Not to put too fine a point on living here in Vancouver, but I thought that I would share the following statistics with you all ....

Vancouver Weather -- Spring and Summer 2007

MONTH March April May June July August



Days in the Month
Days of Precipitation



source http://www.myforecast.com/bin/climate.m?city=54366&metric=false

Can you believe it??? A full 45% of the days from March to the end of August had measurable precipitation! That does not count the days with clouds and no rain. Remind me why we came home for the "summer"! Ah well ... so far September looks good .... and my web feet did need a little work after missing the past 5 winters here on the "Wet Coast".


As many of you know, I'm a "born and bred" Vancouver Kid, and Elsie is a Vancouver Kid "by choice". Although we have been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of traveling over the years, we have always thought of Vancouver as our "home". Well ... Vancouver is growing too quickly, and the drudgery of city life is starting to take a toll on our usually ebullient spirits! What used to take us 20 minutes to drive, now takes an hour or more.  There are supposedly 2,000 cars a month added to the travel volume, but the road infrastructure has not been altered since the 1980's.  All the "Green" advocates scream for more rapid transit ... yet most of what exists now does not go where we want to go and takes too long to use anyway.  The whole thing is "cars are bad and rapid transit is good".  But, most of these nut cases live downtown and can walk to work.  The poor schmuck who has a family and lives 30 miles out in the Burgs is out of luck.  In order to own a home, the young family has to move up the Fraser Valley, and that means they are sentenced to drive over the Port Mann bridge every day to get to their work place.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Lower Mainland, the only route to get into downtown is along a 4 lane highway -- two lanes going each way.  This is supposedly "access" to a city of 2 million.  However, under the guise of the 2010 Olympics they are building a BILLION DOLLAR highway from Vancouver to Whistler.  They claim this is to service the 2 week Olympic fiasco, but really it is to allow the rich Vancouver Howe Street  businessmen to have a 4 lane highway from the office to their multimillion dollar ski playgrounds.  If the government does do anything to help the poor sods getting from the Valley to work, they say there will have to be a Toll on the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge -- $3.00 each way.  This is for the poor guys who work pay cheque to pay cheque and are forced to live out there as they sure can't afford to live in town.  There is no talk, of course, about a Toll on the new highway to the Whistler Playground for the rich and infamous.  It is to cry ....


Rant over ... for now ...

Anyway, we started to look for a place where we could end our days in comfort and, of course, style.  It would be tough for us to move from the Lower Mainland -- after all, this is what we have been accustomed to for so many years -- but we figured that a smaller town/city would be a step in the right direction.  After much thought and discussion, we thought that either Vernon BC or Summerland BC, in the Okanagan Valley, would fit the bill very nicely!  We contacted, last Fall, two Real Estate Agents in Vernon and Summerland and set them to find for us, our "dream home".   We decided to hop into Harvey in early June and head to Vernon for a week, and then drop south to Oliver for a week to scope out possible new dwelling spots. 


So, down to DogPatch to wash the majority of the dirt from Harvey and off we set for Vernon.  Unfortunately, we must have "caught a rain cloud" as we headed through Hope as the next 7 days in "sunny" Vernon proved to be less than inviting.  In fact, of the 7 days we had, 5 had measurable precipitation and two were cloudy.  Not what we expected or wanted!  To top that off, we failed on our search for that perfect home.  One did come close, but there was still something .... that made us pause.  Off we go to Oliver for the next search.

Our main target for house searching was Summerland.  But, as there is no really nice RV Park there, we headed to Oliver and then drove the toad back north to Summerland.  Oliver is a nice area and one of our favorite wineries just happens to be close by so it was a no brainer choice for us to spend a week.  Here the weather did improve slightly, but once again, we could not find that "perfect" home.  However, Harvey ran like a dream, and it was good to get away from the Elsie in "Destruct Mode"!

Elsie has decided, and quite rightly so, that we have too much "stuff" in the house.  If we are ever to sell, it would take 6 strong men and several dogs to empty the place.  The first thing I know, there are stacks of boxes full of papers in the hallway.  "El Destructo" decided all my school stuff was the first to be off loaded.  Now these boxes contained extra copies of handouts, exams and lecture notes.  All of which took me thousands of hours over 30 years to create.  Even all my old daybooks containing all the student marks and parent notes were heading out the door.  It only took "El Destructo" several smacks "upside my head" for me to realize that that chapter of my life was over.  What was pure gold at one point for me is now pure junk.  But it was a sad moment .... in a way.

The only thing that has cooled "El Destructo" jets down was the District garbage strike.  But now that we have labour peace, the removal continues.  It really is surprising how much "stuff" one does collect over 30 years.   We still have "stuff" that Elsie had before we married, my "stuff" from the same time period, Elsie's Mom and Dad's "stuff" and my Mom's "stuff" all carefully packed into the basement.  To remove all this "stuff" will be a challenge even for "El Destructo"!  But the process continues .... one box a day is the current goal.

Another story worthy of note here is "The Saga of Lord Thurston".  His Path to the Canadian Championship

My take on Doggie Shows ....

Doggie Shows and those humans involved ... I just don't know! When we purchased Lord Thurston from Donna Cole, she made me promise that she could show him ... if she decided to. So, when she called, we felt that we really didn't have much choice. She had entered him in a show in Prince George and Teresa, a well known local dog handler, was to take him there in their RV. Well, talk about anxiety. This was like sending your kid to camp for the first time. We did not know who Teresa was and had to meet her first. Her reputation as an excellent handler is well known, and after meeting her, we did feel good about letting her take the little guy away for a week. Now, comes the confusion.

Apparently there were three shows all rolled up in the one show. Lord Thurston came home winning 5 points. He won winners and best of winners with one judge, nothing at all from one judge and winners from the third judge. (this is the best I understood about just how the point acquisition went) All this is against the same set of dogs as competition. How can there be such a vast discrepancy?

Well, as Lord Thurston still needs more points to get his "Championship", we would have to go to Hazelemere show in June to see if he could "finish". This time, we drove him to the show, sat and watched and tried to understand, and then took him home the same day -- much less stress on the little guy.. We did this for three days. Again 3 different judges, 3 different results and all against the same competition. Quality Control needs some work here! I really think you could finish a "fireplug" if you go to all small shows and are willing to keep doing it until you get the required 10 points. This "silliness" of course, obviously questions the validity of the term "Canadian Champion" for any dog. Other than some sort of bragging rights within the same small, closed group of people, the term is actually meaningless. It all boils down to ... who were the judges, what was the competition, and who did the handling. Teresa has to be one of the best ... I think she could "finish" a ham sandwich if she could figure out how to make it walk...

On the Friday, we won winners, and lost in the best of winners. Saturday he got nothing and on Sunday he won winners and again lost in best of winners. The result is that he now has 9 points. So, we now have to take him to Chilliwack on the 21st of September and go through this charade all over again. Sigh ....

One of the dogs Thurston continually beat was shown by a lady who was dressed in a very formal gown (she was not showing the dog herself); her 10 year old daughter was dressed identically as she was, and they must have spent over an hour "making up" the poor dog. She even went as far as applying some sort of face powder .... a picture of JonBenet Ramsey kept flashing in my mind ....

So ... hopefully in Chilliwack, we can get the one last point ..... and then Good Bye to doggie shows. (though we are going to take Stanley with us this time, and just have him by us during the performance ... just let the other Boston Owners know just how lucky they are that we have not entered him .... ;-)

Show Stanley .... I wouldn't put him through it for anything.

We did take a week in early August and attended the National RV Rally in Pendleton Oregon.  National is the name of the company that made our coach and over the years, we have attended many of these gatherings around the US.   We have made many friends in this group and it was nice to touch bases with them again.  There were also many PacNats in attendance -- some of whom it was good to see again. 


The Rally was held in the Fair Grounds and the weather was spectacular!!!  With a clear blue sky every day, the temperatures were in the mid to high 80's F ( 30's C) and a gentle breeze was blowing.  After the cool and wet summer we were having, it was a nice touch of summer for us. 

Pendleton is an interesting spot!  It is a huge Rodeo Town with a civic motto of "Let'er Buck".  Lots of history with hitching rails, wooden buildings, ranching and woolen mills.  This is a must place to revisit especially during its Rodeo week. 

"The Pendleton Roundup is held in the second full week of September. It's billed as the USA's best rodeo. Established in 1909, the celebration includes an old-fashioned rodeo, cowboy breakfasts, a parade, a country music concert, dances, art shows, and a nightly pageant that details the history of Native Americans and pioneers of the area. The town's normal population of around 15,000 swells to 45,000 during this four day event.

The Roundup is held in conjunction with the Happy Canyon Pageant, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation's largest powwow."

In the words of the Pendleton Tourist Bureau ...

The Wild West comes alive in Pendleton, Oregon. Nationally famous for its annual Roundup, Pendleton is an old cow town set in between the steep hills along the Umatilla River in the center of a large ranching and farming area. Settlers passed by here in the 1840s when traveling on the Oregon Trail. It is one of the largest towns in eastern Oregon, and Umatilla's county seat. Pendleton is the trading center for extensive wheat and green pea production from the surrounding Umatilla county area.

Tours of the nationally known Pendleton Woolen Mills are popular. Started by Thomas Kay in 1909 to weave blankets for the Indians, the blankets are still produced there today, along with men's and women's sportswear. State-of-the-art tours of the factory start with individual headsets for visitors. They include seeing the spinning machines and watching the shuttles of the automatic looms weaving the brightly colored, geometric Pendleton designs.

Pendleton's underground tunnels, dug by the Chinese between 1870 and 1930, cover over 70 miles underneath Pendleton's historic district. In 1989, some of the tunnels were restored and exhibits and mannequins used to recreate the businesses that used to be located there. These businesses included ice plants, butcher shops, and Chinese laundrys, as well as illegal saloons, bordellos and opium dens. Take the tour and learn all about Pendleton's wild past. An above ground "Cozy Room" tour takes you to Miss Stella's bordello and boarding house. A notable fact is that in the past, Pendleton's population of 3,000 once supported 18 bordellos and 32 saloons. (ed. Hmmmm interesting place eh!!!!)

Rodeo fans will enjoy the Round-up Hall of Fame, which is located under the south grandstands of the Rodeo Grounds. It features the history of the Pendleton Roundup, one of America's largest and oldest rodeos, as well as cowboy and Indian memorabilia. Train buffs should visit the Umatilla County Historical Society Museum, located in Pendleton's 1909 train depot. Displays include historic photographs, memorabilia of the area's sheep industry and wool mills, local Indian artifacts and even a working railroad telegraph system.

The brick front downtown storefronts and beautiful Queen Anne homes of nearby residential area transport you to the Western era. The friendly hospitality of the locals make you want to stay and enjoy the Wild West flavor of Pendleton.

The end of September saw us back to DogPatch this time with serious cleaning in mind!  We try to make sure that Harvey has two sessions with Carnauba Wax twice a year.  That means that after a very careful wash we have to apply two coats of wax to the front, one coat for each side and two coats on the back.  Let's see ... that means 80 square feet for the front and back, and 740 square feet for the sides.  That is about 1000 square feet .... not an easy chore.  When that was complete, the inside scrubbing began.  Needless to say, it was a very busy 4 days!  But Harvey, looking like a brand new coach, is now ready for the trip south this winter. 

As it is my year to decide just when to launch ourselves south and to the SUN .... we are leaving in early October ....

Oct 6th leave DogPatch for a leisurely trip to the National Factory at Perris CA
Oct 15th to 19th at the Factory
Oct 21st to Oct 27th --DataStorm Rally in Tucson Az. This relates to the Internet Satellite System we have on Harvey's roof
Oct 28th to Mid Dec .... who knows .... wandering around guided by the weather
Mid Dec to mid Mar -- wandering down the east coast of Mexico towards Cancun and working our way back north via the west coast.
April 1st return to the "Big Wet"

This is how things are shaping up right now, but stay tuned ... anything can -- and probably will -- change.

Click on the Camera below for a few pictures of the summer


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