Alaska, way across the Salish Sea (formerly the Strait of Georgia) which I think was one of the Princess ships. I will post this tonight and will try to add photos tomorrow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


100th anniversary celebration of the train station at Parksville

A couple of restored speeders

What used to be the Lower Falls on Englishman River. The water always came over the top of the rock and made for a beautiful little falls. I think the rock shifted during very high water last fall allowing the blockage underneath to escape.

The beach at Willow Point, just south of Campbell River. The snowy mountains in the distance are the Coast Range on the BC mainland.

Aileen and I went to the Parksville train station Sunday morning and met her cousin Bill. We enjoyed the small display brought in for the 100th anniversary of the station. I went picking strawberries with Chas and Sheila near Cumberland Monday morning. I picked 8 or 9 lbs while they picked over 30. My back was killing me after awhile. Aileen called while we were on the way home to say she was staying at Standford to feed my parents. That was good for an hour and a half she said. She’d gone there for a few minutes after her hair appointment. After lunch, I finished doing the cheque books, which I’d started in the morning. Not bad, I usually try to get that done around the first of the month and it was already the 12th.

In mid afternoon, we took half the strawberries down to Rathtrevor Park for Richard, Beth and Mary and kids. We didn’t connect with them although I did see Mary and Maeve sound asleep in one of the tents. I picked up a few groceries for Sheila and us at QF on the way home. Aileen cooked the halibut and salmon she got as a birthday present from John and Sue for our supper. It was very tasty!

On Tuesday, Aileen was up much earlier than me. I stayed abed til about 7. I took Mitzy for her walk again as Aileen’s left foot is really giving her pain. We went to the ortho place in Wembly Mall where Aileen got some foot pads which seemed to help. In the afternoon, Richard and Georgia with Beth and Mary and their three kids came for a visit. In the evening, Mitzy and I went down to Englishman River Falls Park and walked around the campground. It was way less than half full. My theory is that the lack of internet connectivity is a real issue these days.

I received an email Tuesday with all the final paperwork for our house sale so I printed it off Wednesday morning (all 24 pages) and in the afternoon we went to a lawyer in Parksville and had it witnessed. It cost us $50, certainly much cheaper than driving back to Salmon Arm. I faxed all the pertinent pages back to our Notary in Salmon Arm then the next day couriered all of the originals via FedEx. So now we wait for the 28th of July and the final completion. I made three 13x19 prints also which turned out well.

Richard and the whole crew were here for the evening. I cooked the hamburgers, Richard did the onions and mushrooms, I think and Aileen and Sheila the salad and veggie plate. Aileen had made a rhubarb/strawberry crisp for dessert.

On Thursday morning we went to town to stock up on groceries for our weeklong trip back up to the Port MacNeill area. In the afternoon while Aileen napped, Mitzy and I walked the trail around both the upper and lower falls of Englishman River.

We were awake about 6 or earlier on Friday morning. Aileen got up about then but I tried dozing til nearly 7. We got all packed up, hooked up and used Charlie’s new dump pipe. We managed to make the turn in one go as well so it all worked out. We went to Rathtrevor and parked in the day use to wait for Richard and Georgia to be ready. Aileen tried calling Cousin Richard in Vancouver but he was out so she left a message. She also contacted her hairdresser and gave her the whale watching info she wanted. We’ve been trying to drop it off for the past couple days but she was never open. Mitzy and I walked along the ocean to R’s campsite and they had just called Aileen to tell her they were ready so Mitzy and I kept right on walking back to the truck. We drove in with the trailer and loaded their stuff up.

It was after 11 when we headed up Island so we stopped for lunch at the Buckley Bay rest area. We had a good visit with old friends, Lynda and Perry. Their son Matt and Richard were great friends in elementary school and Richard had enjoyed many fun sleepovers at their house. Lynda had fallen off her kitchen counter where she was installing blinds. Richard finished the job for her.

We moved on up to Bill’s at Willow Point and Aileen had a good nap after we set up. Bill and I installed the fused line for the jack. Bill bought a couple of precooked chickens and Aileen had leftover potato salad, fresh green beans from the store and strawberries and ice cream so it was a tasty supper.

Richard used my computer after supper so I took my camera down to the beach and grabbed a few shots.

On Saturday morning, I took Mitzy for her walk then put the jacks up before going into the house for Aileen’s pancakes. We did the rest of the hook up later. As we were going past Menzies Bay I saw a car catch up to us and wondered if it was Aileen’s cousin Tony and Rita. When it passed us, it was Aileen’s nephew Mike and Shaunee and they recognized us too. We stopped for lunch at the wide pullout near Woss and walked down to the river to enjoy the warm sun.

We got parked in our designated lot at Cluxewe then went for a walk out to the point. I checked in and was surprised when the lady was insistent about my paying up front. I said what happens if we leave a couple days early. She said too bad, no refund! I finally got her to agree to my paying at departure. Aileen called Anne when we arrived and they were preparing to come out.

John barbequed the sockeye salmon Mike and Shaunee brought and it was very tasty. Later we had a fire and tried to get warm. There was a nasty wind blowing of the ocean all afternoon. Unfortunately, we are several sites away from John and Anne which made for more effort when sharing food and supplies. It does help to walk off the food though.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A morning shot at our Ida Lake camp last week

A shot inside the marble quarry

Aileen took Mitzy for her 8:30 appointment Wednesday morning then stopped at Buckerfield’s for cat food. I washed some trailer windows then did some organizing in the trailer and truck box. Packed several loads into the garage so in theory, we have room for Richard and Georgia to come traveling with us next week. I am tired of the stiff ride in the truck so I dropped the pressures all down to 55 psi tonight.

We got Mitzy from the groomer late morning then Aileen picked up her book she’s ordered at Mulberry Book Store before we left for up Island. From there we picked up her friend Bev and Bev’s mother. They enjoyed the scenic drive through Errington when we brought Mitzy home. We then wandered over to Deez’ restaurant in Qualicum Beach for a leisurely lunch, in fact nearly two hours. After dropping the ladies at home it was time for Aileen to catch her nap. We went for supper at Roong’s Westhill Restaurant with Chas and Sheila and their son Wayne and his fiancé Sandy. As usual, the food was excellent. We were pretty leisurely there too.

On Thursday morning we were up in good time and on the road just after 8:15. Aileen drove to Mill Bay. We’d picked up her friend Bev D for the trip to Victoria. We dropped her at her apartment then on to Richard & Robin’s, getting there just before noon. We arrived before all the little kids for Georgia’s eighth birthday party. There must have been ten or twelve of them eventually. They had some games then hotdogs for lunch. After that, they hit the pool. After awhile I went in too and it was quite nice. Aileen would have loved to have gone in but it is impossible for her to get out of that pool. I had lots of fun with some of the kids. Little Robbie thanked me for playing with him when he left.

Robin’s father Alan and Barbara came later and we had a nice supper with them, R,R &G, Robin’s sister Nancy and Brian and niece from Yellowknife, Kayla. It started to cool off after supper so got more pleasant for sitting around outside. It was 32C or higher all afternoon. It was 30C when we arrived in Victoria about 11 AM. They broke the daily record Wednesday by 3C at 31.9C.

We headed home about 7:45 and got here at 10:30. Aileen stood in line quite awhile at the DQ in Duncan as she had her heart set on some ice cream. I shared my cone with Mitzy who really liked it. Not that it was good for her.

Aileen was talking to Chas Friday morning and things really went to hell around here Thursday. Sheila’s youngest brother, Terry, managed to get run over by his own tractor and is in the spinal unit in Vancouver. Sheila had gone over to be with him. Charlie’s baler wouldn’t work properly as one of the knotters wouldn’t release. Then he went to cut someone’s hay and the tall orchard grass just kept wrapping around the drum instead of being cut. It was over 5 feet high and had fallen down.

I drove tractor while Chas loaded and we picked up the 48 bales he’d managed to do yesterday. Later friend Andy came and baled the rest. Chas and I started hauling again then he got his worker, Chris to come help and still later, friend Dave. I managed to drive tractor the whole time but helped unload and did some loading in the field, too. There turned out to be over 700 bales, way more than expected. We got them all in the barn before supper. Aileen had made potato salad and cole slaw so supper was very tasty.

Sheila came home Friday night late. Terry seems to have been really lucky in that they don’t have to operate as the stuff around the discs didn’t get damaged. He will be fitted for a back brace before being sent home. They are also draining water from one knee which was injured as well.

Since Sheila had arrived home after 11 last night it was a little slow around here Saturday morning. It was about 8:15 when we hit the road heading to Victoria for my Aunt Tillie’s funeral. John R had dropped my sister Susan off to come with us. We stopped at Home Depot in Nanaimo for Chas to return a book then stopped at Sheila’s cousin Bill’s near Chemainus. We also had to stop for gas at Mill Bay and ended up being a few minutes late for the service. I hope Tillie wasn’t keeping track but I did notice someone else came in after us.

They provided a nice lunch and we had some good visiting take place. I had mentioned in my cards to both Judith and Carole that my favourite remembrance of Tillie was her leaning on the bottom door of their Alaskan Camper at one of the family reunions and I had also mentioned it to Sue, Chas and Sheila on the way down. I was flabbergasted to see that picture projected on the screen as the key photo when I entered the chapel! I had given Tillie the picture back in the 80’s and Carole took it off the wall saying it was the best picture they had of Tillie. You just never know when you take someone’s picture what will happen with it years later.

Aileen stayed home as she hadn’t recharged enough yet from our long hot day on Thursday. She made us pasta and bean salads for supper which went down well. Chas and Sheila both had naps before supper. Aileen and I took the dogs for a walk out to the back bush later in the evening when it cooled down.