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.

River Day

Today my boss took myself and a coworker out in his boat. We were going to attempt to do some white sturgeon fishing. We left at 9am to hit the Mighty Fraser River. Once on the River, we weighed anchor about a half dozen times in hopes to catch something.

The first spot we stopped at had plenty of harbor seals swimming around. We were sure it would be the best spot. No such luck. So we set off to find another location.

Even with a sonar and some fresh bait- the fish weren’t biting. About three hours into our day- we decided to have some lunch and a couple of beers. Why not enjoy the afternoon on the water?

We couldn’t really avoid work. The Fraser River is lined with train tracks as well as a rail bridge that crosses it. Naturally our conversations would resort back to talking trains. We had some good laughs and shared stories of our careers thus far.

We ended our day with no fish caught. We did enjoy our day of rest and relaxation though. At our last spot of the day, the seals were back to greet us. Which was nice. It was a good Sunday to be had.

Powell River

Powell River is a silent little city that my sister and her family lives near. There are two ferry terminals that you can use to get to off this rock towards more civilization. The summer months are absolutely beautiful here.


My sister is right on the water with a view of the ocean and Texada island. Her home could be a Bed & Breakfast if she wanted.


I spent the morning enjoying a coffee as the boats sailed by. It was a great way to start my day. But my allergies were not being my friend.


For lunch, we drove out to Beach Hut Fish & Chips.  It was recommended by a friend of mine. Boy, was it delicious. Some of the best deep fried goodies I have had in ages.


After lunch, we drove to the end of Highway 101 to a bakery that my sister recommended.  $48 in cinnamon buns for tomorrow’s breakfast were picked up.  Our car smelled heavenly for the 45 minute drive back to my sister’s home.


This afternoon is pretty much the same as the morning. Only it’ll be a cold beverage and a deck chair as I enjoy the views. My kids are down exploring the rocks and the ocean while I write this.  

This quick getaway visiting my family is exactly what I needed to start my vacation time. Now to get back to lounging and doing nothing.

Campbell River

We had 48 hours in Campbell River.  So we made the most of it.  

My wife and I hit the Shelter Point Distillery at lunch and then off to the Beach Fire Brewing Company for some more samples.


My wife and I had a lovely afternoon together sampling booze.  We paused at the 50th Parallel for a short walk and enjoyed the scenery. We returned to my mother’s place for dinner with the family and then headed out again.


We goofed around with a selfie stick and the kids took pictures at the beach with their cameras.  We took my mother’s dog with us for a walk as well.  My family has stopped using her slave name Jodie and renamed her Snowball. (Rick and Morty fans would love this dog!) 


We checked out this year’s wood carvings.  It added a bit more silliness to our night.  Then we headed back to Gramma’s for some dessert and another sampling of Sunshine in a Barrel before calling it a night.


This morning we went down to the local beach near Gramma’s for an early morning stroll. Our oldest daughter grumbled and argued about going. In the end, we “forced her” to come along. We parked near the sea walk and her and I wandered out towards the water.  


There was a large rock that had an entire ecosystem living at the base. We saw sea stars, crabs, hermit crabs, a sea anemone, some eels and a sea slug. My daughter took some photos with her cellphone.

After an enjoyable walk, we went back to Gramma’s and I made breakfast. We were getting ready to pack up and head out to my sister’s place next when my sister called. My kids decided that we should invite Gramma to Auntie Nikki’s. More because they wanted her dog to show up.


We ventured forth to another ferry. And waited for almost two hours to catch this ferry.  We wanted to be early so we could wander the beaches nearby and our oldest could take better photos with a digital Canon Powershot S5 that we lent her.

All-in-all it was a good 48 hour visit to Campbell River. The family and I are all smiles going on these journeys. Our puppy was happy as well.

Shelter Point Distillery 

Today’s adventure was something I never thought I’d truly enjoy.  It was few steps above brewery tours and a step above a winery tour. I’m talking about delighting in a Distillery tour.


The Shelter Point Distillery is in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. They use barley that they grow themselves as the sugar for the base. It is soaked in hot water after crushed. A ton of grain gives 5000L of Wort. One tank is filled every day. It takes seven days for wort to become wash. All grains are from BC. For single malt, they use their own grain grown on site. Fun fact: Whiskey is distilled beer. But you wouldn’t want to drink distilled beer. It is 10% alcohol.


The Shelter Point Distillery uses pure copper tanks, 1/4″ thick and 18 feet tall which were hand made in Scotland. The tanks were extremely impressive. Turning liquid into steam, back from steam to liquid.


Then it goes into a condenser. Then back to a spirit cell. This creates a purer alcohol. Nothing is wasted. They separate the heart (the good stuff) from the head and tail during this process. Three barrels worth of alcohol are created, then a desicion to make either vodka or whiskey happens.


They distill four times and make a beautiful tasting whiskey. Shelter Point started production seven years ago.  Whiskey barrels stay in warehouse for a minute minimum 3 years or it is not considered whiskey. It takes 5 years to make their gold winning whiskey. Fun fact 2: Their whiskey is 20% faster to reach maturity than in Scotland. Because of the temperatures in BC. Each year 2.5% evaporates from the barrels. This is considered “The Angel’s Share” in old Scottish terms.


For the flavored vodkas: they use only pure natural flavors with no sugar added. It take 3-4 weeks to make vodka compared to almost 3 years for whiskey.

The tour was given to us by an older gentleman named Brian.  It was from him that I was able to parlay all of my whiskey wisdom in today’s blog post. It was a good thing I took notes… He gave us samples of whatever we wanted to try.  After sampling the vodkas and the whiskeys, my wife and I had to make some purchases.


Barrel of Sunshine is one of the best tasting liqueurs I have ever tasted.  It was a tasty mix of orange,chai spice and maple.  It is a perfect dessert sipper to end a beautiful day. Three bottles are coming home with us! Plus a bottle of Red Apple Vodka.


A safe ride after was in order. It was a beautiful day to visit Shelter Point Distillery and sample BC’s only quadruple distilled Whiskey.  And only the second Distillery in Canada that makes quadruple distilled whiskey besides one in Nova Scotia.

Cheers!

Day Trip to Victoria BC


I volunteered to chaperone at my son’s school field trip to Victoria today.  It started really early in the morning at the school (and 14 hours later-still not home). We got on the school bus, and I promptly made my way to the back. So did the boys I was with. We laughed about poop jokes and cartoons.


The ferry ride was uneventful. My son and his buddy wanted to sit and play cards while we had a snack. We wandered the decks a couple of times and waved at a passing ferry. We got to Vancouver Island and boarded another bus. We took off to Victoria for the afternoon. Easy breezy and the weather fully cooperated.


Next came a whirlwind self guided tour of the Royal BC Museum.  We hardly stopped to check anything out.  Partly because museums are becoming a thing of the past when needing to get information out to the public.  Also partly because the schedule was so packed in.  I’ve seen this museum about a half dozen times in the past thirty years.  It hasn’t changed much.  We rushed from the museum across the street and into the Parliament Buildings. 



This was a guided tour that was extremely informative and the kids did a fantastic job being courteous to our guide. The children were also asking great questions and having answers that were asked of them.


Then we did a mad dash back to the Museum for the kids to watch an IMAX film.  This was only for the kids and the chaperones had some free time.  We took off almost instantly.


So a group of eight of us parents found a patio for the next forty five minutes and chilled out. I’m not saying I had a Bellini or that the others had sangria or ice cold beers, but we did… have some adult time.  We had good conversations about the school and kids.  It was a nice break before the hecticness began. After a cold bevie- we met up with the school and headed out for dinner.


58 kids, 29 parents and 2 teachers took over the Old Spaghetti Factory for one of the noisiest meals I have been at since my days at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Absolute chaos was taking over.  As a smart parent- I suggested to the other parents that we let all of the kids get seated and we take a few tables at the other side. Best plan!

After dessert we ran to our bus because time was running out.  This time it wasn’t a school bus, but rather a charter bus.  With plush seats. The kids doubled up in the seats and the adults each took a double seat to stretch out.  The bus ride remained quiet.  All was good.


Our ferry ride back was calm at first.  Then the children began acting like caged animals.  The real issue today was a lack of recess.  Everything was planned to the minute and well organized.  But kids will be kids.  They had to burn off steam somehow- running around the decks was the only way to do this.  Us parents just didn’t have it in us to stop them.  The chaperones ended up in strategic locations in an effort to slow down the insanity.  The Chief Stewart ended up making an announcement over the PA system: “No running on the ferry please.” It wasn’t just our school.  Apparently another 200 kids were also on the ferry.  The poor passengers hoping for a calm ride to the Lower Mainland were now doing their best to ignore the children.


Our final bus ride calmed the children once more.  The bobble heads that the driver had on her dash mesmerized us all.  All around a good day.  I’m signing off now as we finish our ride back to the school.  Pretty sure a few cold beers will end my night at home.

Four Rivers of Travel From Vancouver Island 

Today my daughter and I decided to travel from Gold River, through Campbell River, across the ferry at Little River and onto Powell River.  

Goodbye Dick Boot.


We left Gold River a day early since we got Gramma as packed up as we could handle.  She is 85% ready to move out into her new home.  This is most likely the last time I will ever be in Gold River in my lifetime.  I called my sister last night and decided to head out to visit her in Powell River.  On our way, my daughter and I went through Campbell River to see the new home Grams was moving into.  I have to say that it’s in a more civilized part of Vancouver Island.  As well, it’s only a couple blocks away from a lovely little beach that overlooks the ocean. A great little place to live out retirement.


Just past Campbell River is Comox.  This is where we needed to take a ferry across to hit Powell River.  This is much more convenient for my mother and my sister to visit one another in the years to come.  I think they both like/hate the idea.


Unfortunately it’s a rather expensive ferry ride for what it is. In an hour and a half we travel only 17 nautical miles in a rusty vessel.  I’m not expecting the pride of the fleet, but a paint job could do it good.  The journey was smooth and relaxing.  My daughter and I played some more cards and I taught her the only card trick I know.


I’ve never been to Powell River.  I’m enjoying my first visit with my sister, even though it’s only one night.  She has a lovely home with a beautiful view of Texada Island and the Malasapina Straight.  I think I will be visiting her more often.  The views are spectacular.


Normally we would travel here via a different route up the North Shore and through the Sunshine Coast.  That’s the route we are taking home tomorrow.  Approximately a five hour journey, not including waiting for ferries.  Two ferries to be precise…

I love BC.  This is a great place to live.  So much to see and do.

BC Ferries 

If you live in the Vancouver area, you have spent hours at the mercy of the BC Ferries Corporation. From lineups to buy tickets to lineups waiting to board (sometimes there’s even a sailing wait or two).


Spending money for the service to get to and from Vancouver Island is expensive.  That being said, in under two hours you get to see more of the beauty that our coastline has to offer.


I like to catch an early morning ferry, usually mid-week if possible.  No waits & no crowds.  It’s been a couple of years since we’ve trekked across the Strait on one of these vessels.


On a nice day, I enjoy walking around the outer decks with the wind at my face.  The scenery is a magnificent spectacle to behold.  As a child, I remembered on windier days aboard the ferry, I would lean into the gusting wind pretending to fight an unknown force.

Almost every trip I end up stopping at the brochure stand to see what I could be missing out on in this Province of ours.  Lots of it is touristy junk, but sometimes there is something I haven’t heard of or seen before.


Many a boat ride has consisted of playing cards as well.  I had an old deck that my mother returned to my son after our visit this week.  Ah yes, crumpled and fold cards with a missing Ace of Clubs card handwritten on a Joker instead.  The creases showing off what the cards are if you can remember each and every fold or tear.  But a hearty game of “Go Fish” always seems appropriate when crossing over on the ferry.


And of course there is the loading and unloading of the vehicles and passengers.  I’ve traveled many different ways on the ferry.  Sometimes by car, sometimes by bus, and other times as a foot passenger.  Each has its own quirks.  

But in the end, we all safely arrive at our destination, happy to see friends and family or happy to be on the last leg of the journey home.  The experience of BC Ferries is one that many in BC have endured or enjoyed.  Sometimes there’s a storm adding excitement to the tide.  On occasion there is a pod of Killer Whales swimming alongside of the boat.  

Look! I made my photo artistic and stuff!


No matter what happens, each trip is both unique and the same as the previous ones.  

I’m a spelunker now.

We went exploring today.  It was different.  It was adventurous.  It was fun.  


My mother lives on Vancouver Island in BF Nowhere.  It’s a little town called Gold River.  18 kms away is the Upana Caves.  We were given a map in the town and tried our best to follow along.


The Upana Caves are a fairly easy trek.  We took the kids and our German Shepard on this hike.  Total time exploring and hiking was under an hour and a half.  The main challenges were the darkness and the dog.  For me, at 6 foot 8, crawling thru the caves met my muscles and joints with some pain after the fact.


Here are the pictures form our little adventure.  I recommend this to anyone who wants to start spelunking or who have children under the age of 13.


I’m now a fan of this outdoor activity.  I would do this again in a heartbeat.  I’m excited to try this in other countries and see more beautiful formations and natural wonders.  If you’re ever on Vancouver Island, with some time to spare, check out the Upana Caves.  

British Columbia has some amazingly beautiful locations, preserved without vandalism and garbage.  These caves were prestine.  No one carved their names or painted words.  I’m proud to live here, and love the respect given to our wonderful province and the beauty it holds.

I live in Beautiful BC.


I don’t think I’ll ever move from my home.  We live about 35 minutes away from Vancouver, BC.  Our home is older, but has character.  We have a large yard and lots of trees for privacy, yet we know all of our neighbors.  There are local farms that sell fresh fruits and vegetables within walking distance.  My wife and I have years of plans laid out for our home and property.  We are here for life.


The rest of BC has so much to offer in the way of sightseeing as well.  Recently, I explorered some of Golden, BC- about a seven hour drive from our home that sits close to the Alberta border.  Our previous visits to this town had us rushing through without ever taking a second look.  This time- I’m glad we stopped.  As we walked around the small town we read the plaques giving us tidbits of history and enjoyed the close up views of the mountains and the Kicking Horse River.

Golden,BC


My advice when you travel: Take a few moments in an unknown town to see what the locals know all along about what makes their town special.