Sunday, September 5 to Monday, September 20, 2021 (Peace Arch RV Park, Surrey, BC)

The last couple of weeks since we got back from the Island has been pretty uneventful. Steve had a bunch of pictures to edit and get ready for our blog...and once that was done, I/we worked on blog updates documenting our couple of weeks away. So that, along with our daily walks and chores around the RV kept us busy the first week.

Tuesday (Sept. 7) morning, I had a dental appointment...just a cleaning. It had been quite awhile. I decided to change dentists to one over here on the mainland. Steve hasn't made the move, so if we don't go south this winter, he will go to his dentist in Victoria, as I'm sure we will be making numerous trips over to the island for visits. I also met a cousin for a walk and coffee Tuesday afternoon. Great seeing Glenna and catching up!

The highlight of the week came Wednesday (Sept. 8) when Angela invited us over for dinner (she doesn't work Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Of course we headed into Coquitlam early so we could spend time with Isaac! 

It took us extraordinarily long to get to their place...just heavy Isaac and Angela were sitting on the front porch steps waiting for us when we arrived. Just love the big smile across his face when he sees us!

We brought gifts for Isaac from the Island...a puzzle, "Lightning McQueen"! When I saw it, I knew he'd love it...his bike helmet is also Lightning McQueen. Of course, that was the first thing he wanted to do!
All done!
And a book...I don't know how many times I read the book to him!
Then it was time to play with his water table....
Chris left work a little early and was home just after 5:30. We enjoyed a delicious dinner out on the patio...take advantage of that while we can as fall is definitely on it's way!

We said goodnight at about 7:30...bedtime for Isaac anyway. Thanks for a lovely afternoon and evening, Angela and Chris!

Thursday (Sept. 9) was the first day of school for our grandsons in Victoria...Conner, starting Grade 3 and Bryce, Grade 1 (I actually had to confirm with Rob...I apparently lost a year somewhere, I thought they were in Grade 2 and Kindergarten! Yikes!). Thanks for the great picture, Angie!
 Friday (Sept. 10) we decided it was time to get the quads washed. So we drove Buster to a nearby car wash. Luckily, there was enough room to park and off load the ATV's. Steve spray washed them both first, then we each took a bucket and sponge and washed our own...and he finished off with a spray rinse...
And back into the truck they go!
So we spent a lovely couple of hours doing that...but it's a chore we're glad to have done! Steve made an appointment to take them in for servicing the week after next.

Saturday (Sept. 11), we spent most of the day watch the CNN 9/11 special presentations on TV, and the remembrance ceremonies. Hard to believe it's been 20 years. Like most folks, we both remember where and what we were doing that fateful day so vividly.

Sunday (Sept. 12) morning Steve "put out" his idea how but after his shower, he was hobbling around. It's been a long time since that has happened! Walking seems to help, so over the next week, in addition to our usual morning walk, we quite often got out for an extra one in the afternoon.

Chris, Angela and Isaac came out late afternoon for dinner. We managed to sit outside as long as we could but there is a definite coolness as the sun gets lower, so we headed inside. As we went in, Isaac said "I like this song" and began dancing! Steve took a short video...too cute!
A rather awkward selfie of us all about to have dinner...
Monday (Sept. 13)...Salmon fishing in the rivers is really hot right now so Steve dug out his old neoprene chest waders he hasn't used in years to sell on FB Marketplace. We have never done this before but it was relatively painless. Next thing he knew, there were several fellows interested and they were sold! Hmmm...maybe $30 wasn't enough!  He also put a couple of backpacks that we don't use any more on Marketplace...they are really nice but just too big for what we need. Consequently, they have been hardly used. No interest in them...must be the wrong time of year! But at least the waders are gone! One less thing in the trailer basement!

Tuesday (Sept. 14) was cool and was super socked in all day! We met a colleague from Steve's work days and her husband, Tracy and Colin, for lunch at John B Pub in Coquitlam for lunch. We spent a wonderful couple of hours enjoying the Burger and Beer special and catching up with them. Unfortunately by the time we thought of taking a picture we had a dirty table so didn't bother. As usual, great to see you both! Thanks for the small bedroom TV and the fresh herbs from your garden!

Tracy mentioned that Pacific Controls had moved into a new office in Burnaby, not far away (Steve worked in the Victoria office), so after lunch we drove there for a visit. At least there are still 2 people left that Steve knew...the owner, Mark (well, I guess ex-owner, as he recently sold the business), and Cindy, who besides purchasing, wears many hats. Cindy gave Steve a tour then later while he was speaking with Mark, Cindy gave me a quick tour around the new facility. It's been over 11 years since Steve has seen them. 

Wednesday (Sept. 15), I left just after 10:00 for an annual dermatologist appointment in North Vancouver (could we have found one further away? Sheesh!). After checking me over, she decided to send a biopsy of a spot on my calf in for testing, and lightly free-off a spot on my nose. Otherwise all is good. She will call next week with the results of the biopsy but she really isn't expecting it to be cancerous. 

I stopped at Costco for a little shopping on my way I had a good day by myself. I think Steve did too...he walked, read and watched TV. Always good to have some alone time!

Thursday (Sept. 16) was an absolutely beautiful sunny day...just a little chilly to start at 6C/43F. There is a big rainstorm coming in tomorrow, the first major rain since last January! A rainfall and wind warning has been issued for the region. 

So best to get out for a walk today at Crescent Beach. Wow! is the tide ever out!

A large sandbar island...
On our way home, we took a drive through White pretty!
Friday (Sept. 17), we woke to the sound of rain on the roof...and it basically poured all day. They certainly got that forecast right! Consequently, it was pretty much an inside day, although I did go out to run a few errands.

Saturday (Sept. 18) and another appointment for me. My "knee doctor" comes over from Victoria every third Saturday each month to give his patients knee injections in the Vancouver area. My right knee (the one not replaced) has been really good but with the uncertainty of the US border opening, I wanted to at least get it checked and talk to him about it. Turns out, no injection needed today but he wants to see me again in January, or just before we go south, if in fact we are able to.

Sunday (Sept. 19) and a cloudy day. After our morning walk, we had a great video chat with Rob, Angie, Conner and Bryce. They are doing well, and the boys are enjoying being back at school.

We basically chilled for the rest of the day...Steve watching TV and I was working on this blog update. Chris invited us for dinner tonight, so we headed out just after 3:00.

Another lovely visit with them! A great feast of Chinese food for dinner and lots of Isaac time...priceless! 

Monday (Sept. 20) morning while having breakfast, we got the bad news that President Biden is keeping the border closed at least until October 21st. Well that sucks! 70% of Canadians are currently fully vaccinated compared to 54% of Americans but they can come to Canada. Maybe it should have been a mutual border opening or nothing. And how is it safer crossing a border flying in a tube with a couple of hundred people breathing the same air, but not safe in your vehicle, when fully vaccinated...Geez!! We would normally be leaving in 2 to 3 weeks, but here we sit in limbo wondering... are we going south to the warmth of Arizona, or staying here in the rain (and snow?) for another winter?! 😠

Our morning walk was at Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest...a beautiful densely treed park. Other than laundry, that was pretty much our day.

And that brings us up-to-date once again!

Thursday, September 2 to Saturday, September 4, 2021 (Trip to Vancouver Island - Royston, BC - Part B)

Thursday (Sept. 2) morning we drove to the Courtenay Airpark and walked the Riverway Heritage Walk. Steve here. In 1976 I got my private pilot license and later on landed at this airpark. Back then it was a short dirt runway and I was warned that it was surrounded by water on three sides with a marina at one end. That wasn't very reassuring...I was used to landing on long paved runways!
Courtenay Marina Park at the end of the runway...
The Courtenay River, a confluence of the Puntledge and Tsolum Rivers runs beside the airpark. The light coloured area in the distance used to be a sawmill that Steve used to call on back in his working days. Apparently the land is being returned to nature...
Floatplane ramp...
Inland waterway for waterfowl that's been opened to the ocean at high tide so that it has a flushing action...
Mudflats at low tide...
Allison and me...
A beautiful walk...and one of Abbey's favourites!

Back at Earl and Allison's, we chilled for a bit before heading out to Fanny Bay, about 20 kms/12 miles south of here. Steve and I are meeting my brother and sister-in-law, Don and Rhonda, at the Fanny Bay Inn (also known as the FBI) for lunch. With all of the COVID restrictions over the last 17 months, we hadn't been able to see, again, it was wonderful being able to get together and have lunch and a visit! It was extremely hot sitting in the sun so we cut our visit short.
After lunch, Steve took me on a little tour of Courtenay, showing me one of the houses that he lived in back in 1967 when his family moved here from Victoria.

We played more Rummikub with Earl and Allison after dinner...Allison and Earl are still dominating! Steve and/or I had better at least win one game before we leave Saturday!

Friday (Sept. 3)...Steve took this picture out of the living room window when he got up. A pretty sky but the forecast is for a cloudy, cool day.
Earl had a day of touring the area all planned for us today. We started at the Comox Valley Marina and walked out to the end of Fisherman's Wharf Boardwalk...
Too bad it was such a dark and gloomy day...
We walked to the end of the pier...
In the distance is the Comox Glacier...

Next was Filberg Park...Nine acres of landscaped waterfront parkland, gardens and heritage buildings in Comox, BC.

The extensive gardens have many captivating features. Nine landscaped acres, with a stream running through the natural ravine provide a perfect setting for a variety of plantings such as maples and magnolias. Rare and exotic trees from many parts of the world include a selection of stately oaks, London Planes, Atlas and Deodora cedars, pines of many species and a variety of other mature trees.

Filberg Lodge is a 1930’s arts and crafts style home built on 9 acres of beautiful waterfront estate which overlooks the Comox Harbour. Once the home of logging magnate and philanthropist Robert (RJ) Filberg and his family, it is now a municipal heritage Park right in the heart of beautiful downtown Comox, British Columbia.

Steve and I took the self-guided tour of the lodge. 
The house, with its five bedrooms, five fireplaces, and four bathrooms, was massive for the 1930s, and took six years to build. Some people say that Mr. Filberg stretched out the building process to keep his men employed throughout the Great Depression. Originally, the house was meant to be a summer home, but the Filbergs were so pleased with it that they decided to make the Lodge their permanent home.

The Master Bedroom...
Bathroom and Powder Room - styled after the Filberg's stateroom aboard the Queen Mary...
The Living Room - The enormous sofa was Bob's idea of comfort. The carpet (circa. 1930) is from Iran and is worth $25,000...
The Dining Room...

Mary's Room - Originally, this room was the Master Bedroom, but Mary got this room after the extension was built downstairs...
What a gorgeous view out this bedroom window...

Staircase - The stair risers are Douglas Fir railway ties. The handrail is a Pacific Yew tree trunk with the branch as a natural banister. Pacific Yew is very rare on the island, this one was harvested on Mission Hill in Courtenay...
Very interesting! As a side note, the china on display everywhere in the lodge is for sale. One of the volunteers said that it is a big fund-raiser for the non-profit organization that maintains the lodge and outbuildings. If you'd like to read more about the history of the Filberg family, click here.

We met up with Earl and Allison who were waiting outside and continued walking through the park.

(Strength from our ancestors)
This Tla Wa Sints Guy U Las (Strength from our Ancestors) totem was originally commissioned by Comox Valley residents Gordon and Ivy Wagner as a gift to the Filberg Park. Created by carver Richard Krentz, it was raised June 19, 1994 and described by some as “a magical event.” Recognizing and celebrating four families and their crests, the symbols represented the Puntlege (Thunderbird), two groups of the K’ómoks (the whale and the grizzly bear) and the Eiksan (sun). After standing proudly for 23 years, the aging totem has been placed in the ravine to complete its life cycle. In keeping with tradition, the totem now serves as an evocative reminder of the spirit of the First Nations ancestors and that all things organic are eventually returned to the earth.

At this point we decided to stop for lunch at Earl and  Allison's favourite soup and sandwich spot...Comox Soup Shack. The sandwiches are huge, so each couple shared a sandwich and had their own soup and biscuit....excellent choice guys!

As we drove past the static display at CFB Comox Steve quickly clicked away for a few photos...

We stopped and did a walk through Kitty Coleman Beach Provincial Park, a small oceanfront campground. Unlike most provincial parks, it is a Class 'C' provincial park, meaning it is run by a local community board. The beach is directly across from the sites and provides a beautiful view of Powell River and the surrounding beaches across the water. There are only pit toilets available, and no hook-up or sani-station for motorhomes.

Look at the size of this Douglas Fir!

Incorporated into our tour were some stops at a few RV parks. We love the Courtenay/Comox Valley area and are looking to the future as possibly parking our rig long term...not in our immediate plans but something we are thinking about in the future. So we also stopped at a few campgrounds along our way. Everyone's favourite was Cape Lazo RV Park except for Steve. His preference was Seal Bay RV Park because it's not so close to the ocean. After spending last winter at Oceanside RV Park which is a great park, but oceanside, the atmospheric sea mist created by the winter storms rusted the lug nuts on our trailer wheels, our new propane tank, and parts of the truck and trailer.

Such a great day! Thanks so much for the tour, guys! Back home we sat chit-chatting as dinner was prepared...and of course, after dinner, the Rummikub game was brought out! Again, Allison and Earl dominated...but at least Steve redeemed us by winning a game, or was it two...can't remember!
Saturday (Sept. 4) morning, we were up, had coffee and a bite to eat and then Steve loaded our suitcases into the car. After big hugs, we said goodbye to Earl and  Allison...thanks so very much for your hospitality, we really enjoyed our visit with you! Hopefully, we'll see you down in Q this winter...but if we're not able to go south, we'll be coming back to the island for visits!

It was just before 8:00 a.m. when we hit the road. We have a reservation on the 10:15 a.m. ferry sailing from the Duke Point Terminal, just south of Nanaimo. We stopped for gas along the way and arrived at the terminal at 9:15.

The ferry we were on had the cafeteria at the bow of the ship, so Steve grabbed a window table while I got us coffee and a snack...and that is where we sat for the whole 2 hour sailing. Steve saw a whale surface briefly about 75 yards in front of the ferry! Hopefully it made it safely as there seems to be far too many collision fatalities with ships around the world... 
It was 1:00 when we pulled into the RV park. After unloading the car and putting everything away, I headed off to pick up a few groceries.

We had such a great couple of weeks away! This gives you some idea of our route...(the Courtenay/Comox Valley is just above Royston)...
It was wonderful having a nice trip away, but as usual, it's great to be back home!