Thursday, August 27, 2009


The forest fire near here

We arrived back in the Salmon Arm area this late afternoon. We left Errington before breakfast yesterday. We ate in the parking lot after buying our ferry ticket. We visited my Aunt June and Eric in Hope last night, parking in their driveway. They got to see one of the first showings of our images from the trip north. We waited a couple hours in Merritt this morning to see my brother Charlie and Sheila who were passing through there from Kelowna heading back to the Island after their canoe adventure up north.

We drove about 14,200 kms since leaving here June 1st and shot about 5300 images – 4000 on my new 5D and 1300 on my Rebel. Fortunately, there were a few keepers which I have been selecting and putting together in shows.

We had nice clear air almost all the way to Kamloops today. However, when we dropped down into the Thompson Valley above Kamloops, we were assailed by thick smoke all the way until the last few kms. The source of the fire is in the image uploaded with this post and is only 5 or 6 kms from where we are parked at Aunt Jacquie and Jim’s.

We are only here in Salmon Arm area for a couple weeks so if anyone is interested in getting together with Aileen (or even me) please email her or call 250-833-0527.

Tomorrow we begin working on our big list of things to do. Since the rear tires are almost down to the wear mark, they are high on the list. The fronts aren’t as bad but all the tires will be replaced. They currently have 65,400 kms on them. The windshield also gets replaced as the one crack is right in the driver’s vision and reflects the sun into your eyes. Truck and trailer insurance, contents insurance for our storage unit, truck service, check trailer brakes, the list goes on. We also have to ensure our yard is neat at our (rented out) house as we don’t want to get complaints from the neighbours. Mitzy is badly in need of grooming and a pile of other things. We won’t be bored.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The beach at Qualicum Beach, BC

A fish boat at French Creek Harbour

Family at Aileen's party

The yummy cake

MV Coho departing Victoria bound for Port Angeles, WA

The BC legislative buildings are the domed ones

The building with the red glow is the BC Museum

Looking west across Victoria Harbour..........................................................

August 22, 2009

We did get to see all four people mentioned at the end of the last post and had really good visits too. It’s so nice to be able to visit friends, old and new as we travel around. We always meet new people along our journey’s path and most of them are so friendly. It’s not unusual to exchange email addresses with them and then share travel info or whatever.

We are set up in my brother Charlie’s yard again and enjoying the fruits of his and Sheila’s labour in the garden. They are away for awhile canoeing on the Omineca River in north central BC. Just so you know Chas, the corn is great! It’s all ripe already so we are feeding the stalks to the cows as we finish the picking. I cut the front lawn today and nephew Logan did the back. The cows enjoyed the clippings, too.

We had quite a shower here yesterday. It gave everything a good soaking. We had gone to Nanaimo in the morning and left the vent over the bed wide open. Fortunately, we were home before the storm. We went to BCAA to make sure our travel insurance was adequate for our trip south and had to make some adjustments to it. It seems every time we go to BCAA and get a different agent, we get a different story (for more money!!). We will be checking out other companies next Spring. Friday evening we walked along the beach at Qualicum then peeked in at the French Creek Harbour to see the fish boats.

Richard, Robin and Georgia came up from Victoria this afternoon. They brought their big Golden Retriever, Ben, who had a ball playing with Chas’ lab, Belle. They ran and wrestled til they were ready to drop. Tonight is the belated surprise party for Aileen’s 6oth that Richard and my sister Janet have been planning for some time. I have had to make a lot of arbitrary decisions lately to make it happen though as Aileen has been doing everything possible to thwart the plans, it seems. I’ve been getting lots of flack over it too. Maybe I’ll be forgiven?

August 24,

Well the party didn’t get off to a successful start; the waitress spoiled the surprise by asking if we were there for the party. Aileen wasn’t impressed with the idea! She did get over it after a bit and seemed to enjoy visiting with the family. Her sister Anne and John came from Port McNeill, the rest were my family from this area plus our son and his family from Victoria. After enjoying the restaurant meal, the cake and ice cream supplied by the organizers were brought in and enjoyed.

Yesterday morning we had a lazy breakfast then visited my parents in the care facility before taking Richard and Georgia down to Victoria. After dropping them at home, we went to a mall where I wandered a big book store and Aileen had an hour nap in the truck. Following that we picked up Aileen’s friend Bev and went for supper at Spinnakers which is close to the harbour in Victoria. Not only is Bev turning 60 today, she retires next Monday so lots to celebrate! After supper, I took my camera down to the shore for a few pictures including the MV Coho, the ferry we took to and from Port Angeles on our trip south last winter. Then we sat in the truck and pored over a map of Arizona that Bev had. She has been researching places to visit when she joins us in AZ in November. So now we’re all torqued up and waiting to get there! We drove to a better view of the inner harbour where I shot a few more images. After our good visit, we headed back to Errington just before 9PM. We had a fast trip home; about 2 hours, as the traffic was light and no laggards. Aileen managed to sleep for over half of the trip.

This morning saw some cleaning take place in the trailer as well as laundry. We’ll probably stay quiet here for a day or two then take the ferry to the mainland Wednesday or Thursday then back to Salmon Arm the following day. We have a long list of things to do before we head south about September 15.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Abandoned underground marble quarry

Abandoned open marble quarry

Mitzy's riding position

The bear that crossed when I was actually posting the last blog a few days ago

These guys rather hog the road - we had a radio so knew he was coming

Holland America cruise ship going past our camp

Old chimney at Suquash

Old equipment scattered through the forest at Suquash

John found a geo cache in the steam pot - didn't even need a gps! It was right there

A huge double spooled winch

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


These kayakers have a good view



Dolphins at the bow at full speed

Aileen's preferred position

The shrine in the forest........................................................................................

August 17, 2009

We left Ida Lake last Friday and moved to Cluxewe River camp a little past Port McNeill, which is owned by the local Indian band. John and Anne’s family have a couple of sites on a monthly basis so we were able to get into one of those. We’re close to the beach and cruise ships go by every evening about 5:00. Some of them are quite close when passing. We have gone for walks through the campsite each night and some along the beach. The ladies watched a pink salmon get caught from shore one night.

Yesterday, John took us a few miles up the coast to an old settlement called Suquash which was a coal mine for the old steamships that plied the coast in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Huge trees have reclaimed most of the area but there are still bits and pieces to be seen such as chimney’s, posts, walls and old steam derelicts. Some of the old cement is still good but most is very crumbly. Apparently the underground shaft ran out under the sea bed and the miners were able to identify individual ships by the sound their propellers made.

Saturday was Orca Fest in Port McNeill and the weather was beautiful for it. We watched the parade from just down the street from John and Anne’s and later walked around the displays in town. Earlier, I had taken a reunion picture to my cousin Donna who lives close to J & A. I have three cousins and their mother (who is one of my Dad’s younger sisters) in this area. We saw them all this trip. Later, we sat in J & A’s backyard as the grandkids were being cared for. I got sunburned on my tan, I guess because of the higher humidity than my tan was done at.

Yesterday morning I visited my cousin Steve; his mother was my Dad’s oldest sister. He has a nice place which is a mix of residential and commercial and he has lots of projects on the go to keep busy. We had a great visit then he met the four of us for lunch in town to continue the visit for awhile longer.

August 19, 2009

On Monday we finally made it out on a whale watching boat from Telegraph Cove. I’ve been thinking of it for several years and just kept putting it off. We left Mitzy in the trailer and Anne let her out when she got back to the trailer in the afternoon. We thought the trip was going to be a flop for the longest time then all of a sudden the Orcas (Killer Whales) started to show up and show off. There were also lots of Dolphins who spent lots of their time harassing the Orcas. In the evening we had one last supper and evening walk with J&A. It’s been a good visit! Thanks, guys.

Yesterday was moving day again. We packed up and went into Port McNeill to use the dump station then said our farewells to Anne. We met John down the road at the old Nimpkish logging camp and he took us for a short walk to check out a shrine in the forest. Apparently it was built by a logger (perhaps Greek) who lived in the camp in the early 70s. I’m guessing the marble came from the quarries we explored the other day. John visited while we had lunch in the trailer then we headed south again. We stopped at Eve River rest area for Aileen to have an hour plus nap. The temperature was in the mid to high 20s in Campbell River, quite a change from the mid to high teens the past two weeks up Island.

This afternoon we plan to visit my aunt Isobel and a new to us relative from the reunion, Sharon. Tonight we are joining Aileen’s sister Pat and Jim for supper at a local restaurant. We only get to see some of the relatives each trip as there are so many of them. Thanks for your invite Keith, perhaps we can get together in the Spring.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The two Arctic Foxes at Ida Lake

Looking down on Ida Lake - the campsite is at the far end

Kokish River pics

Little black bear (he was right here as I was uploading this post- got a pic about 100 feet away!)

Water lily taken from Zodiak

Red Elderberry

This helicopter had a lady pilot

Helicopter dropping water

High mountain lake reflection

Watching a fire across Bonanza Lake

Kokish River pics

Your thoroughly modern woman on the internet way up the mountain

Can't see the screen

Old time photographer method to the rescue!
And no, we didn't get rained on. I'm doing this post from the same spot, with my head swiveling around looking for the bear as I have Mitzy with me. I rigged up a box on the front of the quad for her and she seemed to enjoy it.........................................................

It’s been a week since my last post. We moved up Island to Port McNeill last Friday and after visiting Aileen’s sister for a couple hours, we all moved our trailers down to Ida Lake recreation area which is 12 kms up a gravel logging road inland from Beaver Cove. We are still here. We will probably move tomorrow as we are running low on groceries. John and Anne have been commuting to work from here using his work truck. Both our trucks are still connected to our trailers and ours is trapped as it is nosed into the trees with the trailer behind so we’re unable to just drive for groceries or visit other family.

There has been a campfire ban because of the earlier dry conditions and there are several small forest fires burning in this area. Right across from us is a staging area for firefighters so we have had a ringside seat watching the helicopters moving the men up to the mountain and back. We’ve also seen the choppers dropping water on the fires. We’ve had quite a bit of rain the past couple days and today the logging trucks are running again.

John kindly left us his Honda four wheeler so Aileen and I have done some exploring of logging roads. Yesterday, we went up above here and took our phone and laptop. We were able to check for messages and emails. The sad thing was learning of our friend Natalie’s passing near the end of July. That came in a note from our friends in Sarnia, Ontario, Bill and Joyce. Aileen and I had visited Natalie at the end of May and had a good visit and we wondered then if she’d be there for us to visit in September. She had been an avid reader of this blog and emailed me comments periodically. We saw two deer and a bear. The night before, John and I had gone up with his work truck and seen a bear and a marten. Last night John and I went looking for, and found, an abandoned marble quarry. John had his 10 foot Zodiak boat here the first few days and Aileen and I rowed out one day for some water lily pictures. Another time she and Anne (and the dogs) rowed out to a little island. They ended up being there longer than planned as the wind picked up in the wrong direction.

John and I have done a fair bit of exploring along the Kokish River which is only a few minutes walk from here. It has some beautiful little canyons and much of them are inaccessible. Being rain forest, walking along the bank is not too easy in most places. Fortunately, there are some old trails in spots and for one section there is some new activity which John thinks had to do with a proposal to use some of the water for hydro generation downstream. There is salal way higher than your head and along with other plants and vines and windfall trees, walking becomes a challenge. We have found some nice waterfalls and huge deep pools to make the effort worthwhile.

Suppers have been a group affair and a couple of nights, J&A’s son Dennis, April and their two kids have joined us. We have been doing pretty well with our solar panels even though there hasn’t been lots of sun. We used John’s generator a couple times to charge the laptops and run the vacuum and microwave and give the batteries a boost.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reunion cake

Reunion group shot

Reunion dancers

Kinsol Trestle.................................................................Remember you can click on the pictures to enlarge them then click your back arrow to go back