School Is Back In Session or How to Survive Re-Learning at Age 43

Every three years, I have to get re-certified as a conductor/switchman. The previous times I did it in my home town area of Vancouver. This time around my company sent me to Winnipeg. This is where the new centralized training center is located.

The CN Campus is huge and modern feeling. We have been treated to unlimited coffee and a cafeteria style lunch. The classroom portion itself is, basically, dry. When learning rules that are important for the safety and service of our industries- it’s difficult to make it entertaining.

At least after those eight hour days we get to go and leave it all behind us for the evening. My coworker and I headed back to the hotel where I enjoyed the pool and sauna while he hit the gym. The 21st floor of our hotel has the pool and views of the city. A few minutes in the hot tub and I was relaxed again.

On to day 2 of the classroom portion. Hopefully my swimsuit will be dry for another evening dip and relaxation afterwards.

Windy Wind Down

Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.

First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.

Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.

Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.

Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.

An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.

Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.

Lake Views 2019

Wednesday was another fun filled day. My son and I went out on the kayaks and he decided that we should go to the island. We had a great time racing each other and bonding.

As the sun went overhead and the temperatures reached 31° we found ways to keep cool.

My wife relaxed with her kindle in the hammock. I took a camping chair just deep enough into the water that my butt would be submerged. I found some driftwood and used it as a foot rest.

Just before dinner, my wife and I went out on the kayaks and paddled around the campgrounds.

We ended our day with some good laughs at dinner and a failed attempt at making Jiffypop popcorn. But all is well. We are still not done camping for the week.

Float The Boat

Kayaking and floating on the lake was a great way to spend our first full day on Harrison Lake. We love coming to Twenty Mile Bay.

My wife and oldest daughter went out kayaking after breakfast. I took my other daughter out and we floated about in some tubes. Shortly after, my wife came back and I hopped into the kayak. My wife and I towed our daughters out in the lake having a great time.

Once we ditched the girls- my wife and I paddled to the island just off shore. As in a twenty five minute paddle to the secluded island.

We paused for a beverage and some time to talk. We put on our PFDs and floated in the lake around the island back to the kayaks.

The water was peaceful and it’s always great to connect with nature without the white noise of suburban life.

Twenty Mile Bay 2019

On Monday we ventured out to our favorite campsite at Twenty Mile Bay. This year, my best friend I’ve known since kindergarten is joining us with his kids. The weather will be cooperating as well!

We packed up our cars and headed down the logging road that leads us to the campsite.

When we arrived- we exploded and took over our double site. This will be our home for five days. I’m happy that this year there isn’t a campfire ban. We can cook foods over the open flames!

In between cooking and sleeping we will be enjoying the lake and relaxing. The best way to end summer vacation.

Charlie Lake

About 15 minutes outside of Fort St. John is Charlie Lake. Yesterday my wife and I decided to go and check it out with our kayaks.

The boat launch that is there is in disrepair, so you can only bring kayaks, canoes and small boats in the lake. This meant that yesterday- we had the lake to ourselves.

This is a small lake only 3 km wide and 13 km long. There are a few homes situated along the shore, but none if you paddled north. Near the shoreline was heavy in algae which gave it a green tinge and made it tough to paddle through.

Once we ventured out about 500 meters, the water was pristine. Our mid day paddle last a good couple of hours and we paused at one point for a lunch break as we bobbed up and down on the slight waves.

This was yet another easy kayaking adventure. No challenge to it. But because of the amount of time we spent on the water- we can feel the burn today in our muscles. It feels great.

Fort St. John

We are in Fort St. John for a Speed Skating camp that our two youngest are attending. My wife and I are free for the whole day while the kids workout and train. Which now begs the question- “What does one do while in Fort St. John, BC?”

For starters I took a nap while my wife played video games. Not too shabby a start.

Seriously though. The city’s slogan is “The Energetic City” so there best be something behind this. Only… I think the slogan isn’t about the nightlife. We decided to do the “Number 3 Tourist Attraction” which I found in Google.

We ended up at the Site C Dam visiting a lovely chainlink fence. Actually the telescopes opened up the ability to see more of the construction going on. There were plenty of information kiosks in the parking lot explaining the history of the land and the plans to keep the project environmentally friendly.

Afterwards we stopped at Beards Brewing for some of the best beer I’ve tried in quite some time. This stop is a must if you end up in Fort St. John.

We are hoping that today the weather clears up after raining all night. We brought our kayaks and are looking forward to exploring some local waters.

What Does $1000 Look Like?

Recently I finished a set off doors for our home. I’m really happy with the results. But it got me thinking about how $1000 can look differently every time. With each and every purchase or experience being worthwhile.

I treated my wife to a night out on the town at a spa and hotel. We needed that time off. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

We bought tickets to Queen for the five of us. Such an amazing show. Queen

We now have a back up generator for when the power goes out. Like it does every year… sometimes for days on end.

My son got a pair of Long Track Speed Skates. Chasing that Olympic Dream! Fastest Ice

We bought a couple of kayaks and accessories. Gotta stay in shape as we grow older. Kayak Adventure

That’s all from this year. In the past- a thousand dollars bought three iPad Minis, or a video game system and accessories, or tickets to Disneyland, even a new mattress…

Like they say, a thousand here and thousand there- pretty soon it adds up to real money.

I’m starting to feel broke. Maybe it’s time to slow down on the spending. The kids need a post secondary education. A thousand bucks might buy a couple of textbooks.

Camping is Planned

British Columbia has some of the most beautiful forests and lakes in the world. People love to go camping as well. Getting away from the busy life and enjoying nature is revitalizing. Many of the popular campsites book up quickly in the Spring for the entire Summer. These are the easy access sites with full amenities.

For the past few years, we go camping at a spot that’s a bit further out at a place called Twenty Mile Bay. It requires about an hour drive down a logging road. Not the kind of drive that most small cars could do which makes it more secluded and private. It’s also the kind of place where you pack in/pack out all trash thus keeping the campsite pristine.

The only downside is that we can’t book a spot that far in advance for this camp ground. We only get 30 days ahead of time to book a spot. The other day we missed our opportunity to get our first choice spot. However, we did get to book our favorite double site spot. We are looking forward to our regular summer break on the lake. This time we may have a friend join us with his family adding to the adventure.

Have you enjoyed camping in BC? Any favorite spots? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to explore more of this beautiful province.

All That Jazz

This weekend there is a Jazz Festival going on in Fort Langley. I won some tickets to my choice of performances over the weekend. Hooray for those Instagram contests! I chose to go on the Saturday night to the “Frank Sinatra Big Band Swing Dance” located at the Fort Langley Community Hall. I’m a fan of swing music and Sinatra, (I blogged about him earlier this year: Sinatra as a Mentor) so it made sense for me to attend this show.

My wife and I started our date night at the Trading Post Eatery. One of our favorite places to dine in Fort Langley. Afterwards we wandered over to the Community Hall and found a great spot to watch Steve Maddock and Swing Aggregation perform. The band was tight and energized. The crowd they played to ranged in ages from early twenties to late eighties.

The band had everyone toe tapping and smiling. Especially when the Suburban Swing Dancers– a professional group of dancers- began to show off their skills. And show off they did. By the end of the first hour these dancers had broken a healthy sweat. It also got more people from the crowd up dancing.

The music was great and the dancing was fast. I think that next year we will most likely partake in more of the free events and the stages setup all around the community. There’s still one more day to go- so I recommend taking a lazy Sunday out to Fort Langley and enjoy some Jazz.