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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh Canada in Summertime


First stop after buying some black cherries was Okanagan Falls where there is much natural beauty.  This is looking south over Vaseax Lake to where - the South Okanagan-Similkeen National Park is proposed kinda in a triangle near Osoyoos, Keremos and Oliver.  It would butt up to the United States border.
The conservation idea has the support of the Okanagan Nation (Sylix) First Nations, but not to some of the other locals and there are big signs in red letters that say "NO NATIONAL PARK".  So negative when talking about preserving something so important such as biodiversity!  This area is full of it and nowhere else in Canada does this type of desert ecosystem exist!  
I've stepped on cactus here...
I believe the national park or conservation idea of some type of preserve needs to be pursued.  This unique desert ecosystem area will become more and more urbanized if not protected. It's already quite established as wine country so why not set aside some land for the critters to have an ecosystem to live and reproduce in and for open natural landscapes for future generations to enjoy?

We kept going north on Hwy 97 to Salmon Arm and we stopped at a beautiful green garden in the parent's backyard.


Robin's garden got off to a very wet start at the beginning of the summer and now it's trying to make up for lost growing time.


We hit the blessing of raspberries coming on strong, perfect timing. Bring on the whipped cream!

Monday, July 23, 2012

What we did for summer vacation

We've just spent time helping my brother work on his condo renovating it. It's a great to be able to help out not having to worry about getting away from "real work" and using up vacation leave. It's the least we can do seeing as we haven't returned to our career lives.


I've decided to not apply for any more jobs because we realize that what we really want to do is continue to travel some more. A couple weeks ago I made my last ditch effort to work for a little while in BC while waiting for permanent residency to come through, but my work experience wasn't exactly what they were interested in, so we've decided we are going to go to Nepal for the fall...

After overhauling both of our houses, we figured this renovation would be quick since it's a one bedroom with a living room, kitchen and bath. Of course, getting dirty cleaning and painting and tearing out old stuff and replacing with new wasn't quite as quick as we thought once we got into it.

We put in 19 boxes of laminate flooring into the car plus a miter saw

We painted the cabinets and installed new tile in the kitchen.  
The kitchen still smells of curry from the last tenant.

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We changed the bathroom scenery with a new medicine cabinet with a mirror, a nicer wall mirror and new faucet for the sink  We also replaced the outdated aluminum siding on the walls with a tile back splash.

We'll be heading back to Canada soon and get biking, climbing and summer fun on the agenda.  The dachshunds get to hang out on the river with mom and bro.  Payoff for helping with the condo so we're not all selfless.  The dogs can't go to Asia with us either.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eddie dog plays ball

I've been having a great time lately playing with Eddie.  He just doesn't give up... until he flops.

The Eddie Dog and the ball


video


video

That's a flop!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nakusp - Halway River - Salmon Arm

The rain arrived as promised on Tuesday morning in Nakusp. At first it was just a drizzle, letting me make my oatmeal for breakfast and pack up the tent without getting too wet, but then a thunderstorm came over with great crashing and banging and the torrents started. I took shelter in a covered dugout at the ball field next to the campground for an hour and a half while I waited out the rain, then headed out onto the highway after it had subsided to a mere trickle.
Three of four cars passed me heading out from Halfway River hot spring as I crept up the rough gravel road with the bike and trailer, a hopeful sign for getting at least a bit of solitude in the hot pools. There were still a few groups camped near the springs, but I got to soak alone for a while after I got my camp set up in my secluded spot up the hill. I met a young man named Light who was celebrating his 30th birthday at the springs, and a young woman named Ashley who was camping there for a week or two. We soaked and talked for a while as more rain came down, then Light invited us to the camp spot he shared with his friend Riel, and older French-Canadian guy. They had a tarp set up over their fire circle, so we could cook rice and tea without getting wet. Riel made some flatbread in a pot on the fire, kind of like the damper my cousin Richard made for us in Australia. We all went back to soak for a while before heading off to our separate camps to sleep.
The next morning I got up early (as I tend to do when camping out), ate some breakfast and went down for another soak in the riverside hot pool. The river level was higher than I'd ever seen it, and there was only one small hot pool above the river, but a larger pool outline could be seen just under the water. I took a bit of time to build the wall back up so the river wasn't roaring through the pool, and it started to warm up immediately. Later in the afternoon I came back and Light had built the wall up further with a tarp he had found near the camp sites, and now the large pool was good and soakable. The water had to be constantly stirred, or a layer of super-hot water would burn your shoulders as your butt froze in the cold water that settled to the bottom of the pool. Light also showed me how to do a tonal chakra meditation, which was interesting. (I also learned that rubber-soled shoes are bad, as they deprive Mother Earth of the electrical currents that flow through our body systems - the things you can learn at B.C. hot springs!) I soaked a bit more in the pool and wooden tub before heading back up the bank to my tent for an early night, as I knew I had a big day ahead of me.
Thursday morning arrived clear and sunny, so I made the rest of my oatmeal for breakfast and packed up my  tent and gear. I resisted the urge to go for one last soak, as I knew that could lead to a serious delay in getting started down the road! I timed the trip from the camp to the ferry almost perfectly - the ferry was just docking as I rolled up to the back of the line of traffic. The hills on the road between Halfway river and the ferry and from the other side to Revelstoke wore me down a bit, but I got to Revelstoke just after noon and stopped at a pub to order fries with lots of salt and ketchup. Back on the bike, I rolled slowly and painfully up the hill to Three Valley Gap, where a stiff headwind wore me down and made me doubt whether I'd make it all the way to Salmon Arm that night. The long descent past the Enchanted Forest made me feel a bit better, and I wasn't feeling too bad as I pulled into the rest stop at Craigellachie. I went in to the washroom to fill my water bottles, but the sign above the sink said "Untreated water - not safe for drinking", so I headed off with no water to try to find some down the road. The first place I came to was the Raceway cafe, where the sign on the door said it was open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the door was locked and the lights were out. I found the washroom at the side of the building open though, so I filled both of my water bottles and was back on the road. At Sicamous I stopped to buy some Doritos for the salt (700mg of sodium per 90g bag - really bad for you if you're sedentary, but good if you're sweating your butt off on a ten hour bike ride!), but the sign at the Husky station said "Do Not Drink our Water!" so I asked the guy at the counter where I could get drinkable water. He said at first "I dunno...ride to another town I guess" which was not really an option for me, but eventually he remembered that there was a tanker truck full of water parked by the Rec Center supplying free drinking water for the town after the recent floods had contaminated the town's water supply. I filled up both bottles and my hydration pack, ate my Doritos, drank more water, and headed off up the hill from Sicamous. I was resigned to my torturously slow pace up the hill by now, so up I plodded and eventually reached the top before a good fast coast down until the next climb, then a nice long gradual coast back to lake level and the last hills through the center of Salmon Arm. As I rode the final few hundred meters, a familiar green Subaru Forester passed me - my dad had gone out to check on me after seeing some strange position locations reported on Google latitude.
I'm tired after the final 189km day of my bike tour, but I don't have to ride today. My dad and I picked some weeds out of the garden to increase the ratio of carrots to weeds - looks pretty good.

So here are the final stats on the bike tour:

Start Finish km
Calgary Banff 125
Banff Mcleod meadows 118
Mcleod meadows Invermere 46
Invermere Fort Steele 117
Fort Steele Creston 127
Creston Nelson 122
Nelson Nelson 0
Nelson Nelson 0
Nelson Nakusp 151
Nakusp Halfway River 36
Halfway River Halfway River 0
Halfway River Salmon Arm 189
Total 1031


-mark.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mission Accomplished

"The listing you have requested is no longer available. It may be sold, pending, or have a contingency offer, or be off the market..."   
 Translation?  "I am no longer a home owner."

The universe wants me to move north.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nelson - Nakusp

After flying down from Kootenay summit, I completed the slog up past Salmo and Ymir to Nelson. I crashed on the futon at Derek and Julie's place (nephew and niece-in-law). I rested up for two days while Derek worked his shifts on the ferry and poor Julie got soaked on a bike tour from Kaslo to New Denver, Slocan, and back to Nelson. I made butter chicken for them on Sunday night, and it seemed to go over well.
This morning Derek rode out with me for the first 20km or so before he turned back to Nelson. I felt pretty good, and wanting to reduce the distance I have to ride in the rain that's expected tomorrow, I pushed through to Nakusp. 150km for the day is the longest so far this tour, but there weren't many hills and especially no headwinds!
-mark.