Monday, September 29, 2014


We left Charlie and Sheila’s as planned on Thursday and sure enough, halfway to our destination the rain caught us making the bottom of the motor home somewhat dirty.  We are parked at my Cousin Neil and Carol’s until tomorrow morning when we’ll move down to the Sidney/Victoria area.  Saturday was a pretty nice day so after we went to a garage sale at Neil and Carol’s church, Aileen dropped me and my bike off at an access point for the Cowichan Valley Trail.  I pedalled my way along it gathering up seventeen geocaches.  It was so nice to be out in the forest in such ideal conditions.  All that came to an end when I got to the main roads that I had to ride to get home.  My old bike is a killer on hills and I seemed to be riding into the wind no matter which direction I faced.   It certainly gave me a workout!
Yesterday, I accompanied Neil and Carol when they went hiking with their Sunday group.  Three men, one boy and thirteen ladies.  It was quite a bit noisier than I’m used to but the trail was very interesting travelling along some dry ridges with lots of arbutus trees, manzanita bushes and mossy cliffs.  We were home for a late lunch and the beautiful sunny weather held for the afternoon.  Today it rained.

We drove up to Nanaimo for a cousin’s lunch.  Aileen’s cousin in law Bill came down from Campbell River and her cousin Pat and wife Irene drove up from Victoria.  We had a great two plus hours gabbing away with lots of laughs to keep the wrinkles at bay.   I had some photos emailed to me of a freak wind shear or something that struck our Arizona RV park.  There was quite a bit of damage but via our friend Daryl, it sounds like our block escaped the worst of it.   I guess we’ll see when we get there.

I think Charlie's cows wanted me to read to them

A mighty Suzuki tow vehicles

Well, not really!

The old rail grade that is the Cowichan Valley section of the Trans Canada Trail

The bees are still really busy in the daisies beside the motor home

Dead and alive!  The main trunk of this arbutus tree has died but another section is alive and well

Shooting directly into the sun to capture the translucent arbutus bark produced a unique result

The lens flair from the sun shining on the front of the lens has created an angel!  Well, that's what I see!  It is going to have to grow into the halo.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Our time on Vancouver Island is almost up.  Charlie and I went riding with the Alberni Valley Hill Climbers ATV Club, of which we are both members, for a ride yesterday.  There were fifteen ATVs out, with seventeen people.  We had a good ride with much of it on old overgrown and seldom used logging roads.  There were scores of waterbars (sections of the road dug up), which protect the roads from washouts, but there were a few washed out spots to contend with, some more exciting than others.   There were many trees fallen across the road and while we could ride over or under most of them, there were a few that we had to chop through with a couple of dull axes.  The club has decided that someone needs to carry a chainsaw on these excursions.  This was the club’s first outing of the season and my only one.  They tend to not ride in hot dry conditions.

This afternoon we are visiting a cousin several times removed who lives nearby.  We met him at our family reunion back in 2009 and had invited him and his new wife to Aileen’s birthday party in July as a way of their meeting more of the family in the area.  Tomorrow and Thursday, Aileen is meeting with her good friend Bev D for the last times this year.  Wednesday will see us off to have lunch with our friend Perry up in Courtenay.  Friday the plan is to move down to Cousin Neil’s in Duncan then Tuesday down near Victoria for two nights to visit Richard, Robin and Georgia.  Richard’s birthday is Wednesday so we are helping celebrate.  Thursday morning we will catch the ferry to the mainland and then on to the Shuswap for a few days.  Somewhere around October 8th or 9th we will move down to Penticton where we’ve been invited to celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving.   We will cross the border about October 15th and begin our trek down to Florence, Arizona.    I am still undecided on our route.  It’s getting more difficult to find routes we haven’t travelled as we have tried to use different ones every year.  So then it becomes a matter of which one is easiest or where would we like to visit again.  Linking together an interesting series of photo hotspots is an exacting process sometimes.

Pink Salmon schooling along the shore at Campbell River last week.  These fish are probably all in the two to four pound range

Old Grumpy was guarding the beach 

"The First Tear of Fall" was what came to mind when I saw this maple leaf

There were a lot of empty crab shells on the beach

The maples were shedding already

Maple Contorta

We even saw some wildlife at the beach

Just made it under

Going over

The trickiest part of the trail

The view down in to the Alberni Valley from near our lunch spot.  That blue ridge in the distance is where we went ATVing a few weeks ago when you saw the photos looking down to the Alberni Canal

Lunch at Summit Lake (one of many lakes by that name in BC)

Summit Lake

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


As we were cruising along, we spotted this giant helicopter logger

If you click on the image you should be able to see the logs suspended beneath the chopper
The two above images were taken by my SX50 at a very long distance from us
All the following photos are from my Canon 6D

Looking further up the inlet from the harbour at Gold River

Log sorting dozer boats at rest

The mouth of Gold River in morning light

On the way out, Aileen scored a front row seat.  That's her on the left.

Peeking in a port hole.  The skipper encouraged visitors to the wheelhouse

A couple views looking back in the morning

The beach on the open Pacific was all loose stones and very difficult to walk on

A little jelly fish

Aileen's and my tracks along the beach



We moved up to Cousin Bill’s in Campbell River last Thursday and returned to Charlie and Sheila’s today.  We had a great trip.  We got to have lunch on the wharf at Dick’s a couple times as well as a great Chinese supper at Bejiing House in the north end of Campbell River.   Aileen had no problems with gluten in any of her meals so she was pretty happy with that.
The big event was our all day boat ride on the Uchuck 3 out from Gold River to Friendly Cove.  We left Mitzy with our friend Gay in Campbell River and her husband Doug came with us.  We had gorgeous weather the whole day and the smoke wasn’t too bad from the forest fires.  Friendly Cove is where Captain Cook first landed in BC on March 30, 1778 being the first whites to visit the area.  He was welcomed by the natives and layed up to repair his ships for several weeks.  After leaving Friendly Cove, he was murdered by natives in the Sandwich Islands on January 14, 1779. 
There is not much left at Friendly Cove now.  A native carver has a house and carving shop where he spends the summer months.  There is the lighthouse manned by a husband and wife team.  There is an older Catholic Church that is now a cultural center and there are 6 small cabins further along that can be rented.     There is a rumour that the federal government is planning a modern cultural center which I’m sure will take away the current serenity and mystique.  We had three and a half hours ashore to explore and it was ample time.  It was unseasonably warm so most people were getting hot and tired by the time to leave.  I saw several people sound asleep on the ride home.  This was the last Saturday trip of the year so the boat was filled to the maximum capacity of 100 passengers.  With the weather so pleasant, most people sat outside on the various decks so it didn’t feel crowded.   Aileen has declared the trip exceptional.  She got to meet a lady who grew up on this lighthouse and she had a great chat with the current lighthouse lady.   Since it was getting late by the time we got off the boat, we found a little restaurant in Gold River to eat at.  Called The Manila, it had several gluten free choices and once again Aileen didn’t have any problems with gluten.

I had made arrangements earlier to have the motor home serviced by a shop in Campbell River so that’s where I spent much of my yesterday.  Even though we don’t use the generator that much, I had it serviced as well.   On a different note, I’m often asked if I shoot more now than back in the film days.  The answer is definitely!  Three days shy of one year old, my full frame Canon 6D has taken 10,100 shots and my four month old Canon SX50 has taken over 4,400.

The church that is now the cultural center

Nootka Lighthouse at Friendly Cove

Tired of not getting fresh veggies, the lighthouse couple imported some soil and now have some great eating

The Uchuck 3 in the harbour below the lighthouse

The red carpet treatment

Looking out to the open Pacific

Inside the cultural center

Doug and Aileen relaxing on the ride home

Some of the view along the inlet

Several dogs made the trip but this was the most photogenic

Monday, September 8, 2014


We need a few days to rest up after the past while.  I met brother in law John in Campbell River Wednesday for what turned out to be a fourteen hour day.  We spent most of it geocaching.  Thursday, Aileen and I hauled three loads of firewood up to the woodshed then took friend Bev D for a birthday lunch, Friday saw Aileen and I take a drive over to the West Coast of Vancouver Island and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet as well as the beautiful large open sand beaches of Long Beach. That was only an eleven hour day.    On Saturday, we met John and Anne in Campbell River for a thirteen and a half hour day.   Most of it was spent geocaching for the guys and a good sister visit for the girls who rode along in the back seat with the dogs for company.  This was probably our last visit with John and Anne before we leave the Island.  Yesterday, Charlie and I took our ATVs and joined a small group on a ride above Port Alberni.  It was a gorgeous day but all the smoke in the air pretty much destroyed the photography.  We did find a few geocaches though.
We will be moving up to Campbell River toward the end of this week for a few days.  Saturday will see us taking the boat ride from Gold River to Friendly Cove on the Uchuck on its last run of the season.   On Monday, I have an appointment to get the motor home serviced in Campbell River.  Things are starting to come together for making our departure south in just over five weeks.   I have been planning for what needs to be done at the last minute and making arrangements.

I spied this young couple taking these selfies at Long Beach so thought I'd use the SX50 at 1200mm to get in on the action.  If you look closely, you can see their camera set up on their backpack on the sand

We always admire this idyllic location just across from Tofino  

This was a pretty little walk in beach at the end of the Tonquin Trail in Tofino

As usual, the surfers were out in force at Long Beach

Gorgeous day at Long Beach

Larry Lake along the highway between Port Alberni and Long Beach

John and Anne's son Mike was passing through Campbell River Saturday evening and joined us for fish and chips.  I thought this was a pretty nice spot to enjoy our meal.  Back row John, Anne and Mike.  Aileen and I in front.

Looking down on Sproat Lake near Port Alberni on our ATV ride yesterday.  My sister Becky's family has a summer cabin about halfway along on the left.

We came on a rock slide blocking our road yesterday so we got busy and built a route over the debris.  That's me in the back wielding the pick.

And here's me making my way through.