Wednesday, July 1 to Saturday, July 11, 2020 (Peace Arch RV Park, Surrey, BC)

Well...10+ days have gone by in a snap! Time for another update!
HAPPY CANADA DAY !
It rained pretty well all day Wednesday (July 1), but luckily we managed to get out for our morning walk before it started. Needless to say, it was pretty much an inside day. Steve edited pictures and then I worked on a blog update. Added to that was a lot of car searching on-line.

Thursday (July 2) we had a couple of cars to look at. The first one was a 2013 Mazda 3 GT sedan, not far away at Midway Mazda. Although we are looking for a hatchback, this car looked like a good deal, with low miles (88,000 km/54,68 miles). We took it for a test drive and it was really nice but we wanted to continue our search for a hatchback.

The second car was a 2013 Mazda GS-SKY Hatchback with extremely low mileage (46,000 km/28,583 miles). We took it for a test drive...again, nice but there was a whistling sound coming from the air vent. The company selling it is a new (opened last month)...specializing only in used cars. Check out DealerShift to see how they are different. They constantly monitor the market and price the cars as such, so there is no negotiation. They would have had the whistle in the vent checked out if we were willing to put a deposit on it. Not happening and Steve didn't get that warm fuzzy feeling with the car. It was over our budget anyway, and since they weren't willing to move on the price, we decided to continue on with our search.

In addition to the Mazda, we are also interested in the Honda Civic Coupe. There happened to be a 2014 at Richmond Honda...a fair distance to drive, but hey, let's go! What a wasted trip that was! We were absolutely disgusted by the condition it was in! It had not been cleaned...the interior was filthy. Dried muddy paws marks and fur on the seats and empty Gatorade bottles strewn inside, not to mention the dirt on the floors. We were flabbergasted that they would advertise and show it without having made any attempt to clean it up! We immediately walked away telling the salesman we were not interested.

At this point, it was mid-afternoon, we were hungry, so we headed home.

We woke up to rain Friday (July 3) morning...and it rained all day! We had an appointment to go look at a car out in Abbotsford, about 50 minutes east of us. Not a great day to be looking at a car, but we headed out anyway. Steve said he didn't like looking at cars in the rain as you can't see all the imperfections. The car, a 2014 Mazda 3 GT-SKY Hatchback with 118,000 km/73,322 miles, average for our area, was a beautiful metallic red. We took it for a test drive and loved it! Afterwards we did the "negotiation thing" but they weren't willing to come down enough, so we said we'd think about it and headed home. We hate playing the negotiating game but maybe we'll get a phone call in a few hours :)

Later that afternoon, on our way to Chris and Angela's, we decided to call and tell them we'd take the car, even though it was over our budget. We were hoping to hear from them first...but we "caved" instead, LOL! According to Auto Trader and Kelly Blue Book Canada we were getting the car for a fair/good price. Our original plan was to pick it up tomorrow but with the Covid-19 virus, our bank is closed Saturdays now, so we'll have to wait until Monday.

Today is Chris's birthday and it is so nice to be here to celebrate it with him!  Although Isaac kept taking his shoes to Grampa...which means he wants to go outside to play...it was just to wet out, so they had to play inside...
Chris poured Steve a taste of his specialty Belgian beer...tiny cup...pinky out!
Angela flattening out the pizza dough she just made. Pizza made from scratch...a true Italian!
Isaac and Grampa having some quiet time together...
After an absolutely delicious dinner...the pizza was excellent! It was time for birthday cake...an ice cream cake we picked up from Dairy Queen! Obviously Chris is not 5 years old, he's 35...close enough...LOL! Will we ever go back to blowing out candles?
Isaac was so cute when we sang "Happy Birthday"...he was laughing and clapping his hands!
We had a wonderful time...and then it was time to head home. Thanks for a great dinner and evening, guys! Steve even had a "designated driver" tonight!

After getting home, changing and settling into our recliner chairs, Steve heard a sound...drip, drip, drip. Where is that coming from? The rain-water had managed to get through the slide topper onto the slide room and was leaking from the trim where the slide room ceiling has a join and all over our couch! The carpet was also wet at the end of the slide room. GEEZ! We put a pan on the couch to catch the water...we'll have to deal with that in the morning. Not a great thing to come home to!

 HAPPY  4TH OF JULY/INDEPENDENCE DAY!
to our American friends.

The rain was over with Saturday...basically a mix of sun and clouds all day. We got out for our morning walk and then Steve decided to tackle the leaky slide.

Last night he discovered that water that was pooling on the slide topper (longest one) was leaking onto the top of the slide room then running towards the inner wall. This topper is not even 2 years old. He inspected it but couldn't see any holes. The crows like to wash their food in the pooled water so maybe they poked a small hole in it, or perhaps his anti topper flapping PVC pipe setup that has a couple of couplers joining the lengths of pipe have worn the topper thin from the little bit of movement that still happens in the wind.

After running the slide room in he saw a metal strip with lots of screws running the full length of the inner side of the slide. Since the water was running towards the metal strip he figured the sealant was defective. After cleaning the area he went to apply some Proflex sealant but the cardboard tube was damp from being in the truck and began to bend and collapse in the caulking gun making it unusable. Geez...that was a new tube! So he had to make a trip to Traveland RV for a new tube. A little over an hour later he was back. He ran a bead along the edge of the metal strip and onto each screw head. It was a very tight work space at the far end and the ceiling fan didn't help either.
Steve really likes the Proflex sealant as it comes off like a strip of rubber if you ever have to remove it. The only negative is you have to be quick as it sets up fast...especially in a wind. Silicone is extremely difficult to remove. 
While he was busy with that, I put on a couple of loads of laundry. After the work was done, we sat outside for a bit and went for a bike ride.

Sunday (July 5) was sunny for the most part. Rather than do our daily walk around the campground, we decided to go to Blackie's Spit for a walk on the trails. It was very busy! Mind you it was Sunday.

There were lots of these beautiful yellow flowers...
On our way home, we drove to the community of White Rock. The beaches are busy but with the tide out, there is lots of room to physically distance...
There was quite a line up at a very popular fish and chip spot...Moby Dick that was open for take-out. It doesn't look like they are distancing from each other from our angle but they were...
Back home, we had lunch and kept ourselves busy the rest of the afternoon. Steve sat outside reading while I did a couple of loads of laundry.

By late afternoon, it was time for our bike ride...afterwards we sat outside and Jack and Fay stopped by for a visit.

Monday (July 6)...the day we pick up our new (to us) car! We left just before 10:00 to be at the bank when it opened. I went in to get the bank draft while Steve found a parking spot and waited for me.

And then we were on our way out to Abbotsford and The Honda Way. We did a bit of "dickering" on the price...last Friday they said they would throw in a tire and rim protection plan to sweeten the deal. Turns out upon going over the invoice, they gave us a reduced price on the plan charging us an extra $200 plus tax. So Steve told them we didn't want it, so they took it off the invoice.

After getting insurance and all the paperwork taken car of, we were taken out to look at our new baby. Steve noticed a few more nicks in the paint and a small section of paint that was duller than the rest of the car that wasn't obvious in the rain. They called a person in from the body shop who said that clear coat wasn't applied over that area after being painted. The Carfax report said there were no accidents but there were 2 claims for glass. They weren't willing to do anything about it but all in all, it looks and runs great. Stay tuned for pictures!

I headed out in the rental car with Steve following...of course he had to pass me on the highway, LOL! We dropped the rental car off in Langley and then decided to go out to Fort Langley for a celebratory lunch at the Fort Pub. Our first time going out for a meal in a restaurant since Quartzsite last March. BC is now in phase 3 and they had all of the Covid protocols in play with basically every other table empty, a table set up at the entrance where they ask you to pick up a disposable menu and use hand sanitizer. We sat out on the balcony, felt that it would be better than going inside...however, the windows were closed. When I asked about that, the server said that she could open one but the mosquitoes are terrible right now...oh, okay, lets leave them shut!
We had parked the car in the day use area just outside of Fort Camping, planning to go for a walk down to Tavistock Point on the McMillan/Brae Island...a trail that we have walked many times while staying here. 

Looking back towards the Fort Pub as we walk across the bridge...
View west from the bridge. Look how high this arm of the Fraser River is. The island is on the right...
View east. We have seen the river a little higher before and the campground was evacuated a couple of years ago as a precaution...
However we decided against the walk because the mosquitoes were TERRIBLE!! Just opening the doors to get inside and the car was full of the nasty little things! So we decided to just go home. All the years we have stayed at Fort Camping on the island we had never been here this time of year and had forgotten about the warnings we had been given on how bad the Mozzies were.

Steve stopped at the entrance to our campground to take pictures of our new wheels....a 2014 Mazda 3 GT-SKY Hatchback auto with leather bucket seats. front and back, 184 hp...
We're well over 40 and feeling sporty...LOL!
Tuesday (July 7) morning I took the car out to do a little shopping...yippee! I love being able to get out by myself and Steve likes it because he doesn't have to drive me and wait in the truck!

After lunch we decided to go out to a park for our walk. Crescent Park is on the way to Crescent Beach (and Blackie's Spit) and we have passed the signs to it many times. 

Crescent Park is a large 52 hectare (128 acre) destination park in South Surrey. The Park offers walking trails through mature second growth forests, with ponds, streams and lots of secret meadows to discover. It is home to numerous species of birds that prefer the dense undergrowth, as well as ducks and kingfishers that use the small ponds.
Lots of trails to choose from!



In addition to its spectacular natural areas, the eastern portions of Crescent Park offer a range of park amenities including two baseball diamonds, a large multi-purpose field and a playground.

Steve wants to come back and fly his planes here...
This picture is taken on the other side of the pond, looking back to where I took the picture of Steve in the picture above.
We had a great walk...so nice to check out new places!

And speaking of new places...Wednesday  (July 8) morning, we headed out to another park for our walk. Tynehead Regional Park is a little further away, north of us about 17 kms/11 miles.

Tynehead Regional Park is owned and maintained by Metro Vancouver. The park is 260 hectares of meadow and forest on the banks of the Serpentine River headwaters in Guildford. This park has a lot of wildlife, and is a habitat for owls, hawks and coyotes. The headwaters of the Serpentine River are spawning and rearing habitats for trout and salmon.

We parked near the Fish Hatchery...Tynehead Hatchery raises coho, chum and chinook salmon that return to the Serpentine River to spawn. The hatchery is run by the Serpentine Enhancement Society, a non-profit volunteer group.
And started our walk...such a pretty spot!

Trails meander through mixed forest and meadow and along the gentle Serpentine River.
Not much left of this nurse stump...


This nurse stump is mostly gone too...
This nurse stump is huge! Note the notches in it from the planks the loggers would stand on...



An Owl sitting on a branch above the river...more of a creek.
A blurry cell phone telephoto shot. The Owl turned his head 180 degrees to have a look at us...



Another fabulous walk! Time to head home for lunch...and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Thursday (July 9) Steve had an appointment at a dentist in Ladner to have the stitches from his tooth extraction removed. For some reason, when he had it extracted in Victoria, they didn't use dissoluble ones. Thanks to our neighbour, Carol for contacting her daughter, a dental hygienist, and arranging for Steve to have this done!

So we headed out just before 11:00 for his 11:30 appointment. I sat in the car while he went inside. It didn't take long. Afterwards, we decided to drive further west from Ladner to Westham Island. Carol and Roland mentioned it saying that there is a bird sanctuary there. 

It’s a tiny island with its own world-class bird sanctuary, farm stands and acres of pumpkin patches, and waterfront bike trails you’ll likely have all to yourself.
A narrow tributary of the Fraser River separates Westham Island from the mainland. To get across, you have to navigate a creaky, one-lane wooden bridge that’s been patched here and there with plywood. Sometimes the bridge rotates to allow passing boats to get by and you might find a half-dozen cars lined up and waiting to get across. (Picture from Google)




The George C. Reifel Refuge for migratory birds is located at the northern end of the island. Unfortunately, it is temporarily closed. But we enjoyed our drive on the island...a major agricultural area.

We continued driving along River Road for a bit...stopping to check out the river. There is a large float home community between the bridge and here...

And since we were "in the neighbourhood" we decided to check out Centennial Beach Boundary Bay Regional Park, in Tsawwassen. As you can see, the weather wasn't the best today...cloudy and cool. It had been raining earlier. Weeks ago when we rode our bikes on the Mud Bay Dyke Trail this was our destination...way too far for our dainty butts. So one day we may return and tackle it from this end...
Even though we were starving and the concession here had a pretty good menu it was just a little to chilly to sit outside in the breeze...

The blue mats made it a much easier walk to the beach...
This must be an extremely popular park in nice weather as the parking lot was huge. Another great day out exploring in our car!

Friday (July 10) ended up being a fairly nice day...but rain is in the forecast again tomorrow. When is summer arriving!

After our walk around the campground, I showered and then headed out to run a few errands. Steve did his monthly running of the quads and generator and then charged his RC glider batteries in preparation for going flying.

When I got home, he headed out to Crescent Park and the big sports field that he figured would be perfect for flying his glider. He was back home way before I was expecting him. I guess he managed one flight but decided it was too windy. Too bad! But at least he has a spot he can try again. He misses flying his RC planes.

Saturday (July 11) was pretty uneventful. After our usual morning coffee, we did our resistance exercises (yes, we still do them every second day...for the most part) and then got out for our power walk around the campground.

We made a quick trip to a couple of stores...Steve is looking for a new lock for our bikes. The old one is getting very finicky and one day it may not open!  We stopped at Safeway for a couple of things I forgot yesterday and then we were back home.

The afternoon was spent hunkered down inside as the predicted rain started. We were going to have Chris, Angela and Isaac over this afternoon but suggested tomorrow when the forecast is better.

And there you have it...up-to-date for now!


Wednesday to Tuesday, June 24 to June 30, 2020 (Trip to North Saanich and Lake Cowichan, BC)

Wednesday morning we packed up the rental car and headed for the 1:00 p.m. sailing...we left early so had to wait for over an hour but we couldn't miss that ferry since I have an eye check-up appointment late this afternoon.

It was an uneventful sailing, staying in the car on the car deck through the sailing, and arriving at Rob and Angie's place just before 3:00.  After unloading the car, Steve, Angie and the boys headed out to hike the neighbourhood trails while I went into Sidney for my eye appointment. All is fine with it...other than some "floaters" in them that he didn't seem to be too concerned about. Guess I will just have to get used to them!

Rob has to go into work this week, rather than working from home, so when he got home we all sat outside on the deck...and enjoyed a great visit with them...followed by a delicious dinner of homemade grilled burgers.

Thursday (June 25) morning Steve headed off for his dentist appointment just before 10:00. I stayed home and did some work on the laptop and played with the boys. Angie had various on-line  meetings with her school throughout the day.

Steve got home just after 12:00 noon...having had a molar extracted. They gave him a quote of $6,310 for the complete implant procedure! $1,093 of that was for today's extraction and bone graft. Hopefully he'll be able to wait until we're able to go down to our dentist in Los Algodones, Mexico to have the implant done. I did a cost comparison last year when I had to have an implant...having it done in Mexico saved me over $3,300 from the $5,800 I was quoted.

With Steve back home with the car, I headed out for my appointment in Sidney...a pedicure! Sidney Nails have all the Covid-19 protocols in place to reopen with thick clear plastic partitions hanging from the ceiling separating the chairs, as well as one in front, between you and the nail tech. They were flexible therefore worked better than Plexiglas, getting in and out of the chairs. 

Back home, I continued work on the blog while Steve researched used cars...we had planned on spending tomorrow looking at some but it doesn't look like there are any over here that fit our criteria.


By late afternoon, there was some shade on the sun deck so we sat out waiting for Rob to get home...







A view of our rental car (Kia Rio) from the side of the deck...
A fellow from Drain-Master had been working on their septic system all day...so once Rob got home, Steve showed him the work done. Tree roots have plugged some of the septic lines in the field.
Rob and Angie...
Grampa with Conner and Bryce...
Friday (June 26) Steve and I decided to go into Victoria, even if we didn't have any cars to look at. After a stop at Mark's so Steve could buy a new pair of shorts, we went through the 'drive-thru' at A and W for some burgers and then decided to stop in Sidney for our favourite walk along the waterfront.

As we started to walk out on the pier, we saw this Harbour Seal swimming among the rocks below...

We had a special dinner tonight...Roast beef tenderloin, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and broccoli casserole. It was excellent! Thanks for a wonderful dinner for our last night with you! Oh... and they had their new counters installed last week...looks great!
Saturday (June 27) morning we were all packed up and ready to go by 9:30. After big hugs, we said goodbye to Angie and the boys (Rob had to work today so we said goodbye before he left at 6:00). 

Now that BC is in phase 3 we are expanding our bubble a little more. We are heading up to Lake Cowichan to visit Ray and Deb for a couple of days. But first we stopped for a quick visit with Steve's sister, Nadine and her husband, Mike. We enjoyed about an hour with them and then continued north. Thanks for the coffee, guys...great seeing you again.

Last years route...we actually left from near Swartz Bay...
Deb had lunch ready when we arrived...so after unloading the car, we sat down to wings and beer! A great treat since we don't want to chance going out to the pub!
Then it was time to go sit outside to continue our visit...
We ended up moving a couple of times as we dodged the wind and enjoyed the sunshine...
(Ray's photo)
Apparently this past winter the lake level had risen to just below the top of that pilon with the black top at the end of the gangway and was just below the ferns...yikes!
We eventually went to the front yard to get out of the wind...
Finally ending up on the deck...lots of sitting options at Kyles Resort :)
We felt sorry for them having to self quarantine earlier in such a place :)

As usual, Deb outdid herself with the meals she cooked for us! Tonight it was ribs that she had done on the Traegar Smoker, along with homemade baked beans and coleslaw...yum!
After dinner, Steve and I cleaned up...gotta earn our keep!
While Ray sliced strawberries to go with the homemade brownies and ice cream...
With full bellies, we returned back to the deck...
We are all early risers, so Sunday (June 28) morning shortly after 6:00 we all sat out on the deck enjoying our coffee. After a couple of hours, it was time to get moving...we had showers and Deb got started on breakfast. Did I tell you we were spoiled with the meals Deb cooked for us? Yup...Eggs Benedict this morning!
Steve went on-line to buy a fishing license then he and Ray headed down to the boat. Meanwhile I took pictures...it was going to be a beautiful day! There are kids out swimming in the lake already!
A panorama shot...
Ray and Steve loading the boat...
And they're off! Good luck guys!
 Deb and I lounged on the dock...
 Looking back up at the house from the dock...
Time to switch directions...a view up the lake...
The guys arriving back...unfortunately no fish though. Ray is still learning the lake and Steve only has experience fishing the river outlets 30 km/19 miles farther up the lake...
Ray and Deb's place is in the narrow arm near the town of Lake Cowichan. We used to camp at the far end at Heather Campground...

Relaxing with a bevie and a few snacks...
(Ray's photo)
And then we all jumped in the boat for a little tour...
Houseboats for rent at the marina...
A boat has just entered the lock that lowers boats into the entrance to the Cowichan River...

Looks like Ray and Deb's neighbour on the left followed by a jet ski and houseboat...


 Lots of new homes being built along the north shore of the lake...
Our tour guides...Deb and Ray...
The town owned campground is beside the gated community Ray and Deb live in. It was busy this weekend! The beach in front of the campground...

After the boat ride, Deb, the brave one, went for a swim...
Dinner tonight was Prime Rib that Deb slow cooked on the rotisserie on the barbecue...complete with Yorkshire Pudding....
Ray carving the beast...
Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, mashed potatoes (with fresh chives from the garden), gravy, corn-on-the-cob...
As usual, it was absolutely delicious!!
After dinner, we retreated back out to the sundeck for awhile before calling it an early night.

We had originally planned to leave Monday (June 29) but with a little coaxing from Deb and the weather so fabulous, we decided to stay another day.

The lake was like glass first thing this morning, so Ray and Steve headed out fishing shortly after 7:00. Deb and I finished our coffee on the deck and then went down to lounge on the deck...basically a repeat of yesterday.
(The next 4 photos are Ray's)
 What a beautiful morning to be on the water...
FISH ON!!!
It was a hell of a fight but I got it in! There are big fish here though...I caught a 4 lb brown trout a few years ago...
 The guys returned briefly, before continuing over to the marina to fuel up the boat
 Freya welcoming them back...
 Houseboats next to the fuelling dock...
Steve doing a little fishing off the dock...
Up to the yard for a couple of games of Ladder Ball...Ray and Steve went first and then Deb and I had a game...
Back down to the lake for a float...
 And then as it got fairly breezy down at the dock we retreated up to the deck...
Deb checking the chicken on the Traegar Smoker...
 Another delicious dinner!
Again, after dinner we sat out on the deck until we called it a night...another great day!

Tuesday (June 30) we were up early and after a quick cup of coffee, I went up to shower and pack. Once I was done, Steve did the same. We were all packed and ready to go shortly before 8:00. With big hugs, we said goodbye to Deb and Ray. Thank you so much for all your hospitality and sharing your piece of paradise with us...we had a blast! Now we have to diet and dry out for awhile LOL!

We caught the 10:15 sailing (that was 20 minutes late leaving) from Duke Point, just south of Nanaimo and arrived in Tsawwassen a couple of hours later. We rarely take this ferry, so it was a nice change...mind you, we didn't leave the car while on board.
It was just after 1:00 by the time we got home. We both unpacked our suitcases and then I decided to go do a little grocery shopping. While I was gone, Steve took care of a few things outside and was inside watching TV when I got home.

Once all the groceries were put away, I joined him...ahhh...it's good to be home!