Archive for the ‘Canada’ 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!!!

Wish we had more time!

Thursday, September 26th, 2013
My favorite photo of Canada!

My favorite photo of Canada!

Trees, hikes, glaciers, lakes, rivers, streams and snow!

Woke up to this our first morning

Woke up to this our second morning

We are spending a few days in Lake Louise in the Banff National Park, Alberta.  The elevation is about 5000 ft and Lake Louise Village is the highest village in Alberta which means it is cold here!  Paul still has on his shorts our first day but wished he had worn jeans by the afternoon when we took a ride onto the Athabasca Glacier.

Glacier ride

A million dollars per vehicle to bring tourists to the base of the glacier

A million dollars per vehicle to bring tourists to the base of the glacier

This was a highlight.  From the viewing area you can see the glacier but getting to walk on it was even better.  The ride was very cool, almost disneyland like.  The beginning of the ride you descend at a 30 degree drop and the vehicle moves effortlessly at about 6 mph.  The 6 wheels are made by Goodyear or Michelin and are about 3 feet thick and almost as tall as I am.

The glacier base in infront of these two vehicles

The glacier base in in front of these two vehicles

Standing infront of a small crevas of running water from the glacier

Standing in front of a small crevas of running water from the glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

The glacier is approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) long, covers an area of 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi), and is measured to be between 90–300 metres (300–980 ft) thick.  I can’t even imagine this!  When you walk on it, it does not feel any different than an ice covered parking lot other than you know and you are surrounded by snow and ice!   We saw some ice hikers that were lowering each other into a crevas which our guide said they go down about 300 ft!  Wow.

The Ice Field Parkway connecting Banff NP and Jasper NP has all kinds of lakes, rivers and streams and of course the glaciers.  Most are only visible from the road and are surrounded by amazing mountains.  We got our first touch of snow just before the tour area of the Athabasca Glacier.

First snow fell yesterday!  So peaceful

First snow fell yesterday! So peaceful

 

Ewww. Yellow snow

Ewww. Yellow snow

Lake Louise is a very unusual lake in that it has a Glacier feeding it from the top

Lake Louise 2

 

 

And a huge Fairmont at the other end!

Fairmont from 500ft above!

Fairmont from 500ft above!

Yep, I hiked a 1 mile trail up 500′ to get this view!  Walking through the fresh snow was amazing!   It was only inches but you needed your earmuffs and parka because it never got 40 degrees all day!

Even the birds are slower now!  I got this shot only about 8' away

Even the birds are slower now! I got this shot only about 8′ away

So cute

So cute

Morraine Lake

Morraine Lake

Morraine Lake is know as the valley of ten peaks – I could see them but the picture didn’t.  Another beautiful lake but the cold is getting to us so we chose to just look and not explore!  The snow is melting but more is to come!

Along TC1 inside the park we kept seeing these overcrossings.  They are built solely for wildlife to cross in their habitat.

Wildlife crossings

Wildlife crossings

We didn’t see much wildlife during our stay here other than lots of birds and one large family of Elk however the campground has a special area for tent and soft sided RV’s that is inside an electric fence!  The bears pass through the area often so the tents are not safe.  Lots of warnings about not leaving anything outside and the ranger is driving through often to make sure.  I was a bit nervous walking in the woods, in fact on our hike up the trail on Lake Louise Paul played music to calm my nerves!  Not really but it was fun to see the other hikers faces when they came upon us huffing up the hill singing Willie Nelson!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Duke!

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Some days Duke is our source of entertainment!

Really!

Really!

We tried to get his photo driving a bobsled but even Duke has his limits!

This is so cool, the do it yourself car wash has a do it yourself dog wash.  You put in the coins and choose which cycle you want just like the car.  Duke and the car got a bath for $10! and the house isn’t a mess!

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

Duke is having a heart to heart with his dad!

Duke is having a heart to heart with his dad!

The things you find just wandering around and not having a “normal” life!

 

Riding an Olympic Ski lift

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

1988 Winter Olympics is the site of the  debut of the Jamaica National Bobsled Team.

The inside of the bobsled track

The inside of the bobsled track

Visiting these locations of past Olympics makes me want to attend an event someday, however visiting after has it’s benefits; no crowds, no long lines, no freezing temps, etc.

The Ski Jump tower

The Ski Jump tower

During the summer they use the tower for the zipline course.  It is a very fast, high run so they have parachutes that slow the rider!

Wheeee...

Wheeee…

 

Calgary from the Olympic Tower

Calgary from the Olympic Tower

We enjoyed an afternoon of watching summer sports on a ski mountain.  Like Whistler they have lots of mountain biking.  The Bobsled track is here and operates during the summer where a professional driver will give you a ride thru the 14 turns at speeds up to 100 km/h.  They had closed it for the season but that would be one to add to the bucket list!

 

Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go!

We did get to ride the Skyline Luge!  What a lot of fun that was.  We look like cartoon characters!

 

Our first Selfie!

Our first Selfie!

We are closing in on the end of our time in Canada.  We had one really cold day so I’m ready to head south!   A beautiful country but traveling here takes a lot more effort than just wandering around the states!  Learning about the metric system has been a challenge especially since our little HHR is truly American made and does not have Kilometers on the speed odometer!  We have to turn on the GPS to know how fast to drive.  Money:   Loonies, Toonies, and play looking bills!  You need a lot when you are here, especially in British Columbia!  Locals tells us that BC stands for bring cash!  Alberta is not as expensive but still more than home.  And then they don’t have pennies so either you make out by a couple of cents or you lose out on a couple of pennies!  They do rounding.  Shopping requires you to understand math!  And of course the lack of being able to use my phone at will!!!!

A sign we need to start moving south!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Our RV park in Edmonton is near a beautiful walking trail that winds several miles through the city.  I am enjoying nature right in my backyard.  Duke and I have been taking a nice walk every morning; he pees on every bush and I breathe the fresh air.

Edmonton walk

 

The only problem with this area is I can see this from my kitchen window and even though it is above 25c I am thinking it is time to start heading south!

Ski Mountain!

Ski Mountain!

I almost panicked!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

We have been in Edmonton this week taking care of some business before we head to Banff and for some reason the internet in the park would not open my blog!  I was sure it was lost.  Thankfully Paul was able to find it although he says he didn’t do anything.  My computer wizard is being modest!  I don’t really care as long as I have my blog.  This is my personal diary of our adventures and I have no other written record and my memory is awful.  I would have to have someone tell me how much fun I have been having if I lose this blog!

Anyway,  Edmonton is a big city and we really have not explored much although we did go to the West Edmonton Mall, twice!  West Edmonton Mall, located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world by gross leasable area. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who immigrated from Iran in 1959.  Now we have been to two of the huge malls and I have to say this one is pretty cool although there are not many shoppers here and since it is September a lot of the attractions close early so we didn’t get to see the amusement park or the rope climbing.  We did get to see some life guards doing some kind of drill in the Wave Pool at the water park.  The water park has a slide that does a loop!

Edmonton Hockey

There is a Ice Rink!  Full size and you can walk around the whole thing so watching the skaters is lots of fun. The day we were there there were some young girls practicing their moves.  Then later there were some guys playing a pick up game of hockey!  They were good!

800 stores and I couldn’t find a thing to buy!  We did have dinner at Tony Romas!  We could have had ribs at home and we travel to another country to enjoy them, yummmm!

 

A couple of days of pure nature – Check out the whole post! Very cool!

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

We made it to Jasper National Park without anymore mishaps; I am still not breathing properly while we are moving but I will get over it with time.  The transmission has been working beautifully and the brakes are no longer smelling.  Jasper has lots of places to camp so we didn’t get a reservation although if you made a reservation months ago you could get electricity at your site.  Our site was in an area with only a few other RV’s so it was very quiet.  There are warnings about bears and this is rutting season for Elk so staying a good distance from the wildlife is recommended.  I am wondering why it is called rutting and not mating?

We spent an amazing weekend in Jasper with only a little rain during the night.  The days were warm and beautiful.  You would not even know how cold it is going to be very soon.

Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake

This lake is pretty low right now and will soon disappear as the water disappears through the earth and fills again in the spring.  It was interesting to look at the disappearing lake and see the rivers below the surface.

Medicine Lake disappearing

Medicine Lake disappearing

Jasper has many lakes and rivers and amazing terrain.

Malign River

Malign River

Malign River

Malign River

I love water!

I love water!

Paul stops every time we see a place when there is water!  I could sit by this stream all day but we have lots to see.  So far we have seen a few Elk, but no males rutting.

Malign Lake

Malign Lake

We took a really nice hike around part of this lake.  The mountain ranges are so interesting.

Our secluded hike around the lake

Our secluded hike around the lake

Awesome

Awesome

Jasper 4

We were driving along and there were a couple cars stopped in the roadway and we assumed it was another Elk alert and then Paul says “look, a bear!”  I look over and there he was about 20 feet from the road!

A Grizzly in the wild

A Grizzly in the wild

He was so close!

He was so close!

My camera was making me crazy cause he would look right at us but by the time the camera would snap he would turn!  Time for a newer camera!  The bear had no interest in any of us as he was demolishing the bushes eating the berries.  I tried to get out of the car to get a better photo and a guy in another car had to remind me to not get so close!  I was definitely caught in the moment.  After that we just sat in the car and enjoyed watching him eat.

We drove about 20 miles out in the park to see a glacier except Paul was underwhelmed because he is thinking it will be a whole mountain and it isn’t!  I thought it was a beautiful drive and short hike so it was worth it!

Mt. Edith Cavill Glacier

Mt. Edith Cavill Glacier

 

 

Just cause we can make him do anything we want!

Just cause we can make him do anything we want!

On our way to Edmonton for the week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!