Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Some roadside grasses in flower

I notice several of the people reading my blog are interested in photography.  I’d like to invite those who are interested in learning more about this exciting hobby (or career) to click on and learn about The Photographic Society of America which is the largest organization of its kind in the world.  The fastest growing segment of the membership is outside of North America.  The group hosts great conferences every year alternating mostly between the eastern and western US.  I will be attending this year in Colorado Springs while next year is San Francisco and the following year will be Portland, Maine.  There are many activities one can participate in including print and digital circuits, competitions and there are several special things for new members such as mentoring and online courses.  If by any chance you happen to take out a membership in PSA, please list me (John Pickard) as your sponsor.  Thanks in advance.

Plain old grass can be beautiful at times but it is often overlooked because we tend to see just grass instead of looking close to see what is taking place in their life cycle

We are enjoying a slower pace this visit to the Shuswap.  We don’t have a huge list to accomplish like most times.  We’ve managed to catch up with a few friends so far. Aileen visited her friend Donna this morning.  Donna, who is a writer and artist, is a great fan of this blog.  I’ve helped my Uncle Jim install drywall in his new shop for the past two days.  I think we will finish tomorrow.  It has been nice parking here at Jim and Jacquie’s as they installed a 30 amp RV service and a sewer dump.  Water is also available but with a long hose until the shop is completed.
We went to daughter Bev’s (and Kev’s) one night for supper and we were there tonight to use the bath tub for Aileen and the hot tub for me.  It felt great.  My aunt in Hope, BC is having a tea on September 10th, in honour of her son who drowned while swimming recently.  We had planned to begin our trip south that day but I’m hoping now to postpone one day so I can go to the tea.  Bev has offered to go with me and we should be able to get home at a reasonable hour. By modifying our route, Aileen and I can leave on the Sunday (the 11th) and still meet our planned commitments along the way. 
Mitzy and I went for a drive out to Wild Rose Bay on Shuswap Lake the other day.  This is part of the little community

Friday, August 26, 2011


We’ve had a busy week or so since I last had much to say.  We took the motor home to Tofino and had a great free boondocking spot with friends of my nephew Garrett.  Richard and I pruned the driveway before starting in to minimize the scratches.  We spent some time touring around and lots of time on some of the beaches.  I quite enjoyed the boat ride up to Hot Springs Cove and saw several whales, seals, sea otters and sea lions.  Our return some distance off shore was neat with the big swells we would climb over.
Our motor home did leak again just as much as the two previous times so it is back to the drawing board again trying to figure out the entry point.  It really poured on us the last night at Tofino and we were a little apprehensive about the firmness of the meadow when we drove out.  It turned out to still be nice and solid; whew!
The groom and his father (my brother Charlie).  That is Canadian whiskey not maple syrup in the bottle! 

The wedding layout

How romantic

Best man on the left and the groom's three brothers

The barefoot bride

The wedding was a lovely affair.  It took place out on the beach in front of the hotel with a driftwood arch and two rows of plastic chairs.  The bride and her attendants were all bare foot while the guys had sandals on.  There was a bright over cast at the time but the sun did peek through during the ceremony.  The supper later was excellent and the MC for the evening Zenaida, was super.  She was able to really bring things together by injecting lots of humour.  There was even a little dancing to finish things off.
On our return trip from Tofino on Monday, we spent four hours in a line up.  There had been a three car crash at Little Qualicum Falls turn off with two fatalities.  There is no easy way around that stretch of road other than rough logging roads that are usually gated off.  The bride’s mother and party were only a couple vehicles behind the crash.
We were stopped for the crash at Cathedral Grove which contains some of the largest trees in Canada.  Self portrait in HDR

The big old trees don't last forever

We received the news later that day that one of my uncle’s on my Mom’s side who was in the final stages of cancer lost his son (my cousin) Saturday in a drowning accident on the Thompson River.  So sad!  My uncle passed away last evening.
On Tuesday we took Richard and Georgia back to their home in Victoria.  We set up in Oceanview Campground at Sidney with their help then headed to their place.  After stopping for some groceries, Richard cooked up a nice supper of stir fries.  We got to visit with our daughter in law Robin at supper.  Wednesday morning saw us catch the 10 am ferry to the mainland and on up the road through the Fraser Valley.  We stopped at a rest area just beyond Abbotsford for a rest and read for me and a nap for Aileen.  We stopped again at the rest area on top of the Coquilhalla Highway for a break and decided to stay for the night. 
I had noticed a familiar motor home at the first rest stop and was surprised when it pulled in beside us at the second rest area to also stay the night.  We had met them at Ida Lake on northern Vancouver Island on the August long weekend and saw them again in Cluxewe a couple days later.  Small world!  I took Mitzy for a walk after supper and found a great boondocking site just a few hundred yards from where we were.  I briefly turned my back and when I looked around, there was that dirty little dog rolling in a really fresh cowpie!!!!  Aileen had just given her a complete bath that morning so was not happy to see what I brought home.  The couple parked next door thought it was hilarious and were quick to point out their cat who goes out on a leash would never do anything like that.  And no, I did not take a picture.

Don't mess with me!

Face off

We made our way to the Shuswap yesterday and are parked in the brand new RV site uncle Jim made for guests.  The sewer is hooked up and the electricians finished up wiring a 30 amp plug after we arrived.  However, when I plugged us in, it kept blowing the 30 amp breaker.  When we plugged in to a different 20 amp plugin, there’s no problem. The electrician said something in the motor home is drawing over 130 volts.  But why doesn’t it trip the 20 amp breaker?
I went to town later in the afternoon getting a start on some of our many errands and a few groceries.  It was much warmer than we’ve had since last fall I think so we got a little overheated.  It has really cooled off tonight though.  It was too cool to sit out after 7:45 so it should be nice and cool for sleeping.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Our group went to Hot Springs Cove from Tofino yesterday.  We were in two boats like this except mine was unpainted..  That's the bride Sandy and her Mom in the back

Here we have Zenaida and my nephew Dan, nephew Wayne (the groom) Sandy's Mom and Sandy

This little squirrel wanted to join us for lunch

The best part of the hot springs was this hot shower

The walk in was past many giant old Red Cedars

Some of our group

Resting after the walk

Waiting for our boat to return

The relaxed bride in the center

We saw several Humpbacked Whales

Some Sea Otters

Lots of Sea Lions were sunning themselves on off shore islands

The bride's family rented the house on the right

Sandy and her Mom again on the back of the boat

Thursday, August 18, 2011


We moved over to the Long Beach area on Vancouver Island's west coast.  This is our parking placce for the next four nights.  We have this huge meadow all to ourselves. A super bonus is free smoking fast WiFi!  We are across the highway from where Sunday's wedding will take place.

We went to Chesterman Beach after supper

There were some excellent reflections, Richard and Georgia are on the left

Richard And Georgia

Late evening in Tofino

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Tahsish Lake after a walk and scramble through downed trees

We climbed up through the logging slash to avoid returning through the downed trees

Momma Bear is trying to spot us 

Baby Bear is heading for safety

Yep, it is steep

I spun out a couple times in 4x4

John gets a little air

John and I went for our last ATV ride on Sunday up to Tashish Lake and did some challenging water bars.  The idea of water bars is to protect the integrity on the semi abandoned roads so they don’t cause erosion.  Unfortunately, some of the machine operators appear to have it in for ATVs and dig far deeper and steeper than is required in an effort to restrict ATV access.  Anne and John’s son Dennis had been given some sockeye salmon so he barbequed one for our supper.  It was very tasty.
We left Cluxewe campsite before ten Monday morning and stopped for our lunch at the visitor center at Sayward Crossing.  Mitzy and I went for a walk while Aileen had a rest.  She was driving the car while I towed the ATV trailer.  We arrived at cousin Bill’s at Willow Point mid afternoon and his friend Doug arrived minutes later.  Doug had a look at our back up camera and put some caulking inside the cover just in case that was the source of our bedroom water leak.  We ran a hose on another suspect area for over three hours but not a drop of water appeared inside.
Aileen cooked a nice supper for Bill, Doug, Gay and I then we visited the evening away.  Tuesday morning, we visited Heather who we bought the motor home from.  Heather has a beautiful condo with a great ocean view.  Aileen loved it!  Heather’s sister Sharon and Earl who we met in Cluxewe last year also came over so we had a great visiting time.  Last night we had supper with Charlie and Sheila and some family and friends here.  Later some of us played SkipBo and had a good time.
I drove to Victoria this morning and picked up our son Richard and granddaughter Georgia who will spend the next six nights with us.  The weather is beautiful here and we hope it will continue for us over on the west coast all weekend.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


We had two cruise ships come by one behind the other yesterday.  This is the Coral Princess

And this is the Zuiderdam a Holland America ship.  It blew its horn several times at these fishermen who were in no hurry to get out of the way

That's the Pultenay Point Lighthouse in the background.  The ships come through the narrow strait between Malcolm Island and Vancouver Island

We’ve enjoyed our trip to the north Island as usual and it is almost time to head back down Island.  We will be in Campbell River Monday night and hope cousin Bill’s friends can help us get this water leak fixed in the motor home.  Twice in heavy rains in the past five weeks, we have had water in the back of the motor home between the bed and back wall.  It seems to start in the middle and go both ways which makes me suspect the backup camera is the problem area.  We had quite a time removing the screws holding the camera cover in place.  Finally mechanic nephew Dennis brought his impact wrench out and managed to break them loose.   
Aileen has been plagued with back spasms for most of our trip so unable to do much of what she wanted.  Just when she thinks it is improving, she gets hit with another bout.  We’re pretty sure it is her MS acting up but it would sure be nice if it would just go away.  Today was a showery morning so Foster’s came and played Mexican Train with us.  John was winner followed by Anne, Aileen and then me the scorekeeper, who can’t seem to minimize my own score. 
We managed to see all our relatives in this area finally.  Most of them ended up coming by our campfire to visit at some point.  With Aileen’s back issues we didn’t get out and around as much as we normally would but we didn’t seem to have that much free time.  We’ve had a great time visiting Aileen’s sister Anne and John and things will seem quiet on all sides when we depart, I imagine.  John and I put 300-400 kms on the ATVs and saw some interesting sights.  We only had two rainy sessions, I think during our four weeks.  Unfortunately, today is one of them so the ATV riding may be done for this trip since tomorrow’s forecast is the same as today.
I bought a Wilson antenna and booster from The Source in Port Hardy hoping it would give us dependable internet but it didn’t.  I returned it yesterday for the second time.  After I had returned it the first time, one of the guys thought of something else so I bought it again.   One thing the guy there did suggest might work for us was to buy a smart phone and set it up to create an internet hot spot.  I will have to check into that for next year.  Something else I read recently, mentioned getting a new type of phone that could be taken to the US and tied into a monthly plan down there when needed.  I can’t remember the term that was used to indicate the way the phone would be set up but the concept is intriguing.  Dependable internet is our orneriest challenge with the mobile lifestyle we are trying to follow.
We have a wedding in Tofino next Sunday and hopefully a boat trip to Hot Springs Cove the day before.  Soon after that we will make our way back to Salmon Arm to visit and tie up loose ends.  I made some prints to enter in the Salmon Arm Fair this year so will try to help the club with the setup and later one day’s guard duty on Friday September 9.  The plan is to depart Salmon Arm on September 10 heading for Colorado Springs by no later than the 17th.  I have a week long photo conference there.  We would then have five weeks to wander the southwest before arriving at our winter abode about November 1st.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Brother in law John and I were out on the ATVs again yesterday and found Dreamtime Cave which we had searched for several days ago without success.  One of John's coworkers discovered Dreamtime in 1995 while laying out a logging road and he shared the location

A scene from the back of the cave captured by two exposures and blended in HDR. The cave has this huge opening then just behind where I'm crouched, using a log as a camera rest, you would have to get down on your belly to crawl into the cave proper.  Dreamtime is listed as 1040 meters long and 58 meters deep on a Canadian Cavers website

A side view of the entrance to Dreamtime

Looking westward in late evening up in the mountains

Looking across to the Rugged Range near Woss Lake

 When John and I got home last night, Charlie and Sheila had their tent set up next to John and Anne's trailer again.  They had spent one night at Ida Lake after our ATV trip up the Kaikash.  Yesterday they canoed up Ida Lake and then the Kokish River beyond for some distance.  They visited cousin Chris and Gord the other day and were here the night cousin Steve joined us for supper.  This morning they were visiting cousin Donna at her work then going to see our aunt Nancy and Mac before heading off to San Josef Bay. They hope to meet up with their son Wayne and Sandy at San Josef Bay either tomorrow or Saturday.