Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day trip to the town of Hope

This morning David went to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls while I lazed around the motorhome. The forecast for today is a high of 33C. It's going to be a hot day again. When David got back, we decided to take a drive to the town of Hope. It's only about a one hour drive up the Trans-Canada highway, north east of Chilliwack. The little town is surrounded by the Fraser and Coquihalla Rivers and by the North Cascades and Coast Mountains. There are a lot of trails around Hope and we wanted to check out the tunnels on the Kettle Valley Railway trail located in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. "The trail passes through mature coastal forest to a spectacular granite canyon and the Othello-Quintette Tunnels. These tunnels are an engineering marvel, built between 1911 and 1916 as part of the historic Kettle Valley Railway." We had lunch in town then drove to the trail head parking lot.

This is the Coquihalla River running through the canyon.

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel (LOL); this is the first and longest of the four tunnels. There may be five tunnels but we only saw four. If there is a fifth one, it was not in line with the first four and didn't go any further although the trail continued on. It gets pitch black as you walk towards the other end so you can't see your footing. It's a good idea to have a flashlight.

As you come out of the first tunnel, you can see the next two tunnels.

The river runs swiftly through the canyon. This was taken between tunnels one and two.

The trees and rocks on the trail are all covered in thick moss.

Later we walked around the main streets of Hope. There are a lot of wooden carvings all around the town. These were done with chainsaws and Sept 4-7 will be the Second Annual World Class Chainsaw Carving Competition. Carvers from around the world come to participate. David and I are hoping to go back and watch some of the carving.

Here's a Totem Pole with a backdrop of the mountains and rivers behind.

We were told that this one of a wolf with cubs won first prize last year.

This one commemorates 'Chip', an RCMP K-9 that died in the line of duty.

This is my favourite one and won second prize last year. This is the front.

This is the back (end)... ;-0 It's really cute!

This is the town's park with a gazebo. What is so beautiful about British Columbia, after the mountains, are the very tall trees like these ones in the park.

While eating an ice cream cone, we walked around town a bit then drove back home.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Early morning bike ride

We went out for our bike ride around 9 a.m. this morning because it was going to be a scorcher today. Even at that time of the morning, the air was heavy and warm. But it's really beautiful around here as we are surrounded by mountains. Chilliwack is in a valley and there are a lot of farms right on the edge of the city limit. So our bike ride takes us by corn fields, dairy farms, and even a goat farm. The smells are fantastic... phew!
The Vedder River Trail starts here at the bridge. Across the bridge is the road to the very popular Cultus Lake Provincial Park, which is south of Chilliwack.

On the way back from our bike ride, we stopped to take this picture. There is a haze over the mountains so they are not very clear.

From our campground to the shopping area is only about a 5-6 minute drive and this is another field we drive by.

After lunch, we picked up a few items at the grocery store then went to Adam & Leah's to do laundry and make supper for them. David cooked the chicken and potatoes on the barbeque while I prepared the veggies. That's pretty much the extent of our day. When it's this hot, you don't want to be outside.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's getting hot

We didn't realize that it was going to be hot today until we walked over to the golf course next door. Well it's not quite 'next door'; it's about a 1/2 kilometre walk. Both David and I went to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. The spots are in the sun so I would hit 3 or 4 balls then go sit in the shade for a minute. It didn't help that I was wearing a dark shirt and my shorts were denim jeans. And this was around 10 am. I'm not complaining; it's better than to have rain.

We decided to not ride our bikes today. After lunch, we went looking for a hair salon as I needed a colour and cut. We ended up at the Cottonwood Mall and I was able to get a walk-in appointment. Only I never asked how much it cost... until $94.00 dollars later (not including tip). It's not cheap here! In Ottawa, I can get the same thing for $60.00.

We watched the Bluejays baseball game while we ate supper. When the game was over, we put in the movie we rented a couple of days ago... Atonement starring Keira Knightly. It's not a happy movie and goes back & forth in time. It's a little weird but it was okay. From the previews, we were expecting a better movie than that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

We stayed home Monday morning and watched some of the Olympics on TV. I found out from Renee that my Mother had taken a fall on Saturday so I called her. She said she was coming out of the shopping mall with my sister, somehow tripped on the curb and fell on her face. Her nose was bleeding a lot but it's not broken (the hospital never even took an X-ray). Her nose is very swollen and her eyes are black otherwise she feels no pain. I'm sure it was painful at first but luckily she didn't break any bones. She is 80 years old and the bones tend to heal very slowly at that age (so I've heard). We went for a bike ride in the afternoon and rode 18.1 kilometres. After supper, we watched the baseball game and then Canadian Idol. It was a quiet day.

This morning, David walked over to the golf course next to the campground to hit a bucket of balls at the driving range while I went looking for a place to exercise. Curves doesn't allow drop-ins anymore so I checked out the YMCA. The facilities are very nice and I can drop in any time of day for a small fee. We'll see if I can get motivated for that. I would have preferred Curves because you don't have to try and figure out which machine to use. You just go in, do the circuit and you're out in 30 minutes. After lunch, we went for another bike ride. We took a different route and somehow managed to ride 18.1 kilometres again.

We've taken no pictures of Chilliwack yet so here are a couple of pictures of us with Liam we took before leaving Ottawa.

That's all for today.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spending time with our grandson

This morning Adam was putting tile on the wall above their kitchen counter and little David likes to 'help' his Daddy. So to 'help' Adam, we said we'd take David to Go Bananas for a couple of hours. It's an indoor playground for kids. Then the five of us went in our car to the IHOP Restaurant in Abbotsford for lunch. After we dropped them off at home and came back to the motorhome. David (the big one) had a nap LOL while I sat outside for an hour talking to Renee on the phone. After supper, we picked up a movie and coffee and went to Adam & Leah's to watch it with them. It was the movie 21 with Kevin Spacey. It's very good; kind of like the movies Ocean's 11, 12 & 13.

David and Nana playing in the balls. Who do you think is having the most fun?

David put up a bird feeder in the tree in front of our motorhome. One bird started using it the same day and now there are about five birds using it. It makes for good entertainment.

I think this bird is some kind of finch. His head and neck are mostly red. You can just see him on the left side of the feeder.

These were taken through the windshield so they are not great pictures.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Little to do

We woke up to a light drizzle which wasn't going to keep us from going to visit the construction site for the new bridge where Leah works. Unfortunately, Leah who is seven months pregnant was not feeling 100% and decided not to risk going up there. We have postponed our trip to her work site to next Saturday. So instead we all went to the Langley mall and walked around for a while then we went to the Olive Garden for supper. It was a quiet day.
David really likes his backpack.

Beautiful day for a bicycle ride

We didn't do very much this morning. Although the weather was a little cooler with a forecasted high of only 22C, the sun was out and it was a perfect day for a bicycle ride. So after lunch, we headed out on our bicycle from the campground to the Vedder River trail. We have to ride five kilometres to get to the trail. The trail is a well-maintained and well-used gravel path and is part of the Trans Canada Trail system. There were quite a few people walking on the path and a few people either fishing or playing on the river shore. We rode three kilometres to the Vedder bridge and back for a total return trip of 16 kilometres. Not a long ride but we haven't done much riding since last summer. We will have to work up to the 30-some kilometre trips we were doing last summer.
After supper we went to a local park with Adam, Leah & David. Every Friday during the months of July and August, the town of Chilliwack holds a family fun night. There are a couple of activities for children such as face painting and mini putt. There's also live music and a few local vendors.

Here is little David showing Papa how it's done.

Later we went back to Adam & Leah's place after picking up coffees from Timmy's. Tomorrow if it doesn't rain, we are going to Leah's job site for a close-up view of the new bridge being built between Langley and Maple Ridge. That should be very interesting.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Catching up on laundry

For a change, I made pancakes for breakfast this morning. The last time I made pancakes is about 3 years ago and it would have been for our son Paul when he was still living at home. Then we started puttering around the motorhome. I vacuumed while David did stuff outside like trimming the bushes and trees that are too close to the motorhome. Then I went over to the office to do laundry while David went somewhere to wash the car. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get the laundry done; my own fault. I was reading my book and wasn't paying a lot of attention to the time. So the wash probably sat in the washing machine for an extra 35-40 minutes. After lunch, we went to Tim's for coffee then stopped at 3 different stores to pick up items we needed. I hate store hopping so although there was one more item we needed, there was no way I was going anywhere else. It could wait. Plus Adam finished working early so after picking up little David at daycare, he called and came over to see our new home. He never saw our first motorhome and he hadn't seen this one yet.

Little David was a little shy with us at first last night but he's gotten used to us already. We were over to Adam & Leah's again tonight. We watched the conclusion of 'So You Think You Can Dance' (Yeaah! Joshua won!) and then headed home to bed. Little David was a little shy with us the first night but tonight he was just fine. He already calls us Grandpa & Grandma. He is just like Adam was at that age. He loves his baseball cap and wears it all the time. He only takes it off at the dinner table and for bed of course. And Adam & Leah say he's a little clean freak; just as Adam was and still is. I forgot my camera but will have to get a picture of him on the blog soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Arriving in British Columbia

We left the campground around 7:45 am this morning although there was really no rush. We are just so used to getting on the road early. We were only about 51 miles from Canada so a little over one hour later, we crossed the border at Sumas. There was only one car ahead of us and it didn't take long. Just a couple of questions and we were on our way. About 5 minutes later we made a second stop for coffee and a bagel when we came across a Tim Hortons. We checked in to the Cottonwood Meadows RV Park in Chilliwack for one night. There are a lot of large trees in this campground and we weren't sure that our dish would find the satellite. Plus I don't like campgrounds that look like you're in a forest. Trees means too many bugs for me. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of choices close to Chilliwack. So after a bit of discussion with the office, we chose a site that would be available for the month (except that we have to move to another site for the last 3 nights as this site is reserved already). We are only about 5 minutes from Adam's house and 2 minutes from the nearest Tim Hortons. Plus there is a trail about 5 kilometres from here and we can ride our bicycle to it.
I took this picture just as we were going to exit the Trans Canada highway. It was very hazy and it made the mountains look like shadows.

Adam and Leah have invited us over for dinner tonight. It will sure be great to see them again. The last time we were here was April 2007 so we can't wait to see how our little grandson David has grown. He is 2 1/2 years old; the same age as our grandson Liam in Ottawa.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Heading North through Idaho and Washington

An eventful day of driving again but sunny skies all day long. Our only stops were at rest stops to make lunch or to take a break. Since yesterday, we have been going up or down mountains and the view has been fantastic. Although I find going down a little hard on the nerves. Yikes!! LOL

I never get enough of the mountains. I loved living on the East coast and it's very pretty but the mountains of the West coast... it always takes my breath away. Pictures don't hold a candle to being there in person... but here are a few that I took.
This was one of my 'scary' moments. We are going down at about 5% grade and the road is curving to the left and then will curve to the right as we are heading towards that bridge you can just barely see the top of.

Here's a better view of the bridge as we get closer.

Now we are going on the bridge and crossing the Columbia River.

I took this picture at a rest stop. It had a great view of the mountains with snow.

And a few more pictures of our view through the windshield. Don't let the bug splats bother you. LOL

We stopped for the night at this nice little campground in Mount Vernon, Washington. We are only about 85 miles from Chilliwack. I hope the border crossing won't take too long. It will be nice to be back in Canada and close to family again. Today we drove 411 miles.

Montana to Idaho in one day.

We left the campground this morning around 7:45 am. It was cloudy for a couple of hours but we finally came across some blue skies which stayed with us for the rest of the day.

We climbed and descended a lot of hills/mountains today; a couple of 3-mile 6% grade hills and one 5-mile 6% grade hill. That made me pretty nervous but David says the rig took it all in stride. He loves this diesel pusher with air brakes. We went through some really pretty country; rolling hills and wide open country. When we crossed into Idaho, we were in a mountain pass with trees everywhere. The landscape had changed quite a lot.

We have stopped for the night at a campground in Osburn, Idaho. It's a very very small town; there's not much here. At least they had a grocery store as we needed to pick up a few basic things we were out of like bread, butter and cheese.

There is a bike path that runs through here which is on par with the bike paths in Ottawa; at least this section in Osburn. The campground manager told me it is a 72 mile bike path and the section which runs through here is very nicely paved. I know because we went for a short ride. We haven't been outside much since we left Ottawa. We are now in the Pacific Time Zone. So far we have crossed the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. There are no pictures today but we did drive 426 miles.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More of South Dakota - Day 6

We left the campground around 7 am to beat the traffic. There have been thousands of motorcycles and trucks pulling motorcycles on trailers on the highway since Thursday. We stopped at a Flying J truck stop around 9 am to have a late breakfast. It was awful. The service was so slow that we never got out of there until 10 am plus the no smoking area was only three booths next to the windows.
Here's the view we had as we were getting closer to the mountains.

Our next stop was Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Fortunately it is only one mile off the I-90 and big rigs like ours can drive in there. Most people have heard of "Custer's Last Stand". Well this is where it happened. This is where he and most of the Seventh Cavalry men
fell and died.

You can see at the top of the hill ahead, the monument which was erected with the names of all the soldiers and civilians who died and there is a headstone showing the place where each soldier fell and died.

This is a closer look at the monument and the 'cemetary'.

The headstone with black marks the spot where Lt Col. George Custer fell and died. The other headstones don't have names... it just says " A soldier of the 7th Cavalry died here June 26, 1876."

There are a couple hundred other headstones lower down the hill where the rest of the Seventh Cavalry soldiers died.
I don't remember all the details but in later years, the army reburied all the Officers where they came from and the soldiers were all put in a mass grave. There is also a fairly new memorial to the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians who fought there. I think that's only fair.

Since we had eaten a late breakfast we didn’t stop for lunch. We just ate some oranges and an apple on the road. We stopped around 4:00 pm at the Mountain Range RV Park in Columbus Montana. We drove 395 miles today.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Day in South Dakota

We left the KOA campground fairly early in the morning; the weather was good again and we made good time. Our first stop was in the town of Wall to see Wall Drug. For about 100 miles, we had been seeing signs about this Wall Drug like it was some famous place. Turned out to be a very old drug store which now includes the usual tourist souvenirs.
This is a picture of the store front; the next pictures are from inside.

We also took a picture of this motorcycle that was parked on the main street. Take a close look at the details on it. Moooo..

Notice the 'horseshoe' mufflers too.
Our next stop was the Flying J (a truck stop) in Rapid City, South Dakota where we fueled the motorhome and then parked it in the parking lot. We unhooked the car to drive to Mount Rushmore. It is a pretty awesome landmark. Most of us have trouble drawing a face on a piece of paper; can't imagine the difficulties in sculpting four faces in the side of a mountain. You can see the faces from the highway as you drive towards it.
This is the entrance to the monument with the faces in the background.
This is a close up...

We then went to visit Crazy Horse monument. The original sculpture is dead now but his wife and 7 of their 10 children are continuing the project. At the rate they are going, it probably won't be finished for another 50 years because it's not government funded. The work is funded only by private donations. They have finished the face. Look at the picture and you will see where they have marked in white where the horse's head will be. We watched a short film and they showed how the Mount Rushmore fits into the top half of the head of Crazy Horse. Here is the model statue to compare with the real thing.

Above is a picture of the South Dakota badlands. We got back to the Flying J to pick up the motorhome and got back on the road. We didn't know motorcycle week in Sturgis began this week and there have been thousands of motorcycles and trucks pulling motorcycles on trailers. The traffic on I-90 was incredibly heavy because of this. Every campground and motel for miles around were full of people and motorcycles. Rather than keep driving we decided to stop and the campground we picked, only a couple of miles from Sturgis, did have space for big rigs. When we got out of the rig to set up we noticed our car was completely covered in a white dust from the gravel road we had to drive on to the campground. It had been a long day so we just decided to make the best of it, get a good night's sleep and get on the road early the next day. Total mileage for the day was 204 miles. That doesn't include driving from to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument in the car.