Mt St Helens, Cape Disappointment and Mt Hood

We left Vancouver on October 1st, and headed south to Mount St Helen’s National Volcanic Monument for a few days. We stayed at Silver Cove RV Resort, Silverlake, Washington and drove up to visit Mount St Helen’s. Prior to to the 1980 eruption, Mount St Helen’s was the fifth-highest peak in Washington, at 9,677 ft, now the summit is 8,363 ft. The first recorded sighting of Mount St Helen’s was in 1792 by George Vancouver, and he named it for British diplomat, the 1st Baron St Helen. Mount St Helen’s notorious eruption in 1980 was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the US. Killing 57 people, and 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. We visited the beautiful Visitor Center and then went on the Harry’s Ridge Hike, 8.5 miles R/T. This trail is the best for getting a sense of the total devastation from the 1980 eruption, and we were blown away by the destruction, as the crater looked so close to us. Then the trail turned to head up to Harry’s Ridge, where we had a view of the crater and Spirit Lake, with logs from the eruption still floating on the lake. It was such a clear sunny day that we could see Mt Adams and Mt Hood in the distance from the top of the Ridge. We returned to the Visitor Center and waited until the full moon appeared in the horizon, great ending to a perfect day. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Tuscany, Italy-VBT

September 15th we started on our VBT Bike Tour along The Tuscan Coast. We met the other riders and the tour leaders at the Hotel Tornabuoni in Florence. There were 14 people on our tour and the two trip leaders, Massimiliano Cenni and Paolo Cossovel. We hopped on the van and drove to Collemezzano to the Agrihotel Elisabetta, where we will be staying for two nights. Our Agriturismo is family run, owner is Luigi Brunetti, who has a passion for farming and wine making. After our warm-up ride, Bob and I rented E-bikes, the group had a guided tour of his wine Cantina, sampling some of Luigi’s varietals. We finished the evening with a sumptuous feast for dinner. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Florence Italy

On September 13th, 2017 we took the fast train from Rome to Florence. Traveling by train from Rome to Florence is quick, easy and affordable and takes about 1 1/2 hours. We took a taxi to our Airbnb and went to explore Florence. We are staying near the Piazza di Santa Croce where we saw the Basilica di Santa Croce, the principal Franciscan church in Florence and the largest Franciscan church in the world, completed in 1385. We walked to the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge to wander through the shops and have dinner. The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone closed-arch bridge over the Arno River, noted for having shops built along it. Butchers initially occupied the shops, now the present tenants are mostly jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. Continue reading

Rome Italy

On our first day in Italy, we met Kevin and Ericka in Rome and took a tour of the Colosseum. We booked our tour through Caroline Wallace  and our guide took us down side streets to see unique churches before arriving at the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete and was completed in AD 80. Going with a tour guide we did not have to wait in the long lines. Once inside you could see the enormity of the amphitheatre, it is estimated to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, and executions. Continue reading

Sardinia, Italy

Italy here we come! On September 7th we arrived in Sardinia with Kevin and Ericka to attend Chris Dore and Lisa’s wedding. We landed in the town of Alghero on the northwest coast of Sardinia, Italy. We are all staying at the El Faro Hotel, a beautiful resort overlooking the sea in the Regional Natural Park of Porto Conte. The setting is perfect for a wedding. When we arrived we were so excited to see Tony and Darlene Dore again after many years and of course, Chris and Lisa and Tony. We hung out by the pool reminiscing and meeting their friends from Ohio who came for the wedding. In the evening the dinner was in the hotel with all the family and friends of the bride and groom. Eric finally arrived for dinner and we spent the rest of the night partying with the young. Continue reading

Cleveland, Ohio

Arrived in Cleveland on August 22nd until August 29th, and we were met by Bruce and Karen, who took us back to their beautiful house in Broadview Heights. Karen and Bruce went out of their way to entertain us while we were in Ohio. And to our surprise Cleveland has grown a lot since we left 4 years ago. Our first night we went to Bar 32 located high atop the Hilton Hotel in downtown Cleveland with expansive views of Lake Erie. Then off to the Flats to enjoy dinner at the Collision Bend Brewing Company seated outside looking over the Cuyahoga River. We did a fun bike ride on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath toward downtown Cleveland, stopping to explore the scenery along the path to Tremont, where we ate breakfast at Lucky’s Cafe. Finally we went to a Cleveland Indians game at Jacobs Field, but first we had drinks at the Azure Rooftop Lounge in The 9, with iconic views of the city. We brought the Indians good luck because they won, it was a great game! Thanks Karen and Bruce for a wonderful and exciting stay with you in your hometown of Cleveland. Click on thumbnail to view images
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Seattle, Washington

Chihuly’s largest suspended sculpture

We were fortunate to be invited to our friends Jim Karlovec and Dana Longo’s wedding, August 26th, in Cleveland, Ohio. We stayed with friends Karen Moyer and Bruce Kahn in their wonderful condo in Broadview Heights. Luckily we flew out of Seattle, so we spent the day visiting the Pacific Science Center to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit, also the Terracotta Warriors. The Chihuly exhibit opened May, 2012 and includes three components: the Garden, the Glasshouse, and the interior exhibits. We were in awe of the beautiful glass art especially the installation inside of the Glasshouse, the expansive 100-foot long sculpture, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. If you haven’t visited a Dale Chihuly blown glass exhibit, I highly recommend it. Dale Patrick Chihuly was born in Tacoma, September 20, 1941, and has had exhibits all over the world. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island

We went over to Salt Spring Island to visit my sister, Sue and Denis for a few days, Aug 13th to 18th. We celebrated Bob’s 71st birthday at Auntie Pesto’s overlooking the Ganges Harbor. We played some pickle ball, went swimming in Vesuvius Bay and enjoyed relaxing on the porch chatting, drinking and eating together. We took a day and went on a biking trip over to Vancouver Island to visit Chemainus and Ladysmith.
We caught the early ferry from Vesuvius to Crofton and rode to Chemainus to view the wonderful murals that put this small town on the map. The first mural was painted in 1981, today Chemainus is painted with more than 40 murals, depicting scenes from the town’s history. We had fun riding our bikes around town seeing all the beautiful 40 large murals depicting the Cowichan First Nations, European exploration and settlement, fur trading, railway development and more…… After lunch at the Willow Street Cafe, we rode our bikes along the coast rode to Ladysmith and back to Chemainus, where we had dinner in a fabulous restaurant, the Sawmill TapHouse and Grill. We got the last ferry back to Vesuvius after a wonderful day on our bikes. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Whistler, BC

We booked an Airbnb at Whistler for 2 nights, August 3rd and 4th. The drive from Vancouver was sunny and beautiful but when we arrived at Whistler the smoke-filled air was everywhere. We decided to drive right to Joffre Lake Provincial Park and hike up to the lakes as far as was possible to still be able to see the views. This magnificent park, established in 1988, with jagged peaks, icefields, cold rushing streams and especially the three turquoise blue lakes is one of the best day hikes we have ever done. The trail passes the Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes, and each more stunning than the last. Their striking, saturated blue colour is caused by “rockflour” or glacial silt in the water that is suspended in the water and reflects green and blue wavelengths of sunlight. As we arrived at the Upper Lake the smoke was getting denser and it was difficult to see the glacier and the tops of the peaks. We turned around and headed back down the trail but had to stop for a swim at the Middle Lake from a balancing floating log. What a great hike and would love to return and camp at the Upper Lake. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Summer in British Columbia

Bob and Chris McKay friend from grade 1

We finally arrived back in Vancouver on June 1st, staying at the beautiful Eagle Wind RV Park in Aldergrove, for 4 months. We are looking forward to seeing our family and friends during our stay here. Our first outing was a weekend trip to Oliver, BC, staying at The Lakeside Resort, with Bob’s high school classmates for an all men’s golf tournament in memory of Dan Grimble. Myself and two of the other wives came along, Robbie Harper and Dawn White. We enjoyed our time visiting all the fabulous wineries in the Okanagan Valley, as well as shopping in all the wonderful boutiques in the area. The Okanagan Valley is BC’s premier grapegrowing region, with quiet family-run boutique vineyards to world-class operations. Oliver is considered the “Wine Capitol of Canada”, and is home to nearly half of BC’s vines and more than 40 wineries. We were amazed by the growth of the Okanagan Valley in the past 40 years and we will definitely make a trip back here again. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading