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Archive for December, 2008

Monday Return

Edmonton has been a pleasant visit with family and far too many turkey dinners. Cass and I went to a steak house for dinner tonight as a turkey antidote.

We are going to stay one more day in Edmonton and head back to the island on Monday. We’ll try to one time it by leaving early and trying to get on one of the later boats. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

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In Alberta

We caught the 1pm ferry and started towards Hope and Kamloops. The roads were very windy in the Fraser Valley and the Coquihalla was slippery. We got into Kamloops by about 8pm and it was -30 C. I didn’t want to drive anymore and wanted to walk to the restaurant: 4 blocks. We made it 0.5 blocksĀ  before we shivered back to get the truck. That is cold.

We woke up in the morning and made a slow start of it… getting on the road by 10am. The rest of the trip to Edmonton was uneventful other than seeing a poor injured coyote at Tete Jeune Cache and herds of Elk in Jasper. We arrived in Edmonton by 8:30pm and spent a few hours talking to Cassie’s Aunt Tina before falling into bed.

Today we took Tina for lunch and helped her with some shopping. I had a nap while Cassie visited with her grandmother. We had dinner with Cassie’s grandfather and Tina and then visited Cassie’s father, stepmother and brother. Tomorrow we see my aunt and uncle. This will be our fate for the next week. The fun, fun, fun of family, family, family. It’s great. We’ll be heading for home sometime around the 29th, weather permitting.

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Frozen Ass…ets

This morning I went down to the bathroom to get a drink of water. When I opened the tap there was an ominous gurgling which caused the adrenaline to run in my body. FROZEN PIPES! I rushed out to the garage to get heaters and placed them in the unheated vestibule under our porch. This is where the water lines come in to our house. I haven’t had any trouble with pipe freeze up since I put a proper door and concrete floor in this area. However, last night there was a strong wind from an unusual direction. This cooled the air in this vestibule and now our pipes “done froze”.

An hour of running heaters has unfrozen our assets under the porch and we can again flush toilets and have steamy towel flicking shower fights at our leisure. We leave for Edmonton in a few hours and all I could think of while I was feverishly running the heaters was that it figures something like this would happen so close to our departure!

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I wake up at 9:30 and Cass makes us a yummy breakfast while we listen to the kitchen speakers. Then it’s out to the barn to make sure the horse is ok given the weather. He has ripped his winter blanket so we stop at Victoria Saddlery to buy him a new one because it’s too cold for him to be without while a repair is made. This time we don’t just buy him a winter blanket but a blanketing system that includes a hood and interchangeable liners. (Cass doesn’t question boat purchases and I don’t question horse purchases. That is why we are broke…and utterly happy.)

The horse seems happy. They let the horses out together in their interconnected paddocks and they rip and snort with happiness. Alli looks great in his blanket. He seems oblivious to the fact that he is wearing a veritable system of blankets but then he is just a horse and not fully expected to appreciate the value of an entire system of equine blankets and hoods. *rolls eyes*

We go home to change and then go to RVYC for Tea. Capital “T” Tea of course. Then we go to the boat and replace the fan in the Espar blower. This sounds like a simple thing to say. However, the painfully difficult job of removing and replacing a fan in a tiny box inexplicably held together with 128000 sheet metal screws with no holes that actually match perfectly in a place which can only be reached by lying on your back and contorting your arm and spine in an entirely unnatural posture is par for the course of boat maintenance. Nearly three hours later, Cass and I wearily declare victory and rush home to feed an impatient and hungry Otis-dog.

Now we’re lying in bed after a wonderful steak dinner, watching “Family Guy” and waiting for the weekly episode of the report on the Volvo Ocean Race.

Insidiously, I seem to be returning to a normal state of living. My horrid “tense throat thing” seems to have gone away. YAYYYYYYYYYY!!!! I have more energy and enjoy a nap rather than having to have it. My bottom end may never be ok but… you can’t win them all. I have 2.5 more weeks of vacation and I already feel much better.

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Home… and Then… Away

On the way from Ganges to Oak Bay the wind kicks up to about 20 knots but it’s nothing to write home about. We get home before the sun sets and clear the boat out into the bed of the truck. We talk to Danny who lives on the dock and he tells us there was one day when the wind blew over 40 knots for 24 hours. There are 4 boats that broke loose from their moorings and are up on the shore. Somehow, even though everywhere we have been people have reported severe, damaging winds, we have missed them on our cruising travels. We’re very lucky. After we unload we go for a fun dinner at the sushi bar at Shizen Sushi.

Wednesday we’re down to the boat cleaning and making repairs. One of the blower fans on the diesel heater’s radiators has packed it in so I take it apart and get a new one from Trotac, the amazing boat stuff store.

We go to visit the horse and while we’re there the snow starts. One the way home there is a severe black ice condition on the roads. We crawl along West Saanich Road with the F250 in 4×4 and pass several multi-car accidents. Vehicles that don’t have 4 wheel drive or chains have a very difficult time getting up the most gentle slopes. 20 km/hr is about the safe speed limit. We’re grateful to get back to the house. A drive that usually takes 15 minutes took more than an hour.

Once we’re back I install and hook up stereo speaker in the kitchen. Now Cassie can rock while she cooks.

Today we’ll go to RVYC for tea and I’ll probably go and install the blower fan. Tomorrow will be another day of rest and then Saturday we’ll begin our journey to Edmonton. Otis will go to the dog sitter and we’ll drive to Kamloops, stay over there and continue on to Edmonton on Sunday. The weather forecast for the interior of BC and Alberta is for very cold temperatures but at least for the weekend it looks like it will be clear.

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On the Way

We pull in to the RVYC Long Harbour Outstation at around 3pm. It’s very beautiful and the stars come out to make a wonderful backdrop to a night at the dock. We are eating our way through the last of the food that we brought with us… tasty leek and potato soup and chili. The wind drops as we get into the V berth but it is cold tonight.

We wake up this morning and cruise into Ganges to refuel. We’re sitting in Salt Spring Island Roasting Company having scones and lattes. In a few minutes we’ll be casting off for the last leg to Oak Bay Marina and home. Tonight and tomorrow it’s forecast to snow again so we should just get in before the weather does.

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Homeward Bound

It looks like the below freezing weather is here for a while so we’re preparing to head towards home. The plan is to go to the Long Harbour Outstation tonight and then on to Oak Bay tomorrow. It’s fun snuggling in the cabin but we’ve almost watched all our DVDs though we still have lots of booze. So, this isn’t necessarily a reason to leave the cruising grounds. However, there is a little weather window today and tomorrow, and then more snow is coming so we’ll head for home. This will leave us time to enjoy our house and our fireplace. Perhaps we’ll head to Edmonton a little earlier than we had originally planned. We’ll see.

Yesterday we took a drive to Parksville. Here are some photos of my loved ones playing on the beach. Even though it was cold, Otis needed to chase things in the water.

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“Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me”
Simon and Garfunkel

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