Visiting with Family

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 21 ~ Day #72
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7200
$0.00
$7253.59
$100.74
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9285
3856 [4437]
000
69
13791
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 23 ~ Day #74
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7400
$13.12
$7266.71
$98.19
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9285
3856 [4437]
000
69
13791
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 24 ~ Day #75
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7500
$37.69
$7304.40
$97.39
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9285+106=9391
3856 [4437]
000
69
13897
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 26 ~ Day #77
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7700
$33.12
$7337.52
$95.29
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9391+58=9449
3856 [4437]
000
69
13955

Current Location: Grimsby, Ontario

Today’s Total Expenses: $56.46

Transportation: $25.00
Accommodation: $
Food: $32.44

Six Days in One

In this post we are combining six days in one post while staying with my Dad and visiting my two sons and their families.

Enjoying Time with Dad

We arrived around 6pm last night so Wednesday was the first full day we had to spend with Dad.

It’s great to see him and to spend some time with him. The last time we saw him was when he visited us in the Bahamas for a month last November.

Bodies – The Exhibition – Niagara Falls

On Thursday we planned a trip to see “Bodies – The Exhibition – The Science Inside of You” in Niagara Falls.

This is a display of actual human bodies and organs in various types of dissections to show such things as muscles, internal organs, blood vessels and much, much more.

At first we thought we might have difficulty with this type of display. We were afraid it might be a bit gruesome. But, Dad had seen the exhibit before in Vancouver and said it was fascinating.

So, off we sent and we did find the exhibit interesting, educational and fascinating. The human body is truly amazing.

Actually, the only things that we thought were in poor taste were the photo they took of each group, photoshopped in one of the bodies and then offered the photos for sale and the gift shop had such things as a stuffed “Flesh Eating Disease” toy and leg bone swizzle sticks. Sorry, but that kind of thing is just gross!

Discount Shopping

Just around the corner from the exhibit was a discount outlet, so we also stopped in there.

Dad found a lovely bird feeder for his backyard and we got some small propane cylinders for our Coleman stove. The prices were not only good but they also included the taxes in the price. In my opinion, that’s a great way to price things.

Niagara Falls
Then we drove around Niagara Falls for a bit. We have all been to The Falls many, many times so we didn’t stay long as it was, as usual, quite crowded.

Unexpected Dental Work

After getting back it was time for Geoff to head off to the dentist. He had chipped his tooth the day before.

We just picked a dentist from a sign we drove by. I think, perhaps, we should have shopped around a bit.

For just 5 minutes to fix the chip – with no freezing – he was charged $140.44! And, they said they gave him a significant discount. This was just another one of those unexpected expenses that you can’t possibly plan for but have to find some way, on such a long to trip, to allow for such things in your budget.

Canadian Tire

When we were leaving the US we started having a little trouble with the transmission. It was having difficult changing from second to third gear. Having to fix a transmission could easily be a trip ending problem.

As the car needed another oil change, we took it to Canadian Tire and also had them do a road test on the car to evaluate the transmission.

When we picked it up they let us know they couldn’t find anything wrong with the transmission. Good news. Now let’s hope the car behaves. Perhaps it was just a little quirk. Here’s hoping.

Work Day

We decided that Friday needed to be a work day so we did our best to catch up on our posts and other stuff that just goes along with keeping up with life.

Mexican Train Dominos

During this week my Dad also introduced me to a game called Mexican Train Dominos. It’s really a lot of fun.

Try as I might, I have yet to beat him, but I did come close – once!

Visit to My Eldest Son and Family

Saturday we were off to visit my eldest son and his family which includes my grandson, my granddaughter and his lovely fiancé and their new home.

This was the first time we met his fiancé and what a lovely lady she is. She has three children – two boys and girl – who we’ll get to meet tomorrow at a bbq given by my other son and his family. More about that next.

Visit to My Second Son and Family

This son and his fiancé have just purchased a lovely house and are busy making it their home.

I was happy to see them both again as well as my grandchildren. Together they have five kids and only one of them was missing as he was working.

We were also able to meet my eldest’s son’s fiancé’s children and that was a pleasure, too.

All the kids played together amazingly well and enjoyed themselves immensely in the pool at T & F’s new house.

Our Last Day Here

On our last day here we had to take our car back to Canadian Tire because the “check engine” light was on.

They simply wanted too much to check for the reason and we’re sure there really isn’t anything wrong. It has probably just registered a miss-fire like the last time when we had the distributor cap replaced.

We did some more running around and topped off the evening with a lovely spaghetti dinner cooked by my Dad. He’s a wonderful cook and the spaghetti sauce was amazing.

It will be sad to leave tomorrow, but it’s time to get back on the road.

Thanks, Dad! Love you!

Thanks also to T&F and family and T&E and family for welcoming us into their homes. We love you all.

Nanaimo to Vancouver to Chilliwack, BC

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 18 ~Day #39
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3900
$48.70
$4955.39
$127.06
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917 + 64
3826 + 30
000
69
9484.40

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Mileage: 128 (Chilliwack to Vancouver and return)
Nautical Miles: 30 (Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver)

Today’s Total Expenses: $48.70

Transportation: $27.70 (Ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver)

Entertainment: $21.00 (Parking for Stanley Park, ferry to Granville Island)

BC Ferries

British Columbia has an amazing ferry system to service many of their communities.

This morning we were up early to catch the 8:30am ferry from Departure Bay in Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver where my sister would be waiting to pick us up. We had a full day planned visiting Stanley Park, Granville Island and finishing up with a BBQ with my brother-in-law’s family.

The ferry crossing was pleasant and relaxing. I was hoping to see some wildlife along the way – whales in particular – but I would have settled for seals or dolphins, but it was not to be.

We felt the charge for the ferry was pretty reasonable. We only spent $27.70 for both of us and the trip was over 1-1/2 hours long and covered 30 nautical miles.

Stanley Park

My sister was waiting for us as we got off the ferry. She had brought our car, which we had left at their house while we were on the Alaska cruise.

We threw our stuff in the car and headed for Stanley Park. This is a huge park on a peninsula in downtown Vancouver. It boasts an aquarium, totem poles, many lookout points and more. I’m really not doing it justice with my description, so you should consider a visit here.

We drove through the park to get an idea of where we’d like to stop. We then found a parking spot and the parking pass was good for anywhere in the park which meant we could feel free to stop and explore wherever we wanted.

Our first parking spot was actually just outside the park but our pass covered that, too.

It was lunchtime so we stopped for lunch at a small Arabian restaurant for a Shwarma (I hope I’m spelling that right) plate. It was a plate of spiced chicken, rice, humus, tabouli and a pita bread. We couldn’t finish it all.

Granville Island

After walking the seawall in downtown Vancouver to work off some of our lunch it was off the Granville Island.

Granville Island is a mix of farmers market, boutique stores, entertainment, restaurants and more and is a “must see” when visiting Vancouver.

We were able to leave the car where we had parked it and take a cute little ferry to Granville Island.

While we were there we were able to meet up with our niece (who is expecting within a couple of weeks and simply cute as a button), her husband and their six Afghan hounds – that’s right, I said six and they are all amazingly beautiful.

Back to Stanley Park

After taking the little ferry back to where we had our car parked, we headed back into Stanley Park and made several stops throughout the park including one at the totem poles.

Wildlife Encounter

Finally! An up close and personal wildlife encounter.

Okay, it was only a raccoon with attitude, but it was exciting anyway.

Family BBQ

From there we headed, with the help of Madge (our GPS), to the family BBQ. It was lovely to meet many family members that we have not met before and to see a few that we hadn’t seen in more years than I care to mention.

The conversations were interesting, the food was great and there was most certainly lots of it. Many thanks to my brother-in-law’s family for including us in their get-together.

Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Little Mountain, Old Country Market, Cathedral Grove

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 17 ~Day #38
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3800
$6.27
$4906.69
$129.12
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
3826
000
69
9385.9

Current Location: Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC)

Today’s Total Expenses: $6.27

Food: $6.27 Costco hot dogs

Vancouver Island is about 300 miles long and 60 miles wide so even though we were driving all day yesterday we have only explored a small section. Vicky’s sister-in-law ‘F’ was a sales rep for grocery products for many years and traveled the island extensively so she knows the area very well. Since Vicky’s brother had to work today, F offered to drive us around to explore some of the communities close to Nanaimo. I think she was trying to sell us on the idea of moving to the island because she made a point of showing us places where we could buy some nice properties.

We drove through Parksville and in Qualicum Beach stopped at an artsy store full of cute carvings, home made jams, jewelry and furniture. You know, the sort of store a man can check out and dismiss in about five minutes and a woman can wander around in for hours.

Since I was outnumbered I found myself a comfortable chair and just dozed a little while waiting for the girls to reappear.

Surprise, ‘F’ actually bought something – a plaque for a friend. Usually the women spend hours browsing – they call it shopping – and then never buy anything.

Cathedral Grove
Our next stop was Cathedral Grove on Hwy ##. This was the highway we took to Tofino yesterday but we didn’t have time to stop.

Cathedral Grove is one of Canada’s oldest pine forests containing trees up to 800 years old. These things are immense, over xxxft high and xxxft in circumference.

A forest fire swept through the area a few hundred years ago so there are not many of the 800 year old giants left but most of the others are over 400 years old and they are pretty big, too.

Little Mountain
On the way back to Nanaimo we took a short detour up to the top of Little Mountain. The road has one of the steepest grades I’ve ever seen. There are some spectacular houses all the way up to the top. I can’t image how they manage in the winter when the area gets some snow.

Goats On The Roof

One of the oddest sights you will ever see is at the Old Country Market in Coombs. This single storey log building has a grass roof and on the roof lives a family of goats.

The property has developed into quite a tourist attraction with various art, trinket and clothing stores taking advantage of the traffic the goats provide.

Canadian Costco
Supper was still several hours away so we stopped at a Costco for their famous Polish Sausage and drink deal. Except this was a Canadian Costco and for some reason they only have hot dogs – oh well it was still good and a good deal.

Banana Cream Pie
One of my favorite desserts is Banana Cream Pie and it just happens to be one of ‘F’s’ specialities. It was well worth the extra belt notch – thank’s ‘F’.

Nanaimo, Tofino and Ucluelet, BC

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 16 ~Day #37
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3700
$14.00
$4900.42
$132.44
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
3826
000
69
9385.9

Current Location: Nanaimo, BC
Mileage: 258 (Nanaimo to Tofino and back) Total:

Today’s Total Expenses: $14.00

Food: $14.00

Discovering Vancouver Island

My brother and sister-in-law were both free today so we decided to spend the day by going all the way to the West Coast of Vancouver Island – all the way to Tofino.

It was a beautiful day for the drive and we packed a picnic lunch to take with us.

The 2 hour or so winding drive through forests, lakes and mountains was a treat in itself.

Ucluelet, BC

Our first stop was in the town of Ucluelet, a quaint little town with a few shops and a small aquarium.

Tofino, BC

Our next destination was Tofino where we stopped on a wide beach, perched ourselves on a sun-warmed log and had our lunch.

Geoff and I simply had to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean as we were all the way on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Where the water was really shallow it was fairly warm but as soon as we were ankle-deep – Yikes! – it was pretty chilly – for us, anyway.

Then we drove into the town of Tofino and wandered around for a while popping into touristy shops and art galleries.

Coulson Flying Tankers

On the way back R & F mentioned that the world’s largest flying tankers (http://www.martinmars.com/) were berthed right here on Vancouver Island, so we made a little detour hoping they would be visible.

Luckily they were there and it was quite a sight. It’s hard to imagine how these huge planes, filled with water, can even get into the air. But, apparently, they are used worldwide.

Ice Cream!

On our way back home we also stopped for some amazing ice cream at Whiskey Creek. If you happen to stop here for a cone, make sure you only ask for a single scoop. Trust me, it’s huge!

We each selected a different flavour – I believe they had about 40 flavours to choose from – and enjoyed our cones while soaking up some sunshine before heading back home.

BBQ and Trivial Pursuit

The perfect day was topped off by a lovely BBQ, some great conversation and a roaring game of Trivial Pursuit.

We played the girls against the guys and it was a very close game. We all did very well but okay, okay – the guys won.

Many thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for a wonderful day.

VIA Rail to Nanaimo

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 15 ~Day #36
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3600
$39.90
$4886.42
$135.73
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
3826
000
69
9385.9

Current Location: Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC

Early Start
Our train to Nanaimo left Victoria at 8am this morning so we had to be up and packed much earlier than we had been doing lately.

VIA Rail Station
It was a short $11 cab ride to the train station which turned out to be just a tiny ticket booth on the platform. We had pre-booked our tickets online and they were waiting for us when we arrived.

The train is just two carriages with a built in engine. More like a subway car than a train but very comfortable with lots of leg room. Way more comfortable than any airplane.

Vancouver Island Scenery
We had been told that this was a very scenic trip and we pictured traveling through the mountains and along the coast. But I’m afraid our imagination was a little more vivid than the reality.

It is a pleasant trip but a lot of it is through fairly dense forest and there is not a lot to see. It is certainly the most economical way to do the trip, at $39.90 (CDN) for both of us it is less than the cost of gas.

Vicky’s Brothers House
Vicky’s sister-in-law “F” was at the station to meet us and took us on a short tour of Nanaimo and to where Vicky’s brother “R” works.

Then we went on to their house. Vicky had been there before but I never had. I had a mental picture of what it was like but it was no where near the reality.

They live in a subdivision of custom houses built around a man made lake. Their lot backs on to the lake and F is an avid gardener so the landscaping is spectacular.

Friends For Dinner
We finished the day with a wonderful dinner on the patio overlooking the lake. R & F had invited some neighbor friends and there was lots of interesting conversation over several bottles of wine.