Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We moved on up the road to Cousin Bill’s today.  We’ll be here two nights then move up to Port McNeill where we plan to spend June and July visiting and hopefully, ATVing.  Aileen is driving the truck which we will attempt to sell while in the Port McNeill area.  I am towing the ATV on its trailer behind the motor home.   Bill has planned a barbeque with friends here tomorrow evening but with the weather forecast, we’ll be eating inside.
We were down to Victoria yesterday for another acupuncture treatment for Aileen and it seems to have helped considerably.  At least, Aileen says her back feel much better today.  We picked up our friend Bev D and brought her up to Parksville to visit her mother.  
It was very easy getting our passport renewals looked at and sent away from the Service Canada office in Nanaimo.  I filled out our 8840 Closer Connection forms online this morning then printed them out.  This form is highly recommended for Canadians traveling to the US to prevent being taxed by the US government on our Canadian earnings.

We saw this nice waterfall on the Saltery Bay - Earls Cove ferry last week

You can see how windy it was up on the top deck on the ferry last week

This is Niagara Falls in Goldstream Park near Victoria, BC on one of our trips down to visit the acupuncturist

These Harbour Seals know how to relax

This seal just caught a thrown fish

Here comes a treat

Even houseboats can have a lawn!

Another houseboat

Sunday, May 27, 2012


After lunch yesterday, Aileen slept most of the afternoon away as she was still recovering from our busy trip to the Sunshine Coast.   I took the ATV up Nile Creek for a ride.  I put on 48 kms and ran into snow twice.  I did see an owl on the way back and he let me get some pictures.   I had an interesting ride with even a challenging creek crossing.  It was mostly tee shirt riding too, which was a bonus.  The flies were pesky up high when I stopped for pictures out across the islands.  I had cut the front lawns in the morning.   Brother Charlie and Sheila arrived home late last night so that’s it for my lawn cutting for now.
We went to Duncan this morning for Aileen to go to church.  Mitzy and I drove around the Glenora district and found a section of the Cowichan Valley Trail where we went for a about a 3.5 kms stroll.  We met several big dogs and Mitzy is very nervous with them since her second attack in two months.  We came straight home after lunch.
I filled out our passport renewals online then printed the forms which we’ll take to the passport office in Nanaimo tomorrow. 

A pretty little waterfall where there used to be a bridge across

These are wild huckleberries in bloom

Looking across the Salish Sea.  Deep Bay on Vancouver Island is in the lower left.  Next is Denman Island with the Chrome Island lighthouse off the right end. Hornby Island is next then Texada with the huge rock quarry highly visible. Directly beyond the quarry would be Powell River on the Sunshine Coast.  Sechelt, where we visited Auntie Ann is way off to the right. 

A closer look at Deep Bay boat harbour, Denman, Hornby and Texada Islands and on to the Sunshine Coast (which is mainland BC) 

Looking down the creek

My owl posing 

Friday, May 25, 2012


Life continues to spin out of control, it seems.  We were on the road in the car Wednesday morning by 7:45.  We arrived with lots of time to spare at the Comox ferry dock to catch the boat across to the BC mainland at Powell River.  The Sunshine Coast as the area is known is more like an island than is Vancouver Island since you can’t drive too far without taking another ferry.  Wherein lies the main problem when trying to go directly to somewhere to visit. When we got off the ferry in Powell River, we roared down to the next ferry crossing at Saltery Bay only to discover I had read the schedule wrong and the next sailing wasn’t for three hours!  We backtracked a little to a provincial park and had our packed lunch.  Later Aileen had a rest while Mitzy and I wandered along the shoreline.  In hindsight, it would have been much faster to take the ferry to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) then the ferry to Langdale but we really didn’t want to go that way. 
It was about 5 pm when we finally arrived at our motel just south of Sechelt.  Aileen’s Auntie Ann was there in the parking lot to greet us.  She visited while we moved into the room and over supper in the restaurant.  Afterward, we followed her to her house and met her hubby Al.  After a leisurely breakfast on Thursday, we went back to Ann and Al’s to visit some more.  They took us down to their favourite walking path along the ocean where we visited some more until time for us to head homeward.  We zipped up to Earl’s Cove and caught the ferry to Saltery Bay.  Knowing that there was again a three hour wait to catch the ferry to Comox, we had a leisurely lunch at the same park then explored side roads all the way to Powell River.  We ended our visit by a walk in Willingdon Park run by the City of Powell River and it was very nice.  It was about 8 pm when we finally pulled in at the motor home.  Charlie’s renter, Michelle, looked after Sophie, our cat, while we were away.    
I spent this morning getting Aileen’s computer checked over by a local “tech” and the car serviced.  I went off looking to visit Wendy and Randy at their new house in Bowser but just as I was about to turn off the freeway, I passed them headed back to their current dwelling.  I did find the house and it looks like it was a real find.  Aileen spent most of her day doing lots of laundry including floor mats, getting everything shipshape before we head up to the north island for June and July.
I cut all the lawns here after supper then we went for a drive poking about.  Aileen got a call from the doctor Wednesday evening and the lump on her nose was benign.  He originally thought there was a strong possibility that it was cancer.  It was around a hair follicle and very rare on the nose.  She was happy to hear that!

I thought the grain in this driftwood tree root was interesting

There were a few honeysuckles blooming along the beach walk

I was surprised to find lots of starfish.  they are becoming very rare on Vancouver Island.  I read that the re-introduced  sea otters are to blame for the decline

This boat trailer had been dunked in the ocean too many times.  The spring rusted through causing the axle to break away.  You can see a section of the spring on the left fender

Auntie Ann who is 82, Aileen and Mitzy

I had hoped for a sunset across from our motel but this was all I got.  We did have a great view though

Sunday, May 20, 2012


When we last reported in, we were in Hope.  Well I’m happy to report that our trip the rest of the way was uneventful and Aileen is very pleased with herself for bringing the pickup all the way.  We are parked at brother Charlie’s for a couple weeks before we move on again.
The next day, Thursday, I was up early and drove down to Duncan to go up Mt Prevost where I hoped to get some decent photos of the Cowichan Valley and Duncan.  It was a nice sunny morning but the terrible haze in the valley destroyed any hope of getting any good shots.  The wind was blowing to the north so the Crofton pulp mill wasn’t to blame.  Perhaps it was Victoria smog blowing in?  I decided I would spend the day in the area and come back for the evening light. I drove up to Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou and got the dogwood and stream images along the way.  Later, I went to Subway for a six inch sub for my supper and took it up Mt Prevost.
I went back up the mountain even though the sky was beginning to look ominous.  I expected it would be like the day before where it clouded over in the afternoon then cleared at supper.  I ate my sub at the cairn mostly huddled under a tree as it commenced to rain.  I gave it over an hour before giving up.  The sky just kept getting darker and darker from southwest to northwest.  I used the wipers most of the way down the mountain and had them nearly on full went I got onto the highway from Herd Road.  I finally drove out from under the cloud at Ladysmith where it was very sunny and it had been sunny all the time from there to home.   I don’t know if I can fit another try in or not in the next ten days as I understand the road is closed from June 1st until late fall.  The weather forecast is not great for the next several days.  The mountain is a municipal forest preserve and they are paranoid about fire.
Aileen managed to get the stiches removed from her nose surgery at the Parksville walk in clinic late Thursday.  The doctor was very impressed when she heard it was our doctor who did the sutures as she thought it must have been a plastic surgeon to have done such a nice job.
On Friday, I got my ATV out of it’s hidey hole shed here at Charlie’s and was impressed to have it start right up.  It has been sitting there since last August.  Now to find somewhere to ride it.  It seems that all the logging roads that give access to the local mountains are gated. Unfortunately, most of the timber lands in this area are private rather than government owned so they can get away with blocking access.  In the areas where there is an ATV club, it appears they have worked out joint use agreements that allow the club to borrow a key for the day so members can ride the miles of wilderness roads.  However, there is no club here.
Aileen and I went to the Coombs Country Opera on Friday evening and enjoyed some great music and singing.  It is sort of like a coffee house where the performers get free admission and the audience pays $5 each.  It was a pretty good deal as the music went on til 10:20 after starting at 7 pm.  The musicians were local and from neighbouring communities up to an hour’s drive away.   This was the last one of the season and they hope to see it come back in September but only if they can find a new MC and some assistance for the sound man.  It has been going for 35 years.  It has been well supported over the years by the Coombs Old Time Fiddlers group but they are losing members at a fast rate.  The lady who plays piano with the fiddlers is just about to turn 95 and has been playing piano for 91 years!   Her husband, on a fiddle, is 93 and every time he missed a note, she sent him a dirty look.  I think the youngest fiddler on the stage was 83 and she just got remarried recently.     
We were off to Duncan this morning so Aileen could go to the church she likes to attend when she can.  After lunch, we went to Crofton and visited Jean, sister of Carole, whose celebration of life we attended recently.  I took my thumb drive with Carole’s celebration pictures and Jean downloaded them to her computer.  We played around with the Canon XSi that she inherited from Carole and I was able to show her several tricks with the programming and how to find the shooting info on the computer.
We have a busy week lined up with Tuesday being another acupuncture appointment for Aileen in Victoria followed by lunch with friend Bev and later, a visit with son Richard and maybe Georgia.  Then on Wednesday, we plan to go to the Sunshine Coast and visit one of Aileen’s aunts in Sechelt who she hasn’t seen for at least 24 years.  We will stay over one night as there are two ferry rides each way and because of the two ferry rides, the motor home will not be going.  We can stay in a motel and dine out for a lot less money than paying the ferry pirate’s fees.

 The twin peaks of Mt Prevost which rises nearly 2500 feet above the surrounding land.  The war memorial cairn is on the right peak

From a different angle the cairn is slightly more visible

Here's your trusty photographer. The first green fields in front of me are the farm where I was raised.  It is now part of a large golf course.  The city of Duncan is in the left center, but nearly invisible in the haze.  It isn't even 9 am yet

This cairn was erected in memory of the locals who died in World War 1.  Plaques were later added to celebrate those who died in World War 11 and Korea

This lichen on a rock looked like a face to me

Some dogwoods along the way.  The dogwood is BC's Floral emblem

I like shooting moving water

Here's old grumpy having supper.  Shortly after this, I was huddled under the tree on the right trying to stay dry

Here's the leading edge of the storm that spoiled my shoot.  For those who read Rick and Paulette's blog which is on my side bar, they live just to the right of the upper right body of water which is Cowichan Bay

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


We were up shortly after 6:30, I think.  When Mitzy and I were returning from our walk, the wolf looking dog from the stables across the road attacked Mitzy.  Grabbed her across the back and was flinging her up in the air.  This was on the leash.  I brought Mitzy home and went walking over to complain and damned if the dog didn’t nip me in my right calf!  So then I really gave the lady hell.   I drove over later to show her the bite marks on Mitzy and voiced my opinion that any small child would be in grave danger.   Still later, after hearing how Jacquie had been intimidated and Taffy attacked, I went over again and got the lady’s name and phone number in case Mitzy has to go to the vet.  I left the lady in tears but, hey it was her dog that was the problem and it seemed like a problem getting worse so she needs to take action.  I told her I didn’t want to ever see that dog running loose again.   Aileen spoke to the vets office a couple times and they gave some suggested treatment and what to watch for.  If she starts to swell or it gets hot, we need to get her to a vet asap. 
We got on the road at 9:37 and have made it to Hope for the night.  Aileen drove the truck and I towed the car behind the motor home.   Aileen hopes to be able to drive the truck the rest of the way tomorrow so I don’t have to make a special trip back for it.  She said she made out okay today.  We drove into Hope tonight for a visit with my Aunt June.  Her gardens were looking really nice.  She spends most of her free time nurturing  them.

Balsamroot flowers

Madeline Lake

Lots of snow above the Coquihalla Highway still

Monday, May 14, 2012


We came back to the Shuswap last Thursday for Aileen to have some minor surgery.  She had a lump removed from her nose Friday morning and is now waiting to hear back regarding the biopsy.  She will need her stitches removed later this week wherever we happen to be.  The surgery went quickly but she has had a headache ever since which she isn’t impressed with.
She is off for coffee with her friend Donna this morning, lunch with daughter Bev then a visit to friend Wendy at 2.  Tonight we are having supper with my Aunt Jacquie and Jim.  My Aunt Eleanor and Ron will be joining us.
I borrowed the machine for testing my oxygen levels while sleeping and used it two nights.  I hope to take it to Vernon this morning and get the results.  I have several errands to do in Salmon Arm prior to our departure tomorrow.  We are planning on spending tomorrow night near Hope.  Aileen is going to drive our pickup that far while I take the motor home and car.  We will leave the truck there and I will come back for it on Thursday to take it the rest of the way to the Island where I will continue to try to sell it over the summer.
We’ve had a few visits with Bev and Kev and had a combined effort supper Saturday night.  I spent much of the day there doing several loads of laundry.  Aileen had met her friend Edna in the morning for a visit.
Here’s a wrap on my trip to the Palouse.  I was awake before 5 am last Wednesday, so after laying there for a bit, decided to get up and going.  I did have a long shower which felt good.  It took me three trips to remove all my photo gear from the room and I was on the road at 5:40.  I wandered out through Endicott then up to Sprague where I crossed I-90 on my way up to Kettle Falls.  I was across the border at Midway with no difficulty just before noon.  It was about 435 kms to Colfax via Spokane on the way down and 510 kms the way I returned.  It would appear I put on about 380 kms driving in the Palouse.   I took 1408 shots on the trip which would have been 39 rolls of film.  Since quite a few were three shot sequences for HDR, I probably took about 500 – 600 different pictures.  I was home shortly after 2 pm surprising Aileen and Mitzy who had thought I’d roll in about dark.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The reason for our visit to the south Okanagan city of Penticton was to attend the celebration of life for our good friend Carole who passed away in November at the young age of 66.  Many people got up and paid tribute or shared snips of her life and character.  There were lots of laughs which Carole would have enjoyed.  Aileen got up and spoke and when she sat down, the lady behind her tapped her on the shoulder and announced she was her cousin, Bev Stirling, who we’d met years ago but had lost contact again.  In another instance of “small world,” Bev’s husband worked with Carole for years!  Aileen and Bev were planning on getting together today.  I met several long time photo friends including Greg Dean, Joanne Bell, John Taylor and Jeanette Burton.
We came home for a while then took our host, Karen, with us to Theo’s Greek Café where twenty some of us had supper.  Joanne and the Taylor’s were at our table so Aileen and John Taylor’s wife, Alethea, had to entertain each other while the other three of us talked photography.  That is one experience I do miss with our new lifestyle.   On Sunday morning, we attended the spreading of Carole’s ashes alongside of Okanagan Lake at one of her favourite spots.   Sunday evening we visited Ron and Lucille who rented my sister Wendy’s old trailer across from us in Caliente this past winter.  They have already rented a different trailer for this coming winter.
I was awake about 5 so Monday morning got up shortly after.  I was on the road by 6:08.  It took nearly two hours to get to Midway, BC then found the border crossing didn’t open til 9 am.  Rather than drive to beyond Grand Forks to the next crossing, I sat and read.  I had lunch at the Golden Corral in Spokane since it was lunch time when I got there. 
I got into Colfax sometime after two pm planning to pay my bill at the motel but there was just an envelope hanging on the door with a note telling my key was in room 26 and giving me the wifi code.  The Siesta Motel is clean and very affordable and the office was open til ten so I took care of the bill when I returned.  My room with a single queen bed includes a microwave, coffee maker and fridge and cost $58.21 including the tax!  I went to the county office and bought a map book for $6 then headed out looking for pictures.  The crops are late this year.  I knew I would be too early but this was the only window of opportunity for this spring.  The only green is the fall plantings.  None of this spring’s seeding has sprouted yet.  In fact there isn’t much planted.  They are really giving it on the cultivating though now trying to catch up.  I was told the wet weather had held back the ability to access the fields.
I spent my evening on Steptoe Butte.  It got hazier and hazier and it looked like it was going to be a bust.  I went to have my bread and peanut butter and discovered I had grabbed an open sour cream container from our fridge rather than the margarine I had bought specially for this trip!  I bought another in town tonight along with a small tub of pasta salad which I ate to complete my supper.  We did get a spot of fairly decent light on the butte later but there was still so much dust as many farmers were still roaring around the fields with tractors and trucks.
I was back to Steptoe Butte well before six this morning.  There were three vehicles from Manitoba up there, one from England, one from California and one from Houston, Texas.  No locals in evidence.   I watched several crop dusting planes in action during the morning.  I guess the main reason to continue using the planes to spread chemicals is the large amount of crop that gets flattened by the big tractor tires during the application process.  After having my breakfast out of the trunk at the bottom of Steptoe, I wandered around the roads to the east of Steptoe and into Idaho returning to Colfax for a large lunch at Eddy’s Chinese Café right across from the motel.  After starting the download of the morning’s shots, I had a 45 minute nap.  I will go out again shortly for the evening light but I notice it is getting quite cloudy.  That may curtail the good light but if you’re not there, you don’t get to try.  I will work my way home tomorrow then Thursday we head back to the Shuswap for our Friday appointments.

Steptoe Butte from the east

There are many of these primitive roads which you only drive when they are dry.  This one had been very wet but has just been graded and it was now very dusty.  I was only the second vehicle to use it after the grader

A biplane crop duster

1904 barn

A little newer barn.  An 89 year old guy stopped to chat.  He'd just driven down from Spokane and had owned the property from 1950 til recently

Patterns made by the seeder

Here's a non Palouse picture for the others.  Shall I bring them to you Chas?

Monday, May 7, 2012


Its late and I'm tired so I will skip over the past few days and catch them up later.