Thursday, March 31, 2011



 We saw this eagle on Denman Island which you drive across to get to Hornby

Georgia on Hornby Island with Vancouver Island mountains behind

Aileen and Mitzy with Georgia and her Auntie Nan

I found a horse for Georgia and I to ride

 I have been designing a template to make a brochure to hand out to celebration of life attendees at my Dad’s service which is on April 9th.  My brother Charlie’s father in law (Sheila’s Dad) passed away last Friday and his celebration of life is being held this coming Sunday, April 2nd.  I switched gears and inserted his information into the template and spent quite some time getting everything looking as good as possible.  A really neat feature Sheila’s family came up with was to have all seven grandchildren contribute one memory each of their grandfather which I then put on the two inside pages.  I think all the memories were exceptional and will make interesting reading for those attending.  Sheila and I took the brochure to a print shop yesterday and in a few minutes they ran off 300 copies for us.  We had considered printing them all here but that was much easier and probably no more expensive.  I had earlier assisted with writing the obituary.
We have been looking at property here on Vancouver Island with a view to purchasing a lot on which we could build a garage  for storage and be able to park the motor home when we are in the area.  The idea would be to eventually build a little house for our later retirement years when we would do less travelling.  So far all we have found in our price range has been junk or too restrictive such as no RV parking or house must be built within one year or house must be larger than we plan on building.
We have been bartering for our parking space here at Charlie’s and Sheila’s lately by having fires to burn brush and debris both close to the buildings and out in the bush.  Aileen really enjoys tending a fire.  I have been able to play around on the backhoe/loader as some of my contribution.  The only part of my former working life I miss is running equipment.  I may get fired though as I ran the tractor out of fuel this morning.  I dug my ATV out of where I had it hidden all winter and it started and ran just fine.  Mitzy enjoyed a ride out to the bush this morning on it.
Aileen and I went with my sister Janet and John for supper at Fish Tales Restaurant last night, their treat.  Not sure what the occasion was but a free meal is a bonus in my book.  Thanks guys!!  We sat and chatted quite awhile in the restaurant then went to their house and played some SkipBo, their first time. 
We enjoyed our trip to Hornby Island last Thursday to Saturday.  Our granddaughter’s aunt and uncle had Georgia there for the weekend at the B&B they own in partnership with two other couples and they had invited us to join them for a couple nights.  The house is right on the ocean and very peaceful. 

The view from our bedroom

 The downside is that we paid $71 for the two ferry rides which were only about 9 and 7 minutes in duration and the same on the return.  A total of 30-32 minutes on the water so I thought it was rather pricey for two of us in a little car. We did some exploring each day and lots of walking.  One of the highlights was visiting the free store at the recycling depot.   You just find what you like and away you go, no payment required.  There was some pretty good quality stuff in there but of course, we already have lots of “stuff” so all I took were a few music CDs hoping to find some music suitable for slide shows.  I don’t think anything I took will work though.  I guess I’m going to have to figure out how to get suitable music off the internet.

Inside the free store

Georgia outside the free store

One of the local artists had a rather unique driveway sign

Think deer might be a problem?

The herring are just finishing spawning so lots of seagulls in the area 

A view along the cliffs of Hornby Island in Helliwell Park; Denman Island then Vancouver Island showing up in the distance

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


 Here we have a picture taken from the bridge and another looking back up to the bridge above Englishman River's Upper Falls

 Another view further along the Upper Falls

 The site of the former Lower Falls

 An old stump along the path

Today is shaping up to be one of our best days weather wise since coming to Vancouver Island.  Back to showers for the next several days again starting tomorrow though, so the forecast predicts.  We are starting to acclimatize to this weather I think.  We tried to burn one of the big brush piles out in the bush but it was too wet to get going, it will have to wait for some drying wind. 
Work continues on preparing for Dad’s celebration of life on April 9th We had a meeting at Janet’s Tuesday night to discuss plans for dad’s service.  We had a good visit and even got a few ideas together.
I unwrapped my CanAm ATV Wednesday morning and it fired right up, the battery was still full of charge.  That was good to know.  I watched (custom travelling sawmill) Pierre with his Wood Mizer sawmill out behind Chas’ barn for a while.  What a slick rig.  Aileen did several loads of laundry in the house.  I went to town Wednesday and got our phone and internet plans upgraded.  I visited with my brother Sam on the way home and we wandered around the back of his place.  We played Mexican Train Wednesday night and at one point Aileen was nearly 200 points ahead but I pulled out an upset and won by 35. 
On Friday morning we went to Bowser to visit people who were friends with Aileen’s cousin Gloria and Bill.  It was nice to finally meet Fred and Dagmar.  We missed them two years in a row down in Wellton, AZ.  Last year she was sick and didn’t go and of course when we were to have gone this year, I still was suffering from Valley Fever.  Gloria befriended Dagmar back in early school days in Qualicum Beach when Dagmar and her family emigrated from Europe and they remained close friends til Gloria’s passing.  We have heard of them for years but never managed to be in the same place at the same time.  We had a great visit with them and they seemed like long time friends.  Aileen and I played Mexican Train Friday night and she whomped me.  We’ve been alternating Train with SkipBo and although I may have won more games of SkipBo, Aileen is ahead on points.  Last night she double skunked me as I had 18 of my 30 cards left when she went out.  That’s second double skunk for me in a week!
The highlight of my Saturday was going to the Coombs Opera which featured old time fiddlers, country and blue grass performers and there were some very good performances.  Nearly four hours of music for $5, such a deal.
Sunday I had a different type of highlight (or was that low light?) when I discovered our toilet plugged.  Aileen lucked out by heading off to a workshop with Sheila which they both enjoyed.  I hooked up some hoses to the house pressure system and managed to blast it clear after a while.  We took the motor home away to the dump station later to start over again.  We have gone to Englishman River Falls Park twice for a walk around.  On Monday I started the final sort of Mom’s art work.  What a difficult chore as there were so many pieces and many were works in progress.  Sheila, Susan and Aileen came along at various times and got involved as well.  There was lots of reminiscing when we got into the photos, many of which were reference for her art.
Tomorrow we are going to Hornby Island for a couple of nights.  Our daughter in law’s sister Nancy and Brian have an interest in a B&B over there and will be having our grand daughter, Georgia, with them.  They invited us to come and share the visit which will be a first for us.  Hornby is a great place to visit and it is a super photo spot.  We used to go over there on day trips back in the mid 60’s when we were dating and have been there a few times over the years since.  It is not really conducive to taking the motor home over as there are two ferries involved ($$$$$$) and not much in the way of camping either.  We are trying to figure out what we need to take as it all has to fit in the car.  Mitzy will go with us but Sophie, the cat, will stay home and Chas and Sheila will check on her.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


These images are from when we were camped at Country Maples along the Chemainus River last week. The bottom tree is a Western Red Cedar.

I think we’ve had rain for about 80% of the daylight hours since returning to Vancouver Island nine days ago.  It is difficult to accomplish anything without getting wet and cold.  Yes, I am whining!  However, it is variety that makes comparisons good in just abut anything, isn't it?  The pets and I survived our three nights of Mom being away.  Aileen said she really enjoyed her weekend in Vancouver and the workshop was fabulous.  Over 2,900 attendees made for a sold out Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Aileen said if she knew just how many people would be attending, she wouldn’t have gone.  Attendees came from all over North America and she said the roster of speakers was great.

Rosewell Maples,notice the highlight around the mossy limbs caused by a weak sun filtering through the trees (I was shooting toward the sun) and actual sunshine in the bottom image.  It lasted only a short time.

Mitzy and I went to Courtenay on Saturday.  During a lull in the rain we went for a stroll at Rosewell Creek to take pictures of some maple trees coated in moss. We stopped and visited my Aunt Isabelle in Comox who is 85 and still living on her own.  She enjoyed looking at some of pictures on my laptop.
Mitzy and I picked Aileen up at the bus depot in Nanaimo just after ten Monday morning.  Mitzy was pretty happy to see her Mom.  I hadn’t warned her what was coming so it was kind of funny.
I’ve been reading about all my blog friends who are still down south and the great weather they are experiencing.  We need to change our schedule to be able to stay later but I don’t like to miss the opportunity the PSA photo conferences offer as far as visiting new and interesting country.  They are just too early to allow us to attend then continue south without having to return to Canada by early March. 
I have been designing a brochure for giving out at Dad’s celebration.  I think my brother Sam will be contributing the text.  We have a family meeting tonight to work out some of the details for the event.  I had gone in to visit my Mom on Friday and was very distressed at the downward changes since I last saw her in September.  I couldn’t believe I walked past her without recognizing her!  Maybe she was having a bad day but there was no acknowledgment of my presence and she showed no interest in Mitzy either.  So sad.  As I’ve said before “if we’re lucky, we live so long – on the other hand, if we’re unlucky, we live so long”!
I’d like to thank Jerry and Suzy who often take the time to comment on my blog from their sanctuary down in Benson, AZ.  Perhaps next winter we can make it down to that part of Arizona and explore around. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


Leaving Port Angeles

We were on the road at 6:30 am Sunday heading for the Port Angeles to Victoria ferry.  We only had to wait ten minutes for them to open the gate then the Visa card took a $255 hit.  The ferry was nearly empty, somewhere between 20 and 30 vehicles I think.  There was no rain and even some sun on the crossing.  We had two very pleasant Canadian border guards but that didn’t stop them from emptying my pockets for a bunch of loot as we had to pay 12% HST (tax) on most of our motorhome modifications.  Welcome home!  I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t have declared the work but that can backfire on you.

 Arriving in Victoria

Float houses and harbour ferry

We got together with Richard, Robin and Georgia for a few hours.  In fact, they took us to the 5th St Grill for lunch – thanks guys.  We’d parked the motorhome at the university and they drove us into town.  Later we all went for a walk around at the university then visited again in the motorhome before it was time for us to depart for points north.  

Our grand daughter Georgia

Mitzy washing Georgia's fingers

What? Me?

We stopped at a market near Duncan for veggies and fruit then carried on to Country Maples RV Resort at Chemainus where we stayed for four nights.  We got three nights free for listening to their Holiday Trails promotion.  We were both pretty tired so had some early nights and laid low for a day or two.
We enjoyed our time at Country Maples and especially the peaceful atmosphere.  We wouldn’t want to be there in the summer as it is a very busy park with lots of family activities including mini golf and an arcade.  We utilized their excellent laundry and I worked on a jigsaw puzzle in their beautiful clubhouse.  One night Aileen’s sister Anne and John called from Nanaimo asking if we wanted to get together for supper.  Since we had a roast in the crockpot and hadn’t started veggies yet, they came to the campsite.  We had a great visit and supper.  The next night my cousin Garry and Barb joined us for another crockpot roast supper including lemon pie from the lemons Aileen juiced in Caliente.
We left the campground yesterday having to do most of my dumping, packing up and filling the water tank in the heavy rain.  We need to find the valve which will allow us to fill from the city water connection.  I searched all over and couldn’t find it.  We stopped at the dealer south of Nanaimo and the rep there looked all over and couldn’t find it either.  We’ll have to contact the lady we bought from as she had mentioned to Aileen that was how she filled the tank.  The filler hose is almost level with the filler spout so it is hard to get the water to flow into the tank.  I’d have to raise the right side of the coach to make it work.   We are parked at my brother Charlie and Sheila’s in Errington, probably until after Dad’s celebration April 9 after which we will depart for Salmon Arm to get our income taxes completed.
Aileen went to Vancouver this morning to attend a two day personal growth workshop.  Our daughter Bev was coming down from Salmon Arm today to join Aileen at the workshop.  I think they will enjoy their weekend.  From the rocky start in earlier times when they were both younger, they have become best friends.
Mitzy and I went for a walk around Englishman River Falls Park this afternoon in between rain showers.  We’ve had some pretty heavy rain at times.  The fields are flooded well around here and we have ducks not far from the motor home.  I continue to be impressed with the improved handling of the motor home.  It is so much easier to maintain control and allows for more relaxed driving.

Top of Englisman River Falls

Englisnman River Gorge

The ferns have taken over this old log

Saturday, March 5, 2011


 Back to some serious evergreen trees, Douglas Firs

 A little community somewhere in Oregon along I-5

 An old dam and an old bridge along I-5 in Oregon
It's great having the motor home drive much better.  Aileen will drive more when she's up to it and I can sit in the passenger seat and snooze or take pictures like these.  It is a lot more challenging shooting out of the window though as the side windows have serious reflections and the trees and shrubs in the foreground have a habit of showing up at the wrong time.

Something we're going to have to get used to again - lots of rain!

We left Grants Pass Friday about 9:30 and stopped for the night in Woodburn, OR.  We had some heavy rain in the later afternoon and evening after we were parked.  We were on the road at 8:02 this morning, almost a record for us these days.  We are in Sequim, Washington tonight.  We tried to get an RV site in Port Angeles and the one close to town had no attendant around and there was no way I could get the motor home level.  I blocked up the front wheels and put blocks under the front jacks and still wasn’t level when I ran out of jack travel.  By then the bottom step was at least 18 inches off the ground!  We finally gave it up and drove back to Sequim which will make for a longer drive to the ferry in the early morning but it is a really nice park.  To top it off the one in town was $30 with no WiFi.  This park has great internet and is $27, go figure!  We have to be at the ferry no later than 7:20 tomorrow morning so we will set the alarm for 6, walk Mitzy and get the car ready to tow.  We’ll have breakfast while we wait in line.  By 10 am we should be back on Canadian soil and we’ll get to visit with Richard, Robin and Georgia by lunch time, maybe.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Snow on the grated picnic table in Yucca Valley

A picture Aileen took after Yucca Valley on 247

Somewhere in the high desert in California

We made it to the Orange Grove RV Park on Edison Road on Sunday with water and power for $27.  I picked a few oranges and they are very juicy and sweet, unlike the AZ oranges I was buying.  We went to the Outback Steakhouse and had a very good meal.  Aileen was able to order off their gluten free menu.  I spoke to a guy from Salmon Arm in the park here this afternoon.  He and his wife operate the Skimikin Campsite and he works for Baird Brothers in Enderby.  Small world as they say.
The car had a good coating of frost Monday morning, didn’t expect it in Bakersfield.  We went south on Edison Rd then west on Panama which turned into Taft and out to I-5.  That missed all the Bakersfield and highway 99 traffic.  We got gas along Panama at $3.839!  We really travelled today stopping only a few times.  We put on more miles than normal and made it to Orland, CA at exit 619; we’d hit I-5 at exit 239 plus12-15 miles from the RV park.  That is definitely over 390 miles.  We pulled into the Old Orchard Good Sam Park just before 5 pm where we paid $21.60 for water and electric.  It’s fairly close to the freeway but the noise was very muted.  I took Mitzy for a big walk before supper then cleaned the windshield which the bugs really messed up.  Aileen went to bed shortly after supper was over.  She was pretty pooped not having her nap.  She did drive for an hour or more this morning and I managed a couple short micro naps then.  I-5 was its usual rough in spots, especially under the over passes.  Some of the potholes there made you weep thinking of the potential damage to the motor home suspension. 

A couple shots of nuts trees in bloom along I-5

The windshield still looked bad in the morning so I dug out my long hose and hit it again.  Still not clean so I used the windshield cleaner at the gas station when I put in some gas and that did a good job.  We had a pretty good drive today except for some serious wind between Weed and Yreka.  The Siskiyou Pass was bare and dry which Aileen found welcome. 
We found our way to Henderson’s Line Up in Grants Pass where I wanted them to do their Road Performance Assessment which consists of a road test and visual inspection of the coach with recommendations afterward on how to correct the deficiencies found.  We were able to get the assessment done Tuesday afternoon which was good since the coach was still warm and limbered up which would give results consistent with normal driving. I thought.   We decided when we first bought the motor home that it wasn’t getting traded off but upgraded as required.  I don’t expect we will ever have another motor home, so this is our only chance.  If we can get our steering and handling issues mostly resolved for the amount quoted, it will be worth it. 
We have been dry camped in Henderson’s parking lot but are plugged in to 30 amps.   Robert, the owner, mentioned The Vine restaurant when I told him about Aileen needing gluten free.  We went there for supper Tuesday and they have a huge gluten free menu.  Aileen had a hard time deciding but finally went for the gluten free lasagna and enjoyed it.  I had a pretty good hamburger and both pets enjoyed some of the meat later.  Robert paid for our supper Wednesday since I agreed to participate in a video they are preparing to advertise what can be done to Ford motor homes to improve the ride and handling.  Once again supper was excellent.  Since we are staying over here again tonight, it will be back to The Vine again for supper.
We had a neat experience at the restaurant last night. Our waitress June mentioned she was going to BC on Sunday when she heard that’s where we were heading.  When we asked her where, she said “oh you wouldn’t know it as it is really small” but when we pressured her, it was Errington!  It was hilarious when we said well that’s where we are going.  It got more intense when we found her boyfriend lives on Grafton Ave and I told her I had two siblings living on it too and my brother Sam just down the other road as her boyfriend is at the junction of Grafton and Leffler.  So then she told us how they bought veggies from Sam’s roadside stand!  Her boyfriend’s name is Francois and he is an electrician.  I was guessing they met online but it turns out they met at her girl friend's place.  She remembered tonight that she had met Sam.  Once again, small world! 

Where we have parked for three nights

We finally got all three employees together to go on the follow up Road Performance Assessment about 3 pm this afternoon.  Robert, the owner along with service writer Gilbert and photographer Brian were the group.  Gilbert drove the first half and Brian was sent underneath to adjust the steering damper several times.  After I took over driving, I had him adjust it a couple more times until it felt right to me.  It certainly seems much improved overall.  I don’t know that we could have left any of the pieces off as they all work to complement each other.  It steers much better and easier, has far less body roll and Aileen says it is quieter and smoother.  When they weighted the motor home, the right rear wheel position was found to be 1050 pounds heavier than the left side.  They added a helper spring plus a half inch shim and it is now level side to side instead of two inches lower on the right. The front was within 1/4 inch side to side after the modifications.  We had heavier torsion bars added front and rear, a rear trac bar which reduces side to side motion of the rear leaf springs and a steering damper installed.  We’ll see how pleased we are once we get back on the road.
Mitzy has decided to learn how to use the computer