Up in Smoke

We screwed up! The journey from Victoria BC to Klamath Falls, Oregon was a lengthy, arduous and smoke filled day. Michael drove over 500 miles non stop. The forests are on fire and the eclipse zone filled with smoke. It is a sad thing to see such beautiful countryside going up in flames.

Our campsite is a dump, and this is the first time I have written such a negative opinion, but there is no pride of ownership and most of the campers seem to be long term. We are heading out this morning in hopes of finding a first come/ first serve Campground that can accommodate our 24ft RV.

We are so fortunate to have our health and a cat that loves to travel- that is what is important. Heading out with a positive attitude that we will find a wonderful site in which to view the solar eclipse.

Black Ball Ferry Ride

How organized and clean the ferry boat is and the morale of the employees, high. Everyone is cheerful and helpful and laugh when they see Callie sitting on the dash and taking in the sights and sounds. She has to stay in the RV below, but is now a seasoned traveler. United States- here we come!

We are heading to Klamath Falls, Oregon to see the solar eclipse. Yay!! Motel 8 and RV Park.

Our Last Party at Genoa Bay Float House

Tom and Frances invited us for one last party at the float house before we head to Victoria tomorrow morning and then taking a ferry ride back to the states and Port Angeles. We want to get to Central Oregon in order to watch the solar eclipse on August, 21st. What a fabulous time we have had on Vancouver Island. The wildlife is abundant, the people are friendly and the campgrounds, extraordinary. Callie, Michael and I have had a first rate adventure of a life time.


They Wash Windows in Canada

Callie got to witness first hand a window-shield washer in a gas station at Tofino, BC. It was just a tad bit disturbing for her when he wielded his tool for cleaning. She braved it out though and it became a Kodak moment. The Canadians have been so friendly and welcoming to us, even in spite of Trump and his alt-right agenda spewing hatred and racists nationalism. And to think that they still wash window shields! Amazing.

We had a lovely drive from Tofino to Genoa Bay and will be heading to Victoria today and leaving on the BC ferry tomorrow morning for Port Angeles. I will miss Canada, especially when the politics in America are so disturbing and embarrassing to me. I can only hope that the GOP comes to its senses and puts country before political agenda.


The Princess Diaries

When we first started considering going on a road trip with our cat Callie, we weren't sure how she would respond to travel. Last summer we headed north up the 5 in our SUV, and the difficulties we had trying to find motel rooms that would accommodate cats became an issue. We always had to leave a hefty deposit and the manager would come through the room and inspect it before we could check out. Very few motels accepted cats and made us feel very unwelcome. Callie does not claw at furniture legs and is the cleanest little kitty I know. She is a perfect guest and always uses her litter box. I can't say the same goes for most dogs! On some of our adventures, Callie would hide under the bed and not want to come out if we had traveled for too many hours the day before. Driving in the SUV tired her out and stressed her at times. Worst of all, she didn't have a way of looking out the window. In the RV, all of our troubles are now behind us because we carry our house with us wherever we go and Callie can sit up on the dash and watch the world go by at 60mph. She loves it! She also loves sleeping high up in the loft that has tiny little windows in which she can peer out in secrecy and eavesdrop on unsuspecting birds. Ravens in particular love to share campsites with humans and have learned to raid any unsuspecting camper of a picnic left behind. Callie gets to spy on these raiders of food and the birds never suspect a thing! Such is the life adventures of a princess cat.


Tofino-BC

Callie thoroughly enjoys hanging out on the dash of the RV now and when we are ready to take off, she jumps down from the loft and settles in.

Tofino is a picturesque and quaint town with an airport on the sea. We were able to get a campsite at Mackenzie Beach Campground and the first thing we did when we arrived was to walk down to the beach. The tide was out and you can explore the tidal pools that hug the shoreline among rugged rocks. People were swimming and boogie boarding in the chilly water and surf schools are numerous. Michael and I think it is much too cold, but young and adventuresome surfers flock from all over to get a chance to surf here.

We biked into town along a paved bike and walk path and stopped on the dock to watch float planes come and go! What a sight to see these planes take off, with white caps frothing and the wind whipping the air up all around us. The engine noise is deafening and it is amazing that the planes have lift when facing the wind during take off!

We were having a craving for sweets yesterday and picked up Cadbury chocolate bars and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. That was the incentive for biking into town. Lots of fish and sushi restaurants, tourist shops and coffee dens can be found along the main drag.

Today, Michael and I are contemplating what and where to go next and may try a hike along one of the ancient cedar groves advertised at Wild Pacific Trails. This wilderness area banks both sides of the highway as you drive to Tofino. The forest is so dark and thick with mature trees, that when you try to look past the first row, there is very little light that passes through. Wolves are a frequent sight apparently and hikers are warned not to let their dogs off leash. Wolves kill dogs off leash. I won't be taking Callie on any of the hikes, not to worry!



Farewell to Genoa Bay

What an incredible time we have had in Genoa Bay with my brother and sister in law and David and JoAnne. Tom, an artist and salty sailor, is captain of his domain. Frances is a quiet and unassuming artist herself, having descended from a long line of Dutch Master Portrait artists. David, our selfless host, has a heart of gold with vast knowledge of audiophile components and JoAnne, a competent, compassionate nurse, loves to dance to Dave Matthews and can turn a dinner into a party!

We had a celebration together last night which was joyous, filled with conversation and good food, wine, dancing and music. The horrific "T" word wasn't mentioned once! Most Canadians, as do most Americans, feel a great deal of horror and anger at the Donald. Callie was able to crash the party for a bit… Elenor and Rigby, their two beautiful cats who are brother and sister, only got to participate from a distance.

I can't begin to share all that I am grateful for and for the appreciation that I feel toward family and host and hostess. We have decided to head up Island at the request of Tom and our hosts though, instead of heading to Seattle. You can't come to Vancouver Island without experiencing Long Beach. So Long Beach, here we come!

Waiting for the Party to Start

David and JoAnne, our wonderful hosts, are throwing a party for us before we head out tomorrow morning. Their house looks over Genoa Bay and is an interesting 3 story home that reminds me of a Chapel or a monastery.

Callie and I are hanging out in the RV watching David prepare for the festivities. He has Joni Mitchell playing in the background and Callie and I are participating with words of encouragement only. David has refused any help and Michael and Tom will be here soon laden with groceries.

Callie loves to dangle her head and neck over the table to stretch out her spine. I have never had a cat that does this, and it cracks me up when she gets in this position.

May the festivities start soon and the work be done. David and JoAnne have been incredible. We have felt so welcome, I hope to some day return the favor.

Callie has a New Tree to Climb

Callie has missed her beloved olive trees, but this morning she discovered an arbutus tree that is growing in front of David and JoAnne's house. It has a wood carving of an eagle with the word "ocean" carved on it. The bark of the arbutus is gold and reddish brown, and the underbelly has pinks and green with yellow ochre much like our eucalyptus in California. The bark curls up and peels off in shredded pieces and Callie took great delight in climbing and sharpening her claws on it this morning. When she rakes her claws into the bark, it spills away in sheets and smells much like cedar shavings. Callie would like one of these trees growing in her yard in Anza Borrego please!

Alfresco

Tom and Frances's catamaran- Alfresco, is a work of art. She is 38 ft long and 18 ft wide. When the wind is harnessed by the sail, she glides over the surface of the water with surge and power. The two hulls on each side of the boat keep her balanced and level so that they don't heel from side to side. The mast is taller than the catamaran is long, and when you look up, the sail seems to billow out forever. Tom built her 41 years ago when he was only in his 20s. The lines of Alfresco are so streamlined and contemporary, you feel like you are looking at a vessel that is sailing across a vast ocean far off into the future.

We spent 3 days and 2 nights at Burgoyne Bay and walked along Saltspring Island in the morning to stretch out our stiff and achy sea legs. Callie did wonderful and handled herself as a sea cat with grace, curiosity and charm. This was her maiden voyage across the salty sea and I was a little nervous about her going over board! It only takes one false move and over the rail she would go. Michael and Tom saw her slip just once, but she landed on the deck and walked away with dignity as if it had all been planned and done on purpose! Every morning when Callie woke up, she investigated the boat with curiosity, checking out every nook and cranny in hopes that there was something new for her to discover.

After the third day, we headed back to Genoa Bay where Tom and Frances live. When we finished dropping Alfresco off at the dock alongside the float house, Tom took us back to the RV by dingy. This time, Callie even sat up and peaked out over the water on our way back to the marina!


This is a gouache painting I did of Alfresco in 1985 when I was working on my BFA in drawing and painting at Cal State, Fullerton.