Words done. Adding pictures which may be jumbled for a while.
We drove to Edmonton at the end of June and had some grandkids time with some games and then over into July for Canada Day celebrations.
It’s been a bit of tradition for us to attend the Sherwood Park Canada Day parade with the Edmonton grandkids each July 1st if possible. The pox of Covid killed the parade for a while and now the pox of lawyers and liability insurance killed it this year. Perhaps permanently. Sad.
Sherwood Park had multiple activities other than a parade. We attended the pancake breakfast and then cruised the booths and displays indoors and out.
The kids played pinball, got faces painted, tattoos, carved soap stone, and looked at R/C aircraft promoting an R/C club event at an airfield later in the summer. That took the morning before home for lunch.
Near sunset we all piled into the Odyssey and drove to watch the fireworks in the river valley. By the time we got there a cul de sac off Scona Road was full. No room at the viewpoint. Up hill a bit at the Pioneer Cabin the public lot had been commandeered for a wedding reception at the cabin with security guards fiercely defending their turf. We carried on uphill and back to Whyte Avenue parking a few blocks shy of 109th street a pleasant ten-minute walk to Saskatchewan Drive.
There, police prevented people accessing the grassy slope near the High Level Bridge which we had used another year. Can’t understand what the problem was with that spot except it gave a clear view of the fireworks without having to walk all the way down into the river valley. Other than an opportunity for high T preening from the bike cops I can see no positive purpose in that little exercise.
Ninety percent of the fireworks were visible above the bush line across from where we were sitting. Good enough. Going down into the valley would not have been better enough to have to climb back out. I managed to hand out a number of curved illusion tracts while waiting for the show to start and even a couple of Spanish language versions to some bystanders discussing the show in Spanish.
When in Edmonton for Canada Day, etc. we tried picking up roll of Alpha Systems roofing material for fifth wheel. It couldn’t fit through trunk of car even with the back seat seatbacks down.
Back Home (briefly)
Back home we started work on replacing window with a door between our bedroom and the deck we built last year. As I removed siding, I discovered a horde of houseflies have been using the siding for a home. Disgusting. We will deal with that over time. After the siding as off we removed the window and reframed the opening for a door. One complication was having to reroute the plumbing stack vent line. That was a fun and creative challenge. We prevailed.
When I went back to Edmonton to join the trip to BC I used the truck and picked up the roll of RV roofing material on my way to Becky’s. We stored it in their garage while we were gone.
Edmonton to Kamloops
Nick has been working in Sarnia, Ontario. This is expected to last well into July so I volunteered as co-pilot on the family trip to BC. Juanita held down the fort in Meadow Lake. There was room for her in the van, but not if Nick’s job ended early and he joined us in BC. We left Edmonton and drove to Kamloops the first day with stops in Hinton, Jasper, and Mount Robson. While we were travelling, I read aloud to my grandkids from the biography of my grandfather. “Life and Experiences of Dan Alton in Eastern and Western Canada.” He built railway bridges in the Rockies, and we would be passing through areas he mentioned.
Kamloops to Vancouver
On Sunday we drove from Kamloops. We travelled on the Coquihala and went to Burnaby to visit my sister, Sydney. We walked to a nearby park to have lunch and to visit while the kids played. On our way from there to Stanley Park we planned to go to La Casa Gelato. The line up was around the block! It is a Guinness Book World record holder with 238 flavours of ice cream. Juanita and I had taken our daughters there years ago when I was working on pulp mill design in Vancouver but I didn’t remember it being quite so popular. So off we went to Stanley Park, passing the third world encampment on Hasting Street. Canada is not a serious country.
We did the usual at Stanley Park, cruising past Coal Harbor and stopping to check out the totem poles, Brockton Point lighthouse, the Lions Gate Bridge / Prospect Point and the Hollow Tree. I have seen pictures going back to my paternal grandfather’s time of family standing inside the Hollow Tree. The tradition continues thanks to the people who propped the tree back up with a metal inner structure after it blew over a few years back. We skipped stopping at the Rose Garden which had been on the itinerary but seemed unlikely to be popular among the diminutive occupants of the mini van. Parking is at a premium with spots hard to find. At a couple I circled or went on to the next location while Rebekah and the kids walked. I added a parking app to go with the parking apps that work in Edmonton and Saskatoon.
The zoo is no more and the aquarium limits access through high prices and reserved tickets that quickly sell out. Back for another try at La Casa Gelato.
The line was still there.
Dumped everybody out to get in line while I found a parking spot across the street. Parking is one of many reasons we live in the middle of a forest and not a city. By the time I parked and came across the street our troop was near the door. I worked the line with curved illusion tracts, and we went in. The reason for the line became obvious once we were inside. The were celebrating their 40th anniversary. Prices were prices from forty years ago. A buck or two a cone instead of eight or more. My treat!
We headed to our hotel in Surrey picking up a couple of pizzas on the way.
Surrey to Powell River
The next day after a pretty decent complementary breakfast we headed across the Port Mann and Iron Workers’ bridges and stopped at Lynn Canyon Park to walk across the suspension bridge and explore some trails. Next was the Capilano River fish hatchery passing on our way there the tourist trap Capilano Canyon suspension bridge. Tour buses and all. The commercial version of the Lynn Canyon. Ours is prettier. We had the fish hatchery almost to ourselves. There were a couple of Buddhist monks in orange robes leaving as we arrived. They like the curved illusion tracts. I didn’t hang around to see if they still liked them after reading the backs.
Dim sum for lunch at Westview Village in North Vancouver followed by a rushed walk to the lighthouse at Lighthouse Park. Coming of the park Google Maps told us to turn right to go to Horseshoe Bay. A little local knowledge can come in handy. The GM directions would have put us in the village looking at a ferry terminal we couldn’t access by vehicle and would have had to retrace our steps for miles. I turned right and eventually GM got with the program.
The BC Ferries reservation system worked as planned. The kids enjoyed their ferry ride. The shortcut around Gibson’s was blocked for road work so we had to go through town with all its lights and local traffic. Despite that we arrived at Earl’s Cove ferry terminal in lots of time to wander around and visit with a classmate from high school and hand out a few curved illusion tracts. The kids got to stare out at the beach through the chain link fence that the nanny state put up from fear of law suits or safety or something. I’m so grateful to have been a child when we could free range and blow things up a bit. I have a feeling the Royal Caren Mounted Police would come down hard on if kids today tried what my childhood friends and I got up to.
Stayed with family (thank you, Sherry and Glenn), had a family BBQ to see most of the family and did a bunch of the usual stuff that one does in Powell River. We went to Palm Beach and spent the afternoon getting too much sun and walked out to the point finding crabs and little fish and using a driftwood log as a teeter tooter. We changed out of swimsuits and headed to town to meet my sister at the mini golf across from Willingdon Beach. On the way there it came out that a swimsuit had been left behind in the change room. I called the regional district to ask about a lost and found. As I started to explain the situation the voice said “Oh Hi, Uncle Paul.” Small world. There is no formal lost and found. Anything left behind gets hung up in the change room. If its still there a week later it gets tossed. A bit of a drive later and child was reunited with swimsuit and the culpable received the appropriate mom lecture.
We climbed Valentine Mountain, drove past my parents’ house and our old house then fished for shiners at Lund and walked the boardwalk there.
Powell River to Nanaimo
After a couple of busy days we caught the ferry to Vancouver Island and toured Cathedral Grove, visited Qualicum Falls shopped at Coombs. After not finding much in the way of food at Coombs we went to Qualicum Beach for fish and chips at a restaurant on the beach. The next morning I walked a couple of blocks from our motel in Nanaimo to pick up breakfast at McDonalds.
Nanaimo to Victoria to Langley
First stop in Victoria was Hatley Castle on the edge of Royal Roads University. We hiked the extensive grounds with their formal and informal gardens. Then off to downtown to find parking still a challenge in Victoria. After finding an underground lot we exited to the light and walked down by the harbour and the north side of the Empress Hotel to spent some delightful time wandering through Miniature World. I spent a lot of time in Victoria as a student and a young bachelor but had never fitted a tour of this museum of little before. Well worth the time.
We went to lunch and shopped for souvenirs for the kids to buy with their souvenir money. We picked up some beaver tails and munched on them on the way past Emily Carr’s House, the Inner harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf Park and Craigdarroch Castle.
Some wires were crossed about the availability of a tour at a chocolate factory, but there was a gift shop selling factory seconds and more. The kids were happy enough with that.
The wait at the Schwartz Bay ferry terminal wasn’t too bad and we loaded without incident and found tables and suitable ferry food that everyone was happy and fed before walking around the ferry. At the hotel in Langley the kids hit the pool. I took one look at the crowded people stew and opted out.
Langley to Vernon
Following a sumptuous breakfast buffet we headed east on the freeway until we were beyond Hope and on the Coquihalla Highway toward Merritt. Near Merritt we hung a right and followed the Okanagan Connector to Westbank. The tourism building and rest area at that intersection is permanently closed. A looong way from there we gratefully pulled into a newer smaller rest area and the seven of us headed for the facilities with no lolly gagging at all.
In Westbank we went to Paynter’s Fruit Market and wandered around a bit. The U-Pick apricot harvest had not yet started. Maybe next week.
On the road again to cross Okanagan Lake on the pontoon bridge to Kelowna and a McDonald’s lunch at curbside. I’m a bad influence. After checking into our hotel at Vernon we went in search of Peter’s U-Pick cherry orchard. I guess you are not supposed to eat as you pick. Something about pesticides, At least that’s what grandson Ansel kept reminding me. I had enough cherries in my bucket and so did the youngest, Odelia, so we went to the way in then weighed, washed, and bagged our bounty prior to snacking on same while we waiting for the more industrious to be done.
After supermarket take-out dinner in the room, we splashed around the pool and wallowed in the hot tub. Not so many people in this pool. End of another day.
Vernon to Calgary
You never quite get on the road early when travelling with many children, but it wasn’t too late. I had time to go fuel up the van and get some coffee before the continental breakfast was available to guests. We drove north and followed the picturesque cross over from Vernon to Salmon Arm, and Sicamous, the “house boat capital” of somewhere (The world? Canada? BC? Sicamous?). We passed through Revelstoke and Golden on our way to Lake Louise, stopping at Craigellachie (last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway) and Roger’s Pass.
Lake Louise was crowded with parking and lake access managed with government efficiency. We gave up on the lake and carried on to Banff. We drove around Banff and checked out the sights before going to Canmore for supper at a Japanese fast-food restaurant.
We settled in at the Calgary hotel. There were a few people wandering around in their rodeo attending get-ups. Just what one would expect on the last day of the Calgary Stampede. For some reason that escapes writing this up months later, we walked to McDonald’s and back before turning in for the night.
Calgary to Edmonton
After the breakfast buffet with fifty other people in a cloak room we loaded up the van. The trip must be almost over. We have the loading process down pat. First stop of the day the Bass Pro / Cabela’s store. Much wandering and gawking and a little shopping took place before on to the highway north to Edmonton.
We stopped at THE rest stop between Calgary and Edmonton. Oh well. The highway is okay with four lanes these days. The first memory I have of it is driving it with my father. A two-lane highway with a passing lane every once in a while. We stuck behind an army convoy with one car ahead of us getting past the convoy at each passing lane. Two lanes good. Four lanes better. Is that an Orwell quote?
In Edmonton I helped unload the van. Nick (back form Sarnia) and Ezekial helped my load the roofing material on the truck resting the shipping cylinder on the tail gate. At Home Depot I managed to support the cylinder on my shoulder and lower the tailgate until I had loaded the four rolls of turf onto the truck bed. Didn’t think it was a one-person job but got tired of waiting for the helper that customer service had promised me.
Next stop, home in Meadow Lake.
Back Home Again
Back home I wandered between sloth, putting siding back on the house around the new door, and prepping for replacing the roof on the fifth wheel. Before the old roof membrane could come off all the stuff on top of the old membrane had to come off: vents; vent covers; solar panels; bathroom skylight; air conditioning unit; trim sealing the front and back caps and the trim on the sides. Once there were openings to the weather, we covered the whole rig with a big new tarp between work activities. We were ready when help was available and good weather was expected once we were ready to pull off the membrane. On the big day, Deborah and her husband, Ernie, showed up and the four of us took off the last screws and tugged away to peel off the original rubber. After some surface prep we spread glue and dragged the new membrane onto the roof. We stabled it in place, and it was supper time. Deborah and Ernie went away for a while. When they came back I had the opening prepped for the AC unit to go back on. We did that, spread the tarp and called it a day. A long and full Saturday of work.
On Monday I started the tedious task of cleaning trim before Juanita and I started screwing it back on. This looks like my life for the last week of the month and beyond.