Thursday, June 30, 2011


We leisurely packed up and it was 10:30 before we got on the road Tuesday morning.   Lunch was at Transfer Beach, Ladysmith, and we had to unhook the car as the lot was too full to turn around in.  Aileen managed a nap after lunch.  I dozed a bit then took Mitzy down on the beach and out to the point where we could see the marina and sawmill.
We got to my cousin Neil’s and setup then I hosed off Monday’s grunge from when it rained before we got home from dumping.   I took Mitzy for a longish walk across Calais Rd from Wicks Rd in the municipal forest.  It was nice and peaceful in thick forest with several trails to choose from.  After supper I went to Mt Tzouhalem with Neil and Carol where we walked some of the trails.  Aileen and I joined them in the house for tea later.
We decided to carry on with our plan to go to Port Renfrew Wednesday morning even though Aileen’s back was acting up again.  We hit the road about 8:45 and headed off to Lake Cowichan.  The Pacific Marine Route is paved but not very straight or smooth after leaving Mesachie Lake.  In fact the last 10 kms to Port Renfrew are best done at 40 kmhs or slower.  While there were lots of logging trucks, some of the pickups we encountered were more challenging as they seemed to think they were in a race or something.  There were some interesting looking creeks but no way to get pictures because of no trail(and thick brush) or too many branches in the way.   We had some rain along the way but none after getting to Juan De Fuca Park.  We had our lunch in the parking lot then I did the loop trail to Botany Bay and Botanical Beach  which said 2.5 kms.  Of course I added to that by zigzagging around and climbing the rocks etc.  I enjoyed my walk and got some fairly decent shots but not much of sea life.  No starfish at all; I think I heard the sea lions are responsible for wiping them out.  While I was hiking, Aileen had a 1.5 hour nap in the car.  She had taken her CPAP machine along and plugged it into the 12 volt plug.
Aileen drove the first part of the return and after a bit I decided we had missed the turn.  There were several signs coming from the Victoria side indicating where to turn but none coming from Port Renfrew.  We saw some elk just before coming out on the Mesachie Lake end but they didn’t stick around for pictures.   We made it home before five, fed Mitzy then I took her for a stroll while Aileen got supper together.  I edited some of my pictures after supper.
Today we hope to visit a couple more relatives on my Dad’s side.

 Wild Tiger Lily

 A Bonzai Western Hemlock in Fairy Lake

 Some thick swamp grass near the ocean

 On the trail down to Botany Bay

 Indian Paintbrush on the rocks above the ocean

 Ferns and Bunchberry aka Dwarf Dogwood

 Some of the many grotesque trees molded by the winter storms

 The trail along the ocean

 At the end of Botanical Beach

 An adventurous girl, her boyfriend said he wasn't doing that. She was the risk taker.

End of my walk

Monday, June 27, 2011


 These top two are peonies

The next batch are poppies

Aileen cut my hair Tuesday morning then went off for her hair appointment.  I thought that would be a good time to take the bathroom taps apart and lubricate them since the squeak and stiffness were bothering Aileen.  That part was easy (no squeeks) but the sucker leaked out the nozzle when I reassembled it.  I went to Access RV but they didn’t have the parts.  They sent me to Home Hardware who sent me to Andrew Sheret.  I finally got a little repair kit for $2.07 but it didn’t work; in fact it was much worse.  Next I decided to replace the taps.  Cheap crap the same as we had was $37 at the RV place so I got a good quality metal one at Andrew Sheret’s for $54.  Aileen was so pleased with that she wanted the kitchen one replaced too.  It eventually got done after two more trips over to the plumbing store.  So, in the end it cost well over $400 to repair the squeak in the bathroom tap!  I have to admit the new taps certainly look much better than the old ones.  While we had the motor home torn apart and tools scattered all over, my sister Janet (and John) came visiting.  Pretty soon Charlie joined us then he called Sheila over when she came home so we had a good visiting time.  
Aileen and I helped with Charlie and Sheila’s yard sale on Saturday.  I put signs up in strategic locations then removed them at the end of the day.  I put my photo cards in and managed to get rid of a few.  I even put our old kitchen taps in and got $5 for them!  I wandered around taking flower portraits in the late morning but I had to contend with some wind so not as easy as I would have liked. 
Yesterday we wandered down to Duncan.  Aileen checked out a church while I went to visit my cousin Neil (and Carol).  We had a good chin wag then it was time to go for Aileen.  After lunch we went back to Neil’s and I took pictures of old family portraits and papers while Aileen got to visit.  Neil’s father was the youngest of eight in my Dad’s family and Neil has inherited some of the family history from his effects.  Neil kindly offered us a parking spot for the motor home in his yard so we plan to take him up on it tomorrow.  Mitzy was to go to the vet last Saturday but they had two emergencies and rescheduled for tomorrow.  I got a call this afternoon asking to reschedule again as the vet had to go to hospital for some reason today. 
We are hoping to visit with some of the extended family we haven’t seen much of during our few days in the old family seat.  My siblings and I are all third generation born in Duncan so we have lots of relatives scattered around there.  I also want to drive from Cowichan Lake out to Port Renfrew on the logging road that has been paved.  Port Renfrew is at the end of a long, twisty and bumpy road from Victoria and is on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island.  It is real rain forest country and some of the plants are rather unique.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011


 I took my brother in law John R with me on today's ride.  Our first stop was the old forestry lookout tower location overlooking the Alberni Valley.  That is Port Alberni at the head of Alberni Inlet, a long arm coming in from the Pacific Ocean.   It would be nice to return on a clear day.

 After driving .6 kms down a rather exciting ATV trail, we were rewarded with this view.  It was a nice place to have our lunch.

 There's no insulation in the walls but it would be cosy with the little stove roaring away

 The view of Cameron Lake out the window

This is Horne Lake and beyond is the ocean with Denman and Hornby Islands visible

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I set my alarm for six am this morning so I could go with my brother Chas to his jobsite to check on his employees and contractors.  When that was completed, we went to Rosewall Creek and hiked up the trail to the falls.  It was a great morning for a walk with pleasant temperature and no bugs.  It was very lush and green along the creek which has very clear water and not a lot of debris.  We took Chas’ dog Belle who enjoyed several swims in the fast flowing water.  She’s a strong swimmer and allowed herself to be almost swept into the rapids before just swimming back to shore.
We took one of Chas’ former customers with us to lunch at Deep Bay Marina.  After lunch we stopped in Bowser to get a tire repaired.  It had picked up a screw at one of the worksites or somewhere.     

 Chas walked across the creek on this log

 This is an interesting story.  If you look closely you will see roots way up the trunks of these trees.  It would appear that many years ago, a landslide over ran the trees covering them for about ten feet.  The limbs then turned into roots.  Sometime at a later date, a  flood washed the gravel away exposing the limbs/roots again.

 Chas and Belle

 This is a waterfall that you can't get a full shot of as it is just too dangerous to try getting out in front of it

 Belle checking to see how close the rapids are.  Right after this she came back to shore.

The butterfly was in one of Chas's customers garden

Sunday, June 19, 2011


 The newest member of our team - the trailer

Things started happening quickly this trip.  On Thursday, I bought a small trailer to haul my ATV with the Honda CRV.  I got the trailer licensed and hauled the ATV around a bit to see how it handled.  I was satisfied with how it all rode.  On Friday, I took the ATV to the dealer in Courtenay to get a new key programmed.  It only came with one key and Aileen has been suggesting that it would be a good idea to get a spare. 
I ordered printer ink from a company called 123Ink that was to be compatible with my large Canon 9500 Pro but when I made prints for the Salmon Arm Fair last week the colours were really bad.  I finally managed to talk to a person on Friday and she asked for some scans to show the problem.  I took the 13x19 inch pictures to the local business store and had the scans made and emailed them off.  I have asked for a full refund.  The lady tried to tell me to use the other eight inks and I told her there was no way I was ruining any more expensive 13x19 paper.  I don’t know how this refund process will work out.  I may have to involve my credit card company to force the issue. 
 Sheila and Charlie casting off into the mighty Englishman River

Mid afternoon Saturday, I went with Chas and Sheila to be shuttle driver so they could canoe Englishman River from top bridge down to below the old highway.  It took them about an hour but the river was lower than they expected so some wading and lining was required.  Somewhere along there Chas managed to poke his left eye with a stick or branch.  Sheila took him to the local walk in clinic but they had to go to Nanaimo emergency since the clinic was too busy or something.  He scratched his eye so has to keep it shaded and put some ointment on.
Mitzy and I walked up to my sister Susan’s after supper Saturday night.  I had a good visit with her and John and a tour of the property and gardens.  John and I are hoping to get out on the ATV this week.  His brother also would like to join us with his machine.

French Creek Boat Basin

I spent some time at the local boat harbor this morning.  Lunch was at Sheila’s mother’s and it was large group who enjoyed the varied dishes.  I left early and went to Qualicum Beach to take in the annual car show.  There were over 600 vehicles on display but so many people that it was difficult to do much for pictures.  Though it looked ominous at times, the rain did hold off.

I don't know why this car owner was looking so grumpy

1954 Chevy motor home

A peek into the master bedroom

There's a tag axle under those big fins

I had a Father’s Day card from Bev that she sent with us last Sunday and Richard and Georgia called late this afternoon.  He was excited about his upcoming departure on Tuesday for Bloomington, Indiana for a large conference in conjunction with his university teaching. 
Howard (RV whose blog I have followed for at least six years reported that their good friend’s 5th wheel caught on fire as they were driving today and was totally destroyed.  They managed to unhook the truck but couldn’t save anything else.  Ed and Marilyn whose blog, The Happy Wanderers, is one I follow sporadically, have been full timing since 2006.    Ed and Marilyn used Howard and Linda as their main resource when they started planning to go full time as have many others.  Fire is an ever present threat with RVs since once a fire starts, it is usually impossible to get it out before the unit is destroyed.  RVs burn very quickly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


 Aileen lounging at our dry camping site along the Similkameen River 
 I think this is a Larkspur

Strata in the mountain east of Hedley, BC

We were up and at em a little early Monday morning.  In fact we were on the road just before eight with breakfasts over and Mitzy finished her morning business.  Aileen took a short walk then met me at Springbend where I was gassing up the motor home.  We filled the car as well.  I think we saved close to $20 over Salmon Arm prices.  We hooked the car on just before Enderby and went to take the bypass route around the construction but found they had closed it off by digging it up too.  So then of course, we had to fight our way back into the traffic at the highway then sit and wait in the line.  There was a wait in the line at Armstrong and a slow down in Vernon and again at the Predator Ridge junction. 
We drove through rain until Oyama then back into it several times south of Kelowna.  My wash job of Sunday suffered badly.   We finally arrived at Sunoka Park just before 11:30 so I had time to walk Mitzy before Bev and Carole arrived for lunch.  Pearl (Bev’s Mom) didn’t come because she had a sore throat.  We had a good lunch and visit for a couple hours then continued on our way.  We had a few minute wait at Yellow Lake then drove through some really heavy rain.  We unhooked at the start of the Old Hedley Road and I scouted down the road for a ways.  We camped in the first recreational site which is across the river from the main highway but pretty quiet.  
On Tuesday we had a lazy morning.  I took Mitzy for a long walk so it was 9:30 before breakfast was over.  I washed the car and the motor home by packing water up from the dirty river.   They were both pretty dirty from all that rainy road Monday.
Just before lunch, I took my long lens over to the gas line and shot a marmot.  He let me get close enough to fill the frame.  Aileen napped after lunch so I wandered back toward Keremeos  as far as Riverside RV Park.  It seemed to be a nice park but there is no cell phone signal and I saw a lady with a mosquito veil so perhaps they are bad along the river.  I drove all the streets in Hedley but didn’t find anything interesting (to me) to shoot.  I drove 3.5 kms up the logging road across from Stemwinder Park then turned back when I came upon an excavator rebuilding the road.  I spent some time at Pickard Creek Rec site.  It would be quieter than our rec site but would have way less solar exposure.
 A friendly marmot

 I found the folded rocks interesting - just above Hedley, BC

Old Mascot mine buildings perched high above Hedley, BC

After supper we drove the old road to Princeton.  I did some HDR of the old house along the road then after I thought I was finished, I spotted some Mountain Goats up on the bluffs.  There were three then another with a baby popped out from a crevasse.  After a bit the first ones started moving and one of them had a baby too.
 An old house along the Old Hedley-Princeton highway

Some mountain goats way above me

We woke during the night to rain on the roof and it was still raining this morning.  In fact, we used the wipers til nearly Chilliwack.  Where we stopped for tea on the Hope side of Manning Park Lodge,  the rain was mixed with sleet.  The temperature got as low as 2.5C which was certainly a nasty blow after Monday's sun and warmth.
We decided not to push hard for the 12:45 ferry so spent some time at a highway rest area.  We dumped our tanks there but couldn’t fill the fresh water tank since the only hose was on the wrong side and didn’t have an end to attach our hose.
We spent nearly two hours at the ferry terminal then were jammed in on the old Queen of Alberni ferry.   The deck hand was guiding me and let me bang my mirror.  Then he thought we should just stay in the motor home since he intended parking a big truck alongside us.  He told me I had to put the steps in to let the truck by which would prevent us from getting out.  I told him to forget that so he just brought the truck up to the steps.  I went upstairs on the ferry and read while Aileen decided to stay downstairs rather than try to squeeze through the tightly packed vehicles.  I had to go sideways to get through.
It took us 3.5 hours from the Hedley camp to the rest area and 1.25 hours from there to the ferry.   We stopped just after getting off the ferry to feed Mitzy and decided to have our supper too.  It was a beautiful evening on the Island so it was a pretty drive up to Coombs where we filled the fresh water tank at the rodeo grounds.   We arrived at my brother Charlie’s just before eight and found he had just mowed our site.  It didn’t take long to get set up then we went on a tour to see all the improvements made since our last visit.