October 3, To Canada and Back Again

Canada is always a good place for us and this time was no different. We took the "Sea to Sky" Highway out of Vancouver up to Lillooet, but found the road under heavy construction. The Canadians are widening it in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler. Finished, it will be wonderful--under construction, it was slow going. Either way, it's a road with plenty of gorgeous scenery. Lillooet is a lovely little town on a slope next to the Fraser River and is surrounded by mountains. No matter which way you look, you get a great view. We stayed at the same RV park where we have stayed before, right on the river.

Fraser Cove Campground, Lillooet across river
Lytton, about 40 miles away, was having a fair the first weekend we were there, and we attended using the new motorcycle for transportation. It was a pretty small fair with locals singing and playing guitar as entertainment--some were good, some not. We had lunch there and bought some wildflower honey and apricot jam--both very good. Canadians are friendly and have a wry sense of humor. One of the games was called "Chicken Poop Bingo"--there was a big square divided into smaller numbered squares, and a person would bet on which square the chicken, which was brought out occasionally, would poop on. Money bet on squares went to the local school. The town, by the way, is named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), a writer who coined the phrase "the great unwashed" and published a novel beginning with the sentence "It was a dark and stormy night". There is an annual contest (or two) named for Lytton in which writers compete to write the worst first line of a novel. Anyway, we had a good time and the drive between the two towns was very scenic, following the Fraser through the mountains.

We did other rides to the explore the area and enjoyed the motorcycle, but found it had a steering problem that caused Riley considerable concern. Back in Seattle, he had it worked on by the shop that sold it--no problems now.

One of our walking paths was down along the river, and on it we met a very interesting native American named Carl and his dog Buddy. Riley spent some time talking to him while I walked on further along the path looking for birds. Carl belongs to an Albertan First Nation tribe, but has lived in the the Lillooet area for many years. Carl came by and visited us at the RV a couple of times, sold Riley a nice Lillooet T-shirt, and proved a very pleasant and knowledgeable guy. One of the local traditions he told us about was that when a couple were planning to marry, the guy would hike up to the top of one of the mountains and shout his love to the world. There is also a place for him to put his name and the date. While he is climbing the mountain, the gal hangs out in one of the local bars with friends, and when the fellow comes down he has to visit each bar looking for her. :-) The last Indian who did this got about three quarters of the way up the mountain when he became overcome by acrophobia and a helicopter had to fly in and pick him up. Carl called the Lillooet Bingo game for many years and when he retired all the locals signed a t-shirt and gave it to him. We took a photo of him with the shirt.

Carl showing off signed t-shirt
After a couple of weeks we took the ferry over to Vancouver Island and stayed a week at Qualicum Bay. We went to Butterfly World in nearby Coombs, where they had tropical finch and African tortoises, as well as lots of butterflies. They also had an orchid house with many beautiful flowers. After visiting the butterflies, we had lunch at a Country Market which is famous because they keep goats on the roof of the building. I wondered what kept the goats from wanting to jump off the roof onto the parked cars; it looked like it would be an easy thing to do. Of course, there was lots of nice grass to eat on the roof.

Butterflies feeding on banana peels

African tortoise

Tropical Finch

Margie among the orchids

We stopped to visit Butchart Gardens again--such a wonderful place, so many beautiful flowers and plants. We had a great time walking around in such beautiful surroundings. I was surprised though that we saw no birds. I would have thought birds would be attracted to a place with so many flowering plants and water features (several fountains). To make up for this lack, next day back on the mainland, we went to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and saw lots of birds, including a juvenile Peregrine Falcon.

Sunken Garden

Fountain at Butchart Gardens

Riley in Japanese Garden

Pretty flowers

Leaving Canada, we had to wait in line at the U.S. border for an hour and half, but when we finally got to the guard, he practically waved us right through--no questions about food or plants! We were amazed and relieved to not have to go through the hassle of secondary as, it seems, we usually do.

Back in Seattle again, we stayed with Keith a few days while delivering the motorcycle to the shop and having follow up doctor visits--dentist for Riley and Dr. Niles for me. We visited with our ex-neighbor Beth Lemm and her daughter, Sarah; neither of her sons was home. Beth has her house up for sale, and seems closer to making the decision to move back to the Philippines. Of course, none of the children wishes to do this, so it's going to be a hard choice to make. This time we also went by to see Gabe, Jenefer and little Aubrey, who are all doing well.

Aubrey, Jenefer & Gabe


We had a pizza and movie night with Roxanne and then spent a couple of days with Gaynell and Thad. After we picked up the motorcycle we visited Roxanne again for a couple of hours. She surprised Riley by giving him chocolate chip cookies for an early birthday present. Yummy! We then headed south. Coming through Portland, we stopped to see Luke, Amy and Naomi and found them all well too. Naomi was taking her first steps and is a beautiful and happy baby. We had a lot of fun with her.

Luke, Amy & Naomi

Fall colors showing up SE of Detroit Lake SP, Oregon

We did finally get another USB cable for our FujiFilm camera and have added pictures of Genevieve's wedding to our last report. Ironically, the posted pictures are not from our camera, but instead were taken by Randy. For Riley's birthday, we bought him a new Canon digital camera that will hopefully not eat batteries the way our last FujiFilm one did. Riley has been having lots of fun reading the manual and playing with the new camera, while learning all its bells and whistles.

We are settled at an RV park in Lakehead, California, near Shasta Lake to wait out a couple of days of very rainy weather. Sunday (or Monday), we plan to head to Penn Valley to visit our friends Dick and Earin.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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