Do You Holiday or Vacation?

131E8D1F-BF46-4526-B8FF-9707CE8D8888

Which word would you be more apt to use when referring to a summer trip?

A) I’m looking forward to our summer holiday.

Or

B) I’m looking forward to our summer vacation.

I’ve never really thought about the correct definition of these two words. To me they both mean “fun, something to look forward to” so they have been interchangeable to me.

Recent curiosity had me doing some research.

Holiday– A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. A day of national or religious celebration.

Vacation– An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home. The action of vacating a space. A holiday period between terms in universities and law courts.

Sentence “A” has probably been my unconscious choice in the past. I’m sure I’ve used the word “holiday” more than “vacation” to describe a get-away.

Will I now think twice before using these words? When writing I will, but my daily conversations rarely involve proper grammar. I’m not a “whom” type of conversationalist, it’s always “who”. Being shy growing up meant I was too nervous specking out loud to worry about wording and sentence structure, and years of that habit is still with me.

I’m actually amazed when I think about how many words I use that I’ve never looked up their definition.

Thank goodness, we can learn by association.

Imagine what childhood would be like, or what it would be like even as an adult, if every new word we came across had to be researched.

If you come across an unknown word do you look it up, or guess it’s meaning by how it is used in the sentence? I use the, association method, the most.

Have you ever encountered that cute little toddler who spoke like a adult, and you thought, what a smart little person?

Maybe this is simply a result of what they are exposed to at a very young age, rather than say “genetics”

Back to my sentence question. Which option would you normally use, A) Going on a “Holiday” or B) Going on a “Vacation?”

A little Tidbit – Just above the word “holiday” in my hardcover Oxford Dictionary is “hole in the heart.”  I didn’t really think that one needed an explanation.

P.S. – So, parents, family, caregivers, teachers, friends, whoever, remember the words you say to a child and how you use them is writing their mental dictionaries and will influence their vocabulary and even knowledge.

Who Remembers

Who remembers cameras using film?

Who remembers taking the rolls into a photo shop?

The waiting sometimes a week for it to be developed? The anticipation? The hoping that picture of something special turned out?

Did you ever come home from a holiday and spend hours writing dates and notes on the back of prints? Or, did you put them in albums right away with side-notes?

I love that newer cameras and mobile devices allow you to check a shot before the moment passes, and that dates are recorded automatically. If you have location service turned on even where you are can now be recorded.

Years ago, when Mister and I did our cross Canada retirement trip, we had a digital camera which was a blessing for checking shots. At that time though, location service wasn’t even an option. Every evening I would download that day’s pictures onto my laptop, and we would name them before we would forget. In our defence, when you cover a lot of miles and see numerous highlights in a day, details are quick to blur and mingle.

I’ve pretty much switched to digital albums, because of storage space, but there’s nothing like having a photo album on your lap and flipping pages.

Have you stumbled across prints years later that you wish you would have taken the time to write on the back?

This just happened to me while going through some boxes.

Oh and remember the sleeves of negatives, seldom ever looked at again but too precious to throw away? I still don’t know what to do with them.

Do you get print copies and do photo albums, or just have digital albums?

Everyone’s Favorite, Part#2

IMG_2741

Us six siblings and our two vehicle caravan drove off the ferry at Little River terminal, Vancouver Island. Continuing our ocean-side holiday, we crossed the city of Courtney, to Kingfisher Resort and Spa. Because of our short stay, I booked partial-view rooms here.

To our surprise, partial-view meant that a beautiful landscaped and manicured lawn was between us and the building which offered the full-view rooms. The unique part was, that building was terraced into the bank, so from our particular patios we could still see the ocean over it.

The next day we drove to the west side of Vancouver Island, which is open to the Pacific Ocean. A region with spectacular views and well known for wave watching and surfing.

Long Beach, is one of my favorite on this side. It’s ten miles of sandy shore and rolling to roaring waves depending on the day. The best part is, you pass right by it going to Tofino, our night’s destination.

All of us had been to Tofino before, yet Mister and I had never stayed there because it’s a doable day trip from across the island. Oceanfront accommodations at this end can be pricey, but this time we all splurged for rooms at the seaside, Best Western Tin Wis.

Tofino’s weather can be wet, but we went prepared. Our packed rain-gear came in handy when we walked the Hotel’s beach that afternoon and the next morning. (This beach is pictured in, “Pre-Book Accommodations or Wing-It”.)

The sister-in-law fulfilled her dream to waltz in the ocean with my brother. Even though, her mid-calf rubber boots filled with icy water in waves that splashed higher than their knees.

The town offers many small interesting shops, and there’s no shortage of fantastic seafood restaurants. There are also whale watching tour companies based there.

Before heading back to the east-side of the island, we also visited Uclulet where we walked the scenic Pacific Rim Trail and of course shopped a little.

Our next stay was at, Beach Club Resort, in popular, Parksville. The long wooden boardwalk out front of this resort is great for those who want to stroll and not get their footwear dirty. For shell pickers the shallow shores mean a huge beach becomes exposed when the tide is out. (Pictured in “Watching The Tide Roll Away”)

Since our last two accommodations were at busy, touristy spots, I searched for a, off the main path, but still on the water location for our next two nights.

When the GPS had us exit the Trans Canada Highway onto a road that wound down through about eight miles of country side, I began to doubt my travel agent skills.

The road hadn’t reached sea level when the town of Cowichan Bay started and we arrived at the parking lot of our accommodation. It was so unassuming that if we had been winging-it, we may have passed it by.

We took no pictures, and neither Mister or I can remember exactly what it looked like from the front. I vaguely recall a simple earth-tone two story building with little to no windows, other than the glass lobby doors.

But, walk through those sliding doors and beyond the reception counter there is a sitting area, furnished and cozy like a living room. The eye catching feature though was the wall of windows where we got our first view of the bay and marina.

Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay ended up being a little piece of heaven we all enjoyed. A place each of us say we would re-visit in a heartbeat.

I booked kitchenette suites in case we felt like cooking a meal, (which we didn’t). The suites were spacious with separate bed and living rooms, both areas had patio doors which opened to the bay. (The picture above is from our room.)

From our couches or beds we could watch Sea-Lions swimming in the marina and I saw on the news that shortly after we left there, Killer whales came right into the bay. Too bad we missed that.

When we went down to the swimming pool level, and stepped outside we were shocked by the size of the place. It didn’t match the impression we got from the front parking lot.

DSC02516

It isn’t new but was clean, well-kept and updated. We encountered friendly staff and great food from both its restaurant and the pub next door.

The town of Cowichan Bay, offers a candy and ice cream shop, a general store, a bakery, a whale watching tour company. These and more little shops, and all just a short walk from the hotel.

If you’re planning to visit Vancouver Island, and you don’t mind staying minutes from city conveniences, we highly recommend Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay.

Its location on the coast is great for doing day trips to many of the popular tourist places. Or, if you’re looking for a comfortable and quiet place to relax with stunning bay views, this place should be a serious contender.

This is post 2 of 3 on our Vancouver Island trip.

Have you ever stumbled on a hidden treasure like this when you’ve pre-booked an accommodation?

Is This Lighthouse View Worth It?

72 lighthouse NB

Roadside viewpoints, even with fantastic scenery, sometimes aren’t worth the anxiety getting to them causes.

You can’t really tell from the picture how high above sea level it is.

This is a promised post about a lighthouse visit forever etched in my mind.

In our average sized unit for Alberta, a 4×4 crew-cab truck and 30ft. fifth wheel RV, we set out on a cross Canada dream trip, celebrating Mister’s retirement.

The further east we traveled signs that a smaller unit would have been more practical started to occur. Like outside, Quebec City, when we pulled into a roadside rest area for lunch and the road back onto the highway made a tight half circle that was narrow and curbed on both sides with jagged rocks. Mister knew we were too long to make the bend, but it was the only exit. He drove slowly, and we hoped for the best, which was only one trailer tire’s sidewall being ripped open and the wheel hub damaged.

Thankfully, that was the only costly incident we encountered,

BUT

his driving skills were tested multiple times, and white knuckling on my part occasionally took place.

We started asking size related questions when heading to attractions. Then, if needed we would leave the RV at a nearby campground, or a couple times Mister got permission to park the 5th wheel for a few hours at tourist information centres.

I wish we had gotten a second opinion for one nerve-rattling adventure I call, “The road to hell.” Slightly inappropriately named, because in fact the road zigzagged up a mountain, and the destination was not hellish.

Before leaving our campground near Hopewell Rocks, NB. we asked a local fellow about getting to Cape Enrage Lighthouse. If we should pull our 5th there or not? If there would be parking? He replied, “It should be fine, tour buses go up there.”

That was good enough for Mister. The next morning we headed down highway 114 which became rough enough to make us wish for air ride seats.

We took the lighthouse exit, and soon it opened into a flat stretch. The ocean glittered on one side of the road, a marsh was on the other, but a massive, tree covered mountain loomed ahead.

There was a roadside gravel area there big enough to park, probably used by fisherman to get to the ocean, but a sign indicated several Kilometers yet to the lighthouse.

A squiggly switchback warning sign and a high incline percentage one also came into view, and that’s when my anxiety began.

I told mister, “It’s fine, we don’t have to continue.”

I suggested, “Since there’s room here, let’s just turn around.”

I reasoned, “There will be other lighthouses to see along our route.”

I even tried straight out stating, “Honest, I don’t want to go up there.”

I rambled and muttered more, but those were my main arguments.

Mister simply replied, “We’ve come this far, we’re not turning back. Quit worrying! If a bus can make it, we can.”

But, worry is what I do best.

I pleaded some more, but our speed remained steady, the discussion was over.

A cliché comes to mind, “Come hell or high water,” he was taking me to see that lighthouse. (Now, isn’t he sweet, or maybe he needed revenge for some previous nagging I’d done? Smiley face)

Don’t get me wrong, Mister’s driving skills impress me. He can also maneuver a trailer pretty much anywhere, but I really never wanted to find out if controlling a rig sliding backwards on a narrow mountain road was in his repertoire.

When we slowed for the first corner, I braced my feet on the floor and one arm on the console between us. My other hand clutched the dashboard, “Oh sh…!” handle. Why, I’m not sure, we weren’t going fast or off-roading. Another smile.

With only slight exaggeration, I swear on the tight switchbacks I could have stuck my arm out the window and been able to touch the side of the 5th wheel.

Oh, have I mentioned the road was hard topped but was littered with small pebbles.

When we crept up a particular steep and sharp hairpin turn, the truck began to spit those loose pebbles. My worst fear came to life, the tires lost traction, and we were sliding backwards.

Mister, all calm and collected steered and engaged the truck’s 4 wheel drive. We started to inch forward again.

I on the other hand, broke into a sweat, muttered curses and silently prayed.

Finally we got to the top where we had to stop on the road and help guide another unit around the corner so they could head back down the hill.

The actual parking lot had a designated spot for tour buses but the public part was not big enough for larger RV’s.

Mister found a grassy plateau before the lot and wedged our rig in so we could get out to explore and take pictures of the lighthouse. The views were spectacular, but I’m not sure they were worth my stress.

70 start of road to hell Cape Enrage NB

Road Before Cape Enrage Lighthouse

 

79 road down

Coming Down Again

If I’d known this story would become a blog post, I would’ve tried taking better or at least more pictures, and maybe washed the bugs off the windshield. Who am I kidding, between hanging on and my shaking hands I’m impressed I got these few. Pictures don’t do justice to heights, inclines, etc. anyway.

The trip down wasn’t much better for me because I couldn’t stop picturing those darn loose pebbles causing us to careen off the edge.

How busses negotiate the trip, I’ll never know, maybe traffic is stopped for them. For sure, I would never want to meet and have to pass one or any other big vehicle for that matter.

If planning to visit this sight, the scenery is gorgeous once up there but be aware of the road getting there, especially, if you are pulling an RV.

Do certain road conditions cause you anxiety?

Do you like road-trips?

Missing Las Vegas

img_1103

The kids and I at the Valley of Fire

I’m suffering withdrawal from a treasured yet broken behaviour. In recent years, I would just be returning from a Las Vegas, Nevada getaway or excited for an upcoming December one. This November came fast, and with my traveling companions and myself preoccupied a trip didn’t get planned.

Mister and I had a busy fall building a project, plus a couple medical issues complicated life. The son and his girlfriend took a trip to a neighbouring province, and our daughter made use of great weather to enjoy ridding her young horse.

Las Vegas is a destination Mister and I enjoy, and often we go there twice a year.

Although, the common participants for shorter November trips are the son (who loves Vegas), our daughter (who loves trips), and myself.

We fly, we rent a vehicle (with the choices available the son, a car guy and our driver, looks forward to choosing the rental) and we get little sleep. Ask the daughter about the brutal pace of the first trip we three took. I think we slept 12 or 13 hours total during the 3 days. She called her brother and I crazy more than once and wondered why we spent money on a hotel room we seldom used. We had a good time though and that’s what counts.

The gambling, nightlife or even big shows aren’t what we go for.

We stay on the strip, and always revisit other big Hotels, but we love to explore the countryside and surrounding attractions.

Some of our favorite places near Vegas are the Valley of Fire (where we’ve even enjoyed Christmas picnics), Oatman, AZ. (the section of Route 66 to get there, and the wild donkeys that roam the town), and Hoover Dam.

By far the best for me, is the scenery from the smaller two lane highways along Lake Mead. Those stretches are worth the road trip. My brother and the son shared the experience and say they are a great drive on motorcycles.

33

Approaching Lake Mead

441-more-twists

Route 66 to Oatman, AZ

Other highlights in or closer to the city are the Mobster Museum, Fremont Street, Red Rock Canyon, driving sand dune buggies, and the race track (where you can drive fancy cars, and ride with a professional drifter, very fun). Not wanting to write a long rambling post this is a short list of options, and even with all the time we’ve spent there we haven’t run out of new things to see and do.

We have many fond memories from Vegas vacations, starting back when the kids were young to recent family trips.

If you have never been and are planning to visit the city, the Hotels and sights on the strip are amazing but so is the surrounding scenery. 

Maybe we’ll go in the coming months, or hopefully next fall for sure. I’m always game for a trip. With about two hours notice, I can be packed and ready.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas, Nevada?

What is your favorite place to see there?

Do you have a place you never tire of traveling to?

West Coast Wonderful

image

Spectacular Shorelines

 

Tomorrow will be the first of two, long, tiresome legs of a coming journey. The thought causes a twinge of an expected ache in my lower back and butt. Excitement mounts as the hours tick closer, to the point where the last nights sleep in my bed becomes restless.

Prior to departure is a week if not more of preparation and sleep deprivation. The, I got to run to a store for that. I better start a pile of what not to forget. Oh, I might need that but where the heck is it? Wash clothes and then don’t wear items that might get packed. Arrange who will water plants and cut lawn.

A couple days before we leave it’s time to Google the weather for where we’re headed. Next is decisions and the actual packing. Layers, it always ends up layers. If I take that skirt I’ll need different shoes. If I take extra shoes, I’ll lose valuable clothes space, what a dilemma. I rethink my choices knowing I can be more efficient with mixing and matching. Time to empty the suitcase and start over.

Does this silly routine sound familiar? Who else starts a holiday with a similar process?

I sometimes think, “Is the trip worth it?” then scold myself. Stressing about the extra effort doesn’t last long because I’m grateful for travel opportunities. Whether one or numerous nights away, whether a near or distant destination, a trip is a trip and I cherish them all.

Of course, not every vacation is uneventful, minus challenges or mishaps. Our family has a motto for life though, which came years ago from my mother, “See the best in every situation and simply enjoy. Things happen for a reason. Delay’s put you where you need to be.” Some most remembered and talked about past holiday adventures involve, vehicle breakdowns, travel delays, last minute plan alterations, or unexpected weather.

It’s also normal for me to mourn the end of a trip. A fairly fresh feeling as it’s been mere weeks since returning home from the latest special excursion.

image

My Travel Companions

Exploring the Washington, Oregon coast was not new to my husband and I, but we’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying the sights with my oldest brother and his wife. A fun two week, 4334 kilometer road-trip, spent appreciating glorious scenery and each others company.

We strolled beaches, boardwalks, and interesting small-town streets. A unexpected bonus was stopping at roadside pull-outs to whale watch, and yes there are pictures to prove this fish story. (I point that out because of a trip where only I saw a whale and which our kids still believe was a rock formation.) During this recent drive we spotted deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even a black bear. We photographed sea lions, seals, amazing views, lighthouses, and waterfalls. After a GPS programing issue, we made our sternwheeler reservation with only minutes to spare and relaxed on a river cruise. Who knew Oregon state has two towns with very similar names. Of course, we shopped, we ate our fill of clam chowder soups, and we relentlessly teased each other, but most importantly we laughed and laughed often. What more could one wish for? Thanks again to our travel companions for the wonderful time.

We proved you’re never to old for pipe-dreams. Visiting quaint ocean-side towns and breathtaking areas the four of us discussed where we would relocate after winning a big lottery. When we toured marinas and shipyards, the huge ocean crafts compared to our familiar lake vessels left us in awe. We picked out which yacht for my husband and I and which sailboat for my brother and his wife would fit into our new imagined lifestyles.

image

Gang Leader

My brother found this little guy at one of our stops and he became our trip mascot. A squeeze of his paw when we started a drive triggered a rough gravelly rendition of “Born To Be Wild”. I shared a performance video of this with our kids and our daughter replied with a sassy text, “So you guys are born to be wild, travelling in a mini van, going to fabric stores.” She gets her sarcasm from her father. (Here would be a great place for a happy face emoji.) Our son teased us less, probably because only last year he experienced one of these madcap, minivan trips with us four. A post covering that adventure will appear in the future. In our defence, it was only one fabric store, and we had a purpose. It’s difficult to find nautical prints living in the prairies. I needed some such material for a quilting project and my brother needed a curtain for his sailboat. 

Lesson I learned

Road trips with siblings once you’ve become an adult can be less traumatic. Being the youngest child of five, two of those being brothers pretty much explains my sediment. At least I’ve outgrown my fear that mountains are sleeping monsters waiting to eat little girls. A tale and little joke both my brothers found entertaining

Are you a organize ahead type of traveller or the day before throw a few things into a suitcase and that’s that?

Has anyone else travelled with siblings and enjoyed the excursion?

Liking or commenting on a post helps me see what topics are of interest.

Thanks in advance for your support.