Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Fun and Ice Bucket Challenge

Since our return from the Vancouver Island motorcycle ride, we have lived an endless array of family activities; including a beach side visit, some baby sitting, golf, hike, motorcycling, dinner out, the ice bucket challenge, family visitors.....etc. And with very little time for blogging, or even to read blogs, the time has zoomed by so quickly.  We're catching up on our blog reading now!
White Rock Beach with the grand kids.
Last Thursday morning was dedicated to sharing some family fun with Easton, Brie and Owen (our grand kids) at White Rock Beach, BC.  Talk about fun in the sun.  The breeze was up near the Pacific Ocean but with light jackets, we enjoyed a lovely time hanging out and feasting on a nice lunch that Jeanette had prepared.
Owen (from Edmonton, Alberta) was visiting his maternal grandmother with his mom.
Owen and his mom Courtney were on the coast for a one week visit.  Courtney had registered to run a half marathon in downtown Vancouver, last Saturday, so she took advantage to spend the week with her mom.  Owen is a great little traveler.   They returned to Edmonton today (Tuesday).  We will see them all soon when they fly back in early September to attend a wedding.
Courtney with Owen.......
There was a lot of activity happening on the beach; including kite boarding.  Easton sure was taken with watching those water sports in action.
Owen taking a stroll with grand papa......
Following our Friday regular golf round, I got back home to change up and head to White Rock.  Jeanette and I chose to ride the motorcycle there. We joined our good friends, Lorne and Mariette, for dinner.  We also celebrated Lorne's birthday.  It was a beautiful evening.  An after dinner stroll led us to the very end of the long White Rock pier.

Lorne and Mariette on White Rock Pier.

We had some free time on Saturday.  That led Jeanette and I on a good long hike.  We opted to drive the few minutes to the lovely Aldergrove Park forest trails at Pepin Brook.
Groomed trails....
The nice trails through the heavy forest delivered the cooling effect we desired.  It was a pleasant 6.7 kilometre hike through the canopied trails and open meadows.  It was hot on the open meadow trails but so pleasantly cool in the heavily forested trails.
Huge cedar and hemlock trees.
Part of the long and varied trails in this park network offer some trails that are shared with trail riders on horseback.  We saw a few on Saturday.  

Jeanette is checking out some of the foliage.
Sunday morning saw me ride out to our favourite coffee spot in South Surrey for our regular Open Mike session.  It was a fun morning of banter and laughs.

Back home by noon, Trevor and Ginette dropped by with Easton and Brie.  We kept the kids while the parents headed out on a hike.  They would return later in the afternoon for dinner and to collect their kids.
Looking after Brie.  Such a sweetheart!
Back from their hike, Ginette and Trevor had to fulfill the ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease) ice bucket challenge.  Lorne and Mariette had challenged us to fulfill the challenge and once Trevor and Ginette took the ice bucket challenge, Jeanette and I fulfilled the challenge too.

Trevor and Ginette after the Ice Bucket ALS challenge
We have a very good friend who is living with ALS.  It was our pleasure to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge in his honor.  We challenged Jeanette's two sisters - and their spouses - to follow our lead.
Our Edmonton relatives arrived by dinner time on Sunday.
My nephew and his wife, Brad and Jamie, arrived from Edmonton around Sunday dinner time.  We had prepared a nice barbecue dinner and once they had settled in, we fired up the Napoleon BBQ.
Easton sure took a quick liking to Brad.  A motorcyclist too, Brad got down on all fours to play motorcycles with Easton.
Enjoying a lovely evening outdoors.
Jamie and Ginette
Following the Sunday dinner, Ginette and Trevor loaded up Easton and Brie for the drive back to their home.  Brad, Jamie, Jeanette and I continued our visit before calling it a night.  Mid-morning on Monday,  Brad and Jamie left for Seattle - to take in a ball game.  From Seattle, they are heading on a two week driving vacation through Washington State, the Oregon Coast, northern California and back.  On their way back home, they will overnight with us, for one or two nights, before collecting one of their daughters (who will have flown in) and returning back to Edmonton.

Yesterday was a relaxing day for Jeanette and I. We did not accomplish a whole lot....other than some small house chores and running a few errands.  A pleasant day it was.

And that is our story, these past several days.  Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Island Hopping.....

Along with RV friends, Trena and Lucky, we motorcycled off to Vancouver Island last Monday.  It was a planned ride that would take us to Quadra Island, near Campbell River, then back down to Sooke, near Victoria, before heading back for home.

Readying to board our BC Ferries ship from Tsawwassen to Duke Point on Vancouver Island.
By 8:30 am, last Monday morning, Trena and Lucky were in our driveway.  One hour later we were at the head of the line to board our ferry from the mainland to near Nanaimo.  Thanks to the BC Motorcycle Coalition, motorcycles are always given priority boarding on BC Ferries.  
A similar older class ferry to the one we were on.

The two hour ferries ride to Duke Point near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island was quick.  Once on board, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while plying the calm waters that separate the BC mainland from Vancouver Island.  

Our destination:  Quadra Island - a short ferry ride across from Cambpell River on Vancouver Island's central coast.
The route to Vancouver Island was dotted with seiners busy fishing for salmon.
Once docked at Duke Point, we rolled off and headed north, past Nanaimo, Lantzville and into Parksville on the eastern side of the island.  It was here that we took a break before heading further north on the coastal route through Qualicum Beach, Courtney/Comox, Oyster Bay and into Campbell River where we boarded a small ferry to Quadra Island and our first night's stay at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge.

A little break at Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island.

The ferry to Quadra Island - Boarding at Campbell River

We were surprised to find a one sailing wait at the Campbell River ferries dock that would take us to Quadra Island.  The area was busy with tourists.  A good sign!
Jeanette and Trena enjoying some cool drinks at the lodge before dinner.
The lady who registered us at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge invited us to park our rides on the concrete  entrance.  How nice was that.  The parking area is gravel....and to keep our rides free from dust was a bonus.  
Our five star dinner was enjoyed looking out towards Cambpell River to the west and across the straight.  Two cruise ships were to sail by, heading for Alaska.  We saw one Disney ship and later, Lucky and Trena saw the Norwegian cruise ship sail by.  We felt we could almost reach out and touch them. 
A view of Campbell River, Vancouver Island from our room at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge on Quadra Island
After a restful night and a scrumptious lodge breakfast, we loaded up and headed for the tour around Quadra Island.  We wanted to show Trena and Lucky the beautiful area that is  Rebecca's Spit; a beautiful place on the east side of the island that also boasts a beautiful RV park and sheltered marine water park for boaters.
Soon to roll out from the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge
Rebecca's Spit is a stunningly beautiful area on Quadra Island.  The views are majestic.  To the east is Cortez Island - also accessible by ferry from Quadra Island.
A passerby took our photo at Rebecca's Spit with the protected marine park behind.
By 11:00 am, Tuesday morning, we had arrived at the ferries dock on Quadra Island to board for the short crossing back to Campbell River.
The marina at the BC Ferries dock on Quadra Island
We did get priority loading (thankfully).  Had we not, we would have had to wait one entire sailing; a one hour delay.
Loading the ferries boat.
Before long, we had crossed back onto Vancouver Island at Campbell River and headed south to our planned destination.  Sooke (near Victoria, BC) was in our plans on Tuesday past.  Other RV friends from Nanaimo who were fishing off the coast at Sooke invited us to drop by.  They made arrangements for our overnight accommodations.  Hector and Diane, along with Chico the Portuguese Water Dog, were camped there for a few more days.  We headed south.
Recently paved Highway 18 - north of Chemainus and Lake Cowichan towards the western town of Port Renfrew.
Other motorcyclists had suggested we ride the previously unpaved Highway 18 now that it was no longer a graveled road.   We chose to take that route to Sooke, passing through Port Renfrew.  The temperature drop was quite noticeable as we approached the western Pacific coast of Vancouver Island.  Port Renfrew was slightly covered in a slight coastal fog.

We initially planned to drop into Port Renfrew but the winding road made for slow going.  After a short rest near the largest Spruce tree found on Vancouver Island, we persevered through winding roads and into the coastal town of Sooke. 
One of many narrow one lane bridges we crossed on our route to Sooke.
Although a challenging motorcycle ride, we collectively looked forward to some straight roads following three hours of clutching, breaking, down-shifting, up-shifting, slowing down and speeding up through this winding highway.  Stunningly beautiful country though! 
At Port Renfrew.
The 80 kilometre stretch from Port Renfrew to Sooke returned us to some sunny skies and balmy temperatures. Before long we had arrived at the temporary camp theat housed Hector, Diane and Chico.
West coast beauty.
Our welcoming committee was as expected.  Following hugs and greetings, we sat down at the RV site for a time before our hosts led us to an awesome townhouse they had booked for our overnight accommodations.  The Sooke Marina and Resort was to be our home.  And stunning it was!
At Hector and Diane's RV spot in Sooke.
We last saw these fine folks last April in Palm Springs country.  It was better than four years ago when we all met for the first time at the Seven Feathers RV Resort in Canyonville, Oregon.  Hector and Diane had pulled into the spot next to ours and our conversations led to meeting Lucky and Trena too.  They had pulled into the spot on the other side of Hector and Diane.  Our conversations led to driving convoy the next day as we made our way over the southern Oregon and northern California passes.  We have been RV friends ever since.  We often get together here at home, on the RV road to southern California and while in Arizona/California.  Great fun! Great people!
Hector, Jeanette, Chico (receiving a special treat we brought along) and Diane.
Hector and Diane had planned (and prepared) a five star dinner for us.  We hauled all the food stuff into their truck before they guided us to the waterfront townhome we would occupy.  

The view from our town-home deck.
It was not long before Hector had two large Sockeye fillets on the barbecue and Diane had all of the trimmings steaming and cooking in the town-home kitchen.  We enjoyed some nice wines while catching up on our collective lives and discussing our winter snow birding plans. 
Everyone is busy with chatter but that stopped briefly when Hector walked back in with a plate full of freshly shucked oysters that had just been prepared on the barbecue.  Yummy!
Out five star dinner of fresh sockeye salmon had been caught the day before by Hector.  He is the master at preparing barbecued salmon.  It was oh....so.....goood!  Thanks for the great dinner!
The resort and marina in Sooke Harbour.
A unique and masterful creative approach to west coast style fencing.  This was at our town-home resort in Sooke.
Awesome meal shared with an awesome group of friends.
Mom's Cafe' - a 50's style diner in Sooke
Following the recommendation of the registration clerk at the town-home resort, we found ourselves at Mom's Cafe' in Sooke on Wednesday morning.  True to the clerk's words, the breakfast was amazing and reasonably inexpensive.  We shared more stories and laughter before we returned to our resort to load the motorcycles for our journey to the BC Ferries that would return us to the BC Lower Mainland and home.

L-R  Lucky, Hector, Me, Jeanette, Diane and Trena.
Hector and Diane were returning to the RV park where they would hitch up to return to the Nanaimo home.  We said our good byes, exchanged hugs and before long, we were ready to roll.
Leaving the Sooke Resort and Marina.
Only 20 minutes from the BC capital city of Victoria, we rolled through the city taking the freeways that led us to Shwartz Bay and our BC Ferries ride back to Tsawwassen on the BC Lower Mainland. 
Seen in Active Pass on our return to Tsawwassen
A brief stop at our home before Lucky and Trena continue 30 minutes further east to their home in the Fraser Valley.
The 90 minute BC Ferries ride from Vancouver Island back to the mainland was seamless.  One hour from the Tsawwassen ferry dock, we rolled into our driveway in south Langley.  Following a brief visit, Lucky and Trena continue their ride towards their home; 30 minutes further east from ours.

It was a fantastic motorcycle journey shared with equally wonderful friends. We now look forward to meeting up again in the US southwest come this snow-birding winter.

Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Around and About

The days seem to be passing quickly by.  Amazing how time can truly fly when one keeps busy.  The busyness does not really translate well into blog fodder but by the time five to seven days have rolled by, there is a little bit of a story to express.  

Rain on the new deck.
We did not get any other yard works advanced this past week.  A few days of forecast drizzle mixed in with other tasks kept us away from the tools.  

Jeanette did get to enjoy a couple of hours picking wild blackberries.  When transposed into jelly and jam, this fruit is my overall favourite on toast, pancakes, waffles, etc.
Awesome blackberries that were picked across the street from our home
One pail was not enough so Jeanette got together with friend Mariette and they collectively picked a few more ice cream pails full of blackberries.  So...the jelly making process will begin once we return from a planned Vancouver Island motorcycle ride, leaving tomorrow, Monday.
Looking after the grand kids.
We did get a few visits in with Easton, Brie and their mom (our daughter) this past week.  We also kept the grand-kids for an overnight this past Friday night and through Saturday.  Trevor and Ginette then joined us for Saturday dinner before taking their little family back to their home.  Talk about total enjoyment?  It was such a pleasure to have the two grand kids for an entire 24 hour period.
Easton and Nana enjoying the pond at the edge of the new deck.
Our favourite little girl!  At 6 months of age, Brie is transforming into an engaging little girl.  What a sweetheart she is!
Now that it has been returned to the deck, our Napoleon barbecue has been brought back into heavy use.  It sat idle while the deck was under construction.  

Our Friday golf group - enjoying an early Friday morning coffee with fresh baked muffins.
We were heading further east from our home for our Friday golf round.  I invited the guys for early morning coffee and Jeanette' fresh baked muffins.  That was enjoyed before we placed our golf clubs in our truck and rolled east to the Chilliwack Golf and Country Club.  We had never played that course before and it was a treat to try it out.  
A Saturday morning hike through Aldergrove Park.
With so many choice trails through the Aldergrove Park system, we pretty well let Easton lead the way and we followed on foot.  Jeanette pushed Brie in the stroller.  It was a great day for a forest walk.
Easton, Brie and Jeanette taking a little break on the trail
Easton is growing more curious every day and he is full of questions about this, that, the other and more, while in the forest.  Great fun!
Crossing over a fish bearing stream.
We looked for some larger fish in the stream but all we could see were hundreds of minnows. Come fall time though, much larger fish will be spawning in these waters.
I mentioned a planned motorcycle ride to Vancouver Island.  We are two couples who will be heading to Quadra Island - a short ferry ride across from Campbell River where Croft's Mexico  (Croft and Norma) live.  We had planned to drop in to say hello on our return trip but regular readers of Croft's blog know that he is presently in Ontario.  We'll drop in the next time we roll up there....or perhaps meet up in the US southwest this winter.
L-R  Lucky, Trena and me:  A photo from last winter's ride from Palm Springs to Oceanside, CA
Our Island ride includes Lucky and Trena - an RV couple who winter in Palm Springs country in the winter and call Abbotsford/Chilliwack home.  With great weather in the forecast, we're looking forward to some nice Island rides.

L-R  Diane, Jeanette and Hector (Chico is under the table)  Photo taken at 7 Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville, Oregon - April, 2014
Our return ride will take us down through Victoria and to Sooke where our snow birding RV friends, Hector, Diane and Chico (the Portuguese Water Dog), have made reservations for a one night stay close to their RV campground and fishing grounds. 

Regular readers may recall our fishing adventures with Hector and Diane on the Pacific coast, a couple of years back.  When not RVing in the US southwest, Hector and Diane enjoy their summertime past-time fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island.  We are looking forward to that ride and a visit with them. 

We'll report on our ride in the days ahead.

Well, time to upload this blog and get the Harley ready for our Island ride.  I think there is one bug on the windshield that needs attending to.  LOL

Thanks for looking in.