Friday, September 22, 2006

Only hours to go

In less than two hours we will be on the road back to Victoria. Going to stop off in Hazelton to visit SD for an hour or so and then stop off to pick up our meat in Prince George, this comes directly from the Rancher. I am looking forward to trying some of those steaks as I am sure the quality will be far superior to anything you can buy in the local Store.

There are three of us in the van driving back down so we should be able to swap off and drive straight through, expecting to arrive in Vancouver early Saturday, then ferry to Victoria and home by Noon or so.

It has been a fantastic holiday, as usual not enough time to visit everyone or do everything I had hoped, but there is always next year ;-).

I will have a more detailed update when we get settled in and further picture updates then.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Get Some!

What would you rather be doing on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Last day on Haida Gwaii.

This has been an incredible visit to a place I had considered not spending the time to do so. As typical with holiday time it flies back and I had thought that the nearly 6 days out of the time would have been better spent around the Terrace area. I am very glad that I had decided to do it. The beaches here are unbelievable, they go on forever, and you can walk for miles without seeing another soul. The weather has been beautiful although the speed with which it can change and that the clouds move through this territory, (it would be hard to convince anyone who has not seen this that it actually occurs,) always keeps you on your toes as you never wants to be caught without the right gear. I really need to thank FD for convincing us to come over with him and explore these Islands an experience that we will be able to look back on for a long time.


Gotta wonder why they do not change the name of the Area back to the traditional Haida Gwaii, and away from the Queen Charlotte Islands (Graham and Moresby Islands). Does anyone even know who she was, this Queen Charlotte. Hey No Googling!!! You see my point though, I am sure she had never even made it to the Island. Besides Haida Gwaii, sounds so much more representative of the area, as well as adding a mysterious allure to the Island. The map on our kitchen wall here in Masset has a little history of the area, and it states the first white settler to reach the Island was Roderick Dodd, (how's about that Margaret?) going to have to look a little deeper into the history as it might be interesting to find out a little about him and where he came from and why.


We spent yesterday on North Beach and hiking Tow Hill. Upon reaching the beach we drove up to the shipwreck (driving the Westy on the beach was very different and exciting) about 2.5 miles up. As we approached the wreck there were a couple of guys on dual-sports who had toured up from Vancouver. As we passed them they were snapping pictures of us driving by, (I returned the favour when they left.) we got a little way from the wreck where we stopped and walked back to talk to them. I guess they transported their bike and gear on their truck which they parked in Port Hardy, took the ferry to Rupert then over to QCI. It would be a nice little tour. Tow hill was a good little hike the trail-building that that had done was amazing, I can only imagine how much work was put into this trail. The views from the observation decks were unbelievable, so much beach so few people just my kind of place. We also hiked to the blowhole, although tide was out so this was not doing its thing. The beach area below Tow Hill, was very other-worldly, it was (as is the hill) an ancient lava flow beaten down by centuries of ocean flow. There were tidal pools nearly four feet across (circular) and so deep that I could not see the bottom, although Bexley came close to assisting me in find out how deep they are as he bumped me on his way past.


I have many pictures that I am going to upload with this posting when we get back to Terrace around midnight (ferry departs at 15:30 arrives in Prince Rupert about 21:30). I will try to order them somewhat as there are so many.


We had a fantastic homemade pasta dinner for our last dinner with a nice bottle of Naked Grape. Heading out this morning to a local place called "Bloom n Boot" for some touristy things and going to hit a local pottery place that does some really nice coffee mugs, MS has one and the design is ingenious.


Oh last note I tore the van apart trying to get it to start, after many issues. I need to get some plugs, Distributor cap and two V belts although none of these caused the issues but need to be replaced. I took off the second skid plate behind the fuel tank, checking fuel lines and connections. Then checked the Fuel pump and found a loose connection (electrical) to it, using my best Red Green training I have re-secured it and have not had a repeat of the issue. Woo Hoo!


Ferry to Queen Charlotte Islands

Gray Bay Rec Site (26 KM past Sandspit)

Queen Charlotte City and the Purple Onion

Graham Island (Skidegate and Masset)

Masset and North Beach

North Beach and Tow Hill



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Backlog 2

September 11, 2006


Masset, Haida Gwaii


As you can tell with this double upload to the Blog (perhaps it might be more than these two?) we never stopped in Queen Charlotte City but went right through to Skidegate so never got a chance to go live. We stopped into a little Gift shop there, came back to the van and it would not start. Looking at the mileage there a lack of gas was the most likely cause, so pulled out the reserve Jerry can filled it with that. Waited a bit for the gas to cycle through then it started and we hit the next station and filled the both of them back up. We headed to Masset, stopping off at the Balancing Rock a 96 KM trip, then 4 clicks out of Masset the beast lost all power, started to bleed of power and RPMs. Stepping on the gas seemed to make no difference. The engine's Rev would not increase.   I ended up having to unload much of our gear just to access the engine and my tools. I removed each of the spark plugs (a little wet and dirty) Air cleaner box (some moisture, oily and dirty – not the filter which was in good shape), and the Distributor cap, none of these seemed to make a difference. The entire time it seemed like either it was not getting fuel or a spark, by the time I had replaced all the items I removed it then started up no problem. It almost seems as though there is an overheating issue, but that being the case the thermostat should have alerted us to this before hand. The coolant level is within range. I am also wondering about the fuel pump, but again it should be consistent rather than these out behaviours occurring, as we had already drove from Victoria to Prince George without issue. Hey but we are here, just not sure if this is going to effect my trip further north next Friday, we may instead need to visit our old mechanic in Terrace.


OK enough of that. We are really enjoying our visit here, I could not believe the amount of deer that we have seen on our trip to the Northern part of this Island. We have also passed over the 54 Parallel although it was not marked anywhere physically, I did note it on the map before head this way. The place we are staying in is a duplex, that used to be family quarters for the military before they pulled out. You can tell that the area and may of it's buildings were built by the military especially the local Rec Centre and hospital. After a couple of days camping it was really nice to come here and have a hot shower as well as kicking back watching a little football. Well more to come and hopefully both the internet issue and the van issues are not an entry in the next post. ;-)



backlog 1

September 10, 2006


From Gray Bay, 21 KM from Sandspit on Queen Charlotte Islands


We arrived on the Island yesterday the BC ferries hold quite the schedule. We needed to leave Terrace at 2AM arrive at the Ferry terminal in Prince Rupert at 4 AM for the 6 AM sailing. We picked FD up enroute to Prince Rupert. The ferry itself is so much smaller than we are used to down south. The loading of the vehicles is quite the operation, and include things like Container Trailers without the trucks to save cost and space.


The trip over was very nice the ocean was quite calm, the time to cross was about 6 ½ hours. We had a cabin, and both my wife and her Bro we snoozing for a good part of the trip. I went down for breakfast then found a good spot out on deck out of the wind to sit and watch the waves go by. We saw several pods of porpoise as well as a group of whales.


I am about 25 feet from the incoming tide at our campsite at Gray Bay. I am just sitting here listening and watching the crashing waves around me. It is just as advertised, miles and miles of unoccupied beaches. Got up this morning coffee in hand and walked and walked , the tide was quite the ways out and took advantage of this to explore a couple of the smaller outcrops that were reachable with the tide out. Many species of Seabirds also took advantage of the outgoing tide to pick the beach and tidal pools for their morning meal. Every pool I nosed through was teaming with various types of life from hermit crabs to fish. After doing a run back to town for a few necessities I walked back down the road from camp to hike into Secret Cove, we have the brother-in-law's dog, Bexley with us, and both he and Andre and myself went on the hike.   Well Bexley is still a young pup, not really sure of how strong he is or how fast, of course everything is play play play. He was doing his best gazelle manoeuvres chasing down a chipmunk or squirrel, bouncing through the high grass. Then he gets so far ahead you can no longer see him. All of a sudden you hear low growls and crashing bush, thinking it is a bear you prepare yourself, well if it isn't Bexley again. Bugger!   He will also get ahead of you , far ahead, then sit and raise his shoulders, looking intently behind me. Who says dogs don't have a sense of humor? At least I hope they can enjoy these games they play on us. ;-)


I believe we are heading up to the North Side of the Islands tomorrow. I am hoping to hit "The Purple Onion" in Queen Charlotte City since not only do they have the best coffee on the Island but they also have internet there so I can upload this and perhaps my pictures so far.


If you ever get a chance to come to this Island make sure you take it, it really is something to experience. From Hiking, camping, fishing (Coho right now), hunting (Deer are abundant here and your total limit is 6 deer.). Just so much to do and such a beautiful place and I have seen so little of it so far.



Thursday, September 07, 2006

More fun than a ....

It's been a lot of fun over the last few days. We went out with good friends of ours to a local restaurant, The Golden Flame. They do a great Lamb Dinner. The meal as always was fabulous, and the company of course was as enjoyable as it always is. It was great to see JM and PV, they are the salt of the earth.

I was supposed to be heading out with JM and doing some bush crashing in the ATV, but got a bit impatient and ended up heading off myself today. The weather was alright but the skies did open up on me a few times. I went up the Copper Forestry Road, then unloaded the ATV on the Clore. I was very surprised to see active logging on this road, (surprised due to the local mill still being closed up.), nothing like riding an ATV then coming head to head with a loaded Logging truck to remind you how small you are. ;-) After the encounter I decided to stay on the deactivated roads as much as possible. I was out there for about 5 1/2 hours and made it up into two different ranges. An incredible view! I came across one log blocking the road and needed to build a ramp of sorts to get over it. I saw lots of evidence of Bears, Moose and deer, (droppings and scat) but I think with the noise of the ATV it scared most them out of the open. I did however see many grouse. I took quite a few pictures as always and also had my GPS on hand I will need to download the way points when I get back home as I forgot my cable for it.

Will need to have an early night tomorrow, we are getting up at 2AM Saturday for the drive to Prince Rupert. We have to be at the Ferry Terminal by 4AM for the check-in. The Ferry leaves for the Charlotte's at 6AM and arrives in Skidegate at 12:30 PM. We are both looking forward to the Visit to the area.



Monday, September 04, 2006

Terrace Update

Sad news upon our return from the campsite today, about Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) dying after a freak accident with a Stingray. We really enjoyed his show, as well as being very impressed with the work he and his wife did to rescue many animals, and his efforts to educate and promote wildlife conservatory works. A loss for us all. :-(

We have been busy over the past few days here in Terrace, visiting many we have not seen for a few days. The weather has been fantastic with bright blue skies, lots of sun and many stars at night.

Last night we went over to a very good friends and were spoiled with many treats. From a fantastic home-made dip (Yum) that disappeared as quick as you would expect for something that tasted so very good, to handmade Salsa, hot wings, bacon wrapped Steaks, BBQ'ed Stir fry veggies, baked potatoes, Prawns (massive ones!) with Garlic butter, Cesar Salad, well you get the idea both J and K put together a very impressive spread and spoiled us rotten. It had been quite a while since I had been able to sit around with my bud, hang out around the fire, shoot the breeze and have a night filled with laughs. This was our first meeting (face to face) with his woman, K. She's a great person and really brings out the best in J. Very smart, funny and a real person through and through. we had a blast. Slightly hung this morning - Par for the course LOL.

Saturday was spent out at 26 mile camping with a group of folks that we had camped with a few time before. It was very nice to see them again, (and to hear C's cutting and dry sense of humor he is always good for  a chuckle). J brought out a few ATV's from his Polaris 500, a Polaris 450 and a Yamaha 700. Had a lot of fun bombing around the Gravel pit on each of them, the Yamaha goes like stink, but the best one and all around work horse was still J's 500.

Back to school for the Kiddies tomorrow, and many of our friends are back to work too, Going to pop out and get together with JM tomorrow, (might try to sneak in an ATV trip up the Copper this week with him). Will also get together with The Reids, hopefully. Looks like this Saturday we will be heading to the Charlotte's and returning on Thursday the 14. I will try to continue uploading to both this Blog and my Flickr sites while there. Upon my return I will head up to Watson Lake and Liard Hotsprings,just me and Andre.

Liard Hot Spings
Jason and Kitti's BBQ
Camping at 26 Mile


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Back Home - in Terrace ;-)

We arrived back in Terrace mid-afternoon Yesterday. The drive from Prince George was fantastic, a beautiful day to cruise The Yellowhead, as Highway 16 is known. Not too much road destruction, but loads of wind. In a Westy this is not a great thing as you get pushed all over the road, hmm  interactive Driving.

Was nice to count down through all the little towns as we knew we were getting closer. The Skeena river is a fantastic shade of green with no traces of muddiness. Must not have had a lot of rain.

My Flickr Site - Pictures from our trip so far -

Wonderful to be back in Terrace. :-)


Friday, September 01, 2006

From the Geographic Center of the Province

We arrived in Prince George day on the 29th. The drive from Victoria was really nice. The weather was fantastic, with only a little rain in Cache Creek, some thunder. Being a Tuesday the roads were very empty, we made some great time. AC was sleeping through the majority of the trip as she had just finished a graveyard shift. Most the drive I had my iPod and headphones on. I tripped across this great metal site a few days before we left. They had just started a podcast. The site was Metal Observer, the podcast was fantastic. Different styles of metal from all over the world. Most I had not heard before and really enjoyed the introduction to. Driving and listening to those kinds of tunes, drinking lots of Timmy's coffees and taking in all the sites, Does it get any better than this?


We have been spending a few quality days with a good friend of ours here in Prince George. Lots of laughs, good food, beer, and other treats. Its great to be back here, lots has changed. Mr PG has a huge Casino behind him. There are many new developments, housing prices are on their way back up, much of this is based on new developments in the Pipeline and Gas industry. I am really glad to see some positive economic developments for the region, they had been hit very hard with Lumber and mining cut backs over the years.


We sampled some fresh Kokanee that MB's Parents had just smoked. Wow! Forget how nice fresh fish can taste. MB's Dad is very intelligent and inventive, while giving us the tour of his green house he showed us the root cellar he put in under his greenhouse. He also has a red wriggler worm ranch, guess these little guys are in huge demand in gardens everywhere. His garlic was incredible big cloves, he gave us some tips on planting them, and I think I am going to try it out in my cleared potato patch when we get home. He also had some solid tips for many of our plants in our garden. MB also knows much about these things as well and gave us many tips about what we "newbies" should do and most importantly to keep a garden journal so we have what works and what does not year to year.


Hard to believe that our visit here to Prince is almost over, we are heading to Terrace tomorrow and expect to arrive tomorrow night. More great people to visit and see again, more great places to see too.  :)