Saturday, August 27, 2011

Now in Edmonton.

Early morning along the Fraser River approaching Hope, BC
Jeanette and I were on the road to Edmonton by 5:10 am.  Although still dark out, the day looked promising, weather wise.
Three hours later - in Kamloops, BC
With the motorcycle trailer behind the Nissan truck, we made good time going up the Coquihalla Highway.  
The Thompson River - north of Clearwater, BC
Not sure why today was the exception on Highway 5 north, but drivers were very aggressive and many were making poor driving choices.  With over 30 years of driving this route, this had to be the very first time we needed to execute two avoidance maneuvers.

This is always a site we look forward to.  Mt. Robson's largess is awe inspiring.

This is Moose Lake.  The crystal blue mineral waters are stunning - winter and summer.
We made a brief stop in to the town of Jasper in the National Park.  It was bustling with tourists.
Leaving Jasper, the speed limits are reduced in the park because of wildlife that often graze along the highway.  Today did not disappoint.
The skies were blue, the winds light, and the traffic was normal for this time of the year.
The last mountain range before arriving into the foothills and boreal forests surrounding Hinton and Edson, Alberta.
We made good time.  In Jasper, we texted our son to advise that we would be in Edmonton on time for a Bar-B-Q. 
We arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, exactly 12 hours after leaving home.
Jeanette took this photo while we were driving on Wayne Gretzky Drive, over the North Saskatchewan River, on the east side of the city.  We are only minutes from our two childrens' respective houses.

Here we were in our son Deni's back yard with  Cara and baby , daughter Ginette, and soon to be daughter in law, Courtney.

Son in law, Trevor (L) and our son Deni (R) manning the Bar-B-Q
It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor Bar-B-Q with our family in Edmonton.  Cara (along with her baby boy) is a cousin.  It was nice to see her (new to us) baby boy, Rylan, while her husband was busy doing some consulting work.
A very content and happy little fella.

Jeanette enjoying a hug with Deni.
 Hmmm, the smell emanating from the Bar-B-Q was really working on our hungry stomachs.

Ginette gave Cara a break to enjoy dinner and took over the baby caring duties.
We enjoyed a wonderful outdoor dinner with our family and when darkness came, we moved indoors to hear all the details about Deni and Courtney's early wedding plans for September 2012 in Vancouver, BC.  They recently had announced their engagement.

We have a busy week ahead.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Horse Jumping and Road Trip to Alberta

Thunderbird Show Park - North Langley, BC
Jeanette and I have always enjoyed horses and the horse community. We are ex pats from the neighbouring province of Alberta.....and for well over 30 years now.  Jeanette grew up on a farm. We heard about the show jumping competitions being held at Thunderbird Show Park so we headed there this past weekend.
The grounds crew was busy getting ready for the late afternoon competitions.
 Meanwhile, there were many equestrians busy with warming up for the main jumping competition in the other four or five practice areas.
If I was to guess, I would say there were easily over 200 horses at this event.
Combine that with the horse handlers, owners, riders, little kids and big kids, the lookie loo fans like us, and the area was bustling with activities.
These pre-competitions were just as interesting to watch.
Fine looking riders and horses.
This is not a sport for the budget conscious.  Just for fun, Jeanette and I priced out the show jumping outfits found in many of the on site kiosks.  Custom made riding boots (made from kid leather) were going for $1,500/ pair.  Most riders have two or more pairs of riding boots.  Show jumping outfits range in price from $400 on up to the $1,000's+.  Add helmets, socks, sports riding jackets and one is easily into several thousands of dollars.....and all of that is before you even buy a horse, stable it, saddle it, groom it, feed it, train it, purchase or rent the training facilities, haul it to numerous events (purchase a truck and trailer), and also haul your trailer, 5th wheel, Class C or Class A motorhome. We counted well over 100 RV's at this event too.
This team was washing down and grooming their ride prior to the big event.
I was surprised that we were allowed to walk everywhere on the grounds. And what a treat that is.  I think it encourages fans like us to get a better feel for the demands of this sport. There are many barns and all with horses and attendants. We could walk into all barns without reservations.  It's a great place to see the horses at rest and it is a bee hive of activity too.  We witnessed a lot of grooming, polishing of boots, and careful attention to detail.
Waiting their turn in the practice areas.
We had great seats and settled in for the main event.  This is the only turf field. 
 The top 12 leaders in the first event would compete in the second and final event for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes of money and ribbons.Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park | One of North America's Premier Equestrian Facilities

For the uninitiated,  anyone who is familiar with the Canadian brand KEG Restaurants will be surprised to know that the founder of that restaurant chain is the owner of the Thunderbird Show Park.  This park is really well maintained and it does host first class competitions.
We were led to believe that this facility was only recently granted a liquor license.  If true, what a treat it was to enjoy a cold beer in the shade on a hot day.  What a fun event to attend.  We really enjoyed it.
Preparing for our departure tomorrow (Thursday) for Edmonton, Alberta.
Readying the trailer for my horse - the iron horse, that is.
Although I prefer to get up early, load my motorcycle and ride the 12 hours to Edmonton, Alberta, we have so many events to attend to in the coming days and my co-rider needs more clothing than we can possibly take with the bike.  So.....the next best thing is to load it up...and drag it along too.
Solidly tethered.....and ready to roll.
 While Jeanette attends to some important family stuff, I too will attend to important family stuff and ride off to St. Paul, Alberta, to visit with my brother and sister (and their spouses) who live there too. 

Our two children and their partners live in Edmonton so we'll take advantage and crash in at their respective houses while there.  We will also be attending an 88th birthday party for Jeanette's dad. 
Well strapped down and locked into the wheel chalk.  It will stay nice and clean through the mountains.
So, the next blog will be coming to you from the Province of Alberta where John & Brenda's Incredible Journey blog from.  We'll be in central Alberta - in and around the Edmonton city  area - and they reside in southern Alberta - south  of the city of Calgary.  Speaking of John, I got an email from him today with some good information on the Tracfone cell phone available to us Canadian snowbirds who venture to the US south in the winter months. Thanks for that John.

That's about if for here.  Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No boredom.....

The home of the Vancouver Canadians baseball club.
Jeanette and a couple of nursing friends took in a Canadians baseball game last week.  It's always a great outing to enjoy the company of friends in a pretty and inviting baseball field.
The Canadian beat the Salem, Oregon team by 4-1
Had to feel sorry for this local farmer.  He was hauling round bales when the back axle broke.  Another tractor showed up to remove the bales, place them temporarily in the ditch and haul the broken trailer away. 
Daughter Ginette and husband Trevor flew in last Wednesday evening  They were here to attend Trevor's sister's wedding this past Friday evening.

Jeanette picked up some local blueberries and began the process of making several jars of jam.
We took a ride into Fort Langley.  We were looking for a specific gift and we found it.
While Jeanette was shopping I walked around Fort Langley and took some photos.  It is such a pretty place....and the original Provincial Capital of British Columbia.
The municipality has maintained the historical look with all new construction.  Very nice.
This photo is for all the RVers with dogs.  This is a thriving business and I particularly liked this painted sign.  If any of you are ever in this area, this could be an attraction for you and your pets. 
Fort Langley is nestled along side the mighty Fraser River.  We rode by and I could not resist taking this photo of a well maintained fishing boat docked near the old river ferry dock.
Trevor and Ginette prepare to leave for the pre-wedding photo shoot with family.
Jeanette and I attended the wedding.  It was held at the Redwoods Golf and Country Club in north Langley.  It was a beautiful day and evening for an outdoor event.
Nicole (L) and her future husband Trevor (M) with Ginette.  Nicole was Ginette's maid of honour at her wedding and Ginette will reciprocate this November at Nicole and Trevor's wedding. Trevor was our son in law Trevor's, best man too. When these two girls call out to or for their respective Trevor's, I wonder how the guys respond when they are all together.  Wonder of wonders!!!
A perfect setting on a perfect day.
Trevor with his paternal grandparents.  In their mid to late eighties, they are most vibrant and engaging.
The ceremony.
It was a beautiful event that was well attended by friends and family of the bride and groom.

Ginette and Trevor returned to Edmonton yesterday morning.  It was a busy four fun filled days.

Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So Much Going On!!!!

A hike in Pepin Brook - south Langley.

It's been quite a few days since our last blog and it's been a very busy time....with little time to get any writing done.  Why so busy?  Just so much good stuff going on.

A few days ago Jeanette and I chose to take a nice hike on a new trail in south Langley.  Pepin Brook is a beautiful trail in the deep woods that features an incredibly wonderful fish bearing brook.  The crystal clear waters serve as a great spawning and feeding ground.
Beautiful fish bearing habitat.
Jeanette is checking out a nice waterfall.  We took photos but with the shade and sun streams, it didn't really turn out well.
Rightfully protected.
We stool here for awhile observing the small suckers in the stream below.
This trail is a real gem.  We were thrilled to find it.  It will now be one of our main hikes and it's only about 3 minutes from our home.  Nice discovery, for sure.
At the most recent BC Lions v. Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Football Game.
Last Saturday found us attending one of the regular season CFL Football games @ the temporary Empire Field @ the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) in Vancouver.

Good friend Rick, who has season tickets, invited me along.  Jeanette and I went online and found a single ticket for her, near our seats.  The three of us were able to sit together during the last half of the game.  We lost!!!  Yikes, the Lions had better find a winning solution or they won't be able to make it to this year's Grey Cup game to be held @ the new BC Place Stadium this late November.
Our Lions lost, yet again!!!
What started out as a strong opening quarter ended in defeat for our orange, black and white.  It was a disastrous second half.
Jeanette with our very good friend  Rick @ the CFL game.
Jeanette, Rick and I enjoyed the outing - on a perfect night too.  The weather was picture perfect.
Playing the prestigious and private Sagebrush Golf Course in the Quilchena Valley.
Sunday saw 20 of us driving up to a fantastic golf course in the BC interior.  We were invited to play the private and prestigious Sagebrush golf course in the Quilchena Valley, just east of Merritt.

This golf course is partially owned by former PGA Golf Pro, Dick (Richard) Zokol.  He and a few partners built this beautiful and most difficult private golf course on a mountain side in the Quilchena Valley.  It is a gem.  It was my sixth time playing there.  That's two rounds in each of the past three years.  
Playing partner, Fred, is shading the late afternoon sun to determine where to place his ball.
Although we are not members of this course, we were invited to play again this year.  What a treat.  It's also a treat to play a few holes with former PGA Golf Pro, Dick Zokol too.  He makes striking a golf ball seem effortless.

Although most of the golfers were staying overnight in the Quilchena Inn, Fred and I had commitments back home. 

We left @ 6:00 am on Sunday morning, drove up, played two rounds (36 holes), finished up at sundown, had a quick bite of lunch and drove back to the Lower Mainland.  We were back near 11:00 pm. That was a long and exhaustive day....but what a day!  It was exhilarating, to say the least. 

The other golfers continued on to Tobiano Golf and Country Club near Kamloops for another round of golf on the Monday.
Your playing partners have to keep an eye out for the ball.
Checking an afternoon text from a colleague.
 The number 13 hole on Sagebrush is where we had lunch.  I took photos with Fred's camera and I'll post those when he sends me some on email.  They are of Fred casting a fly rod along the 13th hole private lake that is stocked with trout and other fish species.  What a stunning environment.

We've been so busy with other things too but we won't bore you with the details.  

This evening we'll be driving to the airport to meet with our daughter Ginette and her husband Trevor.  They are coming in for Trevor's sister's wedding this Friday.  We'll be attending too.  The weather looks most promising.  Another busy week ahead.

That about sums up the more interesting events in our lives of late.  More to come.

Thanks for dropping by.
John and Al on the number 15 hole @ Sagebrush.