Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grey Skies....Wet Walks....Relentless Robin!

It's been quite a week of sogginess here on the 'wet coast' of British Columbia.  It's a reminder of what we don't miss when we spend our winter months in the US southwest.  That said, rain is good for cleanliness, flora and fauna, it keeps forest fires a bay...and has so many more benefits.  No complaints!
We headed for one of our favourite hikes.
The temperatures are very mild and rain doesn't stop us from enjoying the outdoors.  We simply dress for it and, when necessary, we bring an umbrella along.  Such was the case when Jeanette and I took this hike yesterday afternoon. It was a great walk, for sure! We plan to walk the same route today too.
It's especially nice to walk on non-muddy trails.
We reflected on how we do have the best of both worlds.  We can enjoy the warm, dry, desert winters away and return to this beautiful topography with what is - in our view - the most beautiful summers anywhere on earth.
Skunk cabbage is everywhere at this time of the year.  Quite pretty to look at.
The ferns growing on the side of trees (and moss) absorb the moisture.
We only met one other hiker on this trail when he approached the wooden bridge we were on.  Although the trail calls 'for dogs on leash', his was not and the dog took a flying leap into the water....much to the chagrin of its owner. He would have to face a wet dog on his car seats on the drive back home.  I was not quick enough to get a photo ....but your imagination will set the scene nicely.
The deciduous trees are now showing more green as the early spring leaves begin to grow out.
The creeks are overflowing.
Never did get down to take a whiff of these skunk cabbages so I can't really express whether they stink or not!  Western Skunk Cabbage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The relentless robin!!!!
In the previous blog, I mentioned how this robin was attacking our front living room picture window.  Well, he continues to attack it - daily.  In spite of our efforts to discourage the behaviour, he is relentless.
We scare him off....and he returns!
His female partner has even flown by, on numerous occasions, to try to focus him on nest building but he resists that in favour of pounding our window with his beak.  What to do?
Other than working on income tax files and handling a few business dealings,  I have been focused on some needed household chores - namely resurfacing the deck of our motorcycle swivel-wheel.   Jeanette has rediscovered her brightly lit sewing room and quickly launched a few really nice projects.  More on that later.

Still no grandchild, as baby Easton remains content in our daughter's womb.  But we do look forward to his entry into this world soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Past Few Days....

Ginette receives a knitted blanket and jacket for her baby to be, from Grandma  Biro, Trevor's grandmother. Trevor is our son in law and dad to be.
We were in attendance at a birthday this past Saturday night when Ginette was gifted some nice hand made clothing by Trevor's grandmother.  Very nice!
Grandma Biro's hand knitted clothing. Jeanette is looking in too.
Several family and friends attended the birthday party for Warren, our son in law's father.
No shortage of food.
Warren was celebrating his official 60th birthday.  He is featured below with his immediate family and parents.
Back Row L-R Daughter Tracey, Son Wesley, Son Trevor.
Front Row L-R Warren's mom, Warren, a grand niece, and Warren' s father, Tony.
Goofing off with their dad.
Saturday proved to be a nice day but as the sun descended, it cooled off quickly so everyone moved indoors to enjoy the food and fun.

It was a fitting party to usher Warren into the 60's
Shot from inside our living room.
This male Robin was relentless in attempting to break through our window early Sunday morning.  He's been at it for the past few days too.  He's seeing his reflection and not enjoying the competition from another supposed male.  If only he could understand that he will never get to fend off the male he seems to resent in the reflection.

Jeanette went online to learn that it is not really unusual for birds to see themselves reflected in windows; take offense at a supposed competing male and try to attack it.

This Robin would not give up.  The WEB site suggested taping newsprint on the window to discourage the behavior.  I did that but the Robin kept trying to fly and jump higher. This male was not going to give up.

It has since returned every day but our knocking on the window scares him off.  We're hoping that it has understood that its pursuit of attack on a reflective male is fruitless.
After dealing with the Robin, we left for a nice Sunday motorcycle ride.
The forecast was for rain on Monday.  Sunday proved fitting for a nice ride out to one of our favourite day rides; Cultus Lake in the mountains along the Fraser Valley.
The lake was quiet.  It was pleasant to just walk, sit and enjoy the tranquility.
This is a popular lake for boating and skiing during the peak summer months.  It's a noisy place too during those three months. 
Only a few others like us took advantage and were sitting on the beach.
After an hour or so we rode back and headed to a neat little place in the Chilliwack countryside called the Yellow Barn.  It was there that we enjoyed a nice lunch with coffee before continuing our slow journey through the Fraser Valley back roads towards home.
You can see the snow capped mountains in the distance.
The forecast is calling for cloudy/rainy weather in the coming days.  It's not cold though.  The average daytime temperature today hovered near 65 degrees.  NOT BAD!

The rain will keep us focused on indoor type activities - primarily completing our paper work to deliver our income tax stuff to our accountant.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cleanup and Storage!

Now for the cleanup!
Now that we're back from our US southwest winter getaway, it's cleanup time.  The motorcycle was first up.  Once fully washed and detailed, it was relegated to the garage.  With the weather so beautiful this weekend, it will be ridden. Average daytime temperatures are hovering near 60 degrees.  Not bad!
Next up was to wash the 5th wheel.
With the interior of the fiver emptied, cleaned and detailed, it was time to focus on the exterior. With an extension pole - connected to a wash brush - it's a fairly straightforward process.
The desert winter - and road grit - grime slowly runs off the side.
It's looking shinier.
I picked up a new anode rod for the water heater yesterday.  The original rod was nearing the end of its useful life.  Other than a bit of regular maintenance (and repairing one storage drawer) the 5th wheel is ready for its next journey.
Following a bit of 'black streak' detailing, it's time to button it up and push it back in it's storage area.

Ready to unhitch.

Just need to close and lock the gates till the 5th wheel takes its next voyage into the BC Okanagan Valley in late May.   Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

About The Early Return Back Home!

Since our return home, we've kept busy with emptying and cleaning the interior of the 5th wheel....and anticipating.....
A very pregnant daughter.
That we are first time expectant grandparents is the principal reason for our early return from snow birding in the US southwest.
Ginette and husband Trevor are expecting the arrival of their first baby near or about April 10th.
Such excitement - such anticipation - certainly for us but more so for the new parents to be.
I laughed when I saw the caption on this baby clothing.
Ginette is opening a gift from RV friend, Diane (Hector) who made this beautiful blanket during the past few months.
Ginette has not met Diane but she was pleasantly and completely surprised by the beautiful, knitted blanket.  She sure hopes to thank her personally in the near future.  
Baby Easton's freshly painted room at their home in Langley City.
Jeanette and I drove the 10-12 minutes from our home to Ginette and Trevor's home to see the newly created baby bedroom.  WOW!  NICE!
Proud mom and soon to be Nana.
Jeanette had been busy too this winter.  Having learned how to make certain blankets from Diane, she completed a few of these.  One package was mailed from the US southwest and we delivered the blanket below in person on Monday evening.

Easton will not lack for warmth.  He already has several choices in baby blankets.
Jeanette even made a special blanket for their cat, Kuma.  Imagine that!  Only a cat loving woman would think about making a blanket for Kuma the cat.
Ginette's sister in law, Tracy made this diaper cake for a recent baby shower.  Very creative!
A special place for keepsakes!
Jeanette spent the better part of yesterday with Ginette; attending an appointment with the obstetrician/gynecologist, running some errands, taking a walk, and more.
It seems that Kuma the cat has taken a shine to baby Easton's change table!  Hmmmm!

I spent the better part of yesterday completing some errands, fussing with the 5th wheel and catching up on emails and contacts.

For those blog readers who expressed curiosity with our early (and quick) return back home, you now know why.  It's a great reason to cut short our southern holiday.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been very nice since our return.  The next four days call for even better weather: sunny skies and pleasantly warm temperatures.  What is not to like about that?

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Made it Home!

Four days after leaving Desert Hot Springs, CA, we arrived home here in Langley, BC, Canada.  Total distance driven during the winter?  4,400 miles  ~ 6,100 kilometres.
Shasta Lakes Region of Northern California.
Weather predictors had forecast awful driving weather for our drive homeward.  A huge storm was moving in from the Pacific coast.  It would deliver high winds, snow, rain, sleet, and hail.  Well, we had little of that!
Our RV spot in Red Bluff, CA
RVers we spoke with in northern CA, were, like us, concerned about the Siskiyou Pass.  The weather girl had predicted heavy snow and wind.  It did not materialize for us!  Yeah for that.
Mount Shasta on Saturday morning.
After checking several weather sources, we were convinced that the passes into Oregon would be favourable.  Off we drove.  Our information proved correct.  The passes were clear and bare.
Snow was clearly seen at the higher elevations.
It was a nice drive through the passes and into Oregon.  We were making good time so we opted to drive up to Salem and overnight there.  From Salem, it's a six hour drive to the Canadian border.
Bare winter driving conditions.
We faced sun, clouds, brief rain storms, some light hail and a bit of wind, off and on, during our Saturday drive.
Nice roads.
Would you believe that we arrived at the RV park in Salem, Oregon, during a pounding rain storm?
That's right, we got to set up in a pounding rain storm.  As soon as we had completed all hook ups and fired up the furnace and heaters, the rain stopped, the wind died and the sun came out.
I-5 traffic blocked at the draw bridge over the Columbia River.
We left the RV park in Salem - 30 minutes south of Portland - near 10:00 am on Sunday morning - after cleaning out our tanks, emptying all water and sanitizing the fiver for storage. 

We were held up at the major bridge that crosses the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington State. The draw bridge had to be lifted for a ship that was heading east on the river.  That led to a 30 minute delay.  An accident a few miles earlier held us up for another 20 minutes.  That was on Sunday morning.  We could hardly believe the volume of traffic!  It was very heavy.
Rain and sleet
Once into Washington State, it was seamless driving till we arrived at the Canadian border crossing.  
Downtown Seattle seen under a heavy cloud cover - with sporadic rain showers.
Crossing @ the much smaller Aldergrove border crossing into Canada.
It was a 20 minute wait to get back into Canada.  A very nice and professional Canada Customs officer asked two questions then welcomed us back home.  No stopping, no checking, no inspections.  YEAH!  No delays....and within 6-8 minutes, we pulled up in front of our home.
Some have questioned our reason for heading back for home so early.  Well, there is a very good reason for that!  It will be explained in the next blog. 

Removing the motorcycle from the swivel wheel, shortly after we arrived.
Jeanette and I removed most of the items from our two refrigerators.
We spent a bit of time removing some items from the fiver and back into the house but we pretty well left the rest for yesterday (Monday).
Fiver is backed onto the driveway - opened up and waiting for me to vacuum, shampoo the rugs and complete a bit of required maintenance.  After we close it up, it will be pushed back,along the house, and locked in its rightful spot. 
OK!  That's enough work for one day.
Most of my day today (Tuesday) will be spent working on cleaning and maintenance.  We'll button it up till we move it out in late May for a trip into the Okanagan area of British Columbia.

We had a fabulous 2.5 months of winter travel in the US southwest.  We shared many, many laughs with so many like minded folks, shared some wonderful time on the golf links, hiked and motorcycled to new places and shared great food with really good folks.  So, what's not to like about that!  It was fun.  To everyone we met along the way, a special thank you!

We look forward to next winter's journey!

Thanks for dropping by.