Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Up on Haliburton Hill

OK, so we've been home almost two weeks. We've reconnected with our house and yard and experienced a few nice days before the onslaught of the next wintry episode. Last weekend we spent out at the Saanich Fairgrounds at the flyball tournament. We're sore and tired and cold and waiting (like everyone else) for the warmer weather to arrive.

Since I've been home I've been missing the blog writing so I have created a "life at home" blog. I won't bore you with too many posts. It will just be occasional musings from up on Haliburton Hill and I promise it won't just be about my dogs.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home again on Vancouver Island

After horrendous stop-and-go driving through the snow on the freeways around Portland we made it to Vancouver on Tuesday night. The traffic on I-5 in Portland was actually completely stopped for about an hour.

It seems there has been an awful lot of snow in this area. My brother tells me the snow that fell before Christmas is still on the ground in places in Vancouver--five weeks later.

We stayed overnight with with Jock and his family, then scooped up Jamie after his 9:00 a.m. class for a quick breakfast out, and drove out to catch the 1:00 p.m. ferry. The weather cooperated a bit for our re-entry by providing an hour of two of sunshine just as we were getting on the ferry. It was absolutely beautiful as we crossed the strait and we even had three killer whales jumping off the bow.

You know how when you're away from home for a long time, as you come in the front door you see everything with new eyes? Well the ferry ride back to Victoria was kind of like that. I was up on the sundeck with the rest of tourists, clicking away taking pictures through active pass. We really do live in a beautiful part of the world.

Linette brought Geordie over before dinner and it was so great to see him. Maggie greeted him with a symbolic growl to show that she is still "top dog" but within minutes they were friends again. The two dogs are quickly re-establishing their routines. It's taking Harry and me a little longer to gather up all the loose ends of our lives and catch up on things like bills and home maintenance.

We had a lovely time on this year's trip. Maggie was an awesome traveler and I have to hand it to Wanda, our minivan. She took us over 4,000 km to Mazatlan and back without even a sputter. She's a bit more dinged up than when we started and certainly needs a good wash inside and out, but she was stellar. Here she is on the ferry coming home

It was such a relief not to be worrying about mechanical breakdowns. This trip was very different from last year's odyssey with Mohita. Less adventure and more relaxing. Mazatlan is a great place to hang out for a couple of months and we are thinking that we'd like to head down next winter for a while with both dogs--if we can find a good place. We have a couple of feelers out so we shall see what turns up. Of course it all depends on finances, health and the world situation....as does everything, I guess.

Meanwhile it's back to real life and this chronicle is ending. However, I've become a bit addicted to blogging and so I'm going to set up a "life" blog where I can post some ramblings and ideas on a less intensive schedule. I'll post the link here once it's set up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's cold outside!

We're now in Salem, Oregon and it's COLD outside. Below zero C. and they're predicting snow tomorrow. I had to go and buy a couple of pairs of socks because the ones I brought with me are packed away somewhere underneath everything in the back of the van. I distinctly remember looking at the socks when I was organizing my stuff in Mazatlan for the trip back--and thinking I would probably never want to put such heavy things on my feet. Well I have to say that tonight I'm glad to have some!

We had a quick visit with our friends in Berkeley but things didn't go exactly as planned. Helen had recently fallen and broken her shoulder so was just out of surgery and was on pain meds so wasn't at her best. Also, just before we arrived there Maggie stopped eating and started vomiting. So we spent Sunday morning at the emergency vet's clinic in Berkeley. We saw a very nice vet who examined Mags, then gave her an anti-nausea drug, hydrated her and put her on a regime of white rice and chicken. That was yesterday and she seems to be back to normal tonight. This morning she ate a bit, slept all day and tonight seems quite hungry. We are so relieved.

Today we drove for 8 hours, quite a bit longer than usual, and came over the Siskyou pass in sunshine. Our little minivan Wanda is a stalwart girl and hasn't had even a sputter to date. When we left Berkeley it was about 65 degrees F--But as I said, it's cold in Oregon, below freezing. We're pulling out all the vests and scarves that we started out wearing back in early December. Our plan is to make it to Vancouver tomorrow night and then take the ferry to Victoria on Wednesday. If we get delayed by snow or other things, we will probably still make it home in time to get to the flyball practice on Thursday night.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heading North

Yesterday we spent the night in Long Beach and had a delicious meal at a wonderful restaurant there with my cousin Dean and his partner Tari. Dean is a sculptor and we were able to see his huge whimsical metal sculptures on Broadway, although some are hiding behind trees.

This morning we checked out the Queen Mary, the big ocean liner that's now a hotel and tourist attraction. It was pretty neat to walk those historic decks and see the gorgeous art deco interior.

Today we stopped to visit some friends in Santa Monica and then headed north on 101 in the rain. (!) Tomorrow we'll spend the afternoon and evening with our friends Helen and Sam in Berkeley and will then continue north to the clouds and probably more rain. (sob!) Although I guess you're not really feeling too sorry for us after our six weeks in Mexico.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trading info at Balboa dog park

We had an interesting meeting today with Candan, a young San Diego man who connected with us through this blog. Candan and his family are planning to visit Mazatlan with their border collie and in researching accommodation there he happened upon our blog. When he found that we were planning to come through San Diego he contacted us to suggest that we get together for information sharing. So this morning Harry and Maggie and I met Candan and his two dogs at the Balboa Dog Park. The dogs got along and so did we. We spent an hour yakking and sharing info while the dogs played. I just find it so utterly cool that the Internet can connect like-minded people in this way.

On Candan's recommendation we had a delicious outdoor lunch this afternoon at Prado, a wonderful restaurant in Balboa Park. This park is amazing--it's huge, and filled with beautiful gardens, museums, restaurants and more.

We spent a couple of hours walking around there with Maggie and taking photographs. (I seem to have become obsessed by taking photos of plants.)

Later on in the afternoon we drove over to Coronado Island, place of the famed Del Coronado Hotel.

Tonight we’ll head into Old Town for dinner and then tomorrow it’s up the coast to Long Beach.
San Diego is a real discovery for us. It’s a beautiful city and we will for sure come back some time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yuma and Obama

Yesterday we didn't get to visit the desert museum because they don't allow dogs on the property--even in cars. But we did get to see a lot of desert at the Saguaro National Park and on the drive across the Sonora Desert to Yuma. Here are a few images from that drive.

Our plan was to look up a friend from Victoria who is here in Yuma in his RV. We didn't know which RV park he was in but we thought we'd be able to find him by looking through the different RV spots. I said to Harry, "There can't be that many different places to look for him."

Well, we abandoned that plan before we even arrived. Yuma is a lot bigger than when I was through here in 1974. Just on the road in from the east we passed at least a dozen RV parks--huge ones with hundreds of rigs lined up cheek to jowl. The yellow pages list 84 RV parks here.

This morning we sat in our Yuma hotel room watching Obama sworn in as president, along with millions of people around the world--quite an amazing day. He is such a great speaker and a truly a humble man. Everyone has such high hopes for him and I hope that he can inspire in everyone the will to make choices to make a difference to a planet in crisis. His message of hope over fear is so needed at this time. What a speech he gave; he pulled no punches. I look forward to talking to Americans about their hopes from this watershed event.

Now we're heading off to take Maggie for a swim in the river.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Art in Patagonia and Tucson

This morning we headed out from Nogales on a secondary road that winds through rolling grassy hills into the town of Patagonia. Ches and Allison told us to take a look at this place and it's a really cool little town. It's in an area rich in bird life along a river and it's quite an art centre.

We had breakfast at a nice little Mexican place and met some people who live nearby. After a great conversation about Obama and their hopes for the future, we explored the town and then drove up to Tucson for a visit to their fabulous art museum. We saw an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Maynard Dixon, who worked around the turn of the century to record the southwest places and peoples. Also there was a strong collection of the work of various Mexican photographers. We bought the catalogue for this amazing exhibition. Here's a photo from the courtyard of the art museum.

Then we walked around the old part of Tucson for a bit and found a place to stay tonight at a nice pet-friendly motel with all the amenities. Harry's getting his political fix by watching the American news about Obama and his inauguration.

Tomorrow we're going to visit the Desert Museum and then head west to Yuma. We're staying close to the southern border for as long as possible before heading back north.