Sunday, July 28, 2013

At The End of The Road

It took 90 minutes to get there but the view was well worth it!  Where the pavement ends is where the Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park begins.
Chilliwack Lake
The high mountain - with a bit of snow - at the far end of the lake is part of the Washington State North Cascades mountain range. Chilliwack Lake ends close to the US border.

A film set built near our home in South Langley.
I do not recall the name of the TV series but this temporary film set - near our home - has been readied for a new season of filming.  When we returned home this spring, the entire set had been boarded up.   The cameras will be rolling appears!  It is likely some type of horror series.
Chilliwack River - famous for white water rafting and kayaking.
Although the river is lower now than in early spring, it still offers some drastic white water.  It is a huge draw for expert kayakers. 
This scene was taken at the bridge crossing the Chilliwack River, just south of the City of Chilliwack
This is a popular spot for die hard fishermen.  We saw many who were casting standard lures while others were casting flies.

The boat launch at Chilliwack Lake
Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park was our Saturday destination.  Jeanette packed a really nice lunch.   Ninety minutes later, we arrived at the rustic beach front.  Several families were enjoying the small beach while others were kayaking, swimming or power boating.

We rode out for a couple of reasons but we also wanted to scout out the truly beautiful RV camping spots here.  One area - called 'The Radium Loop' - is ideal for large rigs.  It would fit our 5th wheel with ease.  The sites are well separated with natural trees and ground cover.
One side of the beach - east from the boat launch.
We will bring our Sea Eagle kayak when we camp here this September.
The RV and camping spots were full.  The place was busy, busy!  Come September though, this place calms down.  With kids back in school, this spectacular outdoor camping area becomes a draw for us....and other seasoned RVers.  That's just what we look forward too.

There are no services. The rate is $18/night and seniors (65 years and older) get the sites for $9. What a deal!  Each camping loop has a fresh water spigot and there is a dump station on the way out from the park.  Fires are allowed in the pits at each site.
Chilliwack seen along the paved highway.
Our generator will keep the on board batteries charged. Our fresh, grey and black water tanks will be sufficient for a four or five day stay.  This place got our camping juices going!
White water gates for expert kayakers
We enjoyed our lunch while looking out on Chilliwack Lake. Although the brochure states that the lake is quite cold, that did not deter several young and old from swimming the crystal clear water.  Not for us though!  We like swimming but cold water doesn't appeal to us anymore.  It used to though....some time back....!
A blueberry field in the Abbotsford City area.
We took one more ride through the 'Radium Loop' of the campsite before riding out and heading back for home.  Almost every spot in the loop would work for our rig.  

On the ride back, Jeanette spotted a newly renovated building in the tiny town of Yarrow that also included a restaurant with lovely outdoor covered area.  We took a break there and enjoyed a tea for her and a coffee for me.  Nice!

We rolled back home by 5:30 pm.  Indeed, another nice ride to a beautiful west coast spot.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Family Picnic, Pond Works.... and a Tribute to A Wonderful Woman

Our daughter in law - Courtney, from Edmonton - is in Vancouver visiting with her family for a few days.  We planned a get together picnic in the park yesterday. It was a perfect  day, weatherwise. 
Our son Deni with his wife Courtney. (Photo taken 10 months back)
Ginette, Trevor, Easton and Courtney gathered at our home before we drove to our local park.
Trevor and I carrying the picnic food stuffs to a table in the shade of the trees.
Jeanette put together a five star lunch that we got to enjoy in the tranquility of this quiet park. It was a perfect environment to enjoy each others company.
Ever the explorer, Easton was leading his Nana around the area.
It felt like we had the entire park to ourselves.  It seems that families don't take advantage of these great least not while we were there.  We selfishly enjoyed the peacefulness and privacy.
After lunch, we put all the food stuffs back in our vehicles before taking a good 40 minute walk around the park trails.
Ginette, Easton and Trevor headed back for their home and Courtney returned to our home with us to retrieve her mom's vehicle.  Following a brief visit, she left to meet up with her mom.  She flies back for home this Friday.
When Easton drops by, he likes to help with the laundry.  He took no time to sit in on the folded laundry.  
Of course, that was hard work on a hot day so he needed some water to quench his thirst. He prefers to be the big boy and drink from a glass; not from his sealed baby cup!
He is a climbing little monkey too!  He attempts to climb everything he feels can be accomplished.  Good fun!
I finally found the time to complete the natural flagstone project on our back yard pond.  It's like putting a puzzle together.  It took many hours of placing, removing, replacing and juggling stones to find the right fit.  It's done now! With the retaining wall that elevated the pond a good four inches above grade, a new liner, a new UV system and the now completed flagstones, we get to enjoy a great back yard feature.  The birds that are drawn to the pond concur!  It's nice to watch them bath in the free flowing water.

We'll add some water born pond type plants next season....but, for now, we purchased a few bulbus type pond plants that add some nice colour.
Happy with the result.
So...with the pond project completed, the next project(s) will begin in the weeks ahead.  We have a couple of pergolas to build, a large (and long) elevated planter to build with 4X4's to receive Emerald cedars, and build a deck using composite materials.  It's all part of the master plan for our back yard. It's good fun....and the builds will happen as time permits.  
Aunt Kay with Jeanette - only 6 months back - at Christmas
But first, we pay tribute to a woman who was very special to Jeanette, me and our family.  Our wonderful Aunt Kay passed away this last Monday.  She had been in a Port Moody hospice for just over one week. We had been visiting with her, in her home - as often as possible - since our return from the US southwest.  She was only a couple of months shy of her 90th birthday.  Her three daughters shared the pre-hospice duties of looking after her.  She chose when to move into the hospice.

Married to one of my mom's brothers, this woman was a gift to life and to anyone who came in contact with her.  She was truly special.  We called her our West Coast mom!
Sharing a hug with our son, Deni, last November, 2012
Had it not been for the cancer that plagued her, she would have lived a long, long life.  Before diagnosis, this wonderful lady did not look anything like her chronological age.

What made Kay special?  You name or think it and this woman exuded it in spades!  She had a huge heart and always made those close to her feel like they were number one. Her funeral is next Tuesday, July 30th.

The day following Kay's funeral, Jeanette and I will be leaving for a two week trip to visit with our son and daughter in law, Jeanette's mom and siblings, and my siblings in the Edmonton area of central Alberta. We have some business to look after too.

And that is it from here for now!

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Success, Fun and Growth

The past few days have produced some interesting moments in our lives.
Son in law, Trevor, graduates from the Justice Institute.
Trevor graduated from an exhaustive and intensive firefighting training program.  Although a post secondary graduate in mechanical engineering, he has also completed a plumbing ticket and now, his ultimate goal is to become a firefighter.  He accomplished that with flying colours.
Receiving his diploma
A parting photo with the Chief of Firefighter Training
Friday was graduation day and we all got together to cheer his accomplishments at the Justice Institute, in the city of New Westminster.
Trevor with his son, Easton, and his dad, Warren
A special photo with Easton
L-R  Brother Wesley, maternal grandmother Cleo, Trevor, Easton and mom Sandi.
Ginette and Trevor
Their team name - 'The Guardians"  helmet

We got to enjoy this great cake at a reception that followed the graduation ceremonies.  Notice the spelling mistake?  The letter 'U' is missing on the word, 'Guardians'!
Heading out following the festivities.
Trevor made us proud with another of his many accomplishments.  Well done!

Easton has figured out how to climb onto our bed. Our little man keeps growing. He is relentless and forever taking on new challenges.  He was thrilled to have finally climbed up on his very own.
The busy beaver that he is, Easton was our overnight guest on graduation day.  Trevor and Ginette were meeting with his family for dinner, followed by a gathering of several firefighting members to celebrate completion of their training program.

Shortly after we got back home with Easton, he got busy showing us his abilities to climb. Jeanette was able to have the camera at the ready for the above photo. Yes, he is a little monkey....and a fun one too!
Attending a local outdoor fair on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, Ginettte was off to a 'stagette' so Trevor came by to gather Easton and join us to take in the local fair in Aldergrove, BC.  Like most small town fairs, there are fun things to see and do and the goal was to expose Easton to the action.
Easton was attracted to this race involving modified lawnmowers. Anything with a motor is a draw!
That was followed with touring the antique tractors that were featured in a tractor pull.
The amusement park was all brand new to him too.  It was so much fun watching him take in the sights, sounds and smells.  Mini doughnut smells wafted everywhere.  Oh, and the hot dogs were awesome!!!
Whoa!  Check out this giant turtle.
The miniature pony was a draw too....and he wanted to get on the saddle.
Once in the saddle, Easton immediately emulated riding motions.  He wanted to ride so we paid the fee and off he went with his dad nearby.  He absolutely loved it.  No fear in this little man....and he's only 15 months old!!!
Giddy up!
Nearby was the local 4-H area offering a small petting zoo.  Easton has always emulated goat sounds and once he heard the goats, he was quick to answer back.  That got some visitors laughing.  
He was exposed to a lot of newness in the few short hours we spent at the local fair.  Such fun had! To witness this little fella see things for the first time is so pleasurable.
Of course, there is no better fun than running and being swung by the arms on some soft artificial turf.  We could have kept this up for hours on end. Back home, Trevor and Easton joined us for a barbecue dinner before they headed out to retrieve Ginette from the stagette.
Regal looking.....
Jeanette and I were up for a hike on Sunday.  A new trail we were eager to try was the the Otter Trail.  Although a short one, it was a fun and challenging walk. Coming out of a forested area, we saw this regal Llama hiding out in the shade, on the other side of a fence.
View of our Sunday walking trail....
We were up for a much longer hike so we drove off to a south Langley trail we featured in one of our blogs, last summer.  That trail took us the better part of 90 minutes to complete. Feeling we had burned off a couple of calories, we headed back home.

Jeanette readied for an evening out with nursing friends who planned to attend the 2013 Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship being held at SoftBall City in South Surrey/White Rock. They enjoyed a lovely evening of high caliber, international women's  fastpitch competition.

I enjoyed a quiet late afternoon at home before watching a couple of Netflix movies.  

And there you have it!

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Peachland Road Trip

In the previous blog I mentioned a planned road trip to Peachland in the BC Okanagan Valley.  We returned from that road trip last evening.

It was a great ride along Highway 3 (the Hope/ Princeton highway, as some refer to it), and our specific intention was to visit with our very close and long time friends.
Heading east on the BC southern route - Highway 3.  Great route; great road; great scenery; great weather!
With great weather in the forecast, we left home at 8:00 am, Tuesday morning.  With light traffic, clear blue skies, and endless mountain views, we were in for an awesome ride.
Wonderful bakery/deli in Princeton.
The small town of Princeton - on the extreme west side of the Similkameen Valley - offers all of the well known fast food joints but Jeanette and I prefer to find those wonderful gems that offer great coffee, service and wholesome foods.  We found this spot (photo above) that we will patronize whenever we are in the area.  Talk about superb food - reasonably priced - with coffee prepared  and served in a French press.
We both love great coffee and this place did not disappoint.
Eating at Thomasina's Bakery cost the same as eating at a greasy fast food burger joint.  The food is fresh, healthy and exquisitely prepared. 
The Similkameen River shoulders Highway 3 for several miles.
The elevation changes - coupled with twisty turns - makes this highway a delight for motorcyclists. We took our time and made several stops along the way.  We have traveled this route countless times and it never ever disapoints.
 Lake Okanagan - a 100 mile long lake - is a huge draw for Western Canadian tourists during the summer months.
We rode through Keremeos - a popular fruit growing area in the eastern Similkameen valley - before turning north towards the city of Penticton.  From there, we rode north toward the large city of Kelowna.  Our destination was the lovely lakeside town of Peachland, about 20 minutes, or so, south from Kelowna. It's here that we rode into the yard of our life long friends; Garry and Aline.
They have a beautiful home that looks down on Okanagan Lake.
We had not seen our friends since they last visited with us in Langley, last November.  Following the customary photos, we began catching up in earnest.  While sitting in the shade - enjoying a well earned libation - we chatted and chatted and chatted some more. 
Garry had a good look at our new ride and gave it the two thumbs up!
We have shared 30+ years of friendship with this couple.  Our children and theirs are all friends. They grew up together; were involved in similar activities; attended the same schools; hung out; attended each others events (weddings included); and continue to keep in touch.  We shared so many joint family activities and dinners, over the years.

When Garry and Aline retired, they moved to their dream home in Peachland.  It is a beautiful home; surrounded by trees, various plants, shrubs and a garden that would be the envy for novice and expert gardeners.
Garry is soon to celebrate his birthday and we were thrilled to be there to start the early celebration.
Their daughter, Tamara, along with husband John and their two children, were instrumental getting the celebrations going.
John with little son, Aiden
L-R  Tamara, Aline and Simone
 Aline's sister, Simone, was visiting from the Province of Saskatchewan.  Our son in law's mom and her husband were invited too. 
Seldom short for words....Garry was thrilled with the attention. And why not?????  He loves rhubarb....and this crisp was baked specifically for the celebration.
Tamara, Aline and Simone got busy with the food preparation and I looked after the skewers on the barbecue.  My job was simple!  Place the skewers on the hot grate and let them cook.  The other foods are what demanded so much time and effort.
Our son in law's mom (Sandi) and her husband (Bob).
Sandi and Bob (who also reside in Peachland) brought a scrumptious salad plate along and, once the barbecued skewers were ready, we sat down to enjoy a most rewarding meal,  in the company of wonderful friends, while overlooking the beautiful Lake Okanagan, on a flawlessly gorgeous evening.  I should mention that the world famous BC Okanagan wines tasted equally great. 
Beautiful Okanagan Valley
Once nightfall dawned, we said our 'au revoir' (French for 'see you later') and followed Sandi and Bob to their home - our overnight accommodation.  Back at their home, we enjoyed more chat while enjoying a bit more of the Okanagan valley's fine wine.  That was enjoyed on one of their outdoor decks that overlook the lake.

Yesterday morning presented some ominous looking dark grey skies.....but weather doesn't deter us from riding and, following a nice breakfast with Sandi and Bob, we packed our ride and headed for a mid-morning coffee and visit with Garry and Aline before heading back for home.

By 1:30 pm, we said our bye byes and, once the hugs and laughter concluded, Jeanette and I rode off.  "Thank you for a wonderful visit and a great evening dinner over Lake Okanagan."

Heading south towards Penticton we could see some mean looking clouds on the horizon.  We were heading straight into some nasty weather.
Hoping we might avoid the impending rain, we suited up in case.  Good thing we did!
Just south of the City of Penticton the clouds burst open and we rode through an incredibly hard and stinging rainfall. It lasted about ten minutes. Visibility was minimal. Mixed in with rain were some light hailstones.  We persisted at half speed and, once through the wet stuff, the sun shone brightly and we were rain free for the balance of the 4.5 hour ride back to the coast.  Good thing for good riding clothes and helmets!!!!
Shortly after the rainfall.
We were surprised by the light tourist traffic and the high volume of empty camping and RV'ing spots we saw along our route.
This little river is appealing - certainly to me - as a place to ride the downstream flow in our Sea Eagle kayak.  I should plan on this!
We chose to stop in Princeton for fuel and a short rest before taking the twisty ride up the high mountain drive toward Manning Park.
With steep, nine degree inclines, it's normal to slow right down when following large semi trailer trucks.  Once passing lanes come into view, drivers make quick work of getting past the trucks.
Jeanette and I drove into our garage, just past 6:30 pm, following a leisurely ride back from Peachland.

Once I post this blog, I plan to wash and detail the motorcycle.  It is riddled with splattered bugs and with residue from the short but furious rain storm we rode through.

That's all for now.

Thanks for dropping by.