Monday, May 14 to Saturday, May 19, 2018 (Visit to North Saanich, BC)

Well...we're back from a whirlwind 5 day visit over to Vancouver Island! Although we had a couple of appointments scheduled, the focus of this visit was to connect with friends and to have one final visit with Rob, Angie, Conner and Bryce before we hit the road heading east.

Monday morning was spent getting ready to leave. Steve cleared our "yard" of solar and rope lights, so that our gardener could come in and mow the grass while we were away. He also brought out our suitcases from the basement storage.

We left for the ferry shortly after 1:00, stopping at the gatehouse to let them know we were going to be away and to confirm they had our cell number in case an evacuation of the island is ordered with the rising river.

It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride...or as Steve likes to tell me "a cruise". As usual, we parked at the Park and Go and took the free shuttle to the terminal in time for the 3:00 ferry. Upon boarding the ferry, we went right up to the partially enclosed section on the top deck...it has a great view and is out of the wind.
Unfortunately, there is no air circulation at all up front and it was way too hot in there...even after the ferry got moving. I chose to move down one deck to the comfy chairs in the air conditioning...while Steve walked around and took pictures. Roberts Bank Superport in the distance...
Trains bring coal to the North America's biggest coal exporter, Westshore Terminals...left, and Global Container Terminal...right...
Leaving Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, Vancouver...
Entering Active Pass, Mayne Island left, Galiano Island right. With the outflow from the Fraser River reaching this far, and changing tides, the water through the pass can be very treacherous to small boats...
Beautiful cottages and homes dot the shoreline...
A ferry from the Victoria side entering Active Pass...
Nice beach with Scotch Broom in bloom, an invasive species native to the Mediterranean and intentionally introduced to BC in 1850 by Captain Walter Grant who plant broom on his farm on Vancouver Island.


Above and below, exiting Active Pass
Most of these small islands near the ferry terminal have homes and cottages on them...
Arriving at Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, Sidney (Victoria)...
Timing was perfect on our arrival...we had disembarked and picked up our suitcases just as Rob pulled into the passenger pick-up area. He dropped us off at the airport to pick up our car rental...a cute little Kia Soul...and then we were greeted at the house by a couple of enthusiastic little boys.

Rob and Angie had decided to celebrate Mother's Day with me a day late...preparing a fabulous dinner...





Steak, garlic prawns, mushrooms, potatoes and salad...
 It was absolutely delicious...thanks so much!
A little after dinner playtime before bed...Conner arm wrestling dad, Bryce doing somersaults...
Tuesday we planned to visit 2 sets of friends...both "up island" north of Victoria. Doreen and Gerry, long time friends of Steve's family live in Mill Bay. Our intent was to stop at their place for coffee with them and then continue further north to Cowichan Bay for lunch with Jim and Nan. Unfortunately, we were unable to get in touch with Doreen and Gerry...they must be away...so we'll have to try next time we are on the island.

Since we weren't able to stop for coffee with Doreen and Gerry, we managed to get a couple of errands taken care of on our way for lunch. Our first stop was at Peninsula Lifetime Eyecare in Sidney to pick up a supply of contact lenses for both of us, for the next 6 months. Next was at Oceanside RV Park in Saanichton. We plan on spending the Spring and Summer of 2019 on Vancouver Island so wanted to book a site at the RV Park we had stayed at for 4 months in 2010 after we moved into our trailer, just before we retired. With the months of April and May 2019 reserved, and a deposit paid, that chore was taken care of...now it will only be a matter of planning the rest of the summer but that's a long ways off...right now we have to concentrate on this summer and our trip across Canada!

Time to head up island to Cowichan Bay! We stopped at a view point on the Malahat...'The Malahat' is the term commonly applied to the Malahat Drive, a 25 km (15.5 mi) portion of the Trans Canada Highway 1 running along the west side of Saanich Inlet and to the region surrounding it. The road was first cut as a cattle trail in 1861, and was then upgraded to wagon road standards in 1884. It became a paved road in 1911. Its name comes from the Malahat First Nation, whose ancestors used the caves for spiritual enhancement. The Malahat Drive climbs to a summit of 356 m (1,156 ft), and the mountain is considered one of the most sacred sites on southern Vancouver Island.

View of the Saanich Peninsula and the Brentwood Bay Ferry...

We arrived at Jim and Nan's place around 12:30 and found them enjoying the beautiful weather on their back deck.  Steve, Nan and Jim. Steve and Jim have known each other since Junior High and have gotten into lots of trouble together :)
 After chatting for a bit, we headed a short distance to the Cowichan Bay Pub...and a delicious lunch with a fabulous view!


After a great visit, it was time to head home. It was great seeing you both...thanks for picking up the bill, Jim...not necessary but very nice!

On our way home, we had a slight detour. There is a lot of construction going on right now on the Malahat (in an attempt to make it a safer drive for motorists) and a tandem dump truck had broken down as it turned left onto Shawnigan Lake Road, blocking the south bound lane of traffic.
Wednesday morning started off with the whirlwind of getting the kids fed and ready for school...I don't know if our being there was a help or a hindrance for poor Angie! After getting dressed, Conner had a little time with Grampa viewing different aircraft on the IPad. Like Grampa, Conner loves airplanes!
Before being herded into the car...Bryce is dropped off at daycare, while Conner, dressed in his school uniform, goes with Mom into Victoria where he goes to pre-kindergarten...
Today was "appointment" day for us. We started off with a 10:00 meeting with our Financial Advisor, followed by dental appointments at noon. We get the majority of any dental work required done in Los Algodones, MX at a fraction of the cost here, but we still like to have our teeth cleaned and checked by our long-time dentist. Just shy of an hour later, we were finished. For the very first time, I had a bad experience after the fluoride treatment we always get after our cleaning. I was fine until we had left the building but as we made our way to the car, I got really woozy and my mouth started salivating like crazy...I thought I was going to "toss my cookies"! Luckily I didn't...whew! After a stop to pick up some flowers, we went to visit both sets of parents at the cemetery.

That evening when everyone was home, Brycie opened up his birthday gift from Uncle Chris and Auntie Zia (Angela)....
A Paw Patrol boat and figure (Chase, I believe it says)...
...along with a pair of shorts and 2 t-shirts. Conner had to try one of the t-shirts on...a tad bit small (just a bit short)...too cute!
Grampa and Conner having a game of Battleship...
While Mom and Dad sit on the deck enjoying the late afternoon sunshine with a glass of wine...
Thursday morning was very lazy...I worked on the laptop doing some banking and misc stuff while Steve watched TV and caught up on some blogs.

I was meeting a former co-worker for lunch at the Med Grill in Royal Oak (just north of Victoria) at noon. There are 3 former co-workers that I worked with in HR, BC Assessment for pretty well my whole career...and all 4 of us retired within months of each other. We try to get together at least once a year when I am back in town...but this time there would just be Gwen and I...Lynn extended her visit with her daughter and family in London (I think she was hoping for a last minute invite to the Royal Wedding LOL!)...and Delcie was leaving on a trip to France today! Nonetheless, Gwen and I had a fabulous visit...so much so, that I completely forgot to take a picture!

While I was enjoying my visit with Gwen, Steve stopped for a burger at his favourite spot, A&W  then went for a quick visit at Pacific Controls Ltd, seeing his former co-workers, Cheryl and Marty. It was a short visit because I had given him explicit instructions to pick me up at 1:20...that would give us enough time to drop him off at home and allow me to get back into Sidney for my 2:15 haircut appointment. He complained on how short his visit was...sorry about that Cheryl and Marty (he should have picked up his burger and taken to the office and eaten it there!)

Friday morning...and Steve has a full blown cold! He had been feeling a thickness starting in his throat for a couple of days and it was scratchy but today it was sore and he had that deep sexy voice one gets with a sore throat. So it ended up being a stay at  home day for him. Actually Angie was the only one going to work today...it was a day off for Conner (what they call a "professional development day" for teachers) so Rob had taken the day off. It was going to be a perfect "guys" day today, leaving me the rental car to do a bunch of stuff that I wanted to do. Unfortunately Steve wasn't feel up to joining in on the "guys" day. After the boys doctor appointment Rob took them to the local RC airfield to see if anyone was flying and there were. They had never been before and thought it was pretty cool.

Meanwhile, I was up and out of the house at 9:00 heading out to Westshore Town Centre, located in Langford just northwest of Victoria. I had a pedicure appointment for 10:00...followed by coffee at 11:00 with my ex-sister-in-law, Linda. It has been quite awhile since I last saw her, so it was great to catch up with her over coffee at Starbucks.

About an hour later, we said our goodbyes...it was time for me to take care of a bunch of other little things, plus pick up some supplies that Conner wanted so his dad could build a paper airplane. It's not just any ordinary paper plane...that we used to make out of a sheet of paper when we were young. Rather a kit that required the purchase of some craft supplies. After a couple of stores, I found all of the things he needed and then headed home.

Conner was overjoyed when I arrived home with all of the supplies he needed...okay, now it's over to dad. It took awhile but Rob had it finished...he wanted to let the glue dry a little longer, but Conner was very anxious, so once mom got home, they headed outside for the test flight...
It worked so well that Rob ended up flying it high into one of the fir trees...and that's where it is until a good wind blows it down! Good thing there are 10 different planes to build in that kit!

Friday night...and a good night to offer Rob and Angie a date night while we look after the kids. They don't get a chance for an evening out alone so they quickly took us up on our offer. While they were getting ready to go out, I made dinner for the boys (including Steve).

Looking good guys! Enjoy your evening!
After dinner, with pj's on...we built their bed by bringing all the cushions off the furniture in the living room...then it was movie time! They are so absorbed with the show...
They watched 2 episodes of Power Rangers and then the movie Ice Age 5. By this time it was around 9:30...and time for bed...no problem there! Teeth brushed and up the stairs they go with their pillows with no objections! While I read them a few stories, Steve cleaned up their downstairs bed....the end to a great evening!

It was way past the babysitter's bedtime by the time Rob and Angie got home (LOL)...Steve, not feeling that great, had called it a night around 10 and had gone to bed. Rob and Angie had gone to the Stonehouse Restaurant and Pub, at Canoe Cove Marina, not far from the ferry terminal...or home. Sounds like they had a wonderful dinner and then as they were leaving, decided to stop in the pub for a drink. Glad you enjoyed a well deserved evening out!

Saturday morning we had planned to meet good friends Rob and Nancy for breakfast before catching the ferry home. Unfortunately, with Steve not feeling well...and not wanting to take the chance of passing his cold over to them, we cancelled. Instead of a later ferry, we decided on the 11:00 ferry. So with suitcases packed, we had a few last pictures taken...thanks for sharing, Angie! Steve and I with Bryce and Conner...
Rob loaded our cases into his truck...then Angie took one final picture of us with Rob....
With big hugs, we said goodbye...see you in December when we fly home for Christmas! Thanks for all of your hospitality!

We had an uneventful ferry ride...and drive home from the Park and Go. A  bonus though...we were only charged $12/day parking, which is the regular car parking charge. Semi-tractor parking is $14/day. We didn't complain though!

As we crossed the bridge back over to Brae Island, I snapped a picture of the overflowing Fraser River. First of all, this is a picture taken April 21, 2017 which gives you a better idea of where the river level usually is...
This is it now...
It's a busy long weekend here but the campground is not full...which really surprised us. Perhaps people changed their minds with the possibility of having to evacuate due to the rising river?

After suitcases were unpacked, Steve decided to take advantage of cold water in the hot water tank to drain and flush it and replace the anode (probably the last thing he felt like doing)
Yikes, Steve normally changes the anode every 12 months...this is all that's left of it after 16 months!
Lots of calcium deposits came out with the flushing...
With that done, we had happy hour outside...May long weekend is when they start hay rides. The kids love it!
And that brings us up-to-date again. We're going to have a busy final week here as we do all of the last minute cleaning before we hit the road east!




Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, 2018 (Fort Camping, Brae Island Regional Park, Fort Langley, BC)

It's a weekend here at Fort Camping and as usual we watched all the families arrive for the weekend yesterday afternoon....a gorgeous, hot weather forecast is in store, so nice after all of the rain the area has experienced over the winter and spring. Actually, we're in for a stretch of nice, warm weather...according to the weather forecast.

After our usual early...but slow...start to the day, we headed off mid morning into Langley. On our trip back to BC the over-the-air Winegard Batwing TV antenna stopped winding up unless Steve went up onto the roof to lift it, then it would catch as I was winding it up. Steve thinks it was a stripped elevating gear so he wanted to go to Traveland to pick up a part for it. He was pleased to see that they had stock and he wouldn't have to replace the whole thing.

Jack (the fellow we met in Quartzsite and again at Peach Arch RV Park) was working today, so we had a chat with him and he introduced us to a couple of his colleagues. After spending a little time with him, Steve picked up the part, a replacement lock for the truck air filter access door along with an anode for the hot water tank, and then we headed over to Walmart. I picked up a few things and we were soon on our way home.

Steve got right to work on fixing the antenna while I baked some mini-muffins. It was an easy fix as all he had to do was manually raise the antenna after removing a couple of pins and the elevating gear came right out. He also applied some silicone spray as per the directions in the installation manual.
Once all the work was done, we went for a nice bike ride on Tavistock trail...there are signs all along the path warning about the flood hazards due to the high river. We even found the final stretch of the trail that goes down to the Travistock Point closed. We were able to do the loop, though, that goes along the north side of the island...

It was a hot day today, so the shade along the path was welcomed...as was the shade back at camp where we relaxed with a Saturday night beverage!

Sunday...and Mother's Day! And I had a wonderful day! It started off with a little work in the morning. I realized that we are going back over to Victoria tomorrow and I needed to do laundry before we go, so I did that while Steve washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.

I received a "Happy Mother's Day" text from our son, Rob...looking forward to seeing the family over on Vancouver Island tomorrow afternoon! Chris, our son here, also sent a text...but we will see him and Angela a little later this morning as they are coming out to take us for a Mother's/Father's Day lunch.

They arrived around 11:00, we sat outside until it was time to walk into town and The Fort Pub (can you tell it is our favourite spot?) where Chris had made reservations for us. Sure glad he did as there was a line up at the door waiting for tables.

We had a great lunch...

And when the bill came, both Angela and I were given a beautiful carnation...apparently they were giving all ladies flowers today. So nice!

After lunch we wandered back to the campground and sat outside visiting for another couple of hours. So nice spending time with you both! But it was time for them to head back into the city and visit Angela's mom and grandmother. Thank you for lunch and the lovely card!

It was the hottest day yet at 30C/86F...so we closed up all of windows in the trailer and got the AC going. I sat in there for awhile working on a blog update and then joined Steve outside with a 3bevie outside in the shade.

A wonderful Mother's Day...looking forward to seeing Rob, Angie, Conner and Brycie tomorrow!