Location: Vancouver, Canada
Hi Pip here. Well the boys have left for Vancouver Island for the start of their trek across Canada. No news yet on whether they have run into any bears.....
Yep the hillbilly house is no more. Another Australian has moved in called Dell from Cairns, interesting fello to say the least.
I have moved into a flat near the beach and shops and lots of people!! I'm living with all girls, something I have never done. No tickle fights as hoped by some.
Will be putting photos up on my site again until I get home sometime in October.
Bye from the girl hillbillie!!
Nick and Tim are coming back through Vancouver today to start going back east on the trail. Look forward to the updates!
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Nick again... had another adventure trip... two day kayak camping up on the Sunshine Coast, with Tanya from my work. Was great, peaceful, and scenic. Right now busy packing down, two days until we leave on the big trip, so lots to do. Off for a farewell beer tonight, then saturday we're out of here. In case we don't get time to get another update up, for the ride go to www.planetranger.com/transcanada
Nick here... just a quickie for you. Just got back from the Gulf Islands again. Had three days off so went and got some 'serenity now' kind of peace and quiet in Dionisio provincial park. Ferry over - and dragged 3 days worth of food and water plus all my gear on my bike up the remote end of the island. Lucky its so hilly on the island. Am already sick of telling my story of what I'm doing - always get bailed up by people wanting to talk when you have all the gear on your bike - some nice people, but some real freaks too. The park was mine for nearly the entire time - except the sea lions, eagles and everything else alive. Won't bore you with too many details - the photos tell most of the story. The highlights were defn. the eagles, and being sent to sleep and woken early in the morning by sea lions play fighting - slapping their fins (hands - whatever!) loudly on the water, and chasing each other round in circles, jumping out of and splashing in the water. Besides watching the world go by, I read (Anne Frank - Diary of a young girl - good but what a sad story), ate, slept, just chilled. Now am super relaxed! Seeya!
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Well folks, the time for the Hillbilly house is very limited. Only three weeks until we disband. With Nick and Tim heading off to cross Canada on bikes, leaving their sanity firmly on the couch watching the 30 channels of cable (remember we lost a few channels not so long ago!). We'll be leaving poor little Pipsta on her own in the couv - but we know she'll be okay, because the sun has come out. Its been out for two weeks straight. You would not believe the affect that has had on our moods!
Nick and Tim (that's Nick and me - for those who haven't guessed that its Tim writing this update) set out for a little test ride on the weekend. A sort of pre-canada-crossing check to make sure we have all the gear we need. We went to Galiano Island. A long thin island in the Gulf Islands of Canada - a short ferry ride from Tsawassen - south of Vancouver.
Little did we know that we were riding headlong into the kind of nature documentary you can't turn off (the kind on the outdoor life network that was so cruelly removed from us by the cable police not so long ago). The weekend was nothing short of amazing - hopefully our photos of it attest to this.
We set out Friday morning, wobbled our bikes over to the bus stop in downtown. The first ride with full panniers is a wobbly one, but we soon got used to it. The buses have a rack on the front that fits only two bikes, lucky that we got there early, more on that later.
Off the bus and onto the ferry. An uneventful ferry ride and we ended up on the Island. Our aim was to go to the end of the island and camp in the national park there. We were told that access was blocked to the park because of a land dispute, but we thought we'd give it a try anyway. The ride along the island was beautiful, leafy streets - sunny day, amazing views. We stopped at a lookout for lunch that was breathtaking. Nature experience one happened there with a sitting of what had to be a whale. A massive splash at the other side of the water separating us and another island. We also met the postman. He'd been living there 32 years and sorted his mail at the lookout every day. Can't blame the man.
After lunch we continued on the ride towards the end of the island. We got there only to find the way blocked by "The Rah" No not an Indian band, we're not sure what in fact - just a bunch of signs saying "No trespassing" and "trespassers will be composted". We think maybe they were some strange alien worshipping cult. We trespassed, but never did find the way into the park. We think it might have overgrown. Such a waste - a national park ruined over a selfish political debate.
Next we tried riding through the Indian reserve. It was pretty much deserted and didn't provide us with a nice camping spot, it did have a nice bay to have a look at though.
So we rode back down the island to Montague Harbour. As always good came from bad and we discovered a beautiful place indeed. The beach next to the campsite was literally a living organism. Thousands of crabs and molluscs and other little marine things were feeding, fighting and shagging wherever they could. The local birds were everywhere and just as the sun was going down, a head bobbed up out of the water and let out a breath - a seal was seeing what all the fuss was about.
We decided that day two was going to have to be spent kayaking instead of riding. A very good decision indeed. The Gulf Islands are just an incredible place to kayak. The water was glassy smooth and the sun was beating down (first sunburn of the season!) Within minutes of leaving the harbour we saw our first seal. They would just bob up out of the water to have a look at you! We kayaked over to the row of islands opposite Galiano, mostly uninhabited - except by birds. Every one had something different to look at. We stopped for lunch on one that was covered in birds. They weren't so happy about us being there, but we were careful to be sensitive and stayed on the beach. The island had another inhabitant as well - a sea otter. Cool little animals that scamper and swim around. After lunch we kayaked back over to Galiano - first stop a cliff, that was a bird nesting area. Amazingly loud and covered in crap, but incredible to watch. We stayed mesmerised for quite some time. After this we paddled down the coast of Galiano back to the harbour. It was just crazy how many things there were to see along the way. Massive (no really - they were huge) bright purple and pink starfish, more otters, a deer and lesbian only Buddhist retreat (we guess so anyway). Best of all we came across a number of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. The first few freaked when we went near them, but we got the hang of it by the end. By paddling against the current and just drifting past them they let us get real close. Check out the photo of one of the characters sun baking.
Another sunset and nights sleep and it was up to spend a lazy day waiting for the ferry. As we rode our bikes out of the camp ground - we had to stop for some pannier adjustments. As we did, these two minks ran out of the forest about 20 metres away from us. They started bolting straight at is making there strange little noise. It was quite strange. Soon as the got close to us they changed course by just a little and scampered on there way - way too quick for a camera I'm afraid! How anyone can wear a mink coat I don't know.
We went for some more rides around the island - over to Bluff Park - a place with some nice views (and steep hills!) and then to Bellhouse Park. Where we spotted an eagle fly into its gargantuan nest in a pine tree. Nick stood for quite some time waiting to snap it fly out again, but we saw our ferry sail into port and that pesky eagle never did take off again.
When we arrived back on the mainland - the whole zen of the trip was nearly destroyed by one a--hole. We were first to the bus stop and waited for half an hour for the first bus. Two came at once and some jerk tried to jump the queue on us and put his bike on the bus going direct to Vancouver. After we told him we were first he said there was nothing he was going to do for us. At first we backed off, but then anger got the better of us and we went back to confront him. With the whole bus queue watching Nick forcibly removed his bike from the bus - the guy started to put up a fight, but saw the logic, with two guys bigger and angrier than him. It ended with a Canadian shouting "Aussie rules" from the queue. Not a display we liked to put on, but we were in the right (as most of the people in the queue seemed to think). Oh well, nothing could ruin the trip though. We got home to the pipstar - and ate pizza very happy!
Location: Vancouver still..., Canada
Can everyone please harrass Tim on his dodgy map. He has forgotten a whole province and complaining from me just doesn't seem to be working. Those boys are going to go through those prairies of Saskatchewan and it's a funny name and I'm going for a visit too and just to annoy him okay!
For a reference at this point it is between Calgary and Winnipeg. In his favour, no one lives there and it's flat and boring (I hear).
Location: Bell Mobility - Pip's work, Canada
Would just like to point out that there was no major heart attack on the tv front from me. ER and CSI are free! But alas the boys with no Seinfeld or Outdoor Lifestyle Network channel were a bit sad. They have Seinfeld but no OLN. And I was a bit worried about the daytime TV viewing my sister was watching. Thankfully now she has Dr. Phil and his crazy guests!!
I would now like to say we have a third day of sun in 48 days!!! Hoorah!! Alas Tim and I are stuck in concrete pillars but Nik and Nick are out and about enjoying themselves no doubt. Nick's probably out looking for Alicia Silverstone. Tim reckons they should double date with Buffy since she's in town too. And yes having three Nik/Nick's around is a little confusing...
We did enjoy some more sunshine on Easter weekend as Tim, Pip, Nik (sister) and Nick (cousin) went for a mini-break up to Salmon Arm to visit some relos Pip and Nik have up there. No rain for three days and Sunday we were even hot...crazy I know. We swung by Kamloops too for a visit and saw where 'Jenny from the Block' is staying whilst she makes her next bad movie. Her man Benny is actually here in Vancouver trying to make a film around the rain. I think he's actually downstairs near my work today. He's no Aragorn let me tell you..
But Salmon Arm was good and the scenery was great. So pretty in this province. We visited cemetery, where I've never been surrounded by so much family. We saw where my grandparents are buried whilst getting a history lesson from 'Uncle Paul'. A cousin of my dad's. We also did some driving around the town, no skiing or boarding but we did a hike in the Fly Hills where there's still lots of snow. No bears though. We ended the weekend with an easter lunch at the cousins place where we sat on the kids table. Geez it has been awhile since we have all done that. Learnt a bit more about the young kids of today. Lots of laughing and catching up on the goss.
My sister and I are seeing a band tonight then off to Victoria on Saturday and watching the Canucks on Sunday, then she's off back to Oz on Tuesday which makes me a bit sad. The boys are off in five weeks, what's a girl to do?? I think I'll be okay with all the filming around and sunnier weather (fingers crossed). Going to Edmonton in three weeks to visit a friend. Think I'll pass on Toronto at the moment.
Location: The rainiest city in the world, Canada
OK... Nick here. A month solid of rain... with one sunny day. Its worse than London, hos is this possible. And we hear that the bloody poms are basking in a heatwave, this is not right! Well today Nicks Kayaking/ camping trip was cancelled because of weather, as was the backup plan of a hike. But Tim and Nick are off testing out all the bike touring gear next weekend for 3 days in the gulf islands. Its just over a month until we head off on the big ride so we better get sorted out. Pips sister Nic is staying with us at the moment, and the whole city is buzzing. Thats not because of Nik, nor the rain, but the Canucks - the Vancouver ice hockey team, are through to the playoffs and they are going nuts. In other news, we're all just LOVING our jobs, really. Nick is spending more than hes earning because of 70% discounts on outdoor gear... how can you resist even if you earn nothing. Tim has risen to Cheque checking guru... they're gonna give him a medal soon. Pip had a minor heart attack during the week when they disconnected our cable (we think the hillbilly house had stolen cable), but we're back on line now. (phew!) Tim, Pip, Nic, other Nick (Pips cousin) spent last weekend up in Salmon Arm with the relos... and saw the area. Interesting thing was there was a forest fire 4 years ago, and it still is just empty and black. Makes you realize how different Australian bush is. Well... thats it for now, maybe an update after the rain stops. Seeya...
Location: Downtown Van, Canada
Pip here. I know it's been awhile since the last update, sorry about that.
Well we're all working and the guys are buying up for their big adventure starting in about 7 weeks!! Wow!! How time has flown.
We are still in the hillbilly house which is great for work for Nick and I. Alas poor Tim is out in the boon docks of Vancouver still in the hovel of BC Hydro.
Not a lot has been happening. The boys are discovering new places to ride in Vancouver and I'm discovering new places in downtown to go c/ people at my work. I'm also getting caught up in Canucks fever (ie. Vancouver Ice Hockey team). They're in the finals which won't last long the way they're playing.
We had a bit of a cake fest a couple of weeks ago in honour of Nick's birthday then, getting work, then me getting work. Any excuse really to bake a chocolate cake.
No visitors for awhile but my sister gets here next week and we're off to Kamloops for a mini-break. To discover a bit more of BC and see some family we have up there. I will also be going to Saskatchewan to see family. Alas cannot show it on the map, Tim has forgotten about that province.
Check out the photos of the boys bike trips, they're pretty amazing! Nick saw a raccoon yesterday on his ride. Cool. No bears as yet.
Take care everyone.
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Well folks, it's been a while since the last update - many apologies, we've just been so busy. Seriously. After the crazy weekend when Dana, Jim, Bea & Tyson came to visit. It all went a little quiet. But only for a week. Vancouver is beginning to become alive for us.
After a week of interviews Tim managed to get a temp job at a power company. Its a very exciting job, involving sorting through around 500 cheques per day to make sure they are okay for depositing into the big monolith of a company's account. Those IT skills coming in very handy. But he has learnt how to use the Model P35 Sorting device. A word from Tim - next time you write a cheque for a phone bill, power bill ... take care, some poor bastard has to deal with em, even better draw a little smiley on the cheque. Tim is only just adjusting to the savage and cruel 8am start. The mood swings are lethal.
Nick is near employed at a bike shop. Having his mid-life crisis early he's decided that high paying jobs in Japanese banks are a thing of the past and he's going to get back to basics. He starts tomorrow at nine. About nine hours earlier than he usually wakes up. Could be tough.
Pip is still a lady of leisure, but we're expecting that it won't be for long, she did however go to a sex shop today with her cousin, she assures us it was neither to get a job or to purchase. She came back with a pamphlet for a course in giving handjobs. Maybe this is where she is taking her career. We can forward the details to anyone interested in such lewd and vile behaviour.
Oh so much to tell ... leaving the best till last - last week and weekend Bea and Tyson came back from strutting their stuff on the ski fields and took over the house. They cooked, bought food, hired a car, cleaned, entertained ... in short they were bloody fantastic guests. They even had the nerve to give us a thankyou card. On the weekend we went in the hired chevy (what a fantastic box of a yankee gus guzzling car) for some field trips. There are photos! Saturday we went to Bowen Island - a very nice ferry trip for a very nice walk in the woods. Sunday we went up and had a look at Whistler, we also went walking in the woods there. As you'll see from the photos we came across some mountain lion footprints. Being the biologists that we are, we figured it must be a bear print. Everyone got a little scared. The fear climaxed with a blood curdling scream from Bea. We all froze as a black dog came down the trail. Bea's imaganation can get the better of her. Her and Tyson are now sunning themselves in Mexico, no bears to worry about. The lucky buggers.