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21 August 2017

Oh look, a bigger font. If you noticed the change from 10.5 pt to 11 pt you are a hopeless nerd. Thank you for paying such close attention!

This update is pretty much just a travelogue of our recent RV trip. In my last update I closed with the words “go catch a fish” and I took my own advice. We took a 5 week trip to Prince Rupert, which is on the west coast of British Columbia, about 1,500 kms / 1,000 miles away. We also did some fishing along the way. We took an indirect route to get to the coast, as we often do. From home, north-west towards Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Between Valleyview and Grande Prairie is Swan Lake. We haven’t fished here in several years. This is where Tess caught her 8 lb Rainbow trout back in 2002. Nothing that big this time but we did get 5 nice fish in the 2 -3 lb range.











From there, Dawson Creek is only an hour or so farther north-west and is Mile “0” of the Alaska Highway. We looked longingly at the highway heading north and we turned west from there.

We stopped in Hudson’s Hope BC so I could go take the tour or the WAC Bennett hydro-electric dam nearby. I spent several hours on the tour and exploring the area. I even drove across the dam just to say I did.











We carried on westward and managed to score free camping nights at the Prince George casino and at the Burns Lake municipal campground where I spent my birthday. We stayed again at both places on our way home too. Free is good.

Along the way we saw fewer animals than usual. Plenty of deer, eagles, and the occasional bear but no elk, sheep, goats, coyotes/foxes/wolves.

The reason we went on this trip was to cross an item off Tess’ bucket list - go fishing for halibut and crab. On August 3rd, after 11 days on the road, we arrived in Prince Rupert.

The last couple of days’ drive were very scenic with real mountains (with glaciers) and wide, clean rivers. Once we settled into out site at the only RV park in Prince Rupert, we got busy trying to find a charter. The going rate for a full day is around $800 which includes the boat, crew, gear and tackle.

We picked Garrett Woelders of Anchor Management Fishing Charters. We bought our licences and were on the dock at 6am. The plan was to drop a couple of crab traps on the way out, catch our limit of salmon then halibut and pick up our limit of crabs on the way back in.











Well, things didn’t quite work out that way. The salmon part did as it took only 90 minutes to catch our limit of 8 nice coho ranging from 6 - 12lbs. Plus a couple more on the crew’s licences for a total of 10.











Then it was off to the halibut grounds. Different fish are at different depths and catching them takes different techniques. Halibut live at the bottom in 150 - 250 feet of water near rises or drop offs. Modern electronics to the rescue and we were soon at a likely spot.

On the way we saw seals, eagles, dolphins and even had to change course to keep from getting too close to a whale. They are big!










We caught a couple of black rock cod (which are very tasty) and a skate (like a sting ray but no stinger) which we threw back, but no halibut. We tried several places, different methods and different baits. The skipper and his son really tried everything but eventually we had to admit defeat and return to the marina.

The final kick in the pants was when we stopped to harvest our crabs - one trap had been emptied and the other stolen, so no crabs for us.

We took the fish to Dolly’s, a local processor where they were filleted, vac packed, flash frozen and packaged up in a styro cooler for transport. We picked them up on our way out of town a few days later.

Our first stop eastbound was Ferry Island campground in Terrace. They even had a large freezer where we could store our fish. We decided to give halibut one more try, this time out of Kitimat, about a 30 minute drive south of Terrace.

We dealt with a broker in Kitimat and hit the water with Blue Heron Charters. We chose a 6 hour charter this time and wanted crab and halibut. The skipper was knowledgeable and professional. The result? No halibut, again. But we did get our limit of dungeness crab which works out to be $58 per crab. Ouch! But at least Tess got to cross this item off her bucket list.











Ron Osika, the broker, has a bait and tackle shop in Terrace and he lent us the stuff needed to cook all the crabs which took less than an hour. All I had to do was refill his propane tank. We’ll use him again.

As I mentioned, we stopped at the free campground in Burns Lake again on the way home. Our next site neighbours were a couple from Brazil! Raoul and Valkyrie Seara have circumnavigated South America, toured Central America and are now doing the western part of North America in their Brazilian built Class C motorhome.











They are returning from Prudhoe Bay, on the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. Next year they plan to do the north-eastern USA and Atlantic Canada. This couple are my new RV heros!

They have a blog chronicling their adventures. Click on the translate button if your Portuguese isn’t up to snuff. It is very interesting to read a foreigner’s view of our region.

So now it was August 15 and we were back in Prince George. I was happy to see a Costco with it (relatively) low fuel prices and I pumped 247 litres into the tank which will get us the 800 kms / 500 miles home. Our next door neighbours were a friendly couple originally from St. Louis who have been on the road for 3 years in their 40’+ motorhome. Good for them.

We had planned to take a couple more days to get home but the fish in the styro cooler are starting to get soft and we really have no other practical options available so I drove straight through the next day. We got home around 8:30pm but didn’t unpack anything except the starting to thaw fish which went straight into the freezer.

We arrived home to a pile of mail on the kitchen counter (thanks, Mark) and everything in good order. The lawn needed cutting and that was scheduled for the next day by the maintenance company I hired. A couple of days after we got home we were sitting at the breakfast table talking about where and when we would go again.

I think we need to spend some time in the mountains. Once past Labour Day, the crowds disappear and we’ll have our choice of campsites and relaxing side trips. Maybe Calgary, Waterton, Kananaskis, Banff and Jasper? It has been over 15 years since we’ve done much of this route and even longer for Waterton. The RV is all serviced and ready to go on another trip so we’ll see.

In the meantime, we are settling back into our routines. Updating this site always takes a couple of days and a genealogy research book I ordered has arrived so I have lots of work to do on that hobby. My wife’s distant cousin Vir has posted new research into Tess’ family so I will incorporate that into her tree.

The eclipse happened today but we had enough clouds to obscure it here. It was only 70% and I have seen them before so not seeing it isn’t a big deal. For those of you who saw totality, I hope you were awed by it.

Until next month,

Greg & Tess

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June 12, 2017

I know it has been over two months since my last update but I’ve been busy. And my hard drive crashed in late April taking everything with it. I’ll spare you the gory details but if your computer ever dies and it isn’t under warranty, and if you decide to repair it like I did, don’t call the manufacturer - especially if it is HP. Long story short: the worst customer service ever. My advice is to take your sick machine to your local small computer store for an estimate.

Other than being without a computer for 5 full weeks(!!!), things are going relatively smoothly. We got out camping for a week in early May and, as we have done in several years past, we got there with the lake still frozen solid. And it was pretty cold too.

It took a few days for the sun, rain and wind to clear the ice and then another couple of days until the fish started to bite. We were there for a week and came home with our limit in the freezer.












The full story is on the 2017 Camping page.

I visited family on Vancouver Island in late April and then brought the RV home from Nanaimo as planned. I stopped at my Mom’s on the way back and my brother came over so we had a good visit. Mom came home with me and she stayed with us visiting for a few days before flying home.

Cold water rainbow trout!


My step-mother is coming for a visit this month so we’re looking forward to that too. I’m happy they get to spend some time with their great-granddaughter.

Now that winter is finally over, household projects are underway. The lawn and garden are looking good and I did some painting. We bought a new king size bed and had to rearrange the bedroom for it, and I put up a nice backsplash in the kitchen. I think that’s enough household projects for this year.

I’ve started on the motorhome projects, new flooring tile, trim, and backsplash tile for the rear bathroom are underway. Yes, there are two. I have already finished sealing the roof seams, replaced the vent covers and ordered new awning material for the slideout covers and more. I plan to have it all installed before we leave for the west coast next month.

I’ve been in contact with more long lost cousins who are also interested in genealogy and we have been helping each other fill in the blanks. One is in Victoria, British Columbia and the other is in Puglia, Italy. I have been busy cleaning up the databases while waiting for the next major release of the software I use to keep track of everybody - Family Tree Maker. It should be released this month so I’ll be spending many hours learning about the new features.

In the meantime, if you want to see details of the family trees, email me. My paternal tree includes Harrison, Pritchett, Potts, and Dempster. My maternal tree includes Silvester, Alabaster, Taylor and Jackson. Tess’ tree includes Nartatez, Adviento, and Befetil.

Living people are not included which is why you won’t find yourself but if your parents, grand-parents, etc are deceased, they should be there. If not, please let me know!

Isla had her first dance recital this past weekend - her class put on a short performance at the St Albert Arden Theatre. Although she was the smallest one there, she was an enthusiastic participant.

That’s all for this month. Get out and enjoy the warm weather - go catch a fish!

Greg, Tess & Camper

4 October 2017

Last update I mentioned that I thought we should do a trip to the mountains and after getting caught up on household chores we did just that. We played tourist in Calgary, Kananaskis Country, Banff and Jasper for 15 days. You can read about it and see some nice photos here.

On Sept 21, I went back to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for another tune up on my heart. It has been about 15 years since they put in my 3 stents after my heart attack so that’s better than average, I think.

I have had some problems this year and so went in for an angiogram which is the definitive test. They gave me another stent and a warning about another partial blockage which isn’t (yet) bad enough to place a stent.

I’m going for a cardiac rehab refresher course and will try to do better with my diet and activity levels. If I can make it another 15 years I’ll be pretty happy.


Mark brought a new project over the other day. It is a mobility scooter. And no, not because I need it. The battery and little electric motor have been replaced by a 6.5 HP gasoline engine. Apparently it goes like stink but doesn’t stop so well since there are no brakes at all. And nothing else works either. Should be a fun project.










Since it is October in north-central Alberta, most of the trees are now naked and we have had a skiff of snow although it melts by the next day. More is coming, I’m sure.


October also means Thanksgiving here in Canada and we are looking forward to spending it with Isla, her Mom and their family. Tess is very happy not to be cooking this year.

October is also our wedding anniversary - 38 years on the 13th. Plus two more (as of last month) practising means we have been together over 40 years. Wow, we’re getting old! We have decided to go out to dinner at Thanh Thanh, our favourite Vietnamese restaurant to celebrate.

Since camping season is over, I am back at the family tree. Because it is Remembrance Day on November 11th, I have updated my armed services memorial page with the new names I have found over the past year. We owe our freedom to people like these family members.

Email and let me know what you think of the changes. Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper

This page has the ‘News’ entries for the past year or so. Its here to let you catch up if you like.

4 December 2017

Here we are nearing the end of another adventure filled year. We are both still alive and kicking so that’s good. Mark and Isla are well and healthy which is also good.

We spent a lot of time this year doing the things we love:

Islaing - we are so lucky to see our granddaughter Isla once or twice a week. She is such a joy to be around. Check out her latest photos here.

Rving - 65 nights out and 6,900 kms in Alberta and British Columbia this year.

Fishing - we tried for rainbow trout, salmon, halibut, dungeness crab, rock cod, and even caught a skate. We landed and ate everything except halibut.

 My cardiac rehab is going fine and I have been able to increase the duration and difficulty of my exercise routine. I haven’t lost much weight yet (maybe 10 lbs) but the conditioning and fitness are far more important than a bunch of extra lbs.











Tess is also doing OK although she continues to suffer the side effects of the surgery she had and the cancer medications she must take. She is a very strong woman.

My membership in Ancestry has expired and eventually I expect they will offer me a renewal at a price I am willing to pay.

In the meantime, I am busy cleaning up all the data - I have about 10,000 documents and photos to properly name and file, 4,000 place names and 1,000 groups of source names to review. It will take a while!

I discovered I’m related to the first President of the USA. Surprise!


George Washington is my 16th cousin, 7x removed. Our common ancestor was Edward I, King of England in the late 1200s. That’s a pretty distant relation!

We had some snow a couple of weeks ago and it is still on the ground so it looks like winter is here. Not too cold yet with overnight lows staying above -18C / 0F and daytime highs sometimes reaching the freezing (melting?) Point.

Christmas is too quickly approaching, only 3 weeks as I type this. That means only 20 days left until I have to start my shopping. At least I have the lights up on the house and trees. Our street is looking quite Christmassy.

To all my readers, Merry Christmas to you and yours and may 2018 bring you health and happiness.






Greg, Tess & Camper

17 January 2018

Another year gone and several more aches and pains. Don’t like this pattern!

We had a very busy December starting with a trip to Winnipeg to meet up with a small slice of Tess’ family.

Her sister Carling and her 3 kids Estela, Vangie and Jojo and niece Ailene and the two of us all had a great visit. I finally got to meet Estela in person after so many years of emails and texts.

We were hosted by the birthday boy and Carling’s only son, Jojo (who turned the big 50) and family. There was an amazing feast including a whole roasted pig in typical Filipino fashion. What a great weekend!



We drove because the flight for us and the dog would have been pretty expensive, especially when adding in a car rental and the surcharges for the dog. The weather and roads cooperated and the trip took about 15 hours each way.

 

The next big event was Christmas and another chance to spoil Isla. She, Mark, Kim, and their room mate Mattie,came for Christmas dinner on the 24th. Aside from eating too much, we did the tree and sock thing. You can see pix here.

Isla was very happy with her ladybug earrings but since her piercings are too recent to put them in, she decided to play with the cotton balls they were packed in. We were still finding cotton balls a week later!

So Isla had Christmas dinner and presents here on the 24th and went home with her Daddy waking up on the 25th to another tree and then when Mom woke up after working all night, Isla went home to yet another tree! She made out like a bandit.

Isla is a New Year’s baby so the party and presents just kept coming. Her party was on December 30th and lots of family and friends were there. Lots. It was a zoo, but the good kind! There are a couple of photos here.

Tess and I went out for New Years to the Yellowhead Casino where we pigged out on a buffet with seafood, beef, pork, chicken and more. The entertainment was a great Neil Diamond cover band called Nearly Neil Diamond

I’ve been complaining about my little Chev Tracker SUV for a while now - the seats are uncomfortable, it is noisy, I’m tired of driving a manual (!), the seats aren’t heated and so on.

I was casually looking on Auto Trader and to make a short story even shorter, we bought a very clean, low mileage, fully loaded 2010 Honda CR-V EX-L. It is factory approved for being towed behind the motorhome and has the automatic transmission and heated seats I wanted. Its quiet too.

It will take a little effort to get it ready to tow - the steel bits that bolt to the frame for towing and wiring the lights - but that’s pretty straightforward. It is about 1,000 lbs heavier than the Tracker but still within the motorhome’s tow limits and probably won’t impact gas mileage. So far I’m very happy with it.


Greg, Tess & Camper

1 April 2018

I was talking to my brother the other day and he scolded me for not updating this site since early January. That is too long without an update so here I am back at it - trying to remember what has happened over the past three months that anyone might care about.

To be honest, not much! Life has been chugging along nicely with our health being stable and no unnecessary drama. I am still on the treadmill every other day, or shovelling snow. It has been a long and snowy winter and we are getting very anxious for it to all be over.

Our son Mark and granddaughter Isla come over for dinner once a week or so and occasionally we make the trip to watch her doing something like gymnastics, dance, or her newest passion, downhill skiing. She’s had a lesson and lots of coaching from her Dad and makes beautiful S turns all the way down the green runs. She even handles the chairlift and rope tows like a pro. Pretty impressive for someone who just turned 4 in January!

Check out her latest pix here.

I have been giving the snowblower a real workout this winter. Even though a couple of weeks may go by without a flake of new snow, there are weeks where I am steering it around two or three times. I’d really like to put it away and go camping! We have about 2 feet of snow in the back yard so I guess it won’t be before May, as usual.


I have been spending a lot of time on the family tree which is now over the 10,300 people mark. I had been putting off some housekeeping chores like tracking down duplicate entries, correcting place names and properly naming photos and other documents. I finally got that all done - woo hoo!

The price was right so I renewed my Ancestry subscription and added one at Genes Reunited. Lots of new records to explore and lots of distant cousins to trade information with.

I haven’t found any new family members of note lately. You know, pirates, prime ministers and so on. Maybe tomorrow.

If anyone wants to see either Tess’ tree of mine, send me an email and I’ll give you access to the one posted at Ancestry. I can’t host it here because the trees total 7.5GB and it would simply cost too much.

If there is a birth, marriage, census, or death record you’d like a copy of, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you.

With Spring officially here we are less than two months from going camping for Tess’ birthday in mid May. I’ll have to spend a bunch of time getting ready to go - de-winterize, service batteries, load everything like food and beer in the RV plus install the connection plate wire up the new Toad.

Can’t wait!  



We’ve been talking about where to go this summer and although British Columbia is usually part of our plans, not this year. One of our biggest expenses is always gasoline and gas prices in BC are already 50% higher there than here in Alberta.

We got a phone call from my step-mom asking for our help after a nasty fall so the next day we drove the 15 hours to Vancouver Island to help out. She will be fine but needs extra hands for a while so here we are.

The drive out was uneventful. It was -24C when we left the house at oh-dark thirty and as we continued west, the temperature dropped to -28C in Edson. At the end of March! It started to warm near Hinton, Alberta and was above freezing a couple of hours later, well into British Columbia. By the time we got to Vancouver Island at 8pm, it was +14.

The cherry trees are in bloom in Parksville and with sunny breaks, it is pretty darn nice here!

That’s it for today. Happy Easter.


Greg, Tess & Camper