Thursday, February 25, 2010

So I know what you've been thinking! Where am I? What am I doing in the frozen north?

Well, I have been busy anyway. The man reason I came back was so I could head to Ottawa for a few days to take care of some fall-out from work. That trip got called off with only a couple days to spare, so then plan B and C were put into effect.

First off, was a trip to Wycliffe, BC (near Cranbrook) to visit with some friends who I used to work with and have now retired. Accomodation was luxurious in the brand new B&B that my friends have built.
Everyone had their own room, and there was a separate living room/ dining room, though we spent most of our time with the hosts in their living area.
It is located right on the St Mary's river, and will be open for official business very shortly.
It was very comfortable, and of course the hosts were just great.
Even Ollie the cat was enjoying his visit, having come over from Alberta to check things out.
Upon departure, I decided to head east through the Crowsnest Pass area, so that I could go through Calgary on the long way back.
It rained for a while, then cleared nicely as I passed through the towns in the pass.

Of course this is the location of the famous 'Frank Slide' where half a mountainside came crashing down and right across the valley early in the century, burying part of the town and killing both miners and townspeople.
The present highway runs right through the slide deposit, and is still almost devoid of any vegetation.

I was in Calgary to pick up a propane hose for my 5th wheel, that I had been waiting for for a long time. I was willing to wait another week or so to pick it up, but I was informed that the dealership and two other related ones were out of business as of the end of the week. I was glad that most of my warranty issues had already been dealt with and that they cared enough to call and make sure I got the hose. I guess things are still tough in the RV business.
Of course, once I got home, I discovered that the hose will need some adapters to make it fit!
I spent part of the weekend cat-sitting the cat that had been on our Yukon/Alaska adventure late last summer. We watched some of the Olympics on TV!
And checked out some empty bookcases, ready for the eventual move to my house in the country later this year ...
And I did finally make it out there to check things out - first time in 3 months. Everything was just as I had left it, and the power had not even been off once.
I was starting to get bored around home, even though I had been busy moving my new propane heater from the truck camper to the fifth wheel.
So much so that I even got out on the XC ski trails for a day or two to enjoy the sunshine and solitude.
Of course I was still jealous of Wandering Willy, and the Bayfield Bunch and others who are still enjoying the warmth of the California and Arizona deserts!
But I am hoping that before March is very old I may have the chance to drag the new 5th down the road for a while to find somewhere warm till the snow melts around here.
Sorry to leave you in the dark for so long, but stay tuned and watch for our departure - complete with some new travel 'toys'!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It had rained for part of the night and it was still overcast and wet in the morning, but that did not deter me from a stroll down to the shore with my hot cup of morning coffee in hand.So, I checked out the 'Spouting Horn', which was performing rather well at the time. Click on the photo and you should be able to read the sign.
And, a short video of the action!

Left the coast north of Lincoln City, through McMinnville (home of the Spruce Goose - see my December posts), and through the middle of Portland - back on Interstate 5 northbound.

At Bellingham it was goodbye to the Interstate and hello to the border and to Canada.
While the weather and road conditions are not to be bragged about up here in winter, there are certainly some advantages to being back on the north side of the line. By the way, the border crossing was quick and uneventful.
But being back in Canada means that my iPhone can finally do all the things it does so well - but cannot do in the US because the roaming charges would send you to the poorhouse. Thanks to Roger's and AT&T for getting along so well and sharing the airwaves. NOT!

My iPhone - lower right in the photo - does a pretty good job of being a navigator all on it's own, when compared to the Tomtom at the top. Once again my e-mail can arrive on the phone, as well as news, sports, weather, satellite radio. Of course, now that BC is actively enforcing the mis-use of hand held devices while driving - I made sure I was always legal. With my phone, the gps, the satellite radio all mounted on the windsheild, as well as the rearview mirror - which also contains a phone, compass, and Onstar, there is not too much windshield left to look out.
The coquihalla highway had some foggy sections, and looks poor in the picture, but was mostly bare and wet and not a problem.
Still can't get used to not having to pay the $10 toll any more. That's great.
Visited friends in Revelstoke and Golden along the way - and it looks like the weather is improving in the Golden canyon as we get closer to Alberta!
Yikes! Made it home to Lake Louise. Those humps of snow in the background are my hot tub, and a picnic table. Fortunately, house-sitters and friends kept the snow level in the driveway down to a foot or so, but I still had to shovel my way into the driveway.
And there, all alone and cold,is the 5th wheel - waiting patiently for it's chance to head for the sunny south. Maybe next trip.
In the meantime, I'd better get the shovel and get the snow off it's roof!
I'll be around home for a month or so, then we'll see what the next plan of action or travel will be.
Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In northern California, I took the secondary highway for a more relaxed, slower view at these incredible trees. Your neck hurts from looking up so much.
My truck informed me that my fuel filter had very little life remaining, so after fueling up in Brookings, Oregon, I went across the street to an 'Oil Can Henry's' and asked if they would install the filter I had with me. For $25, they were happy to do so, and managed to get at it without resorting to going through the wheel well. After they finished and I was back inside, I noticed this video screen with shots of the front, underside and side of my truck where it sat there. Cool!
You may have to click on the photo to see it properly.Along the coast are many private driveways and access roads. Most have some sort of 'private' signs to deter the tourists, but some go a little further to get their point across - like this one.
It must have been an extra-high tide or a storm surge as I drove this section of coast.
Many sections of the coast have huge accumulations of driftwood on the shore, and some of it you can tell has not moved for years, evn though all the corners are rounded and worn down.
In this area however, many of these large chunks of wood were actively being tossed about with every wave that came in.

There were loud thuds and bumps as these heavy, sodden peices of wood bashed together with every wave. You most definitely would not want to be walking on these logs or be in the water when this was going on. Fortunately, I remembered to take some video!

I was just out on the road again puttering along slowly as traffic was fairly light, well below the speed limit when I saw lights and heard a siren behind me. I pulled over and the Oregon state trooper car kept on going at high speed. A bit further up the road I found out what all the fuss was about. Because of the rain, some mud and rocks had come down on the road - as is very common here.
Not that much was on the road, but it was on a bit of a curve, and could have caused quite a problem. Once again, it reminded me of doing exactly the same thing back at work.

I pulled over in a pull-off just up the road to watch the waves some more, when all three trooper cars pulled in beside me to discuss the situation - which had since been taken care of by a fleet of plow trucks from ODOT.
Found this old burner abandoned along the Pistol River road as I was scouting around for a quiet spot to spend the night.