Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dr. Recommended at The Grind

Dr. Recommended is playing at The Grind, 5th and Victoria, Kamloops, this Saturday, June 25, at 8:00pm. $5 at the door.

Dr. Recommended is a rock/blues band and is made of, from left: Sean Luciw, guitar and back-up vocals; Tim Francis, drums; Stephanie Stephens, lead vocals and acoustic guitar; JR Adam, guitar and back-up vocals, Ron L'Heureux, bass and vocals.

The show will be outside if it's nice, indoors if not. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another year anybody?

Well, that was a rather abrupt and lengthy blog interruption, wasn’t it? Some folks have contacted me claiming that they’re suffering symptoms of Blog Withdrawal.

Others might be thinking, “Thank God that's over with.”

The trouble with travel blogs is that getting back to real life can keep a person too busy to maintain them.

Anyway, here’s a quick overview of recent events.

From Port Townsend we drove to Tweetie and Art’s place (mansion) in Langley, which I was surprised to find out, is only a twenty minute drive from Bellingham. When Art got home from his job - as a Vice President for National Home Warranty - he barbecued some tenderloin while Tweetie worked on the rest of a fabulous dinner. As usual, Art and I had a little too much Scotch. The women would probably deny that they got slightly tipsy on red wine. As always, our overnight was interesting, and fun.

Pictured are: Port Townsend from the ferry to Whidbey Island; Tweetie and Art’s home in Langley and Tweetie, departing in her Mini Cooper while Golden Lab twins, Ben and Walter, look on. Also pictured is the garage - Janice and my quarters are above the garage, which has the same size footprint as our house. The living room has twenty-three foot ceilings.

We left the trailer at their place in Langley and drove to North Van and gathered up Rhelda before taking: First the bus, then the Sea Bus and finally the rapid transit, to my Mom’s place in False Creek. We had picked up some lunch fixings at Urban Fair along the way and, seeing as it was Mother’s Day weekend, Janice and I fixed the lunch. Ok, mostly Janice. Janice also got Dorothy’s computer up and on track again - hard to get a wireless system to work when the router isn’t plugged in.

Pictured are: Rhelda, Janice, Dorothy and me at Dorothy’s place in False Creek.

Later in the afternoon, back on the North Shore, we met our old friend, George Robb, for a drink at the Black Bear Pub in Lynn Valley. He gave me a couple of solid Blue Chip stock tips and I gave him info on VUZE - a very handy website. George is in good shape and enjoying life, despite the looming prospect of a total knee replacement.

It’s always nice to see old friends, especially as so many are dropping off around us these days.

The very weekend we got back to BC we heard about the death of Jimmy Martin. I hadn’t seen Jimmy in about fifteen years but, last year, returning form a trip to the coast, we bumped into Jimmy at the Esso station in Hope. He was with his estranged wife, Michelle, and they were returning from a relative’s soccer event in Kamloops. Jimmy and his dog died in a house fire in North Van. Another one bites the dust…

The next day I hooked up with my brother, Mark, and he drove us back to Mom’s so that we could take her to brunch. She wasn’t feeling at the top of her game though, so we made her some fruit and yogurt and some other stuff and then went about fixing anything that she needed doing. It was a nice morning and later, I helped Mark load some stuff to the dump.

Pictured are me and my brother Mark.

Mark came back with me to Rhelda’s where Janice and her brother, Gordon, were preparing Mother’s Day Ribs. Janice’s other brother, Alan, joined while we listened to Mark regale us with insider stories regarding his job in the movie industry.

On Monday, Janice and I stopped into Mom’s again so that Janice could give her a computer lesson, and then we drove out to Langley, back to Tweetie and Art’s, where we helped Tweetie do a little weeding. By the time Art got home Janice had prepared dinner. Art has a closet full of different brands of Scotch so we tried a few - you know, to make sure they were still good.

The next day we met Art at his office and then he took us to lunch at a nice restaurant in Langley that I can‘t remember the name of. Before lunch, Tweetie had driven Janice and I around on a quick, but successful, shopping trip. We had needed a few clothing items, both for the meetings in Whistler, and for my work.

On Thursday we drove to Whistler and spent a couple of hours trying to find a place to park the trailer. Later, we met some of the CFIB crew at the hotel lounge for a drink and then my partners in crime, Don Ingram and Stew Larson, and all of our wives, returned to the room for a night cap.

Friday I spent in seminars while Janice had breakfast with Claire and Pat, (Don and Stew’s wives) before she toured around the village, eventually finding a better spot to move the truck and trailer to.

Janice forces Tim to pose on the balcony of the Delta hotel in Whislter, as a person about to go back into the world of work.

At the Annual Awards Dinner that night I was very surprised, as was just about everyone else I’m sure, to find out that I had won several awards, including a repeat, but very interesting, trip to Ottawa to see our lobbyists at work. How’d I do that? Well, see, I had worked the first five months of 2010 and the awards were cumulative, for consecutive quarters achieving certain levels of performance - in my case, six consecutive quarters. Buddy, Don, won District Manager of the Year.

Later after we had partied a little with Don, Stew, Claire and Pat, we had called it a night and were on our way to our suite when we ran into Anne and Sigga, (more CFIB District Managers) on the elevator. They wanted to have a glass of wine so they came back to our suite and we finally all called it a night at 1:00am.

Saturday morning I was in seminars again while Janice had brunch with the girls. Later, Janice went Zip Lining with another bunch of CFIB’rs while Stew and I golfed, along with six others, at Nicholas North. Janice enjoyed the zip lining but claimed it wasn’t all that scary. For my part, I was pretty scary on the golf course and just missed beaning a big black bear on the 18th.

Saturday evening everybody went to Dublin’s Irish Pub for dinner and then our little gang met for drinks at Don and Claire’s.

Sunday morning was seminar time once again and, after saying our goodbyes to the CFIB‘rs, Janice and I hit the road for the last leg of our year-long journey. We left Whistler in the pouring rain and took the Duffy Lake Road through Pemberton, Lillooet, Cache Creek and Kamloops. The leg between Mount Currie and Lillooet is just as winding as northern California, but a lot steeper. Luckily, there was no snow on the road and, as is almost always the case, the clouds cleared and it was partly sunny by the time we got to the interior.

We stopped in at Peter and Debbie’s new townhouse in Kamloops where they prepared another fabulous dinner for us. We enjoyed a little wine too while we snuck the occasional peek at the Canuck’s game. The town home is really nice and has a panoramic view of the rivers. Of course they’re ripping up and replacing just about everything, which will make it nicer yet.

We stayed the night at Peter and Debbie’s and then on Monday morning we met the Property Manager at our house. I’m very happy and surprised to report that the renters hadn’t even scratched a scrap of paint off the walls. Perfect.

Janice and I started moving things back from the neighbour’s garage almost immediately and by dinner time had the bedroom, kitchen, bath and living room pretty well set up. That night our neighbours, and friends, Michael and Ellen Smith, had us over for yet another fantastic dinner. It was greatly appreciated too, especially considering we hadn't gone grocery shopping yet.

Over the next two days, with Michael's help on a couple of heavy items, we completed the move back in.

In between moving, on the second night I was home, I managed to play Cajon with just Like That, the acoustic band, at The Art We Are. Thursday night I had my first practice with the electric band, Dr. Recommended, and had my first taste of electronic drums. The band was lots of fun but the jury’s still out on the drums.

As of now, we’re pretty well settled back in to our home. Janice will go back to work part time at The Hot House next week and I’ll start back into work at CFIB on Monday.

We did have time to have our friend Lynda, who's going back to Manitoba for the summer, over for dinner and a sleepover on Thursday. JR, the guitar player in both bands I play with, joined us before he and I headed out for practice. By Saturday evening we were set up sufficiently to have Howard and Leia over for dinner. We even managed for some time in the hills with Peter and Debbie at the park behind our place on Victoria Day.

Pictured are Tim, Janice Debbie and Peter at Lac Dubois Provincial Park.

As for the blog? It’ll probably pretty well come to a standstill. Now that I have it going though, I’ll post anything really interesting that happens, and let you know.

Thanks to anybody who’s been following along on the trip. It was fun. Yes, we could go another year, but it’s also nice to be home.

I had so many people say to me before we left, “A year!!! How can you do that?” Well, now we know exactly how to do it, and how much it costs, pretty well down to the penny.

I think I’m going to get my friend Howard to hook me up so that people can access an edited version of the blog on a website where it‘s free to look to see what it was like to be on the road in an RV for a year, but, if they want all the money saving, time saving and peace of mind secrets that we now know, they’ll have to pay. It might cost $5.95 or $9.95, or something, to log into the full meal deal. We’ll see…

Anyway, thanks again for riding along.

Happy trails,

Tim & Janice

Friday, May 6, 2011

Port Townsend

We left Long Beach on Wednesday morning and drove the 101, partly along the Hood Canal, to Port Townsend, where we checked into the Point Hudson RV & Marine Park, pictured below. You can see the trailers in the top right of the picture. The park is right at the end of the downtown area of Port Townsend.

We browsed around the town and stopped in at Siren’s Pub for a cocktail on the deck. We also picked up a really nice bottle of Zinfandel that the wine shop owner had recommended. The price was right too.

Pictured is a shot of one of the buildings downtown.

Pictured is Tim with an American pour of Johnny Walker On The Rocks at Siren's Pub.

Back at the park we sat at the beach, right beside our RV spot, and watched the sun set.

Pictured below are a couple of shots from our campsite. I think that’s a different view of Mount Baker in the background.

Thursday morning we went for breakfast at one of the restaurants here at the park and then ventured a walk of the whole town.

Pictured is a shot of a house at Uptown Port Townsend, where the ladies used to stroll in order to avoid the rowdy waterfront area. Port Townsend is very picturesque, with lots of fine, well-preserved architecture.

In the afternoon the laundry went round as we took a, short, uneventful drive to Fort Worden State Park. Later we walked back downtown and picked up one of the best pizzas we've ever had, from Waterfront Pizza.

Today, Friday, we're catching the Chetzemoka Ferry from here to Whidbey Island and then driving onto Tweetie and Art’s place in Langley.

I’ve been asked not to stop blogging, at least right away, when we get home because people want to know how we adjust. If you’d like to stop receiving the blog, please let me know by replying to this email.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coos Bay, Lincoln City and Long Beach...

Sunday morning was sunny again, as we headed north to Coos Bay, about halfway up the Oregon Coast.

By the time we were twenty-five miles north of Brookings the Pacific had lost all of it’s blue hue. It becomes less tropical looking in Oregon, but often the waves break emerald green instead.

We stopped for lunch at Tony’s Crab Shack in Bandon, pictured below, where I had Fish Tacos and Janice had a Crab and Shrimp Sandwich. Before lunch, while we were walking around town, we had asked some locals for the best place to eat. They were right about Tony’s.

We got to Coos Bay and the Midway RV Park about 2:30. It turned out that our GPS, Susan, had landed us in Harington rather than Coos Bay, so our walk, which took us along the water, never actually got us to Coos Bay proper.

Monday morning we woke to a rare day of rain. We stopped in Coos Bay to get the tires rotated on the truck. I noticed that the new tires we had purchased in Florida were wearing much faster at the back than they were at the front. Presumably due to towing the load.

We stopped for lunch at Yachats. Our neighbours, Mike and Ellen, have met their daughters in Yachats a couple of times for some family R&R, so we stopped and had our lunch at Yachats State Park. It’s a beautiful place, that we’d somehow overlooked in the past - blowing and rainy for our short stay though.

Pictured is the Paicific Ocean blowing into Yachats.

We pulled into the Coyote Rock RV Resort near Lincoln City about 3:00 and took a drive into town to get the lay of the land. We parked near the new casino and leaned into the wind as we walked the streets closest to the oceanfront.

Pictured below is the beach at Lincoln City.

On the way back we pulled into another little bay and saw these seals lazing around a sand bank. Also, the Pacific Ocean crashes into, but is quickly placated by the tidal flats, not more than a hundred yards from where the seals lolled.

Back at the park we built a ripping campfire but were still chilly eating our warmed-over Chili. We're stobborn though and, like moths, wouldn't give up the flame until it was nearly dark. The park is situated where the river meets the tidal waters of the ocean, so it was windy and cool.

Pictured below is the wharf at the Coyote Rock RV Resort as well as a bench in front of a mossy rock cliff at the resort. Also, the same wharf at the park, in the morning.


My old friend, Al Hovden, from North Van - no, not Al Harlowe from Prism - Al Hovden, whom I used to play with in The Burner Boys at least two lifetimes ago, has the number one blues song, Zero Avenue, on the Internet. You can check it out by going to

Congratulations Al, sounds great.


It rained overnight but Tuesday morning we woke to sunshine and drove north to Rockaway Beach where we spoiled ourselves on a bowl of Clam Chowder for Janice and a bowl of Philly Cheesecake Soup for me - both thick, but tasty.

We had been headed for Astoria, on the northern border of Oregon, but, because there were no RV parks there, we continued on to Long Beach, Washington. Long Beach is at least as spectaular as it's namesake on Vancouver Island but, to it's advantage, it's thirty miles long, instead of ten. We got set up at the Sandcastle RV Resort and then took a walk around the town, and the beach, before ordering some Thai food to go.

Pictured are: the boardwalk at Long Beach and, Janice on the beach.

We're getting so close, with mixed feelings…

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eureka, Brookings and The Redwoods

We left Fort Bragg on Thursday morning, in the sunshine, enjoying the coast drive for another hour before the road veered eastward, away from the ocean.

The sky turned overcast and then it became downright dark as we drove through the towering Redwoods. Highway 1 twists and turns just as wildly through the Redwoods as it does along the coast.

Pictured is The Doll House Redwood, on Highway 1.

We pulled into The Shorelines RV Park at Eureka, back on the coast of California, about 2:00pm. After setting up we went for a walk around the downtown area, which is graced with a lot of beautiful wooden architecture. Some, like the one pictured below, built by a lumber baron, have been completely restored. Its now a private club for the people who paid for the restoration. Other buildings look as though they’re probably in constant need of a paint job.

Pictured is one of the main intersections in historic downtown Eureka.

In the evening we went to a Chinese restaurant so Janice could indulge herself in her, once yearly, All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. I’m not as big on Chinese buffets as she is because often the places are not real clean. You know, greasy fingerprints everyhwere from the front door to the sneeze guards. It was good though - clean and not entirely deep fried stuff. Cheap too, Bill. Just $8.99 each.

On Friday we hit the road for Brookings, Oregon. It’s the southernmost town on the Oregon Coast and is self-described as the Banana Belt of the north coast. Janice’s brother, Alan, had guaranteed us good weather if we went there and, sure enough, just as we pulled into the Driftwood RV Park, the sun came out.

We spent the afternoon getting an oil change on the truck and replacing a safety chain hook on the trailer that had somehow come off on that winding road. Because of the sunshine we were able to BBQ some burgers and then sat around a camp fire until dark.

Saturday morning we woke to sunshine again and so decided to book another day here, as well as backpeddle about twenty miles to the part of the Redwoods that we missed because the weather had been crappy. About fifteen miles down the road we crossed back into California and then took Highway 297 about five miles to Jedadiah Smith State Park.

We were the only ones in the park when we got there. We walked the Nature Loop Trail and came back to the river to have lunch. The Smith River is a brilliant turqouise colour and contrasted kind of unworldly with the new greens of spring on the trees. Of course some of the Redwoods are massive. We were glad we made the effort to make the trip back.

Pictured are some shots of Jedadiah Smith State Park and the Smith River.

Back in Brookings we visited the Azalea Park but it was pretty well done this late in the spring and then we followed the Chesko River to Loeb State Park.

Pictured are: Janice, with her new hair colour, at Loeb State Park. I said the Smith River was brilliant - well, the Chesco River was unbelievably blue, as pictured.

Aftet going for groceries we took a sharp right at a sign that said Chesko Point and then walked out to where we could get a view back to Brookings.

Pictured are a couple of shots of Brookings from Chesko Point and, The Little One, as we return along the path.

Tomorrow we're headed for Coos Bay, about halfway up the Oregon Coast. We're going to be in Langley by Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fort Bragg, Mendocino and the Northern California Coast…

Pictured is a miscellaneous shot of the coast, where we stopped for lunch, on the way to Fort Bragg.

I knew before we left Bodega Bay that Janice wasn’t too thrilled about dragging the trailer along Highway 1, on the Northern California Coast. It’s a notoriously winding, up-and-down, narrow road. I tried to reassure her that the Interstates were probably more dangerous but, when we got to the top of the first steep hill, with a rock slide on one side and a thee hundred foot drop, straight down, to the snarling Pacific Ocean on the other, I could see her Brake Foot starting to get a workout.

Actually the first thirty miles or so were the worst. Either that or her Brake Foot was plumb wore out because she seemed to relax after that.

By the way, my old friend George Robb reminded me that Bodega Bay was the location for the shooting of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, The Birds

We got into Fort Bragg, at the Hidden Pines RV Park, about 3:00pm. We set up while talking with our new, 1969 Volkswagen Van driving neighbour, Tobin, about his travels to South East Asia. Looking to be in his 50’s, he works for a year or two and then travels for a year. Usually in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam because it’s beautiful, the people are clean and friendly and the food is exceptional.

Later we took a drive through the Fort Bragg. It’s really grown since the last time we were here in 1998. Considering my fear of flying - make that my refusal to fly in the past - I’ve driven down the West Coast quite a few times. I think this is my fifth time in Fort Bragg.

We started a campfire before dinner and enjoyed some Sangria but as soon as the sun went down the chilly ocean breeze drove us inside, where we watched a little Boob Tube.

On Tuesday morning, to our surprise, we woke to sunshine - it’s usually foggy here in the mornings.

After a year of going Au Naturelle, Janice decided to get her hair cut and colored, so I went across the street to the internet café to check emails and to research electronic drums.

In the past few months JR, Stephanie and Ron have been working at putting our electric band, Dr. Recommended, back together in anticipation of when I get home. The guitar player, JR, suggested that I look into electronic drums because the volume can be infinitely controlled, which would be best for all of our old ears. Well, maybe not Stephanie’s old ears - she’s only forty, or so. OK, so Ron’s in his forties too - and JR’s in his early fifties. I guess that only leaves me.

Anyway, I’ll be a busy boy when I get home because I intend to keep the acoustic thing going with Gary, Doc and Sylvie as well. Should be fun…

Waiting for Janice to get finished, I walked around downtown Fort Bragg and took a few miscellaneous shots, pictured below:

When Janice got finished at the hairdresser about 11:00, as always, she went right home to wash her hair and redo what the stylist had done. The color is a little bit redder than she’d have liked but I’m going to help her put some lighter highlights in it.

I keep asking her, “Who are you? And what have you done with my Janice?”

After lunch we drove the eight miles back to Mendocino to have a bowl of soup and some garlic baguettes. I’ve always been fond of the Northern California Coast, especially Mendocino. I was immediately drawn to it on my first trip down here, at about age twenty-two.

The whole north coast is spectacular but Mendocino is cradled in a particularly beautiful setting. While it’s always been an artist’s colony, during the 60’s and 70’s, it also played a major role in the Hippy and Peace Movements. It’s where Earth Momma’s first appeared. It’s where people first became conscious of, and promoted, healthier, organic, food. Generally, it’s where the Back to the Land movement began. Of course it’s also where marijuana was first cropped in the U.S.

Many of the original Mendocino characters, and their traditions, still remain - difference is - a lot of them are now sitting on multi-million dollar properties.

Pictured are a few shots from around downtown Mendocino. The property with the residence complimented by all the flowers in front also has a nice art gallery building at the street and is for sale for $1.6 million.

Not everyone is so enamoured with the area as I am. I’ve always lucked out and had good weather, but I hear it can be pretty dreary and foggy a lot of the time or, otherwise, cold, damp and windy.

Lucky us. In the afternoon we took a walk to downtown Fort Bragg in the sunshine.

Pictured is the harbour at the Noyo River, taken from the bridge. It was about a five mile walk, something we welcomed after a few days of relative inactivity.

In the evening we watched the new TV show, The Voice.

Wednesday was sunny again so we decided to book another day here. I helped Janice highlight her hair and then we walked to the Noyo River Harbor, this time taking the steep path down under the bridge and walking the riverfront.

Pictured below are: Fish Boats at Noyo Harbor and a Fisherman’s ‘best friend‘, a Harbor Seal who was making a racket, no doubt because he thought we were there to feed him.

From Noyo Harbour we walked to The Headlands, or, Chicken Point - so named because sailors would walk out to where we were and decide if the Pacific looked friendly enough to fish, or not.

Pictured are Janice with her new hair colour - just a teaser - and more wild flowers at The Headlands at Fort Bragg.

Today we head for the Redwood Forrest, close to the California, Oregon border…