Hey there all!
I know this is long overdue but I've been a little preoccupied getting settled in and trying to organize myself.
Just wanted to give everyone an update on what's been happening the last few months. I'm sure some of this is old news to a few of you but I'm lazy and only writing this once Have patience!
So here goes!
The original plan was for Tom (my brother) to drive out with me. Unfortunately, due to health issues, he was unable to join me. I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Kanata with Tom. Kathy, Philip, Carolyn, her boyfriend Matt, Brian and Trish. Hit the road Monday, Oct.13, early morning. Most of the day was sunny and great driving. ran into rain a couple hours east of Sault Ste. Marie, where I spent my first night out. In the Soo I met an artist who I have admired for so long on-line through an art site and also through Facebook. Wow! What a thrill it was to see his work firsthand! Before he drove me back to my motel he gifted me an original painting and 2 prints! OMG! I was so surprised and happy and in total shock! lol What an awesome guy! We went out for dinner (poutine!) and then we went on a nighttime tour of the city. It really is a beautiful town. On the way back we stopped and I met his wonderful sister and brother-in-law. Back to motel to sleep and on the road again first thing.
Rain! Rain! Rain! Most of the day it rained. Drove out of it just before Thunder Bay. Even with the rain it was a beautiful drive! If you live in Ontario, do yourself a favour and drive up north in the fall. Maybe a week or two before I did to see maximum colour! So beautiful! But watch that construction! lol For a person that has always had a tiny fear (understatement!!!!) of bridges, to cross so damn many, and half of them said in big bold letters "Bridge Under Construction" or "Temporary Bridge". Well, that fear has been successfully squelched! nanananana!
Overnight in Thunder Bay (do not! choose the least expensive motel in Thunder Bay!!!) Long night, late start.
Through the rest of Ontario and on into Manitoba. Good weather for the most part. Landed into Winnipeg early evening. Be warned, street signs in Winnipeg are small! Missed my street and landed in a not so good part of town. Quick call to Glen and Shelley (nephew and wife), with Shelley becoming a tad nervous, told me to lock doors and don't open windows and stay in van, Glen is on his way! lol Anyway, finally got there. Great visit with Dave and Judy, Glen and Shelley that evening. On the down side, had to have a brake job done while I was there. That sucked. Oh well, could have been worse. Had a wonderful 3 1/2 days with my family. After a leisurely breakfast on Sunday, into the van and back on course! OMG! I almost forgot! Shelley's dad! John! What a lifesaver! He sent me off with his Garmin GPS! Thank you John!!
Off to Moose Jaw Sask. and a visit with my niece Karyn, whom I haven't seen since 1994 Had a nice dinner with her and her husband Eric. First time I had met him and I still haven't met their kids. Eric left us to our girl talk. We spent the next few hours getting caught up (didn't scratch the surface of all those years but touched the highlights) and then she left for work at the hospital. she's a nurse on the maternity floor. When she got off in the morning we met for breakfast before i left again. Parting is such sweet sorrow! I hated to leave her! Such a short time to visit! Karyn, next time? A week, minimum!
So, on the road to....where? Um... Cochran! That's right! Next stop, Cochrane, Alberta! Oh, I might add in here that the temperatures were, wow! like summer! Sunny and hot, I almost cooked in the van! lol Was wonderful! I did think at one point that Sask. would never end. But...it isn't flat and boring, like everyone would have you believe. There are rolling hills and such a variety of patterns and textures in the fields that it is far from boring. I think it's considered monotonous simply because there are so few stands of trees. Sask has a beauty that is unique and all it's own.
I crossed into Alberta mid-afternoon and arrived in Cochran late afternoon, early evening. I was thrilled to be staying with my brother Paul's best friend, Mike, and his wife, Margi. What incredibly kind and wonderful people! My original plan was to stay one night but Margi was having none of that. she had our day planned for the next day. What could I say? lol I like being spoiled occasionally Besides, coming into Cochrane, when I was stopped at the place I was meeting Mike, I noticed a rather unwelcome smell coming from my front hub cap. There is no smell to compare with that of burning brakes. WTH! I just had that caliper replaced. Long story short, Mike and I (I use I loosely, it was mostly Mike) replaced the caliper on the other side. all fixed. OMG, I want his workshop!!!! Cochrane is a pretty town nestled in the foothills of the Rockies. Their house was waaaaaay up on the top of one of the foothills and the view was spectacular! Oh wow! Just beautiful! I hated to leave them and their doggy and the kitty cat! Had such a wonderful visit! Oh yeah! Almost forgot! Watched a coyote lope across the front yard! Of course, no camera to hand, isn't that always the way? Jeez, I have to stop and figure out what day I'm on at this point. Ok, we are at Thurs morn. That's when I got back on the road, grudgingly at that point, as I was so enjoying myself. I definitely have to go back for a visit!
Thursday was cooooold! Frosty cold! Wow, what a difference a day makes! lol Might have had something to do with proximity to the mountains and the time of year. Another day of incredible scenery! It was so hard to keep my eyes on the road! And to keep from stopping every 20 feet to take pictures! Glorious! Incredible! fantastic! Breathtaking! And then.......Lake Louise! I have no words to tell how that stunning place made me feel. Even with wet snow falling, with the threat of real snow to follow, I was reluctant to leave. I will go back there to hike the trails. I took pictures that can't compare to the real experience. The colour of the water was such an intense turquoise and I could not capture it with pictures. You feel so small, yet so alive there. Everything is so vibrant, so big, so wild. If you never do anything else, go there. I promise you, you will not regret it. Back on the road, next stop (well, there were a great many stops for pictures, gas fill-ups and pee breaks) Revelstoke, little more than halfway through the Rockies. I should say at this point that my van has been a real trooper through all this travel and has met each up and down with determination and courage, poor thing. There were a great many people that were a bit skeptical of it's ability to make the trip. We hit rain again about an hour out of Revelstoke but it wasn't heavy and it wasn't snow! lol Got in early hoping to take in some sights but by that time it was coming down fairly heavy so settled in for a while to wait. Eventually it lightened up a little so I went walking. It really was too wet to use my camera so I have very few pics there. Lovely town. A place to definitely visit again. lots of hiking, etc. Great motel with an awesome pub style restaurant on site. Had wings and beer for dinner. Delish! Very comfy room and was one of the least expensive places I stayed! And right across from police station. Had breakfast with a very nice lady the next morning. Awesome free continental breakfast, all sorts of goodies. Too bad I don't eat much, especially at breakfast. That is a place I would for sure stay at again! Who needs 5 star hotels?
On the road again! Last leg!!!! Almost there! I can hardly wait! lol Still raining but that's okay! soon drove out of it. For the last few months people had been telling me how difficult it was going to be driving through the mountains, be prepared, watch for this, be careful, watch for that, careful going down, careful going up. Oh my lord. I was terrified! I didn't know what to expect! lol Easy peezy! lol But these people are insane!!!! The speed limit going through the mountains is 120 km per hour!!! omg And they drove past me like I was standing still! Whoosh, there goes a camper trailer! Whoosh there goes a transport! And the high end cars?They didn't even whoosh! They were just gone! lol And I was doing 120 down these bloody mountain roads and it felt like you were almost standing on your head sometimes! Beautiful? Oh my, how beautiful! Come around a curve and see a lake, glimmering in the sun, then around another curve to look out over empty space to a green, green, green mountain side waaaay over there. Look up, way up, to see snow on the peaks, so fresh and clean and white. Down, down, down the mountain and into a sea of fog, evergreens peeking out, up, up, up and out of the fog, the sun shining so bright.
Did I mention the rainbow I saw the morning of the day of Lake Louise? I saw the end of it! The end of the rainbow was right by the side of the highway!!!! OMG, and there was nowhere to stop to take a picture! Sorry, I got sidetracked. Where was I? Oh, driving down the mountains. Awesome! The tunnels freaked me out just a bit but they aren't long. I got through the mountains with no problem. On to the big challenge, Vancouver! Oh god, I hate city driving! Thank you, once again to John for the loan of Ms. Garmin, who guided me through the bumper to bumper rush hour traffic of Vancouver. That is ten times as scary as the mountain drive! And then my first ever toll bridge. I'm usually pretty capable and try to figure things out but I had no idea how to deal with a toll bridge. Apparently, I'm not the only one, as there is a place to go to find out how to do it. lol yay! Across the bridge I go, hey ho! Not too much farther to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Landing. almost there! Jim and Mollie, here I come! I arrive at the ferry at 6:20, next ferry is 7:00. Line up is soooooooo long, not sure I can get on the 7:00 ferry. May have to wait for the 9:00. Nooooooo, tired.....want to get there. So, park, lock up, go walking, find ladies room(thank goodness, finally!!!) and coffee! Yay! Coffee, not just coffee either! Espresso, as he has no reg coffee at the moment. 'Tis ok! Need the extra boost! Back to the van, call Mollie. Will continue to their place whether I get the 7:00 or the 9:00. Yay! I make it on the 7, ferry ride is almost 2 hours. was hoping to make the crossing in daylight but it's pitch black and can't see a thing except pretty lights in the distance. We finally get into Nanaimo and it's only a short drive to go, maybe an hour? It is soooo dark! That's one thing I have noticed about the island, very little light pollution Again, thank goodness for Ms. Garmin as I would never have found the house in the dark. looks so very different from when I had been a passenger in the daylight. More long, winding roads going up and down and around. Deer wandering across in front of you. I finally came out on a familiar road and knew I was close. I actually pulled into two driveways before I hit the right one! lol Neighbours must have been shaking their heads.
And then I was here. 5200 km, 13 days, 2 brake jobs, innumerable coffees, countless awesome experiences, so many wonderful people. and I'm here. Mollie was waiting, what a sight for weary eyes!
I spent the next week and a bit unloading my poor over-burdened van and enjoying being with Jim and Mollie, catching up, eating, celebrating wine o'clock, acclimatizing. In other words, for almost a week and a half I did diddly squat It was nice. heeheehee Since then I have been busy getting business up and running again. Or trying to, at least. New flyers, business cards, ad in the paper (waste of money) ads on-line, posters. Jim and Mollie left for a month in Maui a few weeks ago, due back on the 15th. since they left I have picked up two clients. One is just down the road, I can walk to work, 4 hours a week til spring, then most likely a lot more as they have a big jungle to tame. Right now it's cleaning. The second client, if you can believe it, is more scattered than I! lol She's awesome. Single mom, recovering from breast cancer, she is a furniture builder/ cabinet maker who also buys up furniture, antique, retro, or just old and redoes the pieces for resale. I am helping her with the redoing part. She also lives with her parents and has torn the house apart to redo that! lol No halfway for this girl, no sirre! Right now we(me) are sanding floors to be stained and treated with a wax preservative. I am also fixing holes in walls, painting, organizing, etc. I love my job! Sheryl keeps me busy most of the week at this point. It's a half hour drive to work. A half hour of gorgeous scenery. I can handle this! lol
There are deer that wander through the yard. Yeah. A doe went up the garden steps at the side of the house a few days after I got here. a few days later, saw her with a fawn. Not long after that there was a buck wandered through the garden. Mollie was not happy that he ate most of her brand new plant. Bad deer! lol And then there was the peeping doe! Standing outside the patio door looking in at me, I could just see the eyes in the dark at first. scared the beep out of me! lol
You really do have to be careful driving. The road I take to Sheryl's at Shawnigan Lake is crawling with deer! holy liftin'! You have to drive slow anyway as it's more twisty than a pretzel and usually foggy. At first I was very nervous of the drive and tried to leave before dark but have gotten used to it and find it very relaxing to drive.
The feeling out here is very chill, laid back, easy. I am enjoying finding my way around. Have gotten to know certain areas and I'm venturing further afield. It will be even better come spring and longer daylight hours. Right now it is so dark at 5:00 that its too hard to explore, even in town. I have such a list of things I want to do, see, experience! I just have to figure out how to do it and work at the same time! lol
The weather, for the first few weeks, was incredible! warm and sunny most of the time. very few showers, no full days of rain, lots of cloudy periods but still warm. Talk about a warm welcome to the island! hahahaha Since then it has been a mixture of everything! warm, sunny days changing to rain in a blink. Last Friday night we got snow. I woke up Sat morning to the white stuff! and cold, damn, it was cold! All week up until Thurs when it started to warm up a bit and rain. Now we are back to seasonal weather, cold and wet. My thinking is, I don't have to shovel rain. I'm good with that
Well, I guess I should stop now. This sort of took off on it's own. I was planning a quick update. I will include a couple of pics from the trip. some of you will have seen them. If you have access at all to Facebook and would like to see more, I have a whole album chronicling my adventures. It's called Holly's Great adventure. The little blue car in many of the pics was a going away gift from my wonderful friend and client, Ami. Where she found it, I don't know, but it was perfect! I love it! So, if you haven't seen them already, and you can get on facebook, look me up and check them out. We live in an extraordinarily beautiful country and I am so glad I made the trip! what a fantastic experience!
Take care, everyone! Peace out! Love to all! Holly
___________________________________Journal Skin by: HeatherSchoff