Archive for the ‘BC’ Category

Week of Sailing

Friday, August 12th, 2016
Bon Voyage!

                    Bon Voyage!

We had an amazing week with friends and family among 3000 other guests as we sailed into Alaska from Seattle.  Our group was 17 and we had family from New York, Colorado, San Jose as well as many friends from home.  It was definitely the way to celebrate my birthday.

The boat was lots of fun, with the expected entertainment, food choices, and amazing care in the cabin.  We were all grouped together so the halls were a bit noisy and the balconies were a place to visit your neighbor even if it was 6 am – there were whales!  and icebergs, and a few bald eagles.  We didn’t want anyone to miss the excitement (or was it we were awake so why shouldn’t our friends)!  One evening we had a pesky towel man that would not turn the TV off!

Next time I want the private room, please

Next time I want the private room, please

We ate too much, tried to exercise but the activities never end so it is really easy to say “run in circles on the track (1/9th of a mile long) or go play bingo!  We played lots of card games,  had a little survey test to get to know our friends better,  sang a little Karoke!  I found out Nick (son-in-law) can really ROCK it!  We saw the shows, drank a few drinks of the day, learned how to put an outfit together from others suitcases when someones suitcase didn’t make it until day 3 –  thats a long story!  We sat in the hot tub reminiscing, sun catching and of course a lot of sightseeing!  We saw whales off the boat; a porcupine, a couple of bears, salmon swimming upriver, and some bald eagles.

We took a tour of the Glacier and a waterfall; we rode the train that was the same route for the Gold Rush in Alaska; Ziplining in British Columbia; and a PediCab ride around Victoria.  The weather was pretty good, one rainy day in Skagway where we found you can still get condoms for $1!,  the beer is $8.  The seas were calm and no one got sick or lost, except for those 3 suitcases.

Formal, Captains night!  We actually got everyone in the photo!

Formal, Captains night! We actually got everyone in the photo!

Setting sail,  Stephanie, Amy, Judy, Arlene, Cindy, Nick Me, Paul

Setting sail, Stephanie, Amy, Judy, Arlene, Cindy, Nick Me, Paul

Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau

The trail to Mendenhall.  Why would you want to hike on the Bear Trail?

The trail to Mendenhall. Why would you want to hike on the Bear Trail?

Yep, it was a little chilly on the walk to the Glacier

Yep, it was a little chilly on the walk to the Glacier

Mendelhall Glacier

Mendelhall Glacier, and my girls!  

Swimming Salmon.  Near Mendelhall Glacier

Swimming Salmon. near Mendelhall Glacier

Dinner wit the whole gang, I think!

Dinner wit the whole gang, I think!

Whitehorse Train

Whitehorse Train

Looking to the harbor where our Ship was docked from our Train

Looking to the harbor where our Ship was docked from our Train

Warming up on deck after a day in Skagway

Warming up on deck after a day in Skagway

Glacier, we sailed right up to this one.  We were less than a 1/2 mile from it.  Saw a couple chunks break off.

Glacier, we sailed right up to this one. We were less than a 1/2 mile from it. Saw a couple chunks break off.

Victoria Harbor

Victoria Harbor

Monkey Tree,  It looked fake, almost like a tiny cell tower!  We saw several so I guess they were real

Monkey Tree, It looked fake, almost like a tiny cell tower! We saw several so I guess they were real

I think this guy has my donut!  It probably looks better on him after 6 days of overeating and never missing dessert!

I think this guy has my donut! It probably looks better on him after 6 days of overeating and never missing dessert!

Another wonderful memory.  Sharing it with my friends and family was the best part of the whole week (and a couple chocolate cakes with vanilla ice cream).  Can’t wait to get home and see everyone again.

Perfect area, lousy weather

Monday, September 30th, 2013

When you live in your RV and travel like we do you are bound to have one of those experiences where the area is prefect but the weather just isn’t cooperating.  We are in Kelowna, BC in a very cute little campground right on the banks of Lake Okanagan in the Okanagan Valley.  This area is beautiful and full of wineries.  They are growing bright purple grapes everywhere but it was just too wet to really get out and explore. Besides, the price of alcohol is prohibitive in Canada so why even taste!  We walked a little in downtown enjoying some of their public art and we found a Geocache – our first in Canada.

Brower Hatcher

Brower Hatcher

This was my favorite art piece.  Inside there are shapes that represent things in the lake; there are fish, lilly pads, and it lights up at night.  We found our geocache right near the bear.  We usually forget about this activity but we met a couple that were doing a community geocache and after talking with them for a bit then decided to find one here.

The weather is not only wet it is pretty cold and windy so we stayed in most of the weekend.  On Sunday we went to a movie.  This is our second movie in two weeks and that is a record for us.  Neither movie was really worthy of going to the theater but it was better than sitting home watching reruns!  Movies here just like everything else are a bit pricey.  $39.  for two tickets, a large popcorn and 1 soda!  We watched Meet the Millers on Sunday and while we laughed a lot this movie was a bit slow.  The other movie we watched last week was The Family – Paul’s choice.  It had lots of shooting and you were suppose to love the family but they were just too weird!  Both movies I think the story was there but I never fell in love with the characters.  Paul says Jennifer Aniston is pretty hot for 40!

We will be back in the states tonight and I am ready to get back to normal, whatever that is!!!

Now I really can’t breathe!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

We were on the road by about 1 pm for our trip from 100 Mile House to Jasper.  We were planning to find a nice spot for the evening and enjoy the afternoon enjoying some of this fabulous landscape.  The Highway out of 100 Mile House, Hwy 5 goes along some beautiful lakes and is a very nice highway.  We stopped many times along the way just to enjoy the views.  Just after lunch we reach a summit and see a sign stating that we are going to be descending a 9% grade over the next 10 km, trucks 8 km per H!  Allright, now we are really going to test the transmission as we descend.  Things are going fine although keeping the RV at 8 km which is about 6 mph seemed unnecessary as we were being passed at 15 mph, but it just keeps going down and it was pretty straight down without many curves.  There was a runaway hill pretty often and then that moment you dread when you are in a big RV, towing a car, burning brakes!

I tell Paul “the brakes are smoking”

He says “those aren’t ares!”

“Yes, they are, I can see the smoke!”

“Fine, I stop and check”  and thankfully he did and there was a runaway ramp right there because as he pulls over to stop he realizes his brakes are almost gone!  We were very lucky as we were going pretty slowly and he was able to get us stopped safely!  The brakes were smoking and it smelled awful, and we were only 1/2 way down this grade!

We sat on the side of the road for 1 1/2 hours waiting for the brakes to cool.  Then we unhitched the car and Paul tested the brakes in the runaway zone before he headed down the rest of the grade while Duke and I followed in the car!

I thank god that Paul listened to me, that I smelled smoke at that moment because if we had missed that pull out there was not another, and the transmission didn’t decide to stop working on the grade!  We made it the rest of the way with the hazard lights on and going less than 6 mph!

Were we sat and relaxed after that little episode

Were we sat and relaxed after that little episode

We found this nice reststop after and enjoyed the calm for awhile before we continued to our evening stop.  We were hoping for a nice spot near the river but only found a tiny little RV Park run by a cute couple living in their school bus near the river!  Some days are better than others!

 

That was close! and we are not out of the woods yet!

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Back in Canada.  We moved to Abbottsford, BC from Point Roberts, WA on Monday morning and once we found an RV park we took off in the car to Blaine, WA to pick up my prescription and then back into Canada.  We have crossed the boarder too many times this past week but now we are here to stay for the rest of the month.

Tuesday we woke to more rain!  The weather is very confusing as it was beautiful yesterday.  About noon we are heading east and out of nowhere the motorhome decides it isn’t going to shift into overdrive.  Paul notices a warning light on the dash and we decide to exit the freeway.  Luckily there is a large Walmart right there for us to pull into.  As Paul is making the turn off the freeway he realizes the motorhome is in 3rd gear and it is making it very hard to accelerate.  Great!  We are in a foreign country and NOW we have to breakdown!

We limp our way into the Walmart parking lot and find a nice level spot because we do not know how long we will be here.  Paul gets out the manual to figure out what the warning light is.  It says the warning light is warning you of danger, go to a repair facility immediately.  Thank goodness Paul’s cell phone is working.  He calls the manufacture of the motor and they direct him to an Allison Transmission shop within 25 miles.  They can’t take us today and have nowhere for us to overnight so after some talk it is decided we will stay at the Walmart and hopefully we can get this RV moving to the shop tomorrow am.

The technician did give Paul some advise.  The transmission is designed to go into limp mode to enable you to move off the highway and that is what the transmission did.  After the phone call and Paul checking the fuses and the transmission fluid level he decides that we should move to the outskirts of the parking lot since we will be staying.  He starts the RV and the warning light is off!  It goes into first gear and moves fine!  Great! Now what do we do!

Wednesday am we get up at 6:30 to arrive at the shop by 7:30.  The RV is working perfectly!  The shop does a diagnostics on it and sees that we had several errors but no errors now!  It is due for a service on the transmission so they do that, test drive it for 30 minutes at 8 miles per gallon of $5.50 fuel and a tech at who knows how much per hour and nothing!  It is working perfectly, no signs of any damage.

We still don’t know what was wrong other than it might have lost power somewhere and because it powered back up mid start it produced errors.  How did it lose power?  Maybe the rain?  who knows but we are going to be traveling into very remote mountains for the next several days so I insisted that we purchase some towing insurance.  We have not had any up until now but this could have been costly just for the repairs, we don’t need a big tow bill on top of things!

We bought the Good Sam towing service for 3 years but it will not be valid until midnight on Thursday!  Great, for the next 36 hours I can’t breathe.  The bummer is we traveled through this amazing canyon today from Hope, BC to 100 Mile House, BC.  The canyon is called Fraser Canyon and runs along a huge river.

Fraser Canyon

Fraser Canyon

Of course photos are impossible, you just have to see it for yourself.  This is some of the most spectacular highway I have seen!  Every time the motorhome has to shift I stop breathing!

We made it to 100 Mile House, BC and I can breathe again.  Tomorrow we head east to Jasper National Park.  Hopefully the RV holds out and this was only a blimp!

All Aboard! Whistle, Whistle!

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Once again Paul has talked me into getting up as the sun rises and hurry off to another amazing day in British Columbia.  It rained all day Thursday and Friday was not really a sunshiny day but this morning things are looking very promising.  The sky is clear and the sun is starting to peak over the horizon, It’s 5:30 AM!!!!  We are heading back into Vancouver which requires us to stop at the border patrol and offer up our passports as well as explaining that yet again we are going to go into Canada and spend some more money!  We breeze through, I think he was still asleep.  With a quick stop at Starbucks where for $4.04 CAD I can get my grande nonfat latte except I only have USD so I get to pay $4.21!  Our dollar is worth more but all the stores charge extra.

Arriving at the Train station in North Vancouver by 7:15 am was a breeze as everyone is still asleep! me included!  We get checked in and here comes our Whistler Rocky Mountain Train that will  be taking us on a 3 1/2 hour excursion to Whistler Mtn. Village.

 

Whistler Train

 

All Aboard!!!

All Aboard!!!

Yep, they even blew the whistle and the conductor yelled “All Aboard”  We are on car #2 with David as our guide, meal server and friend for the next 3 1/2 hours.  He also will be our guide, server, etc.  on the 3 1/2 return trip this afternoon.

Very spacious

Very spacious

Traveling by train is definitely move relaxing than  by Air.  The seats are much larger, the seat in front of me can recline and I can still see my lap!  And, the best part is when David is pushing the food and beverage cart down the isle, I can still get to the restroom!  Just in case you are wondering the food was pretty good!

The views on our trip were amazing and David was full of information about what we were seeing and the towns we were passing through.

Whister views2

Whistler views

 

Thats our train on the left and the river on the right!

Thats our train on the left and the river on the right!

Passing through at least 9 tunnels and across the river several times

Passing through at least 9 tunnels and across the river several times

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

Chasms

Chasms

Lakes

Lakes

We arrived in Whistler Village just before lunch.  This village is a very busy place.  In the winter it is a skiers paradise and in the summer they transform the mountain into a summer retreat.  You can stroll the village, shopping and dining or you can opt for the many activities they offer.  There is a gondola ride from Whistler Mtn. to Blackcomb Mtn, a Zipline course and the face of Whistler has been transformed into a mountain bike course.

We watched!

We watched!

We decided to just relax during our 3 hour stay in Whistler where we had a mini lunch of a canadian concoction that was french fries and cheese curds covered in gravy!  Interesting!

We boarded our train at 3:30 for the journey back to Vancouver with David our cabin server and enjoyed yet another awesome afternoon.

Whistler Lake

Whistler Lake

Almost back.

Almost back.

We returned to the station about 7:30 and headed home.  Traffic was not nearly as nice for our return!

An amazing day and an amazing end to our time in Vancouver. We will be heading east tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to British Columbia

Friday, August 30th, 2013

We are just jumping back and forth.  We spent the day in Vancouver, BC doing some auto touring about the city.  We had lunch near Queen Elizabeth Park where Denise tried her first Vietnamese Pho Soup!  Not bad.  I still like there sub sandwiches more.  From lunch as we were traveling towards Stanley Park  I saw this giant Purple building with the words CHOCOLATE SHOP on the sign!  Got to stop.  Paul quickly made a right turn into a neighborhood and we circled around until we found it again.

Just like Charlie!

Just like Charlie!

It was the Purdy Chocolate company and all they had was a gift shop where you could purchase any of their products.  I was hoping for a tour but we did get to taste some really good dark chocolate and of course we had to buy some!

Ok, now we really need that walk!  We made it to Stanley Park where you can walk along the seawall and through the park for miles.  We probably only walked about 3 miles but it felt good to be out just walking.  We watched lots of sea planes taking off and landing in the bay.  Stanley Park is like parks in other big cities, a tiny oasis amongst the cement.

Vancouver Skyline, looking across from the Park

Vancouver Skyline, looking across from the Park

Taking a break in the forest

Taking a break in the forest

Totem Poles, I love the bottom of this one!

Totem Poles, I love the bottom of this one!

Lots of walking, a picnic dinner with dessert and we are on our way back to the USA for the rest of the holiday weekend.

 

 

 

They named it after us!

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Point Roberts, WA being of the same name we thought this is going to be fun.  Well, it is interesting!  The town is a very small island with 4 parks, a bit of hiking, a large marina, 4 gas stations, a couple of gift shops, a golf course, hardware store and a market!  We went to all of them trying to find a t-shirt for Paul!  None here, he got a hat.  We had to go through customs to get here and the only question they asked was “where are you going?”  Really!  There is only 1 RV park, we are driving this huge RV into a town that is only 5 sq. miles and no way to get off without coming back through customs!

We took a tour that took all of an hour.  We did drive along the US/Canada border.

Obelisk of the border

Obelisk of the border

That's it!

That’s it!

There are lots of places where Canadian residents have gates out their back and have nice gardens, patio’s, firepits all on US soil!  I guess they are not that worried about protecting this border.

We are feeling pretty happy now!

Monday, August 26th, 2013

We have left the island and still have a bit of money to spare seeing as though Paul had calculated the BC Ferry to Vancouver was going to cost us close to $400 CAD and when we checked in this morning we were only charged $290 CAD.  With the exchange rate we just saved over $125!  Whahooo.  We bought ourselves breakfast at the Ferry building! Yumm.

We climbed the hill to get out of beachcomber and as we were hooking the car up we had some well wishers.

So cute, but mom hurried them away from the big bad RV!

So cute, but mom hurried them away from the big bad RV!

We made it to the ferry terminal just before the 8 am ferry left but because we had a 9 am reservation that we paid $15 US for they said we had to wait till the 9 to use our deposit!  So we checked in and made our way to the cafe to spend some of our savings on a coffee and donut.  About 8:30 they called for us to board our ferry.

All parked and cozy in the hull of a ship

All parked and cozy in the hull of a ship

The ferry is huge.  We were at the front of the boat but because we couldn’t see anything we went upstairs and enjoyed the ride to Vancouver.

Passing in the channel

Passing in the channel

Paul was very interested as to why they had …….

Tanks?

Depth charges?

We made it to Vancouver and disembarked.  Our next stop is back in the USA at Point Roberts, WA!  A funny little town of 5 sq. miles surrounded by water and the only land contact is British Columbia!

 

 

Never saw a gardener!

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Butchart Gardens is a must see while on Vancouver Island.  It is located about 20 minutes from the village of Victoria so a car or public transportation is necessary.  If you have any interest in gardening you do not want to miss this one.  A bit pricey however we chose to go on Saturday as they put on an amazing fireworks display in the evening.  We have been to lots of fireworks displays and this one is definitely one of the better ones.  They have an huge ground display with moving fireworks.  There was one point where they had two lines of dancing teacups crossing the lagoon to music, all with fireworks.  Very cool.  The only bummer was there was no wind and some of the displays were hidden by all the smoke.

I can not describe the gardens except with some of the pictures I took – The pictures do not even begin to show the beauty here.

Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden

Japanese Lily Pond

Japanese Lily Pond

Glass House

Glass House

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

In the Rose Garden there are 250 varieties and over 2500 plants.

Interesting borders

Interesting borders

Begonia's are everywhere

Begonia’s are everywhere

Sunken Garden upclose!

Sunken Garden upclose!

Sturgeon Waterfall -  Paul's favorite in the Gardens

Sturgeon Waterfall – Paul’s favorite in the Gardens

Even the trash cans are flowerbeds!!!

Even the trash cans are flowerbeds!!!

Beautiful colors

Beautiful colors

Beautiful combinations

Beautiful combinations

and more colors!

and more colors!

They have a boat ride in the harbor for an additional charge - We walked down for a bit of a sunset colors on the water.

They have a boat ride in the harbor for an additional charge – We walked down for a bit of a sunset colors on the water.

I was looking everywhere for that pile of clippings, a wilted bloom, something to prove this was a real garden!  We took a break from the gardens and listened to Tropic Mayhem for about an hour.  Interesting, we are in British Columbia and their opening song is Surfin’ USA!  They were lots of fun and played mostly Beach Boys Music which I enjoyed.

Tropic Mayhem

Tropic Mayhem

We spent about 4 hours in the gardens which Paul would have been bored crazy if it were not for the fireworks.  I will give in on the Tea Party but not on getting to see someones vision for amazing floral displays.

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Made it through customs without losing any food or alcohol items and Duke didn’t bark at the customs man when he entered our RV!  We are parked this week right on the water across from the San Juan Islands and the first two days the weather was perfect.  Victoria is about 10 miles away and we took the ocean view route into town.  Very fancy neighborhoods and the views of the bay are amazing.

We decided to park near Fishermans Wharf and take the water taxi to the downtown area to the Empress Hotel.  The flowers are blooming, and the air is so clear here.  Fishermans Wharf is a bit different than home.  It is a small village of permanently parked house boats and a couple of fish stands with one Mexican Restaurant that is also floating.

 

Lots of cute little floating homes

Lots of cute little floating homes

FishermansWharf Victoria1

This one has it’s very own singing princess

FishermansWharf Victoria2 FishermansWharf Victoria3

  The wharf was crowded so we found the water taxi and for $5.00 each we got a ride across the inlet to the area called downtown.  This is where the Empress Hotel is located.  Last time I was here when you entered the harbor all you could see was the Empress Hotel, now there are lots of beautiful hotels and buildings so the Empress doesn’t look as grand to me.

The Empress Hotel, Victoria BC

The Empress Hotel, Victoria BC

Afternoon Tea is a big draw to the Empress and everyone told me we needed to do that.  But at $59.95 CAD plus CAD taxes each I put a lot of thought into the idea of sitting in a beautiful dining room sipping tea with our pinkies out from a tiny tea cup and eating little sandwiches, pinwheels and scones with Paul, and decided that our money was better spent on an ice cream in the gardens!

$5.00 and he got a little Canadian flag on top!

$5.00 and he got a little Canadian flag on top!

A view of the hotel from the gardens

A view of the hotel from the gardens

Beautiful flowers and a dolphin sculpture from the hedges

Beautiful flowers and a dolphin sculpture from the hedges

The gardens are beautiful and we did get to walk through the Tea Lobby and through some of the hotel areas.  Here is a interesting note:

  • Nearly 100,000 guests are served tea annually with an estimated 500,000 cups of tea.

That is a lot of $59.95’s for a tradition that was started by a Duchess that was a bit tired in the afternoon and needed a pick-me-up!

We are not really very traditional people so I don’t think I really missed something that I will be sad about.  We had a nice walk along the harbor and enjoyed some views of the Parliment building. The giant Sequoia that was planted in the 1800’s is pretty cool,  It looks like more than one tree.  Not as tall as we are use to but definitely a Sequoia and really large around.

Parliment

The official Christmas Tree of BC

The official Christmas Tree of BC

Back to our RV spot on the water.  Beachcomber RV is a very quaint park with only about 30 sites and most are summer permanent sites.  Each site is pretty narrow but we all have a little beach haven set apart from the others.  Many of the summer residents collect driftwood and use it for fences to stake out their area.  We had a fire with several couples one evening and learned more about being Canadian.  They do know how to have a good time.