Friday, August 30, 2013

Vancouver road Trip reflection # 3


Woke up refreshed – checked out of the hotel – put the address into the car GPS of where I had to go – and off we went to pick up Noni's passport. 
Success – so back to the inner harbour of Victoria we drive. I need four more caches to reach my goal of 200 finds that I what to achieve on this road trip to Vancouver Island. With GPS in hand while I drive I head towards the caches that I have up loaded to find. I am not sure where we are exactly but we end at the oceanfront once more and then park the car and do some walking here - over there and I find a cache – then drive to the next location and do more walking – another find. Then we park the car at a park and do more walking success – find two more caches – I have my two hundred cache. I am very pleased. 
This park that we are in is amazing – duck pond – flower gardens – children playing – horse and carriage rides. The clock is ticking – if we are going whale watching we need to get back to down town and buy our tickets. 
(199.50 $) Five Star Whale Charters Ltd .. done seen the man I talked too last night and went over to him and told him – I told you I would be back... I told him last night I was interested but could not commit to buying a ticket until I had finished my morning business.. now I was back and I had my boarding passes.. 
Parked the car at the Empress hotel public parking lot..that cost me 15 dollars.. 
I am always nefarious about leaving the computers – luggage in a car – but we wanted to go on this cruise so we did... besides this this is secure lot with camera and parking attendant. 
I am dressed warmly – two warm for land but perfect for being on the ocean and I tell Noni to bring her coats as well. On the way to the Charters office after stopping to eat lunch at a noodle place Noni buys a hat. We are ready for the coolness of the ocean voyage. Our pre boarding talk we were all warned that it is cold out on the ocean that we should be dressed appropriately – kind of late as people have now parked their cars far away or their hotels are most likely not nearby. Some people are not dressed warmly !!! Not my problem – Noni and I are. 
So we walk a block down to the boat – board and I go to the front of the boat. I wanted to go to the top but it was full so I was sent to the lower level which was inside – I did not want this so I went right to the front of the boat deck. It was warm only for a few moments while we were in the inner harbour moving at the slow speed. Soon we were motoring full speed and the temperatures became much colder – my hands were a little numb but over all I was cozy all bundled up in my t shirt - sweater – vest and Gore-tex rain coat. 
All of sudden we slow down – stop – then a Minke whale surfaces and dives - 
-- then we go on further and stop again a Humpback Whale surfaces and dives several times. 
-- we move on and stop again this time Orca Whales 
Once again we move to another location – the boat stops and drifts a little near an island with a light house and caretaker's house on it - that had many Sea Lions lying all over the rocks and swimming in the water. 
I have gone whale watching once before on the east coast – seen a pod of Minke whales – but this was an awesome three hour tour. 
I have no complaints about the cost now – well worth it... 
After the sea lions it was time to head back to the inner harbour in Victoria again. 
On arrival we head over to the fisherman warf to buy fish and chips once again. 
I got lost a couple of times and asked different people and they kept on referring us to Barbs fish and Chips at the warf. This place has an extremely good reputation - I found it – Yes – it is one of the best fish I can remember eating in a long time. Last year Noni wanted to eat here but we didn't and she has held this against me ever since – and she really wanted to eat here this time so it was high on the priority list to do so. 
Ate our fish and chips – got gas and then headed back to Nanaimo to catch the ferry at 20:18 hr. (82.55$) 
Home around 24:30 hr – bed 1am. 
I wished we could had spent another day or two longer – there is so much more to see and do but I have to take Mom to the hospital in Vancouver in the morning. 






Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vancouver Island road trip reflection #1

28 August 
Reflecting back – So camp was over Friday morning after breakfast. Staff were to work until noon cleaning and I was to prepare lunch. Supper was catered by the local restaurant – Camp Fire Grill for staff party that night. This is good bye to the summer staff who would stay the night and leave in the morning after breakfast. Then I was to cook lunch and supper for ten fall staff who would work the remainder of the day preparing for the fall programs. I wanted to leave just before lunch to catch the 3:10 ferry and to make the cost of the ferries worth it. The plan at first was to go on Sunday morning very early and so I had booked my hotel in Victoria for Sunday night. We had to go to Victoria to pick up an personal item that was sent there. ( A long storey). I had asked my dishwasher if he would be willing to cook and serve lunch – I would prepare everything – and we were only feeding up to 20 people. I made grill cheese sandwiches – he is able to cook these on the grill and salad bar was all prepared too just needed to put out and then away after the meal. The issue was he was no longer an employee – he was finished Friday after lunch.. he agreed to do this – so in the morning I cleaned the kitchen and prepared the meals. All was good – everything coming together nicely – then just before lunch the owner – my boss – came to me and asked me when I planned on leaving.... then he asked me if I would drive him to the ferry.... 
Well I don't mind doing this but – what do you talk about for an hour drive with your boss?? 
and I told him we were leaving in the next 20 minutes or so... He said give him a few moments and he would come with us.. It was a good thing I washed the car inside and out this morning also.... Well we took him to the ferry and arrived with about 15 minutes to spare to board. It was a good drive not as bad as I thought it could be.. once on the ferry he left us to sit in the passenger area and was picked up at the other end – so we were on our own.. 

Vancouver Island Road trip reflection #2

24 August 
Road Trip has begun - Vancouver Island - so my first stop to search was in Ladysmith - No luck as I searched high and low for my first cache on the Island and so I wasted too much time at this spot. Not much further away I had loaded to my GPS hand held device another cache so off I go to find this - Noni now was a little quizzie so she sat in the car as I took off to seek - conquer. 
At first I was thinking OH NO - it appeared I was going the wrong direction all the time but I went up this road - down this alley - across the road - onto a little walking path through the brambles and then it opened up to an area that I recognized from a picture on the website - that gave me some peace now that I knew I was in the right vicinity - and that the GPS said I was within 14 feet. So I started looking around - it was a nice area - the hint said railroad - well I was now standing on old railroad tracks - OH NO again I thought a small magnetic thing stuck to a track how will I find that? Looking for any sign at all - yes just over there a few feet where I was standing was different - I looked and touched something just under the lip of the track and I am HAPPY. 
We continue driving stopping along the route to search for caches taking our time until it got dark then made a beeline to Victoria to get a hotel for the night. I should had tried earlier or even pre booked a hotel. This weekend Victoria is hosting dragon boat racing and I hear there are several weddings taking place... This means there are no rooms available – I have to drive 50 km back to seek a room. I pull into this hotel and that one only to be told no vacancy and the front desk clerk would phone around for me asking if any other hotel had rooms. Finally in Cowichan Bay there is one room left in the Oceanfront Grand Resort – executive suite – do I want it? It is getting late – I am tired – it has been a long day – it has been a long summer so I said yes... The cost for the night 186.45 dollars. I think that is a lot for a bed but what choice do I have if I want to travel. 
25 August. 
On the positive note the view was pretty amazing overlooking the marina and harbour. In the morning after having a good night sleep Noni and I go walking to explore and look for caches. Cowichan Bay is very beautiful and Noni was very happy as she explored the area. At one spot while I was searching for a cache she took the camera and sat down by the shore next to the public boat ramp. As she sat there two or three seals were swimming back and forth. It was a pleasant time sitting with the seals the sun and boats that were being launched from the boat ramp – no complaints. 
I was happy, found four more caches in the area which was bringing me closer to my goal. 
We did a lot of walking – up the mountain and then back down to the shore line walking paths and along this for many hours. I would say we were walking for about five hours. 
Onwards to Victoria to the waiting hotel I had booked. Arrived there 3:15 checked in and went exploring on foot again. GPS in hand of course... I picked the Quality Inn Downtown Victoria for its location – I wanted to be near the ocean and down town. I am in love with this city – I can not put my finger on it – but I just like it. 
I find a couple more caches and as we were walking about – we came to a tourist attraction Miniature World (22.70 $) Noni wanted to check it out so we went in. Trains – planes – automobiles – towns of WW 2 after the devastation of bombings and shelling so life like and of course Disney reproductions. It was well worth the cost and time to browse. 
Right next door as we exited was the Five Star Whale watching charters – we went in to inquirer about a tour. Tours begin at 9 and 2. 
In the morning I am busy, so that is not possible and I am not sure about the afternoon just yet so I said we would come back if possible. We continue walking around the inner harbour just looking at this and that. It is a gorgeous area – flowers – people milling about – boats – the parliament buildings – the ocean – yachts – boosters on the side - singers – musicians. 
We keep walking now looking for a place to eat. We go into a pub to eat fish and chips. They were OK – but not the best and it was expensive (67.60 $) Then we walked back to our hotel that seemed far away – but not really. About 8:30 we go into our room and I am totally exhausted – I strip down and lay down and the next thing I know it is the morning... 
I have No idea what Noni did or what time she went to bed - I was out.......... All the driving – walking – working must had hit me all at once . 








Friday, August 23, 2013

An Afternoon walk

Friday, August 23, 2013







I started off to search for a Geo cache - but I could not make the search because I was blocked by a changing river that had cut my route off. Ok I will try this again at another time. Noni and I drive on a pot holed gravel road looking for a side back road that will lead to another cache but was blocked by a huge - very huge grater that was tearing up the road - (making it better) but for now preventing me to go any further. Turning around I noticed a road leading up the mountain so we parked and on foot headed up the steep winding route. 
It was not long before both of us were soaking wet - it wasn't like it was supper hot - but it muggy and sunny and hot. I have no idea where this road goes - we stopped our upward incline after walking for 30 minutes to turn around and head back to the car and back to the kitchen to finish cooking supper and serve our 130 guests. 
The pictures show so much better than how I can describe our views as we walk - but even these pictures do not give justice to the beauty of what our eyes soaked in... 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Afternoon paddle on the Ocean

Banquet supper so I had time to go for a Kayak in the afternoon. It is all in the morning preparation and relying on my dishwasher guy to put things in the oven on time. Supper was at 6 pm instead of 5:45 - it makes a difference - so right after lunch service Noni and Dalhouise and I took to the ocean for a paddle. 




Thursday, August 15, 2013

A hard Decision

Food safe - you have the course - you know right from wrong - commonsense
--I caught the person - mopping our juice counter top table with a floor mop because there was a spill
- sweeping the eating table tops with a floor broom
- placing pure bleach in a spray bottle - un labeled to clean public service areas ( we have proper chemicals for that - which are food safe.
- trying to put food from her plate back into a serving dish
- double dipping her drinking cup into a pail of juice to refill it
- smoking and not washing her hands after
- not washing her hands enough from moving from task to task
then we get into just bad work ethic like dropping - spilling a lot of food
- throwing away my reading glasses
- sweeping her work area - then flinging the debris just out into the other dining room area so someone else has to sweep it up and collect it to garbage cans
- not being able to lift the required juice containers
- not cleaning her work area attracting so many flies and ants
- pouring way too much chemicals into the hand pot washing waters  and the washing machine when washing the kitchen cleaning cloths
- not remembering how to set up serving utensils for service
- complaining ad grumbling about doing hte job to my other young helper ( she was only here for a short time and she was becoming more disruptive - what will she be like after a long period)
I just could not trust her and in a week from now my other young helper leaves to go back to school - NO way could I rely on this older person - so disappointing - I thought she would mentor the younger but it turned out I need the young one to supervise the older who had on her application at least acknowledged taking a food safe course and other work experience.
-- I should had know from the interview - she said her last employer yelled at her a lot.....

Anyways - what choice did I have???  I did not enjoy letting her go - I don't like messing with people lives in a negative way and it is never good to be out of work if you need the money.

a memory

Sometimes I forget how much I do like to just get outside and go for a long slow walk alone - or  one with my wife and dog. Yesterday was one of those days when the three of us had a opportunity to walked together along the ocean front and then a second walk along the dike with the gurgling river flowing past us..  It was relaxing and peaceful - so enjoyable. I did not have to rush - hurry so I was not irritated at the pace but soaked up the beauty of the area - the sun's rays, the refreshing gentleness of the breeze and pace of our steps made for a gratifying afternoon/ evening.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Other Proof

Find a pair of pants that fit a little snug. Use them to measure your success. That is more true than a scale that does not know if you are building muscle or if you are just holding water on the day you weigh 
That was one of the responses from my last posting.. how true! 
I have been wearing a pair of pants that up till lately I could not button or zip up and now I have wore then constantly when not working. I was going to throw them away or drop into a Goodwill bin but just couldn't bring my self to do so. They some how got mixed in with the clothing that went to the cabin - and wow they fit.. 
Also - my wife has aprons that I can not use as the string is just too short for me to tie in front of my waste -- that is up till a few weeks ago. I have and use the waste apron type that has very long strings and hers is a bib type but I still fold in half to use - Early in the mornings by the door leaving the cabin we have two stacks of aprons - her pile and my pile - often they are mixed up after they are washed and folded and I don't try putting on my apron till after I have walked to the kitchen then it is too late ... so annoying.. well lately it does not matter - I can use her apron and tie it in just under the tummy - a little tight still but nevertheless there is enough string for me to do my bow tie and hold it in place.
So these are more signs that there is progress being made - even though that scale is not indicating it as so,,,,

that damn scale

I keep walking - and riding the bike with my wife pretty much every day. 
The bike ride is 4 miles - measured by markers on the road - two one way and then two back to the cabin - and then I go walk for one hour by myself approx 7 km. I have stopped taking Dalhouise on these walks - he gets too tired and Noni -- well she walks to slow - so I do it alone. 
I have cut my food consumption down - I do not measure or track now since I began my seasonal job -
( I am a chef) - but I definitely don't eat as much as before and I hit the salad bar hard at lunch times. 
I see the tummy going down now - I see my face is thinner - I have less knee/ leg pain over all - but that scale does not move. 
Well not totally true -- one day it is up and then the next it is down - but balancing out between 210 and 212 pounds regularly. 
I see the difference in the physical body - but the scale does not indicate it - that makes me so mad - frustrated - angry irate -.. 
I see the stronger muscles tone in my legs and that makes me so happy. I like seeing that result of the long hours of standing and the many steps I do while walking - but why oh why wont the scale drop and more of that tummy just go away... 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Another hike - another Geo cache

Camp is on a switch over day, so it is like a holiday - only feeding seven tables of eight people each, for lunch and supper. So this morning I prepared breakfast for 148 hungry campers and staff and then grill cheese sandwiches and left over fish burgers to our remaining people for lunch and made two and half pans of lasagna for supper with Caesar salad - muffins for desert. Doing all this I made plans to go search for a Geo - cache to keep my streak going. this means climbing - I am barely recovered from my last hike - yes I am still feeling sore... 

Oh well Noni and I went for a hike up the Smoke Bluff's of Squamish - I had some doubts - that turned out to be well founded - about finding this cache. A lot of the logs were posted as Did not find - or were stating wrong coordinates.. And -- I have found a couple of this person other caches - they were off but I did find them... so I had some hope. 
So I loaded the GPS with the coordinates and set off to try my luck on two of his hidden caches. Cache one Catch Your Breath - I found the general area - I searched for a long time - high and low. The hint was useless - coordinates are off and I did not find it. That sucks..... 
I spent too much time looking before I finally gave up and moved to the second cache, also from the same person - Labour Of Love - well this cache trail head was right in front of my car up the trail 657 feet, and of course it was up hill - or I should say up the mountain. I had my doubts -- but nevertheless I had to go search - success or failure I had to try. Well up I went Noni tagging along most of the way - then she stopped and told me to go on ahead she would wait. So I did. 
My body was letting me know it was not so happy about this - but mind over matter .. or in my case plain stubbornness -- I was going to search as long as possible. 
Well this cache is placed on a corner of the trail -- so the GPS went feet indicator smaller then larger- I had to do some triangulation and narrowed it down - was just about to give up when I spotted a blue colored container tucked in between a crack of a log and rock. This made me happy ... 
So I signed the log book and headed back to join Noni - then to Tim Horton's or a coffee and then back to camp to cook supper. 
PSS - this time I wore the proper short pants ..... 
-- and I do use hiking poles - usually only one - today I used two because I knew I would be descending and this causes pain in my knees and I don't like pain.. 





Geocaching - hiking - Exhilaration

I took the afternoon Off – in the morning I had prepared both the supper and lunch at the same time, so all Noni had to do was heat and serve. I had my eyes on a group of caches along a newly establish trail about 60 km from camp. What I fail to consider was the elevation I was to climb. The hike was only about 6 - 8 miles which I walk almost every day on a flat paved surface, so when I looked on the map and noticed the distance – NO problem. 
I drove to the pullout spot where I was to park the car. Crossed the busy highway #99 and began walking the wrong way for about five minutes before I realized it and turned back to find the trail head. OK!  Now that I was on the trail and it is well marked – one of the questions I kept asking was why and who would create a trail here in the middle of nowhere.Like I said It was well marked and the trail well groomed – a lot of time and energy was put into.making this.
The car thermometer read 26c I noted as I parked – so here I am into the wild woods heading to find four five caches. I climb to the first view point – this is pretty good – and I find my first cache – not so bad – but already I am drenched in perspiration. I head up towards the next view point and cache – vertical - switch backs – steep inclines – step ups on and over rocks. 
I am soaking wet – my pants are clinging to my legs – I feeling the restriction – OK   I begin to think to my self - this is an isolated trail – the long weekend is over – I don't think many people will be hiking this and this trail is definitely not a mountain bike trail so no one is going to becoming up fast. I decide to remove my wet restricting pants and hike in my shorts. I wonder what would happen if I encounter another person – a large man walking around practically naked. I had my shoes and socks – shorts – hat on.. At first I thought about my embarrassment – than no - after my car accident I was seen naked by more people than I ever want to admit too – so now to be seen by another person in my shorts – so what... 
I have never realized how much clothing does restrict you when you are hiking. I was able to take larger steps – higher - had much more control and so much more cooler. It was so stinking sweltering hot and ever now and then I felt a slight breeze, that would cool my bare legs and chest. Oh that felt so refreshing.. So from this experience I think next time I will wear or at least pack in my back pack true short pants.... 
I was alone – but not without backup. Before I left camp I borrowed (SPOT) from the office. It is technical device like a GPS that transmits my location to the office when I hit the OK button and if I need it to the search and rescue department of BC. So I had this sense of security. 
I was happy – I had no stress but was feeling a true joy – a freedom – well being – satisfaction 
as I hiked along finding one – two - three – four caches it was almost to much pleasure. Exhilaration 
I had told Noni and the office what time to expect me back – and as the time flew by – I mean it flew buy even though I was gulping for my breath more than once as I kept travelling up and up. I set my time that by 5 – 5:30 I would turn back... I found all the caches I had set out to do except for the last one – what shall I do? – no choice, I had to turn back... I had to go down – down – down. 
Going up I had to struggle to fill my lungs with enough oxygen but now the knees and muscles were burning – it took a lot of effort – pain – not easy for me to descend – slowly I keep going down still in my shorts... 
Finally I hear the traffic buzzing bye – OK it is time to put the long pants back on – yuck – sticky wet pants – and my T shirt which is even much more uncomfortable to put on. 
Well this sums up my day – my legs are sore – I am physically exhausted – but I feel so good. 





Friday, August 2, 2013

I got out

Went out caching today - I had to go to town to buy some medicine for Noni who has caught a flue bug from our kayaking the other days she claims. So off to London Drugs then I take her to the Condo drop her off and I beeline it to the parking spot at the side of the road and head down the trail to where I am sure this cache is located. 
Last year when I first began Geo caching I ended up here lost. I know - I know it is a little past the nearest cache located that is nearby. I said I was lost didn't I. 
Well today I headed straight to the point I knew where I must go. The scenery is awesome - I'm going to award this cache a favorite point. 
I was so tempted like the others to go for a swim - but I know this River is too cold - freezing cold- to do so, but still the temptation was there. 
I must also say like the past posts stated - I spent too much time looking elsewhere before I found it. Sometimes I am not too clever - it was right where I thought it was when I first arrived - I think I might had even poked it with my walking stick before I searched all the other most likely spots - only to keep coming back to where I was at the beginning. Just when I was about to give up - I poked once more and there it was... (the GPS was correct) 
I have to mention as I was looking at the river a large fish broke surface - so any fishermen out there bring your fishing gear. 
My only complaint about this search is that I had a great fear of meeting a bear or cougar - I was alone and isolated and felt vulnerable to being a meal for one of the above. But I was not eaten - nor did I get lost this time. 
Well done - like I began the scenery is awesome - well worth the trek in and the anxious thoughts about wildlife.