Southern British Columbia

After a refreshing but quick visit with Grandpa James & Grandma Dianne in Lethbridge for the night, we continued West into BC. Pete was a very welcome addition to our traveling party, and found some “spots” to lay claim to in the car. He rotated every so often among them, but didn’t seem to quite get the same captivated attention from watching Hogan’s Hero’s that the kids and I did. We were following the GPS through Trail and up the hill a little ways to Rossland. Mike & Michelle Tanguay had lived in Fort Smith for several years before we arrived, but moved South a few years back. Mike had long worked at the neighboring mine to Diavik, but now worked locally to Rossland while Michelle flew up to the Arctic for three week on, three week off shifts. Sadly, Michelle would be gone working during our single night stay there. We had a spectacular visit with Mike, Logan and Lilly though. With a few steaks cooking we all got caught up on things and shared computer ideas while the kids ran around outside and explored the neighborhood a bit.

While we had the option to stay two nights in Rossland, we decided to continue on to Vancouver Island and try and spend the night with parents of some other neighbors of ours from Fort Smith. The (only slightly) senior Keizers come up to Smith once a year it seems and we have come to know them fairly well. They have a spectacularly large house (for empty nester’s that is) just outside of Victoria in Esquimalt. Deer and all sorts of other wildlife frequent their backyard forest which backs on to the Canadian navy base. The next morning after wolfing down some huge homemade waffles, we hit the road for the couple hour trip to Ladysmith, just outside of Nanaimo.

While there were several possible tourist stops along the way, we were only up for one viewing point balcony overlooking the inside coast. It was higher up and gave a rather nice view of the coastline and all the stunningly green islands. We quickly concluded that the pine beetle can’t swim in salt water… There were fruit stands galore on the side of the highway, and we made it to Ladysmith in quick time without too many stops. We settled in for lunch with Dad & Janet after some hugs all around. It was nice to spend a few days relaxing, visiting and just generally catching up. We arranged an evening picnic in a Nanaimo park to visit with any James relatives on the Island who could join us. That was a blast, and after even more hugs all around we sat and ate, and even tossed the frisbee around a bit. It was wonderful seeing so many James relatives that we hadn’t talked to in several years (since the last time we came out to the island, now that I think about it; Hmmmm…) and swapping stories (all true!) about Grandpa James. We had originally planned on touring the island a bit and hoped to go to the West Coast of the Island and up North a ways past Campbell River a bit. Due to time these extra options went the way of the dodo, a visit to crazy Horse and a “leisurely trip across the country”. Perhaps next time, in a few years, once these bills are paid WAY down.

We departed after less than a week on Vancouver Island, heading North towards Kamloops & Kelowna. We didn’t even bother stopping in Vancouver at all, and just trucked on through. Vancouver traffic is CRAZY! But still not as bad as Montreal or Toronto I sadly have to admit, (Or Hanoi, Vietnam for that matter). Still, I have no idea how people can possibly live in such concrete jungle conditions…

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