Monthly Archives: July 2009

July 23 How do I feel?

Written July 23 just before my breakfast before I got on my way to Lillooet.

Leaving the Pemberton Valley

Leaving the Pemberton Valley

It is hard to believe the crisp cool of this morning after the stifling heat of yesterday. I am glad of the momentary respite because we are heading into another hotty. The news last night said the fire fighters of the area are on high alert and the risk of fire is extremely high. The parks of the Vancouver area have a smoking ban and provincial parks all have fire bans and are considering closing hiking trails. Wow. It is a high price paid for “nice” weather.

Today I am leaving Denize and her beautiful Pemberton Valley. On the way out I will stop at the library and post this email. I will also stop at a service station and have them have a look at Vincent’s left eye. Yesterday on the way back to the farm I noticed that he was not able to wink with it. I don’t like not having a left turn signal especially on busy roads…so I put a cooling compress on it for the night but if that doesn’t work, he may need some doctoring. I am hoping that it is burnt out fuse or maybe a bulb, something cheap to fix and not very time consuming.

I am told that although today’s route is about 120k that it will take me 4 hours and that there is a very steep climb and then a similar drop on the other side into Lillooet. Hard work for the big V. I try not to use my brakes at all on those hills but gear down. Still, on the nasty curves sometimes even in the lowest gear, we get going pretty fast. The scenery will be spectacular and I can almost be sure that the will be no way to pull off and photograph it so you will just have to believe me when I say how great it was.

People have been emailing me and asking how I am. “How are you REALLY?” they ask. “Are you lonesome?” Here are my thoughts on that as of this morning. I suppose they could change by tomorrow.

I am doing and seeing things that I have only dreamed of. Every day is a new adventure. I can hardly believe that things are going so well. Even my wildest imaginings couldn’t have predicted how good this trip would be. So, really, I am doing great. However, I have not changed. I am still me and so I am very shy and meeting new people is hard, scary in fact so some days I am stressed. As me, I also like to be in control of every situation. That has been hard to do and so often I am scared. Scared that my rapidly declining bank balance won’t get me there, that I won’t get a place to stay and a million other little things. Being scared isn’t a bad thing though and so I am living through it. I can hardly be lonesome with the people I am meeting but, yes, I am missing my family and friends in a big way. I have been glad that I have been able to be in touch by email and my phone package is giving me enough “friends” that I am in touch with almost everyone at least once a week. It is still hard, and the longer I am away, the harder it gets. I have been surprised by how little time I have to write, sketch, carve or even just sit and read or process each day and sometimes I crave that.

As I go I am realizing that the trip is not about the sights, the museums or the local attractions. It is about the people I am meeting and the community I am building. I am not able to connect to the actual towns in the way that I had hoped when I was in the planning stages but it doesn’t seem to matter. Often the people I meet are a reflection of “me” in ways that I am surprised at. In conversations and activities I keep being brought back to myself, who I am, who I have been and who I will be. (IT’s ALL ABOUT ME isn’t it) I have to be careful to let those people be themselves at the same time. I know…weird. You can see why I need some processing time. 🙂

I have great days, good days and days that I wish I could just pull the covers back up and stay in bed. When I pull out the map though, it never fails to inspire me onward. I am enjoying myself, learning more than I could have imagined and it is possible that when it happens, my own bed will feel mighty fine.

So, the short answer is, I am doing fine.

Please keep posting comments on the blog (which means you actually have to go to the website www.questacrosscanada.com) and sending me emails directly which you can do by just hitting reply when you get a blog posting from me. I find it great company when I can get to a computer that actually has internet.

Take care and keep cool. Vicki

July 22 Pemberton Miracles

welcome-to-pemberton

I woke up this morning in a large house trailer in the Pemberton Valley about 20km outside of Pemberton. What a surprise. How do these things happen? When I finished posting yesterday I was headed to the Pemberton Museum and then was hoping to find a nice shady campground where I would wait out the heat. Continue reading

Nairn Falls Campground

Written July 21 from Nairn Falls Campground. Posted from Pemberton Library and Community Centre

Vincent Preparing to leave Nairn Falls this mornign

Vincent Preparing to leave Nairn Falls this morning

Ummm. Waking up in Vincent with the sound of the birds and dappled sun overhead is beautiful. The stifling heat is gone, at least for the time being and so is the headache that plagued me yesterday though the hottest part of the day. Having spend a quiet, news free weekend, I was not prepared for what I heard when I turned on the radio as I drove. Kelowna is fighting several wildfires. The forecast is grim. Heat, wind and no relief in sight. As I left Horseshoe Bay and started climbing the sea to sky highway toward Whistler, I started to see the roadside fire indicator signs. All were pushing high or extremely high. What a stark reality check in a land that appears so beautiful it is hard to imagine anything but good happening here. As I drove I found the radio’s constant messages of fire doom needed to be turned off. I have no urge to drive into a fire, so I do need to be kept informed but the news is over bearing, over kill and just too much. This morning in the cool green shade out of touch with the outside world, it is impossible to think that this weather has a sinister side. Continue reading

Off to Northern BC

Evening out my bedroom window

Evening out my bedroom window

I spent a wonderful and quiet weekend with my Uncle Marcel and Aunt Rika. We talked, laughed about old times and created some new memories but basically I kept a low profile, writing, sketching, repacking the van and watching the sky. Yesterday plane load after plane load of parachutists jumped from what Marce would call “perfectly good airplanes” to land in a field just outside of my vision. The weather has been so perfect here that the  parachutes were a colourful contrast to the hot  summer sky. Today was the 2nd annual Pitt Meadow Air and Car Show. The airport is within walking distance of the house so I sat and watched the planes strut their stuff just over the back yard. It was loud but fun too. I have enjoyed myself, eaten too much great food, relaxed and am ready to head out.

Flight overhead

Flight overhead

Tomorrow I am heading for Whistler by way of the new Sea to Sky highway. I know that will disturb Karma as she will only have maps for the old road and she will think that we are somehow climbing the mountain face. I can already hear her voice in my minds ear as she tries to keep calm….”recalculating…make a u turn as soon as possible…RECALCULATING,” in her tight little British voice. I might do her the kindness of just asking her to take me across Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay and then following the signs from there. She can relax knowing that her job was well done.

Eagle nest at Chesterman Beach

Eagle nest at Chesterman Beach

Great Blue Heron Carving from sointula

Great Blue Heron in red boots Carving from Sointula

I am a little nervous heading out. There are fewer towns and villages with couch surfers so I will be camping more. I have found a website that lets me know about some free campsites in the province. There are quite a few more than I imagined they would be but they are very basic.Many are hike in only but I am not up to that kind of hiking by myself. Vincent would feel hurt to be left behind I think.

The road ahead of me has towns with names that I have always wanted to see…One Hundred Mile, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Quesnel, Barkerville and so many more. I know I can’t see them all…but I am going to try as hard as I can to see a good number of them. With the mountains all around I am not sure if my phone or internet will work. My plan is to keep writing and then send a pile of posts off together when ever I get a chance. Keep sending me your emails and posts. Talk soon.

Written from the ferry leaving Victoria July 17

As I write this I am passing a white lighthouse with a red roof sitting on an outcropping of rocks. There are sail boats drifting by. Not too many have their sails up so there must be very little wind but the ferry is speeding along and my hair is blowing. The sun is shining and it is a perfect day. I am leaving Vancouver Island for the mainland. I have enjoyed myself so much on the Island that I feel a little lost as I head out onto the limitless mainland. There are places I missed in my quest to see the whole island, places I would have loved to see and places I know that I will return to. There are new friends in so many places. OOOO I feel a sense of loss as I turn my back on all of that. Continue reading

July 14 Duncan to Victoria

Diane Nick and Vincent

Diane Nick and Vincent

Yesterday I got up and had breakfast with Nick and Diane. As we ate she shared interesting stories of the history of the Victoria area. I love it when people have memories that can pull up details and dates. I was having almost too much fun to leave but I had a date with Victoria so I headed to the car. We had fun taking pictures with Vincent and then off I went. I thought I might stop along the way at a boat museum that the totem guide had mentioned but he hadn’t been very specific about where it was and at the time I didn’t think to ask so, I didn’t find it along the road.

Marty had said that my drive would be about 3/4’s of an hour but that was not reckoning on my detour at the top of the Malahat Mountain on the way in. I knew that Vincent was climbing a LONG hill and suddenly I caught a flash of what looked like the whole world laid out. There was a lookout point with at least a dozen cars parked there. It was set up for the north bound lane to pull over but Vincent and I did some fancy wheel work and found ourselves looking out over a panoramic view that seemed to take in most of the southern part of the island and into the USA. It was staggering. We were so high it seemed that surely I could see Ontario. On pulling in I had a momentary flash of, “how the heck will we ever get out of here,” which in the end had been quite justified. It took me a long time to make my way out into traffic at the odd angle I was working with. On the other hand, even looking back, it was worth it. Although we were the only Ontario plates up there, we were in good company with Manitoba, California, Minnesota, Washington and of course BC plates too.

View from the Malahat lookout

View from the Malahat lookout

On the way into Victoria we arrived at a stop light that was not working and was being used as a 4 way stop. I have heard of this being done, usually when they are explaining traffic snarls on the news in the morning but I have never actually been involved. With 4 lanes of traffic, left and right turn lanes I wondered how I would manage. Well, Victoria drivers seem very courteous and everyone took their turns. As I drove through after waiting my turn long enough to really watch it working, I thought that this was the way traffic planners had envisioned it happening. As each direction took their respective turns I thought that from above it would have looked like a well choreographed dance. Wow! I wondered if Toronto drivers could have pulled that off.

Arriving at Marty’s house was like coming home. Tea, a tour through the garden, talking about old friends and old times. We spend a wonderful afternoon. At times Larry would show up and add to the conversation and then he would be off but we sat and caught up, laughing and just being. After lunch Marty showed me an art project she has been working on. It is called needle felting. She handed me some wool (wool that has been carded and combed but not spun…I want to call it raw wool but don’t know if that is the term so hesitate to use it) We sat with needles that reminded me a bit of the big ones that we used to use to hold macrame projects in place except that these had barbed ends and we poked the needles through the wool over and over until it started go hold its form. Marty is making small birds and animals. She got me started on a little white mouse however, just playing and not particularly following directions, I got a somewhat cat shaped critter. What a relaxing past time. Easy enough to do that you can occupy your mind with other things like a great conversation, but engrossing enough to be totally relaxing. Some of the creations that come off of the end of Marty’s needle are spectacular. Go to her website to see some of them.

Critters mine in the front

Critters mine in the front

After dinner we went to a grocery store and saw something I had never seen before. The  store has conveyor belts to take you and your shopping cart from the lower level parking to the store and back again. I felt like I was in an airport but with a slant. Isn’t technology amazing? The west coast builders seem masterful at fitting big parking lots and stores into small spaces.

Marty heading down to the parking lot

Marty heading down to the parking lot

One of the things I love about this house is the art. It is like being in a gallery of Noah’s work. Every where you turn there is some other treasure. Noah is a realist painter (again, not sure if the word is right) but some of the pieces on the walls look so real that you can actually smell the fruit and want to speak to the figures. It is inspiring. check out his website) With Josh playing his harp in the background last night our conversations seemed to be elevated to new levels, although we went to bed far too late so it may just have been too little sleep. Before we headed to bed we watched an episode of “Father Knows Best.” I don’t know if that show was ever meant to be funny in the way it is now…but what a  laugh. If you can rent the cd from the library I would recommend it. What a window on the values of the past. I am chuckling even now.

Today I am planning on going into the downtown area of Victoria to see what I can see. I have been here a couple of times before but remember it fondly. It looks like another beautiful day so I am looking forward to it. Talk soon.

Duncan the city of totems

I managed to hit town just as the week long music festival was kicking off and although I didn’t take the time to go out tonight to some of the big name acts I did manage to be in the right place at the right time to hear one of the first performers to hit the stage. I was there too late to catch his name but he was great. A talented song writer, he had the whole audience rolling with his song about why dogs sniff under each others tails in greeting. In case I give the wrong impression, he did some wonderful political stuff about our relationship with the earth. One in particular was about whales. It had heartbreaking lyrics but a lively tune that made you want to dance.

Do you recognize this singer? Give me his name and I will put it into the blog.

Do you recognize this singer? Give me his name and I will put it into the blog.

Of course I started my day at the info centre and the man in there was very helpful. He sent me rushing to the museum for a guided walk to see all the the totems in the down town area. What a great tour. The guide was knowledgable and so I learned a lot about the symbolism found in the poles. I also found the carving techniques tantalizing. I really need to get my carving stuff out.

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After the totem walk I went through the museum housed in the old Duncan train station and for the admission price of a twonie, I got my money’s worth. This small town  museum  really brings the history of the area to life.  It was totally enjoyable.

Then I headed for Walmart to get a bunch of pictures developed. No Dave, I didn’t actually buy anything…but for instant photos you really can’t beat them. The Forestry museum was across the street so I had to go in. That was $14.00 but the ride on the steam train was worth it. I didn’t see anyone actually shoveling coal but the conductor told me that the steam engine had been converted to diesel oil. It sure looked and sounded like the real thing.  This museum is on acres of forested land. I hiked through looking at all of the exhibits. My favorite was the rangers station. I always wanted to be a forest ranger and work in one of those places. Do you remember watching the Junior Forest Rangers on TV after school. I saw it recently and realized that the young RCMP officer was Gorden Pinscent. I guess I probably won’t get that job now but it sure was fun to recapture those memories.

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I got home exhausted and spent a pleasant evening with Diane and Nick looking at real estate in Sicily. Isn’t the internet amazing? You can dream those dreams from the comfort of your own livingroom and really get a good idea of what living in another country and culture might look like. That was fun.

Tomorrow I am going to skip over great chunks of this beautiful island and head to Victoria where I am going to stay with an old friend… not old, a friend I have had for a long time. I will be in touch next time I have internet access.

The Road

Today I did a lot of driving through more traffic than I would choose. Sunday afternoon rush hour on the way home from a beautiful weekend of camping. From the moment I say the tale end of Tofino on this beautiful sign, I entered the world of the road.

Tofino goodbye sign

Tofino goodbye sign

I really enjoy driving and today was perfect for it. The mist was hanging low when I said good bye and it was cool. The further I got from the water though, the hotter it got. I am not complaining. It didn’t get Toronto unbearable…just more and more beautiful.

As I drove I realized that the road I was taking out was not the same road that I had taken in to Tofino. Well, literally it was the same highway but have you ever noticed that when you go one way you see some scenery and on the way back you see a totally different view. It is true. Today I say lakes and mountains that had been to my back on the way in on Thursday. I stopped at different rest areas and had a totally different drive. Of course it makes sense that the drive to Tofino would be different than the drive away.

Mountain Peeking

Mountain Peeking

This is a really literal look at the coaching perspective exercise that I love so much. We are all on the same road but some of us are seeing it going east and some going west. Some may see it from the side of the road and others from a longing to be on the road. All the same road, different ways of being on it. (oooo wow…it must be the end of a very long day)

Thursday there was not too much traffic on that winding road. Today it was steady behind me, in front of me and coming toward me. I found dealing with the other traffic exhausting. Then I hit the big roads. I couldn’t believe the traffic. Oh yes, I have been spoiled by the northern parts of the Island when sometimes you could go for a long time without seeing another car.

I was very glad to get to my destination and to find Diane and Nick waiting for me. Couch surfing is like finding family where ever you are. I highly recommend becoming a surfing host or trying it yourself. Go to the website www.couchsurfing.org to find out how you too can have an amazing travel experience either from home or on the road.

Distant view from the Duncan neighbourhood I am staying

Distant view from the Duncan neighbourhood I am staying

I am just on my way to bed now and I can hear either goats or sheep bleating. Diane told me that there was a farm backing on to their property. She didn’t tell me what kind of a farm. I can hardly wait to wander down their lane tomorrow.

I will let you know.

Pacific Rim National Park and musings

Today I spent time exploring the natural side of the Pacific Rim National Park. When I got up the mist was heavy. I couldn’t see the beach but who cares. I was on a mission. I ate breakfast and headed for the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre. I watched a movie about the park, how it came about and what I could expect to find there, explored a bit and watched a movie about whales. I was really impressed with the way the whole centre was set up. I spent hours there and learned a lot. It was really worth the price of admission which was $7.40, the cost of a day pass which also allowed me to park and use any of the other facilities in the park. Amazing.

Interpretive Centre in the mist. Sun is trying to come through

Interpretive Centre in the mist. Sun is trying to come through

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Tofino and another weekend

I am sitting in bed listening to the surf pounding the beach. Ummmm. It reminds me of the sounds I used to hear when I went to sleep in Bayfield on Lake Huron. I didn’t know how much I missed it until I heard it again.

welcome-to-tofino

Today I got up fairly early, wrote in my journal, posted on my blog and then headed into Tofino. I hadn’t been there yet and was looking forward to the visit even though I had heard that it has become very commercialized. And it has. I am sure it bears very little resemblance to itself perhaps 25 years ago. Galleries, Restaurants and shops line the streets. Traffic is heavy and parking impossible. Once I found a parking spot though I spent a pleasant mid morning and early afternoon in the galleries and look at what Vincent and I found. Who knew that Tofino was named after an explorer named Vincente Tofino. You have to know that I indulged V. by having an Ice Cream….Island Farms Dark Chocolate. It was pretty good and tasted better considering the place.

cafe-vincente

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