Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July ~ as it happened

Let me take you back to the beginning of the month...

...and a few days spent in Vancouver.

We cycled the Stanley Park sea wall, and checked out their beautiful rose gardens.

We had a good reason to be in the city.  Ranen was competing in the North American Irish Dance Competition at the Vancouver Convention Centre...

...and we were there to cheer her on! It's fun to spend time on the waterfront occasionally, and dine at a table with a water-view.

Maggie and Lucy came over one sunny summer day and their choice of a fun activity was to bake peppernuts.  Christmas in July!

We enjoyed concerts most every Friday night.  Twice we took in the 'concert in the park' in Hope. What a nice way to spend a summer evening!

Last Friday we joined friends at the 'The Three Slices of Summer' concert in Abbotsford...a progressive concert at three different venues with a 30-minute concert at each location and appetizers at each as well. It was a delightful evening...a jazz band at Tanglebank Gardens, a renowned harpist at a beautiful heritage church in Clayburn Village, and a violin concert by Calvin and Heather Dyck at the Mennonite Heritage Museum.

For the first time in several years we did not have to deal with the smoke from forest fires over here this July.  It was cooler and wetter than usual, but the farmers were happy! The corn topped eight feet by mid-month and it looks like we will have a bumper crop this year.

It was  such a privilege to have friends from Pennsylvania come for a visit. Judy and I first met through our blogs some ten years ago.  Then in 2013, while we were on a road trip in the eastern USA, we had a surprise invitation to come for dinner while we were in their area. We had a great time together, and they promised that they would could visit us sometime soon.  It took a few years...

...but we were delighted that things worked out for them to come at last.

Judy and I share a lot of things, besides the same name. We could identify with the quote by C.S. Lewis that says: 

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'

One evening we were invited out to a picnic at Brae Island campsite, where our friends were camping. Judy also knew Lovella and Anneliese through their blogs, and so we had a blogger's reunion. And a fabulous feast in Fort Langley!  Why did it seem like we had all been forever friends?

We toured them around our area, and then went to Whistler together  for two days.  We had a picnic lunch at Porteau Cove...

...did a short hike to  the spectacular Brandywine Falls...

...where water tumbles 70 meters into the basin below.

We strolled Whistler Village (and posed at the Olympic Plaza, of course).

Judy and I checked out a few shops...and the guys visited outside.

We had intentions of riding the peak-to-peak chair while we were in Whistler, but the weather never co-operated. (There is no point in going up into the clouds.)

We carried on towards Pemberton, and hiked to Nairn Falls.  What a surprise to see a jet boat on the river...just beneath the falls. Some people live dangerously.

We came home via the Coast Mountain Circle Route...through Lilloette, Lytton and Hell's Gate...where the Fraser River rushes through the canyon.

Their visit was over before we knew it, and we waved our goodbyes.  But we know we will meet again!

We cycled a few 'new to us' trails this month.  One of those took us through the Brown Creek Wetlands and on to Yarrow...for ice-cream at the Mighty Moose, of course!

Last Sunday we rode the dykes along the Vedder Canal...

...from the Keith Wilson Bridge all the way to MacDonald Park in Abbotsford. The skies were blue...the sun was shining...the wildflowers were blooming...and we had the trail mostly to ourselves.

Today is our 48th wedding let me end my July post with a photo taken last week at Brandywine Falls and the verse that we chose for our wedding day. Today I am thankful for my husband and for all the blessings over these many years.  We know the verse to be true...and look forward to getting old (I should say 'older') together.  LOL

Thanks for stopping by and 'happy August'!

Monday, July 1, 2019

June ~ in full bloom

June was filled with many good things from beginning to end, including year end recitals for the grands and Emme and Spencer's high school graduation.  Let me go back to the beginning of the month and re-cap a few of the happenings.

June 1st called for a drive to Harrison Lake and ice-cream cones on the beach as the sun set.

On June 2nd, we cheered Ranen on at her year end Irish dance recital at the Abbotsford Arts Centre. She has had a wonderful year of Irish dance, and is accumulating first place trophies.  This week she will be competing in the North American Irish Dance Championships at Vancouver Convention Centre. We'll be there!

How better to start off the month of June than at a garden party with good friends?  Lovella hosted us in her beautiful backyard tent...a celebration of her milestone birthday and of eleven years of friendship as Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Salads, scones, and a dessert bar.  Midday. How special is that? I am so thankful for the journey we have been on together and the friendship we have enjoyed over these many years. Definitely a gift from God!

On the 8th of June, Emme and Spencer graduated from grade twelve.  Where have the years gone?

We went over to take a few pic's before the ceremony...

...which was at Prospera Center in Chilliwack.

Giving diplomas to more than 300 students takes awhile. 
When they are handed out in alphabetical order and your name starts with W...
it takes almost three hours!

I love this photo of the two of them with their high school principal, Mr. Fehlauer. 
I knew him as Brian and he spent a lot of time in our home decades ago...
as the best friend of the girls' dad. 
How special to receive their diploma from him. 

Fast forward to their prom and grad party...which was just a few days ago.


I slipped next door to see them in their dresses before they left for their official events. 

Their dad came in from the farm and got cleaned up in the middle of the day to pose with his girls.
His work clothes didn't quite cut it!

Let me add a few pic's taken by their friend Jessica, who followed them around all day.  Of course they made a stop at DQ for an ice-cream and some pic's with their co-workers there.  I can hardly believe how these years have flown by, and wish for them every success and much wisdom as they go from here. Did I say that they are lovely both inside and out?

For Father's Day we took dad out for brunch...the three sisters (and spouses) who live nearby.  We picked him up in 'his' '47 Monarch, which was the highlight of the day for him.

Another evening, we sat on the back patio with dad, listened to his stories and ate cherries until the sun went down.  How blessed to still have my dad at age 96 (almost 97).

Kris and Lina had us over for Father's Day dinner on their patio.  How special is that...pulled pork medley in a pineapple boat?  And delicious too! 

We were looking forward to adventuring in our motor home again this summer, and spent a lovely week in Oregon...the Columbia River Gorge, Bend area and Crater Lake...documented right here.

I was back just in time to be Maggie's honoured guest at her grade five grad.  She will be in middle school next year. 

We planned to take Ryder and Maggie on a year-end outing to Tap-ins golf course, but when we arrived there (at the end of a very hot and humid day) the skies opened up and it poured. Oh well, we went to Legends Bistro to eat instead...

...and then home to our place for a marathon game of Monopoly (Canadian version). In the end, Maggie owned it all!

Last night we met for a picnic at BenAnna Lake with the whole family.  It was a wonderful evening...but a little bittersweet since it was likely the last time we will be picnicking there, since the property has been sold.  For many decades we have used this private park on the property of friends, who have always been so generous in sharing their lovely venue.  From reunions, to family gatherings, birthday parties, anniversaries and several weddings...we have many good memories of time spent there.  We are so thankful to the Barg family for sharing BenAnna Lake with us! 

We ended the evening and the month of June, by celebrating a few birthdays (Holly, Lucy, Tim and Jeremy)...and Canada's birthday as well!

Happy Canada Day to you all!

Oregon ~ an rv adventure

Where could we go that we have never been before...somewhere not too far from home, since we had only one week?  How about spending some time in Oregon?  That's what we did!

When we bought a small Class C motor-home almost 15 years ago, the plan was to take roads less travelled and see some of the beautiful places in North America. We have loved doing just that!  We have taken road trips to the east and west coast of Canada and the USA...and so many places in between.  Last year we were too busy with other pre-planned events to make much use of the RV.  This year we are back to exploring!

Before I totally forget the names of all the places we visited...let me document briefly our time along the Columbia River, south to central Oregon and then  on to Crater Lake.

We began our adventure in Troutdale, an historic town just east of an RV resort on the Sandy River. an RV resort on the Sandy River.

We had our bikes along as always...and set out to explore the area.  We cycled through Lewis and Clark State Park...

...left our 'calling card' on the banks of Sandy River

...and explored the quaint little town of Troutdale.

Walking through their General Store was like a trip down memory lane!

Once we were back on the road, we drove east on the historic US Highway 30...

...a highway that was an engineering marvel over a century ago.  The Columbia River Gorge stretches some 80 miles as the Columbia River winds westward through the Cascade Range, forming the boundary between the Washington  and Oregon.

We stopped at Vista House at Crown Point...

...built in 1918 and offering great views of the Columbia River 700 feet below. 

Continuing east along the gorge, we viewed one waterfall after another.

At Latourelle falls we took a short hike to view two waterfalls.

Next...Bridal Veil Falls.  Interesting, since we live just a short distance from a waterfall with that same name.

And then there was Multnomah of the tallest waterfalls in the USA.  Also the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.  We were not alone there!  I hadn't expected the crowds.

Horsetail Falls.  Once we found a parking spot, the falls were just a quick walk across the road.  Kids and dogs were playing in the pool at the bottom of the falls.

We stopped at the Bonneville Dam...opted not to ride the sternwheeler through the locks...

...but really enjoyed a stop at the fish hatchery where we viewed sturgeon.

Near the east end of the Gorge...

..we stopped at Rowena Crest Viewpoint.

Far below, we watched vehicles driving the iconic Rowena Loops made famous in movies and car commercials.

Once we were at the end of the gorge highway, we decided to go south to central Oregon.

The snow-capped peaks beckoned!

We stayed at a beautiful garden rv resort near Bend.

Bend has great cycling trails along the Deschutes River. 

We biked, took in a concert in the Old Mill District, watched the surfers on the river, and had lunch on a wonderful outdoor patio nearby.

While in Bend, we decided to do the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, a 66-mile scenic drive...with glaciers, volcanoes, many lakes and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Range as a backdrop.

Our first stop was Sparks Lake.  The gal at the info centre told us it was a 'must see' detour.  What she didn't tell us was that one should not take a motor-home on the very bumpy, narrow forestry road leading to the lake.  We enjoyed the view at the end, with beautiful Mt Bachelor as a backdrop...but were more than relieved when we were back on the highway! 

Our next stop was right on the highway...emerald green Devils Lake.

We passed by other lakes without stopping, but Cultus Lake was one we had to check out.  Who knew there was another Cultus Lake, besides the one we call ours in Chilliwack? There wasn't much action around Oregon's Cultus Lake. Ours is humming with activity these days.

We spent the night at a La Pine RV park, where we learned the owner was a Canadian, and a collector of vintage Fords.  We had not intended to visit Crater Lake (several hours south) since the north entrance was still closed due to snow.  But the road opened just days before, so we went for it.

It was awe-inspiring!  It was once called 'Deep Blue Lake'.  I get that!

It is the deepest lake in North is fed entirely by rain and snow, believed to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

Crater Lake sits in the caldera of a dormant volcano.

As you can tell, there was still lot of snow at Crater Lake!  And a lot of tourists.

The lake is only a small part of the park. Beyond the lake, are beautiful old-growth forests...mostly pines. Unfortunately we saw the effects of recent wild fires, both here and along the Columbia River.

We travelled home along the I5 (the road more travelled)...stopping at Cottage Grove to see a few of their historic covered bridges.

Our first road trip of 2019 was great!  Now...where to next?