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

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