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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

Sunday, 27 August 2017

On the Road to Paska Lake

Thursday, August 24th

I was up at 5 am to do any last minute chores and then we were on our way to catch the 7:45 sailing from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo. Kristi and Jason moved into their new house last weekend and we were anxious to see it before we left for the winter. I'd loaded our car with a shelving system and an outdoor canvas shed for Jason we no longer needed at Dad's. While waiting in the line-up we noticed these "race trucks", pretty cool. No need for a reservation at this time of the morning.

Once on the island we also needed to get some last minute things out of our storage and drop off stuff as well. Ray gave his brother Ryan some information to be able to deal with their mother's estate (original will) while we were gone, as the boys are joint executors, and we picked up the last of our mail. Very important as Ray's new driver's license was in this batch! Kristi was operating today so we arranged to meet her at our favorite sushi restaurant, Nori's, with Jason for dinner. Yumm.

Notice I got "my ears lowered" for my winter travelling haircut ... no access to get it cut again until we are in Utah!

Friday, August 25th

Ray and I walked around the Nanimo Harbour waiting for our doctor appointments for prescription renewal at 11:30 am. 

After finishing at noon, what to do for the next 2 hours! I'd reserved the 3:15 ferry back. We drove around a few neighbourhoods, like Mount Benson, as we had never gone up there before and then back to the ferry. Good thing as when we arrived 1 1/2 hours before sailing there was already a one sailing wait. We mostly sat in the car and read until loading time. Once back on the Vancouver side, it was a mad dash to London Drugs to drop off our prescriptions, pick up Ray's guitar from repairs, buy last minute items .... bread, pick up KFC (enough for tonight and tomorrow night) and head to Dad's. We finally sat down to eat at 7 pm with a very rambuncious dog so happy to see us. We were exhausted and she wanted to play! Tried to have a visit with Dad but he was in the shower and then when I went back at 8:15 he had already gone to bed. 3 last loads of laundry done and in bed by 10. Had a very unsettled night thinking of all the things I had to do before leaving so I was up before 6 am and started putting the motorhome in travel mode. Excited much?

Saturday, August 26th

Finally started our "winter adventures" after spending the spring and summer in South Surrey. Jacks up and on the road by 10 am after picking up our prescriptions, and doing the "dumpit to crumpit". Left Dad in the capable hands of his full-time caregiver, Larny, and his friend and nurse Bev. Without them and the great care they give Dad, I would not feel comfortable leaving him until our visit at Christmas. Unfortunately, traffic from Surrey through Abbotsford was terrible but after that smooth sailing to Paska Lake for a week's downtime fishing. Here is a picture of the bumper to bumper traffic highlighting Mount Baker.

After stopping to fuel up in Merritt, (The Husky Travel Station is now closed so we ended up at Extra Foods and paid $1.06/gal for diesel) we arrived at Paska about 2:15. Our friends, Paul and Giselle and their son Chris were there to greet us. We managed to squeeze in a campsite 2 down from them for a few days. We will take their site on Tuesday when they leave as it is the one at the end, which we were in 2 years ago, with more space. (Same one you guys took from us Steve and Dianne!) Quite hot afternoon at about 26 C. The coach was really warm from the engine heat. Freya thoroughly enjoyed swimming again and was in and out of the water for a couple of hours.

We had a little afternoon get together with Paul and Giselle and their neighbours for a couple of hours and then went inside. Had the air on for an hour or so for dinner. Both Ray and I were in bed by 8 pm although just reading as we were both very tired. Had all the windows open and fans running to try and cool the inside down. My usual ice pack for my face worked. Paul played his guitar and sang for 2 hours and we enjoyed listening just laying in bed. At midnight I got up and closed all the windows and it had cooled down subsantially. When we got up at 6 am it was only 5 C outside so I fired up the furnace for a short while to take the chill off. It has been so long since we "dry camped" it took me a bit to figure out everything! The Big Buddy Heater was taken out of storage and will be deployed tomorrow!

Note: Since we changed our cell phone plans from Telus to Rogers, we now get excellent cell coverage here at Paska including no problem with internet. Yeah! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Solar Eclipse

Sunday, Garrett and Kat came back from the week's trip to pick up Kira. I think she was very happy to see her mommy and daddy! Thanks Kat for the chocolates, made from an old neighbour in Kamloops.

Monday, August 21st

Ray was outside trying different collanders to see the solar eclipse when he noticed the trees were casting incredible shadows on the driveway from the eclipse. The next door neighbour, Ray, myself and Larny all stood outside for about 1/2 an hour watching the event. Pretty cool Ray got some awesome pictures.

Showing that the moon has mostly covered the sun ... although this shows 100 suns!

Then there was this fantastic picture posted on facebook!

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All in all a pretty exciting event.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Last minute chores before hitting the road

Thursday, August 17

Sent Ray off this morning to a nearby park called "The Glade" for a photography walk. This should help him feel like he is "doing something". Unfortunately he was back 10 minutes later as this "park" has been donated to the City of Surrey with the covenant that the people could continue to live there until they died, hence they are still there and the park is really not open to the public.

He decided to go to another one that the dogs could come to so off he went again. Hopefully he will be successful this time.... Came back after 1/2 an hour, apparently it was a great place to walk the dogs off-leash but not so picture worthy! lol

Freya and Kira enjoying being in Dad's front yard. Impressing the neighbours as they never bark or leave the yard.

After considering all the work involved to move our stuff from one storage locker to another, even if the new one is "free", Ray and I decided not to bother until the spring. We unfortunately planned to move the stuff during the week and the access to Kristi's storage would be difficult during business hours so we will rethink the whole thing in the spring and plan better. Ray's brother and husband were going to do the "heavy lifting" and that also meant tying them up for the two days as well with Ryan having to take days off of work.

With that decision being made I managed to move up our doctor's appointments for prescriptions on the island to a week tomorrow and Freya's Vet appointment next Tuesday. So with all that, we hope to leave for Paska Lake  next weekend for 10 days or so before starting our trip east this year. I'm looking forward to finally trying out my inflatable kayak and Ray is itching to fish this summer while it is still nice out.

Friday, August 18th

Ray has been wanting me to fill his "cookie tin" and I happened upon Copy Cat Pirate Cookies on facebook, so I got started on that this morning before doing any other chores. They turned out great. Got the call that Dad's meds were in at Costco, so Ray and I decided to have a late lunch at the Fox and Fiddle in Langley for the English Style Fish and Chips. We had not been there for several years when we went with our good friends Dianne and Steve. Shared the plate as the fish is huge ... each piece has got to be 10 inches long. After that it was off to Costco to brave the crowds. Ray dropped me off at the entrance and then go find somewhere far away to park while I ran around the store. It actually worked out pretty good. There was no line up to pick up meds ... I was the only one in line. After paying for the meds I looked behind me and now there were 10 people in line! Once that was done I whipped around the store buying Larny's last minute items and dogfood for me. Up at the cashier I only had to wait for 2 people ahead of me. Sweet! I was in and out of the store in 20 minutes or less at 2 pm on a Friday afternoon. Called Ray on the cell phone to pick me up and off we went. Another item of the "get out of town" list.

I 've not slept very well for the past several days  (too much planning in my head) so decided to have a nap. Wonderful way to spend a cloudy afternoon. Dinner was simply barbecued steak and corn.

Saturday, August 19th

Woke up to cloudy skies again. Oh well, more chores to get done and a haircut in order for me. Ferry reservations made to get back next Friday afternoon from the island as well, as it sure is the busy season on the ferries and we want to get back at a decent time in order to leave next Saturday morning.  Rest of the day spent on chores to get ready or chillin in the sun.

Sunday, August 20th

My day to look after Dad and make him dinner. Last time until next spring. With our usual nomadic life it was kind of hard being stuck in a "same old, same old" routine where you were committed to something every week at a specific time. As Dad has gotten much older, there is not much he likes to eat so it was always a challenge to come up with something "new". Tonight's dinner is jaeger schnitzel.

Garrett and Kat arrived back from Kamloops around 1:30  pm to pick up Kira, Garrett's dog, and have a quick visit with Dad. Freya will miss her big sister. Unfortunately Garrett came home with the start of a migraine from his sore neck so they only stayed for an hour before heading home to Squamish. There was an accident on the upper levels highway and they were re-routed around through the British Properties and did not get home until about 5:30 instead of 3:30.

I spent most of the day doing countless loads of laundry in Dad's large washing machine, as all my floor rugs needed to get done after Freya's smelly sister's visit. Poor Kira, she had her anal glands expressed by the Vet 2 weeks ago but I don't think they got it all or there is a problem but OMG she totally smelled up the coach. Anyways not the dogs fault and Garrett will be taking her back to the vet to get that checked out.

Monday, August 21st

Solar Eclipse Day! Of course we are not prepared. Ray tried to get a filter for his camera lense yesterday at London Drugs and they laughed at him for being so late ... the filters had been sold out for a month! Oh well I guess we will see it on TV and I will have to steal a picture from Google for the blog.

This is the start of it, picture on google
Today I will wash the rig with Ray supervising. He managed to do the roof on Saturday, of course killing his back but I will not go up there!  As usual the roof attacked him many times and he came down with several scratches.

Plans for the rest of the week:

Tuesday, Freya has her annual vet appointment and we will make sure everything is stowed away in the coach, including kitchen cupboards which after 5 1/2 months of sitting, things have migrated out of place.

Wednesday, I will be stocking up the groceries, Ray needs to pick up his guitar from repairs and then we have a lunch date with my aunt and uncle. at their favorite pub in Coquitlam. Later in the afternoon, we will load the car with the shelving and shelter we're taking to the island the next day for Kristi and Jason. Larny is going to look after Freya as there will not be room for her in the car.

Thursday morning we are on the ferry to Nanaimo for a visit with Kristi and Jason in their new house. While we are there, we need to visit our storage locker to exchange a few things.  Ray's guitar cracked again because it is too dried out so we need to get his guitar case from storage and put the guitar back in its case with humidifier packages inside to prevent further drying out.

We have our doctor's appointment on Friday and  will come back on the 3:15 ferry back to Vancouver.

Saturday morning, after picking up our prescriptions for the next 7 months and dumping the tanks, we should be on our way with jacks up by 10 am hopefully and on our way to Paska Lake for 12 days of fishing. I have a new inflatable kayak to try out. That is the plan anyways.

So nothing really exciting ... I may update this post at a later time but otherwise I will be off-line for a while as we do not have cell coverage at Paska Lake and I will have to drive out to connect.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Another week goes by ... closer to back on the road! Aug 8-16

Wednesday, August 8

Got my crown on so all dental work is completed. Another thing off the list before we head out this year. Still smokey and hot out.  Amazing (or is it BS), the deductable cost in Canada is about 50% more than the whole cost in Mexico.

Thursday, August 9

Ray spent the morning running around dealing with his mum's estate. Again, smokey and hot. Stayed outside under the trees for the afternoon.

Friday, August 10

Busy day. Took Dad for blood work at 9 am, back home and then out again at 11:30 for his podiatrist appointment. In between Ray managed to get out for a hot tub at the pool. Boy when you are old you sure have a lot of doctor appointments! Oh well, lucky I am here to help out. Larny has arranged for a friend to come tonight and take care of Dad for the weekend and who will leave at noon on Sunday as Larny is going to Victoria for the weekend with her husband and friend. Leny, is afraid of dogs ... the two shepherds (Kira is here) won her over after a bit though.  By the time she left, as they did not do anything but wag their tails when they came up to her, she was okay within a few hours of them wandering around near her. Gotta love our "doggie ambassadors".

Garrett and Kat did not arrive until 9 pm after having a late start leaving from Squamish for their weeks holiday. They are staying overnight and leaving Kira with us for the week while they spend their vacay in Kamloops and Vernon, picking her up next Sunday. As usual, on the first night she woke us up hourly after 2:30 am until we finally gave up at 6 am. Hopefully she is better tonight. Garrett and Kat had a quick visit with Dad, for an hour, before heading out shortly before 9 am hopefully beating the traffic heading to Kamloops.

Saturday, August 12,

The sky is finally showing some blue sky and the smoke is gone. What a relief. The air is much cooler as well. Rain is supposed to start this evening which is greatly needed. Hopefully it extends to the interior to help with the fire situation. Kira is somewhat unsettled as her "daddy and mommy" are gone. She will settle in though after several hours as usual.

Sunday we all had a better night's sleep ... only got awoken with the dogs at 5:45 am, close to the time Garrett and Kat usually get up for work. Kicked the dogs out to their mats and closed the door for another hours snooze ... for me at least, Ray got up with the dogs.

It rained on and off all night so it was a nice surprise to see the sun out this morning and clear skies. After a lazy morning we decided to take a walk through another one of Surrey's parks after making sure Dad was set up for the next couple of hours. We first stopped for some chicken at KFC and made our way with the two dogs to the park at 148th and 17th in Surrey/White Rock. There were 2 ponds with a nice paved walkway around them on both sides. This green space was surrounded by houses on all sides. (Park does not have a name.) A nice relief to high density housing. Ray and I, with the two dogs had a nice walk around then headed back to Dad's for the rest of the afternoon. It is Sunday ... my day to look after Dad and make dinner.

Monday, August 14th

More running around today with Larny on Dad's behalf. He needs new shoes as per the podiatrist and his prescriptions need to go into Costco. Of course one place is in White Rock and Costco is in Langley! Got this all accomplished but shoes need some alterations so I have to go back tomorrow hopefully to pick them up. $285 bill later ... Dad was not too happy but that is a cheap fix so he can keep walking and stay in his house.

Tuesday, August 15th

Woke up to a cool morning of 11C this morning. Certainly feels more "fall like". Looked at the weather in Banff and it was only 6C so thankfully we will be plugged in to run a heater at night a month from now.

More chores on the list today. Hopefully I can get the last "bagster" full of junk from the old shed so it can go and that will be the end of our planned chores this year at Dad's. (Done) Junk picked up on Wednesday afternoon.

Remember the picture of all this junk! We did take all of the electronics and chemicals in to the recycling depot first though.
There it goes!
We've been unable to get any workers to help with the branch chipping project so we just cleaned up the small stuff, raking up the foot deep pile of needles from underneath the trees. (Done mostly by Larny, Ray directed the work and I did the towing of the bins to the road). We borrowed 3 large green bins from the neighbour and with ours we were putting out 8 containers of stuff each week for the last 4 weeks. The larger branches will have to wait until next spring and maybe I can arrange a work party with Garrett and Kat for a weekend with the promise of great food and drink! No time left this summer.

To say we are getting "hitch itch" is an understatement. We will have had the jacks down for 5 1/2 months in one spot more or less ... way too long for us nomads. If it was not for our previously made commitments we would be gone!

Wednesday, August 16th

Another sunny morning. Puttered around the coach and then other than a dental appointment at 1 pm to adjust my mouth guard to fit my new crown, not much else happening today. The dogs sure are enjoying each others company and loving staying outside most of the day under the trees in the front of the house

The "German Shredder" busy working on Freya's stick!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Back at Dad's .... same old, same old.

 August 2 - 8th

Back home at Dad's again. When we first arrived back after our 8 days away it seemed we'd been away for a long time. Within a couple of days (Ray says hours) it felt like we've been here forever. Funny how that happens when you get back into some kind of a routine, shopping for Dad, watering, etc. The weather has been quite warm and very smokey. Makes you stay inside a lot.

Being inside a lot .... it was time to make some reservations in Banff National Park. We've decided to leave September 7th and take advantage of the Canada's 150 National Park Celebration which means free entry this year. Hopefully there are no forest fires in that area to impact our decision to go east before south! Dad is fairly healthy at this time, and has a good support system including a great caregiver so we can leave without being too worried.  I've booked to come back for a week at Christmas though, tickets purchased etc. to spend a few days on the island with Kristi and Jason in their new house and the rest of the week with Dad. Fortunately we have great friends, Malc and Kathy who will look after Freya for the week near Phoenix. AZ.

So, we will be staying in Lake Lousie for 3 days and 4 days in Banff then onto Waterton Lakes National Park.  At least that is the plan. Leaving much earlier we hope to get into the USA around the 21st of September and use that extra week to possibly see Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park. We shall see, as that will be weather permitting. The crazy weather this summer seems to be in the news everywhere this year worldwide so if winter should come early we will be out of luck.

Yesterday, Sunday, it was my day to cook for Dad with Larny's day off, so we hung around the house most of the day,. I did a major clean inside the coach, junking out some cupboards to make room for my inflatable kyak for our upcoming fall/winter excursion. Around 11:30 we decided to check out a local park, Redwood Park, to get out for a walk. What a gorgeous park and is actually somewhat of an arboretum.

The unique forest found at Redwood Park is a legacy of Peter and David Brown, twin brothers born to one of Surrey's earliest pioneering families. In 1893, their father gifted them this large plot of land, logged and ripe for farming. However, the brothers instead filled the vast space with their favourite trees from all around the world. Fully committed to their forest sanctuary, the eccentric duo built a treehouse where they lived in solitude until their deaths in 1949 and 1958. Today, a replica of their treehouse stands in the centre of the park.
Boasting a large forest of exotic trees, over 5 kilometres of scenic nature trails, a wheelchair-accessible playground and several rustic picnic shelters, the park has something for everyone to enjoy.
They had quite a few groups in the several covered picnic areas having summer barbecues and a great play area for kids. There was also a great gravelled trail system to take Freya on.

A water fountain for everyone.

While walking a trail, we came upon a "Faery Garden" where kids were encouraged to make little houses for the Faeries. Very cute. Ray will come back tomorrow morning with his camera to get the pictures.

The Faery Garden:

After our hours walk, Ray surprised me by stopping at a creamery (Moo Creamery) where we had icecream. Yummm. The rest of the afternoon before cooking dinner, we sat  outside under the trees in the back yard to escape from the heat. Although this morning was somewhat clearer skies, the smoke seemed to settle back in by dinnertime but nothing like our friends, Dianne and Steve who are at Tunkwa Lake and have to wear masks while outside.

Monday, Aug 7th

Other than doing a little grocery shopping, and Ray going out to take the above pictures, we had a pretty quiet day just puttering around the coach. Ray's back after the long week's holiday is requiring a bunch of days to stabilize.  Exactly one month to JACKS UP!

Tuesday, Aug 8th

Today I have my final dental appointment for my crown installation. Yuck. At least it will be done before we go.

That pretty much sums up this past week.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Celebration Tour - Part 6 - Squamish, BC

Tuesday, August 1st

Well the hotel part of our celebration tour is over and it's time to pack up and head out to Squamish to spend the night with Garrett and Kat. We've had a most amazing time touring around. Ray and I could have easily spent another week here in Whistler to see more things but at a much slower pace but our pocketbook sure could not stand the pain! His back is pretty sore but this was once in a lifetime opportunity for us to see the sights and partake in the fine dining scene. Today we are back to reality and our normal going out budget ... beer and lunch at a pub! Thank goodness we took our pictures the previous days, as the smoke from the forest fires in the interior of BC have now made it's way into Whistler and Squamish.  It's so thick it looks cloudy out. You can even smell the smoke as well as see it hiding the mountain tops.

Ray and I were all packed up by 10 am checkout time and once we loaded the car we walked back to Crepes Montagne for breakfast. I had fresh fruit and Ray had crepes. I even had fresh squeezed apple juice for the first time, delicious. Tasted like I bit into a Granny Smith apple, the colour was a bit gross though, it darkened as it sat there in the glass.

On the way back to the hotel Ray managed to get a shot of this wonderful waterfall/pond right beside our hotel.

By 10:45 am we were on our way to Squamish. Garrett was working from home today and also worked most of Saturday so he was able to take a few hours off. Kira, Garrett's dog could not figure out "where was Freya". Garrett had to open all of the car doors so she could look before she believed us that Freya was not here!

After unloading our stuff we all headed to the Britania Mine Museum. All of us have passed by this museum many times and not gone in. Garrett and Kat pass it every day going into town to work. Anyways Garrett, Ray and I all enjoyed the 45 minute mine tour as well as visiting all of their out buildings.

Lime Tank

Gold Panning Pavilion

Make a point of panning for gold. You find it, you keep it! Everyone can take part. Gold-panning troughs are set at different heights. That way, both young and old, can dip in and try their luck. This is gold panning the fun and easy way. 

This originally was the Assay Office and then it became the First Aide Building.

Our 1908 Machine Shop is also home to a number of historic pieces of equipment, from our restored ambulance car, to the man car that squeezed sixteen miners into a space about the size of a small family car.

The Machine/Tool Shop

Minerals & Society in the Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre

Step in and explore our many hands-on exhibits. Especially designed for youngsters, there's our Kids Playce display. Be sure to catch Groundbreaking, our award-winning film that traces Britannia's mining heritage and its successful environmental clean-up. Visit our Mineral Gallery. Gaze over displays of gold and fluorescent minerals. With our touchscreen interactives, you'll gain a new perspective of what mining means to our everyday lives. Add to that by getting to know the personalities behind Canadian mining in our Mining Hall of Fame. They explored underground yet their efforts went above-and-beyond. Learn much with one touch.

All of these things on this mobile are made with some kind of mineral that is obtained through mining.

Administration Building that now houses various exhibits including a lot of pictures taken during the time that the town was booming.
 Britannia A to Z Historical Exhibits

Within the walls of this lovingly-restored heritage building, you'll grasp what life was like here. It's full of amazing stories and archive photos. The community was isolated, yet families were active and innovative. Learn about the annual Copper Queen pageant. The original throne is still here. Take a seat for a great photo-op. Children are welcome to crawl into our kid-friendly tunnel.
An example of how large the rock moving equipment was.

Picture taken from the platforms on the way up to the entrance to the mine.

Look how smokey it is.
 Ray's pictures of going into the mine did not turn out as it was too dark and we were moving so here are some I got from Google. The train ride is quite short, more of an example. After the 5 minute ride you get out and walk the rest of the tour which is also quite short. It's sure damp inside the tunnels showing the conditions that the miner's worked in.

Underground Tour

Take a trip similar to miners in 1914. Climb aboard our mine train and chug into this early haulage tunnel. Inside, tour guides describe early mining efforts with actual working drills and a mucking machine. 

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Ray's picture above.

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Picture by Google of a Mucking Machine

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Picture by Google, walking into the rest of the exhibit.

These next few pictures were taken at the exit of the mine tour.

Once down to the ground level we carried on into ...

Mill 3

It's this impressive building that's responsible for us being declared a National Historic site. A landmark on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, it was once considered the heartbeat of the Britannia community. Here, ore was processed. So come in and look up. Visitors never fail to be wowed by the cathedral-like industrial interior.

Anyone for twenty flights of stairs??
All in all it was quite interesting and worth the visit.

After the tour we headed back to Squamish and stopped for a quick lunch before heading back to Garrett's so he could get back to work.

Kat came home early so we had a great visit. At 6 pm it was off for dinner at the Howe Sound Brewery. Garrett and Kat picked up the check, thanks guys. Back at their house we gabbed and watched some funny episodes of the Hot Wing Challenge. Off to bed by 10.

Wednesday morning we were all up at 6 am. Ray and I drove Kat to Park Royal in West Vancouver so she could catch the bus into downtown and then we carried back on Hwy 1 to get back to Dad's. The smoke was even heavier in the air today than yesterday. It sure is nice getting on the road by 6:45 as the traffic all the way was really light in our direction of travel. Once off the freeway we stopped for breakfast in Cloverdale to prepare us for the busy day waiting us at home.

This whole trip has been fantastic with great weather, great food and great scenery. We could not have planned it any better if we had tried. What a great 60th birthday and 40th anniversary adventure that we will not soon forget. Now it is back to reality! What do you mean I have to cook dinner!