Can’t Get Much Closer, The Final Leg

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My previous post had us six siblings at the wonderful, Cowichan Bay. From there we drove the paved logging road across, Vancouver Island to, Port Renfrew. A never visited destination for all of us.

Port Renfrew, has less town than I expected, but it makes it up with scenery and tranquility.

The online pictures of our accommodation made it one of my anticipated stops this trip.

We reserved a two bedroom, log, row cabin, at, “Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages,” and one word describes it, “Wow.” Gorgeous, peaceful, or cozy would work too.

I’ve never stayed this close to the ocean. (Even on the cruise ship, the water was farther  away.) At this seaside cottage, high tide waves almost lapped  at our deck’s support beams.

The shoreline at the bottom of our few deck steps was by far the best part for me, a sea-glass hunters paradise. Every chance I got I combed the stretch out front of our room.

Until this trip, the most pieces I’ve found on a holiday was, nine. I left this cove with a cup full. Without an actual count, I’d guess in 7 different colors.

Wild Renfrew’s staff was great, Martin K. in particular. He checked us in, looked after our needs (the precious extra coffee and condiments needed), and suggested places of interest in the area.

He deserves a special thanks, for the courtesy of emailing us that the brother-in-law left something behind, and then for taking time to package and mail it to his home. Many places wouldn’t bother doing this, and it was appreciated.

Some may think I’m strange for this, but I chalk it up to being a mother. No cell phone service in most of, Port Renfrew, took a little getting use to. It’s not that I’m addicted to my phone, but I relay on it for accessibility if the kids need us. The cabin had internet though, so we touched base that way.

The cabin also had satellite T.V., which we didn’t really watch, but it was usually on when the guys were inside.

In mine and Mister’s almost forty years together, I could probably count with my fingers how many places we’ve stayed without television. Most of those were not by choice. Mister is not an avid watcher, but he has said, “Roughing it even while camping, is not having satellite T.V.” I guess regarding televisions and cell phones, him and I are creatures of habit who like the comforts of home. Smiley face.

Back to Port Renfrew and this holiday. We ate a big, tasty lunch at the pub, therefore that night we opted for a simple hot dog supper cooked in our cabin’s kitchen. There was a campfire area and wood available but we were lazy. Oh, another great amenity at, Wild Renfrew, is propane fire pits on each deck. The men made good use of ours, whether outside soaking up the view or avoiding a house full of women, who knows, but it kept the October chill away.

All six of us stayed the first night in one cabin. Space wasn’t an issue, but one bathroom was a little tricky. Older bodies and hide-a-bed sofas don’t always get along though, so the sister and her husband moved to a cute studio suite for the second night.

At the other end of town from where we stayed is, San Jaun Beach. Probably a busy place during the summer, but other than the few fishermen, we were the only ones strolling it on our daily visits. This was my sister’s favorite spot for soaking up sunshine while searching the sandy beach for small driftwood pieces for a wreath she wants to make. A great place to let the sound of rhythmic waves wash away your cares.

Martin K. also suggested we do the short drive to Jaun de Fuca Provincial Park to explore Botany Bay and Botanic Beach. He said low tide was the best time to go because it’s when you can see the marine life in the tidal  pools. Lucky for us low tide was at noon the next day, and that’s when we went.

Our group is plagued with age related issues and aches, but by taking our time we managed the hike down from the parking lot, and back up, I might add. Worth the effort, and a highlight for Mister and I.

After roaming the rocks the others started back up the trail. I had been trying to capture a picture of a big wave as it splashed over a certain rock, so Mister and I stayed behind.

While I stood positioned, concentrating and waiting for the perfect shot, Mister scanned the open water. He soon reverted my attention to something far more interesting though.

We spent maybe a half hour longer at the beach than the others, and with patience, and persistence, I got a good number of pictures of off shore whales and their water spouts. At one time we counted five water spouts.

The coastal drive from Port Renfrew to Sooke is pretty and one we would like to do again but would allow more time for stopping at beaches next time. One place we stopped at was, Sheringham lighthouse. We didn’t hike all the way down to it, but got pictures of it non-the-less.

We spent a night at Best Western, Prestige Inn, in Sooke before heading on to Victoria and the Days Inn on the harbor. These were both waterfront hotels and the last before we had to head inland and home.

Would watching whales be worth a hike for you?

Are you a patient picture taker?

Everyone’s Favorite, Part#2

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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.

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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?

Ferries Not Fairies, The Start

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Brilliant yellow and orange leaves colored central Alberta’s trees, yet we woke to branches sagging under the weight of fresh overnight snow. It hadn’t accumulated on the roads and would probably all melt by later that day, but we didn’t stick around to find out.

For this October road-trip my brother and his wife joined Mister and I. We left shortly after sunrise for a scenic three B.C. Ferry, instead of the usual one, venture to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Our first day goal is always to make miles, put as much distance between us and home as we can. So after 10 1/2 hours in the van we arrived at Clinton, BC. Not as far as our younger selves would make in a day, but we also have more time now, since we’re all retired. (Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday, talks about a morning mishap that delayed us.)

Clinton nestles in the hills of BC’s Cariboo region, and we were glad the historic Cariboo Lodge we booked was unharmed. The town was one of many evacuated during this summer’s devastating wildfires.

The next day we traveled highway #97 to #99. A pretty drive they say once it nears the river. A little high, and exposed (as in no guardrails) at times for me, but more so for the sister-in-law who has a height phobia.

Familiar with many roads, Mister or I, try to remember to have her sit on the side of the van which will be on the inside of the road when we’ll on a picturesque section like this. Where our heads were this particular morning, who knows.

Both us girl sat on the passenger side which offered unobstructed views across the narrow shoulder, off the edge, and into the valley far below. The men, being the boys they sometimes are, seemed to enjoy our muttered curses. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith in Mister’s driving. He did nothing crazy, but sometimes on roads like this it’s hard not to sweat and apply pressure to my invisible brake pedal.

At Lillooet’s Tourist Information/Museum we met one of my sisters and her husband and they joined and followed us for the rest of the trip.

The section of highway #99 leaving there needs a mention. If you have a tendency to get car-sick from side to side cornering motion, or travel in a large RV, be prepared if you head this way. Make sure your cupboards and fridge doors are latched, and you may want to have something handy if you’re prone to seatbelt rash on your neck.

Mister and I, do a lot of back-roads so we’ve been on many windy and even hair-raising paths, but this was a top five windiest road ever for us. It’s a pretty drive, just be aware. The good part was it isn’t as high and open as the previous stretch.

After lunch in Whistler, B.C. the Sandman Inn at Squamish, was our stop for the night. Another without ocean-views but we were within minutes of the first Ferry terminal.

In the morning we boarded the Horseshoe Bay ferry which goes to Langdale.

My advice if traveling on multiple B.C. ferries is to check into the, B.C. Ferry Experience card, it saved four of us in the one vehicle a hundred dollars overall.

Once across to land again our first stop was in, Gibsons. A small charming town some may have heard of because of the Canadian television series, “Beachcombers.” Filmed there from 1972-1990. It made the still operating waterside restaurant, Molly’s Reach, a well-known place.

Our next ferry departed further north on the Sunshine Coast highway 101, so after exploring Gibsons, off we went. This path goes through one of my favorite spots of the area, Sechelt. Unfortunately, on this trip we didn’t stop there or at any of the beaches along that stretch. All I’ll say as to why not, is communication skills were not 100% between Mister and I right then. A rarity but it happened.

We continued to Earls Cove for the ferry to Saltery Bay. From there it was a short drive to Powell River, and the first of our 11 ocean-side accommodations. Beach Gardens Resort Hotel, is older but with nice rooms and balconies facing a marina on Malaspina Strait.

We enjoyed beautiful sights, and it’s where the pictures for this post were taken. My brother’s candid shot of me and one I took of him the morning we left to board our third ferry, the one to Vancouver Island.

There are two places on the island where we stayed that deserve mentioning more than just their name so stay tuned to find out which they are and what made them special.

Have you been on a ferry?

Was it the large multi deck onewith restaurants and gift shops or the one open car level type?

These three we were on are the large type, but open ones travel between the many smaller islands and Vancouver Island.

I would also like to wish all my American readers

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!!

Watching The Tide Roll Away

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For those who don’t know, I can get a bit obsessed with walking shorelines in search of my favorite beach treasure, sea glass. I’ve set an alarm and been out long before the morning sun, and I’ve been out late in the evening, depending on tide schedules.

I’ll stroll the same beach as many times in a day as our schedule allows.

I’ll wear or use whatever Mother Nature requires, a raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots, earmuffs, and I’ve even needed a flashlight. I always pack these options.

This post’s title is a line from, “The Dock of the Bay.” My recent holiday’s theme song.

As soon as I got to the water’s edge this tune played over and over in my mind. Its melody, the salty sea air, and the lapping waves put me at peace and kept me company if I was alone.

In October, one of my brothers and sisters, and their spouses did a road trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with Mister and I. All of us had been to most of the places we visited, but never together as adults, and the others hadn’t been on the island in years.

Those interested in joining Mister and I were warned that I had an agenda for this trip. Being a coastline journey I was going for ocean-views every night or as often as possible, even if the cost per night was higher than normal rooms. Everyone was game.

I did the route planning, online research and reservations. The family refers to me as their personal travel agent and guide. The pay sucks, but it’s a hat I enjoy wearing as long as things go well. I lied, their smiles are pay enough.

Something I’ve learnt during previous travels is many coastline accommodations are private motels and hotels. Owning such prime real-estate means they remain successful and rarely sell out to the big new chains. We enjoy the uniqueness of these often older places, but I rely on reviews when checking their condition and upkeep.

Either I did a good job booking, or this group was easy to please, or they pretended to be, because I heard minimal complaining. Rooms were clean, had comfortable beds, and a few exceeded our expectations.

Out of fourteen nights away, 11 had water views.

They were steps from the ocean’s edge. Some rooms overlooked marinas, (my brother and I have a boat fetish) others had open coast lines, some with sandy shores, and some with rugged rocks.

For me, it’s hard to top waking up to these views.

Something odd happened though, I’ve never slept so much and done so little exploring on a trip. Typically, I’m a let’s go here, let’s do this kind of traveler. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I’m somewhere other than home.

We had a busy summer, so perhaps down-time was needed to recharge or maybe the cold I caught on day two and the medicine I took affected me. Whatever it was, wasting hours which I could have spent, even if just, enjoying the scenery unsettled me. Yet, I usually went to bed long before my normal time and slept later, often missing the sunrise.

The main goal for the trip was for the six of us to spend time together, and this we achieved. We joined each other for meals, and sometimes for beach walks. Of course no trip is complete for females without some clothes and other shopping. But, we weren’t the only ones who purchased items.

The group liked to snoop through local shops, which we did wherever we were. That resulted in a few found treasures, the biggest (literally) being the large wooden sail boat ornament my brother bought.

Since we all live in Alberta, having fresh seafood was a must on the list to do. By the time we got home some complained they were getting, chowdered-out, as we called it. Not me, fish was my main food source while we were gone, and I miss it. But, not as much as I miss walking the shores.

Do you prefer privately owned Motels or Hotels or large popular chains?

Are you an Explorer or Relaxer while on vacation?

The next two posts will have tips for those who may find themselves traveling on our same path.

Pre-book Accommodations or Wing-it?

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Mister and I use to wing-it for accommodations when traveling, we didn’t like to schedule the exact where and when.

This habit began way back when the kids and I would go along on Mister’s business trips. He didn’t always know how long or how many daily stops he would make so it was easier to wait and choose where to stay each night.

Plus, we preferred to see properties in person, rather than rely on phonebook listings or brochures which usually used out-of-date pictures.

Some may find this next detail hard to imagine and the concept may make some shutter.

The wing-it days I refer to started before the biggest world change I’ve witnessed in my life, so far.

It was back when people didn’t own home computers, laptops, iPads, notebooks, or cell phones with internet. Heck, back then we never heard of Google. A handheld GPS was better known as a, map.

Now, with internet at our fingertips, even-though you can’t believe everything on there, I feel with enough research and weeding through reviews you can get a pretty good idea about a place.

And so, we made a habit change for our last few holidays. I pre-booked accommodations for all or most nights we were away. The main reason was, a couple places were popular enough that if we hadn’t had reservations, we would have been hooped.

Unexpected upsides came with having nightly reservations.

We never pulled into a town or city tired and possibly in the dark and then had to search for a place to stay. We also never stopped too early because uncertain of what the next town would offer. Both these may sound trivial, but believe me, Mister and I have shared many cranky episodes regarding these points in the past.

Do we ever pass places we would like to stay at while on our way to one we’ve booked? Yes, but we’ve also driven through towns that if winging-it we would have been disappointed and moving on down the road.

Another bonus to pre-booking is becoming aware of local events that may mean places are full. I can’t count the number of times while winging-it we would arrive somewhere, towns or cities we had stayed before and knew they had lots of choices, only to find a concert or sport event had everything jammed.

Our trip planning starts with a basic route or a particular destination in mind. Using the internet, I research sights along the way and estimate the time it will take to drive and see the ones that interest us. Considering that information, I’ll check 2-3 towns or cities we would be near at about 2-5pm each day. I like to look for unique Hotels, or Motels but we have some well-known chains we like too. I’ll make my choice after reading reviews on numerous websites.

If the trip isn’t for a while, and it’s required, we always pay the couple dollars extra for, get this, free cancelation. Smiley face.

Pre-booking still causes me occasional trepidation, but there is also the excitement that we could stumble on a hidden treasure of a place, which has happened. By this I mean, an establishment that its curb appeal might have us driving past, but by reading reviews we’ve booked, stayed and have been pleasantly surprised.

Knock on wood, we also haven’t been disappointed to the point where we’ve had to move to a different premise.

For now we’re enjoying this new way of travel, but I’m also sure we’ll do a wing-it trip again. If and when though, I’ll use the internet to research and list possibilities along the route.

I’ve also tried doing reservations a couple days ahead while on the road, but this meant evenings were spent researching and booking, and I felt it took away from the trip.

Do you pre-book trip accommodations or wing-it as you go?

Do you prefer privately owned motels or big hotel chains?

What is the biggest worldly change that has occurred during your life, so far?

 

Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday

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A recent fall journey began with an evening rain shower that turned to snow during the night. By morning enough white stuff accumulated to require a snow-brush and ice scraper to clean off T.C. (our van), but the roads were bare and all participants woke raring to go.

Taking a road-trip while the beautiful fall colors are out is so worth leaving shorts and sandals behind and packing bulkier and a bit more clothing. Mister and I love to travel at this time of the year.

The luggage stowed inside was for two siblings (myself and one of my brothers) and two outlaws (our spouses). Not to worry, there was more bags than what you see above by the time we returned. (Insert Smiley face here).

Us four have traveled together before. To Las Vegas and last summer we explored the Washington and Oregon coast. This time we headed to Canada’s west coast and Vancouver Island. Our numbers increased to six though on the second day when one of my sister’s and her husband met up and joined us.

The weather system that brought the overnight snow was small, so it wasn’t long into the drive before even the fields and ditches were bare again.

Unfortunately, the trip started like no other; it started with a bang, and not a good kind.

An hour and a half after we set out two animals appeared from nowhere, and as a pair they ran across the highway in front of us. Mister slammed on the brakes which gave the lead one just enough time to escape, but nothing could be done to avoid hitting the second.

Tears filled my eyes as I walked back to check the animal lying motionless on the pavement, knowing very well its state. I apologized to it and hoped death came in an instant so it suffered no pain.

Within seconds Mister appeared behind me and pulled the body out from the path of oncoming traffic. I’m not sure I could have done that.

No humans were injured. The van’s under shroud was ripped off, and a good portion of the front end was either cracked, or broken. Lucky for us though, the air bags didn’t go off, the headlights remained intact, and although the air conditioning radiator was dented T.C. ran fine. Damages were all cosmetic.

Nothing could change what happened, and with a highway not being the safest place to hangout we all got back inside and headed for the next town.

Mister and I stood in the mall parking lot while he made the appropriate phone calls. My brother ran into a store and bought a roll of Gorilla tape. It was needed to hold dandling and vibrating pieces safely in place, so we could continue on our way.

As a side note, this was our first time using Gorilla tape, and we were impressed by its strength and staying power through rain and winds.

My superstitious nature kicked in often during the next fourteen days as I worried about the, “Bad things happen in three’s,” theory. Then, I would hear my mother’s words, “Things happen for a reason.” Perhaps that delay saved us from a more severe incident, we will never know for sure. With us all safe at home now, I can report any other mishaps were minor compared to our start.

I intended to post sights and finds on my blog while on this trip, but the ocean always beckoned for me to spend my spare time strolling the shores.

Truth be known, I need little encouragement to do just that.

The only writing I did while on the road was in our daily travel journal. This is a practice I’ve done for years now. We enjoy looking back on the information, to reminisce, or use it to reference things when revisiting an area.

Do you keep a travel journal?

Can superstitions unsettle you?

Have you ever had a rough start to a holiday? If so, did you continue or turn back?

 

Family, His Side & My Side

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Grand-puppies Cooling Off

Road Trips will always be one of my favorite things to do. The distance traveled, or the destination isn’t what’s important, it’s who I will see when I get there.

I won’t bore you with details of how busy we are, other-than we rarely unpack our suitcases these days.

Two of our many trips so far were Family Reunions.

One on my side.

When my parents were alive, they would have whoever could make it of us siblings and our families together at Christmas. Since their passing though, to avoid worrying about winter road conditions, us kids plan a yearly, June reunion.

Out of five children, four of us are close and we visit each other numerous times a year. Sadly, a brother for reasons unknown has stopped communicating with the entire family. We have reached out, but he seems content replacing us with his wife’s family. Back to the topic though.

Reunion hosts change from time to time and this year it was a three-hour drive for Mister and I.

The gathering is a BBQ or potluck style meal open to, nieces, nephews, and their families. Not to brag, (smiley face) but Mister and I had four generations in attendance.

Special to this year, the four of us siblings and partners stretched it into a fun two night sleepover, under the same roof.

There was a downpour the night before the gathering but the day was clear and sunny. The turnout was good, and it’s always great to see those we don’t see often.

The next reunion was on Mister’s side.

Mister’s mother was one of fourteen children and their family tradition is a reunion every three years. Again, different families host, and so the location varies, but it’s always in British Columbia because that’s where the majority who attend are from. We hosted the previous one and this year’s which was last weekend, both at the same venue in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

There is a bit more to this reunion with rented facilities, a gathering Friday night, Saturday during the day is occasional activities, and a catered supper. Then Sunday morning is a catered breakfast. We left Thursday morning to pickup keys, touch base with the caterer, etc.

The son, his wife, and fur baby rode with us with the men sharing the 10 hours of driving. The oldest or her family couldn’t make it but our daughter, her husband, and their fur baby met us at the hotel Friday afternoon.

Although, this was the first reunion with none of the original aunts and uncles alive it was a great time with over 60 people in attendance. The weather was hot, hot, hot and unfortunately British Columbia’s interior is in havoc with hundreds of raging forest fires. None were in the immediate area where we were, but our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

We said our goodbyes until next time after Sunday’s breakfast and hit the road. The last 45 minute drive home from this 4 days away had extra stress when warnings binged on phones and emergency alerts interrupted radio programs, the area where our home is located was under a tornado warning.

We have weathered two serve hail storms in the last 6 years, both which wrote off numerous of our vehicles and required new roofs, siding, windows, and damages too many to list.

No matter how much you tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do about mother nature’s fury, a part of me wanted to get home fast, yet part of me was afraid of what we would find when we got there. Thankfully, all was well at our place, but unfortunately some nearby areas weren’t as lucky receiving golf-tennis size hail stones.

I will close this post with a short list of things I think about family and gatherings.

F – Fond memories, fun times, and food.

A – Always there for each other, even and maybe more so as we age.

M – Missing those who have passed or unable to attend functions.

I – Informal.

L – Laughter. There should be a T for teasing.

Y -Yellow belly sap suckers, because I just couldn’t think of anything related to family that started with a Y.

What would you have used that starts with Y?

Oh, “yappy” would have worked for us.

Do your families do reunions?

Have You Ever Wondered?

98 one of Grand Hotel carriages

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Have you ever looked through your vacation pictures and taken note of the small things instead of what enticed you to take the photo in the first place?

An example of what I’m referring to is, have you ever noticed the number of strangers captured in your shots.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many people have, you, in their vacation pictures?

Maybe I’m weird but I think of this often, does anyone else?

We know nobody in the holiday photo above.

Interesting points about Mackinac Island.

  • Mackinac Island is 3.8 sq. miles of land area on Lake Huron, with 8 miles of coastline.
  • It is only accessible by watercraft or small aircraft.
  • It has a Fort, built in 1780 and closed as a active post in 1895.
  • Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park established, and just three years later in 1875, Mackinac Island National Park was named the 2nd National Park. 
  • Since 1898, motorized vehicles have been and still are restricted to emergency and some construction vehicles only.
  • Peddle bikes, horses and horse drawn carts are the island’s mode of transportation.
  • Fudge is the number 1 souvenir since the 1920’s. 
  • The 2010 Census showed 492 year round residents with approximately 15,000 summer visitors per day.

It is a beautiful place to visit with amazing architecture.

Is This Normal?

ShirtThis topic is a bit odd for a post but it came to me while I was trying to fall asleep. There’s an occurrence that’s common with Mister, myself and our kids which we often joke about, and I’m curious if it happens to others.

The, year after year, appearance of certain clothing in holiday pictures. In our defense, T-shirts, tank tops, button up shirts, and hoodies don’t go out of style, right.

Do you have an average time period you keep your clothes, or do you keep them until they wear out or don’t fit?

As I laid in bed, I did a mental inventory of my clothing. I’m almost ashamed to admit that probably 85% of my wardrobe is 5-10 years old, and 10% is older (some pieces by a lot).

My reaction was, yikes, but if the items are still in good shape and in style, why replace them.

I grew up very money conscious and have been thrifty all my life but is keeping clothes for years normal?

Can anyone relate to this?

My next thought was, I wondered how many pieces in my collection, that aren’t new, still have the price tags on. The count was five. What’s up with that I’m not sure, other than most of those are dresses or too fancy for everyday. The dresses were bought with good intensions to wear them, but it rarely happens.

Will the revelation brought on from post trigger a thorough wardrobe revitalization, I doubt it will.

I’ll share one more confession which I’m sure may make some of you grasp in horror. The oldest item of clothing I have and still wear is my favorite work shirt pictured above.

Mister bought this western shirt shortly after we met then years later passed it down to me. It has been in the family since the late 1970’s.

I like wearing it on hot days at the farm when we’re working and I want my arms covered for scratch protection. The fabric is breathable, but is getting so thin I’m not sure how many more washings it can take before falling apart.

What is the oldest piece of clothing you have and still wear?

Into A Whirlwind

IMG_2179Female writer surfaces after recent disappearance into a whirlwind. It was a good and joyous kind of storm, not the kind where her home was re-rooted and yellow brick roads or witches appeared.

The last four days of May literally flew by.

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Could you go to town for a hair cut, dress and shoe shop for 3 hours, wash and dry 2 loads of laundry, as secretary take minutes for a 2 hour condo meeting, cut lawns, weed flowerbeds, get 3 short visits in with friends to explain a coming disappearance, research and book flights and hotel, get travel medical insurance, pack for an international trip, spend 4 hours driving, all before you leave for the airport in 39 hours.

Requirements to accomplish this were simple, eat while moving, keep moving, multitask, and divide less then 10 hours of sleep between two nights.

I’m not complaining though. I enjoyed every minute of hurried preparation for the trip to Las Vegas for our son’s impromptu wedding.

After four years together the son and his girlfriend decided to tie the knot and with Vegas being his favorite place to visit, they chose a destination wedding, the first in our immediate family.

A quaint yet elegant affair at a Fremont Street chapel with Mister and I as witnesses.

The groom was handsome in his tux. The bride was beautiful in her formal gown.

After the ceremony we all walked a section of Fremont Street for their photo-shoot.

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Memories were made as the four of us shared little glitches and unique situations.

The men thinking they were late and rushing from the hotel to the chapel because they thought the ceremony was a half hour earlier then it was.

Myself and the bride walking blocks in 114F carrying our clothes and shoes because the new limo driver didn’t know where to drop us off closer to the chapel.

Mister and I getting on the wrong freeway back to the hotel which ended with us four separated into 3 parties. Resulting in an interesting task of trying to locate each other in a large Vegas hotel without having use of cell phones.

Doing the cake cutting using plastic utensils in our hotel room, and having no plates with ate using the dig in method.

All things we laughed about and will certainly never forget.

We welcome the son’s new bride into the family and hope they have a long and happy life together. If their smiles are any indication, they are off to a great start.

Mine and Mister’s schedule didn’t quiet upon returning from this trip though.

We were home for Thursday and Friday. I did laundry, he did yard-work then we packed a suitcase and left for three days so Mister could help the son work on his truck.

We arrived back home this Monday night, with thoughts that the week will settle. No road trips in the plans, maybe just a trip into town for groceries. Then I realized I left my laptop at the daughter’s, a two hour drive away, each direction. Today had another road trip, but I think our pace will slow some now.

It’s times like this that make life interesting, and we’ll keep enjoying them while we can.

People always ask us if we get bored now that we’re retired. Ah, no.

This was our first trip as spontaneous as this. Would we do it again?

Mister would probably say, no, but I’m sure he would.

As far as me, I prefer not being so rushed, but sure I would do it again, why not?

Are you a spur of the moment traveler, or do you like to plan in advance?