And So It Begins

The Okanagan Valley has five seasons … we have fall, winter, spring, summer, and forest fire season! And because of a lightning storm Tuesday evening we are now full into fire season 😦

The smoke in the air does make for pretty sunrises.

One of the fires forced the evacuation of two Provincial campgrounds just south of us, some people were able to get their RVs out, others left them behind. I say a little prayer every night that we are not forced out by fire … it has happened here in past years.

It amazes me the amount of stuff people leave on the beach overnight!

Another fire is in the same area as the devastating forest fire we had in 2003 when 33,000 people (us included) were evacuated and 239 homes were destroyed (fortunately ours was okay). I really hope they keep on top of that one! Well really I hope they are able to keep on top of all the fires.

So now the sky is full of smoke and visibility isn’t very good so I’m not sure I will be able to take any pictures to show you how wonderful Kelowna is, that may have to wait until the fall. Instead I will leave you with some more pretty sunrise photos … hey I’m trying to see some positive in the whole fire situation. 🙂

Until next time …

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A True Day Off :-)

Since our time here at Bear Creek Provincial Park is all voluntary you could say that every day is a day off, but we are expected to volunteer 25 to 30 hours a week and, since we are both overachievers, we volunteer many more hours than required. We don’t begrudge that … well we do have days when we vent … but for the most part we love being here. Technically Tuesday and Wednesday’s are our days off but as soon as I return from my morning walk at 6:15 a.m. I put up our “On Duty” sign. It stays up until we leave around 9:00 a.m. and then goes back up again as soon as we return to the campsite after lunch, until today 🙂

I love seeing the chicory in bloom first thing in the morning … as soon as it gets warm out (around 7:00 a.m.) the flowers go into hiding.

A different sunrise this morning!

Our Wednesday routine always starts with meeting up with my fellow retiree’s from work for morning coffee. We meet downtown so that those still working can join up with us, but I think they got depressed at hearing how much fun we have, because they rarely come anymore! Anyway the FedEx (ex Federal Government employees), and most of their spouses meet for coffee and discuss everything that is important in the world and a lot of things that aren’t! After that we run a few errands and then head back to the campsite. Today we had an appointment but when the appointment was unexpectedly cancelled we were happy  … YIPPEE, our day was free!!!

A great view with our lunch!

A quick change of plans had us going to coffee, walking over to the Kelowna Visitor Centre to pick up some popular hiking brochures we had run out of in our pamphlet rack, and then wandering around downtown … and that is exactly what we did.

I have always thought I should write a blog, or two, about Kelowna because it is such a beautiful place to visit in the summer (or winter), but everyday life always gets in the way. So I am going to make it my mission to do a Kelowna blog for the next few weeks.

Here are some more photos from today’s walk around downtown.

This location always brings back very fond memories of working downtown. A coworker (whom I have always affectionately called Blondie, and I would walk along the waterfront on our morning breaks … both summer and winter, and we would usually stop here and watch the ducks.

The Kelowna Spirit Bear, another familiar icon during my morning coffee break walks with Blondie ☺

During the winter this is an ice rink, during the summer there will often be entertainment. At one end there are a few table tennis/ping pong tables and a chess board.

Contemplating the next move ☺

I will leave you with a picture of the most iconic Kelowna Landmark, The Spirit of the Sails. This 40 foot tall sculpture was placed at the foot of Bernard Avenue in 1978 and weighs in at 4,000 pounds. Commonly know to people in Kelowna as “The Sails”, the sculpture was created by Robert Dow Reid and is made of fiberglass. Hubby and I were fortunate enough to be presented with a much smaller version, also sculpted by Robert Dow Reid, by the City of Kelowna for our work with the Kelowna Parade float.

Until next time …

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day is always a fun day in Kelowna, there is so much going on and everywhere you look you see a sea of red and white!

Canada Day at the Provincial Park is no different, sites are decorated in red and white, people are sporting their red and white clothing, and we are all busy getting ready for the kids parade.

Last year that meant blowing up many, many, many, red and white balloons which made hubby and I very dizzy for days. This year one of the other park hosts was able to get a machine to blow up the balloons and she quickly taught the rest of us to tie the balloon with ribbon attached in one easy step … so much easier!

We had some rain while we were getting ready for the parade but by the time the kids where ready to decorate their bikes, skate boards, strollers, and everything else the sun came out.

Even the Gatehouse got into the spirit!

It was another great turnout and I think everyone had fun!

The golf cart led the parade with the horse head driver 🙂

After the parade we had some downtime before we headed down to the beach to watch the fireworks and help provide some extra security.  Fortunately everyone was well behaved so we were able to enjoy the fireworks.

We hope your Canada Day was fun and you had your patriotic spirit in full force! And for our American followers, Happy early Fourth of July 🙂

Until next time …

This Is Why :-)

I am often asked why I walk so early in the morning, I’m generally out and on my way somewhere between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. … well this is why …

Definitely not a great picture but all I had was my phone and I was a long way away from him so I had to zoom in.

Earlier this week I came face to face, I was maybe ten feet away, from a very large deer, but we startled each other and he took off before I could get my phone out for a picture.

But here is what the folks on Facebook didn’t read about … after I enjoyed all that serene nature shown above I came across a women with a very unhappy young child playing in the park, I could hear a couple having a heated discussion, I saw a fellow walking around his campsite in his tighty whities … seriously folks put on clothes before you walk outside … and another guys naked butt pressed up again the open window of his tent trailer. I just thought you should know the other side as well 🙂

However my walk did end with a nice conversation with a young couple and their baby enjoying their morning coffee on the beach so I will let the day move on with that memory.

Until next time …

Farewell Furb

Furb moved on a few weeks ago and I was sad to see him go. He would always chirp good morning to me when I went out for my morning walk and good night when we came back from our evening walk.

Either mom or dad on the top branch, Furb on a branch below.

One night we watched as he took his first flight, it was a very short one, just a few flaps of his wings and then he teetered on a new branch close by. He did that several times and then it got to dark to see him … the next morning he, and the rest of his family, were gone. I’m sure they have moved on to new adventures but I do miss them!

Mom or Dad, I’m not sure which.

My last photo of Furb

At least the Mountain Sheep still come by 🙂

Until next time …

A Long Bike Ride Along The Seawall

A few years ago we road our bikes around the seawall in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and we enjoyed that ride so much that we wanted to do it again, but this time we turned it into a much longer ride.

Vancouver, British Columbia has a great bike path system where most of the routes are dedicated bike paths with no pedestrians or vehicles allowed on the path. This time we choose to start in Vanier Park and ride the seawall along False Creek, English Bay, Stanley Park, and Coal Harbour before crossing back over the Burrard Street Bridge to Vanier Park. It cost us $12.00 to park at Vanier Park for the whole day (until 11:00 p.m. when the park closed).

We didn’t have the best weather but other than a few spits of rain we were warm enough, although I did have to put the hood of my coat under my bike helmet to keep my ears warm … but I have wimpy ears.

That is Yaletown across False Creek

It was fun riding around the top of False Creek reliving all the times we spent walking around the area during Expo 86 and the September long weekends we spent at the Vancouver Molsen Indy.

(I love the reflection of a hi-rise located across False Creek in this building. To the right of the picture is a corner of BC Place.

As we left False Creek behind we could see all the freighters lined up near English Bay waiting for their turn to unload.

What’s wrong with this picture? Did you notice the palm trees? I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to add palm trees to this section of the seawall but they are very out of place in Vancouver!

Our initial plan was to ride along English Bay and up to Denman Street to meet friends for lunch, but we still had a little over an hour to kill so we decided to continue on into Stanley Park and ride the seawall around the park.

The only picture I took in Stanley Park … this is the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s not that this part of the ride wasn’t beautiful it was that I had so many really good pictures from the first time we did the ride. I decided we didn’t need to keep stopping for more pictures 🙂

After we completed our ride around the park we made our way to the Mongolian BBQ on Denman, a favorite of ours, to meet friends from Kelowna who were staying in Yaletown. It’s so funny that we have being trying to get together at home and we both had to come to Vancouver to finally get a meal together! After a great lunch and visit we fcontinued on our separate ways. We headed back into Stanley Park and rode around to Coal Harbour were we made our way along the seawall to Canada Place.

I have no idea what the name of this plant is but it was interesting, I have never seen it before.

At that point we left the seawall behind and rode across downtown on Hornby Street, where the bike path is cordoned off from the traffic lanes, and over the Burrard Street Bridge. The bridge also has it’s own dedicated bike lane.

English Bay and the entrance to False Creek taken from the Burrard Street Bridge.

Four hours, and many kilometres later, we were back in Vanier Park.

If you are ever in Vancouver I would highly recommend this ride! We had our own bikes but there are many places that you can rent bikes from bike shops or kiosks like the one below.

We saw these Mobi kiosks all along our ride.

Until next time …

Farewell Abbotsford … Hello Sunny Warm Okanagan :-)

We had a great time visiting with family and friends at the coast but we were happy to leave the damp behind and come home to the sunny, warm, dry, Okanagan heat. Both hubby and I grew up on the coast but we moved to Kelowna just before we got married and have obviously become accustom to the dry climate of the Okanagan … we have both been chilled to the bone for the past five days, even when it wasn’t raining!

We are so fortunate to be able to park Maxx at hubby’s sister’s place, which comes with great views, nightly visits around the campfire, and invites for dinner 🙂

Most of our time this trip was spent with family but we did sneak a day out for a long bike ride and lunch with friends from Kelowna … stay tuned for that adventure.

Our trip home ended with dinner out, once Maxx was settled, and a surprise run in with Rod and Sylvia of Six Saturdays and a Sunday. They joined us for dinner and we had a great time catching up.

Until next time …