Heading Home: Day 18, Airdrie, Alberta

Long drive today mainly due to construction.  There were many times I had to wait 20 minutes or more while no traffic moved or traffic going the opposite direction came by and came by and came by until I was certain the flag person at the other end of the construction site had forgotten that the sign said STOP on the other side.  I did manage to get a few nice pictures while we were stopped (a bit of reflection from the windshield there) and eat my lunch that I had prepared that morning before walking the kids to school for the last time.  Lots of hugs goodbye and a promise to FaceTime next Friday when I’m back home.

There were places along the highway where rather shallow rivers were running by and I could just picture prospectors panning for gold there.  Some of them were the most beautiful shade of blue.  I also was surprised how much more fall gold was in the forests and red where there were sumachs growing.  It was all just so breathtaking and of course, the mountains so majestic and sometimes a bit intimidating.  A good drive all in all, although I did pass another accident coming out of BC as I had done going in last week.  And I was able to identify places talked about while I was in Vernon and others I remembered from the previous week.  Arrived tired but feeling good.

Rich, Jan and I spent a bit of time relaxing on their deck with the gorgeous view of the golf course and then enjoyed a wonderful meal together indoors.  We all participated in eventually getting the new printer connected to the desktop computer and the laptop and watched a bit of TV before hitting the sack!  I did lose an hour today and I think I lose one tomorrow as well.

Tomorrow night, God willing, I’ll be in Malta, Montana, USA on the first American leg of the trip home.  Cheers from Airdrie!

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Day 17: Kelowna, B.C.

Had a wonderful scenic drive south to Kelowna today.  Amazing scenery (to use Bronyaur’s word) and beautiful weather for the day.  Lots of photos including the floating bridge.

Back in Vernon, we had lunch at a place called Davison’s where they have apple orchards and serve their own bottled juice, sell all kinds of fruit produce and products and we ate outside enjoying the view.  They have play areas for kids to play and a lovely patio for eating.  Lots of interesting displays and even a petting zoo up behind the store.

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We ate our meal up with the family and then Mattie (grandma) and I helped the kids tidy all their lego and find room for it all on their shelves.  They did an amazing job.

Cheers for the last time from Vernon, B.C.!

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Day 16: Kamloops, BC

After we walked the kids to school this morning, Mattie, Gord & I headed for Kamloops.  It’s only 1 1/2 hours northwest of here.  Along the way we stopped at a place called Ranch Café which was decorated with a western theme inside.  We also enjoyed the mountain/lake scenery as we went.  We had a short list of shopping malls to hit when we got to Kamloops where there were stores that sold native-designed clothing and jewellry.  I was looking for something to wear that captured the northwest native spirit and had seen a wrap online in black and red (so typically Haida) with an eagle on the back.  But I wanted one made in Canada not somewhere in the far east and I wanted it purchased in BC not shipped from somewhere in the States.

The first mall we stopped at had a Sears closing so we shopped there.  Unfortunately, the native shop we thought we’d find there had closed a few months early and their website had not been taken down nor had it shown where they had reopened if they have.  So my sister found another one on her phone and directed us to a mall downtown called the Northills Centre.  Here we had super luck.  In a store called Treasures,  I found exactly what I wanted as well as a pair of fingerless gloves that go nicely with my new thrift shop find from Airdrie so I’m all set for the fall weather when it comes back.  (We’ve been having perfect weather here and I’m glad I’m missing the heatwave back in Ontario.)  The shawl design is by Haida artist Allan Weir and is perfect.  My sister found some Christmas presents as well so it was an extremely worthwhile trip.

Before heading back, we stopped for lunch just at the south end of Kamloops at The Amsterdam Restaurant which serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch.  We had a good meal and were intrigued by some of the quaint Dutch paraphernalia.  Even the doors to the washrooms were noteworthy.

On the road again, we stopped for ice cream at the Route 97 50s Ice Cream Parlour where we indulged in a bit of dessert before continuing on home.  We ate outside in the beautiful 20°C weather but the inside decor was great.  James Dean, Elvis, the juke box, the rat pack, and its rather playing on the Route 66 popularity in the US.  A pleasant ride home in time to pick up the kids.

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LETHAL WEAPON: Wayans & Crawford

In the evenings, Mattie, Gord & I have been watching Netflix episodes of a series called Lethal Weapon which we’re really enjoying.  The characters are really a lot of fun and it’s an exciting cop show as well.  I never saw the movies of the same name (I think there were 4) so can’t compare but these are really good.  They star Clayne Crawford (Martin Riggs suicidal ex-navy seal) and Damon Wayans (Roger Murtagh veteran officer) as the partner cops, Keesha Sharp as Murtagh’s wife, and Jordana Brewster as Martin’s police psychiatrist.  I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow’s my last day here and it’s going to be very hard to leave Friday morning but it’s time to head home!  Cheers from Vernon!

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Day 15: Vernon, B.C.

Walked to school with the kids again today and we saw a car exactly like mine only the Veloster/Turbo logos had been removed from the back and Porsche ornaments had been applied over the Hyundai logos front and back, a new spoiler had been added at the back and the hub caps had been changed.  Among other things, it had the telltale 3rd door on the passenger side of the vehicle which definitely classifies it as a Hyundai.  It didn’t say what year it was but it has a few features mine doesn’t so it’s earlier than a 2016. It’s for sale and they’re asking $12,000 for it!  An OK price but definitely not a Porsche.  Good luck with that!

After breakfast (I had slept in a bit and didn’t eat before going to school), I went off to Walmart to pick up a few things for the trip home.  I also got more pictures of wall murals and utility box wraps which are becoming more common now in a lot of cities.  I’m assuming they’re easier to clean and deter graffiti but they also add a little lift to the downtown area.  I really like them.  I also took a picture of a lovely little park with a neat waterfall.

Lunch at the BX Creek Bar & Grill with my sister Mattie and her husband Gord.  We had a great meal but decided we needed dessert from Alexander’s at the beach where they serve a mean key lime cheesecake.  So after a bit of a tour around some lakes and a picture taking, we picked up two of the kids from school (Coda has a course he’s taking and so his mom picks him up), we headed for the beach. Great key lime — both Jasmine and Bronyaur said so, and I was so eager to eat mine by the time we got there that I forgot to take the picture until after I’d had a couple of bites.  Sorry about that!

Here’s another panorama from beautiful Vernon!

At dinner, I was too full and only wanted a P B & J sandwich.  The kids were intrigued with my WOW Peanut Butter — peanut and gluten free soy peanut butter with stickers for the school lunch to say as much, so they each had a taste of it.  Then after dinner, we sat on the stairs and looked at my pictures from my trip.  I think Bronyaur liked the dinosaur pictures best; I’m not sure what Jasmine’s favourites were.

I don’t know if it’s the mountain air, the travelling, or just my age but I’m wiped out each evening here.  Three more mornings to walk with the kids to school and two more evenings.  Off to Kamloops tomorrow, I think.  Here are a few of the murals from the downtown.  Cheers!

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Day 14: Vernon, B.C.

Walked with Jasmine to school today.  It’s not a long walk and it was very pleasant outside.  My sister and I ran a few errands, I got pictures of a few of the murals around town, and we picked up a USB hub and thumb drive for the old computer I got for the kids and since I forgot to pack one of the LEGO Vision Command Cameras, I found one on eBay that I will have shipped directly to them here in Vernon.

View of Vernon from my sister’s friend’s house.

After a nice lunch, I went with my sister and a friend of hers to their book club for the afternoon.  Lots of interesting conversation, plenty of delicious goodies to eat and drink, and we even talked about the book for the month, Josephine B., book one of a trilogy about Napoleon’s wife whose name, apparently, wasn’t even Josephine.  The meeting was in a beautiful house up Middleton Mountain and had a great view of Vernon.  It was somewhat overcast and we even had a few drops of rain, but you can see from the picture that these folks have a great view.

Jasmine, Bronyaur and I had lots of fun playing with some knowledge cards after school.  After you programme your answers into the special decoders that came with them, you place it on the answer key on the back of the card and self-check your answers.  We had a lot of fun and learned about inventions, locks, Leonardo da Vinci, and even magic.

After dinner, grandma, poppy and I watched some Netflix and I think I dozed a bit having missed my afternoon nap.  But before going to bed, I replanned my route home and booked all of my motels except for the last night.  I decided to break my trip in Minneapolis to spend an extra day and catch up on the time changes.  Not looking forward to leaving but it will be good to be on my way home.  Cheers!


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Day 13: Vernon, B.C.

My sister, her husband, and I went to church with the kids this morning.  First I took a nice picture of the kids in front of their house with their dad and dad’s girlfriend. Back row: Thomas, Diana, and Coda; front row: Bronyaur and Jasmine.


Trinity United Church is a lovely building and it was a baptism service this morning with an indoor barbeque afterwards.  The choir was joined today by an interesting drum ensemble called the Jabulani Drummers — 4 women with drums and other percussion instruments.  They added an interesting dimension to all the music but especially to the choirs anthem called African Psalm.  The food was great and we definitely won’t be hungry again before dinner.

Spent some time working with the LEGO programming with Bronyaur.  Jasmine did a lot of reading and Coda was off with two friends and Dad and Diana to celebrate his birthday from earlier in the month playing paintball.  There’s a lot I’ve forgotten about the LEGO and will have to spend some time tomorrow morning reviewing some of the programming tools so they can run their brick robots.

After dinner we had a spirited game of Rumoli (which I’ve never played before but was lots of fun) and then the kids headed to bed.  A bit of TV and then bed for us, too. Book Club in the afternoon tomorrow with my sister.  Cheers!

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Day 12: Vernon, B.C.

Still felt like I was on Mountain Time today — got up at the usual time and had breakfast with my sister.  Once we heard noises upstairs, I went and did LEGO with the kids.  We got started on the RoboLab Training Missions and starting using the Mars landscape boards I had brought with me.  These kids are building gurus.

After brunch, my nephew and the family went off to Silver Star Mountain Resort to get their new passes and do some hiking.  My sister and her husband gave me a tour of the Vernon area — awesome houses on Turtle Mountain, a drive around Swan Lake, some of the highlights including Vernon Lodge, a conference centre, hotel which includes Don Cherry’s pub and a pool and dining area called BX Creek which is also the name of the creek which comes down from Silver Star Mountain and runs through the restaurant/pool/spa area.  I hope we’ll get a chance to eat there later in the week.

We also drove past many of the downtown murals which I hope to get a chance to feature later in the week.  A nap before dinner helped me sort out the time change and we had a relaxing evening watching a movie on Netflix: Hidden Figures which I hadn’t seen before and really enjoyed.  Looking forward to church in the morning where I will no doubt meet some of my sister’s friends and enjoy their special barbeque lunch, after which my oldest great-nephew is off for a paint-ball afternoon with his dad and a few friends while the other two and I do a bit more with the LEGO robotics.  Five more days before I start back home.  Cheers!

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