Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sept 29 Airdrie Alberta

behind Catherine's house

behind Catherine's house

I heard geese flocking past my bedroom window this morning. I have seen them in their formations heading??? who knows where but it is a sure sign of fall.

On the road to the park

On the road to the park

After making me an amazing breakfast Catherine suggested that we go for a hike in the Sheep River Provincial Park it was about a 20 minute drive away and beautiful. I told her I wanted to take pictures of some animals on the road thinking mountain goats or sheep or what ever they are. She smiled knowingly and said that I would definitely see animals on the road. And I did. Ranchers let their cattle run wild in there. It was so exciting to see them in the woods, grazing on the side of the road and actually standing all over the road watching us go by. It seemed to me that they were living the good life compared to field lot cattle. They were all shiny and smiling.

Animals on the road

Animals on the road

Our hike was invigorating and wind swept.  As the day moved toward noon the wind settled down and it got down right hot. Back to Catherine’s to pack up and say good bye for now. We have some plans made for the summer. She had to go into Calgary so she drove and I followed her through some back roads so I could see some of the scenery and miss  the main roads. After I left her, Karma, Vincent and I had some white knuckled moments in the big city traffic…with lots of construction almost all of the way to Airdrie.

Catherine taking my picture taking her picture

Catherine taking my picture taking her picture

Seeing Carmen for the first time in so many years was startling. Her hair has grown…but other than that I think she looks the same as before. I would have known her any where. 6 kids later she looks very vibrant and fresh. I always said kids keep you young. Only 4 kids are at home now and her husband Norm is away but the family is making me feel very welcome. This evening we ate lemon cake and poured over photo albums that captured much of the time we spent in Canada World Youth in 1974. We were conquering the world. Oh what precious memories. All of my photos, journals and letters from that time were lost in a flood in our first house. Ummmm. It was so nice to see all of those familiar faces was like a time machine. I landed right back there.

Well, the time change is taking its toll and it is late. I am off to sleep wondering what tomorrow will bring. Oh, before I forget, here is a quote I found today that I love. Enjoy.

We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.
Anais Nin

Sheep River Falls

Sheep River Falls

Falls again

Falls again

Sept. 28 Creston to Black Diamond

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Near Creston

What a beautiful day to travel. I woke up early, had breakfast and hit the road. I had less distance to travel today but had to work in a time change that I forgot about and so it took me by surprise.

Fall colours coming on - the world is golden

Fall colours coming on - the world is golden

The further east I get the more like fall it seems. The leaves are changing and I can smell that fall spice in the air. It is a smell like no other. It takes me right back to my childhood and makes me feel like jumping in a pile of leaves. It is truly my favorite time of year.  I was listening to the CBC weather today and they told me that if I was going to be through some of the mountain passes on Hwy 3 tomorrow, I should go prepared with snow tires and chains. Really? That is the route I drove yesterday. It is hard to imagine that it could snow there tomorrow. If my luck holds winter will be dogging my tail and never in front of me.

Outside Cranbrook I think

Outside Cranbrook I think

The scenery changed dramatically today from mountains to the rolling prairie and when I got to Black Diamond I was enchanted by the huge ranches with towering mountains in the misty distance.

Near Black Diamond. Can't see the mountains in this one.

Near Black Diamond. Can't see the mountains in this one.

When I got to Catherine’s she was sitting on the front porch with her two dogs waiting for me. We are at the same age and stage of life. We could have stayed up all night comparing the amazing coincidences in our lives. I am sorry I am not staying much longer but we are making plans to meet next summer to do some travel together as I see the prairies. A stranger is just a friend you have never met. This trip has brought me together with many such people. I am feeling very blessed at this moment.  I threatened to plop her picture in right here…but forgot to take one… I will get her next time.

Just east of the BC/Alberta border

Just east of the BC/Alberta border

With the time change, I am going to bed later than usual and getting up earlier than I would like…so talk soon.

The Frank Slide - a huge bit of the mountain slid down onto the town of Frank

The Frank Slide - a huge bit of the mountain slid down onto the town of Frank

Me with a couple of Black Diamond locals this evening at dusk

Me with a couple of Black Diamond locals this evening at dusk

Sept 27 Leaving

Leaving Vancouver by #1

Leaving Vancouver by #1

I woke up early today to a crisp almost fall day with bright sunshine.  Rika had packed me a lunch that would probably last a week and both she and Marce were up to see me off. Vincent was in fine form prancing and ready to run. Me too although I had mixed feelings. Marce still has a long way to go in his treatments and I will be so far away…but his community is very supportive and things are looking good…besides, no matter how good it was, I think it was time for this company to move on. My grandmother used to say that company and fish should never stay around more than three days or it begins to smell… I washed…really…. but I am sure the two of them will be happy to have some time to themselves as they adjust to the way life looks now. I will be back in January.

I drove across the new golden ears bridge today. I have to say, it is much more spectacular to walk across it.  You can’t see the river when you drive over and it is done so fast that when I get the toll bill in the mail, I won’t even remember the pleasure.

Osoyoos

Osoyoos

Highway #3 is a beautiful highway that runs along the southern extreme of BC. It winds through quaint towns, high mountain passes, and deserts passing winerys, fruit stands, tumbleweeds, little ranches and great stretches of lonesome road. I loved it. I will travel that road again and hopefully stay in some of the little places along the way.

My Udder Store...great ice cream for Vincent

My Udder Store...great ice cream for Vincent

My plan had been to stop at a campground near Castlegar but it turned out that road was 25 km off of the main road. That meant  a longer drive tomorrow so I decided to give it a miss and I pushed on. Of course once I passed that campground I couldn’t find another. I ended up in Creston in a cool little cabin motel instead. The room is tiny but it is cute and has a bath tub. I will be soaking my aching shoulders in a few minutes.

View from the cabin window at dusk

View from the cabin window at dusk

Moon outside my window (FYI Rick...very different moon than last night)

Moon outside my window (FYI Rick...very different moon than last night)

The longer drive today means a shorter drive tomorrow. I am heading to Black Diamond to meet Catherine who introduced herself to me though my blog. I am really looking forward to meeting her.

I’m off to sleep. Keep well

September 23 Summertime in the fall

Sunset over Pitt Meadows

Sunset over Pitt Meadows

The guy on TV was waxing poetic today about the most perfect summer that BC has ever seen and it just keeps on going. It is clear and warm but not too hot. The skies are blue and temperature records for this day have been broken.

I can’t believe that it is fall already. Where has the time gone? It has been quiet here after the excitement of brain surgery last week.  I am hanging out with my uncle, taking drives and getting to know each other better.  I am fixing some meals but mainly Marce and Rika’s friends are showing up at the door with food and good wishes. It is a beautiful community that holds them close and supports them. It is making me long for my friends and family.

As the days go by I am getting Vincent ready for the road…a bath, brand new tire chains just in case the weather in the mountains turns ugly…although with the fans going right now it seems unimaginable. Better safe than sorry though.

Lesson in chain application

Lesson in chain application

 

I have maps prepared and the places I will stay are plotted. I am going to see a friend that I have not seen for almost 30 years. It is exciting. Lots of driving ahead though so I am enjoying my last few days of a real bed and family for a while.

Talk soon.

These mountains jump right up out of the farmers fields

These mountains jump right up out of the farmers fields

 

Great view from a bench at Widgen Creek

Great view from a bench at Widgon Creek

Aug. 16 Restating the obvious

Since I have been ‘tripping’ I have met wonderful people and seen things I had only dreamed of and every day I have jumped out of bed feeling grateful. Today I went to the hospital and saw my uncle, head bandaged, tied to all kinds of tubes but smiling. His colour is good and he was starving. The operation was a success. So much more to be done, healing, radiation and learning to cope with what ever else is in the cards but things look good today.

In the hall of the hospital I met the wife of a longshoreman whose foot was crushed by a falling load. He lost his foot and leg just below the knew. You hate to miss those body parts but he is going to be fine. if he had been just a little closer the load may have landed on his head.That would have been a different kind of a day.

Today it was raining. The mountains were shrouded in clouds but it good to be alive. I know that this is not new to anyone but we can all use a reminder, I know I can. Every morning that we wake up alive and breathing is a good day. If it rains, or if the sun shines, it is a perfect day to be alive. We should be grateful for every small moment but sometimes we we get so wrapped up that we forget. So…at the risk of sounding like one of those nasty Internet forwards, I want you to think of the things you are grateful for and turn to someone who is on that list, reach out and squeeze their hand and say, “I am glad that you are in my life today.”

I am grateful for all of you sharing this journey with me. Talk soon.

Rainbow over Vancouver

Rainbow over Vancouver

 

Photo by: electricvishnu for more info click here.

Sept 11 Over the bridge

Written Sept 12

View of the bridge from the path

View of the bridge from the path

On June 16 this year the brand new Golden Ears Bridge opened in the Vancouver area. It is on the boarder of Pitt Meadow and Maple Ridge and goes across the Fraser River to Langley. It is an electronic toll bridge so like the 407 in the Toronto area, you just need to drive across and your license is read so you can be billed. I haven’t driven across it but have seen it from a distance and it looks beautiful. I decided that I wanted to hike across it. I thought that the view from up there most be great although you can never see the view from a car going over a bridge.

View over the airport

View over the airport

Continue reading

Sept 9 Blue or Green

Different Views out my bedroom window

Different views out of my bedroom window

out-my-window-21

Light, time of day and weather change it moment by moment

Waiting for much needed surgery can be hard. My uncle was booked over a week ago and was bumped by an emergency. Now it is day by day. Today they told us next Tuesday and this aft they called and said, be ready for tomorrow…just in case we can wiggle a space. I have to say this, they are trying but now Marce has to go without eat or drink til they get half way through the day to see if they have made up some minutes. With some luck, they can do it so we wait. I will let you know what is happening and prayers, healing energy and what ever else you can throw this way for the whole family are all appreciated.

Mt Baker (I think) seen on an evening walk

Mt Baker (I think) seen on an evening walk

Until then Uncle Marce and I have been finishing small projects around the house to get it ready to sell, doing errands and catching up with a lot of family small talk. I can’t imagine the stress he is under but it has been pretty relaxed and fun. When ever possible I have been hiking with a goal of walking to the new Golden Ears bridge that spans the Fraser River just at what appears to me to be the junction of Pitt Meadow and Maple Ridge. It will be quite a walk from here but I am excited to take pictures from the top of the bridge. Usually driving across you can’t see over the edge. Consider me in training. When the weather and time are right…I am heading out.

mountains-playing-1

Mountains on a rainy day

Mountains on a rainy day

mountains-playing-3

Today I did something I have been needing for weeks. I got my hair cut. Whew. I feel ten pounds lighter. When I was there she cut out the last of my burgandy streak and offered to put in another. “What about blue” I asked, always hopeful but knowing it can’t be done. “A nice peacock blue.”

“Yup'” says she, “no problem.”

“Really?” She showed me the colour and it was awesome so….in it went. Well, I didn’t have much burgundy left and so I was used to mainly grey hair. She put a huge chunk of the blue in, ignoring or perhaps misinterpreting my ask that the grey be allowed to shine through…and WOW! I am passing the mirror and being surprised every time. I was so used to the burgandy. Tonight, looking at it I am thinking that it is green…did it change in the dark.

blue-or-green

Ha ha ha. I will get used to it…it will grow out in 6 weeks but for now…it is shocking. I kinda love it…I think.  What do you think…blue or green?

Off to bed. It could be a long day tomorrow. Talk soon.

Sept 4 When I rule the world or Karma and I

Written Aug.5 about my trip from Hope to Pitt Meadow BC

farms against the mountains near Agassiz

farms against the mountains near Agassiz

Oh my gosh. It is summer here. I need to dig into my bag and find my shorts. I dragged my sandles from their hiding place under the seat. When I got up yesterday in my little wild rose retreat I couldn’t believe the weather. The sky was blue, the temperature even in my little shade haven was warm and my nose was being teased by the fragrance of the roses. Ummmm. I knew that my drive would be short so I didn’t rush. I ate a liesurly breakfast of
cooked oats,yogurt and berries. Life was good.

pulled over checking the map and the area

pulled over checking the map and the area

I pulled Karama out of her resting place. I haven’t needed her to negotiate the northern roads. There seems to be two ways to go, south or north execpt on a few roads that go east or west. I am never lost. Coming toward Vancouver I thought maybe I could use the assistance and the company. I have missed Karma’s cultured and slightly hysterical voice by my side.

Our problems started when she realized that the fast and slightly boring trans Canada highway ran within hearing distance of the campground and would go almost past Marcel’s  house, that was her immediate choice of the right road. I explained to her that I wanted to take the slower but more scenic hwy 7. She recalculated frequently and tried to get me back to the Trans Canada but after we left Hope and got onto 7 she seemed to settle down. Once we got into the beautiful town of Agassiz she told me to get on hwy 7/9 and then onto 9. I had an intuition I was heading the wrong way
and pulled over to look at the map. I was. I drove around Agassiz again and once again found myself on the wrong road. Another pull over and then I realized that Karma had found another way to get me back onto Hwy 1 and was hoping that my eyes were too glazed over with the mountain views to be paying much attention. I stopped the car and told her in no uncertain
terms that we WERE taking highway 7…that was all there was too it. She sulked and didn’t say anything while I found my cut off. Then we cruised into Pitt Meadow through Mission and Maple Ridge. I guess I can’t blame her for wanting to be in control after been locked in the glove box for the past couple of months. I think we have worked that little power struggle out. I guess I will find out next time.

Just outside of Pitt Meadows last evening

Just outside of Pitt Meadows last evening

If I ruled the world and if I had time to think about the little things while I was occupied with all of the grave issues facing the globe I would make it easier for tourists who wanted to take pictues. As I drove through the green rural areas that butt against tall mountains, more than once I wanted to stop the car and snap away. Unlike some of the northern routes where you can just stop mid road, run around and get a good shot, these roads are busy and narrow. There was no place to pull off. I have some great memories of
incredible scenery but these are not on my camera. One in particular saw the road clinginging to the side of the mountain. On my approach to the rise I could see the road with all of its switch backs lifting up above me. OOO I would have liked to have that picture.  OK, if I ruled the world, I think I might work on more than just having happy tourists…but it would be a start.

It occured to me the other day as I stopped at a road side view point
along with several other touristy types that we all must have much the same pictures  stuffed in our photo albums because in the mountains, unless you have someone hanging out the window while you drive you can only snap pictures at certain places. My photo album will have a lot in common with those folks from Austria following me that day. I had a note from Fran in Australia who took a trip from Kamloops to New York many years ago and said my pictures reminded her of her time here. Must have the same photos (-:  (Thanks for writing Fran.)

See you later.

Sept 3 Vincent lost his bling

I feel like a slaker today. I only drove 530 km. With doing that I managed to see much of Hope BC a nice town in the shade of the mountains, get a great hike just down the river from Hells Gate and drive through some pretty exciting rain and scenery. I am still a bit overwhelmed by the idea that these winding mountain roads can really be rated 100 km/hour but I am getting better at it.

Fraser River is back

Fraser River is back

Today, either in the really rough construction or somewhere on the windy highway Vincent lost his driver side magnetic sign. We are bereft although feel comfortable that if someone finds it…they will email me and maybe send it back. For now…I am not sure if I should move the passenger side one to the drivers side…or just leave it. Any opinions?

Bare door

Bare door, Vincent feels naked

Today I passed through the rolling hills of the Williams Lake region, the desert of Cashe Creek, exciting mountain passes and a really damp and mossy area near Hells Gate. I can’t believe the variety of land forms. If any kids are reading…pay more attention to your geography than I did….ooo I wish I could remember all of it.

Cowboy Country near Williams Lake

Cowboy Country near Williams Lake

Cashe Creek, bare hills and irrigated areas below

Cashe Creek, bare hills and irrigated areas below

Mossy rocks near Alexandra Bridge

Mossy rocks near Alexandra Bridge

Today as I drove I heard a lot of news. Man, those political parties. I can’t believe that an election is in the near future. I wish that the waring factions could take a big picture look at what is going on. The money that will be spent on an election  could be better used by the parties putting their heads together, forming a community of care and moving our country forward instead of bickering and squabbling.  I also think that the powers that be should open up the GrayHound routes to Canadian companies. I can’t believe that the Texan Corporation will be allowed to pull out of the northern routes which they say don’t pay but continue the southern routes that do. When are we as Canadians going to stand up for what we need? I am almost certain that the Americans would not let us get away with this kind of thing if the situation was reversed. I have fired off some letters to the editor and stuff like that but am not sure that my single voice will be heard. I sure hope there is an outcry about both issues.

I am in a cute campground with great showers and internet (so I am sitting in my jammies in Vincent posting this.) It is called the Wild Rose campground and the scent of roses is everywhere. There are roses blooming still in all of the gardens and on many hedges. Amazing. It is mainly an RV campground and it is really just a large lawn with site markers put up but I have the cutest little private site. I can hear cattle in a barn behind us and the train passes quite close by but I do love the sound trains so I should be ok. Tomorrow I will go the 2 hours into Pitt Meadow and will spend the long weekend with my Aunt and Uncle. Whew, it has been a long drive but…nice in so many ways. I have had lots of time with my thoughts. The sound of the wheels on the road seem conducive to lots of brain waves. I was going to say deep thoughts but sometimes…not so deep.

Our cosy campsite - picnic table and private sitting area behind Vincent.

Our cosy campsite - picnic table and private sitting area behind Vincent.

Feeling groovy 🙂  Gotta go. Talk soon.

View from the campsite

View from the campsite

Hope also calls itself the Chainsaw Carving Capital. Lots of great carvings around town.

Hope also calls itself the Chainsaw Carving Capital. Lots of great carvings around town.

Sept 2

Posted Sept 3 from Williams Lake Visitor Center

Today I drove another 610 km and treated myself by staying in a private campground so I could take a hot shower. Vincent and I are parked on the shores of 10 mile lake just outside of Quesnel and we are enjoying listening to the lapping of the lake just a few meters from our tires. A few minutes ago I took a picture of ducks sleeping on the shore. Nice spot.

Campsite buddies

Campsite buddies

This morning we left our campground in the sunshine. By the time we reached Fort St. John it was over cast and when I left Austin at the road side in Dawson Creek it was pouring rain. I felt bad for him but maybe someone picked him up because they hated to see the rain steaming off of him. I missed him when I started driving again. He was very soft spoken but was nice company.

I crossed over the mighty Peace River in Taylor on the way to Dawson Creek. I have had a thing for the Peace River and Peace River Valley ever since I was a kid and drove through it on my way to Yellowknife. The mere mention of the words can make my heart fibrillates in a way that can’t be good to ignore. It felt like an impulse I should follow…but not today. Next year.

Chetwynd dragon (Chetwynd calls itself the chain saw carving capital and the carvings line the street. This one caught my eye)

Chetwynd dragon (Chetwynd calls itself the chain saw carving capital and the carvings line the street. This one caught my eye)

Names are great aren’t they. I passed over a stream called Wildmare Creek. Next to it was the Wildmare resort and I wondered how a name like that would come about. There is probably a great story there.

I drove in the rain hoping that Vincent would enjoy the shower and watching the clouds doing a revealing dance around the shoulders of the low mountains. The sun was finally making an attempt to break out when I stopped for lunch on a narrow winding road through the Pine Pass where the mountains started to really show themselves again. Now that I have reached “civilization” again the roads are too busy for me to stop in the middle and take pictures. The shoulders of the road are too narrow to stop and so I have mainly memories of the great views that I had today.

mountains-toy-with-clouds

At lunch I could smell the damp earth and some fall flowers. The air was heavy and beautiful. By the time I got to Prince George it was hot and humid. The news says that many areas are still under fire alert. It still looks very dry even with the rain. The campsite is still under an absolute fire ban.

I had hoped to get to Williams Lake tonight but ran out of steam. It was dark just after 8 and I was glad that I had taken some time to sit in the sun by the lake instead of sitting in the car driving til after dark.

Pine Pass

Pine Pass

Today, going through the Pine Pass I saw a mama black bear and her baby skitter across the road and leap a cement barricade in front of me. I stopped the car and pulled out my camera as they both turned and peeked back over the edge at me. They were too low for a chance at a good shot. Oh I longed to get out of the car and go over to their shiny black heads a scritch. I resisted the urge. Too bad. I can shut my eyes now though and see those eyes staring at me. Ahhh!

I talked to Fred tonight and he is really ready for me to be home. To be honest, I am ready to be there too. I need to rethink and begin to work on what next summer will look like. My son-in-law Dave has given me some intriguing suggestions and I can picture myself working hard all winter to make them happen. When I am clear about what I need I will open that up for a discussion and suggestions from you too.

I am wondering now if anything has changed. Will I arrive home to find that I am the same me who left in May or that I have cracked open parts of me that weren’t accessible before? What about those who care about me? Will they need to rework their ideas of who I am in order to fit the new me or will I simply fold convieniently back into the spaces I vacated. Hummmm? Lots to think about but probably not until Vincent’s front wheels hit the border of Ontario.

Enough about that? Rika tells me it is about a 10 hour drive from where I am to where she is in Vancouver. I will probably spend one more night on the road. The lady at the campsite here told me that she is already booked up tomorrow night because of the long weekend. If I can’t find a place to stay close to the big city, I may just do that 10 hour drive….ooo my poor cheeks.

Off to get a good night sleep. I will send this from Williams Lake in the morning. Talk soon.