Sunday, April 3, 2011 (Ferry to Vancouver Island...and our “other home”)

As usual, I was up fairly early this morning and with my coffee and laptop, sat in my chair updating our travel journal with the events of yesterday. I wanted to get that done before Steve got up and we started to get packed up.

Before packing up the trailer for travel, I had to get our suitcases packed with everything we wanted to take with us in the truck to Victoria. That also included emptying out what was left in the fridge...and it all just fit into the cooler...whew! For our American Friends, our “other home” is actually in the Municipality of North Saanich, BC...that’s about 20 miles north of Victoria on the Saanich Peninsula (Sidney is the closest town).

We were all packed up and ready to head out just before 11:00 a.m. I had made a phone call earlier to the campground manager just to see if, by chance, we could leave the trailer there for the 4 weeks we are going to be on the Island. We didn’t think so, but it was worth a try...but we were right...they can’t do that. So off we headed to Surrey Storage to leave our precious home in a rather “dumpy looking” area.’s really not that’s just a typical storage area where there are all sorts of “things” stored kind of looks like “old Langford”. And as I said yesterday, it’s only for a month and it’s not like we are living there.

After waiting for Trent (the owner of the facility) to come and unlock the gate, we managed to get the trailer backed into a very narrow spot. Of course, the spots are only the width of the trailer with about a couple of feet to spare on each side. Yikes...that was the narrowest spot we have ever had to back into!

We got unhitched and moved the cooler from inside the trailer onto the back of the truck where Steve tied it down...there just wasn’t any room left inside the truck! And we were off to the Ferry Terminal at Tsawwassen. Unfortunately our ETA had us arriving just after 1:00...too late for that sailing so we will likely have to wait for the 3:00 sailing. But we were pleasantly surprised upon arriving at the terminal to find out that that there was a 2:00 sailing...yay!

So after a quick lunch in the terminal (fast food Chinese food...tasted good but it sure weighed heavy on the stomach for the rest of the afternoon!) it was boarding time. We chose a couple of seats and plunked ourselves down to read the newspaper for the 1 hour, 35 minute sailing to Swartz Bay.

We arrived home around 4:00...we always liked living close to the ferry terminal...and the airport, for that matter! Rob and Angie are away for a week in the San Francisco area so we will have the house to ourselves. After unloading the truck, we got ourselves all settled in the, it’s big!

Well...we plan on being here for the next 4 weeks...likely heading back to Fort Langley on April 30th. So, stay tuned until then...when we resume our adventures!

Saturday, April 2, 2011 (Fort Camping, Brae Island Regional Park, Fort Langley, BC)

We wanted to go take a look at the storage facility where we would be leaving our 5th wheel for the month while we go over to the Island. We won’t be taking the 5th wheel back to the Island until we plan on spending more time over there...the cost on BC Ferries is just too rich for us to be taking it back and they just increased their rates April 1st just in time for our return. The truck alone will cost plenty!

After exercises, showers and breakfast, we headed out to the address in Surrey...Serena said it was a 25 minute drive. We first drove by the address and after turning around; we found it and turned into the driveway. I must say, neither Steve nor I were particularly’s amazing the junk some people put into storage. But on the plus side, it is totally fenced and has on-site security. Of course, the slot (#49) was right in the middle of a huge puddle...there has just been so much rain. Oh well, it will work and it’s only being stored for 4 weeks...not like we are going to be living here. The cost is reasonable at $100.80 ($90 + HST). We went back to the office and did up the paperwork...we will drop the trailer off around noon tomorrow.

After hitting a TDCanada Trust Bank for some (colourful) Canadian cash, we returned to the campground. We spent the next hour or so getting ready to leave tomorrow. Steve packed the truck with the things we would need to take with us to the Island. We plan on going camping with Rob and Angie to our favourite Easter Weekend campground on Lake Cowichan. That meant we needed to take some things that are currently stored in the trailer and find room in the rods, life jackets, sleeping bags, air bed, flash lights...etc. We’ll rely on Rob and Angie for all the Coleman stove, barbeque and dishes.

That was a good job in the morning, we will only have to pack our clothes and put the suitcase into the truck before packing up the trailer.

It was just before 2:00 when Chris and Sheannie arrived...and they brought some sunshine with them from Vancouver...sweet! Sheannie had never seen our home and she was quite intrigued. After giving her a tour, we all sat and chatted for a bit and then decided to go for a walk into Fort Langley. There is some sunshine out there so let’s take advantage of it...mind you; there were also some very dark, ugly clouds as well.

We walked along the river path and then across the bridge into Fort Langley to the National Historic Site...the actual Fort. The Hudson Bay Co. had a fur trading post here. With rumours of gold on the Fraser River there was a massive influx of Americans causing fear of annexation by the U.S. At Fort Langley in 1858 British Columbia was proclaimed a crown colony by Sir James Douglas. Parks Canada has maintained the Fort and it is open to visitors to take a walk back in history to life back in the 1800’s...

Here are some pictures of our tour through the Fort...
There was a Blacksmith Demonstration...
The result...a hook...very cool...

This is the building where the proclaimation was signed by Sir James Douglas in 1858 making British Columbia a Crown Colony...
Inside the building...

Once finished at the Fort, we walked along the main street of Fort’s very quaint. All buildings have been restored to maintain the history of the area and now house many shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. A very cool area!

Now this is a very interesting fence....

We finished our walk at The Fort Pub & Grill (  It was a little early for dinner, so we ordered Nachos and some drinks and chatted for awhile...before ordering dinner. We had a great we sat inside while it just poured outside! Good timing! By the time we were finished...a good couple of hours later...the sun was back out for our walk back to the trailer.

We sat inside and chatted a bit longer before Chris and Sheannie decided it was time to head back to Vancouver. After big hugs, we watched and waved as they drove away. It had been so great seeing them...I really miss “my baby” (sorry, Chris!).

Friday, April 1, 2011 (Fort Camping, Brae Island Regional Park, Fort Langley, BC)

We had a very productive morning today...after exercises we had our usual start to the day, we headed out shortly after 9:30. Our first stop was at Gold Key Truck Service where Steve spoke to Dave, the fellow who sold us the truck. We’d finally like to get the cold weather issue with the steering pump taken care of when we return in May. No problem, Dave knew all about the service bulletin so once we know exactly when we are returning, he’ll get us fixed up under warranty.

Our next stop was as ITB...after meeting with Bernice (she was our contact in the design of the toy hauler box on the truck), she suggested we go see Steve in the Service Department. He will go over all the issues with Steve and ensure they are taken care of. A couple of rivets have popped out of the rear wheel fender trim—so they are going to replace them all with larger rivets; as well as take care of the leaking problems that we have been plagued with. The boat loader rear vertical mounts are going to be modified ...there is just too much “wiggle” in the current design. Again, Steve will schedule an appointment to take the truck in once we know the dates we are going to be returning from the island.

Our next stop was Vancouver Axle and Frame. They were the company that had installed our rear air suspension so Steve wanted to talk to them about lightening up the front-end of the truck. Unlike Oregon Spring that wanted to replace the entire spring system with a different set for around $1400.00 he recommended removing enough leafs to get to the 12,000 lb load limit and adding blocks to maintain the same height for around $500.00. The other issue Steve had was 9 times out of 10 the rear air suspension would deflate overnight. You can’t hear any air escaping but he suspects there must be a slow leak and it may be difficult to locate. Also there is a toggle switch under the dash to operate the dump valve to deflate the system that isn’t working properly. Currently to deflate the air Steve has to leave the toggle on and turn the ignition to the accessories position until he can no longer hear the air exhausting...then turn the ignition to off. The bags re inflate then he has to repeat this procedure about 10 times until the air tank is empty. Apparently it has been wired incorrectly thru the ignition. When we return in 3 or 4 weeks, it’s going to be a busy week as we get all of these things taken care of. But it was good to get everything lined up...Steve will just have to confirm the dates to have the work done.

Once that is all taken care of it will be time to have the 5th wheel checked out. To date we have travelled 23,639 km (14,774 miles for our American friends) so it’s time to have the bearings, brakes and an overall inspection done.

By this time is was almost noon, so Steve wondered if there was an Olive Garden near by...low and behold, there is one right on the Langley that’s where we headed...Yay! All Olive Garden Restaurants that we have been at have all been very busy with long line-ups...this one was no exception. There was about a 25 minute wait but it was well worth it. We both enjoyed the Soup, Salad and Bread Sticks...along with Diet Cokes. My coke tasted kind of funny and I was trying to decide whether it was just me but I found it had a bit of a soapy taste. Steve’s was fine. I drank almost half of it but then decided nope, something isn’t right. When the waitress was taking away our dishes, I mentioned that my coke tasted off. She didn’t say much of anything and we thought...okay fine. Next thing we knew, she was back saying she spoke to her manager and they would not charge us for my coke and as an apology, offered us a complimentary dessert to split. Wow...we hadn’t expected that! I was just hoping that they wouldn’t charge for the coke. So we enjoyed a warm apple cinnamon cobbler-type dish with ice cream...very good.

After lunch, we headed back out in the rain to the Sony Style Store that was across the street. Just thought we would talk to them about the low-profile stereo receiver...maybe they would sell us just the receiver without the speakers. No such luck...but not surprising.

Western Power Sports had called a little earlier to say that the ATV’s were ready for pick up. We were hoping that the rain would stop before we picked them up but that just wasn’t happening. So, with all of our other errands all done, it was time. After paying for the goodness, these are expensive toys...Steve loaded them into the truck.

The drive back to the campground took a little while as the traffic was backed up...there had been an accident on Highway 10. So it was around 3:00 by the time we got home. It was still raining and very dreary out...and very chilly inside the trailer. So we got the heaters going and settled in for the rest of the day.

Chris and Sheannie are coming out tomorrow afternoon for a visit...I sure hope the weather clears up so that we can do a little sightseeing in the little community of Fort Langley. It is quite an historic district with lots of little shops, cafes and restaurants. It would be fun to wander around in the sunshine!

Thursday, March 31, 2011 (Travel day to Brae Island Regional Park, Fort Langley, BC)

We had a good sleep last night, which surprised me...I was expecting more noise being in a casino parking lot. But I guess we were far enough away from the main parking lot. After quick showers, we walked over to the casino for breakfast. No breakfast buffet this morning...that would be just too much food. Instead we enjoyed an excellent breakfast in the lovely Cedars Cafe.

After preparing the inside, we put the sliders in and were on our way. Since we were heading to Fort Langley, Serena took us on a bit of a different route than we are used to when we cross the border into Canada. We exited the I-5 on the northern side of Bellingham and headed to the Lynden Border Crossing. We had never been that route before.

We made our last fuel stop in the US at $4.20 per/gal and after stopping at the duty free store, we were in the line up at the border crossing. It’s a much smaller crossing than the Peace Arch and we were across in no time. we have to get used to kilometres and celsius again!

We arrived at Fort Camping at Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley just before noon. This is a return visit for it was our starting point last July before we started our trip east. I believe we were even given the same pull-through site we had back then. The sun actually came out as we were getting set up. So nice to see a break in all the clouds! For some reason, we could not find a satellite signal so after patiently trying for some time, Steve finally gave up and put the dish away. Too many trees. There is cable here anyway so he’ll hook that up instead. Since we will be putting the 5th wheel into storage on Sunday when we go over to Victoria for a few weeks, I suspended our ShawDirect subscription online. I sure like being able to do that!

Steve made a couple of phone calls trying to decide where to take the ATV’s in for their second servicing...should we have it done here or wait until we are over on the Island? He decided to take them in here so that we are good to go in case our club has a ride next weekend. We headed to Western Power Sports in Langley to drop them off. They will get their rather expensive check-up and be ready for pick up either late tomorrow afternoon or Saturday.

It was after 5:30 by the time we got home. After burgers for dinner, we spent the rest of the evening watching TV. It’s good to be back in Canada, eh!