Saturday, February 6, 2016

We left!

To my great relief, we are on the road. Our plan was to leave Wednesday, but the promise of mild weather and little snow prompted the early departure.
In his usual manner (saying he felt great) Fred put in a long, hard day travelling through the mountains.
I remember a time when he drove a straight 24 hours before he stopped and another time we drove all night to get to Wyoming for the weekend and then back for work. But he is getting older – this time we did manage to stop at Salmon Arm, just before it got dark.
Nothing can compare with a trip through the Rocky Mountains especially in the winter. 



From a distance, the mountains don’t seem like much but as you get closer and closer, you realize how massive and majestic they really are.
I was surprised just how little snow there was on the upper parts of the mountains. And yet, in spots the branches of the trees were so heavy with snow, they nearly touched the ground.
 



We took the Trans Canada Highway right through Banff National Park. Banff hosts about 3.5 million visitors every year and an additional 4.5 million that drive the Trans Canada and never stop in the Park. All this traffic takes it’s toll on the abundant wildlife that populates the Park so when they decided to expand the road from two to four lanes, they decided that something must be done to protect the animals.
Since 1996, they’ve opened six wildlife overpasses and 38 underpasses, which has allowed for more than 140,000 documented wildlife crossings. You don’t see the underpasses but the overpasses are fascinating.


 Rather than take the Trans Canada through the Fraser Canyon, we took Highway 5 over the Coquilalla (el. 1,244 m or 4,081 ft) and dropped into the green, green fields of Hope. It’s amazing to see green fields this time of year. We stopped in to a grocery store and they were selling petunia bedding out plants. I couldn’t believe it – the first of February!!

Ferry to Vancouver Island
We left Langley early in the morning (we accidentally left our pillows there, too) and caught the ferry with no wait time.
I don’t think we have ever taken the ferry when it was sunny and warm. This was no exception but I still feel a sense of warmth and excitement each time we cross the straits from the Mainland to Vancouver Island.
When we drove up the ramp, the counter told us we were the 80th vehicle in that line to go up the ramp. There was another ramp beside us and two more on the other side of the ship.
I couldn’t find out how many vehicles or passengers each ferry holds but it runs into the hundreds. They can load a ferry within 15 minutes. It is quite a process.




We spent about an hour and a half wandering in and out amongst about a dozen small island as we wend our way from Vancouver to Victoria.

 I’m not sure about spending so much time in the city but we will do our best!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Yes, We are Going!

2015 was our on-again-off-again-on-again travel year.
Now, in 2016, it is with the greatest of pleasure that I am able to announce we are in our On-Again Phase again! And this time it feels closer.
We found a place in Qualicum Beach that we hope FAR exceeds last year’s fiasco.
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Being true to their usual form, RV Lifestyle did a fantastic job of publishing the California Dreaming piece – then go up to where it says CONTENT and click on RV touring - California Dreaming. That should get you there!!page 26.
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The Weather
They tell us that so far, we have had a wonderful weather winter here.
I must say it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected. Even though we have resided here in Lethbridge since 2001, this is the first winter we have spent here.
I think the thing that has struck me most is how early it got dark in the afternoon (around 4pm) and how late it got light (9ish am) in the morning. It’s slowly improving. I noticed yesterday that it was still light at 5pm – yahoo!
BUT THE WINDS!
In Lethbridge, the warmer weather is generally accompanied by the rather strong Chinook Winds. Those are warm winds that swoop down on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. We always used to say “anywhere else, it might be called a hurricane, but here we just call it a ‘Sunny South Alberta Breeze’.
We have our own personal wind gage. It is the Tin Man that is suspended from a special spot on the deck.
TinMan
When he does his jig we avoid going out. It may be warm, but the winds would blow you away. Sometimes he just sits there and everything is okay.
The Tin Man was exchanged for a Jacob’s Tails book many years ago with a wonderful woman we met on the road. She was a full-time RVer and originally from Minnesota. Mia travelled in her own Class A Motorhome and spent most of the winter in Laughlin at one of the Casinos. The Tin Men were made completely from various sized tin cans by her brother. She sold them for him and the proceeds added to her own existence.
The resident weather-man says we need to leave by the middle of next week so there is lots to do.
Posting will come as things progress.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Opps – Here We Go Again!!

I woke up suddenly at 2 am Sunday morning when Fred shook me.
“I have a pain in my chest” he said.
Now I know what they mean by – it feels like I have a truck on my chest.”
I instantly called 911!
They came; they saw; then immediately wheeled him off to the hospital!!

I followed and found Fred being wheeled into an emergency room all wired up.
OMG – to say the least, it was a little terrifying.

Diagnosis? Atrial fibrillation (or A-fib)
The Emerg Doc did a great job of explaining what A-fib is and treatments options.
That along with extensive internet research managed to almost paralyze us with fear.
In comes a dear old friend – “oh, I have that”
What a God-sent!
Patti managed to explain what she had gone through; the various meds she tried; the meds she’s taking and how she is doing.
This, itself, managed to bring down our blood pressure!
We managed to get into see a GP on Tuesday and the Specialist on Wednesday. We were relieved, amazed, and pleased with the service we got from our Health Providers especially this time of the year when so many of them are off for the holidays!!
Long Story Short 
It looks like our proposed winter adventure to Vancouver Island is going to be either put off or eliminated. The doctor wants to monitor Fred’s progress and his next appointment is the end of January.
BUT . . .
Lethbridge is not totally without its attractions!!
Did I tell you that we have an incredible view?
Before the snow:


 
After the snow:



Decorations at the Brewery Gardens across the road:




May there be
Peace and Goodwill
for All! 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Phase Two–A Different Life

Onward and upward!!

Back to Vancouver Island for our winter hiatus.
As we started exploring our alternatives, the Canadian $ kept going down and the Travel Medical Insurance kept going up . . . our decision to head to Vancouver Island again for our winter get-away was reinforced.
As we researched the possibilities . . . we experienced extreme anxiety envisioning the same dreaded situation we got ourselves into last winter. We really wanted to see the place before we committed ourselves to a couple of months in a place we did not like.
Lo and behold, my brother came up with a solution!! Their plans were to go down to Mexico for a couple of months and we would be able to stay in their place in Victoria.
Sounded like a good idea to me!! So we will head out right after New Years and see how things go.
I think I have finally accepted that we will no longer travel in our little home on wheels. For me, it’s been a difficult transition.
When we started out in 2001, I swore I was not ready to give up my work . . . I would take a major sabbatical just to see make sure it suited me.
It took me a while to get used to a Lifestyle of small spaces on wheels moving around from one place to another.
I lost my love of hotels many years before we starting RVing. And flying? . . . that lost its charm when they started cramming in more and more seats; stopped serving snacks and meals; and started charging for carry-on luggage.
Our attempt to rent a Park Model in an RV Park in Yuma was an ultimate failure never to be repeated, we hope.
On the positive side, we enjoyed our Western trip this summer . . . ah-huh . . . maybe that is the answer!!

We’re going to have to learn to tolerate Canadian winters sooner or later . . . so maybe this will be sooner rather than later away from Lethbridge.
The Lethbridge Summer highlights are sparse.
A lot of medical time . . . we have more intimate relationships with the medical community than we would really choose . . . but have come out the other end doing well.
We took our trip up to Wetaskiwin to visit Chuck and Sheila . . .
They took out the Tourist Information Building across the road this summer . . . 


We managed to solve all the problems of the world again and had a wonderful food filled visit with Thom and Dar . . . get a new floor and furniture . . .


and enjoy our wonderful western view . . . 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What a Time We Have Had!

Not the best of winter experiences - it's hard to travel without your own home once you get used to an RV.
We ended up spending more time trying to get away from there than we did being there.
We learned a lot about ourselves - we are not joiners nor are we resort-type people!

We like being on our own.

Our forays to the beaches in California were terrific - even though we previously avoided spending time in California – we overcame our reluctance and may end up there again next season - if we get away!


Why . . . if we get away . . . you say?

Well, Fred had some severe waterworks issues. He did have other problems besides an infection. He tried meds but to no avail – flow did not improve enough.
Long-story short – a TURP* was scheduled for July.

*a process of "roto-rooting" (doctor’s terminology) the urethra.   Google it for more detail

Travel Time
With no reason to stay in Lethbridge, we just couldn’t sit around. We headed out to British Columbia and Vancouver Island.

We spent time visiting friends - Langley, Courtney and Sooke and family (my brother in Victoria - my sister in Vancouver). Then we hit Tofino and Ucleulet and did the beach thing over there. (Good alternative to California if necessary).

First Stop – Langley, BC

As well as being dear friends, our relationship with Judy and Terry is very food-focused.

OMG – did they take us to some incredible foody places – certainly not fancy – just good ethnic foods.

We really do believe the old adage that . . . company and fish both start to smell after three days . . . so off we went to catch the ferry over to Vancouver Island.

Crossing to Van Is (2)

It was cold and breezy!

Second Stop – Vancouver Island

Up the Island to Courtney so we could check out our forever friend Sharon’s new digs.

The house, the setting, and even the area are just spectacular. She got herself a great place and it was nice to see her so happy.

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(the house next door has a cat ladder going up the side of the house)

cat ladder

For us, Courtney is indistinguishable from Comox. This whole area has apparently grown existentially being an area attractive to those anxious to escape harsh Canadian winters.

Off to See the Sights

Comox Wharf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many boats!

Marina1

Marina2

Crow vs Eagle

I know I’ve never seen this before. A bald eagle was sitting on top of the light post and this crow swooped down and attacked it. The Eagle just sat there with a “what do you think you’re doing” attitude while the crow kept diving at him.

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Filberg Park

As we walked the paths that wander through the nine acres of lush, randomly manicured gardens, I realized that for most of the last dozen or so years we had been surrounded by desert.

Not that the desert isn’t striking, fascinating and mysterious, but this profusion of growth and colour gave me a sense of warmth and security that I never felt in the desert.

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They say there are 130 varieties of trees, gardens and hundreds of rhododendrons.

The property was opened to the public after the death of the original owner (R.J. Filberg, manager and superintendent of the Comox Logging and Railway Company) in 1977.

Oysters, Yum!

To me, the West Coast and oysters just go together so we went out  oyster hunting. Fanny Bay . . . great stories and photo opportunities!!

It was a Sunday and the fellow who owns the Seafood Market (Bob, I think) was there. It was not busy and he was into talking.

 FannyBay1

It was one of those places that hasn’t changed for generations!!

As Bob plied Fred with stories about his life and the sculptures he brought back from Viet Nam,

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FannyBay2

Sharon and I explored behind the building where they dump and shuck the oyster.

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Tofino-Ucleulet: A couple Days of Beach Bumming

It was surprisingly quiet over on the West Side of the Island which suited us fine. The Bayshore Waterfront upgraded us to the honeymoon suite  . . . very nice.

At the Entrance to our suite

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Motel-Room

Our view

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Exploring the beaches

The blustery cold was not going to stop us.

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Wild Pacific Trail

Our last venture on the west side of the Island was the Wild Pacific Trail. Easy-going trails (the kind we like) that wander through old growth as they hug the coastline of the Ucluth Peninsula.

Wild Pacific Trail (1)

Amphitrite Lighthouse.

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Wild Pacific Trail (3)

Wild Pacific Trail (4)

Wild Pacific Trail (5)

As their Web site says . . . http://tofinohiatus.com/tofinohikes/wild-pacific-lighthouse-trail.html

“The Wild Pacific Trail is wide and leisurely with numerous viewpoints to the ocean and guides you in and out of the forest on a constantly interesting route.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.